Maybe the SBC Isn’t for You?

I’ve been a regular attender of an SBC church since 9 months before I was born. It’s all I’ve known. I attended a Baptist-affiliated college, then after a brief and blessed stay at a conservative but non-denominational seminary, I graduated from SWBTS. I’m SBC born, SBC bred, and when I die I’ll be SBC dead. In fact, one of the strongest moments of divine call I had in my life was when I sense God’s leading to return to the SBC fold and move from Dallas to Southwestern, to invest my life in the SBC. My dad was lobbying for me to find another place to serve – his frustration with the SBC of the late 70s and early 80s was strong. But God called me to this flawed convention and my life’s work has been within its borders.

But I also realize that God has a lot of other good neighborhoods in his kingdom. I explored E-Free Village once, and the Bible Church Acres had some appeal. Never was tempted by Presbyterian Oaks but I’ve had some good times visiting in the Charismatic Heights area. Even Pentecostal Pines can make for some good times. You don’t have to be Southern Baptist to be a good Christian. You can serve God in other venues, other denominations, other churches. We are not the only community in Christ’s kingdom.

But I think a lot of people forget that. When I say what I am about to say, I can almost anticipate the reactions, as if I am casting people out of the kingdom, questioning the validity of their faith, or suggesting they be excommunicated from the church of Jesus Christ. No. My only point is that there are people who seem a bad fit for the SBC, who reject the way we do things – not so much our fundamental doctrines, but our polity, practices and procedures. (Nicely alliterated, Dave!)

Too few Southern Baptists understand who we are and how we work. People want things from us we cannot give and bring demands to which we cannot accede.

This is one of those posts that has been brewing in my brain for a long time, but a couple of things I’ve read in the last couple of days have moved me to put these thoughts on electronic paper. I hope my intended tone comes through – I’m trying to be direct without being offensive. But I will be dealing with some of the most controversial and difficult episodes in our recent history. As I mentioned, two blogposts I’ve read in the last couple of days have inspired (provoked me?) to put these words on internet-paper.

  • One was from an aggressive “traditionalist” – well known for his antipathy toward Calvinists in the SBC. He published a diatribe threatening to withhold funding from the IMB if they hired a president not to his liking.
  • The other post was from an ardent, passionate, Calvinist, who is part of a movement seeking to “reform” the SBC – along Calvinist lines, of course. He and his friends are sometimes harsh in their criticisms of the SBC (with some of those criticisms I agree and with some I disagree) and he’d been queried why he remains within the fold instead of heading out to some Reformed Baptist fellowship. He said it is his desire to remain within the SBC and to seek reform until we band together to kick him out.

Here’s the thing. These men are both well within their rights to advocate these positions within the SBC. We are a convention of free churches, and anyone affiliated with the SBC can lodge disagreements, seek reform, levy demands, as they wish. The only limitation is the Lordship of Christ and the teaching of God’s Word. If one man wants to threaten to withhold funds if a Calvinist is given a position, he is within his rights as a Southern Baptist. If another wants to reform the SBC to become more Calvinist, he too is within his rights as a Southern Baptist to pursue that aim.

My quarrel is not with those who articulate and advocate a position, but with those who seem to fundamentally misunderstand what the SBC is all about. We have a system of belief and of practice that we have believed is based on Scripture, though I’m sure tradition invades more than we’d like to admit. Not everyone who is a faithful Christian agrees with our autonomy, free church, baptistic and congregational beliefs. That’s fine. But it’s who we are. If these core beliefs rankle, rile, offend or annoy you, you can still be a faithful, Christ-loving, Word-honoring, Spirit-filled, blood-bought, heaven-bound Christian. Maybe, though, you should consider your involvement in the SBC. I’m not trying to add to the statistical decline of my beloved convention but I think we’d all be happier if those who do not appreciate or accept the basic beliefs and practices of our brand of Baptist life would find a fellowship that reflects their beliefs.  At the very least, learn who we are and why we are what we are. If that just isn’t you, God bless you!  It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or a bad Christian, but maybe the SBC just isn’t for you.

Please hear me. I’m not trying to tell anyone to leave the SBC. But if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Why force it? Here’s a few thoughts about who we are.

1) The Southern Baptist Convention consists of free, self-governing churches (and conventions) without a denominational hierarchy.

Why didn’t Frank Page step in and do something about the mess at Louisiana College a couple of years ago? C’mon, Frank. Descend from your ivory tower and take charge! Right? WRONG! Had Frank Page interfered at LC, he would have been violating Baptist polity and overstepping the boundaries of his authority. The Louisiana Convention is an autonomous entity that governs itself through whatever process it has determined. It is NOT under the authority of Frank Page or the EC. Had Frank Page flown into Louisiana and tried to start setting things right, he would have been acting outside the boundaries of his authority. The same would be true if he tried to interfere in anything that might be happening in colleges in other unnamed Southern states.

The SBC cannot come into my church and tell me what to preach or how to act. It can vote (in business session) to refuse to seat messengers from my church and can perhaps declare us not to be in friendly cooperation. Acts 29 recently kicked Mark Driscoll and his church out of their fellowship. They can do that. But that is not Baptist polity. We do not function like hierarchical or authoritarian denominations or networks.

If you want the SBC to swoop in and set things right in this situation or that situation, one of two things is true. Either you don’t understand Baptist polity or you perhaps ought not to be a Southern Baptist. That’s just not who we are. It’s not just cowardice, it’s conviction. If you do not ascribe to the free church concept, to local church and entity autonomy, God bless you. Many denominations don’t. But we do. It’s who we are.

2) Southern Baptists partner on the big picture while disagreeing on MANY other things.

We are meant to be a big tent of believers, but not one of unlimited size! We have some fixed walls on the sides of our tent and are not willing to expand beyond certain points. But inside the tent there is a lot of room for a lot of people with a lot of different beliefs on a lot of different things.

The Baptist Faith and Message spells out Southern Baptists’ common core of belief, forged through the years, our way of interpreting the Bible and seeing the world. But it is not exhaustive. The BFM tells us that Jesus is coming again, but takes no position among the options. From partial preterism to dispensational fundamentalism; all of these beliefs are acceptable within the basics of our statement. As I understand it, the soteriological sections of the BFM were written specifically so that Calvinists and non-Calvinists could each see their own views in it. That is true on so many things. We spell out certain beliefs – this is who we are. But within those core beliefs we leave room for a wide range of views.

We agree that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word, that God is the sovereign who exists in Trinity, that Jesus is the God-man who died a substitutionary death to redeem us from our sins, that the Spirit indwells believers, that there is no hope of salvation outside of Christ, and that Jesus is coming again. We also believe in immersion of believers, in baptism and the Lord’s supper as the ordinances, in congregational government, local church autonomy, soul competency, and other Baptist distinctives. In recent years, we’ve nailed down positions on several family and gender issues.

But for a denomination as big as ours, our doctrinal statement is pretty general. Fundamental Christian doctrine. Basic Baptist beliefs. Biblically-defined family standards. Within the walls of this large tent, there’s room for the rowdy near-Charismatic types and stodgy liturgy-lovers, for Calvinists and non-Calvinists, for hipsters and white-shirt-and-tie guys, for cessationists and continuationists, for (yes, I said it) Republicans and Democrats (and even some Libertarians – as long as they stay in a corner and don’t bother folks!).

Here’s the thing: if you are going to be Southern Baptist, you have to learn to play nice with others, even those with whom you disagree. I absolutely cannot understand how anyone can read a Bible and become an amillennialist. But my missions money helps to support people who are professors, church-planters and missionaries who hold that viewpoint I reject. That’s life in the SBC. You cooperate with Baptist believers from a wide range of backgrounds, beliefs and convictions.

If you are Southern Baptist, you are willing to unite in our big, but limited, tent with people who have different views than you do on important issues. If you are unwilling to partner except with those who share your views exactly, that is your right, but maybe the SBC isn’t for you.

3) Specifically, the SBC has ALWAYS had Calvinists and Non-Calvinists. 

In the early days of the SBC, many of the leaders of our denomination were strong Calvinists. That influence has ebbed and flowed over the life of the denomination, but neither side has ever been absent. In my college and seminary days (ie. the days when Calvinism was a big deal to me) Calvinism was more rare than a pro-life Democrat today. Soon thereafter, the teaching began to make a resurgence within the SBC. Today, the percentage of Calvinist vs. Non-Calvinist is hard to figure, since defining Calvinism is about as hard as determining what the meaning of is is. At this point, I’m not really sure whether I’m a Calvinist or not – depends on how you define it and who makes the judgment.

The SBC tent has always had people from various sides of the soteriology divide under its canopy.

Dr. David Dockery produced an excellent history of Calvinism in the SBC, and showed how the two streams of Calvinism and non-Calvinism have flowed together throughout our history. Here is a link to a BP article that has links to the videos of his teachings. If you’ve not watched these, you should. That’s who we are – a missions organization in which Calvinists and non-Calvinists cooperate to obey the Great Commission together.

If your goal is to impose Calvinism, “Traditionalism”, or some other form of non-Calvinism into the SBC, it is your right. However, it is also evidence that you may not understand the nature and history of the SBC. We’ve always been both and probably always will be. If you will only be satisfied if the SBC (or its leadership) only reflects one soteriological view, maybe the SBC isn’t for you.

4) We are a Great Commission People.

No, this is not an excuse for folks to declaim on the evils of the GCR or the SBC’s nickname. Let’s give that a rest today, okay? But we are a Great Commission people – or at least we are supposed to be. We are determined to make the command of Christ to make disciples in all the world through evangelism and discipleship the center and focus of all we do. We sometimes forget that and get embroiled in distracting and unproductive internecine battles but it is who we are nonetheless.

What that means is that our missions agencies are our primary raison d’etre. It is not an accident that more than half of our national CP dollars go to the IMB. And NAMB gets another quarter of those dollars.

We are not primarily a denominational structure, a hierarchy or an institution. We are a missions organization. The CP is our lifeblood.

The CP is voluntary. You do not have to give. But let’s be honest, if you are only willing to give to that which you govern, if you are unwilling to support ministries that reflect a wide range of views, you are within your rights, but the SBC might not be a good fit for you.

5) “We can do more together than we can do separately” is not just a motto for Southern Baptists. 

My church gives in the neighborhood of 50,000 bucks to missions through the CP. We gave a little over 30,000 to Lottie and 5 or 6 grand to Annie this year. Put that all together, that’s around $85,000. With that money, we could probably support two missionary families full-time. We could provide partial support to quite a few. Or, we could be part of a missions strategy and organization that supports around 10,000 people worldwide (NAMB and IMB), not to mention helps fund 6 pretty decent seminaries.

For Southern Hills Baptist, I am fully convinced that we make our best missions investment by partnering through the CP with Southern Baptists around the country. Am I ever frustrated with the IMB? From time to time. Am I ever frustrated with NAMB? I should probably plead the 5th on this, but for Iowa Baptists, NAMB is a generous partner in ministry, but often confusing, even infuriating. Maybe someday I’ll get angry at Frank Page about something. Dr. Mohler and Dr. Patterson have both irritated me a time or two. The seminary closest to me, MBTS, has had a long history of dysfunction, though that seems to be settling down under the capable leadership of its current president, Dr. Allen. My big quarrel with them is that they cannot seem to understand that their acronym should be MWBTS! Whatever.  I wish LifeWay did not sell the Shack and their decision, in league with NAMB, to pull World Changers out of the non-Southern states was not one I supported.

I’m often frustrated, even angry with the SBC, its leaders and its entities.

But I still believe that I can do more Great Commission work by investing in a worldwide missions program through the SBC than I can by myself.

If you believe you can do more and better by yourself (as a church) than you can do in cooperation with the SBC, God bless you. Go for it. But maybe the SBC isn’t for you.

There is much more to say on this, but I’m nearing 2700 words and I should probably tie a bow on this and be done with it. Again, I’m not for forcing anyone to leave the SBC except in the most egregious circumstances. But I think we should make it clear who we are with the understanding that there are lots of other ways to be faithful to Christ and his kingdom. If the SBC isn’t your cup of tea, don’t drink it.

I won’t be around much on Friday, so you can talk about what an idiot I am freely and without rebuke, until I get back to it and drop the hammer on any miscreants.

 

Comments

  1. says

    The CP is the best thing the SBC has to offer. When focus is lost on other things, the SBC is not so cooperative. Narrowing the elements of focus attributable to CP will be how the SBC survives and thrives in the future IMHO. It is certainly not about the 5 Point Bucks vs. the 4 Point (or less) Bucks, or even the policies of the Lifeway stores.

    • cb scott says

      Chris Johnson,

      You do realize that the difference between a 5 Point Buck and a 4 Point Buck is that the 5 Point Buck has a Non-Typical Rack and the 4 Point Buck has a Typical Rack.

    • William Thornton says

      if the CP is the best thing the SBC has to offer why is it the most notable measure of SBC decline?

      I don’t necessarily disagree with your assertion but observe that the CP is not recognized as such among churches and ministers.

      • says

        William, … I believe that the initial push of the CP was successful “because” the campaign and exposure to the local churches, at the time, was focused and precise. Since that time many years ago, the broadening of scope and political interactions have deluded the message of CP and has created a reason for the people in the pew to question the focus, or even lose sight of the focus.

        A good recipe may be for reduction, more focus, and a return to the concepts that made the cooperation a success in those early days. I have always found that simplicity and focus of message is a huge step forward toward cooperative success.

        • William Thornton says

          Interesting. No doubt the CP funds many more things but state convention work, seminaries, and mission boards account for 90+% now as it did generations ago.

          I’m not sure how the CP could be more narrowly focused.

          • says

            I think the messaging on the less funded parts have deluded the main message, which creates much confusion at the personal giving level. From where I sit in the pew, the noise and clutter of the 10% is out pacing what could be a more cohesive message about what is the meat of the program.

            How the 90% is utilized could be refocused as well.

          • William Thornton says

            What “less funded parts” do you mean, Chris? I’m curious about what perceptions are among us, not criticizing anyone’s choices or preferences.

        • D.L. Payton says

          Chris
          This sounds good in theory but I believe we have crossed too many rivers to return to those days. At the time of conception there was great unity in the midst of diversity. Hence money came to the CP while there was some diversity in other matters. The evolution from those days I feel prohibit us from returning to that concept. We today demand more conformity (for good or bad) than we did at the time of conception. I do not foresee a time we will not insist on conformity to certain areas of belief and practice.

    • D.L. Payton says

      Chris
      I certainly agree re the CP. I would like to add however that cooperation must extend beyond money. If we are not cooperative in other matters the money is going to dry up.

  2. Norm (AKA bapticus hereticus) says

    I find agreement in several areas, but not in all areas in a manner that is stated; but such is not the focus of this note. What I find in this post is a common condition for many religious organizations undergoing challenges in changing and turbulent environments, and something that is endemic to nearly all organizations over time: reification of the past, thus its over-emphasis on current expressions of being and doing.

    Knowing where we are going and how to get there is more uncertain than knowing where we have been (even given we are still uncertain about many experiences of the past), thus instead of looking for new and innovative ways of being, we stay with what is relatively known, especially when so much has been invested in it and we have developed a degree of comfort around it. We are reasonably clear how relationships will function if we continue with ‘some old,’ and with a tweak here and there, we can make it better. And while that is surely the case to some degree, emphasis on such can drain an organization of the energy it needs to see itself as it is and its likely increasing irrelevance (When leaders both drive and are the dominant voice of reflection, it is not always in their interest to identify the deeper issues, for such can call into question the legitimacy of their influence. Problems that are usually identified are those that focus on issues that call for their leadership, while also necessarily diffuse responsibility for the problem. Be careful when such happens that attempts at influence concentration is not at play).

    This is not to suggest tradition is something to jettison, far from it. The important thing about healthy tradition is that it preserves the seed for its demise and the seed for its renewal. But when process cedes into the background for favor of reification and inertia, the seed of renewal is malnourished and the seed of demise is not seen for its utility, rather it is perceived as a threat rather than a necessary way forward.

    With reification comes assimilation, and it often comes at the expense of integration. Processes related to assimilation are more rooted in the past and the known, whereas integration preserves the past, but subjects it to creative and new interactions that are needed to function in and speak to a changing environment. The new patterns of being and doing create conflict, but such is often a condition for progress, and it is a sign that an increasing array of voices are being heard or are pressing to be heard. That is a good thing, and it requires leadership that is competent at leading it, managing it, and channeling it rather than suppressing it.

    The questions religious organizations and otherwise need to be asking are where do we need to die and what processes do we need for the renewing of our being in the world? From theology to structure to operations, all need to be relevant to the ordering of life that allows it to be generative. SBC and others can be that organization, but it is not a given. For the sake of may, I hope so.

  3. says

    The following comment “threatening to withhold funding from the IMB if they hired a president not to his liking” is an interesting interpretation of my remarks. The point I clearly made was in reference to the trustees going to the Louisville connection yet one more time in their appointment, which by the way, they have been advised not to do from a number of individuals. So it is not as simple as a “candidate not of MY liking.” That is a pitifully poor evaluation of one saying “Maybe the SBC isn’t for you.”

    If one looks at the SBC entity hires for the last decade they will see a clear cut path right straight to Louisville and my point was ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. That ought to be understandable to even the most unconcerned by-stander; but I guess that is not the case at least in this neck of the woods.

    For the record, there is a MAJOR difference in giving to the LMCO and the AAEO and the CP. I did not say we were adjusting our giving to the CP. Since the LMCO and AAEO go directly to the respective entities, it is appropriate to give to them according to the direction they are heading. It seems to me you are being critical of one thing and then lumping it all together which again is a shallow evaluation.

    One final comment; you tie “traditionalist” to “tradition” as if the latter is in direct contrast to Scripture. That is in poor taste as well. I realize that is a subtle innuendo but it is what it is none the less.

    • Scott Shaver says

      In addition, the statement was penned “The SBC has always been calvinist and non-calvinist.”

      Historically, has the SBC always been 50% “reformed” or “neo-reformed” in it’s constituency, both at denominational leadership and pew-member levels?

      Looked like the historical trajectory (until recent years) of the SBC trended away from calvinism of the “reform” stripe.

      • Dave Miller says

        Scott, I’m not an expert in SBC History, but here’s my understanding. In the days of the founding of the SBC, the leaders of the SBC were Calvinist by a strong majority. The people in the pews were a lot less Calvinist than the leadership.

        By the post war 20th Century, the SBC was largely non-Calvinist. If you read the post (never know if people do) you might have noticed this line, “In my college and seminary days (ie. the days when Calvinism was a big deal to me) Calvinism was more rare than a pro-life Democrat today.”

          • says

            The difference between the Calvinist and the Arminian (and the spectrum between the two positions) doesn’t necessarily reflect how much or how little one believes in God’s sovereignty. Many a classical Arminian (and there are plenty of Arminians whose beliefs don’t actually reflect classical Arminian belief) believes in God’s Sovereignty just as much as a Calvinist. The difference in belief is in regards to what, in His Sovereignty, God has chosen to *do*.

        • says

          Just going to throw this out there…But it is interesting to note that the period in which there were very few Calvinists within the SBC, was also the period in which there were large numbers of moderates and liberals within the convention. And that when the moderates and liberals left the convention during/after the Conservative Resurgance, that is when we see Calvinists begin to rise in numbers back within the SBC.

          Coincidence? Yes very likely. But it does want to make you think.

          Now on to topic.

          I know of very few Calvinists who openly call for the piecemeal funding of the convention, including but not limited to not wanting any monies going to SWBTS, NOBTS or GGBTS. Are there a few? Probably. Are they as prevalent within the Calvinist camps as the defusing of SBTS, SEBTS, IMB/NAMB, ect is among Traditionalists, I would say no. It is not. With out any hard statistics it would be impossible to reach a firm conclusion but I do think it is worth noting that trend.

          • D.L. Payton says

            SVM
            Definitely a coincidence. the framers of the CR were nearly to the man non calvinists. Some of those men today are vocal in their displeasure of Calvinism. It happened that during those days there was a rise in popularity of men like John MacArthur who capture the minds of young theologues and led them into Calvinism. MacArthur came along during the charismatic controversies with some sound anti charismatic exegesis that resonated well with SB. Hence a built in audience.

          • Rick Patrick says

            The Traditionalist Period of Southern Baptist life was our zenith as a denomination–the time when we grew the fastest, reached the most people, developed the largest missionary sending body in world history, built the most extensive religious publishing house and seminary system in the world, etc. All of the greatest achievements in Southern Baptist life were experienced between 1950-2000. Southern Baptists are Billy Graham, Herschel Hobbs and Adrian Rogers. Our modern problems are not due to our embrace of Traditionalism, but to our increasing rejection of it.

            And as for the Calvinists who redirect their funding away from CP and toward Acts 29, PLNTD and whatever else…the reason we do not have hard statistics is because many, many Calvinist churches do not complete their Annual Church Profiles giving stats on things like baptisms and missions giving dollars. Some of the Trads are doing this *in response* to the Cals–essentially fighting fire with fire. Personally, I am not among this group, but I do understand their concerns with supporting a denomination that does not seem to care about them, but pushes an agenda that promotes Calvinism in church planting, literature production, leadership choices, etc., essentially accepting Trad money but not accepting Trad leadership and influence. They feel more than a little disenfranchised, and when they have had enough they stop supporting the elite Calvinist minority. It’s an unstable situation.

            I hope and pray the IMB Search Team listens to people like Bob. He speaks for many, many people fed up with the Calvinist Revolution. If you’ll notice, rank and file Southern Baptists have never really joined in this YRR Movement. Add to that the collapse of Mahaney and Driscoll and we’re just very, very dissatisfied with where this Calvinist push is leading us as a denomination.

          • Dave Miller says

            Tremendously self-serving historical interp, Rick, and I think it confuses correlation and causation, makes conclusions unjustified by facts, and ignores many other sociological and cultural factors. Here’s a post I wrote about that, based on research figures that showed that our statistical decline actually BEGAN in the 50s. http://sbcvoices.com/the-sbcs-60-year-decline-beyond-the-blame-game/

            it’s the same kind of logic used by liberals and moderates who say that the CR ruined the SBC, using pretty much the same logic you used here.

            But this is not another Traditionalist/Calvinist post. I used those posts as a springboard, but I’d rather keep the Calvinism foodfights on other blogs that specialize in them.

          • Rick Patrick says

            I’m glad you can at least say that in certain respects my comments were tremendous. I feel the same way about yours.

          • Dave Miller says

            The snarkiness of your comment leads me to believe mine offended you. You offered an interpretation of Baptist history which I believe to be flawed, and which represents flawed logic.

            I was direct and straightforward in my response to it.

            I’m sorry if that offends you, but one would think that someone who is as prone to confrontation as you are would not be easily offended by your statements being questioned.

            I used tremendous in the secondary sense of large, huge, massive. Your comments interpreted SBC history in such a way as to buttress your viewpoint – I think erroneously.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Chris,

            Wrong. My church was at 7% CP giving. My first year, we raised to 8%. Next year our proposed budget goes to 9%. These are my own initiatives. I may think the SBC is moving too far in the Calvinistic direction, but my goal is not to reduce cooperation, but rather, to seek to reform the reformers from within.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Dave,

            I am really not “prone to confrontation.” I’m just outnumbered when I engage this Calvinist-majority board. I state my point of view in a “direct and straightforward” manner, as you put it, and you charge me (but not Smusch) as being *tremendously self-serving* and using the *logic of the liberals.*

            Whatever. At least you apologized “if” you offended me, “but” added some other justifying words. Whatever again. Revisionist history can only work in one direction on this blog. Smusch’s.

            My remarks were actually directed to counterbalance Smusch’s view of history that: (a) the decline of Calvinism in the 20th Century led to moderates and liberals–that is, Calvinism “saved the day” in the CR, and (b) the Trads are targeting missions money more than the Cals are. I think these are erroneous views.

          • William Thornton says

            Rick, suppose the best man for the IMB is not a Calvinist but has Mohler/SBTS connections. Is this an issue for you?

          • Rick Patrick says

            William,

            This statement from the Connect 316 website addresses your question: “The concept of balanced representation among our leadership deserves attention. Increasingly, entity leaders possess strong ties to one specific state, seminary and soteriological wing. We believe Southern Baptists should install leaders from a cross section of the convention.”

            http://connect316.net/LeadershipPrinciples11920911192091

            So, yes, I am concerned that we are becoming not only Calvinist-centric, but Mohler-centric, Southern Seminary-centric and perhaps even Kentucky-centric.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Adam,

            Since you like it so much, here is the chart showing Dr. Mohler’s influence. I am not the only Southern Baptist wondering why we are not distributing leadership positions among a larger geographical area and among persons representing different schools of thought with connections to other outstanding Southern Baptist leaders.

            https://twitter.com/HarwoodAdam/status/316999332899467265

          • says

            Rick,

            “So, yes, I am concerned that we are becoming not only Calvinist-centric, but Mohler-centric, Southern Seminary-centric and perhaps even Kentucky-centric.”

            Let’s get this straight. Your gonna be upset if the candidate for IMB president (or any other post) is;

            From Kentucky
            Knows Mohler
            Is a Calvinist
            Went to southern

            What if the nominee has really never met Mohler, went to Liberty and SEBTS, is not from Kentucky …. but is to some degree a Calvinist ?

            3 outta 4 ain’t bad, dude. ;-) .750 is an excellent batting average!

            If such a person would meet your self imposed denominational litmus test….I’m sure Adam Blosser would consider the nomination. ;-)

          • Adam Blosser says

            If I wouldn’t have Rick Patrick’s support and wouldn’t receive LMCO money from Bob Hadley’s church, I don’t want the job.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Rick, two serious questions.

            1) Have you heard any of the names that are being considered? I am not an insider by any stretch of the imagination, and have no idea who may be considered.

            2) Have you written the trustees of the IMB expressing your concerns? Did you write the trustees of other entities when they were in the search process?

          • says

            I understand, Adam. That’s a real deal breaker for most candidates I would think.

            Back to the drawing board.

            Have to keep looking for those who meet the standard of the Patrick/Hadley denominational litmus test

          • Rick Patrick says

            Adam,

            (1) The names I am hearing are Greear and Chitwood. I hope they surprise me. Maybe they could even choose a real missionary.

            (2) I’ve communicated with other trustees in the past, but not these. Actually, I think part of the reason we are susceptible to this is the very nature of our autonomous boards. Five different trustee boards can individually pick people representing the same exact area because there is no general oversight board looking at all the entity choices simultaneously. There is no one to say, “Uh, you know, maybe we should not pick ALL of our SBC leaders from this one specific area, but spread it around a bit to represent more regions.”

          • Rick Patrick says

            Tarheel,

            I definitely believe in autonomous boards. I’m just trying to explain or describe how our otherwise excellent polity unfortunately contributes to our present imbalance. With each individual board looking only at the trees and not the forest, there is no one to give a general, broad overview of our total entity leadership and declare, “We are overloaded with a certain type of leader and need to pick someone from other walks of Southern Baptist life in order to balance our SBC leadership generally.”

          • Adam Blosser says

            I had not heard Greear’s name, but I had heard Chitwood. Surely you know that Greear’s connections are more to Paige Patterson and now Danny Akin than to Mohler.

            You wrote below about raising awareness. You should have contacted the IMB trustees. How can you get angry that they did not represent your view when you did not even communicate your view to them? You should have sent them our favorite little chart so they could see all the connections to Mohler.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Adam,

            In answer to your earlier question, there is a *lot* of chatter right now about another Calvinist being installed as an entity leader–this time at the IMB. If chosen, it will only fuel continued speculation of an intentional Calvinist Platt.

            The SBC is simply *not* this reformed. However, our leaders are. This really cannot continue forever without a backlash from powerless little Main Street Baptist Church.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Thanks, Rick. I am seeing some of the Twitter chatter. I like David Platt, but will have to be convinced that he is the right man for the IMB job. His SBC connections were initially to NOBTS by the way.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Bart Barber makes some really good points on his blog about the possibility of a Platt nomination. Personally, I don’t like it for several reasons, not the least of which is the first point Bart makes–a lack of Platt’s clear commitment to the Cooperative Program. What does it say when the pastor of a tiny country church with a budget of around $60k per year (myself) can make a stronger statement about his church’s giving commitments and SBC cooperation than can the pastor of an SBC mega-church that brings in millions of dollars a year?

          • says

            I am not wise enough to determine who is qualified to be our next IMB president. I can answer Tarheel’s question, “But aren’t the boards actually made up of representatives from each state?”

            No, each state does not have representation on all the SBC boards.

      • says

        Who is this Chitwood fellow? I know Jimmy Chitwood from Hoosiers and while a ine shooter, I do not see him as IMB material. He is a very quiet dude after all.

  4. says

    Bob,

    So you’d be okay with someone who is not in anyway connected to “Louisville”….. But is a Calvinist hitting the IMB? Or is your “Louisville” comment really directed at a theological strand?

    Just so we understand .. are you saying that anyone who attended Southern seminary or anyone who knows, worked with, or even likes Al Mohler much less anyone who is a friend …. would be automatically disqualify them? Or cause you to withhold?

    How many degrees of separation will be required?

    Must he be a person that is on record disagreeing with Al Mohler about certain issues so as to gain your approval?

    As I’ve said many times before the leadership structure and the “boys club” of Southern Baptist convention ebbs and flows and there are “straight paths” to certain individuals time and time again throughout our history….

    There were periods when in the not too distant past When Adrian Rogers, Paige Patterson, and Jerry Vines pretty much had “the say” in who got what positions – add Morris Chapman in there and you really got a power group.

    I like what Dave Miller has said here, in the spirit of cooperation we partner with people with whom we don’t agree on every issue for the sake of the gospel – that’s what partnership and cooperation actually mean.

  5. John says

    I’ve been in SBC churches for over 50 years and really can’t remember when we weren’t fighting with one another over something. There were a few ‘lull’ years in there, but for the most part, we seem to be angry about something. Many of the issues were important and everyone had an opinion, but it was the way we addressed them that seemed to stand out the most. While I don’t see the loud, angry folks changing anytime soon, I can understand why many people want to distance themselves from us. It has less to do with doctrine than how we treat each other.

    • KFish says

      I spent 40 years in SBC churches… every time the doors were opened. Mom was a SS director and Dad was a deacon. What I remember was everyone always complaining about what was going on and who was doing it or who didn’t want to do it. Maybe this sounds naive, but isn’t there something wrong somewhere??? Are all denominations like this? Of course I grew over the years and I knew a number of Christ followers. But whatever it is… leadership structure, everyone voting on every little thing… seems to lead to everyone wanting to control everything. I saw no unity in the congregations I was in!

  6. William Thornton says

    I’d have to say in response to Dave’s ‘not for some’ that I don’t know many who think the SBC should be so pure either with Cs or Trads that they need to find some place they can be happy. I know a good many who adjust their giving because they are not happy with this or that.

    The strident Trads or Cals at least care enough about the SBC to complain a lot about funding or leaders. The more realistic threat is that more and more just don’t care.

    • Tarheel says

      William,

      Al little off topic. Kinda. Might need to be in a new post?

      Do you think that “just don’t care” trend is more rampant in the church in general than any of us pastors might like to admit? I am seeing it more and more to be honest.

      Here are what I am seeing and in talking with other pastors, I am not alone. 5 basic groups…in many churches today.

      1. Sunday morning attenders – but don’t ask me to do or care really about anything else.

      2. Sunday AM and “pet ministry” participators…I got my personal interests covered…don’t bother me with other ministries.

      3. Selective Sunday AM attenders if they feel like it and don’t bother me with anything else.

      4. Those who are passionate about Christ and care about his Kingdom and work in the world.

      5. Those who are passionate about their personal way and control.

      Of these 5 groups only one (#4) MIGHT be interested in the CP or any other facet of SBC life for that matter. Perhaps the problem is not with the SBC or the CP that is causing the decline you so steadfastly remind us of (that is not a snip at you) ….Perhaps the problem is more with apathetic members who (dare I say it) may not even be believers but rather just enamored with the idea of God (so long as it does not impact life in a way that is viewed intrusive against what is really important.)

      Has years of cultural Christianity, easy believism, the opening of the front doors of our churches too widely and overly narrowing the back doors of our churches simply caught up with us?

      Ya know what I am saying? Am I way off in the left field?

      • says

        Tarheel, I think you are correct. I find that there is a great swath of the average congregation that really doesnt care what the “SBC” does…just as long as you dont sit in their spot come Sunday morning. I dare say many can go months without even hearing the letters “SBC” used. It ends on the front steps of their church.

        • andy says

          Adam, are you saying you think it is healthy or unhealthy for a church to consider itself as…”an autonomous local body of believers that partners with other churches and organizations for missions and ministry purposes” …or rather, “We ARE an SBC church”.

          I tend to see the former as more healthy, and do not feel bad about communicating that way to our people.

          • Adam G. in NC says

            I wasnt really giving my opinion of what is healthy or not, but just making an observation.

            I would say that I see the former much much more than I hear the latter. From my perspective, I bet 8 of 10 active members couldnt tell you much about the history of the SBC or what it actually does/doesnt do.

      • andy says

        I’m sure that is true to some extent, but It would also be unfair to say that anyone not excited about the CP is simply an apathetic church member. Some members and pastor simply think a different division of their churches giving would be better.

        • Tarheel says

          Certainly, Andy. However, wouldn’t those people who think resources could be better spent also tend to fit into #4 on “my list”?

      • William Thornton says

        David, I don’t know about your classifications but if the pastor is positive about the CP, the church will follow. If he is not or if he ignores it, it’s hard to see laypeople picking up the slack.

        • William Thornton says

          I always thought the best approach was to go with the goers, take those who will go and lead them and don’t worry about the others.

  7. Jess says

    Dave,

    If I am reading you correctly, if we are against something the SBC is involved in or supports and speak out against it, then the SBC is not for us. It certainly seems as though this is what you mean. If we are not a team player then the SBC is not for us.

  8. Max says

    As a young man, my father imparted some wisdom to me as I began to venture out on my own. “Son, if you get on a bus and find that it is going the wrong way, get off at the first stop.” As a 50+ year Southern Baptist, I find myself looking out the window for familiar landmarks.

  9. says

    The only problem I have with the SBC being the arbiter of all things ministry is that the local church is only burdened with coughing up the dough to make it happen. Don’t do your own thing at all or you aren’t faithful to the SBC. If you can do something on your own, you should leave it up to the SBC to do it better. Ok, so I tithe and go home and just be a Sunday AM’er because the SBC will take care of anything I’m otherwise interested in. That seems like a natural result of that line of reasoning.

    My church has people working with Samaritan’s Purse, Reign Ministries, Cru (Campus Crusade), Ratio Cristi, CEF, and many more. We even have people who have started their own ministries like Equipping With Truth, Toolin’ in Town, Brian Burgess Ministries, IndiAlive, and many more. Because of our activities we have also produced several SBC missionaries that are currently active and have sent many to seminary. We give some support to them all. If we didn’t support our own endeavors and those of our members we wouldn’t engender the interest of some to join SBC programs full time and support our SBC missionaries through the CP, Lottie Moon, etc. It can’t just be one or the other. It has to be both.

    • andy says

      Great post…sounds like my church….but I don’t recognize your photo…you must sit in the back…????

      • says

        Western Avenue BC, Statesville, NC? I usually sing in the choir both services, even during the slim summer months – except when I’m in Venezuela. The photos are kind of small and I don’t particularly recognize you either.

        • andy says

          Well, I direct the choir, and live in Indiana…I was just kidding…our church doesn’t support all the individual ministries that yours does, but we the way your church approaches it sounds like mine…????

  10. Scott Shaver says

    To Chris Roberts:

    At the risk of sounding argumentative, I’m not sure that “cultural changes” have that much effect on individual “views of the sovereignty of God”.

    I do believe however, that over time, a lot of folks under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit tend to move away from a deterministic theological model with reference to God’s modus operandai.

    • says

      I think you meant to direct that to Chris Johnson. But as far as it goes, cultural changes can indeed change one’s view on God’s sovereignty. As society turns increasingly atheist or “spiritual”, there will be a corresponding decline in belief in a sovereign God.

      • Scott Shaver says

        Not among the redeemed inhabited by the Holy Spirit there Chris.

        The collective beliefs of the world or our surrounding societies have no power to quench the Holy Spirit’s exaltation of the TRUE nature of God.

        I don’t buy your argument and see no empirical or historical evidence to suggest such is the case. Sounds more like religious speculation.

  11. Jason Gray says

    I understand bypassing certain state conventions in giving.

    But how can one say they actually give to the CP if they don’t give to all the things that the SBC messengers have agreed to give funding to in the percentages they have agreed to fund? They are no longer “cooperating” with the messengers of the SBC.

    Don’t get me wrong, churches have every right to give or not give to whoever they want…but such giving should not be called “CP giving”.

    Just a thought.

    • William Thornton says

      The Executive Committee receives, regularly, direct gifts from churches and individuals. These are allocated according to the SBC messenger approved formula; hence, givers are authentic CP supporters and the money given is reported by the EC as CP gifts. The money goes to all the things the SBC in annual session has agreed to fund.

      If a church wishes to give to the CP but not their state convention this is the way to do it. SBC messengers, I’m sure you know, have nothing to do with state convention spending and take no votes on any of that.

      This practice (the amount of the CP received by the EC in this manner is in they low single digit percentages) may be seen as good, bad, or neutral but it cannot be seen as not giving to the CP.

      • D.L. Payton says

        William T
        One does not give to the CP if one bypasses the state convention. He “designates” or “sends directly” to the executive committee or one of the entities. By definition the state convention is a vital part, in fact the front line of giving for the CP.

      • Jason Gray says

        William,

        That is great, but we are not talking about bypassing state conventions here. I agree that if someone wants to bypass the state convention they have every right to do so and I won’t bat an eyelash. In fact, I said so in my initial comment. Now, some might say that doing so means they are not giving to the CP (and that is a fair position), but that is not the point of my initial post.

        My issue is with people who are refusing to give money to individual entities to whom the SBC messengers had agreed to fund. So someone giving money (through the state or not) but designating that none of it go to SBTS or SEBTS (as some have stated they do) is IN A VERY REAL SENSE not giving to the CP.

        Again, each church has every right to not give money to entities. But they can’t refuse to give money to a SBC entity as part of their supposed CP giving and still say they are giving to the CP. They are not, they are refusing to abide by the decisions of the messengers of the SBC and taking part in the actual CP.

        • William Thornton says

          Thanks for the further explanation of what you meant. I would remind you that no church has to give to the CP to be considered to be in friendly cooperation with the convention and sympathetic to its purposes and work. I haven’t checked it lately but are you aware that Some states allow for negative designations of the CP gifts from churches? These monies are considered CP gifts.

          But look, we always end up straining gnats and swallowing camels in these discussions. A handful of churches negatively designate a few hundred thousand dollars while the vast majority of churches simply give tens of millions less to the CP. We would be better off figuring out ways to make the CP more attractive to the bulk of SBC churches than insisting that a few churches shouldn’t be considered fully cooperative because they don’t abide by the CP system.

          • Jason Gray says

            I don’t care about designating any church as “non-cooperative”. I don’t think we need to divide the SBC any further than it already is, and starting to have tiers of cooperation seems silly.

            I was simply making an observation that one cannot claim to support the CP while simultaneously undermining the CP.

          • D.L. Payton says

            William T/Jason
            This gets rather sticky at times and goes negative in perception. There is nothing wrong with not being a part of the SBC. A lot of good people are not. We are bound by words and perhaps need some new terminology that would avoid words like “non cooperative” or “unfriendly”. I remember Jerry Falwell making a contribution to the CP and the big news in some circles that he was now SB. Not so. It just seems to me that somewhere along the line there must be a way of indicting that some people are not in cooperation with SB without having negative fallout. I believe in the Virgin Birth but i do not get offended when a catholic says i am not in friendly cooperation with the Roman Church. I believe in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in power, but do not get offended when a charismatic says I am not a Charismatic.

            Someone explain to me why one would want to be identified with SB when one cannot support the majority tenets of who we are and where we spend money. Better still explain to me why one should get offended if one is labeled non cooperative with a people with whom he disagrees in large measure.

          • William Thornton says

            I hear a steady stream of folks who complain about low CP giving churches. It is a profitless exercise. You may not care about declaring churches non-cooperative but many do. The language is usually couched with modifiers like supporting the “whole” cooperative program or some such.

            This is futile, IMO. Churches are king. If they choose to give to all or most or a few, they should be thanked and appreciated.

          • says

            For my part, DL. I identify people as not cooperating or nor friendly SB if they withhold (or threaten to withhold) cooperative funding based on disagreement on issues that aren’t first tier issues and/or openly defy the BFM2000. (don’t like the word defy, but it’ll have to work at the moment.)

            To me, You can’t say you’re cooperating SB in missional funding through the SBC if you’re not actually cooperating in missional funding through the channell the SB have agreed to cooperate in.

            Nor can one say that he is cooperating with the convention if they defy the commonly agreed-upon theological bounaries for the Convention. I like what someone said that we have a large tent but not an ever expanding tent … the tent has fixed walls but inside those walls is lots of room for good hearted and orthodox disagreement – especially on second and third teir issues.

          • William Thornton says

            Why do we think that churches are uncooperative if they don’t accept the funding package presented them? If a church accepts and funds 90% of state and denominational causes are they to be labeled uncooperative?

            We have this joint funding scheme called the CP. It’s not perfect but is pretty good. Almost all SBC churches give to it. Do you really think that it helps to hold churches at arms length that do not “fully” support it, or choose not to support the “whole” CP?

            Will churches give more if they are isolated, shamed, and guilted for giving that includes some specific negative designations? If the last few decades have taught us anything about giving it is that this approach doesn’t work.

          • Jason Gray says

            I guess it depends on your perspective…are they being held “at arms length” or are they holding themselves an arms length away.

            The SBC exists, in large part, to cooperate together for the purpose of missions and seminary education. The CP is the way we fund those enterprises. If you are going to say you are a “cooperating” church in the SBC, that means you cooperate to do what the messengers agree to do.

            Deciding not to give to the agreed upon entities is hard to include under any definition of the word cooperation. (Adding in the fact that some are withholding funds from entities as a means of extorting a particular decision they desire…hard to say a pastor/church who does that is ‘cooperative’.)

            If churches want to give to the SBC then fantastic. If they want to fund individual entities…fantastic. If they want to give only to one entity…that is awesome too. Every church can choose to do what they want to do. Every bit they give should be appreciated.

            But to refuse to fund the things that Southern Baptists have agreed to fund isn’t being held at arms length by the SBC…it is refusing to go any closer than arms length.

          • D.L. Payton says

            William T
            Obviously I have not made myself clear. You use these terms “90%”, “fully” “whole”. This is not my point of reference. I am not saying that a person who accepts 90% of who we are is not cooperative. I am not saying that a person must “fully” or “wholly” accept what is proposed. I make two points (1) I have heard many people say they will support just the IMB. This is far less than 90%, it is not even close to “fully” or “wholly”. This is not “cooperative” (2) A church has EVERY right to give very little, hardly any, or just enough to have a messenger. They even have the right to deny the BFM. But they can not do those things and say they are in friendly cooperation.

            As far as being appreciated, I agree to an extent, but with reservations. As a pastor I had some folks who gave little and selectively to the church budget, but wanted to have a loud voice in the business meetings. To be honest I did not appreciate them. I never considered for a second asking them to leave, because they had that right and I defend that right. However, I think they would have been happier if they would have found a group with whom they could invest their life more completely. By the same token I would defend vigorously a churches right to give little and talk much. However I think a church would be happier if they would fellowship with a group with whom they could more fully agree.

            You mentioned that while the CP is not perfect it is good; to this I say a hardy Amen! I have always and still do support the CP. To the best of my memory of the churches I pastored the smallest percentage was 16%, the largest 26%. I agree with you that we will probably never return to that 10% mark but i still pray that by God’s grace we could.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Jason
            Re. your comment Aug. 23, 5:06 PM, you said what i have been saying but with much greater clarity. You are a good writer.

          • William Thornton says

            Jason, you are mixed up on what it means to be a cooperating SB. It is fundamental to our polity that decisions of any SB body not be mandated to any church. A church doesn’t have to abide by the decisions of the SBC in annual session to be in friendly cooperation.

            Maybe you haven’t noticed that it doesn’t matter to churches what portion of their gifts are counted as CP gifts like it once did.

            Being in friendly cooperation does not demand that churches swallow the whole package. It never has and never will. The sooner this is recognized the better off the CP will be because CP supporters can put all of their energy into persuading churches on the basis of what is being done with members gifts rather than on what labels we put on churches based on their giving preferences.

          • William Thornton says

            DL, I always call “foul” when someone tries to put forth the analogy of member to local church giving as equivalent to church to CP giving. One is biblical one is extra-biblical.

          • says

            “A church has EVERY right to give very little, hardly any, or just enough to have a messenger. They even have the right to deny the BFM. But they can not do those things and say they are in friendly cooperation.”

            Yea, DL. That’s What I’m trying to say too.

          • says

            Jason,

            DL said;

            “Jason
            Re. your comment Aug. 23, 5:06 PM, you said what i have been saying but with much greater clarity. You are a good writer.”

            I agree with DL. What you posted there is exactly what I’m trying to say too!

            Hey DL…maybe we can hire Jason as our spokesperson on this issue….wonder what the going rate is? ;-)

          • Jason Gray says

            William,

            I am not confused about how churches and the SBC work. I understand it well. Perhaps you are not reading me correctly or perhaps I have not written clearly enough.

            I never even hinted that churches must follow some mandate from the SBC. Actually, just the opposite. I have stated multiple times that churches can do whatever they desire to do. I am not sure how to say it more clearly. Maybe if you responded directly to what I said, as opposed to your inferences from what I said, it might help us interact more precisely.

            Perhaps the difference is our understanding of the word cooperation (in general) and maybe some confusion around the technical use of the word in the phrase “cooperating churches”.

            I don’t think most churches care about the technical designation of being a “cooperating church”, so I am not very concerned about the term. I am not concerned with labeling a church as a “cooperator” or “non-cooperator”. Whatever a church decides to give and whatever way they decide to give is their business and they can do whatever they want. No coercion or mandate can change that. (I hope that is clear.)

            Now, if they want to refuse to give to some SBC entities, they can do so. But it seems disingenuous to say that they give to the CP. The CP is an agreed upon program (hence the name), and it has a very clear agreed upon process, percentages, and recipients. So, if a church refusing to give to that program, they are creating their own program. Again (to be clear), they can do so, but it is not the same thing as giving to the CP. That seems rather obvious.

            That is why I say it isn’t very “cooperative”…not a technical label, just an observation based on common use of the term.

            The SBC is what it is and if churches want to cooperate with who/what the SBC is and who/what the CP is…then fantastic. The decision of messengers IS the decision of the SBC. The CP setup voted on by messengers IS the CP. It seems very odd for people to then turn around and complain about the CP without working within the system to alter the CP…and extortion is not a reasonable process of change.

            If churches want to cooperate with the SBC…fantastic, do so. But to complain about the way the CP (or SBC) is set up (which is what it means to complain about recipients of CP funds) and reject the agreed upon CP structure for one’s own is a shaky sort of cooperation.

            Again, churches don’t have to give a dime…and they can choose to give to entities and bypass the agreed upon CP…and they have every right to do so (have I said that enough?)…but if you bypass the CP for your own program, it is intellectually dishonest to say that you give to the CP.

            The CP is the CP…it is not the ‘end all be all’…but it is the CP. It is not the only way of giving to the SBC (or any entity). But it is the agreed upon method of the messengers, and so it is hard to say you “cooperate” with the SBC when you do not go along with what the messengers agree to do. It doesn’t make someone “not SBC”, nor does it belittle what you give to the SBC…but it DOES mean that you do not give through the CP and are not in “cooperation” with that approved method.

          • Jason Gray says

            DL and Tarheel agree with this statement…

            “A church has EVERY right to give very little, hardly any, or just enough to have a messenger. They even have the right to deny the BFM. But they can not do those things and say they are in friendly cooperation.”

            I totally agree as well.

            I am not sure why such a statement would even be in dispute.

          • says

            Jason, I think you’re being tremendously clear. Thank you.

            William, he saying churches can do it they want, or that churches are keen as you like to say, but they can’t do what they want and then call themselves cooperating. Because, to cooperate you have to well…..cooperate.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Part of the confusion may be the “friendly cooperation” language of the changes to Article 3 initially proposed by the EC. Seems like William may be talking about what those prposed changes sought to do while the rest of you are talking about your personal definition of cooperation.

          • D.L. Payton says

            William T
            Equivalent is the wrong word. Analogy is better. Yes it is biblical re member giving to church. However CP I believe has biblical principles. Hence it is a legitimate analogy. Upon review “no foul”…Perhaps you should punt :-)

          • D.L. Payton says

            Tarheel
            I am wiling to pay Jason to be our spokesman only if I can count it as CP giving -:)

          • William Thornton says

            Jason, your latest reply, the long one, is appreciated but you are hung up on your own definitions. You don’t get to define cooperation. I gave you and DL two ways that churches can support the CP but not the whole package. One is direct gifts to the EC. The other is negative designations provided for by some state conventions.

            It is silly to dismiss as a “technical” definition of cooperation the one in our SBC constitution.

            On criticism of the CP. One of its flaws is that it is almost impossible to change. The SBC allocation formula is virtually written in stone. Mountains have to be moved to budge state convention percentages even slightly. When the process for change is so difficult, one can hardly fault churches for making changes at the church level.

            One of the causes for the long decline of the CP in my view are attitudes that presume and expect adherence and conformity. Messengers vote. Churches that want to be seen as cooperative should salute and write checks. Churches have been voting on the CP for a generation and a half and the votes are always negative (I note the infinitesimal increase last year but expect another decline this year). Maybe CP proponents could try a different approach.

            As we have this exchange, our flagship entity, IMB, is exploring avenues for greater funding beyond the CP and LM. The EC receives more designated funds than CP funds. Frank Page is talking about making do with less, recognizing reality of a declining CP that will never reach earlier levels.

            There will emerge a better model (probably some further hybridization of the CP) and measure (Great Commission Giving will either overtake the CP or be viewed as the equivalent) of cooperation than the CP. You guys just don’t see the reality here.

          • William Thornton says

            Tarheel, you don’t have to give to the CP to cooperate. It is our preferred method, as it should be.

            …and I thought the Moderates of the 1980s considered the CP as a Sacred Cow…thought we killed that beast years ago. Guess not.

          • D.L. Payton says

            William T
            “You guys just don’t see the reality here”

            I am not sure what your point of reference is. You have two thoughts going and I have one. My only discussion is about cooperation. You referenced the by law definition. I have little concern about that. I have more concern about reality. The reality is that there is division in the SBC and that leads to a reduction in giving. We are divided regardless of how the bylaws define cooperation. We need to address that division in order to increase CP funding. As you pointed out Page is looking for alternative methods of funding. Why? People are not happy, unhappy people do not give. It is one thing to meet the requirements of cooperation as spelled out n the bylaws. It is quite another to be cooperative. So I say again; when one chooses to give only to the IMB, he has a right to speak, vote, complain, throw a hissy-fit, write a blog or whatever. But his spirit is not one of friendly cooperation.

          • Jason Gray says

            To be fair, I didn’t dismiss the technical definition of “cooperation”, I simply explained how one can technically be considered in cooperation but completely uncooperative with what the SBC has chosen to do.

            In that instance, it is simple logic and basic word meaning that shows calling uncooperative people “cooperative” based on a bylaw definition is just silly.

            The irony of us having a discussion about people bypassing something called “the Cooperative Program” to form their own methods IN THE PLACE OF (which would be FAR different than GC giving) yet still wanting to claim that they give to the CP and are truly “cooperative” is just funny to me.

            BTW, I know you think I (and others) don’t “get it”. I can assure you I do. I totally understand what you are saying…but we are placing our focus/emphasis on different things, and thus we appear to be talking past each other.

        • Jason Gray says

          William wrote: “you don’t have to give to the CP to cooperate. It is our preferred method, as it should be.”

          Maybe here is where our wires got crossed.

          The point of my initial post (and what I have been defending since that point) was very specifically those who are giving to the CP but bypassing SBC entities in their giving. Doing so is NOT cooperating with the SBC in its plan of funding its entities.

          Are there other ways to cooperate with the SBC? Of course. That has never been in doubt in my mind.
          Can one give and not give to the CP? Absolutely.

          My point has been that bypassing SBC entities because you don’t like them (though they fall within the doctrinal confines of the BFM2K – which makes it different than the discussion with moderates in years past), though that is your right, undermines the spirit of cooperation in the SBC. It makes it tribal and preferential and not “cooperative”.

          • John Wylie says

            Jason Gray,

            Based on your comment, where would you place folks who go outside the SBC entirely and support ACTS29 and causes as being uncooperative? Isn’t that precisely the same thing as what you are so against in your comment? Isn’t that in a sense being non cooperative?

            I personally see no difference in a church designating their gifts either toward or away from specific causes as being fundamentally uncooperative anymore than a church who along with their SBC contributions also support non SBC causes. In my view, if you support any SBC causes you are cooperating. I guess I reject this whole hog or none view of cooperation.

            BTW, it’s good to see you commenting again, how are things going for you and your church?

          • says

            Well, you didn’t ask me – but… IMO, one can cooperate more than expected but can’t cooperate less than expected and still be considered cooperating. If the standard of cooperation in the corporate program is giving to the coopertive program then if you give to the coopertive program then you are cooperating….lol. Boy, I typed cooperating a lot. Lol.

            Giving to other groups that the church so chooses to give to in addition to that minimum level of coopertive action can hardly be designated non coopertive.

          • John Wylie says

            Well Tarheel,

            Even though I didn’t ask you, as far as I’m concerned you’re always welcome to respond to my comments. BTW, you made a great point.

            In my opinion though, I believe any cooperation is the minimum. I don’t think a church has to be funding or even supportive of everything that the SBC supports or does in order to be cooperating. I believe this because the way that the SBC is set up all entities are mutually autonomous. The truth be told each entity is not even subject to the will of the messengers, only to the will of their trustees, we saw this with the resolution passed that was directed toward Lifeway concerning the updated NIV.

            So in my opinion if Lifeway, or the ERLC, or one of the seminaries is doing something that I or my church doesn’t approve of than it should be considered appropriate to designate around those entities and not be castigated as non cooperative.

          • Jason Gray says

            John Wylie,

            I don’t see how a church supports Acts29 or a similar organization or other missions organizations would make them non-cooperative. I don’t think a SBC church must ONLY give to the CP or SBC approved places. That would be silly.

            But, if that church were to say, “we are fully cooperating with the SBC, but we hate the guy leading NAMB, so we will give no money to NAMB and instead will give to Acts29″…then it is hard for me to see that person as “cooperative”. If they reject the SBC entity enough to bypass funding it, how can they say they are “cooperating” with other SBC churches who ARE giving to it. It seems to play fast and loose with the term “cooperate”.

            If they give through the CP but choose to give additional monies to other entities, inside or outside of the SBC, God bless ‘em. In my mind cooperation doesn’t mean you work ONLY with the SBC, it just means that you don’t actively undermine the entities of the SBC.

            Of course, that doesn’t make them “less SBC” in any real sense (and an autonomous church has every right to bypass whatever they want)…but it does seem to put them out of step in terms of cooperating with the churches that have agreed to fund NAMB as well as it means they have rejected one of the recipients of funds through the CP (called “cooperative program” for a reason, you know?).

            The difference in my mind from your example is a church giving to the CP AS WELL AS other institutions/entities is completely cooperative, they are not replacing or bypassing any SBC entity, they just choose to give to other places in addition to the CP. But a church who funnels money around entities that would otherwise receive CP funds (as approved by the SBC ad its messengers) isn’t very cooperative with the intentions of the SBC as a whole.

            I think the language that gets confusing in this discussion is how to define “cooperating”. In some ways it denoted affirming any aspect of the SBC and giving to any entity of the SBC. But I think we all can think of ways someone could be considered a “cooperating church” and not be very cooperative with the SBC. It is to this latter part that I have been speaking.

            A church should/can do whatever they feel led to do, and I would not try and talk them in to doing otherwise. I think SBC churches should give to the CP without bypassing any of the approved entities…but they don’t have to, they have every right to bypass whoever they want. I think churches should give above and beyond their CP giving to entities of their choosing…both inside and outside the SBC…but they don’t have to. I don’t think SBC churches only have to give to the SBC to be truly cooperative. I do think SBC churches need to give to the SBC to be cooperative…but I have no desire to set a percentage for that.

            The SBC itself (through messengers) has decided that we will own and fund certain entities to carry out the purpose and goals of the Convention. These entities exist at the decision of the messengers. The messengers have agreed to fund them. It just seems odd to me that a church would choose to not fund any of those entities, not because of heresy but because of theological preference…and yet still say they are in-line with the rest of the SBC. That was my whole point.

            I hope that clarifies my position for you, brother.

            Thanks for asking about the church. We are doing really well. I could not be happier.

  12. John Jenkins says

    Mr. Miller,
    Your post today is articulate, insightful and a breath of fresh air to me. Thank you for speaking to an issue that so many just seem to dance around. You have set forth sir, a balanced perspective that I believe satisfies once and for all a viable solution to our disagreements and divisions.

  13. William Thornton says

    DL, the EC calls such gifts CP gifts.

    Question: Can a church affiliate with the SBC but not be affiliated with any state convention?

    • D.L. Payton says

      William
      I understand that but they are wrong, I am correct. Yes on affiliation. However, this is not the issue. Cooperation is about more than money. To make it solely about money, it becomes a revenue service much like the IRS. When a person bypasses the state and the EC and gives to the IMB he is hardly a “Cooperating Southern Baptist”

      • Tarheel says

        DL,

        I am not sure if I agree with you there. Sometimes conviction and biblical fidelity require such an action.

        Believe it or not, I am sure you know this, there are state conventions who are more like shell companies for the Baptist World Alliance and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, are wishy washy on inerrancy, and are doing little to no real missions with state money.

        If I were in a state convention like that and there was not another choice for a state convention that we could move to…you could bet your bottom dollar I would try my best to lead the church to bounce right around that state convention and send directly to the SBC, and proudly so. ;-)

        • says

          I am not sure if I agree with you there. Sometimes conviction and biblical fidelity require such an action.

          Interesting statement for one who has disagreed with my position to do the same because of my conviction and Biblical fidelity concerning calvinism.

          • says

            Bob, if you can’t see the difference then there’s no reason for me to engage you further on it.

            While we’re talking about interesting things, I find it interesting (though not all that surprising ) that you didn’t comment on my comment to you in the other thread but instead waited to cherry pick something out if context to try to provoke an argument…. I find that pretty interesting.

          • says

            Bob, It’s the same thread but you still cherry picked out if context.

            Let’s put it in context.

            Here’s what I said above…in reference to your al Mohler litmus test.

            “I like what Dave Miller has said here, in the spirit of cooperation we partner with people with whom we don’t agree on every issue for the sake of the gospel – that’s what partnership and cooperation actually mean.”

            Notice I said “for the sake of the gospel”

            Then to DL I have a scenario where the scripture and the gospel are actually being denied by certain groups and I said that going around them would be acceptable IMO.

            Now if you’re willing to argue that SBC Calvinist and specifically Al Mohler has abandoned the gospel and abandoned scriptural Fidelity regarding inerrancy then make your argument and go around them financially but if you can’t make that case then I’m going to continue to disagree with you that you should do that and call yourself a cooperating Southern Baptist.

            My scenario was skipping and going around liberals who have denied scripture your scenario is simply shunning somebody who has a difference of opinion but still holds the orthodox view.

            Big differences, sir.

          • says

            I guess “seeing the difference” is in the eyes of the beholder. As far as “withing the bounds of orthodoxy” there are a number of theological positions that fall within that statement not to mention catholicism which calvinism sprang from.

            I do not like calvinism any more than I like catholicism. So I am in agreement with your statement here, Sometimes conviction and biblical fidelity require such an action.

            I am exercising mine.

            If this were an issue of the IMB considering a calvinist to lead that entity then we would not be having this conversation. The truth is EVERY entity hire in the last decade has been calvinists and I am tired of that trend.

          • Jason Gray says

            Bob,

            Do you believe calvinism falls outside the boundaries of the BFM2K?
            (I guess we have to allow the BFM to dictate “orthodoxy” for the sake of discussion of SBC cooperation.)

        • D.L. Payton says

          Tarheel
          I am being more academic than anything. I really don’t disagree with you. I would have/have no problem with bypassing a state convention under the circumstances you describe. In fact….well let that go for now. My point is if I were to bypass my state convention I would not consider myself a “in friendly cooperation”. Perhaps i am splitting hairs.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            My scenario was skipping and going around liberals who have denied scripture your scenario is simply shunning somebody who has a difference of opinion but still holds the orthodox view.

            I agree Tarheel, well put and I would call the latter uncooperative. Very much so. It has also proven destructive as truth isn’t a factor in the latter statement, but in the eye of the beholder.

          • says

            Yea Debbie….thank you. It seems Bob is not only proudly uncooperative with other orthodox, bible believing, BFM affirming southern baptists with whom he disagrees on secondary issues …. But also implies that Calvinism and Catholicism are in some way theologically eqiviliant.

            SMH.

            I wonder if frank page qualifies as a Calvinist hire?

      • William Thornton says

        DL, you will be further distressed to know that the EC receives more in designated dollars (mainly Annie and Lottie) than in CP dollars.

        This is where we are and we are not going back to the days of 10% undesignated giving.

        ..but sure, no one says you can’t call it uncooperative.

        • D.L. Payton says

          William T.
          As i told Tarheel I am being academic more than anything. Actually I am not really “distressed”. Again as I told Tarheel I could well write a scenario whereby I would bypass the state convention. My point is that I would not consider myself “in friendly cooperation”, and would not be particularly disturbed.

          Re. the old days I suspect you are correct. I am not really happy about that, but I think you have identified reality.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Tarheel
            My prayer is that more churches would follow your giving pattern. The CP philosophy is still sound. Ten per cent plus offerings is a reasonable expectation. You are to be commended.

    • Stephen says

      I believe the answer would be, yes, in the same way that a church can choose not to affiliate with any local association. Aren’t the only requirements for national membership are general agreement with BFM (mostly just the “no practicing gay pastors” rule) and giving a token amount to the SBC through the CP, even in a designated manner as you describe? In this way the multi-level autonomy is kept, where churches, associations, state conventions, and the national convention are all completely separate except in the ways they choose to cooperate.

      • William Thornton says

        You don’t have to agree with the BFM to be in friendly cooperation with the SBC. You are right, no church has to give to the CP to be on friendly cooperation.

        • D.L. Payton says

          William T
          How would you define “friendly cooperation”.

          (William T, it may seem that I am just “picking” at you, but that is not the case. You have a good grasp on SB polity and history and this IMO is a very relevant discussion in which you can make a good contribution)

      • D.L. Payton says

        Stephen
        My question would be why? I am a SB by conviction. At whatever point I have “had enough” i would have no problem becoming something else. I simply do not understand why one would want to be identified as a SB or considered “in friendly cooperation” if one is in disagreement and not being involved in any area except giving say to IMB. One should be something with which one can fully support. If one cannot be supportive be independent. Life is simple.

        • William Thornton says

          So why, DL, has “friendly cooperation” never included support of the CP, nor support for all that the SBC does, nor support for one’s state convention, etc? We have never demanded complete agreement to be identified as a cooperating Southern Baptist.

          It would be disastrous to draw a line so narrow as to exclude any church that chose not to support any particular SBC entity.

          • D.L. Payton says

            William T

            Why? In my more cynical moments it is because it is one half of the “holy equation”…Nickels and Noses. Translated, whatever it takes to keep the money coming. As I said this is my sentiment during my more cynical moments which I try not to have to often.

            Granted William T, my argument is somewhat thin. However (I cannot accept the premise that selecting one or two of the entities for receiving ones money but rejecting the others because they are useless or whatever equals “friendly cooperation”. It is neither friendly or cooperation (2) Why would one stay with a group when one views it with such displeasure.

            Bottom line: It just seems to me to be common sense and common sense goes a long way. Granted what is common to me may not be common to another. And again, yes my argument is somewhat weak, but I will stand by it.

          • D.L. Payton says

            William T
            Re your last paragraph, I totally agree. The operative phrase here, however, is “any particular entity”. When I have a problem with one or maybe two of the entities that is one thing. That could well describe most of us. However, when as i have seen several times one gives only to the IMB (one entity) that is not drawing a “narrow ” line.

  14. William Thornton says

    Maybe the best approach to CP giving would be to appeal to Southern Baptists on the basis of what is being done with their gifts rather than on the basis of how they can be viewed as cooperative.

    I’d like to be told that whatever my autonomous church chooses under God to give through the CP is appreciated be it 1% or 25%.

    • D.L. Payton says

      William T
      To be honest I think your first paragraph is spot on. That makes a lot of sense to me.

      The second paragraph is good in principle. The only problem I would have with that is in the area of leadership. While I believe setting a minimum percentage given to the CP for the selection of a convention president or entity head is a bad idea, there is some “common sense” (don’t you just hate it when someone uses those words) to be injected to this. It just seems wrong to elect a president whose church gives one half or one percent to the CP.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      Maybe the best approach to CP giving would be to appeal to Southern Baptists on the basis of what is being done with their gifts rather than on the basis of how they can be viewed as cooperative.

      I’d like to be told that whatever my autonomous church chooses under God to give through the CP is appreciated be it 1% or 25%.

      Good statement William and I agree. Have you noticed that we do not read or hear from missionaries anymore? When I first began reading and blogging almost 7 years ago now, missions and missionaries were a primary subject. I love our missionaries and love giving to missions. Yet, in the past few years, it seems that is a subject we no longer discuss or hear about.

      Have we have gotten so far away from this goal of missions that it is no longer important enough to write about, speak about? For some, has correct theology and being a cookie cutter Christian when it comes to interpreting scripture, which we all agree is the final authority and God breathed, more important than bring people to Christ? Or has fighting just to be fighting become the thing most important? Just questions I have.

      • William Thornton says

        Part of the reason is that a good many of our workers are in countries with high security levels. I hear what you say here all the time. I don’t know a good solution. Still, any pastor who wants a mission speaker can easily find them.

      • D.L. Payton says

        Debbie
        Re hearing from missionaries…..not sure what your point of reference might be. However in a generic way this is a local church issue. Missionaries are more than willing to come but they must be invited by the church. I am sure your reference is to foreign missionaries and not those of us on the home front. thus my observation may or may not be valid. When I became an appointed missionary with NMB 21 years ago I received more invitations to speak in churches than I could possibility accept. In the last 7-10 years that has reduced considerably. I suspect the same thing is true for foreign missionaries.

        If you want to hear a missionary speak talk to your pastor and invite one. I am sure that is still doable.

        I think the issue of not hearing from/about missionaries also has to do with a shift in emphasis. During the “glory years” of the CP the reason to have missionaries come to a church or conference was to inform for the purpose of building CP support. In the last 10 years the emphasis has been on hands on missions and churches supporting individual missionaries, starting churches etc. That comes at the expense of the CP. I am not passing judgement on this merely explaining why I believe what you are observing has come to pass.

        In my Association there are examples of churches doing hands on things but reducing Associational giving to fund it. I think this is the norm not the exception, tho admittedly I have no hard fact to back that up. The same thing s true as it relates to the CP.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          I may not have made myself clear, and I am sorry for that. I am speaking of on SBC blogs. When I first began reading and blogging in the SBC section, missionaries had blogs, they left comments, they interacted here telling us needs, talking missions, writing articles. I don’t see that anymore unless I am looking in the wrong places.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Debbie
            I see that now, my mistake. You are much more qualified to render judgment in the area of blogs than I. Being the old timer that I am I have only been involved with blogs for a year or two.

            You know, as I think about it, it could well be however, that what I said concerning “hands on”emphasis explains what you have observed on blogs. What do you think?

          • William Thornton says

            I’m sure there are some overseas workers who comment here but not by name. Security.

          • D.L. Payton says

            William T
            I suspect you have a point. When I started in ministry the security issue was there but not nearly as prevalent as it is now. It is serious business.

      • says

        Those talking about the security issues are right, I believe. There are more closed countries these days and we have people in those areas. In places that have become more closed, we have moved people away who worked in the open and have sent people in with a front story – normally ostensible tent-makers. They simply can’t get online and give details about what they are doing there. Even their newsletter emails have to be coded to an extent and sent with warnings not to forward them.

  15. says

    “I absolutely cannot understand how anyone can read a Bible and become an amillennialist.”

    And to think every commenter missed the whole point of your post.

  16. says

    Dave,

    If you go back and reread my article Why I Am Still A Southern Baptist, referenced but not linked to in your article, you will note that none of the criticisms I leveled at the SBC had anything to do with monergism v. synergism. The points I enumerated had to do with things like the “prosperity gospel” heresy stuff and other questionable matterials being sold by LifeWay without any doctrinal standards being established and applied.

    So, please do not mischaracterize what I wrote.

    • Dave Miller says

      My point was that reading two widely divergent opinions spurred me to write. It was not my intent to interact with your post or make th u should a Calvinism related post. I d u don’t not represent your post much less misrepresent it.

  17. Douglas Belardi says

    Creeds and Confessions of Faith
    By B. H. Carroll

    What I want to say first of all is that it is a time that men speak disparagingly of creeds. You hear it on every side, “I believe in religion but I don’t care anything about theology. I love flowers but I don’t care anything for botany. Let’s have a religion without any dogma.” Men take great credit to themselves in these utterances that they are free from the enslavement to dogmas. You must not take these people too seriously. They either don’t know what they are talking about, or else know what they say is utterly unworthy of human respect.
    There never was a man in the world without a creed. What is a creed? A creed is what you believe. What is a confession? It is a declaration of what you believe. That declaration may be oral or it may be committed to writing, but the creed is there either expressed or implied.
    While it is true that Christ is the Rock upon which the church is built, yet it is true that the apostles became the secondary foundation because they teach concerning Christ, and it is equally true that the acceptance of Christ is a foundation, and that confession becomes a foundation. So that it is perfectly correct to say that on the creed, or the confession of faith, which is the declaration of the creed that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Man, is also the Son of the Living God and was sent of the Father and anointed of the Spirit to be the Prophet and Sacrifice and King and Priest of His people on that confession “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
    Just look for a moment now at the practical importance of that. The church is built upon that kind of a foundation. And you, at the close of the service, call for any to unite with the church who wish to do so, and here comes up a number of people, all proposing to unite with the church. On what grounds; what is the underlying thought or faith back of their action? If one man says, “I don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was Divine,” then why do you wish to unite with the church, for “on this Rock I will build my church.” Suppose another man says, “I accept the Divinity of Jesus Christ but I don’t accept His teachings as the ultimate authority in matters of religion.” Why do you want to join a Christian church? Or suppose another man should say, “I accept Jesus Christ as ultimate authority in the teachings of what things constitute religion but I don’t believe that He is the sacrifice for the sins of His people.” Why should you join the church? “On this Rock I will build my church.” Or if you should yet say, “I accept all that has before been stated but I don’t believe that Jesus Christ is exalted at the right hand of the Father and has all authority in heaven and earth entrusted unto Him and is my King. I will not have Him to reign over me in that absolute fashion.” Then why do you wish to unite with the church, since “on this Rock I will build my church.” If you were to say, “I accept Him for everything except my Priest. I don’t believe that He entered heaven to offer His own blood to make an atonement for sin, and that up there He makes intercession for us.” And why should you wish to join the church? So that you see the creed and the confession of that creed stand right at the door of the church. The man without a creed cannot come in. The man who has a creed and will not declare it cannot come in. He must not only in his heart believe, but with his mouth he must make confession and that confession is a necessity as well as the inside faith which it declares. Well, suppose that in the crowd that should come to be received into the church there are a number of little children. The mother says, “I believe everything you have said. I accept Jesus of Nazareth as Divine, as my religious teacher, as my Sacrifice, as my King and as my Priest, and I want my children here to unite with the church.” I say, “On the declaration of a personal faith the Lord Jesus Christ built His church. Does that child have faith? Does it make a declaration, or do you propose to enter it into the church on your own faith and a confession of that faith and you then act as proxy for your child?” That is foreign to the New Testament idea of a church.
    If ever on this earth there has been an age which is very hurtful as well as very silly and meaningless it is the time that decries creeds and confessions of faith, and at the same time magnifies religion. You are authorized by the very fact that you have intelligence and reason, to hold in utter disrespect any statement from any man’s lips that he is a creedless man, and if he comes up in the pulpit and says that, you don’t need any other evidence in the world for rising in the next conference and saying, “I move that the credentials of this man be withdrawn and that the fellowship of this church be withdrawn.” A man who believes nothing ought not to be a member of the church, and a preacher who has no creed has nothing to preach, and it will be a happy day when it is carried out just that way.

  18. Douglas Belardi says

    Benajah Harvey Carrol was born near Carrolton, Mississippi on December 27, 1843 was pastor, teacher, Southern Baptist denominational leader and author. He led in the founding of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and served as president of the seminary until his death in Fort Worth, Texas on November 1, 1914.
    A church with a little creed is a church with a little life. The more divine doctrines a church can agree on, the greater its power and the wider its usefulness. The fewer its articles of faith, the fewer its bonds of union and compactness.
    The modern cry, “Less creed and more liberty,” is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jellyfish and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. Definitive truth does not create heresy–it only exposes and corrects. Shut off the creed and the Christian world would fill up with heresy unsuspected and uncorrected, but nonetheless deadly.
    Just so it is not good discipline that created backsliding and other sins of Christians. But discipline is oftentimes the only means of saving a church. To hold to discipline for immoralities and relax it on doctrine puts the cart before the horse and attempts to heal a stream while leaving the fountain impure. To Christ and the apostles, false creeds were the most deadly things and called most for the use of the knife….
    Again, I solemnly warn the reader against all who depreciate creeds or who would reduce them to a minimum of entrance qualifications into the church – An Interpretation of the English Bible, Ephesians 4.

  19. William Thornton says

    Dave is right. Some folks should just go where they can be happy…but if do and get happy then…they don’t have anything to complain about…and are unhappy about that but are powerless to do anything…which reminds me that there are not a few folks in the SBC who are happiest when unhappy.

  20. says

    “But God called me to this flawed convention and my life’s work has been within its borders.”

    This statement struck me as peculiar. It seems to me that individuals are called to independent churches, not conventions.

    Further, I don’t think that anyone thinks that Ronnie Floyd can ride in on a white horse with a pointy white cap and fix the problems at LC or BPC. However, he could open his mouth and say something.

    Prominent denominational leaders don’t have ecclesiastical authority but they do have moral authority. They should use it.

    But they don’t…at least not in the negative sense. Positive endorsements abound. have personally heard statements from preachers such as “If it’s okay with so and so, then it’s okay with me.” This is terrible.

  21. William Thornton says

    You guys should do more fact checking. I made the statement above that the Executive Committee receives some money, not much, directly from churches rather than through state conventions. That’s a fact. I also said that this was counted as Cooperative Program giving since it was allocated to the mission boards, seminaries, etc. That’s not a fact. The EC changed their accounting a few years ago and these small sums are not included under “Cooperative Program.”

    I try to be at least 85% factual in my stuff. Alas, I’m only 50% factual here. So sue me. ;)

    Have a nice Lord’s Day brethren.

    • D.L. Payton says

      William T
      You have a good Lord’s day also, my brother. I am preaching today on the subject of faith, the title “Will Your Faith Fail You”, using some material I gleaned from Ron Dunn a million years ago but still highly relevant. The text is from Hebrews.

  22. Rick Patrick says

    Tarheel,

    (Nesting issues, so new primary comment…) You wrote: “But aren’t the boards actually made up of representatives from each state?”

    Yes, but that does not address my concern. Each individual board with representatives from various states must somehow be made cognizant of the big picture of SBC entity head representation. I suspect that each board is only looking at their own situation and is not considering their own choice in light of the choices other boards have made. This is the mentality, I believe, which has led to our current imbalance.

    • says

      “Only looking at their own situation”

      Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do? Do we really want the southwestern Board of Trustees making decisions based on what the southern Board of Trustees did or the southeastern Board of Trustees did or the Lifeway Board of Trustees did do we really want each entity looking to the other before they decide what they’re going to do?

      Each board makes a decision that is best for their entity and the kingdom of God if that doesn’t jive with individual members of the convention because of their prejudices then I don’t know much that can be done about that or even should be done about it?

      Except, of course you have enough people who agree with you that you can make a motion at annual meeting that we unseat a board and reseat a new one with someone more to your choosing….

      Like CB said her trusty system is our strength and our weakness question is are we happy enough with it to leave it alone or do we want to monkey with it every time someone doesn’t like a hiring decision (of highly qualified the FM 2000 affirmers) made by a board or boards?

      Is anyone really suggesting that any of these hires that are not to your liking or not qualified or are unorthodox in someway?

        • Rick Patrick says

          Precisely, Tarheel. Who does that? There is no one to do that. This is exactly what I am saying. There is no group that is looking at the imbalance of the various entity heads because there is no “Entity of Entities” like most churches have a “Committee on Committees.” I am not proposing one, merely explaining how it is that we have gotten ourselves into a situation where we are imbalanced in representing all kinds of Southern Baptists.

          • says

            But what if the “committee on committees” doesn’t do or “coordinate” as you like, what then?

            My point is if you’re looking to establish some sort of back door quota system….i gotta ask….how exactly is that allowing our trustees to be independent? It seems to be a denominational hierarchal system you’re looking for – so I ask again….how does that play out in our polity?

          • Rick Patrick says

            Tarheel,
            It’s not a quota. It’s just a “raise awareness” campaign and then let the individual trustee boards figure out that they need to spread the love to the other 49 states as well.

      • Rick Patrick says

        I never said they are unqualified. I said, taken as a whole, our entity leadership slate is becoming imbalanced in terms of their representation of the vastly different regions and schools of thought that comprise our convention as a whole.

    • says

      Maybe the boards are simply looking for the best person from the job regardless of their “connections.”

      Rick, are you proposing some kind of quota system? I get that vibe from your statement, “I suspect that each board is only looking at their own situation and is not considering their own choice in light of the choices other boards have made.”

      • says

        “Maybe the boards are simply looking for the best person from the job regardless of their “connections.” ”

        Ryan, it can’t possibly be that….it’s obviously a conspiratorial takeover you see. ;-)

        • Rick Patrick says

          Well, the best person for the job just keeps coming again and again and again and again and again and again and again from Kentucky-Mohler-Southern-Calvinist connections.

          But it’s all just a coincidence. Fifty thousand Southern Baptist Churches…and all the leaders keep coming from the same place. Nothing at all unusual about that. Nope. Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along, don’t ask any questions, and please deposit your check in the Lottie Moon envelope on your way out.

          • says

            Rick,

            Your only repetitive solution to the injustices you perceive is a call for a quota system (though you back away from actually using the word despite it obviously being what you’re after.)

          • Rick Patrick says

            Now Mr. Cline,

            Please see my earlier comment. Not a quota. Just awareness. The individual boards can factor the need for us to branch out geographically on their own…once they see what is happening.

          • says

            I think regions are irrelevant to your dismay. It sounds better and nicer to phrase it that way – but it’s not really what you’re after.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Tarheel,

            I thought I was pretty clear. Read it two or three more times. First, more of the other states. Second, more of the other seminaries. Third, more of the other leadership trees. And yes, fourth, more Trads and fewer Cals—until we reach the place where our leadership looks like our followership.

            It’s not just one thing—it’s all four. Read it again slowly. It’s not that hard when you don’t try to make a person say more or less than they actually said, but when you really listen, and accept their statement at face value.

          • says

            So, they should be sensitive to it–but if at the end of the search, the committee comes back and says “We prayed, we sought, and we looked hard at qualified individuals, and this guy with a Southern Ph.D. and a Kentucky birth certificate is the person we believe is most qualified and is the one called by God to the job,” then what?

            If they are “sensitive” but then come back and choose contrary to your desires, will you accept that they are doing what they claim, and seeking God’s will? Or is it only possible that God’s will is somewhat that fits your parameters, whatever they find?

            This is where the problem lies: elusive statements and guidelines like “find the most qualified but be sensitive to needing someone not from SBTS” are an impossible thing to set out publicly. The two halves there are incompatible, unless you want to add “not connected, overly, to Dr. Mohler” to the list of qualifications. Of course, that eliminates connections to the current IMB president, the current SBC president, because one went to SBTS and the other was a good enough friend to be nominated by Mohler. So anyone Ronnie Floyd could say “I like this guy” would be a problem wouldn’t he?

            The elusive concept of “sensitive” is more trouble for a unified convention than a hard quota. A quota we would all know what we are dealing with–we’d know “hey, Lifeway needs a new VP, and it must be someone not-a-Calvinist” rather than having to guess if we’re in the right place or not. And a plan to make it there, stages, rather than dealing with this “Ok, this time it’s the last straw and we’re done if this one role doesn’t go where we want it.” What if this one spot the truly most qualified is the ‘wrong’ flavor? We could have avoided it by knowing where we sat on the quota system.

            I’m not a fan, overall, of how we are remaking the SBC in the designs of certain people, including that both our doctrinal statement and the guiding organizational plan: BFM2K and GCR, were written by the same seminary president. But we need to either be straightforward about fixing it, and call for something measurable and time-applied rather than a risen spot of “this one thing that may already be done better go this way.” That’s more chaotic than a plan to fix the imbalance.

        • William Thornton says

          Long ago in a government job, I had a boss who said that all public employers should watch their employment structure. He meant that a town 2/3 African-American should have more than 3 of 53 officers who were black, to use a current example.

          I am persuaded with Rick that SBC trustees need to pay attention to the same structural composition when looking at entity heads. Not a quota but a sensitivity.

          I’m not where Rick is, less so where Bob Hadley is. I think the IMB should find the best person for the job. If he has Mohler/Southern connections, fine. Kevin Ezell had M/SBTS connections and is doing a good job.

          This is an issue upon us, I’m afraid, and trustees should be sensitive to it.

          • D.L. Payton says

            I think I will just stick my neck our and say it. Surely there is more than one who is qualified for this job. I can think of several. To say that there is just ONE man who is the MOST qualified seems to be to be rather, well silly. I would doubt that all of those who are well qualified are Calvinist, from Kentucky, from Southern, and a friend of Mohler. I am sure there are well qualified men from Midwestern, New Orleans, and Southwestern. I am sure there are well qualified Trads. It just seems to me that good sense, fairness, sensitivity, and a sense of cooperation would lead the board to look to a man who is a trad and from another seminary. This will go a long way in bringing the convention together.

            While I am sticking my neck out let me go a litter farther. I personally don’t believe there is a Cal conspiracy to take over the convention (keep in mind I am a Trad). The recent new hires are good men. However, if the next Pres of IMB is a Cal from Southern, I suspect I will be forced to rethink my position. The reason being, the board knows full well the climate and extent of this controversy. They know that the election of a Cal would bring more division. Based on the fact that there are good men who would not bring division that could be elected, I would have to wonder why they would elect a man who would bring division.

      • Rick Patrick says

        I am not proposing a hard and fast quota system for entity heads…just encouraging trustee boards to look around the SBC and say, “You know, we sure do have plenty of *Southern-Calvinist-Mohler-Kentucky* people serving as entity leaders. Maybe we need to look elsewhere to balance our denominational leadership team and better represent the entire SBC. It seems like there are quite a few pastors out there concerned with this situation and perhaps we should listen to them.”

    • D.L. Payton says

      Rick
      I am not sure i agree with you on this point. Even way out here in Montana where it is easy to be disconnected I am aware of the discussion, feelings, controversy, climate etc. surrounding the next hire. I have to assume that the board members are looking at the big picture. It would be pretty hard to miss it.

  23. Rick Patrick says

    Doug,

    I hear what you are saying. And yes, the challenge I have mentioned and Bob has mentioned and others have mentioned for the trustee boards to be sensitive to the growing imbalance in entity leadership representation is admittedly vague. But if one were to nail it down to the details, that dreaded “quota” word inevitably rears its ugly head—at least at the breaking point.

    Now, we don’t all agree exactly when that breaking point is. For me, I am almost (but not quite) past the point of merely calling for sensitivity. Bob (and many others I know) are actually there right now. One more Calvinist friendly, Southern connected, Kentucky-hailing Mohlerite installed into SBC leadership and that’s it! We will not support financially a Calvinist takeover of the SBC.

    So, in THAT sense, you do have a quota coming in from many quarters, and that quota is, in the immortal words of Roberto Duran, “No mas!”

    Under NORMAL circumstances, I would say, “Sure, search team, just pick the guy you like the most without considering the wing of the denomination he represents.” But these are not normal circumstances. We are too far down the road of excluding Traditionalist Southern Baptists. Bob’s warnings are real.

    • Adam Blosser says

      Maybe Bob should tell us how much his church gives to LMCO if he wants to make threats. Let us all know what we are dealing with and we can decide whether we care.

  24. parsonsmike says

    Rick,
    It seems that you are saying that if they pick the ‘wrong’ guy, even if they think it is God’s will, that would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    Does that mean churches like yours and Bob’s will leave the SBC?
    …or stop giving to the SBC?
    …or just what does it mean?

    • Rick Patrick says

      Bob’s church will give less, reducing to $1 as he has written earlier. I know others who will do the same as he will do. They are warning SBC leaders because they are watching this hire. For them, it would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

      By the way, I don’t believe there is just one man who could lead the IMB. With 16 million Southern Baptists, there may be hundreds of qualified men. If they continue to discriminate against Traditionalists, we have to call them on it eventually.

      My breaking point is probably a little bit further than this one hire. This one is the sixth of the eleven entity heads. I suppose when we get to seven or eight or nine straight, I would finally reach my breaking point and have that conversation with the deacons.

      It would sound something like this: “Enough is enough. I will never leave the Southern Baptist Convention in my heart, but I don’t recognize this place any more, and seeing that it has left me, I have no other choice. I refuse to become a Presby-Baptist. We are autonomous and they are ignoring us completely. All they want is our money. Not our ideas. Not our Sinner’s Prayer. Not our Altar Calls. Not our theology. Sadly, it’s time to leave. Our church began in 1833, twelve years before the Southern Baptist Convention existed. We have not always been a Southern Baptist Church in the past. We are not required to be one in the future. Since they overlook Traditionalist Southern Baptists in leadership, we should give and pray and support the spread of the Great Commission through other godly channels. Taxation should not be without representation. If they won’t share the leadership and the vision with us, then they won’t share our purse.”

      I hope and pray it does not come to that.

      • says

        Rick,
        Are they bringing in ungodly men?
        Or what are these men doing to discriminate against Traditionalists?
        From what I read, there are only a very small number of Traditionalists to begin with.
        Most people seem to middle of the road centrists who really fall into neither category.
        If those things are true, then T’s are just loud dissenters and not really a movement to be reckoned with.

        • Rick Patrick says

          No, I never said they were ungodly. I said they were *not representative of the majority of Southern Baptists.* As an example, there are many Presbyterian leaders who are very godly men. But they would be poor leaders in the SBC because they do not represent many of our basic theological positions, ministry practices and leadership principles.

          It is not anything the men are *doing* to discriminate against the Traditionalists. It is that these particular men (and not others equally qualified) are being consistently preferred for leadership positions, while those from different regions with different theologies and representing different leadership networks are being overlooked.

          You believe there are few Traditionalists. I disagree. I say there are few Calvinists…in our CHURCHES, but lots and lots of them in our LEADERSHIP. I believe the majority of the Southern Baptist Convention believes the basic doctrines of Traditionalism–whether they have signed the statement or not.

          Southern Baptists believe like Billy Graham, Herschel Hobbs and Adrian Rogers and not like Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney and John Piper.

          I don’t think they are centrists who fall into neither category. I think they are Traditionalists in theology who have not been made aware of the fact that our minority wing is ruling over our majority wing. At least, that’s how I see it.

          • says

            “You believe there are few Traditionalists. I disagree. I say there are few Calvinists…in our CHURCHES, but lots and lots of them in our LEADERSHIP. I believe the majority of the Southern Baptist Convention believes the basic doctrines of Traditionalism–whether they have signed the statement or not.

            Southern Baptists believe like Billy Graham, Herschel Hobbs and Adrian Rogers and not like Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney and John Piper.”

            So, there we have it.

            1. You’re saying that the majority agree with you…..because….you say so, and that is the way you see it?

            Ok. That’s informative.

            2. Rick. We are talking out southern baptist cals….why did you name in your argument three men who aren’t and coincidentally (I’m sure ;-) ) two who aren’t even embraced by most SB cals as “leaders”.

          • Nate says

            Rick,

            I think you have every right autonomously to stay or go from the convention. I would pray that you would stay and encourage others who are like-minded to vote for a Convention President who agrees with your positions.

            However, to state, “Southern Baptists believe like Billy Graham, Herschel Hobbs and Adrian Rogers and not like Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney and John Piper. ” is argumentative and not helpful toward discussion with those who are not in your camp.

            None of the men in that statement are in the SBC. To lump all people who may have a different soteriology than Graham, Hobbs, and Rogers with Driscoll, Mahaney, and Piper is not only harmful to moving the conversation forward, it displays some contentiousness on your part; especially using Driscoll and Mahaney.

            Do you want to have conversations that lead to something, or not?

          • Rick Patrick says

            Sorry if I didn’t pick the right Calvinists. If you prefer, just substitute Mohler and Dever and Platt.

          • parsonsmike says

            Rick,
            Thanks for your reply.
            Do these type of leaders you are objecting to desire to promote and are promoting both the Gospel and the SBC?
            Are they doing the jobs they were appointed to do?

            Is your main beef that they have a slightly different soteriological understanding than you?

            Do you agree with them on every other major doctrine and if not, which ones?

            And while I agree with you that Southern Baptist Calvinists are only a minority, you simply asserting that Traditionalist thinking is what the majority of SBCers hold is just that: an unproven assertion.

            What is worse Rick is that it is possible that a great many SBCers on our rolls fail to come to church on a regular basis,if at all. How many people are on your church roll as opposed to how many people attend services on Sunday?

            As far as I can tell, you have given no real reason for excluding the kind of men [godly, Gospel loving, SBC promoting, orthodox in theology] that the commissions are choosing. That you, and a small group of others, dislike their soteriology because it is slightly different than your own, is not really something I would think that most Christians would get worked up about.

            Slightly different.
            They believe Jesus is the only way. Do you?
            They believe that people can only be saved through faith in Jesus.
            They believe that in coming to Christ and being saved people need to be repentant and humble before God.
            They believe in the Gospel message preached as the God ordained way to reach the lost.
            They believe the Gospel is to be preached to all people everywhere.

            You agree with these things, i am sure.
            Thus your disagreement with a man like Mohler, and the others, is only a slight theological difference

            And over a slight variance as opposed to the great agreement you share, you and Bob, and a FEW others, a re raising loud dissension.

            How is that godly?

          • parsonsmike says

            Rick,

            You said,
            “I don’t think they are centrists who fall into neither category. I think they are Traditionalists in theology who have not been made aware of the fact that our minority wing is ruling over our majority wing. At least, that’s how I see it.”

            Ruling over???
            Here is what I think could be one reason why your understanding is askew. These men do not rule over us. They are our servants. They are there to serve, not rule. They are not a “wing” but individuals appointed in what we as SBCers consider a God-honoring way and by His grace are the people He wants in those positions.

            Are these ‘Rulers’ dictating theology to the churches?
            Are they forcing their will on the members of our organizations?

            They are servants, not rulers.
            They are not part of a wing, but members of His Body.

            Slight theological differences are not reasons to provoke dissension.

          • Nate says

            Sorry, “My Bad!” substitute Mohler, Dever, and Platt… That’s your reply? You really believe that Mohler, Dever, and Platt are as combustible as Driscoll and Maheny, as far as figure-heads go?

            This is exactly why I said you were being contentious with that comparison. I also ask if you really wanted to have conversations that lead somewhere, but it certainly doesn’t appear so. “My bad, substitute Dever for Driscoll” isn’t, in my opinion, going to gain you an audience with those you disagree with. Perhaps you feel that others have slandered your side of the discussion, and maybe some have. However it certainly doesn’t seem like you associationally word-play with these “calvinists” were by accident.

          • Rick Patrick says

            parsonsmike,

            I do not like the current Presbyterian-ish direction of the SBC. I don’t know how to put it any plainer. No, these men are not bad. But they are indeed not representative of the kind of Baptists I have always supported in SBC leadership. My main beef is that they only represent a narrow point of view in SBC life–and that view is not held by the majority of Southern Baptists.

            It’s theology. It’s region. It’s leadership tree. I believe we are imbalanced. Surely, you see this discussion is becoming circular.

            I disagree with most of the YRR soteriology, ecclesiology, missiology, patriology, pneumatology, anthropology and eschatology. I especially disagree with many of the ministry practices and leadership principles. It’s not one little thing. It’s a whole philosophy.

            For theological concerns: http://bit.ly/1tCf4Sx and http://bit.ly/1tx2jK2

            For ministry practice concerns: http://bit.ly/1rvj5e6

            For leadership principle concerns: http://bit.ly/1zty0nr

            In short, I am profoundly concerned that we are becoming a Presby-Baptist denomination. And it’s not that I hate Presbyterians or that they are not godly. It’s that I do not see eye to eye with them on a wide variety of issues that separate us.

            With regard to Baptist life, I just want to see us have a place at the table again. Every new curriculum, every new leadership post, every new initiative is all about the YRR…we’re almost more Gospel Coalition than we are Southern Baptist. It has to do with identity and culture and tradition and representation of laity in leadership.

            If you deny that these are important issues, fine. They are important to me and, I believe, to many others.

      • Tyler says

        “If I don’t get what I want, then I’m going to give less”. My goodness when did we start acting like this? How selfish of us to threaten to give less in order to get what we want.

      • Tyler says

        “If I don’t get what I want, then I’m going to give less”. My goodness when did we start acting like this? How selfish of us to threaten to give less in order to get what we want.

        • William Thornton says

          Oh, maybe a decade or so before you were born. This is the CR all over again.

          Get something straight here. No SBC entity, state convention or association has any claim on a single dime of local church money. Neither can they complain if pastors and churches by reasons of conviction or conscience believe it unwise for them to contribute to this cause or that cause, this entity or that entity.

          There is not a person here who would not do exactly what Rick says he might and Bob says he will if the circumstances are right.

          Better to understand why these speak of SBC issues as they do than to condemn them for their deliberately held, carefully considered positions.

        • says

          You’re right Tyler. It’s sad.

          William, the CR was quite different – that fight was over fundamental orthodoxy…and was a abundantly necessary. The faith was actually being contended for – this “fight” is not even in the parking lot of the same ballpark.

          You’re right, “there’s not a one here who wouldn’t do the same….” I’ve already said I could if the SBC becomes an apostate denomination or too liberal…but again that’s not what we are talking about here.

          You’re also right that the convention(s) are owed nothing….but I think it’s completely fair to call those who defiantly stomp their feet, fold thier arms and threaten to extort the convention with their CP dollars to establish a soteriological quota system to thier liking -uncooperative.

          • William Thornton says

            No Dave, you are missing this. No one would care about orthodoxy except for the fact that some of these were on our collective payroll; hence, “I’m not sending my CP money to pay for that.” CR déjà vu. I’m not up for another such fight.

            We might spend more time listening to the concerns of folks like Rick, even if we disagree with him, rather that condemn him and others for daring to threaten our fragile system of cooperation. None of us has a right to demand cooperation.

            I think Rick would find that he is a bit too far out in front of where their churches and laypeople are. Ironically, he uses the exact same language of the moderates of the 1980s and 1990s. Moderates thought they had sufficient cause and that 40% of SBC churches would hitch up and follow their train out of the station. Didn’t happen.

            That said, it’s up to level heads to listen and see if there is common ground whereby we can avoid precipitous actions.

      • D.L. Payton says

        Rick
        The next IMB Pres will NOT be a Cal. I claim no word of prophecy, just common sense. With the climate as it is the board will not hire a Cal. The reason is as you stated and I stated earlier, there are many men who are qualified to do this job. Why cause a major rift by hiring a Cal? The board will be knowledgable of these factors.

  25. says

    I think you’re way too focused on control and having your own way – you and others seem to be stomping your feet and screaming – “I don’t like it! ”

    I understand that but I wish you’d reserve threats of leaving the convention to issues of denominational apostasy and BFM2000 abandonment. These issues just do not meet that standard.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Well, I really don’t want to leave the convention. And I don’t want Calvinists to leave the convention. But I agree with Richard Land that Traditionalists have always been the melody and Calvinists have always been the harmony. Music sounds bad when the harmony line drowns out the melody line. I want both sides to stay in the convention. I just want the leadership to be restored to the Traditionalists. If the convention is 75/25 or 80/20 or 85/15 or whatever…so should be the leadership.

      You guys like to shout, “Quota” whenever I say that, but all I’m really asking for is for the leaders to proportionally represent the followers. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s very democratic.

      • says

        But you’ve never proven that the breakdown is as lopsided toward your view of “traditionalist” you say…specifically those who gather at the petals of a certain Christmas flower.

        I guess your constantly repeating will make it so…at least in your mind.

      • Bill Mac says

        Rick: It’s only democratic if the members are free to elect whoever they want. I think it is reasonable to expect that the leadership might look proportionally like the membership. But how do you achieve that, practically, without actually doing damage to the democratic process? I just don’t know how 1) you accurately find the true proportion of traditionalists to Calvinists in the SBC, 2) ensure how the messengers to the annual meeting then represent that proportion, and presumably 3) elect the right proportion of leaders? (or elect the people who will choose other leaders).

        I’m having a hard time thinking of how your vision could be fulfilled without abrogating someone’s rights.

        • Rick Patrick says

          Just make more people aware of the discrimination as it becomes clearer over time…if it even continues. It may not. I mean, we were saying this before Allen and Moore. At some point, I have to think they will listen. At least, I hope so.

          • Eric Robinson, M.D. says

            Great post Dave! Have followed the “Traditionalists” postings since it became a “hill on which one must die” for the sake of biblical fidelity. (That would be fundamentalism, Bob) But mostly we all knew it was about the much larger issue of a power struggle within the SBC. This too seems somewhat silly for a CP organization of autonomous churches that now the self-proclaimed “majority opinion” seems to be calling for oversight by, let’s say a Presbytery. :) Just kidding. Maybe we could call it a Traditional Oversight Committee instead of a Presbytery?? Or, we could elect a real humble, noble, almost real good Christian guy to oversee the SBC nominating, electing, and voting procedures. He could be called the “BOPE”-Baptist Overseer of Positional Elections. :)

            FYI, soteriologically speaking I am Reformed Baptist.
            Rick, your connect 316 mission, goal, and “leadership” website proves my earlier posts on this topic. Where are Dr. Hankins and Dr. Caner now? I intended to post on Caner’s history lesson given on another blog, but didn’t have time. It may be just me but on earlier responses to Hankins TS, it appeared that any cooperative effort involving anyone within the Reformed camp was futile.

            Sincerely, why the fuss? Why the need to push this agenda? Why not cooperate for the sake of the gospel? It appears the only message being heard is this loud clanging about “leadership positions.”
            Dave, great post for SBC unity, although I’ve already left. I left not for “taxation without representation” issues, but the continual confusion of law and gospel, and the practice clearly taught against in 2 Cor 4, but which has become a “mainstay” in the 19th and 20th century Revivalism culture.

            The gospel was always presented as something “good” church people do, or something WE must do, or least complete, not simply believe-“help my unbelief.” Christ and His work was always presented as a path, a bridge, a possibility…all dependent on US for the finality, or ultimate determiner of our destiny. Christ and His work was never presented as “finished.” In this setting, back door legalism is rampant, along with a true never-ending struggle to earn favor with God and man!, though most would deny the existence of this secondary to the back door legalism :). Some discussions were taboo…as if the scriptures were not for everyone, but an elite few to tell the masses what to think.

            As an aside I do wonder how many of you have noticed that the “unrepentant”, “fallen man”, or “sinner” described in scripture continues to gain a somewhat better standing before God, not in scripture, but with each successive attempt to satisfy man’s understanding of God’s ways. Pretty soon, if we keep this up, theologically we will be as Marcion wanted, under a God of Love seen in Jesus, without any moorings in the OT.

            Grace and Peace!

        • D.L. Payton says

          Bill
          This is not rocket science. Of course a quota system would be a disaster for a number of reasons. No one expects to determine the exact percentage of Trads and Cals and then elect leaders accordingly. It is reasonable to believe that the boards are aware of the discussion and the issues. It is reasonable to assume they understand the last four or so hires. It is reasonable to assume that they will seek to be people who will bring cohesion and not division and hire accordingly so that there is a wide spectrum of conservative theological views. This is not a quota and it is doable. Any board member who is not astute enough to understand the situation should not be on the board.

      • says

        There are still many, many powerful non-cals in positions of leadership as well as (I would guess) the majority on many boards of trustees. In fact, I’d argue that these majority non cal boards hiring the individuals that have caused you such great consternation says that most SBC people and pastors aren’t where or near where you and Bob are. (Fighting the alleged bogeyman behind the curtain in Lousville)

        • Rick Patrick says

          They are almost certainly unaware of the pattern. See, you and Adam have been privileged to grow tired of the amazing chart that most Southern Baptists have never even seen.

          • says

            I would give about a year’s salary to see the trustees of the IMB name David Allen as the next president of the IMB. I could not support him because he thinks Luke wrote Hebrews :) but I would love to see the responses. I would even steal a little of my wife’s money to add to the pot to see the reactions if they were to name Emir Caner.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Chris,

            I’m not creating controversy. I’m peace making. I believe in unity. But unity is not the absence of conflict. It requires addressing it directly and head on, not sticking your head in the sand and pretending it doesn’t exist.

            I think the IMB Search Team is aware of our general SBC conflict over Calvinism. I’m not at all sure how aware they are of the statistically improbable string of similar leaders that have been elected to lead all of our entities so far in the 21st Century.

          • says

            What about the Phoebe theory (transcribing the sermons/teaching of Paul)

            Might explain why it its so similar (yet different) to Paul but is not definitively attributed in church history to Paul?

            ;-)

          • D.L. Payton says

            Rick
            I am way up here on the edge of the SB world and i understand the pattern. I would have to believe that anybody that is relevant to the hiring process of the next IMB Pres understands the pattern. Not sure how it could be missed.

      • Scott Shaver says

        Rick:
        Whatever gave you the idea that “democracy” is a collective or desired objective within the SBC?

  26. William Thornton says

    What will happen is that a few churches will give around SBTS and maybe SEBTS. It’s hard to believe that some would cut IMB giving unless the new leader implements severe changes. I’m guessing that the IMB trustees think a new leader should enhance appeal and giving, not hurt it.

    I’m not there, neither am I up for another CR type battle. I think Bob and Rick if he is like minded would err in this.

    • D.L. Payton says

      William T

      IMOI yo are correct. IMB would be the last thing that the vast majority of SB would cut. The trustees are aware of the importance of the new Pres hire. Dean talked about a years salary. I would bet (if I were a betting man) that the new Pres of IMB will NOT be a Cal.

      • says

        I think I agree too, actually…. DL.

        I’d be surprised if either a well known flamethowing cal or a well known flamethrowing anti cal is appointed.

        • says

          In fact, DL. Like i said before, i predict the next pres will be a middle of the roader – I know you’re a Trad – don’t know where you went to Seminary – but I’ll say the next IMB just may be someone like you….one who leans Trad but isn’t a flamethrower/hater – or possibly one who leans reformed but is not a flamethrower/hater.

          You sending a resume?

          • D.L. Payton says

            Tarheel
            I live less than an hours drive from what both Field and Stream and Outdoor Life magazines say is the best 12 miles of trout fishing in the lower 48 (the Big Horn River). My next job will be a full time fisherman :-)

            I think your assessment is correct. The next guy will not be a lighting rod. In fact my guess is that he will not be a well known. There are a lot of good men out there who are not on the circuit.

          • says

            I like lightening rod better than the term I used. Thanks for the help! Lol.

            See, you’re continuing to show yourself as qualified! ;-)

          • Dean Stewart says

            Adam, we are in agreement. I understand the tenor of your first comment, you have a problem with the way Bob’s church uses non-reform.

  27. Adam Blosser says

    Lest we think Bob Hadley is a level headed man representing all Southern Baptists, the first thing you see when you go to his church website is “Non-Calvinist: Non Reformed.”

    • Dale Pugh says

      Representative of all Southern Baptists? Not necessarily. But why does the theological disclaimer on his church’s website automatically peg him as not being “level headed”? There are plenty of “level headed” people out here who would agree with that disclaimer. What do you gain by making such a statement, Adam?

      • Andy Williams says

        I was curious and went to the website. Underneath the church’s name, it really is the very first thing in very large letters. Very unusual. You usually find statements like these on the signs and websites of IFB churches that say things like, “KJV only, expository preaching, traditional music.”

        I don’t begrudge them the right to put whatever they want on their sign or website, but to me it seems a bit adversarial….Not what I would want my church’s primary focus to be. My church’s website doesn’t have large print banners saying, “Homosexual acts are sinful,” or “Not catholic,” If you read more about what we believed, you would find that out…but it’s not the main thing.

      • Adam Blosser says

        The point is not whether one agrees or disagrees with the statement. The point is that one’s ability to work together with Calvinists in the SBC has to be called into question when such is waved as a banner in large letters on the front page of the website.

        • Dale Pugh says

          Like going to a church website and seeing “A Reformed Baptist church” prominently displayed on the first page? What’s the difference?

          • Adam Blosser says

            I’d be interested to see such an example in the SBC. I really am not doubting that such exists, though I have never seen it. I would just like to see it if it does.

            I was taken aback by the phrase posted so prominently on the website. I would be equally taken aback by a church website that prominently said “Calvinist: Reformed” in large print on the front page.

          • says

            One is negative and the other is positive. Otherwise, it’s about the same. It’s like putting a broadly denominational moniker in the name of the church. If I see “non-Calvinist non-reformed” talking about a church when I’m looking for a church home, I at least know that I don’t have to waste a Sunday visiting there. (I’d really like it if “moderate” SBC churches would self-identify as such.)

            I’d go for an SBC church that peacefully and informatively accepted a mix of acceptable soteriologies probably before I’d go for an explicitly reformed church if only because I know that they had been through the storm and had a balanced understanding of how good systematics generates good practical theology.

          • Dale Pugh says

            I suppose it depends on one’s definition of “negative” and “positive.” If I see “Calvinist: Reformed,” then I know I don’t have to waste my time going there on Sunday. It works both ways, Jim.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Dale, do you have an example of an SB church that waves the Calvinist banner on the front page of their website in a way similar to Bob’s church waving the non-Calvinist banner? As I said, I find both to be offensive because where we stand on Calvinism is not the most important thing I want visitors to know when they visit my church website.

          • says

            I’m going by the classical definitions of negative and positive such that one church identifies themselves negatively by disclosing what they are not and another church identifies themselves positively by disclosing what they are.

            And you are absolutely correct in that it works both ways. But I don’t view it as a bad thing necessarily unless a church is unintentionally excluding someone they would want to come and visit. In other words, you could be a non-reformed church who welcomes reformed individuals or a reformed church that welcomes non-reformed individuals. I think most of the staff of my church are reformed at some level, but we welcome individuals who are both reformed and not reformed and educate as many as possible so that they understand their soteriological position and can get on with the practical movement of growing deeper in their relationship with God. So it’s far better to be explicit in first or second things rather than being explicit in third things. But I’m fine if people are hung up on third things enough to tell me about it.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Adam–No. I didn’t claim to have any particular website in mind. I asked a question. I suppose I should have stated “hypothetically.” I really don’t know. I don’t spend much time browsing church websites. Most I’ve seen are as boring as watching paint dry.
            Jim–Does Bob’s church website say that reformed folks aren’t welcome? (Granted, I haven’t looked at the website. See the reason above.) Could it be that they are just stating up-front where they stand theologically so that people can make an informed decision as they look for a church? I’ve never been to Bob’s church. I don’t know Bob. I don’t know his church. Just because you see it as tertiary doesn’t mean that others do. People have the freedom to emphasize what they want.

          • Dean Stewart says

            Adam, there are many SBC churches that have Reformed included in their names. If you include the churches that have Founders, Sovereign Grace, 2nd London Confession of 1689, preach the sovereignty of God, Reformed or Calvinist on the front page of their website the comparison to churches that have non-reform would be staggering.

            Dave only allows one link so I will provide you just one. I am sure this SBC church leaves little doubt as to where they stand on this issue.
            http://www.sgbc-elizabethtown.com/

            Adam, I would never want to offend a brother like you but I do want you to consider for a moment two matters.

            1) It could be that because of the number of reformed pastors coming out of our schools and seminaries that one day non-reformed my be a moniker that is necessary to identify a particular church’s beliefs in their area. It would honestly bother me if you were offended if I were to use such an identification. However, if it would help people looking for a particular persuasion of SBC church find us I would have to consider it.

            2) Non-reform in some cases might not be meant as in opposition to reform. There is no settled title for identifying people like myself who are not reformed. I am non-reformed but that doesn’t mean I am opposed to or fighting a war with those who are reformed.

            My thoughts have nothing to do with Bob’s website, Adam. I am not defending or condemning what my brother does in Daytona. It’s that I see many churches who identify themselves as Calvinist and few who identify themselves as non-Calvinist. That may change one day and I ask you who are Calvinist extend the same grace that has been extended you. I am not offended by Reformed in a church’s title.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Dale, you should probably look at the website if you are going argue against the initial statement I made concerning the website. Click on his name. It will take you to his blog. You can find his church website easily from there.

            Dean, as a Calvinist, I find the link you posted to be in poor taste as well. Seems like Calvinism is way too big of a deal for the pastor and/or his church. However, I don’t think it is an SBC church. Maybe you can correct me if I am wrong. Certainly you checked before posting it.

            I guess part of this is the fact that I don’t consider Calvinism to be something we should separate over even at the local church level.

          • Dean Stewart says

            Adam, I believe you completely when you say you don’t want to separate over Calvinism, neither do I. I ask you to give my two thoughts consideration concerning the term non-reform in the future. It may be that a church feels they need to use such a term to identify themselves in a predominately Calvinistic area with no offense intended. As for as the church I linked, it came from Founders Friendly Church website. It is listed on the Founders’ website as being SBC. If you read through that website for a few minutes I believe you will find more than 10 churches identified as reformed by their title. That designation is not offensive to me.

          • Adam Blosser says

            From the Founders website’s church listing section: “Any church that at a minimum has a pastor who is able to subscribe to one of the historic baptistic confessions listed below is welcome to join the list, whether the church is SBC or not.”

            I am basing my statement about the church not being reformed on the fact that I could not find it on the SBC website. Regardless, this obviously is not the area where we really disagree. I doubt either of us really cares whether the church you posted gives a dollar to a convention cause or not. I know I don’t.

            In answering your question, maybe I can imagine a hypothetical situation where a similar identification would be necessary. However, I go back to the original statement I made that started this line of discussion. Rev. Hadley’s church website communicates that being non-Calvinist is most important to them. This demonstrates in my mind that Rev. Hadley is not level-headed when it comes to discussing Calvinism in the SBC.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Should say “not being SBC.” I’ll take their word for it that they are in fact Reformed.

          • Dale Pugh says

            Adam, I did go to the website. I still don’t see how one’s “level-headedness” is at issue here (your original argument), but maybe I’m half a bubble off myself………

            And if you did all that searching on church websites, you need a new hobby. (Relax. I’m joking.)

          • Dean Stewart says

            I made some key stroke that posted my comment in mid-sentence.

            Adam, you and I are in agreement. I do understand the tenor of your first comment, you are offended by the way Bob’s church identified themselves as non-reform. I can’t speak for Bob other than to say he has always been gracious to me.

            I probably was too sensitive in defending a brother’s right to be identified as non-reform. I close our conversation by saying any identification that a church uses for the purpose of insulting others as opposed to glorifying God and helping their mission is wrongheaded.

  28. says

    My chart ain’t as fancy…

    Paige Patterson

    been prez of convention twice
    Appointed prez at SEBTS
    served on BFM2000 committee (and every other major one since his birth)
    Appointed prez of SWBTS
    brother in law prez of NOBTS
    Has appointed his wife to high level positions at both seminaries
    had hand in Danny Aiken getting Prez job at SEBTS

    And the kicker….

    Knows and Claims to be friends with Al Mohler

    He’s also admitted Muslims and Mormons to SWBTS in violation of the charter and the will of most southern baptists (of all soteriological stripes) but that’s really beside the point….

    • Bart Barber says

      Tarheel,

      Would you give me the relevant quote from the charter of SWBTS? That’s something I need to look up when I’m next on campus, but I don’t carry a copy home with me from trustee meetings, usually. I could wait until I’m over there, but since you’re making this allegation, I can safely assume that you have a copy of the charter, have read it carefully, and can give me the verbiage from the charter that informs your allegations. So, you’d save me a little time in the archives if you’d just supply that quote for me.

      Thanks.

      • says

        You’re on the board, sir. I have not read it … But since Dr. Patterson has admitted at the convention what he did was in violation of the charter…I’ll just assume it is.

        Maybe in your next meeting y’all will discuss the issue since that too was promised us at the convention.

      • Tarheel says

        Bart,

        Perhaps my use of the word “charter” was a bit out of bounds…and since I have not read it and cannot find it online, I will willingly retract that qualifier.

        However, I stand by the sentiments I conveyed…As I stated above, there is no doubt that Dr. Patterson violated a “rule” of the school (I assume one set by the Trustees) as (1) he has admitted doing so in his statement to the convention and he further admitted that (2) “It was my decision and my decision alone.”

        • Bart Barber says

          Thanks for the retraction. I was sincere. I have seen statements by many people that the President was in violation of the charter. I just haven’t seen any substantiation of that claim. I also, as I stated, have not had the opportunity (yet) to do the research on my own.

          • Tarheel says

            I think the idea of a Christian seminary which exists to train people in Christian Ministry is a reasonable assumption of most SB. Of course I cannot back up that claim with data – but I do feel pretty comfortable in making it given my experience in SB churches over the last (as Miller says 9 months before my birth in 74) –

            For me, the word charter is as much of an assumption as anything else – I assume the chartering documents delineate SWBTS as a Christian School that trains Christian ministers….if I am wrong in that assumption (which is possible) I would hope the board of trustees clearly explains to us regular folk that this assumption is wrong and SWBTS is not?/Has not been?/will no longer be? an exclusively Christian Institution seeking only to train Christian Pastors and missionaries.

      • D.L. Payton says

        Dr. Bart
        Honest question. I would suspect that the “charter” does not speak to this issue base on what little I know about the nature of charters. However there was by his admission a violation of something of authority. Help me to understand the relevance of making an issue of the word “charter”. Again, not being argumentative, I am just trying to sot all of this out. My point is that there was a violation, the fact that it may or may not have been the charter is of little relevance IMO.

        • Bart Barber says

          I appreciate that you are trying to sort it all out. I am trying to do the same, with one major difference: As a trustee, while I’m trying to sort it all out, I have to be very careful what I say and write. I will know more by the end of October.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Dr. Bart
            I appreciate you sensitivity to your position. I have been a university and am now a college trustee and it can get rather sticky at times. I have been known to make some blunders in that position because I was not as sensitive as i should have been.

            Thank you for your service on the BOT. You do us proud.

  29. Rick Patrick says

    Nate,

    First I named three Cals who are not Southern Baptists but have been highly associated with the YRR movement. I was saying their views and beliefs and practices are nothing like mine. I am not like these individuals. My ministries do not look like theirs. You got on my case for picking three non-SBC Cals.

    So then, I substituted three other names of Cals who are definitely SBC and associated with the YRR movement. I was again saying that their views and beliefs and practices are nothing like mine. I am not like these individuals. My ministries do not look like theirs. And you got on my case even more for picking them.

    It’s really a catch-22. If we’re going to have a meaningful conversation, then you must try to understand my concerns instead of just picking them apart no matter what I say. So let me conclude with the general observation that the sky is blue and the grass is green and the sun is yellow. Have a blessed day!

    • Nate says

      Rick,

      I actually ask to understand your concerns. However, this post, and your concerns are stated that the SBC doesn’t represent your side, not you against the YRR’s or whoever else you disagree with.

      And, since Driscoll and Mahaney are both in some serious hot-water and are both spark-plugs of controversy, it certainly didn’t appear that you just “accidently” used non-SBC controversial figures for your juxtiposition against Hobbs, Graham, and Rogers. Are you serioiusly wanting to say that Driscoll and Mahaney are representative figures of the SBC? No, you have now said they weren’t, but conventiently insert Mohler, Dever, and Platt as substitutes.

      I asked before, and I’ll ask again, “Do you really want to have a conversation, or do you want to throw bombs?” I’ll seek to try and understand your concerns, but let’s keep the conversation in the family, shall we. Driscoll, Mahaney, and Piper are not SBC. I’ll be more than pleased to speak about SBC issues and concerns you have.

    • Nate says

      For example, I’ll start the conversation with a question. If you believe the Convention is 75/25 Traditional, then why can’t you (Traditionalists) come together and get a Traditionalist SBC President elected for the next 10 Presidents and take over the Convention, just as the Conservative Resurgance did in the 80s? If you (Traditionalists) really have such overwhelming numbers, it would seem you could see real change with 5 years and a complete takeover within 10.

      • Bill Mac says

        Nate: I’m not an expert on this, but I’m pretty sure no SBC presidents in living memory have been Calvinists.

        In some ways, I think Traditionalists have only themselves to blame for this. Mohler wields enormous influence in the SBC not because he is a Calvinist, but because he is practically the poster-child for SBC culture warriors, and if I had to guess, non-Calvinists in the SBC are probably more interested in the culture war than Calvinists (Mohler notwithstanding).

        I know that Traditionalists essentially claim all non-Calvinists in the SBC as being in their camp, but that’s a little naive. I think many people, if looking at Harwood’s chart, might choose items from both columns. I consider myself in the Calvinist camp, but I can’t affirm everything on the left side of that chart. In fact I’d be surprised if any SBC Calvinist affirmed everything on the left side of that chart, but since I don’t know them all, I could be wrong.

        So yeah, if you get to define both yourself, and your theological opponents, make it appear as if these are the only two options, and force people to choose, then you get the % breakdown we’re hearing here. But the reality is more complex I think.

        • says

          FWIW, I doubt the theology of most SBCers is developed well enough to categorize them as either “Traditional” or “Calvinist”, whether they were able to vocalize it or someone were able to discern where they fall on the scale. You could ask leading questions and get people to sound like either one.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Jim
            I think you might be surprised. To be sure most folks would not have a clear definitive understanding. However in the basic concept those of the older generation would have a fairly good understanding. It was something we talked about 35-40 years ago without being disagreeable. I know that would be a surprise to many but it can be done. As a pastor of say 30 years old (now 71), I had a lot of friendly conversations with other pastors and laymen.

        • Nate says

          Bill, I was merely pointing out that if Rick’s numbers are so large, and since Rick believes that there is a conspiracy (or some other systematic purpose) of Calvinist’s to take over the SBC, it would seem that if the Traditionalist’s have such huge numbers, they could employ the same strategy that the Conservative Resurgence used.

          However, I don’t believe Rick’s numbers. I think, contrary to Rick, there are a huge number of people that don’t live on the edges in the SBC. In other words, they are not staunch Calvinists, nor are they staunch Traditionalist’s.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Nate
            I went through all 25 or so years of the CR. I don’t want to go through another. I know of no one who has gone through that wants a repeat, at least in the area of Calvinism.

        • says

          I’m aware of two, Bryant Wright and James Merritt. My impression is that they are both 5-pointers, but I could be wrong, feel free to correct me if anyone has better information. Other than those two, the one that stands out with more Calvinist connections is Johnny Hunt. I’d say traditionalists have been well over-represented in SBC presidency if the #3 guy on the Calvinist side is Johnny Hunt.

          • says

            I meant to put ‘side’ in quotation marks. Last sentence should read: “…if the #3 guy on the Calvinist “side” is Johnny Hunt.”

          • Tarheel says

            Dr. Hunt is not a Calvinist at all, but he is not anti Calvinist either. He has been pretty clear, and IMO very unifying, in exhorting that we can and should work together for the gospel!

            I am not sure about Dr. Wright, (never heard that he is or is not) but I have been told by a couple of people who know him personally that Dr. Merritt is Calvinistic on some points but is not a 5 pointer.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Tarheel
            You are correct about Hunt. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of Trads who are not anti Calvinist. We are just not as vocal and do not see it as worthy of a fight.

          • says

            DL, I know that. I’ve told you before before I have tremendous respect for you and will listen with piqued attention when you spek on this issue because you seem sincere and not looking for a fight or to kick cals to the curb – i say all that even though you’re clearly wrong. ;-)

            I have to keep reminding myself that the vocal ones here are just a really loud minority of SB non calls called anti cals.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Tarheel
            We have always had vocal minorities on many issues. That is not new. The trick is to not let these folks dominate our ministry and efforts.

        • Tarheel says

          Hey I know, RIck…in order to kick off the idea you and 3 of your closest fellow Christmas flower affirmers can start holding a bi annual conference and call it – wait for it…..

          T4P :Together for Poinsettia’s

          ;-)

          Just a little humor Rick.

    • Don Arndt says

      “I was again saying that their views and beliefs and practices are nothing like mine. I am not like these individuals. My ministries do not look like theirs”

      Rick,

      Do you really believe that Mohler’s, Dever’s, and Platt’s views, beliefs and practices are “nothing” like yours?

      I have a hard time believing that there is not a great deal in common between the four of you.

      I don’t mean to strain at a gnat here. But, this is pretty puzzling.

      • Rick Patrick says

        We don’t practice church discipline the same.
        We don’t minister to children and youth the same.
        We don’t extend altar calls and utilize the Sinner’s Prayer the same.
        We don’t support the Cooperative Program the same.
        We don’t report on the Annual Church Profile the same.
        We don’t feel the same way about the Gospel Coalition.
        We don’t feel the same way about the Acts 29 Network.
        We DO finally agree about Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney.
        We don’t view the ERLC’s new communitarian philosophy the same.
        We don’t view God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility the same.
        We don’t view elder-led polity vs. classic congregationalism the same.

        Yes, there are some things in common, but those are pretty much the things we have in common with Methodists and Presbyterians, too. Within the framework of Southern Baptist life, we are actually quite different in terms of our ministry practices.

          • Rick Patrick says

            I’m just talking about your typical Southern Baptist Church that does not have a formal elder board, but merely a Deacon Body and Pastor arrangement, with committees exploring various items, and a church wide conference voting on all major decisions. As Adrian Rogers put it, “Pastor led, Deacon served, Committee worked and Congregation approved.”

          • Bill Mac says

            But I suppose any church with multiple elders/pastors could be said to have a board. Our church is elder-led and fully congregational. I dare say our elders have far less power than most single pastor SBC churches out there, by design, probably even yours.

            That’s why so many of us object when you characterize elder-led as somehow being outside SBC polity. All SBC churches are elder-led.

  30. parsonsmike says

    Rick,
    See what you did there in your links?
    You are focusing on a very small difference in soteriology and the different facets of this difference and making it sound like there are major theological divisions.
    By magnifying small differences you seek to create division. You make it “us” versus them.
    But what you have failed to do is explain what it is about them that is bad for the SBC.
    What are they doing that is wrong?

    Does everyone in your congregation believe exactly like you in all facets of each doctrine? Yet you fellowship and worship the Lord together. And you serve God together. And you as a pastor care for the sheep even though they do not always agree 100% with your understandings of the Word.

    Now if you can do that, why can’t Mohler and all serve the SBC with integrity and God-honoring decisions that benefit all the sheep they serve?

    Now bad apples come in various stripes, and we can get bad C preachers/leaders, and bad T preachers/leaders, and bad centrist preachers/leaders. But just because you agree or disagree with some one’s soteriology, doesn’t mean they are a good or bad leader.

    So unless you have evidence that shows that there is a real problem with the kind of men being appointed to our leadership positions, all you have is hot air.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Let me try one last time, and then I’m leaving this post. I don’t think you’re really listening or hearing me, parsonsmike. You keep saying, “Small things! Small things!” You think I’m magnifying small differences, while I think you are minimizing major ones.

      You keep asking, in one way or another, what is wrong with leaders like Moore, Allen, Ezell, etc. Yes, I do have individual concerns with each
      (I disagree with Allen’s advice to pastors going to churches and talking with them somewhat vaguely about Calvinism; I disagree with Moore’s whole communitarian philosophy, not to mention hiring non-SBC leaders for an SBC entity; and I disagree with Ezell’s zero dollars for Annie one year while at Highview.)

      But my primary concern is not with these individual leaders *per se* but with the fact that they are drawn from the same pool—Mohler’s Pastor, Mohler’s Dean, Mohler’s Personal Assistant, etc. We are not choosing our leaders from a broad cross-section of SBC life. That’s not right.

      Let’s say 50% of USA voters are Democrats and 50% are Republicans. I would feel bad if we elected 98% Democrats and 2% Republicans, and I would also feel bad if we elected 98% Republicans and 2% Democrats. (Okay, frankly, I wouldn’t feel *quite* so bad about the second.) But the point is the same. For me, it’s not just about the individual leader. It’s about their constituency, their representation of the people.

      I feel like the Adrian Rogers–Billy Graham–Richard Land–Paige Patterson kind of Southern Baptists have been marginalized in favor of the others. What’s wrong is not the character or quality of those others leaders, but who they actually represent–when there do truly exist people of just as high a caliber that also have the advantage of sharing the theological beliefs and ministry practices of traditional Southern Baptists.

      Period.

      • says

        “I feel like the Adrian Rogers–Billy Graham–Richard Land–Paige Patterson kind of Southern Baptists have been marginalized in favor of the others.”

        Who has marginalized them? Even though one is dead.another near death, one retired, and the other maybe nearing retirement – they’re all still largely iconic in the SBC.

        • says

          Shall we start listing the faults or areas of strong disagreement with the icons you mentioned? Perhaps some don’t see all those men as ones to be emulated? Should those who feel that way go bonkers about the invocation of thier names?

          Foundations based solely Personality (no matter the personality) is not a good thing.

          I’ve never seen on this blog where a cal (or cal leaner) has invoked personality as the standard for acceptable theology – but I see it all the time from you. I do not think I’ve even seen Calvin himself identified with as you so consistently do with these same 4 or so men.

          It’s like you’re saying “if you disagree with me you hate Billy Graham and Adrian Rogers – and probably drown puppies for fun.”

  31. parsonsmike says

    Rick,
    I am rather new to the SBC, and basically interact with it through my church as we give money and send missionaries. So I confess, I dont really understand why YOU need representation much less why the lack of it is such a big deal.

    For though you cite minor things you ‘dislike’ about Mohler et al, it is the LACK of representation that you are claiming bothers you most.

    So could you explain WHY you need representation? Are these men teaching false truths? Are they leading others to teach false truths?
    How are they a threat to the SBC and the body of Christ?

  32. Bill Mac says

    Honestly, I don’t think Rick is really be unreasonable here. I certainly don’t have a problem with greater non-Calvinist representation in the SBC leadership. As I’ve said, I do have a hard time seeing how that can be accomplished without an acrimonious (us vs them) campaign. Since Mohler is so widely regarded in the SBC, I think wanting a non-Calvinist without any Mohler linkages whatsoever may be a bridge too far.

    I also think, as I’ve stated elsewhere, making it Calvinist vs Traditionalist is inaccurate, with lots of people in the middle, depending upon who you ask and how you ask the questions. But if we are going to contrast Calvinist vs Traditionalists in the SBC, I would rather see a chart created by someone from each side, and not someone from only one side. I think the Harwood chart is not accurate. I know non-Calvinists freak out when someone says they don’t understand Calvinism, but whether he understands it or not, he certainly portrays it in the worst possible light. But I think a bigger issue is that there’s a lot of diversity in the Calvinist wing of the SBC and that chart just doesn’t fit a lot of us. If I was to get real specific, I think I would lean more towards Molinism, but I’ve always just identified as Calvinist for simplicity’s sake.

  33. says

    How much money to Platt’s Church give to the Lottie Moon offering? What’s their CP giving percentage?

    And, if the rumor is true….that David Platt will be the new IMB President… could a more polarizing figure have been picked? C’mon….a strong, 5 pt. Calvinist, who said that people leading lost people to call upon the Lord thru a sinner’s prayer is leading people to Hell….and, who also said that telling people that asking Jesus into your heart is bad, Bad, BAD???? A man, who has no missionary experience….Wow. IF this holds true…then, WOW!

    David

    PS. If it is true, then a lot of apologies need to be made to Rick Patrick and Bob Hadley.

    • Adam Blosser says

      “PS. If it is true, then a lot of apologies need to be made to Rick Patrick and Bob Hadley.”

      While I too have some concerns about the Platt nomination, I am not sure what you mean here.

      • says

        They have consistently said that a Calvinist takeover is taking place in the SBC. They have consistently said that the leadership of the SBC is strongly Calvinist, and becoming more Calvinist, whenever the majority of the SBC is not 4 or 5 pt. Calvinist. IF….IF….IF a strong Calvinist like Platt is made head of the IMB, then you, and Dave Cline, and many others, who have insinuated that Rick and Bob were conspiracy nuts, who were seeing Bigfoot, aliens from space, and knew who shot Kennedy from the grassy knoll, will need to apologize for all the castigation yall have shot these men’s way. BECAUSE, if David Platt is the next IMB President, then all that they’ve said is true. There’s no denying it. When yet another strong Calvinist is placed into a leadership position in the SBC, then it’s just obvious what’s going on.

        In fact, just look at what Bart Barber says about this….he has a good word on it:

        http://praisegodbarebones.blogspot.com/

        David

        • Adam Blosser says

          You need to take a deep breath and calm down. I too like what Bart had to say on his blog. I still say that the accusations of a Calvinist takeover are unfounded. My bigger concerns with Platt are his lack of long-term field experience and Brook Hills’ CP giving. Rather than demanding apologies, maybe you should recognize that you might have allies in opposing Platt’s nomination who do not agree with you on the Calvinism issue.

          • D.L. Payton says

            I am a Trad who does not believe that there is a conspiracy taking place. However if a Calvinist is elected to the IMB post i will most definitely rethink my position.

          • Tarheel says

            Bill Mac,

            While I am not sure I agree on the age thing….because I think Platt seems very mature, has been a professor as well as a pastor for many years so I am not sure I am with you there…but I do understand your concern.

            I would add to my “wish list” that I would like to see one who has been a missionary or perhaps one that has more executive experience than DP. (but I guess that depends on the type of leader the trustees feel the agency needs – a manager or a pastoral touch.)

            But, I also understand that I am not on the selection team or the board of trustees and am not privy to the needs of the organization nor the fits they envision when considering nominees. I guess it comes down to whether or not I trust the trustees and the process.

            If I did not

          • says

            If a person of Dr. Platt’s age and ministerial experience were to become the next president of the IMB that person would have to be remarkably gifted to be successful. The person would have to exhibit tremendous leadership skills and humility to motivate some who have been on the mission field longer than he has been alive to follow his lead. Dr. Platt could be the only 35 year old having served only two churches who could be successful. He is remarkably gifted and seemingly incredibly humble.

            Not that it matters to anyone, but I would prefer a different person; one with a different soteriology. I would not feel that way every time a position becomes available but it is how I feel today about this position. It is hard to believe that some will write for days on a particular aspect of regeneration preceding faith or on the federal headship of Adam and then act as if what a candidate for the IMB believes about soteriology simply does not matter to them. It does matter; most are kidding themselves if they say it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to most of us enough, however, to be a deal breaker. Unfortunately for you guys who are wrong in your Calvinism I am not going anywhere even if Ed Stetzer is named president of the IMB.

        • Tarheel says

          Vol, in yor demand for apologies you said that I

          “… have insinuated that Rick and Bob were conspiracy nuts, who were seeing Bigfoot, aliens from space, and knew who shot Kennedy from the grassy knoll”

          I am offended…I never once said that they knew who shot Kennedy!

          ;-)

          (This is a joke people, a joke.)

          Bart has some points that are well worth considering. Like I said I agree with much of what he says – but not all of it.

          I pose this question to all; Is it possible that we all identify the same problem – but we see different reasoning behind it?

          Let me try and explain…

          Is it possible that Rick and others have identified a problem in the SBC, one that perhaps we can all agree on, that there is a problem with a “SBC boys club” ( I have a pastor friend that calls them “big dawgs”) that results in a smaller group from which leaders are chosen – basically their friends and acquaintances?

          The more I think about it, the more I see that point…but here is where I leave Rick and his crowd…. I still do not think it is intentionally a “Calvinist takeover”….instead I think the source of the problem is the small circle of boys through which every decision must run.

          Perhaps we agree on the problem, but disagree on the source of the problem?

          It has long been my contention that the SBC has always done this…the power group for many years consisted of men like Adrian Rogers, Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, Morris Chapman, etc…it seemed that all decisions/committees/appointments were in some way funneled through these men (and they themselves were on many committees and all served as President of the convention)….notice I said seemed. There seemed that there had to be a tapping by one or more of those men for any initiative or hire to take place.

          Rick liked that power group…he does not like this “newer one” but soon a new boys club may come into ‘power’ that he likes and I do not…or that neither of us like.

          Perhaps we all just need to a take a deep breath and relax.

          • Nate says

            I think that is a good analogy. As a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I can only hope that Rick is not a Cubs fan. If so, he may as well give up. :-)

            As Tarheel said (“This is called a joke”) That is, unless you truly are a Cubs fan. If so, I’m sorry…

          • Rick Patrick says

            Tarheel,

            FWIW, I never said there was a vast conspiracy intentionally doing anything. This is what you guys always say that I say, but it is not what I say. What I say is that there is an imbalance of Calvinist leadership, with the minority leading the majority, which is unstable and unfair and wrong since it does not properly represent the ministry philosophy, theology, and practices of your typical Southern Baptist. I have even left open the possibility that the convention is *accidentally* being Calvinized. I don’t really speak to motive, since this is impossible to prove either way, but I speak only to results.

            Whether intentionally or unintentionally we are becoming too Calvinist-heavy, the antidote is to intentionally balance the equation.

          • Jason Sampler says

            Rick, I would think the antidote is not to ‘intentionally balance the equation’ but to ‘trust the trustees’. Wasn’t that the battle cry of those who supported Joe Aguillard at Louisiana College when he was, to use his words, ‘vindicated’? Wasn’t that the answer by those who were pleased with the hiring of Ergun Caner at Brewton-Parker? It was certainly the response of those who favored the ridiculous policies enacted by the IMB in 2005. That seems to be the mantra of so-called traditionalists when decisions work in their favor, but when they don’t like the outcome they want to pressure the trustees. You can’t have it both ways. Either trust them or don’t trust them. They were elected by the convention. Let them do their job always or question them always.

    • Tarheel says

      He’s not from Kentucky.

      Has no Southern Connections.

      Is from a deep southern region.

      Most of Rick’s demands were met, if this is true. ;-)

      I will say though, as I said before….I truly hope that the nominee would be someone who is not a celebrity or a lightening rod for controversy in this “debate”….and as much as I like most of what Platt has said and done over the years he is both.

      I have no idea about his partnership with the CP or the individual entities…but I will say that if he is not leading his church to cooperate with the commonly agreed upon funding mechanisms – that would give me great pause for his nomination…on top of the ones I have already mentioned.

      However, I feel very confident that *whomever* is elected to this position (unless they be an heretic of some sort – which is unlikely) will not affect our church contributions to the CP or the LMCO.

  34. Andy Williams says

    I think Bart Barber makes a very good case. Selection of David Platt to lead the IMB seems unnecessarily polarizing….I mean, after all, aren’t there any good missions professors from Southern who can do the job? ;-)

    On another note, I remember when I was in college (1999-2003), that my Christian friends and I would sit in dorms, or on vans going to do ministry…and discuss the issues surrounding Election, predestination, Sovereignty vs responsiblility vs free-will…and we were all still friends at the end of it. I can’t recall a single time when such a discussion turned ugly.

    • Tarheel says

      Andy, ditto for me in that regard! We also were able to minister together and share glorious times of evangelism and discipleship together. Our “debates” spurred us not to anger or resentment – but to deepen friendship and love for Christ and His work.

      When I became the one that chose fellow team members for our ministry trips – how one felt on these issues were irrelevant to that. We all agreed on the main stuff.

    • D.L. Payton says

      Andy
      I am older than you (71), yet my experience has been the same as yours. I have come to the conclusion that some people are simply street corners looking for a fight. Some folks just like to fight. With these people one does not have a discussion that is reasonable. I want to say for the umpteenth time that we have always had Cals. We have always had Cals. This is nothing new. There has always been discussion between the two. This is nothing new. What is new is the amount of people who want to fight.

    • Andy Williams says

      I believe Rick is referring to (a) a concern that Presbyterians themselves may have increasing influence into how we do things (ie, Presbyterians on Lifeway writing teams, speaking in seminaries, serving in advisory roles at the ELRC,etc.)….and (b) the different theological and organizational things that a gung-ho Calvinist baptist might borrow from presbyterians, such as…
      -A soteriology that says God Elected certain people to be saved before the foundation of the world
      -An Amillenial or post-millennial eschatology
      -A Covenant Theology framework.
      -An Evangelism strategy that does not use the sinners prayer, or tell people to ask Jesus into their heart.
      -An eager willingness to partner with Presbyterians in ministry and education (GC, T4G, etc) , and even to have Presbyterians preach in their baptist churches.
      -A willingness among some to accept paedo-baptism as valid for church membership (while practicing only credo-baptism themselves).
      -A tendancy to organize leadership into a team of paid and unpaid elders.
      ****While I don’t agree with Rick on some issues, I can how these types of things would be unsettling…

      However, I think Ricks’ listed items are not all related so much to Calvinism:

      -We don’t practice church discipline the same. (How so, other than the fact that Calvinists have been more likely to want to do it? Is this a bad thing?)

      -We don’t minister to children and youth the same. (Other than the the teaching about Election, What do you mean?)

      -We don’t support the Cooperative Program the same.
      (Are you saying it is only Calvinist churches who are giving less to the CP…it seems to be an across-the-board issue to me)

      -We don’t view the ERLC’s new communitarian philosophy the same.
      (Isn’t there a wide view of how best to influence culture, within and without all soteriology views?)

        • Andy Williams says

          No, you are not wrong, none of them are not… :-)

          …But they are things that generally go along with it, and also things that have NOT been part of MOST baptist churches in the 20th century. If a church adopted all of those, and yet themselves practiced credo-baptism, many might call them presby-baptists :-).

          Even though I’ve found that there are really only 2 things ALL baptists agree on:
          -Credo-baptism
          -Local church autonomy
          I can find you baptists with varying views of nearly every other major doctrine, even up the resurrection itself!

          • says

            Andy, it’s ironic that Hobbs was amillennial and dispensationalism has Calvinistic roots. When it comes to church offices, Calvinistic SBC churches differ from Presbyterians as they do not form Presbyteries. Yet, you can find large non-Calvinist SBC churches who have boards composed of folks outside the local church.

            Also, Anabaptists had different church offices than most SBC churches, yet many claim Anabaptist kinship or succession. The Anabaptists of the past would probably not accept the child baptism that many SBC churches perform today. If an SBC church has a plurality of elders/pastors, some of whom are laity, while holding to local church autonomy, how does one know whether or not they are adopting an Anabaptist model or a Calvinistic model?

            Looking at various understandings of congregationalism leads me to believe there was not and is not one uniform practice. Of course, Calvinism becomes the easy whipping boy for those who do not like it at the convenience of those ignorant of history, especially, if repeated over and over.

            Finally, local church autonomy is a key Baptist distinctive which allows local churches to operate how each congregation sees fit within an ecclesiastical paradigm. When members of one Baptist church argue that other Baptist churches are doing ecclesiology wrong, they are infringing upon the very distinctive they claim to champion.

            I know we are not arguing this topic. I’m just sharing some observations. :)

        • says

          paedo baptism….along with Elder ruled Churches…not Presbyterian? And, I know you put the word, “exclusively,” in there. But, when you put a lot of things mentioned together, it does look like more of a Presbyterian Church…..which is Rick’s point. It’s been my personal experience that 5 pt. Calvinists really like Presbyterian styles and beliefs…..and, most certainly, they like them more than they’d like Methodist beliefs and practices.

          David

          • says

            Any southern baptist practicing padeo baptism wound be in violation of the BFM – and have stopped T that point being baptist. Do you KNIW PERSONALLY of SBC pastors doing this?

            It’s always been comical to me that the most ardently anti elder led Commenters never speak objection or post about misapplication rampant in SBC churches – namely single elder led/ruled – although they they tend to call them Pastor or just preacher.

          • parsonsmike says

            Dave,
            There is a difference between elder-RULED and elder-LED churches. In fact, in my experience, an elder-LED church is the same as a deacon LED church except that they call the deacons elders and they appoint other men to serve as deacons but not as teachers.
            Deacons then serve the church in specific capacities but are not necessarily teachers [though they could be] and they do not have the responsibility that the former deacon/now elder has.
            The church stills has to vote on every major decision, and can remove deacons and elders [for cause] whenever they desire.
            The people are still in control, just as much as they were before.

          • says

            As Parson said, Dave, there’s a huge difference between Elder LED and Elder RULED Churches. Presbyterian are Elder RULED.

            Also, I do know of Churches…Reformed ones….who accept paedo baptism….in fact, the Association which I belong to would not let a church join our Association due to this very thing…and, this was a church, which had been started by another Reformed, SB Church in a larger town nearby.

            David

          • says

            Mike,

            I know that…. I’m making the point that they’re often grouped together as if they’re synonymous by dissenters…the larger point is that we never see the Trads making hay about pastor ruled (which is actually single elder ruled)

            Vol,

            Y’all did the right thing! We’re i in that assoc. Meeting with you – I’d voted the same way you did.

          • parsonsmike says

            Dave,
            Each SB church is autonomous and are free to choose how they self govern. If they are happy with a single elder [their pastor] or a set of deacons/elders leading or elders ruling, that is up to each congregation.

            What it is not up to is SBC appointments like Mohler et al, or even up to a recent graduate of seminary who after being hired on as the pastor wants a different polity. He can’t FORCE the church to be elder ruled or led.

            Therefore those who are complaining loudly about Mohler et al causing the SBC to trend presby are full of hot air.

      • Jason Gray says

        Ironically, some of those claiming that the calvinisticish (see what I did there?) churches don’t give to the CP are the same ones who bypass SBC entities where they don’t like the trustee-appointed leader of the entity. Some of them are also the ones seeking to extort the IMB into making a decision that would please them by threatening to withhold Lottie Moon giving…citing their current practice of not giving to Annie Armstrong.

        So, maybe the calvinisticish churches are more faithful and cheerful giver to the CP and SBC entities. I don’t know.

        But count me in the camp that WANTS to disagree with the giving methods of some people on this thread.

  35. parsonsmike says

    We don’t practice church discipline the same.
    [We both practice church discipline.]

    We don’t minister to children and youth the same.
    [We both minister to children and youth.]

    We don’t extend altar calls and utilize the Sinner’s Prayer the same.
    [We both urge the lost to repent and be saved.]

    We don’t support the Cooperative Program the same.
    [We both support the Cooperative program.]

    We don’t report on the Annual Church Profile the same.
    [We both report on the Annual Church Profile.]

    We don’t feel the same way about the Gospel Coalition.
    [We both honor and respect and seek to obey the Gospel.]

    We don’t feel the same way about the Acts 29 Network.
    [We both desire to see new churches started.]

    We DO finally agree about Mark Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney.
    [We both agree that Christian men, especially pastors, should walk with integrity.]

    We don’t view the ERLC’s new communitarian philosophy the same.
    [We both support the ERLC.]

    We don’t view God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility the same.
    [We both agree that God is sovereign and that man is responsible.]

    We don’t view elder-led polity vs. classic congregationalism the same.
    [We both agree that a local church should be organized along Biblical grounds.]

    Rick and Al also both agree that believers should be baptized after professing faith in Jesus Christ.

    They agree on every essential doctrine.
    So why is Rick unhappy with Al and all?

    Because they are Calvinists.
    As Calvinists, what are they going to do to the SBC that Rick is worried about?

    I asked, but he just would not tell me.
    I asked again, and again.

    He said he wants “representation”.
    Are these men passing SBC laws that govern Rick and his church?

    My prayer is that Rick, and others who feel like he does, turn away from this divisiveness and use that time and energy to continue to, in a greater way, use the many gifts and talents God has bestowed upon them to do greater things for the kingdom.

    • D.L. Payton says

      Parsonsmike
      You make some good observations. However, your last paragraph presents me with a problem. There is divisiveness on both sides of the aisle. I think we would be well served if you alter your prayer to say we ALL turn away from divisiveness regardless of our theological leanings.

      • parsonsmike says

        D.L.,
        Certainly we all should turn from divisiveness.
        But praying for specific people and their needs is different than offering up a general prayer.
        As of now, I have not interacted with centrists or Calvinists that are stirring up trouble in this area.
        And, BTW, most people who call themselves Traditionalists, that I have interacted with in any way, are not, as far as I know, stirring up trouble either.

        • D.L. Payton says

          Parsonmike
          Do I understand you correctly that you do not know of any Calvinist who is stirring up trouble?

  36. says

    Rick,

    “Whether intentionally or unintentionally we are becoming too Calvinist-heavy, the antidote is to intentionally balance the equation.”

    Yep, that’s a quota for sure.

    Hey, I’m if nothing else – consistently against systematic quotas and preferences. ;-)

    • parsonsmike says

      Wasn’t it Gamiliel who said that if these men are NOT of God, they would fade away, but if they are of God and we oppose them, we are fighting against God?

      Is God in charge of the SBC?
      Let’s trust Him.

      • says

        Sometimes what Gamaliel said is true, sometimes it is not.

        Acts 5
        38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
        39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

        For example, the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Islam have not exactly faded away.
        David R. Brumbelow

        • Dean Stewart says

          David, thank you for this comment on Gamaliel’s advice. I find it strange that some build a decision making process on Gamaliel’s thoughts as if he were one of the prophets or inspired writers, speakers in the Bible. The Bible is clear that we do not have to have a wait and see mentality in determining if something is right or of God. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are sufficient for determining God’s will.

      • D.L. Payton says

        Parsonmike
        Salient question…Is God in charge of the SBC? The SBC is an abstract. God is in charge of the SBC in so far as He is in charge of each individual within the SBC.

  37. says

    Does anyone know how much David Platt’s Church gave to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering? Does anyone know the percentage that it gives to the CP? I’ve heard that it’s 2.3%…..but, his Church doesn’t fill out the ACP, so it’s hard to know.

    David

    • Bart Barber says

      The Cooperative Program is giving through the state convention and the national convention according to the adopted budgets. I cannot verify that Brook Hills gives any money through the Cooperative Program. I do hear that they give some money through the Executive Committee of the SBC and that they give large sums of money directly to the IMB.

      • says

        That’s not CP giving … And as I’ve stated not particularly cooperative – but hey William says we have no right to expect that from anyone ….so….. ;-)

      • Adam Blosser says

        For me, it matters how much they give directly to the EC. I don’t care if they bypass their state. I have read your arguments, but I am not sure what his leadership at the state convention level has to do with the national convention. Giving large sums of money directly to the IMB is not good enough IMO for a pastor wanting to serve as an entity head in the SBC.

        I am with you on your conclusion. David Platt is a great guy, and I am glad he is a Southern Baptist. However, I have to believe that there is a better option for President of the IMB.

    • D.L. Payton says

      For those of us who don’t keep up with the rumor mills, Is David Platt being considered?

  38. Jason Sampler says

    Bart,
    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that Great Commission Giving (i.e., bypassing state conventions) still counted as CP giving. Have I misunderstood this issue? I”m not well-versed on this topic so I am certainly open to correction if need be. Thanks,

    • says

      Cp giving + any other missions giving = GC giving.

      So one could accumulate GC giving without giving to the CP..

      At least I think that’s right…lol.

    • says

      As I understand it,
      Cooperative Program giving is that which is given through the state convention as CP and after the state takes their percentage for state missions, it is sent on to the national SBC mission causes.
      It is divided according to the CP budget of the state and then, national convention.

      Great Commission giving is any money given / designated outside the CP to state or national SBC causes.
      You could call it designated SBC giving.
      I supposed technically Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong giving is Great Commission giving.
      David R. Brumbelow

      • D.L. Payton says

        An observation. I am not sure these designations have any real value in our present SBC culture. What one gave to the CP was at one time a determining factor for many things. Hence people wanted to make their CP giving look as good as possible. At times we changed the terminology to accomplish that purpose. however in today culture CP giving seems to count for little in terms of appointments, elections etc. Therefore i say what difference does it make what we call it.

    • William Thornton says

      Sort of. GCG includes CP giving but is not limited to it.

      I have a piece on that this week if Dave thinks it is SBCV worthy.

  39. Brandon says

    I am comfortably Calvinist; but I haven’t always been that way. This ongoing contention between many in these camps is mind-boggling and childish. Regardless of your theological approach to HOW you arrive to the point of salvation, neither position invalidates Romans 10:9-10. Plainly laid out is the necessity to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and you must confess Jesus as Lord. That’s it. Neither position invalidates the commands in the Great Commission to make disciples and disciple new believers. I have been much more evangelistic after embracing Calvinism. One of the things that attracted me to Calvinism was that some of the most evangelistic people I knew were Calvinists. Calvinism or non-Calvinism is a secondary theological debate; and nothing more. Those who spend so much time and effort railing against the other position, threatening to break fellowship, or take their financial ball and go home, are petty and immature.

  40. Adam Blosser says

    Can anyone confirm that the IMB trustees are meeting today? Twitter chatter appears that way. Could we have a new IMB President by the end of the day?

  41. Scott Shaver says

    Russell Dilday warned that the “conservative resurgence” would eventually lead to the fracturing of the denomination along calvinist, non-calvinist lines.

    This entire thread demonstrates the man was flawless in his understanding of principles which once held the SBC together as well as prophetic in his articulation of those destructive dynamics which would lead to its demise.

    Thanks for interesting comparison of views and attitudes.

    • Dave Miller says

      That is such a common phenomenon, Scott. It really is. When 9/11 came, there was a bigger enemy and Reps and Dems came together in “unity.” As soon as the crisis passed, so did the unity.

      I still think Calvinists and non-Calvinists can get along in the SBC, if we go at this thing right.

      But your point is unfortunately very accurate.

    • Bart Barber says

      If all it takes to be acclaimed as a modern-day prophet is to predict that a large group of Baptists will eventually argue about something, then I’m going to book a 900 number and go into competition with Madam Cleo.

      Of course, we could look at all of the contention that has plagued the CBF, too.

      • Max says

        “… a large group of Baptists will eventually argue about something …”

        And everybody said Amen! I hate to drag Finney into this, but he does offer some words of wisdom for us:

        “How many there are that hold together, and yet do no good, for the simple reason that they are not sufficiently agreed. They do not think alike, nor feel alike … and while this is so, they never can work together. Unless they can be brought to such a change of views and feelings as will unite them, they are only a hindrance to each other and to the work of God. In many cases they see and feel that this is so, and yet they keep together, conscientiously, for fear that a division should dishonor religion, when in fact the division that now exists may be making religion a by-word and a reproach.” (Charles G. Finney, Revivals of Religion)

  42. says

    Like David, my roots go back to the time, when my mother carried me to church for the nine months before I made my appearance. I attended that church for about 11 years and after my conversion and call to the ministry preached a revival there. But my roots go even further back than that. One of my ancestors, Holland Middleton, was noted in Henry Holcombe’s History of Alabama Baptists as a preacher in 1840, and either he or his father was one of the executors for Daniel Marshall’s Last Will and Testament. There was also a William Willingham as one of the founding members of the Kiokee Baptist Church, the longest existing church among Georgia Baptists (established, if memory serves, in 1771). My Great and my Great Great grandfathers both had the first name William J. Willingham. Their relationship with the Middletons went back to Alabama and Georgia. That is the paternal side and not all of them. The maternal side goes back in one line to North Carolina and to Tennessee in the other. The first line is Baptist and the other was Methodist which became Baptist after a marriage and conversion. While I have gotten short shrift from some Southern Baptists, just like the saints of old (consider David’s treatment of Uriah the Hittite) or Paul’s being enraged at Barnabas over John Mark or the Elder John whom Diotrephes received not), but I am not going anywhere else as far as I can tell. Of course, they could toss me out anytime, because I do not go along with the majority crowd on women in ministry, being an egalitarian. I will mention my address on the issue, “The Genius of Orthodoxy: Eldresses,” which I delivered when I was Chairman of the Historical Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. It dealt with the problem of Shubal Stearns have a sister who, along with another lady, was one of the eldresses in the Sandy Creek Baptist Church which “exhorted the people without the slightest sign of usurping authority over the men” as Morgan Edwards said in his Materials Toward a History of North Carolina Baptists in 1771, thus, covering his backside. Our problem with the issue of patriarchy is a result of careless reading of the Bible and our own history, and it is primarily a failure to realize that the intellectual depths of Holy Scripture must be commensurate with the Omniscience God who inspired it.

    If we had had people, scholars, ministers, who studied the Bible for its intellectual depth, for its ideas and the way ideas influence behavior, we would have never had the so-called Liberal movement (called Moderates) which was nothing but the result of a skeptical reading of the most intellectual book ever written. We would also have a better organization, one more biblical than what we have today, one that the Conservatives, who have taken them over from the Moderates, are finding out that they let the heads of them and the boards exercise too much power. We would have also maintained our original eschatology, Postmillenialism as it is mistakenly called, with an attitude better able to face the darkest future we have ever faced. O and we will survive somehow and go to the stars and settle the planets for the next 20,000-900,000 years. After all, in ’94 a physicist at the University of Mexico set forth a theory for faster than light travel, but in ’93 the late Ben Rich who was head of the Skunk Works of Lockheed, the developer of the stealth fighters, said the graduating class of UCLA, “We already have the means to go to the stars….” O, and one writer who has been called the father of Limited Atonement (he isn’t by a long shot), John Owen, wrote some stuff that indicated to me the possibility of settling the planets in a multitude of star systems across the Universe, but our Lord put the clencher on the matter by saying, He would send forth His angels to gather “his elect…, from one end of (THE, there is a definite article in the Greek) heaven to the other.” Quadrillions of worlds with every one on them converted along with earth for a 1000 generations (I Chron.16:15) ought to provide enough of the redeemed to meet the demands of Rev.7:9. Sigh! We need more thinkers, people who meditate on, and think about what God says for years on end. If we had had such, we would have never given into the problems of maintaining church discipline. God grant us all grace for such a sea change.