Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Log in the Eye of the SBC Tabloid Press

My favorite blog logo on the web is Kevin Bussey's—partly because the picture truly does speak a thousand words, and partly because Matthew 7:1-5 is among my favorite passages in the Bible. The label of Pharisee is much abused, I think—the Pharisees were LOST, you know; and Jesus was no Libertine—but there is no segment of Christianity, either in any portion of Christian History or in our present state, that could not benefit from self examination in the enterprise to help others.

Southern Baptist bloggers are no exception.

What some people were so convinced would become the Southern Baptist "new media" has become instead the Southern Baptist "tabloid press." Throw up lies or half-truths in a sensationalistic manner, appeal to Populist themes, hope that one in twenty turns out to be right, and try to use your sometimes-accuracy to fuel your agenda and get people to follow you. Camps have formed, and as each side ratchets up its own version of yellow journalism, the other side faces a choice: Raise the level of rhetoric to meet the challenge, or walk away.

I genuinely pray that God will allow me to live long enough to be a part of a more honorable season of Southern Baptist life. I'm ashamed to have been involved in the events of the past two years, although I'm extremely proud and honored to have been associated with many of the God-called and devout men whom I've come to know and love through blogging. I'm proud to note for posterity the many ways that they have resisted the temptation to join the gutter along the way;

  1. Although Wade Burleson has repeatedly thrown around such labels as "Spooky Fundamentalists", "Crusading Conservatives", "Junior Pastor", "Neo-Landmarkers", and today's gem, "ideological, independent, Landmark Baptist"; the men who have become my blogging friends and brothers have restrained themselves at every turn from calling Wade Burleson the wild-eyed liberal that he either always was or has recently become. I believe that they can be proud of themselves for not going there.
  2. When Wade Burleson takes pot shots at those whom he regards as his enemies and seeks his own vengeance, these men do not do the same, and they should be proud of that. Prominent leaders on Wade's side of things have had profound problems in their churches too—have even found it expedient to move—but you haven't read about it at places like SBC Today.
  3. I've made mistakes in blogging. So have all of my blogging friends. Several have had to apologize at one point or another, and have done so. I have done so. It isn't fun to do, but integrity demands it when the occasion arises. Wade seems constitutionally incapable of admitting when he is wrong or saying that he is sorry. Usually his differences with other people amount to just a difference of opinion, but there have been a few occasions where he simply presented demonstrable factual error (like the latest figment of his imagination, refuted not by SWBTS administrators, but by one of the very people whom Wade's post purported to defend).
  4. Although several of us have received veiled or explicit threats of legal action against us (all of which proved to be bullies' bluffs), none of these men have responded in kind.

Conservative bloggers have plied their trade in a restrained manner in the midst of rampant yellow journalism. I'm proud of them. I don't know how they have kept their composure for so long, but I do have a suspicion. I think that they've been emboldened and inspired by the example of Dr. Patterson himself, who has exemplified restraint in the face of constant attack. He has no blog. There have been occasions when I would have LOVED to obtain ammunition for blogging wars and have requested it, but to no avail. Among those who have blogged in defense of Dr. Patterson against these attacks, I know of few who have labored harder than I have (OK, maybe not lately, but in the past). Yet I testify before you today that Dr. Patterson and his colleagues have not once given me any information to publish in derogation of anyone else, have not once put me up to any sort of attack, and have consistently been reluctant even to aid in their own defense. If anything, it has been the Pattersons and their colleagues who have urged me to have a thick skin, to let things pass, and not to dignify with response the constant slander against them.

A few years ago a movement in the SBC arose critiquing "slanderous, unsubstantiated accusations and malicious character assassination against our Christian brothers." (see here). The statement was directed against others in convention leadership, and the movement making the statement gave rise to the heyday (to date) of Southern Baptist blogging. The time has come—nay, has far passed—for an examination of the log in the blogosphere's eye before proceeding to try to save the convention from anything.

To a large degree, it is my reluctance about this entire tabloid forum and the yellow journalism that it spawns that led me to announce last year a dramatic change in format (beginning with a promised post on Catechisms) to strive for something higher. Then came our horrible accident, and with it my capacity for doing anything quite so grand. I reaffirm that vision today. The time has come to harness blogging to do something nobler by and for Southern Baptists. I see the need, even if I do not know fully the solution. But I hope to be a part of bringing it to be.

61 comments:

Scott Gordon said...

Well said, Bart.

We live in a time when we, as pastors especially, have misused this format for venting our own personal animosities toward those who would take vendetta and theological error to more grandiose heights. I, for one, have had to apologize for my acerbic dialogue with various individuals.

I do believe we must stand and fight (it's in the very nature of the Gordon clan)! I believe that arrogance and vendetta and theological error must be answered swiftly and decisively. More importantly, I believe we must advocate the truth and exemplify what is right so that an obvious distinction between these two sets will be obvious to all.

Sola Gratia!

Darby Livingston said...

I think blogs can be dangerous or they can be helpful. I think they're great for logging thoughts or teaching on a particular subject. But I find people writing comments that they would never say to someone's face. You just know they wouldn't. And if they would, we'd all be scared. It's not integrity to say the first thing that comes to our minds. It's foolish. We've all been guilty of it.

I can be particularly scathing if I let myself. I think most pastors can because of our knowledge of language and how to elicit a desired response from someone. Because of this, I only blog about issues - gospel-centered marriage and now church planting. It's amazing how few people comment on such non-controversial things.

Bart Barber said...

Scott,

I don't disagree that we need to answer error and advocate truth. Certainly we do need to do that, and you have done so in your blogging. If you've ever crossed the line like I have and had to apologize for your blogging, then I don't remember it.

The difference between journalism and yellow journalism is not that journalism doesn't report.

Bart Barber said...

Darby,

Thanks for commenting on the post. Your observations are well-made. Particularly your observation about view-counts and comments. I've never done any hit tracking on this blog and I'm thankful to say that I have no idea how many people read. To know those statistics would be to tempt myself, I believe.

Anyway, you might notice that the National Enquirer does a pretty good job of moving issues off of the stands. And the National Enquirer of Southern Baptist blogs attracts a high hit-count, too.

Dr. Gadsby said...

Bart, you write:

The men who have become my blogging friends and brothers have restrained themselves at every turn from calling Wade Burleson the wild-eyed liberal that he either always was or has recently become.

You write this in a post entitled The Log in the Eye of the SBC Tabloid Press.

I am laughing out loud. Are you seriously unable to see the blatant hypocrisy in your own words?

Just asking. It's hard to take someone as credible when they do the very thing they condemn.

I expect better from you Bart. It seems your friends have made a few phone calls and told you to let out the wolves. The problem is, the man they perceive to be their enemy neither wants, not needs anything from them.

Enjoy your attacks. It makes your words ring really hollow.

Dave Miller said...

I have a slightly different take on this, Bart.

You see Wade's current position as the natural outcome of his earlier stances.

I supported his earlier stances and (as I argue on my blog) view this as a good cause run amok.

I still think the SBC needed some reformation. I just wish that movement had found a better, more credible point-man.

Bart Barber said...

Oh Anonymous Gadsby,

One cannot describe the phenomenon without employing the word. Yet there is no hypocrisy in the statement. A thousand times I've wanted to use the L-word to describe Wade Burleson, but I have restrained myself. I've witnessed the same restraint in others as well. I wanted to highlight that fact, and in doing so I used the word. Granted.

But, I've provided links to a large number of occasions when Burleson has irresponsibly hurled derogatory labels at others. If you, O Great Gadsby, wish to hand me my hat, then all you have to do is provide the links to all of the posts where I and my brethren have used the word liberal as an attack against Burleson.

We all await your enlightening response.

Bart Barber said...

Dave,

I didn't say that Wade's current position is the natural outcome of his earlier stances. You correctly note that I have disagreed with him all along. But I have not argued logical connection or causality between his 2006 themes and his 2009 themes.

If so inclined, I MIGHT do the research and try to make that argument someday. But I am not doing so now.

Grosey's Messages said...

Not to worry Bart,
Its better than someone running around like chicken little crying "the sky is falling!" and then making the claim that he is to be glorified as a prophet for stopping it falling by his crying! :)
Steve

Bart Barber said...

Grosey,

:-)

Bart Barber said...

Dave Miller,

Having mulled it over, if I were going to try to advance that argument, I'd suggest that all the way back to 2006, Burleson's argument was not so much that Pentecostal ecstatic utterances were right, but that we ought not to divide ourselves over such a small thing as doctrine. It was a message that resonated perhaps with many at the time who didn't realize that Burleson was prepared to apply that philosophy not to one or two points of theology, but to the vast majority of the theological enterprise.

Dwight said...

Bart,

Deep in your heart, you know Wade is not a “wild-eyed liberal.”

I have not seen you write so out of character since the Lifeway Report that refuted the BI crowds’ assertion that the majority of SBC people don’t believe in a private prayer language. You would understand the definition of a theological “liberal” far better than I; therefore, you know Wade is not one. “Wild-eyed!” Bart, you’re a better man that this. It is a sad day in the SBC when brothers resort to this type of name-calling. I pray that you will retract your inaccurate and intentionally inflammatory comment regarding Wade.
Wade is neither “liberal nor wild-eyed.” He speaks truth to power in the spirit of the OT prophets and Martin Luther King. He is passionate about his beliefs. He is a consistent compassionate and passionate prophet--Not a “Wild-eyed Liberal.”

Dwight McKissic

Bart Barber said...

Dwight,

My brother, deep in my heart I know that YOU are not a wild-eyed liberal.

Bart Barber said...

Dwight,

Furthermore, I know that Wade stood beside you in a difficult and troubling time for you. I admire your loyalty, knowing that it is a consistent and fine quality of yours.

Bart Barber said...

Dwight,

My, oh my: A triple-posted reply to you!

But after being so charitable, and revealing (I hope) my fondness for you in my reply, I must point out the long list of inaccurate and derogatory labels that Wade has employed, for which I have provided attribution in my original post, and ask where I can find your protests against those? I must confess that I missed them along the way.

So, you've come by to defend your friend against one who would hope to be friendly toward you, but who is obviously not so close a friend as he. I cannot be angry or even defensive against that, but you'll understand if I don't take it all that seriously, either.

Andrew said...

Bart,

I must admit that I began to read your blog to offset any slant in perspective from the "Throw up lies or half-truths in a sensationalistic manner, appeal to Populist themes, hope that one in twenty turns out to be right, and try to use your sometimes-accuracy to fuel your agenda and get people to follow you." camp...and I am sure that you also have been accused of being a lifelong member of said cadre.

Confession complete, I have enjoyed your writings. As I see Rev. Burleson's opinions on issues slide further away from my own, you have stayed at least the same distance in perhaps another direction. I hope that you do not take this comment maliciously, since I intend to say that I relish discussion and differences of opinion which, I hope, lead us back to Scripture and the all-wise God we love and serve.

One question remains: What ardent causes of the past, those not prompted by the vitriol of another, do you intend to still fight for? I am curious particularly about your support of SBC seminary education and the idea of a yearly offering to subsidize it (see your September 29, 2008 post).

Your semi-devoted reader, Andrew

Bart Barber said...

Andrew,

A good question. I'd say that your theory of equal and opposite reaction (to recast your observation) is not without merit. I hinted at the phenomenon in my post, speaking of the ratcheting up of sides.

As to the answer for your latter question: I still see the need for the offering, and am a huge supporter of the idea. I confess that I haven't worked on it much of late. Other things to stand for? If I accomplish what I wish to do in forthcoming blogging, that will become clear.

Bart Barber said...

Andrew,

By the way, I'll cherish your "semi-devoted" status as a reader. Let's face it: I've been, at best, a "semi-devoted" writer for quite some time.

Joe Blackmon said...

Bart

Have you observed how the term "conservative" has now been claimed by liberals? I can't imagine someone claiming to be a conservative while at the same time saying that they see no biblical problem with women pastors. Nor would I have ever invisioned a conservative saying that a church with a woman pastor being disfellowshipped was an unloving act.

Seems to me, the liberals have taken to calling conservatives "fundy's" so they could swipe the term "conservative". What do you think?

Grosey's Messages said...

Yeah I had an embittered ex membe swipe the churches phone number and name once! All calls for the church went to him!
Sounds similar.
Steve

Terrell said...

Steve Grossey,

Your words of concern for the SBC lose impact when one considers they originate from a non-Southern Baptist who pastors a tiny non-Southern Baptist church.

Chris said...

With regard to Wade being a "wide eyed liberal", as a former Presbyterian and student of church history, it's clear that a man need not be a liberal to enable liberalism's triumph. It was the refusal of the "moderates," many of whom were personally orthodox, to move against the liberals/modernists that resulted in the liberals gaining the upper hand in the Northern Presbyterian church in the 1920's and '30's and "conservatives" either being forced to the sidelines and irrelevancy or forced out altogether, as in the case of J. Gresham Machen. No doubt the same thing has played out in other denominations.

volfan007 said...

Grosey,


:)


David

Bart Barber said...

Terrell,

You failed to mention just how large Steve's church has to be before his opinion is worthy of your consideration.

Geoff Baggett said...

Grosey's church is more Southern than any Southern Baptist church I know.

It's in Australia. :)

Bart Barber said...

Joe, you correctly note how many times the word "conservative" is bandied about over there as well, usually to try to forestall criticism of someone's radical views. Another similar term employed is "Southern Baptist," which has been used to describe people who are about as Southern Baptist as I am Cuban (I've been there a few times).

Jeremy Weaver said...

Is there any stronger word of agreement than 'Amen'?

If there is put that here instead.

If not, "Amen!"

CB Scott said...

Terrell,

That was a cheap shot at Steve.

I believe any church in the SBC would do well to have Steve as pastor.

I bet if we tried to take Steve and bring him over here; we would have to fight some of them Aussie boys.

Steve is a stand-up guy.

cb

Dave Miller said...

I am not sure the word liberal applies to Wade. I am also not sure that the word conservative applies anymore.

I have argued for a "big tent" baptist fellowship, but there is a limit to the bigness I want. Inerrancy. Biblical values. Actually, I'm pretty content with the BF&M 2000 (with a couple of reservations, of course),

Dave Miller said...

If nothing else, Wade got us all stirred up.

Tom Parker said...

Bart:

You said--"from calling Wade Burleson the wild-eyed liberal that he either always was or has recently become"

Talk about sensationalism--call someone a "liberal"--the kiss of death in SBC circles.

CB Scott said...

Was Paige Patterson in Fort Worth this past Monday?

cb

CB Scott said...

Tom Parker,

I have trained a lot of bulldogs through the years. Good dogs all. But I tell you what, Tom:

In that little set-to between you, Wade and Vol this morning I have never seen a creature of any type jump so high for a biscuit in all my life as you did.

It bordered on idol worship.

You were fawning like a six month old puppy being patted on the head after attacking the training dummy.

You should be ashamed.

Here is part of it:

"Wade Burleson said...
Tom and others,

I would leave David alone. He said I was lying about the IMB. He said I was lying about Dr. Klouda.

I'm used to both his accusations and my words standing the test of time.

Nothing else needs be said.

Wed Feb 04, 04:15:00 PM 2009

Tom Parker said...
Wade:

I will try my best to leave you know who along. He just irks the time out of me. Thanks for the advice.

Wed Feb 04, 04:20:00 PM 2009"

Shortly Wade apologized to Vol for saying he had called him a liar about Sheri Klouda and the IMB.

I noticed you did not come with an apology also. You didn't did you, Tom?

Now, you go on and "Talk about sensationalism...." It carries a lot of weight when you do.

cb

CB Scott said...

I am highly inclined to agree with Dave Miller here:

"I am not sure the word liberal applies to Wade. I am also not sure that the word conservative applies anymore."

Dave,

I think many of us struggle with this. I know I do.

Thanks for being honest.

cb

Les Puryear said...

Terrell,

What's wrong with small churches?

Les

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

Someone emailed me and told me that you had called me "a wild-eyed liberal." I laughed and said I'd believe it when I saw it for myself. Well, I've seen it, and I still have to laugh. Seriously, that kind of rhetoric might have scared people in the 70's. It doesn't work anymore, particular when people actually are able to hear somebody preach online - or as in your case in regards to me - in person. I realize you are angry, but "wild-eyed liberal" shows you and your friends are really desparate.

Good. It's about time the efforts to stop the narrowing of "doctrinal" parameters, the "removal" of dissenters, and the "disfellowshipping" of brothers and sisters in Christ in the SBC stopped, and those pushing it be on the defensive.

Blessings,


Wade

CB Scott said...

Wade,

Are you sure Paige Patterson was even in Fort Worth this past Monday?

Is your primary source still anonymous?

cb

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

Jeremy Weaver, How about a "Hearty AMEN!"

Bart,

I have already posted my two cents worth at Tim's blog, so I will not repeat it all here, except to say that I believe that this is a calculated attempt to exploit SBC Calvinists. Wade wants to continue to wage a war against Paige Patterson. However, most of those who agreed with him a few years ago have abandoned his Captain Ahab whale hunt. By provoking the fears of Calvinists of a "witch hunt" he can once again raise up an army to go after Paige Patterson. One would be hard pressed to find better warriors than Calvinists defending the "Doctrines of Grace". I have to give him credit, his exploitation of the Calvinism debate in the SBC is a very shrewd and cunning strategy.

Blessings,

Ron P.

CB Scott said...

Bart,

Do you know this fellow, J. Randall Easter, pastor of FBC Briar, Azle, TX.?

A link was given about something he wrote over at Wade's place.

The link seems to give credibility to Ron P and his summation of the situation.

cb

debbiekaufman said...

If Wade stands by his post, you can believe it is true. Now a campaign to discredit is going to come. Just like it attempted to 3 years ago. It will fail then, it will fail now. It seems kindness and graciousness is now under the heading of "wild eyed" liberal. Dr. McKissic is a wise man. His advice is good. I would take it.

debbiekaufman said...

that should be, it failed then, it will fail now.

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

All,

SBC Today has an audio interview with Dr. Patterson from earlier today.

Ron P.

debbiekaufman said...

The agenda that was going to be used is limited atonement. A quote from Paige Patterson from the interview.

"Southwestern will not build a school in the future around anybody who could not look anybody in the world in the eyes and say, "Christ died for your sins." If there is a problem there, then I believe there's a problem that Southern Baptists would not want to fund."

TULIP. Can any of you tell me what the L stands for?

Joe Blackmon said...

Debbis

Lollipop? Lavender? Largo? Left Leaning Lenny likes Lola Longfellow?

Tom Parker said...

What in the world would the Blog host and most of the posters here do if there was not a Wade Burleson? I think at one time many of you were his "friends". With "friends" like you all, he certainly does not need any enemies.

What do you want from Wade?

Anonymous said...

Tom,

You ask "What do you want from Wade?"

I don't know Mr. Burleson personally and I've never been to his church. But I have been reading his blog since the time he was an IMB trustee. My view of him is certainly limited, but probably not any more limited than other readers who only know him through his blog. With that in mind, here's my answer to your question:

-to cease the gossip
-show some humility
-repent if needed
-respect all of his brothers in Christ, including Paige Patterson -be more courteous
-not allow the angry, offensive and unChristlike comments that litter almost every entry on his blog
-to admit it when he's wrong
-show more graciousness
-stop being an "armchair quarterback" on SBC issues

Katie

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

Surely it comes as no news flash to you that I consider you a liberal Southern Baptist. As I pointed out in the post, I have not put it in print up to this point. Nevertheless, our theological differences, I would think, are obvious even to those who have only summarily perused our writings.

John Mann said...

Debbie,

"The agenda that was going to be used..."

What agenda? The one that only Wade seems to know about? Do you have any proof of an agenda other than "Wade said so"? Wade has for three years maligned people for not going to the source. Did Wade go to the source? As far as I am aware, the only one who went to the source was SBC Today. Until Wade offers more than secret sources his accusations are nothing more than wild-eyed liberal accusations of shots in the dark. Though I am sure there will be plenty of people to cheer him on as he blindly pulls the trigger omnidirectionally. I would not stand too close though... there is nothing more dangerous than a man with a hair-trigger gun, itchy finger, dark room, and a few people who are all too willing to cheer along the growth of his ego.

Bart Barber said...

JUST IN FROM THE TABLOID PRESS.....

"Landmark, independent, closed-communion, separatist, fundamentalist Baptists "

That's, like, a hat-trick or something, isn't it?

:-)

CB Scott said...

Tom Parker,

I will take a shot at answering your question:

"What in the world would the Blog host and most of the posters here do if there was not a Wade Burleson?"

We would just continue as we have living as Believers in this life.

Now, the real question is: What would you do?

Well, the way I see it is:

1. You will have to get another idol.
Or
2. You will have to rehang all of your old Elvis pictures throughout your house.

cb

volfan007 said...

CB,


:) about the Elvis hangings!



David

Anonymous said...

Bart,
It's because of close minded, narrow sighted people like you that Dr. Patterson and his administration continue to get away with the things that they are doing at Southwestern. Apparently you and many others knew Patterson to be an upstanding individual at one time and believe that everything he does is absolutely wonderful. I assure you that a poll of students, faculty and staff here on campus would strongly disagree with you. Wade Burleson is trying to let other Southern Baptists know what is taking place here because those who work here cannot or they would be fired immediately for speaking out against the great and almighty Patterson. It's a tragedy that so many people are so enamored with Patterson that they cannot accept the truth that Southwestern is being run in a very ungodly and inconceivable manner right now.

Grosey's Messages said...

Thanks CB,
I am greatly appreciative of your words and thoughts, and most others as well!
Come to US?
Well maybe .. but..

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land-
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand-
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Now I have enculturated y'all!
Steve

Dwight said...

Bart,
Please define a “liberal” and specifically relate your definition to Wade?

Bart Barber said...

Dwight,

I would be tempted to submit to your cross-examination, but for a couple of simple points:

1. The clearly discernible point of my post was not that I intend to call Burleson the liberal that he is with regularity, but the one-time highlighting of the fact that I and those I admire so much REFRAIN from doing so. I'm not inclined to allow a post about our not doing so to be misconstrued in the comment stream as though we're in the habit of speaking so bluntly about Wade's liberalness.

2. Your friend hurls out epithets four times a week, and you apparently are not troubled at all by that fact. I take one opportunity to highlight the fact that we NEVER reciprocate, and you become apoplectic. When we see a little of your righteous indignation reaching across the Red River, I'll be a bit more inclined to receive some of it myself. Until then, I'll receive it not as any serious search for truth, but as mere prejudice on your part.

fishformen said...

A definition of a practicing liberal otherwise referred to as "wild eyed":

1) One who purports to hold a particular theological position yet in practice denies the position. 2) One who is rhetorically crafty and says the right thing while in practice defends the opposite of what is claimed.

Example: 1) I'm complementarian- I advocate women pastors. - More could be mined. One suffices.

volfan007 said...

fisherformen,

Excellent insight.

David

Tom Parker said...

Bart:

Still waiting for your definition of a liberal?

Anonymous said...

Bart:

Thank you for these reflections.

Positive postings that move us forward are most important.

I believe if I were a pastor and in the "religious business" so to speak (no slam intended) one thing that would haunt me is what I would have to show for my work and efforts over the years.

I believe that if one moves down a positive road, that years from now you will have a legacy of helping people and being remembered as a blessing.

Blogging (and commenting on blogs, as I do), is a constant temptation not to go down that positive road. It's especially hard for smart aleck lawyers, such as I.

I would not want to be remembered as a muckraker, especially if my calling was that of a pastor.

I do not feel qualified to pass judgment on you, Wade or any other blogger. You both have written some fine things on the internet, and I hope that those fine things will continue.

Katie's comment has some really good suggestions.

I would not shoot for a following on a blog, especially one that talks primarily about current controversies. There is only a limited amount of influence and positive engergy that comes from that. Though I enjoy reading those blogs, there is a limited appeal to them. The masses and many hurting people are not the least bit interested in them.

I do not believe that Wade is a liberal. He has said that he believed the CR needed to happen. I can't find any liberals around me that could bring themselves to say that. Especially the "moderates" (many cannot bear to use the term to describe themselves now, though they were clearly moderates back the day) could not say that. Some of them still get so apoplectic when discussing the CR, that is hard to have a civil conversation.

So, my suggestion is to simply address the merits of issues, controversies (faux or not), don't worry about labels, and let time take its course.

And, as you have rightly noted, most of the so-called "controversies" are really not worth all of the engery that is poured into them.

The people leading the spiritual dialogue today in this country, in my opinion, are not people who fixate on denomiantional control or controveries, but those who really focus on ministry and love other people. For example, I am reading a speech that Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemner Church in NYC gave in our town last week. It is incredible. He is an example of a guy who is having a tremendous impact nowadays. If it were suggested to him that he should start getting involved in starting or settling denominational disputes, I think that he would laugh really hard and see that as a waste of time. Billy Graham would have fit this same mold in an earlier generation.

I was always glad that the CR was able to have the leadership of some really fine Christian leaders who ordinarily would not have gotten involved in denominational disputes.

I am not casting judgments at anyone for what they want to do with their time (you, Wade or anybody), but I think that your post is on target where it hits this theme.

And I will agree with you on this: Whether or not Dr. Patterson has made the right decisions on every issue or lived the perfect life, I have admired his refusal to get defensive or respond to the constant barage of attacks over the recent years. It really does take a strong consitution and a disciplined commitment to ignore all that has been said and done over the last few years. And that is one characteristic of leadership.

Thanks, again.

Have a good day.

Louis

Tom Parker said...

Bart:
Are you a liberal person?

Anonymous said...

Bart, first of all I agree with you on everything you write and enjoy your blog. Now, with the current debate...

1) Who cares? If Patterson wants to fire someone he can. Personally, I am a big fan of Dr. P and was glad to shake his hand as I walked across the stage a few years ago. If you don't like it, elect a president of the SBC, who will appt. members to the X-Com, who will appt. trustees to SWBTS who will hire someone else. Is it not that simple? Instead of whining about stuff, so something. The problem is, that is the hard way. The "other guys" do not have as much support. The support they're getting seem to be from liberal, disgruntled, grizzled people who have already left the SBC or are planning on it.

2) I don't get mad when SBTS hires more and more 5 pointers. I am NOT a Calvinist. In fact, I consider myself a 4 point Arminian. That said, I don't whine when Prez Mohler hires more Calvie's. In fact, go for it. The difference is that I will choose not to go to that school. I trust Dr. Mohler to make good decisions and if he wants to hire 5 pointers then go for it. Even if he wants to let non-Calvie's go I woundn't care (as long as it was done the right way). What has PP done to any of these guys to deserve such hatred and bitterness? Myself, I am thankful for men who will stand up for truth and actually do something rather than hide behind blog posts of fuzzy "facts."

Thanks my two cents. But what do I know, I'm just part of the young leaders who have disappeared from the SBC.

Paul