Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The EC Statement, Line-by-Line

I learn upon browsing on over there that Wade Burleson has asserted that the SBC has instructed our agencies and institutions that they "do not have the right to narrow doctrinal parameters beyond [The Baptist Faith & Message]." So, let's just look at the statement line-by-line:

  1. "The Baptist Faith and Message is neither a creed, nor a complete statement of our faith, nor final and infallible…" Pretty self-explanatory stuff here. Our confession does not address everything, does not function creedally, can be amended, and might be wrong.
  2. "… nevertheless, we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention…" Simple historical fact here. Southern Baptists have never adopted any other statement of doctrinal beliefs.
  3. "… and such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees…" The BF&M needs no other clarifying document in order to serve as a guide to trustees. There is no list of primary, secondary, and tertiary doctrines in the document. The document itself, as it stands, speaks for itself and is sufficient as a guide to the trustees. I should note, some people seem to be asserting it as the only sufficient guide to the trustees. But such a belief would be heresy, and I think that people really just aren't thinking through what they are saying. "Only sufficient" is language that we Baptists generally reserve for speaking about the Bible. Thankfully, the text of the statement says nothing of the sort. So, the BF&M is precisely what this statement says it is: One document that is sufficient to serve as a guide to the trustees.
  4. "… in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention…" The statement flatly affirms that trustees are the ones authorized to set the policies and practices of our entities. We as a convention absolutely expect them, when considering any policies and practices, to take into consideration the content of the BF&M.

Here's a Question for You?

Since what Wade Burleson and others have said quite clearly what they really wanted Southern Baptists to say—that the people of the Southern Baptist Convention oppose the adoption of any doctrinal policies that go beyond the BF&M—why didn't the motion just, quite simply, say that? Because that motion could not pass at the SBC...that's why. The interpretative vagueness of the statement was necessary to secure its passage; therefore, it must necessarily govern its application.

22 comments:

Ron P. said...

Bart,

What about the unintended consequence on the BFM Resolution? As you noted here on your blog and on Wade's Kenmore Washing Machine (blog), he is already declaring (both before the vote and tonight afterwards) that: "In essence, the convention said that the agencies and institutions of our convention do not have the right to narrow doctrinal parameters beyond the BFM 2000."

That is not what the resolution states, but that might be the unintended consequence of BFM resolution.

Ron P.

Colin said...

Waht was up with the stifling of debate? Why didn' tthe messengers want to talk about it?

Jack Maddox said...

Bart

You naild it Bro. I have said this all day long. This is only as big as we make it. Without the context of controversy no one would even blink at this. I think Dr. Kelly's response to the question posed to him speaks volmes!

Jack

Les Puryear said...

Jack,

It was good to see you on the big screen. Stop and see me before it's over.

BTW, guys, even Jeremy Green spoke against the motion saying that the convention would be going in the wrong direction if we passed the motion.

Seems pretty clear to me. :)

Les

Ron P. said...

Bart,

To answer your question, it is precisely because it would have failed (probably by 85% or more) if it was worded as Wade is trying to spin the resolution.

Ron P.

sbc pastor said...

Bart (and Les),

I agree with Bart's assessment of the EC statement... now that I have had more time to look it over. I voiced my concern on the spur of the moment, while having only heard the leftward spin of a few.

Why? Well, I was absent when the EC first presented the statement as I was busy serving on the Credentials Committee...

I was uninformed because of my absence. However, many others were uninformed because the wording of the statement was intentionally very vague.

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Bart,
YOu got it on this one. Great post. I wonder if Wade will finally agree with the BFM 2000 without caveats or will he (due to his interpretation of this) now be forced to make other decisions?

Pretty simple question when you take the spin out:)!

TG

joerstewart said...

The more interesting context was Dr. Chapman's loose constructionist view of the statement. That was a surprise to me.

Big Daddy Weave said...

Bart,

What was the purpose of this EC Statement, if your take is correct?

SBC leadership has always denied the BFM was a creed. Like you said, that the BFM is the only consensus statement is a historical fact. What's new?

I saw you speak on seminary prof salaries but somehow I missed Jeremy Green! Shoot.

Alan Cross said...

Bart,

Why were Richard Land and Herschel York ready to speak against this?

Why did Morris Chapman speak for it so boldly this morning?

Are these stupid people? EVERYONE knows what this was about and it is why some people are so angry. Stories are getting out, Bart. People know what this means.

The spin here is absolutley amazing. A couple of weeks ago we heard about bias at Lifeway from you, and now we are hearing that what we all saw with our own eyes did not happen.

Come on, Bart. You clearly do not trust the polity of the SBC. The Convention has spoken. I guess that you weren't really serious when you said that you would accept that, nor do I think that you will accept what I am saying.

Mike Rasberry said...

Tonight I ache to bottom of my soul. In what I can only assume was an attempt to mollify the moderate leaning wing of inerrantists within SBC life, the messengers at the annual meeting in San Antonio approved a motion to limit the ability of trustees to set criteria for the hiring of personnel and the appointing of missionaries to the skeletal statement of faith comprised in the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000. Where or where were the great leaders of the past who would have quickly explained the import of such a motion and exposed the diabolical plot to promote the seemingly self-serving agenda of those who’ve been trying for two years to bring this about.

This appears to be a blatant attempt by the Burleson/Cole/McQuissick group to allow missionaries who believe in tongue speaking and social drinking, as well those who have questionable baptism to be appointed as missionaries. Rebuffed last year in their attempt to intimidate the IMB trustees and convention, they seem to have resorted to a more devious ploy this year. Rather than bring their pet beliefs before the convention which almost certainly would have issued them another resounding defeat, they couched their nefarious ploy in confusing and baptistic sounding language.

Trustees currently are free to employ standards which they believe reflect the standards of the vast majority of Southern Baptists in appointing missionaries and hiring personnel. The vote at the convention will remove the trustees ability to use criteria other than that codified within the BF&M to determine the worthiness of individuals to be appointed.

Currently there are a significant number of individual who want to serve as missionaries, but do not qualify because they speak in tongues, drink socially, or have questionable baptism. While the vast majority of Southern Baptist laity believe that tongues is so much gibberish, the trustees will be forced to appoint such individuals to the mission field. Such action will result in local churches refusing to send mission monies to the co-operative program and opting to support those missionaries they know personally, or it will result in a cumbersome and highly codified statement of faith.

Motions to modify the BF&M are already being formulated. Battle after battle will be fought over the matter of Alcohol, Tongues, and Baptism in the years to come as statements reflecting the Biblical views of the majority of Southern Baptists are presented for adoption into the BF&M, which the action of the convention meeting in session has made necessary by one mistaken vote.

The Baptist Faith and Message is not intended to be a comprehensive compendium of Baptistic Belief. Rather, it is a skeletal statement of basic beliefs which we consider absolutely essential for fellowship and co-operation. The perpetrators of this heinous and insidious proposal played on the fears of 5-pointers, who often seem to act as if they are only one step from being dismissed from SBC life, anyway. Such a coalition, however wrongly constituted, was able to carry the day in this matter to what I’m certain will be the bane of Southern Baptists in the months to come.

Should I be proven wrong, I will happily recant my wild prognostications. I just don’t think I am.

May God have mercy upon us as we hold forth the faith once received.

http://mrponderings.blogspot.com/

the Milkman said...

This has been an interesting resolution, indeed. I have been watching it unfold by observing blogs. I thought it curious that everyone blogging was for it- on both sides.

I, like Bart, read the statement to AUTHORIZE agencies to make FURTHER policy.

I also read it to reinforce the importance of such groups holding entirely to the BFM.

This statement was probably not clear enough in its purpose.

Geoff Baggett said...

Alan,
Obviously not EVERYONE knew what the motion was about. The sweet lady who spoke against it waxed nostalgic about her love for the BF&M 63. Clearly, she thought this vote had something to do with an imposition of the BF&M 2000 upon Southern Baptists' beliefs.

Clearly, not everyone reads the blogs. I'm quite sure that a large number of people cast a ballot and they really didn't know exactly what they were voting for. It happens in every "election."

R. L. Vaughn said...

Bart, et al.,

In practical application, who will determine the meaning of this statement? For example, when our US Congress passes a law the courts (and ultimately the Suprem Court) finally determine what it means. What about in SBC life? Will each instituation/agency determine for itself what the statement means? Or is there someone else to interpret it and enforce a consistent application of it from agency to agency?

Just wondering how this will be applied in actual real-life rubber meets the road situations. Thanks.

Tripp said...

Bart,

Nice post. Thank you.

I must say...that when I first read this resolution...I understood it in the manner that Bart is speaking of.

Now I really think this resolution is going to create more confusion than anything. Currently...that is all I see in blog land. Confusion, confusion, confusion.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Green,

You wrote "... now that I have had more time to look it over. I voiced my concern on the spur of the moment, while having only heard the leftward spin of a few."

No offense, but I find it extremely hard to believe you 'voiced your concern on the spur of the moment.' Your comment spoken into the microphone was made by reading a carefully worded (though not precisely articulated) comment. The author (whether you or someone else) of the statement you read obviously spent time in its composition. You may have changed your opinion on the motion after you saw how those on 'your side' interpreted the it, but I don't see how you can say with any credibility that you spoke to this issue 'on the spur of the moment,' especially since you were walking around the convention floor texting and talking with 'your group' throughout the entire convention. You didn't seem to be doing anything on the spur of the moment.

"John" the Baptist

Anonymous said...

Jeremy sounds like a famous democrat in the last election - I was for it before I was against it - no I was against it before I was for it, no which way is it? Let me take a poll or two from my leaders to see how I am supposed to feel about it!

Jim Champion

selahV said...

Dr.Barber: I know you said that as a historian you'd love to write on this convention and the decision of the body on the election of Jim or David, and I'm not at all understanding why you can't still write on it as a historian.

If it is because you are blogging about it, then wouldn't the comments you receive add to the weight of your view?

Also, instead of a line-by-line interpretation, maybe we need a word by word interpretation in the context of the arguments which catapulted this debate into existence for over a year. Or is it more? selahV

sbc pastor said...

"John" the anonymous "baptist",

I wrote that statement on the spur of the moment... it took approximately one minute. However, after reading your statement, I can easily see how you might have thought otherwise :0). God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

sbc pastor said...

Jim (the liberal BGCT apologist) Champion,

Am I a democrat? No, sir. I vote according to the Word of God... thus, I am compelled by Scripture never to vote for anyone that advocates, or follows the party line, on abortion, homosexuality, etc..

Are you a democrat? Very likely. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

AndyHigg said...

thoughts on the Mohler tirade? I was a bit shocked at the force of his language and also somewhat confused throughout the report as to his opinion about whether the statement limits the trustees from making extra-BFM policies.

Anonymous said...

So perhaps what we need to do is add an article to the BF&M that defines the "generally" accepted stand of Southern Baptists on the doctine of tougues.