Pledging My Unfriendly Cooperation

by Rick Patrick on March 9, 2014 · 139 comments

The Convention will only deem a church to be in FRIENDLY Cooperation…which…has not intentionally operated in…opposition to the doctrine expressed in the [BFM2K]. —EMPHASIS Mine

I am committed to cooperating with Southern Baptists no matter how the convention might choose to characterize that cooperation. While I prefer the designation friendly cooperation, if my choices are between “friendly non-cooperation” and “unfriendly cooperation,” then I will choose the latter, instructing our financial ministry assistant to forward all funds through denominational channels with a scowl planted firmly upon her face.

My wife and I were there in Orlando in June of 2000. We cast our ballots in favor of the BFM2K. However, in the last three churches I have served, at the time of my call, I agreed with the Search Team to abide by the custom established by each church in the matter of observing the Lord’s Supper. For the last sixteen years, anywhere from four to six times per year, I have led my church in the practice of Open Communion—intentionally operating in opposition to the BFM2K.

I know the above rule was not written to marginalize Open Communionists like me who comprise over 50% of the convention. The parenthetical example provided by the committee specifically mentions churches who endorse homosexual behavior. Unfortunately, the shotgun of the rule in question scatters fire everywhere. If the only target is truly the church endorsing homosexuality, perhaps the use of a rifle would be a more appropriate choice.

However well intentioned, I believe this portion of the article should be removed. There is much more non-compliance with the BFM2K than at first meets the eye. In fact, an argument can be made that at least three such areas of non-compliance, when combined, are capable of casting perhaps 98% or more of the convention into my Dungeon of Unfriendly Cooperation. Without time or space for lengthy elaboration, let me simply mention the three doctrines required by the BFM2K that, strictly speaking, classify the vast majority of Southern Baptists as “intentionally operating in opposition” to the BFM2K, along with rough estimates of non-compliance percentages:

  • Closed Communion—In Article 7, not only is believer’s baptism clearly a prerequisite to the Lord’s Table, thus ruling out Open Communion, but the Lord’s Supper is said to be for “members of the church,” thus ruling out Close Communion as well. (96%)
  • General Atonement—In Article 3, “The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man.” David Allen writes, in the Baptist Journal of Theology and Ministry, Fall 2012, Volume 9, Number 2, p. 48: “The use of the word ‘man’ in context clearly indicates ‘mankind’ as a whole. The BFM does not limit the death of Christ to the elect but to the same group which is made in his image, man.” (16%)
  • Inherited Sinful Nature—In Article 3, imputed guilt is disaffirmed: “Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.” While addressing the Traditional Statement in the Baptist Journal of Theology and Ministry, Fall 2012, Volume 9, Number 2, p. 30, Adam Harwood writes: “the verbiage for Article 2 was taken from Article 3 of the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) 1963 and 2000. By approving the BFM in 1963 and 2000, the SBC excluded from the convention’s confession any notion of inheriting of the guilt of Adam’s sin.” (16%??)

Among the 4% of Southern Baptists who are Closed Communionists, we can assume that a certain percentage either believe in Limited Atonement, Imputed Guilt or both. If so, the percentage of Southern Baptists, strictly speaking, who are not to be deemed in friendly cooperation with the convention, quite possibly approaches the 98-99% mark.

Maybe this could lead to an entirely different kind of One Percent Challenge: “Be a part of the One Percent of Southern Baptists Whose Cooperation is Friendly!” On the other hand, perhaps we simply need to review our Baptist history, and discover anew the marvelous difference between a confession and a creed.

 

 

1 Dave Miller March 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

I would remind all our readers that, while we will likely continue to register our opinions here (surprise) the EC is soliciting opinions on the changes at article3@sbc.net.

2 William Thornton March 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm

If Rick Patrick’s church isn’t as SBC as it gets, we’ve got one messed up convention.

3 Dave Miller March 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm

While the BF&M is unequivocal on open communion, I think some of the points Rick makes may be guilty of subjecting the text of the BF&M to the kind of exegetical rigor we apply to inerrant scripture.

I am not sure that he is not reading his own views on inherited guilt and general atonement into the text.

I think Bart’s suggestion in an earlier discussion might be more accurate, that many of these things were intentionally left vague so that a variety of viewpoints could fit.

In short, fact that “Christ died for man” may not have been meant as a statement of general atonement but a vague statement to which both sides on that debate could ascribe.

4 Dave Miller March 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

But Rick’s use of the BF&M to confront Calvinism does give us pause as to how the statement will be used in the future. If people parse the phrase and look to exclude or eliminate those with whom they disagree, we could certainly rue the day we changed Article 3.

That is not the intent of the EC, I am sure, but unintended consequences are the danger here.

5 Doug Hibbard March 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm

“That is not the intent of the EC, I am sure, but unintended consequences are the danger here.”

This is where my concern lies. I would suggest that most of us, and that most of the EC folks, have no interest in restructuring to a hierarchical system. Of course, I would suggest though, that once it’s in writing, their intent is less relevant than the application that whatever committee/officer/entity decides to make.

6 Bart Barber March 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Yes, Dave. All 3 are at least partially specious. The BF&M is written in language that both sides can conscientiously affirm.

1. Both closed communionists and close communionists (and, on this point, even open communionists) agree that the members of the church celebrate the Lord’s Supper. If the wording were to specify that the members ALONE celebrate the Lord’s Supper, then we would have the codification of closed communion. The language of the preceding paragraph does unequivocally exclude open communion, but close communion falls within the bounds of the Baptist Faith & Message.

Key question to ask here: Do I DENY that the members of the church celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

2. Personally, I think that the BIBLE teaches general atonement, but if one can see limited atonement in the “all”s and “the whole world”s of the Bible, one can certainly see it in Christ’s death for “man” in the BF&M’s Article III. Christ did not, after all, give Himself on the cross to redeem porpoises (nor did He die for no purpose…bad pun…sorry), but He instead found human beings valuable enough to die for them on the cross.

3. Folks who favor inherited guilt would be in huge trouble if the BF&M read “as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and FALL under condemnation,” but it doesn’t; it reads “as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and ARE under condemnation.” The BF&M is silent as to when people FIRST COME under condemnation. It merely speaks of a time when they HAVE ALREADY COME under condemnation (and thus ARE under condemnation). It really is brilliant wordsmithing that takes a contentious issue and phrases a confession of faith that both sides can affirm.

7 Tarheel March 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Thanks Bart.

You’re exactly right. Adherents to both streams being discussed here can certainly affirm the BFM2000. It’s intentionally written that way. Strong, non bending adherents of reformed and non reformed soterological positions were on the BFM2000 committee (again, think intentionally so) and thy all agreed to he language.

I’m not sure why opponents of this proposal keep invoking the “if this passes the calvinists are in trouble”…. It truly seems odd though from which corners of the SBC blogosphere it’s coming from.

8 Rick Patrick March 9, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Tarheel,

I may not understand your implication, but if you think I mean to do any kind of harm to Calvinists as they freely share their beliefs, then you misread me. In fact, on the matters above, I actually am arguing against the “friendly cooperation” clause IN ORDER TO CLEARLY PRESERVE THE RIGHTS OF THOSE WHO AFFIRM LIMITED ATONEMENT OR IMPUTED GUILT.

While looking out for those I happen to disagree with, my motives are questioned. But consistently, my intent has always been merely to prevent Calvinism from dominating the convention in a disproportionate manner and never to rid the convention of reformed churches or limit their free opportunity to advance their views.

9 Todd Benkert March 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

But here is where you are in error, Rick. As Bart points out, the BFM2000 language is written in a way that allows a view of either general or limited atonement. To use the revised article 3 against those who believe in limited atonement would be to go against the intended meaning of the document when it was written.

The same cannot be said for open communion. As you may recall, the only discussion during the debate in 2000 that was not about the criterion clause on the bible, was a question about open communion. Mohler’s remarks made clear that open communion was being excluded by the language.

Thus, your point about article 3 and communion is a legitimate concern — but it appears that the Calvinists on this blog are rightly concerned about any suggestion that a belief in limited atonement is somehow not in “friendly cooperation” with the BFM. The BFM intentionally allows for traditionalist and 5pt Calvinist soteriologies.

10 Tarheel March 10, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I am not implying anything.

As Bart has explained so clearly here…Calvinists do not need protection (with regard to the atonement or imputed guilt) language that you are offering because the BFM2000 language intentionally is written in such a way that Calvinists can to affirm the language without violating their conscience.

Open communion (come one come all) is forbidden by the language but the open communion that many of us practice is not because..everyone who has commented about practicing a form of open communion restricts it to baptized believers.

In fact I would like to see the link to the stat everyone keeps throwing up about 50% of the SBC churches practicing open communion…I wonder how the question was phrased?

If I were a betting man, I would be willing to bet that most of them when asked what they mean by that would say “You do not have to be a member of this local church to participate, but you must be a believer” and I further bet many would say “a baptized believer”. This is not what the BFM seeks to address….The document excludes a come one come all approach….and I bet we would be hard pressed to find very many SBC churches practicing communion that way….and with the ones we do find…I would, if I were a betting man, bet that there are other forms of “doctrinal opposition” with regard to the BFM2000.

11 Rick Patrick March 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Tarheel,

I have linked to the essays of Southern Baptist scholars who clearly assert (contra Bart Barber) that the BFM2K does indeed exclude the doctrines of Limited Atonement and Imputed Guilt. Feel free to disagree with Dr. Allen and Dr. Harwood, but their interpretations are not, as Dr. Barber put it, “specious.” We could save everyone the trouble of competing interpretations by writing these articles in a way that CLEARLY AFFIRMS BOTH, rather than hinting at nuanced definitions that either side may attempt to claim.

Incidentally, the OPEN COMMUNION prohibition is not merely against “Come One Come All” for it makes Believer’s Baptism a requirement for the Lord’s Table—a CLOSE position although not a CLOSED one. My believing Methodist relatives could not participate in light of their illegitimate mode of Baptism. I argue (along with Roger Oldham, by the way) that the clause mentioning “members of the church” goes even further, fencing the table by referring to a CLOSED view.

Finally, the link you requested was provided in the original post. Click on the 96% estimated non-compliance link for Closed Communion—fourth paragraph—52% to be more precise.

12 Rick Patrick March 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Bart,

I appreciate your explanations, but one man’s “brilliant wordsmithing” is another man’s “vague ambiguity.” I would argue that if we want to allow two polarities in the BFM2K at the same time, we should specifically and clearly write both options into the text, rather than splitting the difference and forcing competing interpreters to see what they want to see.

1. “The Lord’s Supper is for members of the church.” You suggest that the word ALONE is needed to require CLOSED Communion while I read the concept of alone as implied by the absence of any other reference. “I went to the store to buy a green suit with Dave.” If Tarheel was also there, I had every opportunity to mention it. You may be right, but it’s vague. Instead, my “Dual Positions Clearly Acceptable” philosophy would clarify the matter with something like “The Lord’s Supper is for members of the church AND THEIR INVITED GUESTS, IF ANY.” To me, this would clearly allow for Open, Closed and Close. It removes all doubt that every option is okay.

2. It is hard for me to read “the elect” into the statement on “man.” I agree with Dr. Allen that “man” in this context means “mankind.” I don’t think the BFM drafters used “man” merely to exclude animal life. Wording that passes “Dual Positions Clearly Acceptable” muster might be: “…in that Christ died EITHER FOR ALL MANKIND OR FOR THE ELECT OF ALL MANKIND.”

3. You equate ARE with “HAVE ALREADY COME,” believing it must read FALL in order to reference a sequence. I equate ARE with “AT THIS POINT IN THE THREE STEP PROCESS THIS NOW BECOMES TRUE,” believing that your “HAVE ALREADY COME” is actually required to push the third item sequentially to the front. (“As soon as the children finish lunch, they become tired and are under the spell of the sand man.”) Once again the “Dual Positions Clearly Acceptable” Philosophy would render it something like this: “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they EITHER become transgressors and are under condemnation, OR ELSE THEY HAVE ALREADY FALLEN UNDER CONDEMNATION IN THE FIRST PLACE FOR THE SIN OF ADAM AND NOW SIMPLY ADD TO THEIR ADAMIC GUILT THEIR OWN PERSONAL GUILT AS WELL.”

I don’t know if my “Dual Positions Clearly Acceptable” Philosophy makes any sense to anyone else or not, but I find it superior to a reliance upon differing interpretations. If we truly want a wide umbrella, open it up and spell it out.

13 Rick Patrick March 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

As the links indicate, I am not so much reading my own views into the text as I am quoting Southern Baptist scholars with whom I happen to agree. But your point is well taken. Everyone does not agree that the BFM excludes Limited Atonement, Imputed Guilt or apparently even Open Communion. But at least some reasonably minded scholars do, and if so, one wonders what that would mean for the “friendly cooperation” designation.

14 Bart Barber March 9, 2014 at 2:07 pm

It seems to me that there are only two possibilities in the universe of options, both of which would lead us to pass the EC’s proposal:

1. The BF&M is a good confession of faith that accurately describes the beliefs that we wish to hold together and to use to direct our cooperative work: If this statement is true, then we should, by all means, approve the EC’s recommendation.

2. The BF&M is an unsuitable confession of faith that does not accurately describe the beliefs that we wish to hold together and which we should not use to direct our cooperative work: If this statement is true, then rejecting the EC’s proposal is no good solution. Yes, it lets your church off the hook, but what about all of the employees of every SBC entity who presently have to affirm the BF&M as the terms of their employment?

What kind of Christian shackles all of those people to an unsuitable confession of faith by which they themselves are unwilling to live?

And so, if you are convinced that the BF&M is unsuitable as it stands, you cannot simply reject the EC’s proposal and move on. You must either do away with the BF&M or you must revise it. But if you revise it to be suitable enough to use for the entities, then you no longer have any objection to the passage of the EC’s recommendation, do you?

15 William Thornton March 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Perhaps all that should wait until someone, you or a member of the EC, makes the case for the necessity of this change and explains why such has not been done for these generations.

You deserve a trophy for your frank and open discussion of the proposed changes. So far, you are the only one who has attempted to do anything other than explain the mathematics. Why?

16 Rick Patrick March 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

One other alternative is that the BFM is suitable as a confession describing generally “what we do believe” but not as a creed mandating those things that “we must believe” in order to be Southern Baptists in “friendly” cooperation. In other words, it’s fine as it is as long as we don’t try to use it like it should not be used.

17 Dale Pugh March 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Rick makes a point which, sadly, is going to be reality sooner or later. I hope I’m not around to see it but, sooner or later, someone is going to use the “intentional operation” clause to tighten control on autonomous churches. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but human nature has a way of gravitating to doctrinal politics.

18 Bart Barber March 9, 2014 at 6:36 pm

It is not possible for the SBC to “tighten control on autonomous churches.” The churches own their property, employ their pastors, determine their budgets, and select their affiliations. How on God’s green earth will the SBC tighten control on them?

19 Dale Pugh March 9, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Come on, Bart. Don’t act so incredulous. I don’t mean control over the local church’s budgets, pastors, etc. I’m talking doctrine and practice. The fact is that this isn’t written for the churches, it’s written for the Convention. I’m all for having the BFM. I’m all for biblical standards. But someone at some point will want to make this about who’s in charge doctrinally. I’m not saying now, and I’m not saying that such is the intent of the wording. But the whole “intentional operation” clause just sticks in my craw. I don’t think it’s necessary. That’s my opinion. Though I’m sure you know as well as I do that my opinion matters for doodly squat.

20 Doug Hibbard March 9, 2014 at 10:32 pm

The reality is that churches will be free, certainly—but does this set up a situation where many churches will either “freely leave” for not complying or “freely stay” out of unwillingness to change affiliations?

What of various churches that have rescission clauses in deeds or the churches where a pastor signed a commitment that he would never lead the church to sever from the SBC? I’ve seen those churches that make that a condition of the call: that a pastor may not attempt to separate the church from the SBC.

Is a church or a pastor in that situation truly autonomous in making the decision to “intentionally operate” in compliance with the BFM? Especially when those agreements were entered into in a time when no one expected a centrally required statement of faith?

Five years ago, agreeing to stay within the SBC seems like a reasonable idea, but the proposed change in the SBC puts a pastor that made that agreement at the mercy of the BFM2015 committee. If he is a staunch closed communion preacher and the new BFM opens the door for an open (or mostly open) communion, and he intentionally operates the church in opposition to the updated BFM, then he is severing the church from the SBC. He can either violate his understanding of the Word of God and his conscience, or he can violate his commitment to the church. Either way, that’s a problem that only those of us who were called paranoid envisioned five years ago–that a BFM change could result in an inerrantist, conservative, Bible-preaching pastor having to leave the pulpit of a Southern Baptist Church.

And maybe it’s not a reasonable scenario. Maybe the few folks under that kind of agreement aren’t going to really have a problem with the new BFM when it comes.

But this is more than just a “only liberals won’t like it” situation.

For now, it’s good intentions but there are collateral effects that need consideration.

And yes, I personally think that a new BFM committee is due within the next 3 years. Name change committee was 2 years ago, membership structure change is promoted this year, BFM adjustments within 3–

Consider the folks who claimed that the BFM2K wasn’t adequate to defend the Trinity from modalism. There are the questions on Communion that have come up here. There’s the charismatic/continuist/sufficientist/cessationist discussion; women as anything but preaching pastors; how many other questions at stake?

The first post on this raised that rather than adding sins to Article 3, like we did with homosexuality, shifting to support (or no intentional opposition) of BFM would deal with that–so BFM needs to be crystal clear on homosexuality, racism, pedophile preachers, and what else? If it’s going to be not only the guard post for cooperative work like missions and education but the guard post for what churches are allowed to call themselves “Southern Baptist,” it’s not clear enough.

It’s all “what-ifs,” but is that not part of corporate governance? For people to raise these questions and examine what might be? That’s what we do in business meetings and democratic polity in churches: let people ask questions, seek assurances, gain understanding. These are potential problems–if we go forward, how do we make sure not to fall into these problems?

21 Tarheel March 9, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Doug,

“What of various churches that have rescission clauses in deeds or the churches where a pastor signed a commitment that he would never lead the church to sever from the SBC? I’ve seen those churches that make that a condition of the call: that a pastor may not attempt to separate the church from the SBC.
Is a church or a pastor in that situation truly autonomous in making the decision to “intentionally operate” in compliance with the BFM? Especially when those agreements were entered into in a time when no one expected a centrally required statement of faith?”

Yes, because the church is still in charge….they still maintain control over thier partnerships, contracts, and agreements.

22 Dale Pugh March 10, 2014 at 8:08 am

Looking back over my comments I realize that I shouldn’t have used the term “autonomous.” I know that churches are autonomous, do what they want, and are free to come and go as they wish. I’m not saying that the Convention is trying to throw autonomy out the window. What I am saying is that the proposed “intentional operation” clause is too broad and open to interpretation, especially in the area of a church’s practice (such as the Lord’s Supper, or meeting on the first day of the week). In such cases the doctrinal stance would not be in question, but practice certainly would be.
If the EC is going to write in such broad terms, then expect abuses. Some here would say that I’m a “more liberal” Baptist because I’m part of the BGCT. So be it. But if the SBC is going to start adjusting its Constitution in this manner, then just go ahead and draw the lines so that I know how to counsel my church on our continued cooperation with the SBC.

23 Bart Barber March 9, 2014 at 6:34 pm

So, Rick, is your position…

1. The BF&M only describes generally “what we do believe” with regard to the churches, but should be enforced with regard to employees of the convention, who “must believe” those things in order to work in denominational employ.

or

2. The BF&M only describes generally “what we do believe” in a universal sense, and therefore we ought to stop requiring that seminary professors affirm it (our hands are going to get tired writing the apologies and invitations back onto faculty for the people who deny inerrancy).

24 Rick Patrick March 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Great question. I see your point. I don’t like Option Two above, so we can scratch that, but I’m not sure we really observe Option One either. Are there not employees of the convention right now who believe or practice Open Communion? They would not be in “friendly cooperation,” right?

I guess I either think we need to: (a) redefine this “friendly cooperation” concept, or (b) edit the BFM2K to qualify as kosher people like me in churches like mine who presently are “intentionally operating in opposition to the BFM2K.” Why not write these acceptable polarities into the very text of the confession? It would clear everything up, and for that matter, could have avoided the Semi-Pelagian Heresy Scare of 2012.

25 Dwight McKissic March 9, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Bart,

The BFM 2000 does not mention the word “inerrancy,” which I find quite interesting. Inasmuch as that was the major difference between the moderates and conservatives, it puzzles me why I inerrancy by name was not mentioned in the doctrinal statement. I appreciate the fact that the SBTC has not shied away from the term inerrancy.

Bart, would you dare tell us what you suspect is the motivating factors driving this proposal? It also baffles me. I see no possible good coming out if this, as evidenced by the various and conflicting opinions on the comment threads regarding the various post on this topic.

26 Bill Mac March 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm

That’s still my question. This seems to be a solution in search of a problem.

27 Brandon March 10, 2014 at 9:44 am

Doesn’t this statement essentially define inerrancy without using a three-dollar word most people don’t understand ” The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.”

28 Todd Benkert March 10, 2014 at 11:51 am

Dwight, inerrancy was THE issue in the 2000 debate over the BFM. 95% of the debate was over a single clause on the bible that excluded the moderate position. Inerrancy is the position described in the BFM2000. Words can change meaning or be co-opted and changed, that is why the word itself is not in the confession.

Incidentally, the only part of the debate in 2000 that was not about the “criterion” clause, was a single question about Open Communion, which Dr. Mohler explained.

29 Todd Benkert March 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

For a little history here, a verbatim from the debate in 2000:

http://baptist2baptist.net/BFAM/bfmreport.wma

48:51 Anthony Sizemore makes motion to remove inerrancy language and return the so-called “criterion” clause to the BFM.

50:05 Anthony Sizemore defends his amendment

50:31 Sizemore states, “The Bible is a book that points to the truth; that being said, the Bible is still just a book.”

10,000 people gasp at the same time

52:17 R. Albert Mohler responds

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what it all comes down to. The issue is whether or not the Bible is the Word of God or whether it is merely a record of God’s word. The issue is whether or not the Bible is true when Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine for reproof for correction for instruction in righteousness.’ The Bible is not merely a record; it is the revelation of God.
It is always a triumphant moment when this Convention states clearly its belief that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God. It would be a tremendous tragedy for in this moment Southern Baptists to step back and say something inadequate about Scripture and send a very mixed signal about our most basic belief. Jesus Christ said himself of the Scriptures, ‘These are they that testify of me.’ Pray tell, what do we know of Jesus apart from the Scriptures? The Scriptures testify of Christ.
Let us remember that Jesus Christ himself said, ‘Thy word is truth’ in his prayer to the Father in John chapter 17. May we stand with our confession making the good confession made by Jesus Christ: God’s word is truth.”

30 Alan Cross March 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Bart,

Your thinking over the years is interesting. On the one hand, according to you, the BFM2000 is not sufficient for the development of the standard of cooperation. It is fine to go beyond it and come up with other measures based on the individual decisions of each entity. On the other hand, it is something that can and should define the cooperation of churches that are to be considered in good standing.

So, not sufficient in one regard when it comes to limiting the authority of entities in any way. But, completely sufficient when it comes to limiting who/how many churches would be considered to be in good standing with the SBC.

Your trajectory always leads us toward decreasing the parameters of cooperation.

I do not necessarily disagree with you on your stance. I think that you are consistent and I can see the merit in your argument according to logic. I think that you are wrong, but you argue well.

And, I am then impaled on the horns of a dilemma constructed by your consistency. My take is that entities should not be able to arbitrarily develop new restrictions to cooperation without the agreement of the churches that they represent. If a candidate is in good standing with the BFM2000 and the rest of their life is in order, then they should be considered. I also think that churches should be able to see certain parts of the BFM2000 differently as long as we are not talking about issues essential to orthodoxy (unless we think that communion is an issue that is 2nd tier and defines denominational cooperation – maybe we do. I will be interested to hear the results of this and how the breakup of the SBC will go).

But, I do see your point in your consistency. If the BFM2000 in every regard, even Article 7, is to be interpreted as defining the measure of cooperation and good standing of local churches, then that does leave the 50%+ of SBC churches who have a differing view on that issue in a quandary, doesn’t it? You said that this issue would not come up, but you most certainly do keep pushing it – or at least explaining the validity of it.

You are being consistent, Bart. I will give you that. I am not, so, in essence, you win the debate. Your consistency will have an interesting result, though. And, I still think that you are wrong here on the substance of what you are promoting. But, I have no problem admitting that your argument is sound.

31 Bob Hadley March 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Gentlemen,

This paragraph needs to be eliminated from the proposal:

(1) Has not intentionally operated in any manner demonstrating opposition to the doctrine expressed in the Convention’s most recently adopted statement of faith. (By way of example, churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior would be deemed not to be in cooperation with the Convention.)

32 David R. Brumbelow March 10, 2014 at 9:07 am

I believe the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 does cover inerrancy, though not by name. To say, “all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.” is a definition of inerrancy.

There are non-negotiable items, and negotiable items in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. Most would put closed/open communion on a different level than biblical inerrancy (totally true and trustworthy) or believers baptism by immersion.
David R. Brumbelow

33 Dwight McKissic March 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

David B. and Dave M.,

I totally agree with you that “truth without any mixture of error” equates to, or is synonymous with inerrancy. That phrase is also in the ’63 statement. The moderates didn’t see it as a statement equivalent with inerrancy then or now. They were and are very comfortable the “truth without any mixture of error” statement. They will to this day classify or describe the Bible as “truth,” but they will not classify/describe the Bible as inerrant. That statement to them is subject to dual or multiple meanings, just as the statements under discussion on this post/thread that allows for acceptable Calvinist/Traditional soteriological meanings. So, I stand by my point: the 2000 statement does not mention “inerrancy,” And from what I have been told, it was not used intentionally, to accommodate dual interpretations.

34 Todd Benkert March 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The loophole for moderates was the so-called “criterion” clause in the BFM63. The criterion clause was omitted from the BFM2000 to exclude the moderate view. The clause was actually intentionally added to the BFM63 to allow adherents to deny inerrancy.

See A.J. Smith, The Making of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message

http://www.amazon.com/Making-1963-Baptist-Faith-Message/dp/1556354266

35 Dwight McKissic March 10, 2014 at 11:03 am

The SBC bent toward a lack of precision, intentional ambiguity, and unwritten doctrines(buried land-mines), is quite perplexing to me. I am from the old school; you ought to say what you mean, and mean what we say.

There is something wrong with the fact that there has always been some kind of doctrinal dispute or battle going throughout my 35 year history of being involved with the SBC. These disputes/debates/battles distract mightily from the main thing–discipleship, evangelism, and missions. Satan is the author of distraction, division, and confusion. We need to settle our doctrinal disputes with honesty, transparency, and accommodating viewpoints within the boundaries of Baptist evangelicalism.

I think we ought to cast a wide tent. Include both sides of the issues that we debate as within the boundaries of orthodox Baptist evangelicalism. We could then focus on church planting and church revitalization. We would start to grow again. We could cast a vision for multi-racial church plants. And we will advance the Kingdom in an incredibly powerful way. This constant battling over doctrine must cease. It is counter productive to our task. God has calked us to be the salt and light of the earth. Church planting allows us to do just that. Battling over doctrine is playing on the devil’s playground.

36 Joe Blackmon March 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I think we ought to cast a wide tent. Include both sides of the issues that we debate as within the boundaries of orthodox Baptist evangelicalism.

Those who deny inerrancy as defined in the Chicago Statement are not within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy, much less Baptist orthodoxy. Simply adding the word “inerrant” to the BFM is not sufficient because many moderates define themselves as inerrantists while using the word to mean something entirely different.

I’m glad to be in the SBC where those people are excluded. I am so thankful for the battles that you decry as “the devil’s playground” that gospel believing Christians have fought over the last 35 years.

37 David R. Brumbelow March 10, 2014 at 11:05 am

Notice I did not refer to the phrase, “truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter” in my above comment on inerrancy
.
One way moderates and liberals got by this statement is because the sentence begins with “It ‘has’…truth.” Notice it does not say the Bible “is” truth without mixture of error. Rather the Bible “has” truth without mixture of error.
Therefore a liberal could say, “Yes, I believe the truth that is in the Bible is without mixture of error.” It thus provided a loophole.

Adding the statement, “Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy,” closed that loophole. This added sentence is a definition of inerrancy.
I don’t see how an honest person could sign a statement saying, “all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy,” without believing in inerrancy.

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2009/09/differences-between-1963-and-2000.html
David R. Brumbelow

38 Dwight McKissic March 10, 2014 at 11:22 am

David B.,

Why not just say “inerrancy”? That removes any doubt as to what is meant.

39 Todd Benkert March 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm

no it doesn’t, some theological moderates have co-opted inerrancy language to a meaning less precise than is stated in the BFM2000

40 Tarheel March 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Our church has embraced the Chicago statement on biblical inerrancy to expound upon the idea, but the BFM is quitte sufficient on the matter.

Inerrancy is clearly a foundational position of Southern Baptists. No church/pastor/missionary/denominal employee who denies it should be welcome in our fellowship.

I know that’s harsh…but it’s also right and necessary.

41 Joe Blackmon March 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Inerrancy is clearly a foundational position of Southern Baptists. No church/pastor/missionary/denominal employee who denies it should be welcome in our fellowship.

That was too good of a comment to only be in this stream once.

42 Tarheel March 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

:-)

Thanks, Joe.

43 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. March 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Todd,

Any word can be co-opted. We still use inerrancy often and commonly in the life of our convention because we know the meaning. If that word was in the BFM 2000, who wouldn’t understand the meaning?

44 David R. Brumbelow March 10, 2014 at 11:46 am

Dwight,
Good question. But it seems every time conservatives come up with a descriptive term, liberals adopt it and give it their skewed definition. As has often been said, “Liberals use our same vocabulary, but a different dictionary. They’ve often done so to make it appear they believe the same as conservatives.

Used to, conservatives could say they believed in the inspiration of the Bible, and that said it all. Then liberals began to say they believed the Bible was inspired, but some more extreme liberals said it was inspired the way all great literature is inspired.

Then conservative said the Bible is infallible (incapable of error). Later moderates and liberals would say the “message” of the Bible is infallible, but not necessarily all factual assertions in the Bible.

When it comes to inerrancy (without error), some liberals say the Bible is inerrant in its purpose. Again leaving open the possibility of other errors.

So the phrase in the BF&M 2000, “all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy,” is a definition of the conservative definition of inerrancy without leaving the word to be hijacked by theological liberals. The above phrase is very definite and descriptive.

Anyway, those are some of the thoughts of one who was very involved on the conservative side of the SBC Conservative Resurgence (CR).

By the way, I remember some years ago, in the middle of the CR, when a moderate leader got very upset when a SBC committee changed a statement in their document from the Bible “has,” to the Bible “is” truth without mixture of error. He apparently wanted to keep that “loophole.”
David R. Brumbelow

45 Tarheel March 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Dwight,

“I think we ought to cast a wide tent. Include both sides of the issues that we debate as within the boundaries of orthodox Baptist evangelicalism. We could then focus on church planting and church revitalization. We would start to grow again. We could cast a vision for multi-racial church plants. And we will advance the Kingdom in an incredibly powerful way. This constant battling over doctrine must cease. It is counter productive to our task. God has calked us to be the salt and light of the earth. Church planting allows us to do just that. Battling over doctrine is playing on the devil’s playground.”

These statements are ones that I take tremendous issue with, and they’re at the core of the disagreements we tend to have.

I am not willing, and I hope the majority of my SBC agree, to compromise biblical and doctrinal principle for any purpose, not even to meet the lofty, biblical and necessary mandates of true racial diversity and familial unity.

In fact I contend we can have neither in any meaningful or biblical way without doctrinal agreement.

Doctrine is not as you seem to contend in his paragraph and in other comments irrelevant. Some battles (even those resulting in exclusion from one another) over doctrine are not only important but absolutely necessary.

46 Debbie Kaufman March 10, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Tarheel: What do you mean by doctrinal agreement? 100% doctrinal agreement in everything? Doctrinal agreement in the essentials? What?

47 Debbie Kaufman March 10, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Some battles (even those resulting in exclusion from one another) over doctrine are not only important but absolutely necessary.

Most are not. There has always been diversity in the SBC on doctrine. Cooperation has still been an asset despite. Most battles are in the name of doctrine only, but about power. Power and bullying has been an MO of the SBC and this is how corruption has seeped in.

I would rather have integrity, honesty, which is a result of love for Christ. Purity in doctrine has led to corruption and people in charge who are corrupt and cover up the corruption of themselves or others. This is our downfall, not disagreement in non-essentials. I think the focus should be where it should be.

48 Tarheel March 10, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I agree that complete uniformity is not what we are after or even possible…In fact I have stated several times that BFM2000 is intentionally written so that the fundamentals/essentials are clear but varying protestant orthodox views are not forbidden or exuded.

I have great friendships and partnerships in ministry with those whom I disagree on non fundamentals…

but the line must be drawn someplace.

In my view, we can’t and shouldn’t embrace a church/pastor/missionary/denominational employee who denies the trinity (modalism) for example, or the sufficiency of revealed scripture ( new divine revelation) for anther example. Should they do so (or publicly and unapologetically embrace those who do) they should fear expulsion from our fellowship of churches. The gospel and our mission is negatively impacted when churches/pastors/missionaries/denominational employees depart from revealed scripture and embrace false doctrine.

I am not talking about disagreements over societal laws (like stand your ground) or soteriology (ie: order of regeneration/faith), or even disagreements over continuationist and ceassationist views of tongues….I am clearly talking about excluding from our fellowship those who preach/teach or embrace “another gospel than the apostles gave to us”.

I think the BFM clearly delineates what our fellowship of churches claims to believe….if someone does not believe so…they as an autonomous body has a choice to make – and they are not being ‘forced out’ as much as they are choosing to not align.

“Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

“A little leaven, leavens the whole lump”.

49 volfan007 March 10, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Debbie,

You said, “Purity in doctrine has led to corruption and people in charge who are corrupt and cover up the corruption of themselves or others.” Purity in doctrine has led to corruption? Did you really say that? And, just who are the people, who are corrupt? Who is covering up the corruption of themselves and others? Who are all of these corrupt people in the SBC? Please tell us…..we all need to know.

David

50 Mike Rasberry March 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Debbie,

That is the same argument moderate/liberals have been throwing at us for forty years. It is a spurious argument.

Scripture is filled with injunctions to separate from those who hold fallacious positions. Each time I hear this I’m reminded of Jehoshaphat’s unholy alliance and God’s rebuke, or perhaps the Lord’s rebuke of a couple of churches in Revelation.

Our purpose should be to reach those folk with the truth, not make it appear that their error is of no consequence. Southern Baptists are tied together doctrinally. The theology which says that like-minded Believers ought work together to reach the world for Christ. Hence,the co-operative program to facilitate that outreach.

The problem, as I see it, is that most of that deemed non-essential, is indeed essential.

51 Mike Rasberry March 11, 2014 at 11:01 am

Tarheel, I agree. The effort to include churches simply because they are culturally diverse and increase the footprint with that culture is counter-productive to “seeking and saving those who are lost.”

Here in the deep South, there are cultural churches which whole-heartedly support the political platform of the current administration with its support of abortion and homosexual unions, both of which are clearly contrary to Biblical standards. Yet, we are constantly encouraged to invite those churches into our Associations.

While they might join and be in good standing with state convents and the SBC, they must agree doctrinally with the local Association. The Association is the first and most important check on doctrinal purity.

Let’s not continue to dilute our message by bringing into our midst those whose doctrines we cannot abide, simply for the sake of numerical strength.

52 Dwight McKissic March 11, 2014 at 11:21 am

Mike,

Am I to understand your comment to mean that if a “cultural church” votes for a Democrat for President, they are not welcome in the SBC? Do you realize that your comment equates being SBC with being a Republican? You are one of the few that have straightforwardly admitted it, but it has been quite apparent for years. I am sitting here in a state of astonishment and shock at your comment. There is so much wrong with it ’til I don’t know where to begin. Other duties are calling, therefore I will decide later whether or not to further address your comment. Do you think that you & Tarheel represent the majority of SBC thinking on this issue? If so, your comment needs to be distributed to all of the “cultural churches”-whoever they are-do that they will know how the SBC really feels about them. Would you be more specific in identifying the “cultural churches”?

53 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 11:40 am

I understand what you are saying, Mike. However, political affiliation alone in my view does not justify a pastor/church/missionary or denominational employee from the SBC.

In fact there are some political platforms more common to democrats that many conservative Christians might support (there are some that I do, but then find myself disagreeing with the way they want to address it)…but I would not swipe with that broad of a brush, myself so as to exclude all democrats.

For example, I would not say that those who support ObamaCare have excluded themselves from the SBC…I would however question their intelligence ;-)

However, to name two political positions that do cross ways with our voluntary confession are the open and active support, condoning and or the embracing abortion and or homosexuality..should a pastor/church/missionary or denominational employee do so they are not in keeping with the spirit or the letter of our doctrinal statements and therefore have voluntarily opted to not be in friendly cooperation with the SBC.

54 Mike Rasberry March 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Dwight,

I didn’t say votes Democrat. I said supports the platform which promotes abortion and homosexual marriage. Dear Brother, if one can vote for a person who promotes those things, he has some serious spiritual problems, plain and simple.

We are not called to “change the world” by accepting those who hold beliefs contrary to Scripture as if they are acting according to Scripture. We are called to take the truth of God’s Word to the world in order to win them to salvation. Salvation involves placing Christ first and includes standing for right. In some matters, there is no room for debate. Scripture is vague about many issues, neither of those are vague.

Tarheel,
I’m not concerned with political affiliation. I’m concerned with promoting policies which are clearly opposed to Biblical standards. We say that homosexual marriage is not consistent with the Biblical mandate, then how could we affiliate with a church where 90% of the people vote for a candidate who does support homosexual marriage? That seems to me as if we’re trying to play both sides of the street.

We ought say what we believe, and let the cards fall where they may.

55 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. March 11, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Mike,

I thought that if a church adopted or agreed with the BFM 2000, they would be welcome in our convention. Now they have to agree that they will not vote for a President or political platform that affirms abortion or gay rights/marriage? You are offended that they support this “current administration”? UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

Most “cultural Christians” who vote Democrat do not believe in abortion or gay marriage. A Black Baptist pastor is being considered as we speak for the chairmanship of the Democratic Party in Virginia; but, many are protesting his appointment because he does not believe in gay marriage.

You know that the only party that embraces abortion and gay marriage/rights in their platform is the Democrats. Therefore, you are saying that if “cultural churches” vote Democratic they cannot belong to the SBC. They vote Democratic for reasons other than abortion and gay marriage. But you want to exclude them from affiliating with the SBC because they vote Democratic? UNBELIVABLE!!!!!

That is a crying shame, but I am glad that you are willing to state what it is that you believe, under your real name, not a pseudo-name. I also appreciate Tarheel somewhat distancing himself from your comment.

Your position is incredibly alienating and offensive. Your comment excludes 90% of Black Baptist Churches from being eligible to join the SBC. They would affirm the BFM 2000; but because they don’t affirm your right wing conservative politics, you don’t want them in the SBC. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

56 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

I hear ya…but how do we know how people vote?

Merely supporting a candidate does not necessarily delineate agreement with every position they hold and ‘fight for”.

That said, I agree with you though in the case of some candidates it is cause for pause. (Obama for example – one would be hard pressed to find very many planks in his platform that are in keeping with Orthodox Christianity.)

Now if the pastor(s) or large swaths of the church membership are actively campaigning in support of or the church is funding activists for homosexuality or abortion itself then I think we have an issue.

57 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm

While I say, “it is cause for pause” – I do not mean that support or opposition of one political party or another should in any way be a standard for SBC “friendly cooperation”

…that goes way beyond the BFM2000!

58 Les Prouty March 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Mike, you said:

“I’m not concerned with political affiliation. I’m concerned with promoting policies which are clearly opposed to Biblical standards. We say that homosexual marriage is not consistent with the Biblical mandate, then how could we affiliate with a church where 90% of the people vote for a candidate who does support homosexual marriage?”

I’m not sure how that would/could actually play out in determining affiliations. But I will say that in my opinion, then in 2008 and again in 2012, anyone voting for the current president did commit sin, even if unwittingly. This is the most anti baby, anti life president we have ever had and that was on full display as far back as his days in the Illinois senate. The life issue is THE preeminent issue, or should be for Christians, and voting for someone who signaled his policies would lead to more death (and they actually have) is aiding, assisting in the destruction of innocent lives.

The WCF Larger Catechism captures well the duties required in the sixth commandment:

“The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any”

59 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Les, as far as “friendly cooperation” I would not like to see political considerations play too heavy a role – except those delineated in the BFM2000…and LIFE is clearly one of those…and homosexual activism would be another.

Amen to your larger point though, Les.

I especially liked this gem;

“… in 2008 and again in 2012, anyone voting for the current president did commit sin, even if unwittingly. This is the most anti baby, anti life president we have ever had and that was on full display as far back as his days in the Illinois senate. The life issue is THE preeminent issue, or should be for Christians, and voting for someone who signaled his policies would lead to more death (and they actually have) is aiding, assisting in the destruction of innocent lives.”

60 Joe Blackmon March 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

Mike

Any church that supports President Obama or other candidates that are pro-abortion should be ashamed of themselves. It is sad that “churches” like that are in the SBC for sure.

61 Tim G March 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I am still searching for the motive. To me the points that Bart and Rick have addressed require the understanding of “the why?” before either or another solution is valid.

Just not seeing why this is being proposed.

62 Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. March 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Tarheel,

If the SBC at any point starts taking into consideration how a church votes, or engages in politics at any level–as it relates to qualifying for affiliation–we are in serious disarray as a convention. You and Mike need to admit interfacing affiliation with the SBC with party politics is simply a horrible idea. Agreement/adoption ofthe BFM 2000 should be the only consideration.

63 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm

That is what I just said above, Dwight.

64 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Maybe you missed where I said this;

“While I say, “it is cause for pause” – I do not mean that support or opposition of one political party or another should in any way be a standard for SBC “friendly cooperation”

…that goes way beyond the BFM2000!”

65 Mike Rasberry March 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Dwight,

I have dear friends and family who have voted for those abhorrent policies. I love them and spend time with them. However, they know that I think what they are doing is contrary to Scripture.

At what point do actions begin to have consequences in this age? These are people who have deliberately chosen to support the killing of unborn babies, and the promotion of same sex marriage. I simply do not want to appear to be in spiritual harmony with them.

Would you want a church which has 90 percent of the membership as members of the klan associated with your church in good standing? I would not.

I’m amazed at the total lack of realization that God would not approve of congregations which support this kind of decision making.

BTW/ If the Black or other cultural groups do not support those policies, why do they vote for the people who do support them?

66 Dwight McKissic March 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Mike,

Two responses: 1. Some of us have voted for the Republicans since Ronald Reagan because of the Republican position on gay rights/marriage & abortion. Yet, in both cases things are not only worse than they were back then in these two fronts, they continue to go in the wrong direction. Point being, if a person voted for the R’s for these two reasons, they may have been duped just to get their vote. 2. Blacks instinctively since the mentality of people who think like you on these issues. You don’t want them in the SBC, and if you look in the floor at the SBC meetings, the feeling must be mutual; they don’t want the SBC. If you seriously think how people vote ought to be a point of membership/fellowship I understand my Black brothers more & more as to why they reject the SBC. And I know that makes you very happy. Mike they are not voting for the policies that you are concerned about; they are voting for their belief as to who genuinely cares about them & got their best interest at heart. They are voting for which Justice Department will protect their rights better, the D’s or the R’s. They are voting for who will better fund their kids public school education and historically Black colleges. They are voting for who will make sure that their tax dollars will be proportionately spent in their communities. They are voting for will show them respect & heartfelt identification at the end if the day. They are not convinced, and neither am I, that John McCain or Mitt Romney would have made any better a president than President Obama. Neither one of them would have provided empathy to Trayvon’s Martin parents, just as the SBC priced that they were indifferent and insensitive to the TM situation. I could go on & on. You get the picture. You have voted for the R’s, and so have I, behind these issues. What has it gotten us 35 yrs later? Disappointment.

67 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Dwight said;

“2. Blacks instinctively since the mentality of people who think like you on these issues. You don’t want them in the SBC, and if you look in the floor at the SBC meetings, the feeling must be mutual; they don’t want the SBC. If you seriously think how people vote ought to be a point of membership/fellowship I understand my Black brothers more & more as to why they reject the SBC. And I know that makes you very happy.”

I’m not sure we have enough evidence to imply (pretty strongly) that he’s a racist. I haven’t seen where mike or anyone else for hat matter has said what you’ve accused him of.

Accusing someone of being a racist is a bit of a trump card, nd perhaps should be used more judiciously.

I think the insinuation you’re making here is a bit Inappropriate without more evidence than we’ve seen here.

68 Dwight McKissic March 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Tarheel,

I have not insinuated it implied that Mike was a racist. I emphatically stated what Mike himself, and to a lesser degree what you have stated as well, and that is: you all are not willing to change any if your beliefs(in Mike’s case, Republican Party beliefs, in your case certain unspecified doctrinal beliefs) in order to make the the SBC more palatable to Blacks.

I did not introduce race into this topic. You and Mike did. I did not call Mike a racist. Mike said that he did not want “cultural churches ” in the SBC because of their politics.

And, Tarheel, if you are going to accuse someone of being a racist, at least be man enough to use a real name, not a pseudo-name. Please apologize for accusing me if calling or implying that Mike is a racist. Admit, I just simply said or repeated what Mike said, which is that the SBC should not change any of their views to attract other races. Did he not say that? Other races, would not want to associate with one who holds Mike’s line of thinking. Tarheel, where is the racism on my part? Prove it, or apologize.

69 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I did not call you a racist.

I said that you implied Mike was….and stated that the trump card should be used judiciously.

I’ve got nothing for which to apologize, I did not do as you just accused me. Not even close.

Now you’ve implied that I am a racst too.

I simply stated during the course of these discussions that I’m not willing to sacrifice or weaken doctrinal beliefs to widen th tent. That has nothing to do with race…it’s just a statement.

70 william thornton March 10, 2014 at 3:36 pm

No one on the EC has said anything about the linkage proposed to the BFM, save for Bart Barber, so other than what he has offered, there is no motive advanced, no agenda described, no reasons offered. This is troubling.

From Bart, we get that the linkage, the forcing of all churches to negatively adopt the BFM would:

1. Solve the problem of fence sitting Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches who have relationships with both the SBC and the CBF. Presumably, these churches have not adopted the BFM, not unlike the vast majority of SBC churches.

2. Fix the problem of continually adding specifics to the membership article, as we did to have grounds to exclude churches that “act to affirm approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.” No need to add a proviso to spell out a laundry list of churches that whose actions are so offensive as to deserve exclusion. The constitution will be brief and tidy.

3. Simplify the problem of non-SBC churches who want to give a few dollars to get cheaper seminary tuition.

Perhaps he has included other rationale in some of his comments that I missed.

There is no doctrinal issue that has driven this, unless the EC is not being forthcoming with us. All the discussion of inerrancy, etc. is completely superfluous here.

71 Jared Moore March 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

William, Bart isn’t on the EC. Only the President is.

72 William Thornton March 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm

He mentioned attending and I made an incorrect assumption. Thanks for the correction.

This means that exactly no one on the XCOMM has felt that southern baptists should have their rationale for this part of the proposal.

73 Tim Rogers March 11, 2014 at 6:15 am

Bart, had the Moderates explained their position the way you have explained the dual reading of the BF&M we wiuld still be in a disagreemwnt with them. The way you just wordsmithed this the SBCT would have to accept Moderates who do not believe scripture. Why? B/C no one has defined inerrancy. As a matter of fact the latest scholarly book on inerrancy offers 5 positions. Lets be honest here. Do you think Adrian Rogers, Steve Gaines, Jerry Vines, and Paige Patterson suggests this was not written from a General Atinement position? Yes Dr. Mohler was on the committee, but he was one voice. What you may have presented is his understanding on this subject.

74 Adam Blosser March 11, 2014 at 8:24 am

Is it not just as likely that those five men knew they were leaving it open to those who hold both general and limited atonement?

75 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

Are you suggesting that these men have essentially and intentionally excluded calvinists from the convention? Are you suggesting they did so and Mohler either 1) had no clue it was happening 2) knew it, silently went along with it and fought as hard as he did defending it?

Sorry, but I’m not sure either option is likely with Mohler…and if it were option one….you’re basically saying the “traditionalists” deceived and then used Mohler to be a mouthpiece for a document that excluded him.

Wow, seems to me that you have little confidence in the integrity of our leaders.

76 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 9:26 am

Tim,

I’d also point out that Patterson was on the “Calvinism” committee that reported in Houston…and that committee conveyed the idea that Calvinists are quite welcome in the SBC.

In fact, I think he (patterson) even said as much verbally during the forum discussion.

No?

77 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Tarheel,

Here is the issue. The nuanced argument of reading backwards into the BF&M to make it say what was never intended. I voted for the BF&M back in 2000. What about you? Were you there and voted for this document?

Here is the issue. Had the nuanced argument that Bart placed before us been presented in 2000, this document would have never passed.

78 Adam Blosser March 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

So Tim, are you saying that you would not have voted for the BFM2000 had you viewed it as allowing for both a general and limited view of the atonement?

79 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Adam,

I am saying this document would not have passed the convention had Dr. Mohler stood up and said, ‘The “All” of scripture refers to humans and of those humans I believe the “All” refers to all of the elect.’ Thus, we must look at the document with author’s intent. My suggestion is to re-establish the BF&M 2000 Committee because many are still living. Why are we debating this back and forth. If the document says something you do not agree with then we should know right now. If it means something I do not agree with then I was tricked and I am very upset over it.

80 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Tim said; “Here is the issue. Had the nuanced argument that Bart placed before us been presented in 2000, this document would have never passed.”

1) that is your take….and not a certain fact.

2) So which is it…it has to be one of these options if, as you contend, the members of the committee intentionally worded the document so as to exclude those who hold to particular atonement or imputed guilt would not be a “friendly” doctrinal position under the document….

Mohler did not know the language of the BFM 2000 was intended as exclusionary language, but the others did….and then they put him forth (then and now) as a great defender of the document.

or

Mohler knew it, silently set by while it happened, and then went out (then and now) as an arch defender of the BFM2000?

Either way, Mohler or the group of others you mentioned, acted with less than desirable integrity.

I personally believe that they all acted with integrity and intentionally worded the document so that orthodox baptists who hold differing soteriological views can exist in the same tent conscientiously.

81 Adam Blosser March 11, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Are you upset if the document was intentionally written to allow for both general and limited atonement?

82 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Tarheel,

That is not “my take” on it. Ask anyone in 1992 that if they thought Dr. Mohler believed that Jesus’ death on the cross was for the “elect”? Take to the floor in Baltimore and ask that question. I am telling you that was not the understanding of Dr. Mohler “returning SBTS”. The return that was voted on was the return to inerrancy, not the return to strict 5-point Calvinism.

83 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Adam,

No, I am not upset that the document was written intentionally to allow for both General Atonement and Particular Atonement. I am upset that, if it was intentionally written to contain both, it was not explained as such.

We had Calvinist in the convention, no doubt. We did not have Calvinists that would push their views and force their positions on anyone anywhere. In 1990 I received a book in my mailbox at SEBTS from Founders Ministries. Dr. Lewis Drummond was President at the time. On Fridays instead of Chapel we would have “Ask the President” sessions. On the Friday after the books were in our mailboxes Dr. Drummond was asked about this particular book being placed in the mailboxes. He refuted the books and said he had dealt with the matter. When asked further about it, he confessed he was a Calvinist and that his greatest hero was Dr. Charles Spurgeon. He also reminded us that he studied Charles Finney and was a proponent of the altar call. Dr. Drummond then stated the SBC was a General Atonement convention and the people in the pew were the ones that made it that way.

Thus, from the early 1990′s I can assure you that even our Calvinist leaders would have affirmed the BF&M was a General Atonement document. So, if this 2000 document was written from a viewpoint that depending on how one would spin it, one could go either way. Yea I would be upset because that document would have then been presented in a dishonest way.

84 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Ok…so you are saying, just as I contended, that the BFM is exclusively a “general atonement document”…. Thanks for answering that…now its clear I’m not misrepresenting you at all.

So on to this….which is it?

it has to be one of these options if, as you contend, the members of the committee intentionally worded the document so that those who hold to particular atonement or imputed guilt would not be a “friendly” doctrinal position under the document….and therby excluded by the language of the BFM2000.

Mohler did not know the language of the BFM 2000 was intended as exclusionary language with regard to his point if view, but the others did….and then they put him forth (then and now) as a great defender of the document.

or

Mohler knew it, silently set by while it happened, and then went out (then and now) as an arch defender of the BFM2000?

Either way, Mohler and/or the group of others you mentioned, acted with less than desirable integrity.”

85 Dwight McKissic March 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Bro. Tim,

Amen and Amen to your current comment # 76 regarding the lack if transparency if the document intentionally was designed to affirm both general and particular atonement. I agree with you 100 % on this one.

86 Adam Blosser March 11, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Dwight,

Let’s be clear. I am not sure anyone is arguing that the document was designed to affirm both general and limited atonement. We are arguing that it was not designed to exclude, and does not exclude, either general or limited atonement. Notice the subtle difference.

87 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Tarheel,

I do not know anyone who is saying Calvinists are not welcome. I am saying the BF&M is a document that says, “here is what we believe. Anyone is free to be part of who we are but they understand this is what the majority of the SBC believe.” No one is into kicking anyone out. That is your take on this and I would appreciate you stop trying to accuse me of this whenever I disagree with something you may not like.

88 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Tim said;

“No one is into kicking anyone out. That is your take on this and I would appreciate you stop trying to accuse me of this whenever I disagree with something you may not like”

It seems to me that You and Rick are making the point that the BFM language excludes Calvinist beliefs, are you not? Further you are saying that if this proposal passes it would mean that all who hold Calvinist views would then be “operating in opposition”. Am I misreading you and Y’all are not saying that?

IF (and I do not think it is) your contention is true, and the proposal passes – then any Calvinist within the convention who holds to particular atonement or imputed guilt is holding positions that are in violation of the confession we as Southern Baptists voluntarily align ourselves with, that is the argument y’all are making, right?

I do not mean to represent you.

89 Adam Blosser March 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Tim,

Good point regarding the prior versions of the document. The phrase in question, “and in that Christ died for man,” is not new to the 2000 document. It is clear that either a) Dr. Mohler did not and does not feel this phrase excludes his view of the atonement and could thus affirm it and defend the document with this phrase in it or b) Dr. Mohler has acted in a dishonest way by affirming the document in 2000 and continuing to affirm it today without actually agreeing with it. Which is it? And if the document is viewed by men like Page Patterson to exclude limited atonement, why doesn’t he take action against Dr. Mohler? Is he lacking integrity as well?

90 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Adam,

You are not going to get me to answer your questions because it is one on the level of asking if I quite beating my wife. I lose either way I answer the question.

Now if the phrase “and in that Christ died for man” is the phrase that we are hung up on then we are pulling a phrase out of context to debate it. Certainly that phrase was not placed in this document to delineate between humans and animals. It is a push on the absurd to debate it that way. The phrase in debate is speaking about the fall of man was brought about. If one remains in the context of the entire document one has to go to the article that says Jesus–Son of God–where there is a phrase that says; “He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.” We are not speaking of one man we are speaking of the human race which is defined by “men”.

Now, if this document was written with the understanding that people would be able to read it and interpret it any way they wanted then we have a serious problem. The preamble was written and explained that the committee “respects and celebrates the heritage of the Baptist Faith and Message, and affirms the decision of the Convention in 1925 to adopt the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, “revised at certain points and with some additional articles growing out of certain needs . . . .” This clearly tells us the committee was looking at this from a less than Particular Atonement perspective.

Having said that, let me give you the problem with not affirming this document is written from a General Atonement perspective. The following was written by one who served on the “Calvinist Committee “There was nothing in this I disagreed with. Christ did make a full atonement for our sins. Now I knew that some would be affirming this, thinking Christ also made a full atonement for the sins of the non-elect, but they also believed this. I have never thought that affirming definite atonement is necessary for salvation. Though I think it is biblical, I think I understand how many friends on this very point may believe in substitution as fully as I do, affirm that Christ’s death is the only way to salvation, and yet think that in some way there is a secondary, non-salvific effectiveness latent in Christ’s death, even worked by it, that is for all people. I am not persuaded that this opinion is correct. I will not have that opinion preached from our pulpit. We will not have an elder who wants to make a point of this. But I have come to think that our congregation is both richer and more useful by not requiring agreement on this point at the time of entering our congregation. And the New Hampshire Confession gives us the freedom to have a wider evangelical membership, who then are led and taught by those who, like myself, have a more clearly and consistently biblical understanding of the atonement.”

That is the reason I am insistent and even dogmatic that we acknowledge the BF&M is a General Atonement document.

91 Bob Cleveland March 11, 2014 at 11:10 am

I still have to wonder what problem they’re trying to solve with these changes. Too many messengers? Too little money? Heretical churches stirring up trouble?

What?

No longer than I’ve been attending the conventions .. about 8 years .. I haven’t seen problems that these changes would solve. And from attendance, and results in the SBC in general, I’d say there’s something a whole lot more wrong in the SBC than churches which follow 1 Corinthians 11:28, and invite each person to examine himself, with reference to communion.

A little like certain federal inspectors. If they don’t find something wrong, somebody will think they’re not doing their job.

92 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Tim,

“That is not “my take” on it. Ask anyone in 1992 that if they thought Dr. Mohler believed that Jesus’ death on the cross was for the “elect”? Take to the floor in Baltimore and ask that question. I am telling you that was not the understanding of Dr. Mohler “returning SBTS”. The return that was voted on was the return to inerrancy, not the return to strict 5-point Calvinism.”

So that’s your answer? Mohler us dishonest.

Are you seriously saying that no one knew that Mohler was a Calvinist when he was elected as president of SEBTS? I’m gonna have’ta call poppycock on that one.

93 Debbie Kaufman March 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Tim: Mohler was Calvinist then, did not hide it, had been writing about it for some time. Everyone knew where Mohler stood on the subject of election. Tarheel is quite right on this. No one cared at the time. In fact it was you and others who when I mentioned the fact that Calvinists would be your next target, said no, no, no and David W at the time claimed to be Calvinist over and over. Of course those who were or knew what Calvinists believe knew he wasn’t.

94 volfan007 March 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Debbie,

I’m not even gonna respond to this comment. I’m just gonna shake my head, and say, “uh, uh, uh…good gracious.”

David W.

95 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Debbie,

Are you saying David W claimed to be a Calvinist?

96 Debbie Kaufman March 12, 2014 at 3:29 am

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying Tim. More than once, until you began to go after them, then he changed his tune. As I said, I for one knew he wasn’t.

David: If you can’t remember what you said 6 or so years ago, I can’t help you. But you claimed this several times.

97 Debbie Kaufman March 12, 2014 at 3:30 am

David: In fact you claimed it on this very site.

98 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 12, 2014 at 7:11 am

Debbie,

You need to produce the goods. I have never known David W to claim to be a Calvinist. I have seen him say he could agree with some of the points of Calvinism, like Perseverance of the Saints etc, but I have never known him to claim to be a Calvinist. He did have Tom Nettles in seminary when he attended Mid-America but he has never claimed to have accepted Calvinism. Now Peter Lumpkins on the other hand has been a Calvinist in the past. But like Appolos someone took Peter and “showed him a better way”.

99 Joe Blackmon March 12, 2014 at 8:21 am

But like Appolos someone took Peter and “showed him a better way”.

#iseewhatyoudidthere #iseewhatyoudid LOL

Peter….was a 5 pointer? For realz???

100 Debbie Kaufman March 12, 2014 at 9:17 am

That was the problem and how I knew he was not Tim, David never believed differently than he does right now, but he claimed the name Calvinist. I never understood that.

101 volfan007 March 12, 2014 at 10:45 am

Okay, I guess I’m gonna have to answer now….good grief. Debbie, I have NEVER claimed to be a 5 pt Calvinist, and I have never been a 5 pt. Calvinist. Never. I have never claimed to be a 4 pt. Calvinist, nor have I ever been a 4 pt. Calvinist….NEVER.

Now, back in the day, before I grew to understand things a little bit better, I did say that I guess I’m “Calvinistic”….back when I accepted the philosophical paradigm that someone had to either be a Calvinist or an Arminian….that there was nothing else to be… you either had to be one, or the other…..so, I have said(in the past) that I guess I’m “Calvinistic” in my theology, because I believe in “once saved, always saved,” and I believe in salvation by grace thru faith, because I’m sure not a Pentecostal, or Church of Christ Arminian……but, most of the time, I just told people that I was a Bible Believing Southern Baptist kind of Christian, because I knew that I was somewhere in the middle of these 2 extremes in Christian thinking…..of course, I’ve since learned that I don’t have to be pigeon holed into one of these 2, philosophical thoughts on the Bible….and, I did say that I seriously considered becoming a Calvinist, back in my Seminary days, because…as Tim said above….I had Dr. Nettles in Seminary, and some of his disciples tried to convert me to Calvinism…I mean, they really tried to convert me….so, I read their books….had long discussions with them…and, I seriously considered becoming a Calvinist….BUT, I just could not see how Calvinism could be true due to what the Bible taught. And, I NEVER became a Calvinist.

So, maybe you are thinking of these things from the distant past…. or, maybe you’re getting me confused with Peter Lumpkins, or Robin Foster, or Ronnie Rogers….they all used to be Calvinists…. I don’t know….but, I have never claimed to be a 5 pt. Calvinist. In fact, I do remember you taking me to task about me claiming to seriously consider becoming a Calvinist….I do seem to remember you doubting that I ever sincerely and seriously considered being a Calvinist, and implying that I was lying about that…but, of course, you don’t know me, and you can’t read my mind….at least, I don’t think you can read my mind….can you? If so, what am i thinking, right now?

Debbie, also, I am NOT for kicking the Calvinist out of the SBC. You’re just missing it all, on every point. I have stood against the Calvinist takeover of the SBC. I do not want aggressive Calvinism to take over the SBC. I absolutely don’t want people in power, who think that all of us, Non Calvinists, are not preaching the true Gospel, or that people, who aren’t Calvinists, shouldn’t be teaching in the Seminaries, or being missionaries, etc. I do stand against that. And, I have stood for sound doctrine, in the past. And, I will continue to stand for sound doctrine….and, I do not want the SBC to go away from sound doctrine….and, I want the SBC to remain solidly Baptist in our beliefs, because I believe that Baptist beliefs line up with the Bible’s teachings. So, yes, I have stood for that, and I will continue to stand for that.

I believe it’s what the Lord would want me to do. And, everytime I try to sit back, and not participate in conservations like this, or in other settings, I just can’t hold back. It’s like a fire in my bones. I have to encourage the SBC, and the TN Bapt. Convention, and my local Association, and my local Church, to stay true to the clear, black and white, teachings of the Bible. I want us to stick with the clear teachings of Scripture like a bulldog on a bone….and, give liberty, or freedom, in the gray areas of the Bible….in the areas that are not so clear.

David Worley

102 volfan007 March 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Joe,

Yes, Peter Lumpkins used to be a Calvinist…a very strong Calvinist.

David

103 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Dwight said;

Bro. Tim,
“Amen and Amen to your current comment # 76 regarding the lack if transparency if the document intentionally was designed to affirm both general and particular atonement. I agree with you 100 % on this one.”

You two do know that it’s common understanding that the BFM2000 was intentionally written so that those who are orthodox yet differ on numerous points could conscientiously affirm it?

This can’t be a news flash to you??

104 Dwight McKissic March 11, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Tarheel,

It’s a newsflash to me that Calvinist theology is embedded in this document. It goes back to what I said earlier to Todd Benkert: words can be co-opted. And Tim G. is right: motives must be understood in order to accurately interpret & evaluate the new proposal and the BFM 2000 itself. I never understood that the 2000 document was designed to accommodate Calvinist theology.

105 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm

It doesn’t promote or accommodate it..and neither does it forbid it.

Just like it neither promotes or accommodates, nor forbids speaking in tongues.

It allows for varying opinions and holdings on 2nd and 3rd level issues….

This can’t be a news flash. It really can’t…can it?

106 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm

I use the word accommodate because you did….I actually think Calvinist views can be conscientiously held by those who affirm the baptist faith and message.

107 Adam Blosser March 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Again, no one is arguing that Calvinist theology is embedded in the document. We are arguing that Calvinist theology is not excluded by the BFM. There is a difference. It is subtle, but a difference nonetheless.

108 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm

B-I-N-G-O, adam blosser!

109 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Adam,

And we call that here in NC–Double speak.

110 Debbie Kaufman March 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

Yep. In fact all the BFM’s throughout SBC history has accommodated both. Both have existed since the beginning of the SBC.

111 Tarheel March 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

Yep..Debbie….you’re right.

But some people can’t or won’t see past thier own little view of the world.

112 Tim G March 11, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Folks,
Without knowing the motive this discussion is going no place no how! :-)

Transparency is a MUST or else speculation and confusion will rule the day.

113 Tarheel March 12, 2014 at 9:27 am

Tim,

Maybe someone else will ask you to flesch out your comment; “we have decision to make” about those with Calvinist beliefs in the convention.

However, by then you’ll propbably have time to wordsmith your answer probably. You keep contending you’re not about ridding the convention of Calvinists but its clear tha is your preference.

I know that’s the real reason you’re playing this little game, and it shows that you’re not standing behind your own words….and you even use your real name. ;-)

114 Rick Patrick March 12, 2014 at 9:57 am

While I’ve been busy with a little thing called ministry, the undertow has taken this conversation under water through inerrancy definitions, awareness of Mohler’s Calvinism, Republicans and Democrats, and the history of David Worley’s soteriology.

Just to clarify, the focus I intended was simply this: (1) According to the interpretation of several Southern Baptist scholars, whose links to theological journal articles were cited, the language of the BFM2K affirms Closed Communion, General Atonement and Inherited Sinful Nature; (2) possibly 98-99% of our convention’s churches “intentionally operate in opposition” to these doctrines; (3) to deny such churches the label “friendly cooperation” is more than a bit insulting; and (4) if the BFM2K desires to permit under its umbrella these three polarities (Open vs. Closed Communion, Limited vs. General Atonement, and Inherited Sinful Nature vs. Imputed Guilt) then instead of crafting “vague wording each side must waste breath arguing in order to claim” it should be reworded in favor of “crystal clear language expressly accepting that either view is acceptable” in order to affirm the “friendly cooperation” of those on both sides of the debate.

115 Tarheel March 12, 2014 at 10:14 am

Do you desire “crystal clear language” within the document with regard every issue debated by southern baptists?

Or can you accept that the document in it’s current form, and by design, accommodates orthodox specifics under the general doctrinal headings?

The BFM 63 was much longer and detailed than the BFM25 as was the 2000 much longer the 63 ….

How long would your suggestion make it?

What about varying degrees of soteriology….what about Molinism?

It seems that attempting to list every acceptable position would bring about lots of words – but in the end likely leave out some positions as well.

Do we want to be constantly adding acceptable positions to our document every time we have “hot debate” going on?

Not long ago there was a puch for “claryfying” language on the use of tongues….it seems to me that reason that deisre died out, or at least turned to a whimper, was because the argument was convincingly made that the BFM intentionally leaves such issues to individuals consciences under the authority of scripture.

Why is that not enough here?

116 Tarheel March 12, 2014 at 10:51 am

Also, who gets to set the “clarity”?

What if a team is put together that “clarifies” to document in a way you strongly oppose, and you vote against it, but it passes the floor? That could happen for you or me.

Speaking of putting alot of power in the hands of a few.

I truly think what you’re suggesting is dangerous….in fact wouldn’t it turn our BFM into more of a SBC dreaded “creed” dictating the only acceptable view(s) to be held by southern baptists?

117 Rick Patrick March 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm

No, it would simply replace “Vague Arguable Interpretations” with “Clear, Unambiguous Acceptance.” It would contribute to peacemaking.

With regard to glossolalia, for example, we could simply write: “The Holy Spirit speaks supernaturally. Regarding the gift of an unknown language, the view that such tongues have ceased in our day is acceptable, as is the view that it continues.”

See? No arguing anymore. Both sides expressly affirmed.

118 Tarheel March 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

No arguing anymore?

Bawahahahahhaa…..

How long have you been an Southern Baptist?

I think the current umbrella approach (with perimeters) is better one….inevitably when we start naming doctrinal positions we will forget one and then we got this all over again.

Kinda like when we pastors start thanking people individually by name in public for putting an event together…someone almost always unintentionally gets left out.

In other words am not sure we can foresee what the ‘next” hot debate will be over.

119 Dwight McKissic March 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Rick,

Amen!!!!’ Let it be Lord, Let it be.

120 Tarheel March 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Dwight, you have said that consider cessasionaism to be unorthodox and called those how hold to it as being unorthodox…I find it disconcerting that you would now support the statement Rick suggested that overtly calls it biblical.

Same observation with regard to Rick re: Particular atonement and imputed guilt. You have said these positions are not in your view at all biblical – yet you want them plainly written as acceptable in our confession?

Color me confused.

Because it seems to me that you resist the idea that the current BFM does not disallow the holding of the position (you oppose) but are completely fine with the BFM being changed to specifically endorse doctrine(s) you abhor.

Yea, color me confused.

121 parsonsmike March 12, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Tarheel,
I consider what I believe to be Biblical.
If it isn’t what I believe and is kinda against what I believe, I would say that it isn’t Biblical.
But once i believed in a general atonement.
Now i don’t.

And i am sure that when we no longer need the sun to light our world, I’ll find out that I was wrong or incomplete in many areas of doctrine.

So I support the BFM2000 that allows for different beliefs than mine because life isn’t about me, it is about the Lord, and these that believe differently than me, here or there, are still my siblings-in–Christ, and who knows, maybe in the end, they will be closer than I to what is true!

But it is the Lord who saves His flock, keeps His flock, and delivers His flock. It is the Spirit who is responsible to lead and guide the flock into all truth. So from the looks of things, it looks like He is nurturing us along so that when all things are complete, we will say, “Ah, I see now!!!”
Until then, fight the good fight, and live at peace, especially with those you disagree with that are also our brothers.

-peace,
mike

122 Rick Patrick March 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Tarheel,

Let me try to resolve your confusion. Perhaps it will help you to understand my argument if you reconsider the false charge at times attributed to me and others that we want to rid the convention of Calvinists, which is simply untrue. I do, however, want to prevent Calvinists from influencing our entities and leadership in a manner disproportionate to their representation among Southern Baptists.

I realize the position is a bit complex, so let me summarize the three step argument. First, I agree with the interpretations of (a) Roger Oldham that the BFM2K requires Closed Communion, (b) David Allen that the BFM2K requires General Atonement, and (c) Adam Harwood that the BFM2K requires Inherited Sinful Nature. Second, since the “friendly cooperation” designation can only apply to one or two percent of Southern Baptists, I suggest the abandonment of such a name calling clause. Third, in order to avoid needless confusion in crafting the language of our BFM2K, when two or more doctrinal positions are within the umbrella of acceptable Southern Baptist belief, I propose that a wide tent can best be erected NOT by a VAGUE description each side must interpret and claim for themselves, but RATHER by a CLEAR description of each acceptable view, thus affirming that Southern Baptists holding to either one should be considered in “friendly cooperation” with the SBC.

Tarheel,

There is a difference between (a) wanting to POSITIVELY AFFIRM in the BFM doctrines I do not personally hold, and (b) wanting to EXPRESSLY PERMIT in the BFM the full range of theological positions acceptable in order to consider individuals and organizations in “friendly cooperation” with the SBC. Clearly, I only favor the latter. To suggest I favor the former, one must put words in my mouth that simply are not there.

123 Tarheel March 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Mike,

“So I support the BFM2000 that allows for different beliefs than mine because life isn’t about me, it is about the Lord, and these that believe differently than me, here or there, are still my siblings-in–Christ, and who knows, maybe in the end, they will be closer than I to what is true!”

I agree. Its not me who is wanting to change the document because I think it already allows for you, Rick, and me to conscientiously affirm the BFM2000 although we hold different positions on the ‘finer points” of the doctrines that unite us.

I am confused because some here seem to want the document to not only allow for these differences under the umbrella of orthodox theology but they want to change the document to clearly affirm doctrines they say they disagree with and think to be unbiblical.

That notion just makes no sense to me….and like I said we would be opening the door to endless revisions as we will constantly need to be adding ‘acceptable’ held positions specifically by name each time. Also, should such a proposal come to fruition on the floor of a convention it would CERTAINLY pit brother against brother and sister against sister in that many of us would have a hard time supporting a document that clearly affirmed a theological positon(s) that they believe to be unbiblical.

For example the way the document is worded now, the BFM2000 leaves room for those who hold to differing finer soteriological points but agree that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. While Reformed and non Reformed people disagree regarding whether regeneration precedes faith or faith precedes regeneration – - – its all good, and we can remain united for the cause of the gospel…why?

Because we all affirm the basic biblical principle of salvation by grace alone through faith alone…that is the essential doctrine.

Besides how exactly would we word a clause on regeneration as to specifically POSITIVELY AFFIRM both views regarding regeneration without looking like absolute idiots?

The current BFM is not designed to overtly affirm the finer points of doctrine, but to affirm the concepts, the larger umbrella if you will that unites us under one general theology.

Its negative document in that it outlines the matters we cannot deny.

To further attempt to make my point, the example Rick gave above about tongues…does not take into account all the views on the issue that are held by Southern Baptists…does it? See, there’s the problem…he has outlined in his solution only 2 positions as being acceptable regarding tongues when its clear that the issue is more nuanced than that….I see that as only creating more confusion and angst…not less.

Rick,

I feel like I need to ask this so we can get to the heart of the matter.

Is there some reason, Rick that you want to positively affirm in the BFM doctrines you strongly oppose?

124 Debbie Kaufman March 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm

So I support the BFM2000 that allows for different beliefs than mine because life isn’t about me, it is about the Lord,

Amen.

125 Les Prouty March 12, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Tarheel (or someone else),

I’ve been out of SBC pastoring life for some years now, though I still have family in the SBC and have several SB church partners for my ministry in Haiti. So I’m wondering out loud really how a statement of faith in the SBC would/could really work.

For example, is it not true that the BFM is not required to be affirmed by individual churches? And not even by pastors? So is it true that only denominational EEs are required to affirm the BFM?

So how would a statement of faith (say the BFM 2000) be practically enforced? Who would enforce it? What would the mechanism be?

FYI, my church, the PCA, doesn’t really require congregations to affirm the WCF and catechisms. The requirement is subscription to the WCF for ministers and other officers of the church (elders and deacons). Members of PCA churches are not required to affirm or subscribe to our confessions and catechisms to be members.

Enforcement on ministers and other officers is by the presbytery (geographic groups of churches, the ministers and ruling elders making up the voting members of said presbytery). If a minister is thought to be out of accord with the confession, his fellow presbyters determine if that is so and act accordingly.

So, how would this work in the SBC?

Les

126 Dave Miller March 12, 2014 at 5:18 pm

The “unfriendly cooperation” aspect is becoming more clear here gentlemen.

127 Christiane March 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm

+1

128 parsonsmike March 12, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Tarheel,
with all that personal info, I have narrowed down your identity to one of just over 4000 people. I’m closing in!!!

129 Dave Miller March 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

Yes. Without any mixture of error does say the same as inerrant.

130 Joe Blackmon March 10, 2014 at 2:13 pm

It does? I thought it was the moderate’s way of being able to say “What is true in scripture is really true and is not contaminated by the errors in scripture”.

131 Tarheel March 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Question… I wonder….

will this provision deal with state conventions within our denomination where the leaders have publicly rejected the idea of inerrancy (calling it an evil word and notion) and have joined themselves with groups that have done the same?

132 Mike Rasberry March 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Dave, It certainly means that to those who are not inclined to wrest words to accommodate their own purposes. I recall the then President of Southern Seminary using the verbiage of the BF&M to justify the position of several of his faculty during the 1970′s.

Let’s face it the primary reason for revisions to the BF&M is because some issues needed explanation in light of those who abused the ambiguity they perceived.

133 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) March 11, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Mike,

Bingo!!! And we find ourselves once again at that point of ambiguity that is perceived within the BF&M. The reason we have always had Calvinists in the convention is due to the fact it never was an issue. Particular Atonement was not an issue because everyone was busy trying to win people to Jesus. Then we began to hear rumblings “easy believing”. Next thing you know we are in the order of salvation debate. Then we find we have a seminary that will not place someone in the theology department that affirms general atonement. Then we find that this seminary if filling all the SBC executive posts with their theology department heads. Now we have a decision to make.

134 Tarheel March 11, 2014 at 9:30 pm

A decision?

What decision? Would you please explain to us the decision that you think must be made?

135 parsonsmike March 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Tim,
Click on his name.
You get his blog.
“My wife, Diane, and I have three children; two boys & one girl; and thirteen grandchildren; eleven girls, and two boys. We moved to Kemper County Mississippi when I became Pastor of Bay Springs Baptist Church, Porterville, MS on February 2, 2009.”

136 Les Prouty March 11, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Tim,

It’s right above you. Mike supplied it for you.

137 Les Prouty March 11, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Tim, sorry. I see you were asking Tarheel, not Mike. Sorry about that.

138 Les Prouty March 12, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Tarheel,

If you are willing, shoot me an email. I’d like to communicate off blog. And if I ever know your identity, other than the plethora of info you’ve already shared, it will be between us only brother.
Les at haitiorphanproject dot org

139 parsonsmike March 12, 2014 at 9:42 pm

methinks an edit happened and i got caught in the middle

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