Friday, June 1, 2007

Dr. Malcolm Yarnell's Response to Lifeway PPL Report

I post this on the fly and on the road. I will offer my analysis later tonight or tomorrow morning. Here are the thoughts of Dr. Malcolm Yarnell (please pardon any formatting issues that may have resulted from a hasty conversion into HTML):

Commentary on the Lifeway Research Division Study of Private Prayer Language

“A Perfect and Just Measure Shalt Thou Have”

Prior to recognizing and surrendering to the call of God upon my life, I was a practicing economist and financier. Statistics and accounting—the discipline of mathematics applied to social trends and the management of money—were the focus of my daily thoughts and deeds. The statistical side of economics in comparison with the reporting side of accounting brought greater joy to this former practitioner of the financial arts as economics involves understanding human behavior. Yet, like other social scientists, economists deal with both the measurable and the immeasurable precisely because they are dealing with the attitudes and actions of human beings. The social sciences have long had a mysterious hold on the American imagination, because their scientists are deemed the experts who know the people better than the people know themselves. The mystique of the statistical disciplines—economics, political science, sociology, etc.—is enhanced by a modernist pretense that true scientific disciplines depend upon mathematics, unlike those disciplines that involve more variable factors—psychology, history, journalism, etc. The Enlightenment taught the inhabitants of Western cultures implicitly to trust the mathematical and doubt the non-mathematical. At a popular level, this means, inter alia, that a “scientific” study or statistical survey in an Enlightenment culture carries substantial authority. Yet the mathematical is subject to the foibles introduced by humanity’s created limitations and, even more debilitatingly, by its chosen depravity. These theological truths—humanity’s limitations and depravity—were brought home to me in the field of economics. It quickly became apparent that statistics may be inappropriately constructed or interpreted, whether with or without cognition, by the social scientist. In other words, some studies are worthy of more trust than others, due to the manipulation of the data to which the mathematical tools of statistical analysis are applied. Moreover, no study may claim perfection, simply because social studies are human endeavors involving human subjects, human objects, and human agents. Statisticians are taught to qualify their results by assigning variation measures—for instance, “this study has a 98% confidence factor and 3.2% sampling error”. To the layman, such measures appear to deepen the trustworthiness of the survey, while to the professional, they may serve merely as so much preliminary window-dressing. The Word of God is less confident regarding the ability of human beings to declare themselves possessive of a high confidence factor and low error rate. Of the economist and financier, as of any other social scientist, God demands one set of weights “in thy bag” and a “perfect and just” set of weights at that (Deut. 25:13-16). God commanded his people to engage in, not just honest and consistent math, but perfect and just math. My own experience with statistics taught me that obtaining and utilizing a “perfect and just” set of measures is a very difficult, if not ultimately impossible, task. Every step that involves human decisions opens the door further for the loss of perfection. In a statistical survey, critical decisions have to be made from the very beginning that may obfuscate rather than elucidate the answer one seeks. For instance, one must decide how to ask a particular question for which an answer is sought; whether to accept this stream of data or that; how to filter data properly; when to trust the study of another or commission a new study. When dealing with surveys of human opinions rather than the raw data of sales and purchases, the problems become especially difficult, for the way a question is asked and who is asked the question and who asks the question and exactly what question is asked may skew the results of a survey one way or another. This does not mean that the pollsters that I hired were necessarily untrustworthy, but that human factors necessarily distort, often quite unintentionally. Moreover, the final step in a statistical survey—interpreting the data—introduces non-mathematical factors that cannot be allayed by high confidence factors and low sampling errors. Confidence and sampling error estimates regard only the relation between the sample and the subject population. These estimates, which may be and often are wrong, say nothing about the surveyor’s intentions. Yesterday, the difficulties inherent in the social sciences, especially those that seek to conduct their business with recourse to the apparently unarguable results of statistics, were brought to mind once again.

“For It Is Not Ye That Speak, But the Spirit”

Private prayer languages are a controversial issue among some Southern Baptists at this point in our history. The International Mission Board of Trustees [IMB] and the Trustees of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary [SWBTS] have made it clear that private prayer languages are not to be countenanced among new employees of those institutions. Yet, a leading administrator of the IMB has publicly affirmed private prayer languages and a prominent trustee at SWBTS believes the denial of private prayer languages is unbiblical. And today, the administration of LifeWay, the old Baptist Sunday School Board, released a study by its new Research Division. The study, a statistical opinion survey, is entitled, “Private Prayer Language and the Gift of Tongues: Protestant Pastors and Laity and Southern Baptist Seminary Graduates.” It has been released, most intriguingly, right before the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention [SBC] in San Antonio, Texas, where the issue of private prayer languages promises to appear on the agenda from the floor. The timing of the study’s release is problematic, but even more problematic is the study itself, both in methodology and in interpretation. For instance, with regard to methodology, some of the questions that are asked are woefully inadequate, and the fact that two surveys were combined into one report further complicates the picture. Methodological Problems with Question Two For instance, question two is the critical one from which the surveyors concluded, “Half of Southern Baptist pastors believe in Private Prayer Language.” Unfortunately, such a conclusion is essentially without substantive meaning. Indeed, the question itself may be affirmed by a person who does not actually believe that ecstatic, unintelligible speech directed toward God is a spiritual gift defined by Scripture.
Q2 Do you believe that the Holy Spirit gives some people the gift of a special language to pray to God privately? Some people refer to this as a Private Prayer Language or the “private use of tongues.”
The question is unclear as to its meaning, first with regard to meaning of “the gift”: (A) Is the “gift” to be taken as one of the charismata discussed in 1 Corinthians 12-14? Or, (B) is the “gift” to be taken as one of the graces that accompany the reception of the Holy Spirit at salvation? Or, (C) is the “gift” to be taken as one of the common graces applied to human beings by the Holy Spirit by reason of their creation? A second problem with clarity in the second question concerns the meaning of “special language”: (A) Is the “special language” to be taken as a heavenly, angelic language previously unknown to the speaker? Or, (B) is the “special language” a learned language that has been heightened in understanding by reason of the Spirit’s guidance? Or, (C) is the “special language” to be taken as the “barking of a dog” or the “croaking of a frog” in emulation of the Toronto Blessing and its rather bizarre manifestations? Although it is public knowledge that Malcolm Yarnell most certainly does not believe a private prayer language as ecstatic, unintelligible speech to be a spiritual gift defined in Scripture, even I could answer the second Lifeway Research Division question affirmatively by opting for B in both of the above instances. After all, I do believe that the Holy Spirit comes at salvation as the gift of God and that he brings to me many graces as a result of salvation (Romans 8). Moreover, I do believe that the Spirit helps every Christian pray to God rightly (Ephesians 6:18) and that the Spirit is promised to help us speak our own language intelligibly in witness of the Gospel, for instance when persecuted (Matthew 10:17-20). Yet, I would vehemently disagree with “special language” being the barking of a dog, and I find the idea of that unintelligible private language is a spiritual gift to be biblically insupportable. Another problem with this question is the terminology of “some people”. Is “some” to be taken as a Christian elitism? Or, are these “people” Christians or not? Finally, perhaps the greatest problem with the second question is its blatant assumption that a “gift” may be used “privately”. Paul is quite clear in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that a spiritual gift is for the common good, and he spends much of chapter 14 arguing that speaking gifts must be used only for public edification. The questionnaire’s equation of “gift” with “privately” may suggest that the surveyor himself (or herself) believes that a private activity is a spiritual gift. Not only is such an equation indicative of either an inappropriately constructed or insufficiently educated survey, it suggests an implied contradiction of the Pauline doctrine of spiritual gifts. Methodological Problems with Question Four Also worthy of consideration regarding the survey’s methodology is question four, concerning the definition of “tongues”. Question four does not directly address the critical issue at stake, but bypasses it in favor of less controversial matters.
Q4 Which one of the following two options best describes your understanding of the term “tongues” used in the New Testament? 1. “Tongues” refers to the God-given ability to speak another language you had not previously been able to speak, 2. “Tongues” refers to special utterances given by the Holy Spirit meant as messages to the congregation with the help of an interpreter.
The question does not even offer the option that is most critical in the current debate. A balanced survey would have given this as a third option: “3. ‘Tongues’ refers to ecstatic, unintelligible utterances given by the Holy Spirit to only certain believers for their private edification.” After all, this is what current proponents of private prayer languages admittedly mean when they refer to “tongues”. If I, as a surveyor, wanted to confuse rather than clarify the issues at stake, I would not directly address the critical issue. Unfortunately, the questionnaire effectively leaves the primary issue at stake unaddressed and opts for questions that may be affirmed without great controversy. Moreover, if I wanted to confuse rather than clarify the issue at stake, I would ask a question that might be answered not as an “either-or” but as a “both-and”. Although I would not personally affirm number two, there are sincere Baptists who are not neo-Pentecostals that would. Perhaps the question’s lack of clarity due to insufficient breadth of options explains why the responses were all over the place. It should be noticed that many opted for a third response that was not even given as an option: “Don’t know.” The fourth question, like the second question, leaves the issue more confused than clarified. It is reported that Ed Stetzer responded to the survey by noting that there are “two sizeable yet contradictory positions among SBC pastors.” My response would be that the contradiction is not with the respondents, but with the questionnaire itself. The survey’s methodology is such that it does not clarify the issue, but confuses it. Two Surveys, Not One Another problem with the methodology of the survey is that it was not conducted by one surveyor, nor was it even a single survey. Rather, LifeWay has combined the results of two surveys that were independently conducted by separate surveyors. This introduces yet further problems that prompted one of the surveyors to conclude that the pastors of the Southern Baptist Convention appear to be contradictory. The problem, however, may be that the surveys themselves are contradictory.

“Be Ye Therefore Wise as Serpents, and Harmless as Doves”

The command of Jesus in Matthew 10:16 is one that Southern Baptists need to take to heart. Engaging in theological discourse demands both wisdom and innocence. The recent survey on private prayer languages conducted by LifeWay’s Research division is a singular disappointment. The survey and its release are alternately methodologically insufficient and denominationally unwise. Whatever the real intent of LifeWay’s administration in releasing such a report at this time, it certainly gives the appearance of theological partisanship rather than innocence. Why did the surveyors construct the second question so that almost anybody could answer it positively? Why did the surveyors not offer a response in the fourth question regarding the critical issue at stake? Why did the surveyors combine two surveys which probably followed different methodologies? There are other questions, but alas, what has been shared with the public is insufficient for a thorough analysis of the survey itself. Unfortunately, few people will look into the methodology utilized, and even fewer will understand that the survey itself is theologically inadequate, perhaps even theologically skewed. What many people will remember is that apparently half of our pastors now believe in private prayer languages. LifeWay should conduct a sweeping review of its research methodology.

40 comments:

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

I concur. Great work!

TG

martyduren said...

Bart-
Has Dr. Yarnell ever criticized Lifeway's research methods before?

Malcolm-
Reading your CV, I'm shocked that you were not hired at Lifeway instead of Ed Stetzer!

R. L. Vaughn said...

This post gives some good points on which to think. Question 4 definitely has a problem with insufficient options to capture what one might actually believe. For example, something light this below would seem to be better.

Which one of the following options best describes your understanding of the term “tongues” used in the New Testament?
1. “Tongues” refers to the God-given ability to speak another language you had not previously been able to speak.
2. “Tongues” refers to special utterances given by the Holy Spirit meant as messages to the congregation with the help of an interpreter.
3. “Tongues” refers to ecstatic, unintelligible utterances given by the Holy Spirit to only certain believers for their private edification.
4. “Tongues” could be both options 1 & 2 above.
5. “Tongues” could be both options 1, 2, & 3 above.
6. Don't know.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Or rather, "something LIKE this below..." :-(

greg hicks said...

My 10 year old understands the questions. This is nothing more than statistical semantic games being played by those who simply cannot accept the results.

SWBTS enrollment has been falling under the current administration. The adoption of policies that alienate the majority of Southern Baptists - who do not embrace cessasionism - will only accelerate that trend.

martyduren said...

Greg-
You are exactly on point. This is an example of crying in the sandbox.

Tim-
This is not great work; this is pathetic. Lifeway asked the questions; Lifeway reported the answers that were given. How hard is that to understand? Apparently for a seminary prof at SWBTS, it is very hard.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Marty, Greg, et al., perhaps the following survey will help you understand my point concerning question four:

Which one of the following two options best describes your understanding of the term “church” used in the New Testament?
1. “Church” means an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers.
2. “Church” means the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages.

sbc pastor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joel Rainey said...

Jeremy,

Until you earn two doctorate degrees in which you write a social-science based dissertation that relies heavily on the use of the language of statistical analysis (as Ed Stetzer has done), I suggest you keep your mouth shut regarding what is and is not "properly conducted research." Trust me, you don't have a clue!

Although Acts 29 had NO part to play in the above-discussed subject (mis-direction, I have found, is a frequent tool of this young pastor), I give you the following link to dispel the “trash talk” being used about this organization: http://www.acts29network.org/acts-29-blog/seven-misrepresentations-of-acts-29/

We have church planters here who are aligned with us, and with Acts 29. They do not drink, or use foul language. They are theologically conservative, and passionate about reaching others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am personally sick of these kinds of “guilt by association” attacks! Our association is proud to be able to partner with organizations such as Acts 29!

Yarnell is a careful theologian, and I respect that. However, in seeking to cover far more particular ground than is intended by the Lifeway survey, he misses the point. Question two is answered by a simple "yes" or "no." It is designed to measure whether a person believes tongues or PPL are for today, or were restricted to the apostolic age. It is not intended to seek positions across the broad spectrum of beliefs between cessationism and pentecostalism (and contrary to what some are contending. It IS possible to fall somewhere in between these two positions!)
Question 4 likewise, is an attempt to discern one's belief in what exactly constitutes "tongues" as described by the New Testament. Had I taken the survey, my answer would have been #1 (it was/is an actual earthly language or "dialect," as opposed to "heavenly" utterances that from an earthly perspective would have been unintelligible.)

In the end, I was very dissapointed to read that Yarnell believes there should be a "sweeping review" of Lifeway's research methodology, and personally wonder whether this is code for a "sweeping review" of Lifeway's research team?

In the end, is this critique really about the research methodology, or is it about the desire to forward doctrinal uniformity?

Wade Burleson said...

Jeremy,

You said, "it certainly appears that Ed Stetzer is too busy speaking at conferences where the attendees are beer drinking, tongue speaking, potty mouth church planters to properly conduct research...

Have you no shame in the presence of Christ regarding your words about His people?

I'm serious.

martyduren said...

Bart-
Feel free to delete this if you deem it necessary, but somebody needs to say this:

Jeremy Green-
You are reprehensible. If you are a student at SWBTS, then I cannot imagine by what conceivable standard the use of the word "crap" on a blog would institute a expellable offense.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Marty,
I apologize for not checking with you to ensure that my criteria of for calling something great was not short or warped. I will do better next time - NOT!

Funny how people have such a hard time with critique when they themselves love to do the same!
:)

volfan007 said...

why am i always the one who has to say these things and be the bad guy? well, since no one else will say it...so, here it goes.

wade and marty,

do yall say these kind of things to ben when he makes some of his "statements".....or, do yall just say these kind of statements of correction to jeremy?

i havent seen either one of you really get onto ben for some of his offensive remarks like you're getting onto jeremy here.

david

Matt Brady said...

David,

Thank you David! If only more people would notice the duplicity.

Matt Brady said...

Regardless of how Jeremy worded his statement, his point has some merit. Let's be honest. Has Ed Stetzer been working with and supporting pastors who regularly cursed in the pulpit? (Thankfully they have finally repented.) Has Ed Stetzer supported and worked with pastors who held Bible studies in Breweries while attendees slurped a brew? Has Ed Stetzer worked with and supported pastors who speak in tongues?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then why the furor over Jeremy's comments.

martyduren said...

David-
I hardly ever say anything to Jeremy at all; it isn't worth it. This time was simply beyond the pale.

If you want to know the difference, it is in this: Ben is caustic to you, Tim, Malcolm, et al to your face. You have the opportunity to respond; you can rebuke him yourself if you want to or ignore him. But, you are a big boy, so don't look for me to "get on to Ben" on your (or anyone else's) behalf.

Jeremy is a coward. He has categorized Wade as an apostate on his electronic bulletin board and allows no public response. Now he comes here and casts a public aspersion on Ed Stetzer and Lifeway (which you approve seemingly), yet there will not be any commentary except here.

If you don't like it, just stand back and watch.

joerstewart said...

Marty:
Is it ok for you to make backhanded slaps at Jim Richards? I didn't notice you doing that to his face? No grins at all.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

How do some define love?

Call for the firing of an individual. Call people cowards. Never call into question a friend who goes over the line on a regular basis because he is their friend while attacking others and calling it LOVE.

Can you hear the song: "what the world needs most, love sweet love (defined as politics by another term, hate of others, calling for firings and printing half stories to discredit........"

Come on guys - at least admit the double standard is present for all to see. It is really not that hard to do - just apologize! We will forgive and we will restore and when all are filled with the spirit then we will ???? Not sure on the rest :).

Anonymous said...

Now that's what I'm talking about! Baptists being Baptists! Picking on each other, slamming one another - kicking each other while their down! I was wondering where all this touchy feely crap came from in the conservative wing of the most useless denomination of all. I am relieved to see true colors finally rising above all this "love one another as I have loved you" stuff.

And Wade, give me a break - ain't none of us sacred... saints or not.

Bishop Joe said...

Do you honestly think that if the stats were reversed that someone who supported ppl would not whip out an economist from Baylor to cry foul on the questions or sample pools? Certainly we all can see there are some real problems with the methodology of this poll, no matter how the numbers turn out.

"Statistics are no substitute for judgment." Henry Clay

R. L. Vaughn said...

Seems like we're moving away from the topic. I hope some will get off personalities and back to the LifeWay survey. As for me, I am interested in a survey that puts a number to what has been been discussed. I am interested in just how accurate it might be. All surveys have a plus/minus margin of error. I haven't heard what it is for this one. Anyone know? If the questions and methodology are a little less than desirable, the margin of error might be greater than usual in actual fact. Even if the number is 10 or 15 points lower, the number of pastors in the SBC believing in the possibility of PPL/tongues is much greater than I would have supposed.

I had hoped for some to hear what some thought of my survey question parallel to Question 4. I think Joel is right in stating that Question 4 is an attempt to discern one's belief in what exactly constitutes "tongues" as described by the New Testament. The problem is that there are not enough answers to it for some people to answer accurately. I know Baptists who believe Acts tongues were the God-given ability to speak another language you had not previously been able to speak, while I Corinthians tongues were special utterances given by the Holy Spirit meant as messages to the congregation with the help of an interpreter. Even some cessationists I know believe this. Are far as Question 2, with due respect to Dr. Yarnell, I cannot see being able to answer Question 2 in the affirmative.

I have no need to cry in a sandbox. My theology is not based on what any percentage of Southern Baptist pastors (or any other group of pastors) believe. The main relevance of the results of this survey would be to political/theological issues within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Finally, exactly what does this survey mean? The main thing I get out of it is that possibly 50% (plus or minus the margin of error) of SBC pastors are continuationists -- less than that if some of the methodology and questions skewed the survey. Those who are jubilant need to step back, take a breath and realize there could be some issues that weaken the results/conclusions. Those who are not so jubilant need to consider the possibility of PPL and tongues having a greater presence in the Convention than they thought.

Is a complete list of the survey questions available on the web?

martyduren said...

Joe-
I had to go back and re-read what I wrote. What exactly do you read as a "backhanded slap" to Jim Richards?

My comment had to do with the poor decision by the nominating committee to re-nominate Debbie Brunson. My observation about the BGCT relates to intra-state feelings about the SBTC, not to Jim Richards. My comment about Texas has to do with Texas as a state, not Jim Richards as a Texan.

I do not have a problem with Jim Richards being nominated. I do believe that he is more "status quo" than others who might be nominated, but most everyone would agree with that.

What did you perceive as the backhand?

martyduren said...

Tim-
Sorry that I missed your response.

I have no problem with critiques. If that's what this was, I'd argue the points. It's not a critique as Joel has pointed out. It's a hatchet job.

joerstewart said...

The implicit context of your post is there was a candidate that was faithful, laser-focused on world-missions . . . so forth. Not like the V.P. candidate from the discredited state of Texas nominated by an appointment-seeking Debbie Brunson.
If you weren't attempting to disparage Jim Richards,why not just list it like you did Eric's nomination?

martyduren said...

Joe-
Point taken. I could have done better in that wording.

Joel Rainey said...

Matt,
The furor over Jeremy's comments is that they are not addressed to the situation at hand: namely the validity of the research Ed conducted. They are a backhanded slap against the character and theology of a guy who is probably our convention's most astute missiologist.

But in light of your obviously rhetorical questions, let me ask you:
1. HAve you walked out on your brother in Christ because he battled a vice (such as language, or maybe gluttony?)
2. Have you refused to associate with people with whom you had the opportunity to share the Gospel because they were drinking? Would you honestly let someone to to hell simply because you didn't want to be seen in a bar?
3. If you know a brother or sister who is passionate about seeing the lost won to Christ, will you refuse to work with them because they happen to have a private prayer language?

Put me down for a big, fat NO on all three counts!

Have there been issues that I would consider problematic within ACts 29? Sure! Have there been issues I would consider problematic within the SBC? You better believe it! I don't refuse to cooperate because of the presence of imperfections, and from my observations, neither does Ed Stetzer. Because of his positive influence, some folks in Acts 29 have altered their behavior for the better, and many churches in the SBC are more aware of what they should be doing to reach the lost.

Marty Duren is right: sarcastically maligning that positive influence is the epitome of cowardice!

Jerry Corbaley said...

All,

How about let's pray for the Lifeway folks, that they can walk in the light and build trust.

Their report is difficult to believe. Let's give it some time.

One thing I have learned from being an IMB trustee; both sympathetic press releases and unsympathetic press releases do not present a clear picture of what has happened with only a few paragraphs.

I believe the SBC will be able to acknowledge facts. We will not do so as quickly as each of us would prefer; but we do it.

If the facts are skewed, the correction will be made.

Like the U.S. government, part of the SBC genius is that we cannot do anything very quickly.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Regarding Ed Stetzer,

Has he been at Lifeway long enough to have had a significant hand in the design and execution of this poll?

Art said...

Dr. Corbaley,

No. Today was his first official day. What that says about Jeremy's words, I'll let you decide for yourself.

Bart Barber said...

I come back from wedding rehearsal and discover that the whole blogosphere is talking about my blog—but about Jeremy Green, not about me. What a bruising of my ego!

I'm envious of Jeremy Green's ability to steal the spotlight, so I have stricken the comment in question to put the focus right back on the blog host. :-)

Bart Barber said...

Bro. Jerry,

Although Ed Stetzer is brand-new at Lifeway Research, a significant portion of this report came from research work he conducted over at NAMB, brought over with him, and combined into this report with another, unrelated survey.

Paul said...

My first thought was that it appears that Dr. Yarnell hardly believes that it is possible to conduct a survey like this that will in the end have any real value. Of course, if that is true then one wonders why he did not voice the same objections to the original policy statement that came out of the IMB saying that the majority of Southern Baptists do not believe in ppl. That statement was based upon no research whatsoever, but only the conjecture of the trustees on hand.

Secondly, I don't think the objective of the survey was to explicitly define what ppl or tongues is as much as it was asking that, however one might define those things, do you believe that it is a valid expression of spiritual gifts today? I can hardly imagine that someone would answer the question about ppl that was asked in the affirmative and yet be a fairly strict cessationist. If ppl is not valid, no mater how it is defined, it is not valid. Period. A cessationist would never say that a ppl is valid unless they were so out of touch that they defined it as praying in their native tongue. That seems hardly reasonable.

What this should say to us is that however the various people surveyed might define ppl, approximately 50% of them do not view it in the negative light that has been expressed in the IMB policy/guideline nor the SWBTS policy.

Bart Barber said...

Paul,

One fact that would help you to draw a better conclusion from your valid observations: The IMB guidelines are not cessationist in nature. See here.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Marty,

I've followed your scholarly critique of Dr. Yarnell's paper. Here are the official results:

"Malcolm...I'm shocked that you were not hired at Lifeway instead of Ed Stetzer"

"an example of crying in the sandbox"

"This is not great work; this is pathetic"

"Apparently for a seminary prof at SWBTS, it is very hard [to understand]"

"[Malcolm's paper is] not a critique... It's a hatchet job."

Bravo, my Brother Marty! Your intellectual engagement with Dr. Yarnell's critique rather than goofy gouges at him personally is downright exemplar. Or do I have that backwards?

I really hope you have a great Saturday. With that, I am...

Peter

Michael said...

as a mathematician that has studied statistics. none of the information reported is actually useful to prove or disprove any hypotheses. to me it sounds like a simple record taking rather than an analytic report. So before drawing any conclusions or non-generalities I would have to see the spss files and their analysis.

to me it seems yarnell's objections are more in the theological rather than the methodological.
I for one applaud Stetzer and other researcher for trying to be as theologically neutral as possible.

rather than trying to make each question theologically correct.

I wonder if yarnell has done any research in the social sciences for he seems to forget the average persons tendency to think as little as possible.

personally, if jeremy green wants people to view him as other than one of the rather weird(insane) people the populate the web he needs to open up his comment section, though I think he doesn't because he is worried(afraid) of the comments he is going to get.

have a good day
Michael

volfan007 said...

peter,

i'm impressed, bro. last nite, you said you had to drive an hour or so to get a key, and that was late...like 12am or so. now, here you are on bart's blog at 7:55 am! wow, do you ever sleep?

and, not only are you going on no sleep, but you are still as sharp as a tack. i'm jealous.


now, where's my coffee? where did i put it?

david

David Rogers said...

In defense of objectivity, I call to the witness stand the following paragraph from Dr. Yarnell's response:

"The question does not even offer the option that is most critical in the current debate. A balanced survey would have given this as a third option: “3. ‘Tongues’ refers to ecstatic, unintelligible utterances given by the Holy Spirit to only certain believers for their private edification.” After all, this is what current proponents of private prayer languages admittedly mean when they refer to “tongues”."

The truth is, as has been pointed out on various occasions in the blogosphere lately, many, if not most "current proponents of PPL" so not refer to PPL as "ecstatic utterances" and even object to that terminology.

greg hicks said...

Imagine this conversation...

Wife: "Honey, I love you"

Theologian Husband: "What exactly do you mean by "love"? Do you mean the "storge" kind of love that a parent has for a child? Or did you have in mind the kind of brotherly love that is meant by "philos"? Or perhaps you had something romantic in mind and meant to say "eros"? Or do you mean self sacrificial love that has my best interests at heart? If that is what you meant, you should have said you "agape" me. And when you say, "honey" - is there something about me that reminds you of a sticky, sweet, golden fluid?

Anonymous said...

I have not seen a play on words like this since the Clinton administration. Though you make some good points, I believe you complicated the texts beyond the point of proper exegesis. Do me a favor and stay away from talking about penal substitution.

Rev. said...

In reading this post and the comments which follow, is it any wonder that many young pastors and church members are less inclined to be supportive of the SBC?

LifeWay and its president are under fire for their "faulty research methodology." When was the last time that LifeWay (or the old Sunday School Board) came under fire? Back in the '80s or maybe early '90s? Fellow inerrantists are now labeling each other as "Liberals" and "Fundamentalists" (sound familiar, c. 1987?). The convention is still being eaten up with cancerous politics. Meanwhile, people are going to Hell, brothers and sisters all over the globe are being put to death for their faith, and many of our own churches are filled with biblical illiteracy and characterized by worldliness.

"I therefore, a prisoner for the LORD, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:1-3