Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities

Fort Worth
According to an article in the Dallas Morning News (here), Pastor Dwight McKissic and the other trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have reached a working agreement that will forestall McKissic's removal in June. I believe that Dwight McKissic is a godly man. I am delighted to see what appears to be reconciliation. Apparently the détente reached is one that respects the trustee process and the need to move forward past controversial decisions. Peace-loving Southern Baptists can rejoice. Southern Baptist Texan Editor Gary Ledbetter (see here) apparently has received his miracle. Although I do not doubt that many have worked toward reconciliation, I particularly want to highlight what I believe to be the peace-loving, gentle spirit of Pastor McKissic and place credit for this reconciliation there. I criticized what I believed to be intemperate remarks by Pastor McKissic, but these remarks made in moments of tremendous stress do not reflect the nature of the man. I doubt that he has compromised any of his firmly held beliefs, but he has demonstrated a cooperative willingness to move forward. Kudos to him.
Richmond
Dare we hope to see something similar develop in the board of trustees that govern the agency headquartered here? Perhaps Pastor McKissic can give counsel that would help in that other venue.

42 comments:

Wade Burleson said...

Not a bad idea Bart.

However, since Dwight has called me on several occasions for advice on how to handle his situation, and thanked me afterwards for it, then maybe what Dwight knows is already known.

In His Grace,

Wade

Bart Barber said...

Then we do dare to hope.

sbc pastor said...

Bart,

Perhaps “a tale of two cities" could more appropriately be entitled, “a tale of two trustees." One trustee with a gentle spirit that has already apologized for having falsely accusing his fellow trustees and another trustee (please note the first commenter on this string) unwilling to apologize for disparaging his fellow trustees. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Bart Barber said...

To specify further: If what Pastor McKissic knows is already known, then we dare to hope that what Pastor McKissic has already done could be done again.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Green,

I must gently, again, correct you. I have been very conscientious to affirm my love for, and appreciation of, my fellow trustees. To dissent on their actions is not the same as disparagement of their persons.

It would be helpful in your future ministry with people to know the difference or you may find someone in your congregation who disagrees with you and you may falsely accuse them of disparaging you as pastor.

In His Grace,

Wade

Bro. Robin said...

Praise God! (No pun intended Bart)

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

You said, "Although I do not doubt that many have worked toward reconciliation, I particularly want to highlight what I believe to be the peace-loving, gentle spirit of Pastor McKissic and place credit for this reconciliation there."

I couldn't agree more.

Les

volfan007 said...

les and bart,

it takes two to tango.

david

Dwight McKissic said...

Bro. Bart -

Without Wade Burleson's prayer, counsel and encouragement, I would not still be standing today as a trustee of SWBTS. Wade Burleson understood me and undergirded me when I felt as if that there was no one actively involved in SBC life who understood or cared. My wife and I were deeply moved by the outpouring of support that he generated for us. Because his experiences were somewhat similar to mine, that made his counsel and encouragement even more meaningful. It is men like Bro. Wade and Bro. Bart that lead me to believe that there is a great future and hope for the SBC. And I'm glad to be a part of it.

Bart Barber said...

Pastor McKissic,

Blessed are the peacemakers, brother. Thank you.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks for the kind words Dwight.

Bart Barber said...

To all,

I have been as strident and polemical as anyone in the past year. This I confess.

But in this particular post the sum total of what I have done is to express a wish for a peace that recognizes the right of those with differing views to speak and to hold those views, while it respects the right of those with majority views to make decisions and move forward.

I believe that Pastor McKissic has made peace without compromising his convictions. That takes a strong man. I appreciate him for it. I wish for the same resolution at the IMB, not out of spite for Pastor Burleson, but out of love for the SBC.

Why must a joy over the day's events and a wish for peace be construed as an attack against Pastor Burleson? Yes, I hope that he will be able to find the same sort of resolution that Pastor McKissic appears to have found. But that is not a wish to harm him, is it?

sbc pastor said...

Mr. Burleson,

It appears that you are once again in error. Thus, please allow me to gently and lovingly correct you, sir. You most certainly did disparage your fellow trustees at the IMB. Surely, you will not be so dishonest as to suggest that by referring to your fellow trustees as “crusading conservatives” that have a “mentality of bloodthirst” and do not know “how to put their swords in their respective sheaths” that you were simply paying them a compliment.

Perhaps your statement that “conservative cruasaders are now killing fellow conservatives” was also a loving gesture on your behalf? Moreover, it may be that your allegation that your fellow trustees, those “crusading conservatives” (i.e. spooky fundamentalists), had “gone after the head of Dr. Jerry Rankin” was meant to inspire unity at the IMB.

Might I echo the words of Brother Bart: “I believe that Pastor McKissic has made peace without compromising his convictions. That takes a strong man. I appreciate him for it. I wish for the same resolution at the IMB, not out of spite for Pastor Burleson, but out of love for the SBC. Why must a joy over the day's events and a wish for peace be construed as an attack against Pastor Burleson? Yes, I hope that he will be able to find the same sort of resolution that Pastor McKissic appears to have found. But that is not a wish to harm him, is it?”

I truly hope that you will humble yourself, ask forgiveness from your fellow trustees, and work to resolve the conflict that you have brought on yourself and sadly, on the SBC too.

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Green,

Your comment is very old news. This post, written over a year ago, says it all.

The board unanimously voted to rescind the recommendation for my removal, with no apology from me given nor one requested from me by the board, and I made both things very clear before they voted to rescind the recommendation. I continue to serve at the will of the SBC and will be kind to every trustee, while speaking the truth. No apology is needed for those two things.

I'm not sure why you feel the need to offer advice, but I receive it for what it is. I will continue do what I believe the Lord would have me do, for ultimately I am accountable to Him.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

I'm not sure where anyone has accused you of wishing to harm me. I have read every comment in this string and just don't see it. I choose to take you at your word, and like you, wish trustee IMB leadership to be able to find 'the same sort of resolution' that trustee leadership at SWBTS was able to find.

Bart Barber said...

Bro. Wade,

Your initial comment and Pastor McKissic offering an apologia for you—the accusation of an attack was never made, but it certainly seemed to be implied. In my first response, my own defensiveness added fuel to the fire, I'm sure.

Let us agree, for this one post at least, that we hope for the best.

<Barber's sword on the ground for the moment>

sbc pastor said...

Mr. Burleson,

I am glad that you have provided a link to your follow up of the post that I referenced in my last comment. In the post that you have referenced, you state that you "regret" your "choice of words" but you never apologized to your fellow IMB trustees for disparaging them. That is truly sad. I hope and pray that you will one day see the pain and suffering that you have caused and will truly work to make amends. Perhaps there could be a similar resolution as the one that Dr. Barber referenced if you would only humble yourself and ask their forgiveness (Proverbs 16:18). By the way, the only reason that I even bother to address you about this issue is because I believe that the most loving thing to do for a brother who is in error is to gently confront him about it. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Green,

It is incumbent upon all Christians to speak the truth, especially pastors.

In His Grace,

wade

sbc pastor said...

Mr. Burleson,

I agree wholeheartedly and am thankful that you acknowledge such. That was precisely my point: you disparaged your fellow trustees and have yet to admit any fault whatsoever in doing so. I truly hate to see such godly men, as the trustees that you have disparaged, treated in such an unloving and ungodly manner. By the grace of God I will continue to speak out when anyone has been unjustly treated… such as they have by you. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Wade Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Green,

No IMB trustee has been disparaged. Those who attempted to surreptitiously remove Dr. Rankin have been foiled. Frankly, the board has changed drastically in the last eighteen months. It is a very enjoyable place to be.

In the spirit of the SWBTS trustee leadership, I say it is time to move forward and put everything behind us. I am quite comfortable in my relationship with every trustee on the board, and since you are not one, it is highly unusual for you to even pretend to speak on their behalf, and I think it is best for you and I to converse about other things, including ministry at our churches, but your attempts at inserting yourself in the board matters are ultimately a waste of both your time and mine.

Since you seem to insist on always having the last word, I shall let you have it. I will comment no further.

In His Grace,

Wade

sbc pastor said...

Mr. Burleson,

The fact that you continue to deny that you have disparaged your fellow trustees is dishonest at best. Also, please allow me to remind you that as a trustee of an SBC entity you are indeed accountable to Southern Baptists, of which I am one… whether you like it or not :0). Sorry, but theological conservatives (such as me) will hold all trustees, including theological moderates (such as you), accountable. Please keep that in mind and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Paul said...

Honestly, I hardly see the difference in the two. There has been no apology from either side in the matter regarding the IMB board and there has been no apology from either side in the matter regarding the SWBTS board. Someone, somewhere, in both cases, has been in the wrong. It appears, in both cases, that the offended party, whichever it may have been, has turned the other cheek. Neither Dwight McKissic nor Wade Burleson has been removed as trustees and both boards, after considering such a move, recinded the decision. I feel like "it's deja vu all over again" and yet the two instances are being described here as if they are diametric opposites.

Bart Barber said...

Paul,

Au contraire, I am offering one circumstance as a hope for what could happen in the other. To suggest that there are differences between the two circumstances is not the same as asserting them as diametrically opposite. I am asserting that there is opportunity for the two circumstances to be the same.

Todd said...

JLG,

Your criticism of Wade for disparaging other leaders within SBC life rings quite hollow considering that you do the same on your blog, a litany of name calling and accusations. I am sure in your case you see it as "standing for the truth," but that is Wade's role as a trustee too. Just because you disagree with another does not mean you are disparaging them.

sbc pastor said...

Todd,

I have never disparaged anyone on my blog, period. You are either mistaken or are purposely trying to malign me by insinuating otherwise. It’s not name calling to point out that Burleson's theological beliefs are clearly moderate. I employ the word "moderate" as a doctrinal descriptive of his theological beliefs only, certainly not as a pejorative term. If you are to be honest, you will recognize that to be the case.

On the other hand, Wade has disparaged his fellow trustees and has continued to deny having done so. That is sad, especially considering the fact that he is a minister of the gospel. By the way, are you supportive of the leftward theological turn that Burleson is advocating for the SBC? God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Todd said...

JLG,

To disparage is to "to depreciate by indirect means, to speak slightingly about." That describes the tone of your posts on your blog. You accuse him of trying to "utterly wreak havoc in our convention" and "accomodating liberalism" and his "belief in the equal validity of various theological viewpoints at the expense of absolute truth."

You have accused him of speaking dispargingly about the IMB trustees, but I have seen no example of how Wade has belittled those he has disagreed with in the same kind of spirit with which you do. Can you give me specific examples?

(Of course, this discussion would be better had on your blog if you would allow comments to your posts.)

To answer your question, I do not think Wade is trying to lead our convention in a left-ward theological turn. I understand his stand to be firmly upon biblical teachings.

BTW, since you asked me a question, I will ask you one. You clearly affirm the plain meaning, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture. So, I am sure you would agree with the plain meaning of Scripture that instructs us to "not to forbid the speaking in tongues" (1 Corinthians 14.40), and to "stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" (1 Timothy 5.23), and that a woman ought to cover her head and hair when praying (1 Corinthians 11.5-6), and that women should prophesy in church (1 Corinthians 11.5). Don't bump your head doing hermeneutical gymnastics to avoid the plain, literal, inerrent truth.

sbc pastor said...

Todd,

Thank you for defining what the word “disparage” means. Thus, you will find it rather easy to see that I have not done disparaged anyone, but rather have confronted and addressed the moderate theological beliefs of Burleson. On the contrary, he clearly has disparaged his fellow trustees. If you would have read the previous comments, you would see that I have already quoted several of the remarks where Burleson “disparaged,” “depreciated,” and spoke “slightingly” of them.

Here is my previous comment to him addressing such:

“You most certainly did disparage your fellow trustees at the IMB. Surely, you will not be so dishonest as to suggest that by referring to your fellow trustees as ‘crusading conservatives’ that have a ‘mentality of bloodthirst’ and do not know ‘how to put their swords in their respective sheaths’ that you were simply paying them a compliment. Perhaps your statement that ‘conservative cruasaders are now killing fellow conservatives’ was also a loving gesture on your behalf? Moreover, it may be that your allegation that your fellow trustees, those ‘crusading conservatives’ (i.e. spooky fundamentalists), had ‘gone after the head of Dr. Jerry Rankin’ was meant to inspire unity at the IMB.”

Burleson’s efforts to form a coalition of moderates, liberals, charismatics, and other disgruntled groups in order to “widen” the theological tent of the SBC is most certainly an all-out effort to turn the theological course of the SBC in a leftward direction. Thus, it certainly appears that you are also supportive of “widening the tent” of the SBC. No wonder you are being dishonest about the content of my blog…

However, you are correct about one thing: I would most certainly hold to the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of the entirety of God's Word. However, I would not hold to the false interpretations of some concerning a few of the verses that you referenced. I have found that those which hold a low view of Scripture (such as moderates, liberals, and charismatics) do indeed bump their theological heads in an effort to perform hermeneutical gymnastics when projecting their ideas / practices into the text of Holy Scripture (eisegesis).

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

P.S. Are you the same “Todd” that often attempts to justify the unscriptural, Neo-Pentecostal/Charismatic practice of “private prayer language”?

Todd said...

To try to clarify my point to myself and others, I do think it is disparaging to use broad brush labels in describing another. It is little more than sophisticated name calling. Labels like fundamentalist or liberal or moderate or neo-pentecostal and the like are most often used not to define one's position but to dismiss and belittle another. The tone of my previous post was guilty of some of the same, for which I apologize.

We must find a way in SBC life to discuss and disagree about secondary issues. Surely no one expects us to agree on every fine point. There will always be the hymn/chorus debate, the election/free will debate, etc. We must define a "core" gospel upon which we cooperate for the kingdom. Many thought that to be the BFM, but agencies are adding to that "core." Outside the core, somehow we must debate theology by focussing on the issues and not the people.

I back off from my attempts to defend either yours or Wade's comments about another. I am neither accountable nor aware of what others have or have not said.

I do not expect you to agree with my understanding of 1 Corinthians 14. I do expect a fellow Baptist minister of the gospel to at least recognize that many prominant scholars in SBC life agree with me and many agree with you. I think we can all agree that we can cooperate together for missions. Now, you might not think we can, and if that is the decision of the SBC at the annual meeting, then I will take my missions money to a group of baptists who will allow the free expression of my understanding of 1 Corinthians 14. I think that will be a sad day for Southern Baptists if it comes to that.

sbc pastor said...

Todd,

Thanks for your clarification. However, I would like to correct you on one point. I have not used any “broad brush labels in describing another.” I would point you to my posts entitled, “What Is a Theological Moderate within the Context of the SBC” and “An Interesting Comparison: Burleson and the CBF.” In those two posts, I define the doctrinal descriptive of a “theological moderate” within the context of the SBC with careful precision. Burleson meets each criteria of what it means to be a true theological moderate in the SBC. Thus, your accusation is completely without merit. Other than that, I appreciate your last comment. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Anonymous said...

Todd, were you looking for this?

http://sbcpastor.blogspot.com/2006/12/more-mctrouble-trustee-temper-tantrums.html

I guess disrespect is in the eye of the beholder.

Todd said...

OK, good point. On that post, you wrote:

"That said, I’d define a liberal Southern Baptist as a person who does not believe in the veracity, the exactitude, the integrity, the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scripture. Even if he believed that the Word was inspired in its purpose but not in its entirety, he may be right of the center in regard to Christendom but left of the center line in Southern Baptist circles."

"The moderate is a person who may believe the Bible to be without error, but who also believes in inclusivism. He is a person who maintains the position of accommodating the liberal view. I believe the moderate to be more inclined to opinion than convictions.”

Using the definition you just gave, I do not agree that Wade is encouraging the inclusion of those who "do not believe in the veracity, the exactitude, the integrity, the infallibility and inerrancy of the Scripture."

You may disagree with how Wade interprets Scripture, and obviously with me, too, but two people can both affirm the "veracity, exactitude, integrity, and infallibility and inerracy" of Scripture and hold to differing interpretations on some historically unclear theological concepts.

BTW, I disagree with the assumption that only a liberal can disagree with the BFM. The BFM is not inerrant and holds no authority over the conscience, and is not a creed. Believe it or not, one can be a fundamentalist and disagree with the BFM!

sbc pastor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sbc pastor said...

Bart,

The last comment was not made by me. Somehow someone commented with under "SBC Pastor." Could you please remove the comment? Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Bart Barber said...

OK...folks...no surreptitious pseudo-posting allowed here. Absolutely none. I will not tolerate it.

Jack Maddox said...

Jeremy and Wade

You guys are a riot...and I meant that in a good way! I love you both and I certainly find myself in agreement with Jeremy when it comes to SBC polity and the situation before us...but both of you sound like the proverbial 10 year old fuss'en with his friend in the school yard

"My dad can beat up your dad"
"No he can't"
"Yes he can"
"no he can't yes he can"
"can not"
"can to"
"can't! "
"can!"

Come on guys...this post is to celebrate biblical reconciliation...it is not to be a spitten match!

Here is a suggestion...Mr. Green resides in Waco....Mr Burleson resides in Enid....I reside in Wichita Falls...lets try this. We will all three meet in Ft. Worth 2 weeks from now at 8:00 in the morning...we will have coffee and devour a ungodly amount of crispy creams all for the glory of God. After that we will spend time in prayer…asking God to bless our efforts and forgive us for our gluttony! We will then go Soul Winning together...If our great God shall grant it we will share the joy of seeing some folks come to know Jesus as their Savior! Around lunch we will then take our still bloated bodies from the crispy creams to the nearest "On the Border" where we will devour a satanically large amount of fajitas and chase em down with sweet tea...again, all for the glory of God. Afterwards we will pray together thanking God for our new found love for one another and the mutual privilege of being placed in the glorious work of being gospel preachers and pastors of God’s people! Oh yea…and we will also ask forgiveness from our shared sin of overindulgence.

Now let me set the scene here brothers...crispy crèmes, coffee, Prayer, shared ministry, soul winning, lives changed, fajitas and sweet tea...and all of it is my treat! If you two are still fussing at each other after this day then I will take care of both of you dirty dogs myself...dispose of your carcass’s , take your wallets from your recently expired backsides and reimburse myself for the grub! Call both your church’s…inform them of the need for a pulpit committee and thus recommend myself to both of them!

Now boys…If that don’t light you boys fire then your wood is wet and only God can fix ya!

I Love ya both in JESUS! I look forward to our big day!

Jack

volfan007 said...

jack...jack....jack,


its not crispy creme....its krispy kreme. please dont misspell my favorite donuts.

david

ps. for krispy kremes and coffee i will drive from tn.

Jack Maddox said...

man...I can't even spell the SBC's official breakfast right..

I am ashamed....

Jack

sbc pastor said...

Todd,

Thanks for reading one of the posts that I mentioned: “What is a Theological Moderate within the Context of the SBC?” However, it appears that you may have missed the fact that Burleson does indeed accommodate the liberal position by stating that it is unnecessary to affirm the inerrancy of the Bible in order to be a theological conservative. Thus, it is rather clear that he is a theological moderate within the context of the SBC.

Also, I am curious what your thoughts are in regard to “An Interesting Comparison: Burleson and the CBF.” Are your theological beliefs in line with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as well?

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Todd Nelson said...

Dear Jeremy,

Maybe I'm the Todd you referred to earlier -- the one who "often attempts to justify the unscriptural, Neo-Pentecostal/Charismatic practice of 'private prayer language'." (You can check my blog or Jerry Corbaley's for confirmation, if you'd like.)

If I'm the one, I'm happy to see that you've read my comments, but I'm disappointed that I failed to persuade you that it is possible to be biblical, Baptist, and at the same time, practice all the gifts of the Spirit, including speaking or praying in tongues.

Perhaps the Lord Himself will show you our common need for hermeneutical humility and for grace to cooperate in His work. I pray so.

Bart, I join you, Dwight, Wade, and many others in praying for a wise and peaceful resolution to the issues that divide the SBC.

Todd Nelson
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to even be associated with Southern Baptists because of people like sbc pastor.

Bart Barber said...

Folks,

You need to know that somebody else is posting as "sbc pastor." Some of these posts are from Jeremy Green. Some are not. I'm shutting down this comment thread.

Am I going to have to install SiteMeter or something similar to track down despicable folks who are too cowardly to take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions?