Monday, April 27, 2009

I Would Love to Sign the Great Commission Resurgence, But. . .

Dr. Danny Akin recently preached a very engaging sermon on the axioms of a Great Commission Resurgence. I found myself, even sitting in an empty office with nobody to hear them, belching out a chorus of amens to so much of what he said. In the aftermath of the sermon, which he from the beginning stipulated to have been something he coordinated with others among the grandees of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Akin has launched a web site seeking endorsements and affirmations for a statement along similar lines of his sermon.

As someone who loves the Lord, loves the Great Commission, and loves the Southern Baptist Convention, I would also love to sign on as a proponent of a resurgence of the Great Commission among Southern Baptists. As someone encouraged and enthused by so much of what Dr. Akin preached, I would further love to have some way to affirm the good truths to which he has directed our attention.

But, as someone who reads such documents carefully and who takes very seriously the act of affixing my name to something, I am genuinely disappointed and saddened that I cannot add my name to those affirming this particular plan for a Great Commission Resurgence. I cannot do so because this particular plan for bringing about a Great Commission Resurgence is, in my opinion, a flawed plan that will not bring to the Southern Baptist Convention any substantial resurgence of the Great Commission.

I elaborate my thoughts "axiom" by axiom:

  1. Dr. Akin has called us first to an affirmation of the Lordship of Christ. Amen and Hallelujah, Dr. Akin. This is not only the right idea, but it is also listed in the right position—first place. Certainly we must indeed put Christ's lordship first, and Dr. Akin rightly notes that none else will succeed apart from it.

    Would to God that the website provided a means to sign axiom one without having to sign each and every remaining axiom!

  2. Dr. Akin has also rightly called us to a central affirmation of the gospel. And I agree. I would gladly affirm axiom two were we simply to receive some specific clarification as to what are the "styles, traditions, legalisms, moralisms, personal preferences, or unhelpful attitudes" that we are exhorted by this second axiom to abandon in favor of the simple gospel. Given the differences of opinion among Southern Baptists evidenced in just the past few days over such topics as homosexual civil unions or decriminalization of marijuana, it would be important to me to have some clarification on that point before going on the record in favor of that language. The simple gospel does, after all, have something to do with morality, unless our recent lurching as Southern Baptists toward Antinomianism has progressed further than I have realized.

    I have every reason to hope and expect that Dr. Akin would mean by the "styles, traditions, legalisms, moralisms, personal preferences, or unhelpful attitudes" precisely what I would mean were I to use such language—that one can never become moral enough to earn salvation. By extension, I'm certain that we would both affirm that it is our initial effort as proclaimers of the gospel to call people to come to Christ "Just As I Am." We are not in the business of making people presentable to God through moral reform so that they may then receive the gospel. We are in the business of calling immoral people to receive the gospel first, but we are confident that this is a gospel with a profound effect upon one's morality. Thus it is entirely appropriate for Southern Baptists to talk about morality, to talk about morality in pointed specifics, and to talk about morality a great deal. On these principles I have every reason to believe that Dr. Akin and I are in agreement.

    But the public record of Southern Baptist discourse demonstrates plainly that not all Southern Baptists share that agreement. I would be uncomfortable in affirming this second axiom, therefore, not so much because of what it says as because of how it could and will be construed by some who will affirm it.

  3. The third axiom calls us to affirm and live the Great Commandments of loving God and loving people. This axiom I gladly affirm. It is a loving thing to rebuke error and to call the lost away from destruction. Our love for God and for people should stand behind all that we do, and when the world will not acknowledge that love, we should make certain that they do not see it because they do not wish to see it, not because it is not there.

  4. The fourth axiom calls us to the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture. My next post this week will indicate why this remains an important and timely topic for us WITHIN the Southern Baptist Convention, for there are people who currently hold positions of high influence within denominational structures that are a part of the Southern Baptist family, but who are explicitly opposed to inerrancy. Dr. Akin's language on this subject in the sermon was even more explicit than the text of the website. I not only affirm this axiom; I cheer its inclusion.

  5. The fifth axiom calls upon Southern Baptists to "look to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a sufficient guide for building a theological consensus for partnership in the gospel."

    Here again, I think that I can affirm this axiom. In its wording I have no disagreement. But I note that it is nearly the precise wording of the ill-fated Garner Motion that, in the end, amounted to little more than a Rorschach test dealing with what role the Baptist Faith & Message should have in the governance of our entities. If Dr. Akin means by this axiom that the Baptist Faith & Message is the minimal doctrinal floor for our Southern Baptist entities, then I agree with him. If he instead means what Rick Garner apparently meant to say—that our Southern Baptist entities should have no "narrowing" of theological "parameters" beyond the explicit text of the Baptist Faith & Message, then two problems have emerged. One is Bart Barber's problem, and it is not all that important: I would not be able to affirm this axiom. The other is Dr. Akin's problem, and it is a much more grave one: He would not be able to affirm the Abstract of Principles as an additional theological governing document for his SBC entity beyond the Baptist Faith & Message.

    So, he cannot mean what some have construed the Garner Motion to mean, and he and I are in probable agreement. But especially since this particular wording has been so contentious among Southern Baptists in the immediate past, to think that the bald assertion of such a consensus-destroying phraseology would lead to the building of consensus among Southern Baptists is unwise.

  6. The sixth axiom is a Baptist Identity affirmation. I gladly endorse it. Since we are talking about ecclesiology, I would acknowledge the fact that Southern Baptists do still at this moment affirm two ordinances rather than one, but I'm in no mood to quibble. I'm enthusiastic about this axiom.

    And my enthusiasm is not entirely a matter of arcane discussions of the nuances of ecclesiology. I'm enthused about this one because it rises above the plane of jingoistic national denominational programs. We've had so many (Bold Mission Thrust, A Million More in '54, Encouraging Kingdom Growth, Great Commission Resurgence), and we've seen so little from them (except for the "Million More" campaign). The reason for the impotence of these endeavors, I believe, is that they have tended to arise from the employees of our para-church organization known as the Southern Baptist Convention and have seemed to presume that re-jiggering the mechanics of the para-church organization will somehow hold the key to some great advance for Christ.

    In contrast, I believe that it is when we throw up the hood of the local church (founded by God rather than by W. B. Johnson) and begin to tighten and adjust whatever in the local church is out of alignment with clear surrender to the scriptures—it is at that moment that we start to do something that really matters. I'm greatly enthusiastic about the Great Commission Resurgence's inclusion of good Baptist Identity ecclesiology as necessary to any advance whatsoever in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. It is, after all, a Commission given to and for the churches.

  7. The seventh axiom calls us to sound biblical preaching, and I affirm this article entirely.

  8. The eighth axiom calls us to biblically informed methodological diversity. Who can disagree with that? Certainly I do not. Being biblically informed will keep us from foul language and asserting specific sex acts as the commandment of Christ and convening in taverns and bars to hold church. Methodological diversity will only strengthen our efforts to win the lost. I'm in complete agreement with this axiom and affirm it.

  9. The ninth axiom is one of the primary reasons why I cannot sign this document. That's the stuff of an entirely separate post, which I'll have to submit sometime. Suffice it to say two things at this point:

    First, for reasons I'll detail later, I think that some of the ideas being bandied about under this heading have the very real potential to be the most disastrous mistakes that the Southern Baptist Convention has ever made to eviscerate our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.

    Second, and most to the point of this post, why would one require the affirmation of organizational reshuffling to determine who is or who is not in favor of the SBC growing in faithfulness to the Great Commission? I disagree entirely with axiom nine. Does that mean that I am anti-Great Commission? Will that be the branding and ostracism applied to any who do not toe the line on these axioms? Yes. Absolutely it will be. Perhaps not by Dr. Akin, but by some. Mark my words.

    Indeed, it may begin in this comment stream.

    Therefore, count me as one who sees it as a mistake to include matters of tactical and organizational bureaucracy in a document that should stick to the highest ideals—that should trade in goals rather than objectives. It is a mistake if for no other reason than the fact that those who might otherwise embrace the heart of the movement will be held outside the gate merely because they have different ideas about how to accomplish it.

    Before leaving this axiom, I should mention that there are aspects of it that I strongly affirm personally. For example, I believe with Dr. Akin that the apportionment of Cooperative Program funds by some of our state conventions is no less than shameful. And I do believe that this phenomenon is related to the Great Commission and our attempts to obey it. Nevertheless, I still do not affirm that the redrawing of organizational charts will do anything substantive either to bring about or to hinder a Great Commission Resurgence.

  10. The tenth axiom calls us to distinctively Christian families. I affirm this axiom in its entirety.

So, I will let each reader judge how much real distance exists between myself and the Great Commission Resurgence. Because integrity precludes me from the dishonest and specious practice of affirming things with "caveats," I will not place my name on the web site as a signatory of this document (not that my signature will matter much in either its inclusion or exclusion from the list). But perhaps my willingness to offer my perspective in detail will occasion a move from drum-beating to a thoughtful discussion of the contents of this important document.

56 comments:

Dave Miller said...

Statement IX is non-specific. It is always a little disconcerting to agree to a restructuring without knowing exactly what the restructuring will be.

But, I think that they are just saying that we need to look at things with an open mind and heart.

"We should ask hard questions about every aspect of our Convention structure and priorities and pray for God’s wisdom and blessing as we pursue wise answers to those questions."

What is the problem with asking hard questions?

If it can be shown that a newer, streamlined structure will aid in the Great Commission Resurgence, then let it be.

It seems to me that there is no particular restructuring plan being advanced, but a general commitment to look at structure to see if it is efficient.

jThat would seem to me to be a good thing, and a way to advance the Great commission by making our denomination more streamlined, more effective.

Bart Barber said...

Dave Miller,

Look for an upcoming post of mine on the history of structural reshuffling within the Southern Baptist Convention as a detriment to Great Commission effectiveness. I'm opposed to #9 because, innocuous as it sounds, we have a lousy track record of fouling up the works when we "look at things with an open mind and heart" to see how to restructure things.

Foreshadowing my post (and I'll absolutely go no further than this at this point) I'll simply note this:

1. The least reorganized entity in the SBC: The International Mission Board.

2. The most reorganized entity in the SBC: The North American Mission Board.

Bart Barber said...

Dave,

I want to consolidate what I said in the OP and what I said in my previous comment, just to make sure that my position on axiom nine has been stated clearly in one place:

1. I am not opposed to the concept that we would ever reorganize the convention in any way, but...

2. I do think that some of the specific ideas that have been discussed recently under this heading are horrible ideas that would work against any revitalization of our pursuit of the Great Commission, and...

3. Although in theory reorganization might contribute in some way to better pursuit of the Great Commission, in the past our reorganization efforts have tended more to hinder those efforts, undermining my confidence in our effectiveness this go-around, and....

4. Most importantly, I think it foolish to determine who is or who is not in favor of a Great Commission Resurgence based upon the position that people hold with regard to the SBC's best organizational chart.

Alex said...

I await your fuller defense of your surprising comments but in the meantime would it be a fair summary to say,

Bart Barber feels unable to identify with renewing our denomination if it involves changing it?

Or, with tabloid brevity,

"Things are fine", says Bart

Bart Barber said...

Alex,

No. That would not be a good summary. The fault in it lies with the presumption that a reshuffling of the SBC's organizational chart exhausts what it can mean to change the SBC: "If you are against (for example) combining NAMB and IMB into a single board, than you are anti-change!"

Here would be a summation more to my liking:

Bart Barber prays that, just when we have some reason to hope for the spiritual renewal of our churches, we will not shoot ourselves in the foot by focusing our efforts upon yet another dubious bureaucratic redesign of the structure of our para-church organizations just like the one fourteen years ago that was supposed to save the world but apparently didn't.

Bart Barber said...

...or, with tabloid brevity...

"Didn't we just do this?" asks Bart Barber.

Todd Benkert said...

Bart,

Here are my thoughts on axioms 5 and 9. I look forward to reading your response. And, for the record, I have signed the document. :)

On #5 -- If you listen to Dr. Akin's address, under number five he lists among those doctrines which Baptists do not agree,

"-- The continuance of certain spiritual gifts and their nature.
- Does baptism require only right member (born again), right meaning (believer’s) and right mode (immersion) or does it also require the right administrator (ever how that is defined)."

What are those issues doing in the speech, especially back to back, if not a reference to the IMB Trustee personnel policies -- the precise policies that triggered the Garner motion in the first place?

The IMB trustee issue is not the key issue for me, nor the most significant, but it does stand as a litmus test for me on what kind of Convention we are going to be. As long as those policies are in place, I will feel personally that the IMB wants my money but not my participation.

Of course, #5 is not so narrowly argued to address only this one issue. Other issues, as he mentioned, include Calvinism, eschatology, singular vs. plural elders, and a whole host of issues that are current points of contention among many.

I do not believe Akin's wording is unwise. Rather, he is addressing a key issue that I agree is hindering cooperation among Baptists. Without this key axiom, the sermon would not be getting such support (or debate).


On #9 -- the beuracracy of the SBC is a key issue for many younger evangelicals. The duplication and waste of the various entities is well-documented as is the fact that most of our CP money remains at the state level. It's a hard sell to many people to give to the CP when they see how much of the money is wasted and how little is used for missions. I am with you if the restructuring merely shuffles the beuracracy around and does not address the real problem. I am with Akin if such a restructuring would lead to the real stewardship of cooperative resources that is so desperately needed.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents for the day.

Blessings,
Todd

Bart Barber said...

Todd,

On #5, is it then your suggestion that Dr. Akin means this:

1. He is not opposed to the development and implementation of additional "narrowing" of theological "parameters" by the trustees of our entitles, but..

2. He think that we ought to exercise caution when we implement such, and...

3. He think that the trustees of the IMB have NOT exercised such caution with regard to at least two of their policies.

Is that your understanding?


With regard to #9, I want to clarify again: I would be supportive of the cleanup of some of our state convention situation. I am not supportive of the defining of support of the Great Commission to exclude those who are not. I withhold my support from the inclusion of this among the axioms because, even for the kinds of reorganization that I support, I do not believe that these actuarial and organizational measures will have any measurable impact upon what is essentially a spiritual problem.

Todd Benkert said...

I am not saying that at all. Obviously, you are suggesting that he makes those claims by default of being a president of an institution that has narrowed doctrinal parameters by the "Abstract of principles." If so, those additional doctrinal parameters have been allowed by the Convention itself and were not added by Trustees without regard to the consent of the larger body. (Really, the "Abstract" argument has been debated ad nauseum on numerous blogs. It may help you feel like you are right, but it doesn't convince anyone on my side of this issue.)

The Garner motion was flawed in that its wording was not specific enough to have any teeth and it was opposed by some for the precise reason that it did not address exception scenarios such as the "Abstract." Still, the obvious sentiment of those who proposed and defended the Garner motion on the Convention floor was that Trustees would not be able to add additional doctrinal requirements such as requiring belief in eternal security for baptism to be valid. And, lest we forget, that motion passed. But, alas, the Garner motion is only a historical moment that had virtually no impact on any decisions -- certainly not the IMB at which the motion was aimed.


In any case, IMO, the mission boards ought to represent all the churches in fellowship with the Convention. If a church's requirements are in line with the consensus of Baptist beliefs (i.e. BFM 2000) they should be allowed to serve, not denied by the additional doctrinal requirements of a small group of trustees. This, I believe, goes to the heart of Akin's axiom whether we are talking about the right administrator of Baptism, the five points of Calvinsim, the plurality of elders, pre-millenial dispensationalism, or any other tertiary doctrine you care to name. How do we have a cooperation and resurgence if we only allow participation with those who agree on every tertiary point, even if those points are the majority view? Yes, I am against the "Narrowing of doctrinal parameters" and I am not afraid to use that terminology. Think what you want about Wade, he got that one right.

Blessings,
Todd

Todd Benkert said...

Oh, and I think we agree on #9, but I'll withhold judgment until you speak further about it in your next post :)

Blessings!

WesInTex said...

Bart and Todd

Please forgive me for jumping into the conversation. And Bart, I know you plan a further post on Axiom #9, but I think it’s important to make just a quick note: local Associations and State Conventions are autonomous from the SBC and so any organizational restructuring on the national level will not have any direct impact on the state or local levels unless they too sign on and make the necessary changes.

As I read, and yes, signed the call for a GCR posted by Dr. Akin, this was also one of my concerns – not because I don’t think changes need to be made, but because I know that what Dr. Akin is addressing is not necessarily a national convention issue – it’s a state issue. For example, here in Texas we have two state conventions. One gives over 50% of its CP dollars to the SBC and has focused on assisting churches to do the work of the ministry. They don't have the blotted structure as some do (but it is growing). The other convention, however, keeps over 70% in state because it publishes its on Sunday School material, supports its own seminaries, appoints its own missionaries and duplicates various other projects that have traditionally been the work of the national convention. Do we honestly expect the BGCT to shut down Truett or to drop WorldConneX (or whatever its mission sending agency is called)? Not hardly.

I think some changes could possibly be made to the SBC structure – we are, after all in the 21st Century. However, most of the points Akin makes, sadly are not in the sphere of the national convention.


Thanks for letting me share.

Grace,
Wes

volfan007 said...

I think that Wes is right. A lot of the changes that need to be made are the state and local associational level. And, the GRC will have no teeth to bring about those changes. I had a DOM tell me that he believed that the state and the association were duplicating a lot of things. And, he believed that either the state conventions, or else the associations, would eventually be done away with. And, he really thought that the state conventions would be done away with entirely!
Now, I dont believe exactly as he does about this. But, a great downsizing of the state conventions probably should and could take place. The local Association could do a lot of what the state is doing, and we'd have a bigger percentage of CP dollars getting to the mission field.

But anyway, Bart, I,too, have not signed my name to this document, and I'm very reluctant to do so until some things are cleared up. I, like you, would want to know some more specifics about what's written.

David

Michael said...

Amen to #6 Way past time to throw up the hood :) Long overdue!

Tom Parker said...

Bart:

You said--"The fourth axiom calls us to the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture. My next post this week will indicate why this remains an important and timely topic for us WITHIN the Southern Baptist Convention, for there are people who currently hold positions of high influence within denominational structures that are a part of the Southern Baptist family, but who are explicitly opposed to inerrancy. Dr. Akin's language on this subject in the sermon was even more explicit than the text of the website. I not only affirm this axiom; I cheer its inclusion.

You mean to say after 30 years of the CR this is so. I would be very interested to see the evidence.

Are these people liberals? How soon can we get them out of the SBC?

Bro. Robin said...

Bart

You have again articulated the concerns of my heart.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Bart,

I did affirm the entire document. We do agree it would be ungodly to affirm it with "caveat" as have some affirmed other documents such as the BF&M. Therefore, I respect your decision not to sign it. Unlike some who are boldly proud of their "caveated hearts" you are a man who can be trusted to make your yes be yes and your no be no.

Since I do appreciate your honesty and candor I read your post with interest. But I still affirm the document without remorse. I think it is a good document. Frankly, some of the axioms are things I have thought to be needful for several years now and I am glad Danny Akin has openly articulated them. Bart, it took a great degree of courage for him to say some of those things contained in the sermon in in question here. I respect him for that.

I respect you and Dr. Akin along with many others who signed and did not sign the document.

Yet, here I am again in a hard spot. Again I will be at another SBC in June with no one to eat with because of positions I have taken through the years. I think I will open the "Black Flag Hotdog Stand" in L'ville during the SBC.

By doing so I may be able to gather all the "men without a country" together for lunch and have someone to talk to during the convention.:-)

If you will come by, I will let you buy a hotdog for half-price. That is; if you will have your picture made with me.:-)

cb

volfan007 said...

CB,

I will have my pic made with you, if you will buy me a polish sausage with grilled onions and peppers with some horseradish mustard...no, not just one, but two of them. I also will require a coke.

David

Bart Barber said...

Thanks to all for the dialogue. CB, I'm counting on that hot dog in Louisville. Stop by my room at the Residence Inn and I'll feed you a cold bologna sandwich.

Bart Barber said...

This conversation seems to be winding down, so I want to end it with a clear reiteration of my purposes that I wished to convey in this article:

1. I wished to communicate my enthusiastic agreement with so much of what Dr. Akin said. Although the few points of disagreement seemed to generate most of the ensuing conversation, I do hope that nobody missed my overall tone of encouragement and agreement.

2. I wished to open a dialogue about those few areas in which either I disagreed or I wasn't 100% sure what Dr. Akin was thinking or saying.

3. I wished to explain why my name is not on the list of signatures.

Bart Barber said...

And I want to add...one reason why I thought it important to explain in a gracious way the absence of my signature is that Dr. Akin affirmed the Resolution on Regenerate Church Membership last year. I owe him a signature on something.

I'll be tickled to repay that debt some day. Just can't do it this time.

Bart Barber said...

I should note that several good friends have signed the GCR and have indicated their agreement with it. Some have wondered aloud whether some of us who have blogged largely in agreement for several years are suddenly "divided" by the GCR.

That's just silly.

First of all, we are all individuals with different points of view, not mindless automatons. That's all that we've ever been. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we disagree; we respect one another.

Second, we are all agreed in our prayer for a revitalization of our churches in the pursuit of obedience to the Lordship of Christ. We all want to see our churches become more faithful to obey the Great Commission.

Third, because #2 is what's important, and because having signed or having not signed an online manifesto will make absolutely ZERO difference in seeing the ongoing work of the kingdom of Christ, the individual choices of people on this question is far from an item worthy of division.

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

You wrote, "there are people who currently hold positions of high influence within denominational structures that are a part of the Southern Baptist family, but who are explicitly opposed to inerrancy."

This I want to hear more about. Will you be naming names?

Les

Chris Poe said...

C.B.,

Were I to come to the Convention, I think I'd definitely be a "man without a country."

I too am interested to know more about opposition to inerrancy in the SBC. I have encountered it, but not in positions of "high influence.

Tom Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Comment from a frequent lurker:

While I appreciate your thoughtful concerns about the declaration, I do think there is possibly one or two errors of fact in your post. Dr. Akin did not launch the GCR website, at least according to Between the Times and Baptist Press. Johnny Hunt launched the website. Between the Times (and others) just linked to it after it was launched.

Also, while I have no doubt Dr. Akin's "Axioms" sermon influenced the document, I don't think he wrote it. The Baptist Press article says that Johnny asked a group of people to draft the document. You seem to assume that Akin actually wrote the document on the GCR website. Has he claimed credit for the document?

Just curious. Keep up the good work.

Tom Parker said...

Bart:

You wrote--"The fourth axiom calls us to the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture. My next post this week will indicate why this remains an important and timely topic for us WITHIN the Southern Baptist Convention, for there are people who currently hold positions of high influence within denominational structures that are a part of the Southern Baptist family, but who are explicitly opposed to inerrancy. Dr. Akin's language on this subject in the sermon was even more explicit than the text of the website. I not only affirm this axiom; I cheer its inclusion."

Will you name these people?

Dave Miller said...

Bart,

Someone over at SBC Impact asserted that Item IX, related to restructuring, had been revised since the document was first released a day or two ago.

Is that true?

I read the document originally, and reread it today, but I can't remember specifics enough to know if that is true.

Johnny Touchet said...

Dr. Bart

I appreciate your articles and your desire to Glorify God in this statement. Have you talked to Dr. Akin? I believe you would be able to help strenthen the document.

BJ

Anonymous said...

Bart:

I appreciate Dr. Akin's sermon and the axioms. I agree with them, as stated, though I may not if "amplified" or "explained" by others.

However, let me say that I am not really that impressed with this.

First, to imply that we need a Great Commission Resurgence, is an indirect way of saying that we haven't been conscientiously and actively pursuing the Great Commission for many years. I would think, despite other things that get our attention from time to time that the SBC has been pouring millions of dollars and man hours into the very thing we say that we are going to re-surge.

Second, asking people to "sign off" on another document, is not really productive. People work together and sacrifice because they share a common bond and goal. We already have enough papers, plans and a fine confessional statement that we have already signed off on. Coming up with another document does not build consensus.

What builds a movement is genuine excitement among people who already agree on this stuff. Then, it's just a matter of living it out.

Third, didn't we just do the reorganization thing? We already reorganized the convention. Reorganizing it won't make it better.

I am all for reductions where appropriate, but that does not need to be the hallmark of our efforts and focus.

Actually, the existence of State Conventions, in my opinion, is a matter worth considering. But I would not get any traction on that, and that should not come from the SBC or be a "top-down" plan. Churches should just be free to invest wherever they want to invest. Our church, by design and the wishes of our members, is primarily invovled in the SBC. We send some money to the State, but a lot less. We are in the SBC for the missions programs, the seminaries etc.

I could say more, but I'll leave just saying that the more navel gazing we do and reorganizing and re-tooling will not win us one new person.

We need to be less bellicose, and we need to emphasize the majors (which Dr. Akin has so well identified). But we don't do that, in my opinion, by coming up with another document.

We do that by - doing it.

If every agency executive leadership and board looked at the maxims and just ran their programs and emphases through them, the organization would be well on the way. If pastors and churches would do it, too, that would be good. And if we paid no attention to people who tried to get us off track, that would be good.

But I am afraid that signing another document would not only NOT accomplish the foregoing, it might actually be a hindrance.

Louis

Bart Barber said...

Greetings Friends:

I have just returned from a meeting out-of-town. I have church tonight. I can't promise to get back to this to interact with comments until tomorrow. I just hope that I can get to all of them then!

Bart Barber said...

As to the "inerrancy" bit, just to avoid holding you all in suspense....


1. Look closely at the wording describing this person's position. I don't want to mislead anyone. I carefully chose each of those words.

2. Yes, the name of the person will appear, as will a carefully authored rebuttal of the arguments advanced against inerrancy.

RKSOKC66 said...

With tabloid brevity:

GCR doc: Dr. Barber says, "Close but still sub-par"

:)

Anonymous said...

Think I know who he is.

And I agree with you, inerrancy of the Bible matters - a lot!

I look forward to your post.
David R. Brumbelow

Tom Parker said...

Why are we still arguing over inerrancy? Didn't the CR win? Have we not removed all the nonbelievers yet?
The misuse of that one word destroyed a great denomination. But the Battle for the Bible continues 30 years later.

Bart:

What are your hopes for "outing" this 1 person. You had me believing it was 100's or maybe even 1000's of people and it is just one? Wow!!

Bart Barber said...

Tom Parker,

My publication of the critique is not in any way prompted by Dr. Akin's sermon or by the GCR website. I have been working on this project for some time. Why do so?

1. Because this is what scholars do. We read other people's research and analysis, and then we critique it, refining out the erroneous and trying to purify the truth.

2. Because inerrancy is a relevant and important topic. I'm guessing that you've given thought to the topic. So have I. If it is worth thinking seriously about, it is worth writing seriously about.

Tom Parker said...

Bart:

Thanks for the response.

I do not understand though why Southern Baptists are still fighting about inerrancy after 30 years. I thought the CR solved that problem and all those that did not believe in inerrancy have been removed. That is they would not sign off on the 2000 BF&M, etc.

Have I missed something?

Bart Barber said...

Tom:

Wait and read what I write. I'll be glad to interact with your thoughts at that point.

volfan007 said...

Tom,

Like all heresies and errors and sin, it just keeps growing back. It's like a bad weed in the yard. you mow it down, but it keeps coming back. The battle for the Bible will never be over, until the Lord comes back. This battle has been going on every since the Devil told Eve,"Does the Lord really say..." And, the battle will continue, because the Devil will always stir up heretics and heresies until he slams the world with the biggest heretic of all... the Anti-Christ. So, until then, people like Bart, and like me, will continue to fight the good fight of faith.

David

Alan Paul said...

Oh goody. Another document to live my life by. And here I thought the Bible AND the canonized BFM2000 was enough.

Bill said...

These questions still persist.

What is the Gospel? clearly and succintly stated!

To whom is the gospel to be proclaimed?

Why is the Gospel important?

What the Gospel is not! Emergent Church, Seeker Sensitive etc



Personal Comments:

When we seek to be all inclusive, we become irrelevant and will stand for anything in the name of unity

The above posters are correct. The Battle for inerrancy will never be over until the return of the Lord Jesus Himself

BTW, I personally will applaud the day when all State Conventions are no longer in existence.

Grace to All,

Bill
www.hendrickscountyteens.blogspot.com

Tom Parker said...

Bill:

You said--"These questions still persist.

What is the Gospel? clearly and succintly stated!

To whom is the gospel to be proclaimed?

Why is the Gospel important?
My question to you and others--
Who is going to answer these questions?

Let me guess--you and the others who are leading the BATTLE will.

You guys keep up the good work on inerrancy even though it is a recent phenomena in SBC circles 1979ish. But is was a good way to get rid of them "liberals."

I for one know what the SBC stands for and that is one word "fighting". What a pity, but keep up the good work, maybe you will get get rid of all of them pesky "liberals", someday.

Bill said...

Inerrancy is NOT only an SBC Battle.

Have you ever heard of the PCUSA? UCC? What about Bart Ehrman? Dan Barker? The Jesus Seminar? et al

Inerrancy is also an issue in Evangelism! According to Paul in Romans, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It is exactly because they are inerrant that they convict of sin and bring about salvation. We come to salvation because the scriptures convinct us of sin and we accept this conviction as Truth from a Holy God (in other words we must accept everything that the Bible states as fact-eventhough we might not understand it all in order to be "Saved").

Tom, Do you believe that the Bible misquotes Jesus?

Grace Again,
Bill
you may wan to go to aomin.org and see that James White debated this very issue with a well known secularist who would in no way identify himself with the SBC

Romans 5:1

Steve Young said...

Dr. York just posted on his blog a timely piece. The title is something like "A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action." This is to remind us that the end of important debate is action. Now, I do not believe that we should "just do it and not talk about it" because we need to know what we are doing. We also need to be willing to take course corrections. Like many of you I am in strong agreement with the GCR Document. If it could be refined a little, I see know problem with a convention vote for its support. But all of that is equivalent to many M.Div. Diplomas on office walls. Those diplomas never led anyone to Jesus.
As the old country deacon said "I don't care how deep you go, I want to see how far you jump when you get up."

Steve Young
Montana

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

Bart, tell Malcolm and your other proofers to hurry! The battle for the Bible is still being waged and we have to out the heretics in our Southern Baptist midst before the masses actually think that there could be other problems in our Convention that have nothing to do with inerrancy!

:)

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

Welcome back. Our dialogue was completed some time ago. May God bless you in your ministry in Enid.

Wade Burleson said...

?

News to me, Bart. My dialogue shall continue with Southern Baptists - with or without you.

:)

Know that from my perspective you are always welcome in any dialoge I have with others.

Blessings,

Wade

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

Feel free to come back here and comment all you like. You'll note that I do not delete them. But I'm not going to engage you in any sort of a tit-for-tat. We've been there and done that. The Lord doesn't need it. The churches don't need it. You don't need it, and neither do I.

Anyone feeling deprived can go back to our archives and see how it all transpired. Unless circumstances absolutely demand it again at some point in the future, I don't plan to engage you in dialogue again, beyond a simple exchange when necessary as a reminder to all of this intention of mine.

The wish for blessings is sincere. I harbor no ill-will. I look forward to seeing you in Heaven if not before.

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

Bart,

I do not recall any conversations that have been unprofitable to the Lord or to His church. It is an honor to write and discuss the things of Christ with His people, particularly Southern Baptists who may not see eye to eye on tertiary matters.

In fact, I feel our conversations have been both beneficial and a blessing to many who may have read them. However, please know it is not my intention to cause you to violate your own conscience, and there will never be any demand you respond to any comment I make. Thank you for not deleting my comments, and please know I will understand if you feel it is appropriate to not enter into what you deem to be "tit for tat" conversation with me. I will take no offense if you do not respond to what I write.

I also trust that any guilt you feel over your past conversations is assuaged by God's grace and the knowledge that you have been forgiven by me.

Blessings to you and your ministry as well.

Wade Burleson

Bart Barber said...

Yes, Wade, I have felt guilt over my part in some of our past conversations, although I do no longer.

You may take my remorse either as weakness on my part or vindication of your part to your own liking. From my perspective, it is the utter and entire absence of remorse or public self-examination on your part that is among the most troubling aspects of this whole chapter in my life. Read Marty & Ben's review of your book—I say what I say not solely because we were on opposite sides of the questions.

I do not feel guilty that I opposed what you were trying to do. It needed to be done. My personality is not suited to such a task, but it befell me. I took it up and did my best.

I do feel guilty that I occasionally allowed it to change my feelings about you and others. But I am strengthened and encouraged by Rich Mullins's words in his song "Hello Old Friends" that exhort us to "Let love be stronger than the feelings that rage and run beneath the bridge." As the indwelling Holy Spirit assists me, my aim is to do exactly that.

And in writing a new chapter of my life, I hope to close firmly that one (thus no new conversations with you, thank you), and to see greater yet evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in my life spread upon those pages yet to come.

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

Bart,

You wrote: "I do not feel guilty that I opposed what you were trying to do."It is always a little disconcerting when people with whom you have had little or no conversation portend to know what it is "you were trying to do."

Smile.

Bart, when you feel impressed to let me know what it is that I am doing, I would appreciate the light so I can do what it is that I am doing and actually know what it is I am doing since you do and I don't.

Finally, I thought Marty's and Ben's review was great. We must have read two different reviews. To mention that there is an observation that I lack any "remorse" or "public" self-examination is neither something with which I would disagree (who am I to question another person's observations) nor even mildly concerned with correcting.

Enjoyed the conversation, as always. Have a great day at worship tomorrow. I shall not be able to return for a while because of a heavy schedule in the coming days.


Wade

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

It is not necessary to speculate as to what your overall master plan was. You made specific arguments and called for a specific direction for the SBC on your blog. Those things I opposed.

Greg Tomlin said...

Bart:

You of all people should be aware that Southern Baptists don't have the line item veto.

GT :-)

Greg Tomlin said...

Bart:

You of all people should know that Southern Baptists don't have the line item veto.

GT :-)