Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another SBC Presidential Candidate? Les Puryear's Possible Bid

As a follower of things political in the SBC, I have been watching with significant interest the preliminaries to the 2008 SBC Presidential Election in Indianapolis:

  1. The indomitable Wiley Drake became the first announced candidate on Aug 13, 2007, when Robert Bosworth, who attends Drake's church, made public his intention to nominate Drake in Indianapolis. (HT: ABP) We've heard very little about Drake's candidacy since then, and it is possible that things have changed. But until a formal withdrawal from "the race" takes place, we'll consider Bro. Wiley to be in the running.
  2. Speaking of "the race," Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary faculty member Bill Wagner has engaged the campaign for the presidency in as formal a race-oriented way as any candidate in convention history. Wagner has a campaign staff, a campaign website, and his own Gingrichesque contract with the SBC. Wagner's campaign faces an uphill climb much more significant than the physical journey across the Rockies that he'll need to make in order to reach Indiana from California, but he's in the running.
  3. I had found my candidate when, on January 2, 2008, Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and among the SBC's leading statesmen, announced that Dr. Robert Jeffress would nominate him for the office. (HT: SBC Today, where you can find excellent interviews with all of the confirmed SBC Presidential candidates) After he had suffered the slings and arrows of many on the leftward periphery of the convention, Dr. Mohler's campaign was brought to an abrupt end by a cancer scare (see here).
  4. Dr. Frank Cox of Lawrenceville, GA, announced on February 7, 2008, that famed evangelist Junior Hill would nominate him for the presidency. Cox gave a very encouraging interview to SBC Today and is clearly the frontrunner at this point. His nominator is unparalleled. He is a Cooperative Program champion. He has a devotion to God's Word and a gracious personality that resonates with Southern Baptists across the convention. With Dr. Mohler's withdrawal, Frank Cox has become the man to beat.

Will those be the only candidates? I think not. None of these are acceptable candidates for the Burleson Coalition (although I satirically suggested that Bill Wagner would make a good candidate for them, but I doubt that they will cast their vote for Dr. Wagner). Sources close to Burleson and sympathetic to his movement have been reporting in local associations in diverse locations across the country for several months that another candidate would be coming—a small-church pastor with high-profile endorsements. I now believe that I know who that person will be: Les Puryear.

If Puryear runs, it will be among the most fortuitous positions from which to seek the office in recent memory. Historically, potential candidates have used the Pastors Conference as a forum from which to gain press coverage, name recognition, and a forum for identifying with a platform. Puryear himself inquired about the possibility of advancing "a small church pastor" to lead the Pastors Conference until he learned about the exorbitant cost that the president of the conference incurs each year. Besides, format changes in the Pastors Conference have made it not nearly as effective as a political pre-meeting for the convention.

But Puryear won't need the help of a Pastors Conference—he has gained press coverage, name recognition, and a forum for identifying with a platform by creating his own conference. Rather than having to pony up cash for it, he has managed to obtain sponsorship from unwitting CP entities for the meeting.

At Puryear's conference, the current President of the SBC as much as endorsed Puryear. According to the North Carolina Biblical Recorder:

"It's time to have a small church pastor as president of the SBC," said Page, just two months from concluding his second one-year term as president. He encouraged participants to "nominate someone in this room."

Now, just today, Puryear has cryptically declined to sponsor a motion in Indianapolis, saying:

You say that you're looking for someone to present your motion as you will not be able to do so. I am not the one to do it as will become more clear next week.

From all of this evidence, it seems clear to me that Les Puryear is going to announce for SBC President next week. Now, a bit of political analysis:

  1. Who will nominate Puryear? That is the $64,000 question. Has the presiding officer of the convention ever attempted to nominate his successor? I suppose that I ought to know, but I do not. Junior Hill will be a difficult nominator to beat, but if Puryear can line up enough support—maybe make certain that sympathetic platform personalities mention his conference from time to time during the convention meeting—then the cumulative effect just might be formidable.
  2. Will Burleson, Cole, and the SBC Outpost gang endorse Puryear publicly, or will they work from behind the scenes? Clearly he's the best candidate for their movement among the announced options so far. Puryear has made careful and public efforts to distance himself from Burleson in the immediate past, and with Burleson's polarizing persona, that's probably the wisest move at this point. But count on this: Les Puryear's committee appointments would be precisely the kind of appointments that Wade Burleson would make.
  3. Is it really possible for a blogger to get anywhere in public office-seeking in the SBC today? When I started blogging, I just presumed that it would be impossible ever to run for anything and very difficult ever to move to another church because of blogging. That works fine for me, because I'm at the best church in the SBC. Less information on the wire about you is generally better, as is less involvement in controversy. For example, how will the convention respond to Puryear's assertion that no true Christian can ever be in unrepentant sin? Is Puryear an Antinomian? If he were not a blogger, it is doubtful that anyone would even know about his more peculiar views, but there's all sorts of information on the wire about Puryear and all of the rest of us who blog. I'm not sure that any of us bloggers will ever be elected to anything for that reason. Better to keep one's head low and one's mouth shut if one aspires to office.
  4. I think that future SBC Presidential candidates may be less likely to give interviews to blogs because of this. Puryear has solicited and received interviews from the other candidates as a blogger, not as a challenger to the election. If much more of this happens, candidates may prove to be skittish about dealing with bloggers as though they were professional journalists who, even if biased in their questioning, are certain not to be running themselves in elections. If Puryear had been forthright with these men about his intentions to run, would they have granted the interviews? I'm not suggesting that Les broke any rules—the blogging rules haven't been written yet. I'm just suggesting that circumstances like this will be the kinds of conflict of interest that will lead bloggers to try to establish some sort of an ethical code to cover advocacy blogging.

Part of me hopes that Puryear is running. It would make me feel a lot better about something that has been bothering me. Over at SBC Impact a couple of days ago, Les posted an attack piece against me just out of the blue. It referenced a post that was ancient by blogging standards and twisted my words in bizarre ways. When I confronted Les with the misrepresentations, he wouldn't even discuss the specifics. As the tone of my comments surely revealed (I'm not that good at hiding such things), I was a little hurt by the whole event. Even though we've disagreed on some things, I thought that Les and I had a decent online relationship, and I couldn't understand why he would take a gratuitous slap at me and then refuse even to discuss the matter.

It didn't make sense for a friendly acquaintance and blogger to do that, but for a politician to do it? With that post Les tried to style himself as "middle of the road" (until Peter Lumpkins made him regret that wording) and then avoided saying anything substantive in the follow up that could come back to bite him later. That's one strategy that a candidate for the SBC presidency might follow…a business decision. "It's not personal; it's business." And I feel better about that. Because the business of elections will be over soon enough, and all will be back to what it was before.

I'm still not going to make an endorsement. I don't know for certain that Les will run—these are just my suspicions 99% confirmed by Les's statement on his blog today. Also, I don't know that Les will be the last candidate if he does run. I'll make an endorsement before we get to Indianapolis, but for now I'm keeping my options open.

But since "Joining God in His Work" has made it a point to interview all of the SBC candidates, I'll really be interested in reading Les's interview of himself. :-)

87 comments:

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

From one unprofessional historian (me) to a professional one (you), please answer a couple of direct questions for verification of the authenticity of what you have written.

First, you write "Sources close to Burleson and sympathetic to his movement have been reporting in local associations in diverse locations across the country for several months that another candidate would be coming."

Would you mind, particularly since you use my name, to give to me specifics? In fact, if you can name just one 'source,' and just 'one' association where this alleged activity has occurred I will buy you lunch and give you a copy of my new book.

Second, do you honestly think someone can read your post today and believe that you (in your words), are "for now keeping your options open" regarding who you will vote for as President? Ever heard of the phrase passive/aggressive? (smile). I think I'll let Les know that I am asking you to never keep an open mind about me.

Finally, I'm not sure why my name is mentioned a half dozen times in an article about Les Puryear, particularly since I have not spoken to him since last June. If you think that it will taint people's opinion of him, I would suggest you get out of the shelter in which you have hunkered down and actually talk with Southern Baptists outside the tight sphere in which you associate.

Blessings,

Wade

Micah Fries said...

Bart-

I think your swipe at Les' intentions regarding the Small Church conference is both uncalled for and unsubstantiated. I know Les much better than you, and was involved in the conference, and I am confident that his intentions are absolutely not represented by your remarks.

While I do not have a dog in your fight concerning the disagreement that you both had over at Impact, it appears to me that you are still upset over it and you are offering an unfortunate claim that impugns his name as a result.

To claim that his efforts at setting up the Small Church conference are anything but what he has publicly communicated is appalling to me, particularly since you admit clearly that you do not know the man.

You would do well to consider Dr. Draper's words from two years ago when he encouraged us to avoid questioning motives. I am sure you will disagree with me, but I believe you own Les an apology in this area.

Dave Miller said...

To be honest, I wish another candidate would rise up. I am not convinced of any of the choices so far.

However, I can make the following bold predictions:

1) The next SBC president will not be an active blogger. We have not distinguished ourselves in our rhetoric or conversation and have a poor reputation convention-wide.

If the blogger is seen as a friend of the commenter above, that will be an even more blatant kiss of death.

2) The next SBC president of the SBC will not come from a small-church. We are a denomination that beatifies the mega-church. The SBC will not choose a small church pastor over a mega-church luminary.

Les seems like a nice guy, but I have as much chance as he does to be SBC president.

Bart, even though I don't always agree with you (how could anyone with a MAC guy?) I am still waiting for you to declare your candidacy.

smithwe said...

Bart,

IMHO you are hitting below the belt with this Post. But that is what I have come to expect from a certain group of Bloggers. As to “UNREPENTANT SIN”, Jesus Christ’s Death on the Cross-was for all Sin of True Believers Once and Forever. The Holy Spirit Convicts us of our Daily sin of which we ask for forgiveness each day. Grace, Grace, God’s Grace of which we are not Worthy!!!
I also have noticed that the Baptist Press also interviewed Brother Les and has not printed this interview. I wonder WHY this is, “OH” I forgot the Baptist Press is controlled by the Powers to be.
Brother Les ask for Prayer for Maddy and I sure notice an absence of the people you represent. As I have said before I surly don’t see the Holy Spirit at work in some of the Bloggers and that is the “HEART” of the matter.

In His Name
Wayne

Ron P. said...

Bart,

There are a few SBC bloggers that over the past couple of years appear to be closely aligned with the Enid coalition. Les is most definitely one of them. If Les is going to be nominated, trying to distance himself from Burleson in recent days may come across as political gamesmanship by many since they clearly have agreed so much in the SBC blogsphere these past couple of years.

It is strange for Wade to ask why you mention his name. As I stated above, Les, whether he wants it or not, is tied to Wade and his movement. A movement that for all intents and purposes has become defined to advocate drinking, PPL, Woman Pastors, attacking and suing fellow believers and SBC institutions. Everything else that they might have been trying to "reform" is clearly overshadowed by those issues that Baptists have historically opposed. I think it is clear that Enid did not choose their battles wisely. It is these issues that will cause SBC Messengers to not elect a President that is even remotely supported by Burleson-Cole. Therefore, I submit that Enid will work behind the scenes and not endorse anyone, as it would kill any chance of that person being elected.

I do agree with you about the post on SBC Impact. Les has completely ignored your questions and comments that clearly show his predilection for Wade's definition of separatist while trying to completely redefine what you have clearly articulated in practice and in articles here on PGBB. He should know better.

One final note, I fully concur that if Les is nominated and elected, the appointments that he will put forward would be indistinguishable from Enid's. Hence, another reason for the relevance of Wade being mentioned in the same post about Les Puryear's possible bid for SBC President.

Blessings,

Ron P.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Bart: I too register my disappointment in this post. I have not met Les personally, but do not believe that he set up a small pastors conference for any other reason than his burden for the inclusion of small churches in the SBC, as well they should be. He began with an idea which then became reality. More pastors should be doing this. To say that he has hidden motives is much lower than I thought you would go Bart. I don't always agree with Les, but he is an honorable man, at least in my estimation.

Debbie Kaufman said...

RonP: You don't know what you are talking about here. Les agrees with something things and other things he does not. That is not middle of the road, nor is it hanging closely with anything other than individual issues. It seems facts are something you have a hard time grasping. Why?

Ron P. said...

Debbie,

No surprise that you do not agree. But I think my statements are pretty acurate.

Tell you what, let's put it to the test. See if you can get Wade or Ben to nominate Les for President and let's see how far his candidacy would go.

Ron P.

Big Daddy Weave said...

Bart,

I agree on one point. Had that "conversation" with Les happened in a classroom rather than SBCImpact.net, Les would have either been forced to back down or leave the classroom in tears. Actually, the latter example happened in one of my seminars last Fall. I too get frustrated with the occasional blogger who is unwilling to defend his words. Not naming any names.

I'm a little befuddled here. On the one hand, Wade Buuuuuurleson (that's my online impression of wordy blogger per his videoblog) gets treated like he'd be toxic to Les's candidacy. Dave Miller said "if the blogger is seen as a friend of the commenter abover, that will be an even more blatant kiss of death." Point taken.

But on the other hand, you folks bestow on Burleson phrases like the "Enid Coalition" and the "Enid Movement." These cute phrases actually imply that Wade does have some influence over Southern Baptists. If you'll remember, we moderates called it the Fundamentalist Movement, you folks called it the Inerrantist Coalition in the early days. However we described y'all or you described yourself, it was indeed an influential movement!!! History proves that much.

If Wade isn't a threat to your Southern Baptist way of life, why keep mentioning his name? I believe Wade's name gets tossed around in virtually ever blog post because either A) he does have some grassroots influence over mainstream Southern Baptists OR B) some have developed at the minimum a man-crush on Buuuuurleson or at worst, a personal obsession. I think Bart falls under letter A. He's a smart guy. Wade obviously has some influence among Southern Baptists. Now, I don't know in which category (A or B) the rest of you fall.

Finally, I think some take all this too seriously.

Rest, relax and enjoy yourself.

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

Having yet to net the first dime from my Ph.D., I don't know how professional I am as an historian! Nor do I count myself a professional journalist, although blogging is an avocation closer to journalism than to historical writing. Journalists, as you may know, are often loathe to reveal their sources. As am I.

But instead of lunch and the book, if you would divulge to me all of your sources of information embedded in the SBC bureaucracy, I'll gladly tell you who is talking out-of-school at associations. :-)

Finally, if you'll consider closely my "options open" paragraph, you'll note that I'm not saying that I haven't made up my mind about whether I would vote for Les if Les were to enter the race. I'm saying that (a) my preferred candidate had to drop out, (b) I don't know that the field is yet complete, and (c) for those reasons I'm not making up my mind until later on. My ability to exclude some options now does not necessarily mean that I have committed to one.

Bart Barber said...

Micah,

Regarding the Small Church Leadership Conference, I stated two things: (1) It has given Les press coverage, name recognition, and a forum for identifying with a platform, and (2) It was much less expensive for Les than involvement with the Pastors Conference would have been. These things are incontrovertibly true.

Here's the way that you entirely misread me—I'm not one of those Southern Baptists who consider politics to be a bad thing. It is a matter of record that Les has been agitating for "a small church pastor" to seek SBC office since long before he mentioned the conference. The very selection of topic for Dr. Frank Page's session reeks of an intention to advance some small church ticket at the annual meeting. If the purpose of the conference was absolutely apolitical, then why include expressly political sessions and topics in the schedule?

It is possible, you know, both to be sincere about doing good things and to be engaged politically. I nowhere suggested that the political role Les carved out for the SCLC (I think Big Daddy should like the conference just because of it's initials!) means ipso facto that he was not also trying to do something worthwhile for the pastors of small churches.

Bart Barber said...

Dave,

I meant what I said, and what you reiterated. No blogger is going to be elected to any office.

Bart Barber said...

Wayne,

None of us knows for certain that Les is even going to run. If he does run, I predict that he'll receive plenty of press coverage.

Bart Barber said...

Ron,

I don't doubt that Les really does disagree with Wade on a couple of these issues, but they will be issues unrelated to the actual job of an SBC President.

Bart Barber said...

Big Daddy,

If I have given the impression that I underestimate Wade's political organization and influence, then I have given a false impression. I'm not sure that it is always a direct political movement seeking forthright decisions on the clear issues, but it is possible to have a losing platform coupled with a winning strategy, IMHO.

Bart Barber said...

Besides, Micah, we don't even know that Les is going to run. I acknowledge this all to be mere speculation.

selahV said...

Bart, I read your post and I believe that you are "for now keeping your options open" regarding who you will vote for as President. :) (Sorry, Wade, I couldn't resist.)

And...I, also, question whether a blogger could get elected to the office of SBC president. As guarded as many are in their posts, there's always some little snippet that can come back to haunt a person--just like soundbites on the evening news. Blame those blog-feeders that pass posts along to folks the second ya hit the publish button; some read them, some never see them, but some save them. Ya sure can't blame the receivers. And emails...oh, my. Those get passed around like butter at Thanksgiving dinner. No, I don't see a blogger as a viable SBC president. But then I can only see as far as the end of my arm these days. So who knows?

Now, on a personal note. I like you, Bart, and ever since I've been blogging I've found that some folks can read more into someone's statements than are actually there. These doggone letters all plopped on a screen are like buckshot sometimes instead of bullets--and then some folks think they are bullets instead of buckshot. Some words aren't meant to mean anything to anyone in particular. But people who read them take them and wallow them around in their heads based on other situations, their own interactions with others, and wham bam, a new revelation forms.
Happens all the time. That's why we should be careful how much we read into another's statements. Oh, how the devil likes to keep things stirred up. (right now, someone could be thinking I'm calling them a devil.) As for me, I'm still trying to figure out what Wade meant by the "passive-aggressive" sentence with the (smile) after it. But since I've now given the alloted two minutes to mulling it over, I'm gonna go write a post on something entirely off subject. selahV

Jonathon said...

I am voting for WIley Drake!

I have been to one convention in my lifetime, hope to make it to my second this year. I thought that guy was funny.

He gets me vote!

I will say if Dr. Mohler were in the race I would vote for him....and even have a t-shirt made that said "Vote for AL".

Bro. Robin said...

Bart

I bet your favorite activity in the first grade was connect the dots.

:-D

Interesting insight and even more interesting if Les decides to throw his hat in the ring. But if he does, he would need a national figure to give the nomination speech.

I was wondering, do you think that Frank Page may be the nominator? He was passionate at the Small Church Conference about the SBC having a small church pastor as president. Has a sitting president ever nominated someone for president?

I am like you, part of me would like to see Les run. If he does, I just hope he has dinner with me again. Then my claim to fame would be that I ate dinner with a presidential candidate!

:-)

Debbie Kaufman said...

I must not be very political then. I never pass around emails like butter, I read them, I delete them unless they are prayer requests. I never save blog posts unless they are my own and I use them for reference. Maybe I should say, thank God I'm not political. However, SelahV, Bart's words are what they are. I think the intention is clear as well as the implications. To say that a pastor's conference was used for a platform, for getting his name out there is not only shady, but it's wrong. No matter the reason.

Dave: If you remember correctly, Frank Paige was said to not have a chance either. :) I never say never.

Micah Fries said...

Bart-

I really should leave this alone, but I'll stick my neck out there one more time. The use of the word "unwitting" in reference to the SBC entities points to them somehow being "duped" in their support of the conference. In other words, they were led to believe one thing when another was actually true about their involvement.

Your writing, therefore, seems to indicate that Les deceived them while incurring their support in order to actually support himself. That is an unfortunate deduction, in my opinion.

I can also tell you that I ate dinner with Dr. Page that evening before he spoke and we discussed the upcoming election and he didn't refer to Les even once, although we did discuss candidates, both announced candidates and potential candidates. If promoting Les was in his plans, it seems to me that he would have been open about it in light of his message that he would deliver publicly no less than an hour after our conversation. In my experience with Dr. Page you are reading more into his statement than is actually there.

Does Les want a small church President? The answer to that question is obviously yes. However, to insinuate that he somehow used deceptive motives to promote himself is out of bounds, in my opinion.

Ron P. said...

Bart,

I agree with your comment to BDW. I did not intend to imply that Wade does not have any political influence within the SBC. Quite the contrary. I believe it to be a small and probably dwindling one though. However, I do contend that based on what has transpired on his blog, especially in the last few weeks, he would clearly lose on any vote he would put forth on those issues I listed above (as well as some others). Dave is quite correct about the "kiss of death" point as I believe that he would keep Les, or anyone else from being elected if he (or Ben) were the ones presenting the nomination, precisely because of the blog posts of the last few weeks (i.e. Woman Pastors).

Blessings,

Ron P.

Bart Barber said...

SelahV,

Wise words. I'll take them to heart.


Micah,

"Unwitting" can either mean "not aware of the full facts" or "not done on purpose; unintentional." I think you'll have to concede at least that it was not intentional of the entities to fund the launching of an SBC presidential campaign.

Bart Barber said...

Micah,

I elaborate. The word speaks only of the uninformed state of the entities. I make no conjecture as to when Les decided that he himself would be the small church pastor to run (if, indeed, he is the one), and therefore, I make no conjecture as to whether Les deceived the entities in some blatant effort at self-promotion. I personally doubt that to be the case. Not knowing, I left the post silent as to that point.

Wade Burleson said...

Ron P.

Your tactics are very old and tiresome. When I travelled with Judge Pressler he informed me that the way to get people upset is to allege someone was a liberal. That used to work when people hesitated to say the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, and authoritative Word of God. It no longer works in the SBC.

I believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible and authoritative Word of God. I also believe the SBC is harmed when some wish to get rid of Southern Baptists who disagree on tertiary issues. One of these days you will awake to the real meaning of cooperation.

I would encourage you to listen to Big Daddy Weaver's words. He is showing some wisdom worth remembering. When a person says someone, or some group, is irrelevant and uninfluential, but then keeps talking about that person(s), he is either lying to himself or others. The more you write, the more you negate what you say.

Blessings,

Wade

Bro. Robin said...

Micah

I read your first comment and decided to remain silent. Now that you have commented again I feel led to respond.

I hope we both can agree that we have a mutual respect for one another. Not that we agree all the time, but there is respect. I have you on my blog reader and I do enjoy what you put put out on the blogsphere.

I am somewhat troubled by your challenged to Bart and demand for an apology on this post concerning Les. I went back to SBC Impact and the article Les did on "separatism" where Bart felt that Les unfairly painted him as an isolationist. Bart intelligently challenged Les and Les has yet to respond. I will also add that I feel Bart has already answered your first comment in this stream.

I am wondering, did you call for Les to apologize in his isolationist assessment of Bart at SBC Impact? Did you ask Les to consider the words of Jimmy Draper?

I know Bart better than you or Les and I am confident that he is not an isolationist. I am also confident that Bart's remarks are not represented by your comments.

Anonymous said...

Bart,

It seems many have whipped up you up a little bad butter, my one here spits paper wads at him (though Ms. Dixon may possess a slight edge on him in accuracy. Recall his 8 figure sum predicted to..., well that doesn't matter now).

And from what I gather from Micah, he does not at all seem to think political strategy played one gig at the planning stage of the Small Church Conference.

May I remind him of Presidential Nominee Puryear's own platform for planning the conference. Of the 5 reasons, Presidential Nominee Puryear gave for the need of the Small Pastors Conference, the 4th one stands out for purposes here:

"4. The majority of churches within the SBC have 500 or less in worship attendance. This block does not appear to be very well represented on our boards and agencies. I would be interested to hear strategies about how small churches can have a bigger voice in SBC government." (05/08/07, embolden mine).

So much for no interest for the conference gathering strategies for political purposes. Thus, perhaps it is now Micah who may owe you an apology for questioning the factual basis to which this post may appeal.

As for Ms. Kaufman's disappointment, I am absolutely shocked. She's always so supportive of you Bart. Think through it well before you take her on.

Finally, as for the fine legal mind from Baylor and lover of all things Southern Baptist, not to mention, Dr. Richard Land, I give my kudos. He is one sharp razor. He comes in with both six shooters firing away straight up in mid air.

His subtle shots at me are quite funny. I do not know which is funnier--my alleged obsession with Mr. Burleson--NO WAIT!!--Mr. Buuuuuurleson or my cowardly refusal to engage his impeccable logic (as a rule, all lawyers think non-lawyers are idiots) on my site. I laughed equally at both.

I suppose his funny about my "man crush" may possess a slight advantage in the end.

It makes me giggle a bit further when I think of the number of posts our BDW launches which bloats of the heavenly, virtuous people of the CBF and the hellish, vicious and vindictive people of the SBC. And that, all because CBF ordains women pastors.

Thus, as philosopher Pee Wee Herman so profoundly says to his everlasting adversary Francis: "I know you are, but what am I?"

Grace, Bart. It's been fun. With that, I am...

Peter

Micah Fries said...

Robin-

You are correct to assert that I respect you. As a matter of fact, I not only respect both you and Bart, but I enjoy being around both of you as well. That's the beauty (in my opinion) of our convention, we can disagree and still enjoy working together.

As a point of clarification, I have not read Les' post over at Impact nor have I read Bart's responses to Les. I've tried as much as possible to avoid getting involved in many of the conversations that I used to. Since I left Outpost, I have generally avoided it. For the most part, I've been successful but I have not been entirely so. I felt compelled to comment on this post simply because I feel like I am personally involved in it.

Les and I began discussing the small church conference quite some time ago. I have been helping him put it together from the beginning. I invested a lot of personal time and energy in the conference and was disappointed to see it misrepresented, along with Les' intentions.

As I said earlier to Bart, I should have simply faded away from this one, but it hit too close to home for me to simply sit by. At this point, however, I will remove myself from this conversation and I'll see you in Indianapolis.

Anonymous said...

Bart,

Sorry. I haven't the faintest idea what became of the first paragraph which posted weird on the earlier comment. I copied and pasted as usual. It should read as follows.

Bart,

It seems many have whipped up you up a little bad butter, my brother. Mr. Burleson regularly makes his predictions at year's beginning and one here spits paper wads at him (though Ms. Dixon may possess a slight edge on him in accuracy. Recall his 8 figure sum predicted to..., well that doesn't matter now)...

With that, I am...

Peter

SBC Reader said...

Debbie,

It amazes me that you take words you don't agree with as directed to you. And, that you must tell us what you do or don't do as if you are our example. From what I have read, your leadership is famous for saving comments and blog posts. Your leadership even wants to write books about what other fellow Christians have said in order to try and destroy their character. Obviously you agree with that? Your own leadership does the very thing they condemn Paige Patterson for. They want power so they can lead the SBC in the direction they think it should go. They are disrespectful to women. Unless you consider calling women babes, or your wife a hot mama as respectful in God's eyes? Maybe you do. Tell me what you think Debbie? Or even more interesting, what does your husband think when Ben calls you babe?

Bart,

Thank you for the insightful post. As I have followed the blogs the past couple of years, I would have to agree with what you've said. Only time will tell for sure.

selahV said...

hey, debbie, you and I are alike on something. I don't save blogposts either...unless they are my own. I do have this little blog in my sidebar set up to spotlight SelahV's Post Picks though. It just links back to ones I think are rather neat.

Bart said he wasn't judging Les's motives for his conference. I believe him. duh, I'm so gullible. While I am not privy to Les's or anyone else's private thoughts, motives or intentions, I, too, believe Les's conference was nothing more than a desire to help small church pastors in the SBC. Period. What it could become as a result of such a great idea and a success (from all I am reading) is a stepping stone (and a honorable one) for what Bart is speculating. Therefore, while I do not know Les's heart or even my own (only God knows that depth--I'm always allowing Him the go-ahead to examine it and show me His way wherein I fail in my choices), I do think Bart was purely speculating and connecting some kind of political dots as Robin alluded to. I'm not all that savvy on politics, but I can see where this could be a good thing...not a bad thing.

Now, if everyone could just apologize to everyone wherein the everyone's feel hurt and genuinely and sincerely mean the apologies, life could be much simpler in life. Perhaps an email discussion is necessary for Les and Bart, or a phone conversation clearing things up on what Bart perceived to be an attack on his positions as a SBC pastor would be in order.

A true leader would be willing to do that, don't ya think? I don't know...I'm just speculating.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall called the children of God." And aren't we all the children of God? Oh where is our goals of making peace? selahV

Bro. Robin said...

Micah

Hope to see you too!

Until then, I will catch you on the net. Your story on your pet monkey and trying to change your tire was entertaining and poignant because it reminded me of some of my bad days. Of course a monkey wasn't involved.

:-D

Wade Burleson said...

Providence, Mr. Lumpkin, Providence.

Ron P. said...

Wade,

You can be quite funny. It is not I nor anyone else that has made you blog on things that are quite contrary to the beliefs of a great majority of Southern Baptists. As I stated above, I think you have chosen your battles very poorly. You have hung your SBC politcal hat on Woman Pastors, PPL, supporting lawsuits against believers and against an SBC institution. You and you alone have done this to yourself. Don't blame those of us who merely point out the obvious that a duck is still a duck. :)

Blessings to you,

Ron P.

Bob Cleveland said...

I tried to send you this as an email but I could not find your address. The one I had isn't valid.

Bart, you're a better man than this, in my opinion. The post is gratuitous and is, in effect, pre-emptive criticism of something that has not happened yet. Its net effect will be to stir up dissension and strife, and I am saddened by it.

After someone announces candidacy, fair game (within the bounds I know you're aware of). Now, no.

You're not alone. I recall a joke about the salesman with a flat tire, with no jack, at night in the country. By the time he walked back to the last farmhouse he'd seen, he had convinced himself that the farmer would be asleep, would be upset about being awakened, and wouldn't let him borrow the jack he needed to change the tire. So when the farmer opened the door and asked the salesman if he could help him, the salesman said "Awww ... keep the (expletive deleted) jack .. I wouldn't take it if you GAVE it to me!"

We often criticize people for what we think they'll do, or for what we didn't ask of them. That ought not to be. In my sight, it is immoral.

Wade Burleson said...

Ron P.

Au contraire. My political hat, as you call it, is hung on being a convention of integrity and not pretending the BFM forbids women Hebrew professors, women Vice-Presidents, women teachers, women missionaries, etc . . . under the guise of forbidding women from serving in 'the office of pastor.' At some point God will bring you to a place of fellowship with fellow evangelical conservatives with whom you disagree. For everyone's benefit, I pray it is sooner than later. Finally, I'm not sure how a conservative, Bible believing duck walks, but if I walk like one and sound like one, then thanks for the compliment.

Blessings,

Wade

Ron P. said...

Wade,

That may be what you would like it to be defined as, but wanting it does not make it so. You have devoted much "ink" to the views I have mentioned. Views that the SBC has steadfastly opposed over her entire history. These issues will overshadow anything else you stand for or against.

Let me put it this way. Nixon did a couple of things that are considered great as President (going to China is one example). But Watergate will always be his legacy. Your legacy, though not your intention, has become PPL, Woman Pastors, contentiousness with fellow trustees and lawsuits.

By the way, I am currently in fellowship with evangelical conservatives with whom I do not agree on every issue. I have been for over 25 years as an adult. So no need to pray for something that has already been my practice. But thank you for thinking of me.

Ron P.

Anonymous said...

Ron,
The trouble with Enid is that Enid's understanding about cooperation among churches appears to be the same inside as outside the SBC. No distinction at all appears to be made...

Mr. Burleson,
Apparently, you hold no contentedness with Providence. Your ceaseless protests to the contrary betray you...

Bob,
"In my sight, it is immoral." Really? From what biblically textual basis is simply wandering out loud if a person is going to run for office immoral?

Before any election, it is not uncommon to speculate about someone being a candidate. It was rumored David Dockery was to be nominated this year. Is it immoral to speculate on his possible candidacy?

My guess is, if Mr. Burleson had been able to keep the lid on his own CBF beliefs--that is, those like pro-women pastors, etc that are contra grassroots SBC--not to mention his cantankerousness that got him booted out of the IMB Trustees meetings--Enid would not be looking for a candidate like Les to politically back in Indy.

Rather, Mr. Burleson himself would be the candidate. That now, after far too many goofy gaffs in the fight, remains utterly impossible.

That's only an opinion, mind you. But it is my opinion. I certainly hope it is not also immoral.

With that, I am...

Peter

Anonymous said...

Run Les Run!

I love several about a possible Les Puryear candidacy

1. I love the idea of a small church pastor being president of the SBC.

2. Les is not connected to any political faction in the SBC

3. Les is a visionary - he conceived and brought forth the conference for small churches - and if that conference was less expensive to attend than the SBC pastors conference - all the better!

I have been impressed by what I have seen Les write over the years. Just like most of you I agree with most of what he has written and disagreed with a few.

I would hope that Les would have a broad coalition of folks that back him, from Wade to Bart (and all you bloggers in between). Mostly I would hope those that have benefited from his Small Church conference will have seen the heart of the man

Regardless

RUN LES RUN!!!!

Jim Champion

Big Daddy Weave said...

Hey Petey,

Maybe my funnies are funny because they are true?

To all,

Since when did pro-women pastors get become a CBF-only thing. I can point to a plethora of egalitarians who have signed the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy and are indeed conservative evangelicals.
Some are even Baptist - thinking of the egalitarians hired under Mohler in his early years. There are even some wise Southern Baptist men such as Timothy George and obviously David Dockery who have not demanded conformity on this issue. George at Beeson has hired egalitarians along the way and Dockery's most well known Baptist egalitarian hire was David Gushee (formerly of the Mohler regime). And yes, Dockery knew he was hiring an egalitarian!!

I find it interesting that two of the biggest names in Southern Baptist academia are willing to hire and cooperate with egalitarians.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Lumpkin,

Dr Criswell made, as you would define it, a 'goofy gaffe' regarding race. Interestingly enought, at the time he made it (1956), he said what you and Ron P. are often fond of saying - "My views are are biblical, reflect the majority of the SBC, and are part of what it means to be a Baptist." Criswell later said, "Oops. My views are not Biblical, do not represent Southern Baptists today, and I and others were blind to the truth back then."

My reminder to the both of you is that some of that humility is needed by all Southern Baptists. When the principles of a 'Baptist identity religion' either exceed Scripture, or can be intelligently disagreed with by fellow conservative, Bible-believing Southern Baptists who hold to a differing interpretation of the sacred text, then we should not set up those principles as the basis for exclusion from SBC ministry and missions cooperation.

If we do continue the exclusionary attitudes exhibited by many today, the 'goofy gaffes' to which you refer may actually be being committed by people who are arrogantly saying they possess 'the truth.'

That's why all of us should be a tad bit more humble in our approach to the interpretation of the inerrant, infallible and sufficient text. Including you.

Blessings,

wade

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. I see both sides of the argument presented in the comment stream. Indianapolis ought to be very interesting.

George said...

For the phrase goofy gaffe to come from Peter Lumpkin's keyboard is like the phrase money money money coming from Donald Trump's keyboard.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear BDW,

Of course it's all true. A lawyer said so. And when lawyers say it, that settles it and we all believe it.

Dear Mr. Burleson,

Since I did not define what I meant by "goofy gaffes", I am glad you filled in the blanks. Unfortunately, your Jeane Dixon powers failed you once again.

Nor did I suggest any one interpretation whatsoever of any issue in the comment--unless, of course, you're referring to my quest to Bob about textual validation for speculating who a candidate might be which, the way I understood him, he dubbed an immoral practice.

Furthermore, my final words were: "That's only an opinion, mind you. But it is my opinion. I certainly hope it is not also immoral."

How conceding a stated opinion not only to be mine alone but also to be simply an opinion is supposed to warrant a caution from you, Mr. Burleson, sped right by me.

Finally the difficulty in bringing up Dr. Criswell's quote, for me, is two-fold: first, I'd have to go back and look it up myself for it to speak to me. The track record at Enid for skewing sources is much too notable to take a quote from there at face value.

Second, Dr. Criswell's position on any issue in particular, at this juncture, is irrelevant. I mentioned your CBF belief of pro-women pastors, nothing else.

If SBs look toward Enid on that one, there will be no SBC. I suppose we'll all be Independents then. No, wait. You'll still have the CBF.

With that, I am...

Peter

Bob Cleveland said...

Peter,

:)

Rob Ayers said...

Dr. Barber,

It was with great enthusiasm that I signed up and went to the Small Church Conference. It is with great joy that I attended each and every session. The speakers were on the mark, enthusiastic, and exceptional. The private conversations were encouraging, uplifting, and gratifying. We who attended found out that we were not alone, we had fellow travelers, and there were those who cared who like us were in the same boat.

We serve in a convention that in the main has been served by the largest of the large. When Adrian Rogers said, "it not the percentage it is the money" (paraphrased) what he inferred to was "he who has the gold makes the rules." The small church congregation and pastor has often been regulated to feel like that they are merely a small cog in a larger wheel - keep quiet and maybe a few crumbs will fall of the table for you.

Now Les sir has been a bit of a visionary. Both himself and Micah have seen the need to sponsor a Small Church Conference for churches that make up a vast majority of the Convention - a Convention whose large church pastors often meet to discuss business - whose largest of the large often have a secret "for us only" meeting every year - what is the discussion there, and where are your comments about who they pick for Convention president, hmmm?. Where was the Convention, Lifeway - even some of you Identity folks before Les had his vision? I'll tell you where you where - status quo jack-ola. The life of the small church and it's congregation gets merely a mere "God bless you" before you go on with the "big picture" - a picture that often does not describe or include the small church with respect to you - we can just regulate ourselves to the back of the bus. Any one who criticizes Lifeway for example for catering to those churches who "pay the bills" are trying to "upset the trustee system" and when they go to other publishing houses because they cannot afford the extravagance of Lifeway material, they are condemned as not being "on the team."

Sir, one can be conservative as the wind driven snow such as myself (called by Big Daddy as a "fundamentalist academic") while at the same time be critical of Dr. Moulder and his candidacy. One can cringe everytime when someone from Enid posts and disagree completely with their ungodly and reprehensible tactics, yet at the same time support common sense reforms that make the Convention and it's entities more accountable to the churches who formed them. I am myself coming very tired at some of you who when someone even goes to nitpick at any position you own, who then pick up the kitchen sink to rub them out as if they do not deserve a voice. Sir, not everyone is required to answer you - for sometimes it comes down to "what's the point?" Sir, Matthew 18 and the golden rule is applicable - if you had a problem with Les, contact him personally. Do not muddy the waters by spitting on the Small Church Conference as if it was merely a contrivance to further a political agenda. I was there sir. It was not.

I was on scholarship to the Conference. That means sir that my way was paid for - air-flight, hotel room, and rental car - otherwise I would not have gone. Les made it happen by appealing to many people. There were many of us there like that. When was the last time that anyone from the Convention sponsored a small church Pastor to come to the convention, so that the voice of his church could be heard? Or is it that you guys in Identity don't want the small church guys and gals to be their in droves? Just asking...

Les sir is a very amicable guy, and very transparent for all to see. He tells you like he thinks. If he agrees with you or does not agree with you, he will tell you straight up. For you to disparage him here as not because he would not answer you on Impact seems to this observer to be a little childish for a Ph.D.

There. That is the first real rant on the blogosphere I have ever had - and to a person I agree with more times than not.

Rob

Rob Ayers said...

I spelled a name wrong in my rant: Dr. Mohler - sorry :-)

smithwe said...

Bart,

You accused Brother Les Puryear of being deceitful in Arranging a Conference for Small Church Pastors.
I do believe you owe Brother Les an apology for Your Post.
Bart you said:”” Rather than having to pony up cash for it, he has managed to obtain sponsorship from “UNWITTING” CP entities for the meeting””.

UNWITTING
1. unknowing: unaware of what is happening in a particular situation
2. unintentional: said or done unintentionally

In His Name
Wayne

Bart Barber said...

Rob,

When does a church cease to be a small church? At what number?

Bart Barber said...

Wayne,

Asked and answered. Read above.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Peter: Aaron is right, I think a good dose of history is in order here. If you will be honest, you most certainly know that SBC has always been about autonomy and has not always had the single history that you keep throwing out there. There are numerous histories in the SBC meshed together for one purpose. Missions. But, if you keep wanting to kick out those you disagree with, you are right, there will be no SBC.

SBCReader:You seem to be doing the very thing you accuse me of. The statement wasn't addressed to you, but it's ok with me if you answer. I don't expect everyone to agree with me and recognize their right to say so. Sign your name. Have the courage to stand behind your words no matter how wrong they are. No one is doing anything to the leaders whose questionable statements have been brought to light. He and others are doing it all to themselves. It's just not being hidden behind closed doors anymore.

It will be interesting in Indianapolis this year, but it seems that it has been for the last few years. I believe it is time to allow for those beliefs that one cannot definitely say are what scripture is teaching. Scripture is infallible, we as human beings are not. To say to go against what you believe to be the proper interpretation is to go against God is the height of arrogance that I as a fallible human being would not want to go.

Bart Barber said...

Rob,

I want to reiterate to you something that I have already stated in this thread:

1. I'm not saying that Les only put together the SCLC so that he could run for office. Rather, I'm saying that the launch of candidates for SBC office was at least one of perhaps many purposes for the conference.

2. I'm not saying that Les's use of the conference for political ends is a bad thing. I'm merely observing that, if he runs, his involvement in the conference will be the major factor in his favor. I'm also observing that, had the CP entities involved known ahead of time that the conference would serve as a springboard for a campaign, they might have been more cautious about sponsoring it.

These are simply the facts, and they delve not at all into whether the conference was good, whether Les was sincere, etc. I presume that it was good, that Les was sincere, AND the two points that I have asserted above.

Rob Ayers said...

Dr. Barber,

The SBC as you know defines the small church as anyone under 200 average attendance. I would go as far to say that the real "small" church would be those under 100-75 in attendance.

Perhaps I was a bit hyperbolic with my statement - perhaps you Identity folks don't want anybody from small churches to come to Convention who are not in toe step with you. Frankly sir, the truth still stands and you know it - most small church pastors (including a few Identity guys) cannot afford to go to Convention - their churches cannot afford to send them, neither can they afford it on their own. This is true for a vast majority of pastors and churches in our Convention. Their voice is not being effectively heard simply because of finances - these folks would rather put food on the table than sacrifice to go to a meeting - so in effect a vast majority of our churches are never heard from - most of them poor and small. You know this, right?

And frankly if that is all you have to say about my post, that is disappointing. If every point should be answered, at what point should you be angry at Les if you are attempting any type of consistency in your argument?

Rob

Rob Ayers said...

Dr. Barber,

1)Besides putting together the dots, where is the Proof? Proof? Proof? Otherwise it is but mere speculation - speculation - speculation.

2)Motives in any case are hard to discern. Can you peer into the depths of the heart? If so, I need to hire you....sorry, I serve a small church who can barely sustain my salary with God's grace.

3)I believe that Dr. Page's sermon was inspiring. Have you listened to it yet? He encouraged all of us in attendance to consider the issue - we cannot complain about how a small church pastor has not been elected to be SBC President when we where unwilling to put our name in for consideration. I am going to tell you the truth sir - when I heard that, I thought about doing it myself. Why not? Besides the customary rectal exam of all things political, I was seriously considering it. Why? How come a small church pastor has not been elected to be SBC President? If Les decides to do this, then I believe he is doing so in response to that encouraging sermon, not for any previous thoughts and manipulations you guys project upon him. If he does not do it, then I might then reconsider it "Just because."

3)When you question motives, you muddy the waters. You question the existence of the conference. Why did these entities have to be encouraged to do the good, right thing in the first place? The supposed motives of Les then are irrelevant. You are once again disparaging a conference which you did not attend, you did not partake, and did not witness. Sir, "it is not about you."

Rob

Anonymous said...

Bro. Rob Ayers,

You said, When you question motives, you muddy the waters.

Well spoken. But you also said,

One can cringe everytime when someone from Enid posts and disagree completely with their ungodly and reprehensible tactics.

I'm not the brightest bulb on the planet, but even I can see you speak with forked tongue.

Bro. Kyle

Bart Barber said...

Rob,

Don't worry. We're not done. I'm still issuing you rope.


Where does the Southern Baptist Convention draw the line for the small church? You might want to consult this article before you answer.

Anonymous said...

I read and weep. How sad is the state of the Southern Baptist Convention. I have been a SBC pastor for almost 50years

Troy Long

selahV said...

Bart, I read your link and it is really informative. It seems to me the real problem in all churches is folks have lost their first Love. And if they've never loved at all, then that accounts for much of what we see in lack of interest from membership, lack of generosity to care for the pastor and their church's spiritual needs.

My husband once said, (and I have no idea if it is original), "If Jesus isn't Lord of all, He is not Lord at all." I've always thought my husband and I ministered in small churches, but we never had a small church if 100 or less is the criteria. I guess we were in medium churches to large. selahV

Grosey's Messages said...

Brethren, I really don't understand the attitude of those who desire position.
Why do they want every part of their lives scrutinized for every imperfection and foible? I am fearful enough of the Bema judgment seat for believers.. why an extra judgment before the church and before the world?

Are the responsibilities in a church as a pastor not great enough that one wants more much much more responsibility in the denomination as well? We will be held accountable for this too.

Does any person feel that their character has attained to such perfection that they can always in a godly manner confront every problem that such an office, SBC President, presents?

In my opinion only those who are shut up to the role and have nothing else God would let them do should ever apply for the job (same goes for being a pastor).
Steve

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms Kaufman,

Were someone to place a .45 to my head and demand I respond to your comment to me or else the trigger be pulled, I'd have to say "Please, sir, tell me what she was talking about so I can respond"

Rob,

You make this claim: "The SBC as you know defines the small church as anyone under 200 average attendance." Would you please reference that for us?

Also, Bart has many times now corrected the misinterpretation being thrown his way that he was impugning Les' motives. Why do you continue to insist otherwise?

Finally, if you will note the comment I left above, Les did, in fact, link--at least as part of the reasoning for the conference--a way to gather strategies to involve small church pastors in affecting SBC political operations. To now question that political motives are absolutely benign to the formation of the conference is to ignore the empirical record.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

selahV said...

"I will listen [with expectancy] to to what God the Lord will say, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints (those in right standing with Him)--but let them not turn again to [self-confident] folly.
Will you not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?"
Psalm 85:8, 6.

Wade Burleson said...

Ms. Kaufman's 20 year old daughter's husband was killed this evening in a motorcycle accident. I would encourage sensitity on everyone's part. The entire family is in our prayers.

Bart Barber said...

We all know that Debbie Kaufman is a woman of intense feelings and profoundly strong relationships. Knowing how deeply she must feel the pain of this loss, both sympathetically with her daughter and on her own behalf, I'm sure that bloggers of all stripes will join me in beseeching God to grant her comfort and strength in the coming days.

SBC Reader said...

My sincere sympathy and prayers go out Debbie Kaufman's daughter, Debbie and her whole family.

Rob Ayers said...

Debbie and her family are definitly in my prayers, as they are all of us.

Brother Kyle,

There is a difference between motives of the heart and actions. I was referencing actions in that second reference, not motives. Even the brightest bulb on the planet is able to get that.

Peter and Bart,

I have cooled off a bit from my previous rant, thankfully. My greater point that was lost in all of that was a)motives are unknown and b)they are irrelevant. The point was we all had a good time and were tremendously blessed without politics. Whatever the motive(s) of Les, he did a good job. I will repeat this: it just seems to me that some of you guys get riled for no good reason. If Les wants to get involved in politics, and wants to encourage small churches to do the same, so what is it to you? Again, "it is not about you."

Bart, I read the article, and I was their when Dr. Waggoner presented it. Point made - loosen the rope please, your choking me! :-)

Rob

CB Scott said...

Bart,

I have now read this post for the fourth time.

I have talked to two of our friends about this post.

Bart, I believe it was wrong for you to put up this post. I think you did it because you were hurt at and angry with Les.

This is nothing but yellow journalism. This is rude behavior on your part and I know you are better than this. You should apologize to Les for this.

If Les wants to be a candidate for president of the SBC he has as much right as anyone else and maybe more than others who have been candidates in the past.

Bart, Les is a decent guy. He actually represents what is still good about Southern Baptists. He never was and still is not what some of us were and sadly still are.

It is wrong to even hint his motives were anything other than good and to help other pastors when he sponsored the Small Church Pastors' Conference. His one mistake there was probably in asking a renegade like me to speak, but he did. Why he did, I don't know. We never spoke of SBC politics before, during or after the Conference. I never heard one thing from Les which would have caused me to question his motives. You are wrong this time, my brother and you need to make this right. That is one of our problems in SBC life, Bart. We just leave far too many wrongs hanging in the wind for all the world to see. Make this one right

If you don't there is one thing you should never do after this post, Bart:

You should never be critical of Wade, Ben, Art, Marty, The Littleton Bros, or cb for anything we have or will do ever again.

When I was 17 years old a man told me; "If you gonna fight monsters, you gotta remember never to become one."

I wish I had listened better, Bart. I hope you do.

cb

Anonymous said...

CB,

Hey, Brother. Trust things are still good at Birmingham. A couple of things.

First, I've posted twice now that one of Les' stated reasons for pulling together the Small Church Pastor's Conference had explicit political overtones. If that included how possibly to elect a Small Church Pastor as SBC President, I haven't the slightest idea. Nonetheless, it does not excluded it either.

Secondly, you concluded "[If you do not apologize] You should never be critical of Wade, Ben, Art, Marty, The Littleton Bros, or cb for anything we have or will do ever again." Sweet hominy grits, Bro! Do you not think that's over-reaching a bit?

Grace, CB. With that, I am...

Peter

Belief Matters said...

I can only say if I will not vote for anyone who any smells close to Wade or Bennie Cole.

CB Scott said...

Peter,

If I had said it in the following manner:

..."you should never be critical of Wade, Ben, Art, Marty, The Littleton Bros." and then added cb or PETER....... then, yes, I would probably have been "over reaching a bit." :-)

cb

Belief Matters said...

My post should have read:

I will not vote for anyone who smells like they have the support of Wade or Bennie Cole

Tom Bryant said...

Personally, I think we could do far worse than Les as President of the convention. There are few better.

I agree that trying to lump Les with Pastor Burleson and Mr. Cole is a pretty far reach. If it were true, I'd run far and fast. But I don't think Les is in anyone's hip pocket.

CB Scott said...

Peter,

You, as am I, are a dog of war.

You are as comfortable in a conflict as are: Ben, cb, The Tim's, Bart, The Littleton's, Volfan007, or a dozen others we could both name.

I am not campaigning for Les here. I support Frank Cox. I think you do also.

My point is that if Les wants to run for president of the SBC he has every right to do so. He is a good guy who does not go to a fight with the ease of a Pitbull like you, me or the others I have named.

I have already said I support Frank Cox, but if Les were to become president of the SBC I would just ask him to be fair in his board appointments.

I would ask him not to allow, me, you, Wade, Bart, Art, Marty, The Littletons, The Tim's Paige, etc, etc, or even the infamous Benjamin S. Cole influence him in his board appointments.

There was no need for Bart to post this. Naturally, if after Les has become a candidate it was revealed that he was part of a plan to stack board appointments toward a particular theo-political position, then, by all means, blow him out of the water. He would be getting what he asked for by doing such a thing. At this point he has done nothing to deserve Bart's broadside.

cb

Bart Barber said...

CB,

As I stated in the post, the realization that led to the posting of this article was what caused me to STOP being angry. And that is the absolute truth. I was not mad at Les when I wrote this post. I was mad when I wrote my summation over at SBC Impact.

Maybe you'll understand it if I use this analogy. If I'm walking down the mezzanine in Indianapolis and you, CB, run into me full-speed with your head into my abs and knock me flat onto my brains, then I'm going to get mad at that. Who knows how I'll react.

On the other hand, if I'm crossing the 30 with a pigskin tucked into my elbow and you do exactly the same thing, I'm not going to be mad at you at all. You did exactly the same thing, but the context was completely different.

If Les is running for SBC President, then the context is completely different, and I'm no longer angry.

What were my emotions when I wrote this post? I was pretty excited about having figured things out. I was feeling the adrenaline about scooping everyone else with the announcement.

So, I did not write this post in anger, and I also have yet to see anyone successfully contest any substantive point in the post. Can you clarify the nature of your objection?

1. Are you saying that Les is not going to run for President? If so, I am obviously in error.

2. Are you saying that the conference had nothing to do with seeing small church pastors run for SBC office? If so, then your argument is with Les, who has been saying otherwise since long before the conference. Running a small church pastor for office has been stuck in Les's craw for more than a year. Unless you can show that someone other than Les has been running Les's blog, I don't know how you can carry the day on this point.

3. Are you saying that Les is not an Antinomian? That's good news. I'd love to hear a fuller explanation of that.

4. Are you saying that Wade and Ben will not endorse Les? If so, time will prove me wrong in short order. But I'm pretty confident that they'll come out for Les.

5. Are you saying that I simply shouldn't post anything about Les's candidacy? Do you feel the same way about all of the other SBC Presidential candidates? If not, why not?

Bart Barber said...

CB,

I saw your new comment after I put mine together. Let me say this: I think I'm treating the SCLC with kid gloves. My post looks comparatively bad, but only because the entire rest of the universe is giving the meeting a free pass.

On the other hand, what would the blogosphere do in reaction to a conference exploring how to accentuate the role of the mega church in the politics of the SBC?

CB Scott said...

Bart,

I will answer your questions to the best of my understanding without having spoken to Les about any of this. The first time I had any knowledge of any of this was when a friend called me and asked me if I had read your post and if I knew if Les was running and if I knew who was going to nominate him.

I told my friend I knew nothing of it and had heard nothing of the subject matter of which he was speaking. I promised to read your post at a later time.

The first time I read the post I was in a drug induced state and kinda sick. I made two calls shortly afterward (not so very drug induced by that time:-)

I later read the post again and called one of the guys back. This morning I was feeling pretty frisky so I read the post two more times and made my comments. Now, you have my total involvement in this little "set two" of yours.

Now, let me answer your questions on the best of a level field I can.

1. It is not from Les that I heard he is going to run. I have heard that he is from another source and do not doubt the truthfulness of the source.

2. I am saying I was not told the Small Church Pastors' Conference was a platform for anything other than to address issues about the ministry of the small church.

The sermon I preached could be preached at any conference because I felt it applied to any pastor of any church.

Obviously, I was wrong because when I got back to Birmingham my wife told me I had preached one of the worst, if not the worst sermon, I had ever preached in my life and I should apologize to Les for my mediocrity.

I tried to tell her I had had my mind on getting home and doing Mr Dean's funeral, but she said that was "no excuse for poor preaching."

I guess I should have told her a woman is not to teach or correct a man, but I was hungry and tired so I wanted to get a good meal and not sleep on the couch so I simply said; "Yes Dear, I will try to do better next time."

I will agree that Les, among others has made it known that he would like to see a small church pastor be president of the SBC, but he never had that conversation with me and it was not discussed with me while I was in North Carolina. The longest conversation I had with anyone other than Tim Rogers was with members of Les' church as to which truck was better; Ford or Chevy. Naturally, I said Chevys were better and they are.

3. As to Les being an Antinomian I must admit I was involved in a blog debate with him and several others wherein I concluded he and those on his side of the issue were expressing Antinomian concepts. I personally did not use the word.

I do not know if Les has had the opportunity to study the tenants of Antinomianism. I do think it would be good to have a conversation with Les and others and make it very specific as to what Antinomianism actually is and then make an educated determination as to what he actually believes. Now, Bart, don't you think that would be better than to just call him an Antinomian due to one "blog fight?

4. I do not know if Ben and Wade will endorse Les or if they will even vote for him as I have not spoken to them relating to such.

If they do endorse him that is their business as it is mine to endorse and be willing to vote for Frank Cox.

I will say that I do hope that they are not involved with Les in anything beyond endorsing him or voting for him. If Les were to be elected I would hope he would be his own man. If I were to hear that there was a plan in the making to direct Les' presidential appointments by anyone, including, you, Wade, Tim, Vol, Ben, Paige, etc, etc, I intend to declare war on whoever it is and I am good at war. The days of "party locked" trustee appointments should end. We have reaped the whirlwind due to that mess and it needs to stop. So, if Les were to get caught up in anything like that he will have become the very thing he has positioned himself against. I think that is called hypocrisy and rude behavior, not to mention down right sorry and low-down. And I do not think Les is any of that and you know I don't mind calling people that if I think they are.

5. I am simply saying you did not have to go after him as you did. Why did you not just wait and find out if he was going to run and ask him if you could interview him as he has others? If he refused it would be evident he had something to hide. Then you could have turned Peter and Tim R. loose on him and they would have "run him to ground" for his apparent hypocrisy and arrogance.

Bart, it is not right to go after a guy just for a "scoop" as you put it. He is your brother and you should have given him the same fair shake other guys have had. We all knew Frank Cox was going to run and nobody blasted him before he openly declared his candidacy.

We are Southern Baptists, my brother, not lying Republican or Democrat dogs who would sell their Momma to get elected. We are of a higher calling and we need to act like it.

Bart, you are a good guy, but this time you fired way too early. I simply ask you to think about it and act accordingly.

As I said; Les is a good guy and if he wants to run for president he should and has every right to do so. More so than some, in my opinion. If it is revealed he is in some kind of conspiracy to corrupt the selection of trustees as has occurred in the past then, by all means, go after him.

Have I answered your questions sufficiently?

cb

Anonymous said...

Belief Matters and Tom Bryant,

You two boys say you would run away from any candidate that Wade Burleson or Ben Cole supports. You country boys need to be aware that there are a few thousand of us who will actually show up in Indianapolis, as we did in Greensboro, to vote precisely for the person or persons to whom you bestow your disdain. I can't wait.

Belief Matters said...

I doubt seriously that Wade has that much influence. The truth is that we will see how little influence Wade has.

Kevin Bussey said...

My goodness,

I should have known better than to even read this. But I must come to Les' defense. He asked me almost a year ago to speak at the Small Church conference. I was so impressed at how well run it was. It had not even a hint of politics. The only one who talked politics was CB and he was joking.

As far as Les getting the SBC entities involved--he did it to make it affordable for small church pastors.

If Les did run, I'd vote for him. But I don't plan on going to the convention. Les is a fine man who did a great job making a practical conference available. I think Les deserves better than this post.

Bart Barber said...

Kevin,

"It had not even a hint of politics..."

What was Dr. Frank Page's assigned speaking topic?

volfan007 said...

i believe that the silence of les here and at other blogs dealing with this topic are speaking loud and clear. les is running. otherwise, les would be speaking to this...denying it. the question still remains...who will be his nominator?

and, if les does run, that's his privilege as a southern baptist. i have to say that my vote is still with dr. cox, though. i love les in the Lord, but i'd have to stay with someone that i feel sure is going to stay the conservative resurgence coarse. i'm not saying that les is not conservative, but the ties that les seems to have with the reform bloggers concerns me.

david

CB Scott said...

Vol,

Tell me what a reform blogger is?

Be specific. I hear it so much lately I want to know if I have missed something very important.

cb

volfan007 said...

the reform bloggers are wade and ben and marty and art and debbie and les and the ones that follow that path.

they are calling us the establishment bloggers...you know, tim and tim, robin, wes, bart, me, and peter and others that follow our path.

i'm not just real sure what path you are on, cb.

david

CB Scott said...

"He who travels fastest, travels alone."

--Springsteen--

CB Scott said...

Vol,

Now that we have my position settled, let me ask again;

What is a reform blogger?

You named those who you say are reform bloggers.

What make one a reform blogger?

Identify the beast definitively, if you please?

cb

volfan007 said...

cb,

it'd be hard to spell it out, and it would take much time to spell it out, but they are basically the crowd that doesnt want baptist distinctives to be important to the sbc. they would be for rallying around the essential doctrines of the faith only. they would not want to separate, or at least, not exclude people from leadership positions who believed differently about "secondary" doctrines. things that we "establishment" guys think are important for the sbc to continue on a straight and good course.

david

CB Scott said...

Vol,

Fair enough.

cb

Anonymous said...

FYI - Going back to 1979, no sitting SBC president has ever nominated his successor. And neither has any former SBC president (less sure of this during the early years of CR).

Andrew