Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prayer, Big Decisions, and Business Meetings

A story in today's Baptist Press quotes reorganization task force chairman Ronnie Floyd as saying that the recommendations of the task force will not be presented in full until the SBC's Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL, on June 15–16. Previous statements had suggested that the task force would unveil its recommendations no later than the time of the February meeting of the SBC Executive Committee.

The task force has obviously been hard at work, and for that they deserve the appreciation and admiration of Southern Baptists. They should take their time and come to good, careful conclusions. We do not need them to rush.

Then again, neither do they need us, the Southern Baptist messengers, to rush. I am hopeful that the task force will extend to Southern Baptists throughout the nation the same time for prayerful consideration that they have needed. They need to report in Orlando, and I pray that they will, but I hope that someone from the task force will move that any proposed measures unveiled in Orlando be postponed until 2011 for a vote, in order for the Southern Baptist people to have adequate time to pray about the proposals before voting.

In our own congregation, our recently adopted Constitution & Bylaws requires that our church staff publish an agenda for every church business meeting a week in advance. The membership of the congregation is encouraged to read the agenda and to devote time to pray over the items mentioned therein. Congregationalism presumes not an ultimate democracy, but "democratic processes" as a means to the lordship of Christ over the church, facilitated by the influence of the Holy Spirit upon praying believers.

Items not listed on the agenda may be proposed at the business meeting, but such motions are automatically referred to appropriate committees or are automatically postponed for consideration at a later meeting. The rationale is that we ought not to be voting about anything unless we have prayed about it first. I believe that "Pray first; then obey" is the only right way to make decisions.

Surely this concept is no less important for our national convention than it is for our local congregation. Surely if we will see a renewed pursuit of the Great Commission among Southern Baptists, it will not come as a result of prayerless and unconsidered action by our messengers! Some may say that the issues on the table are too important to move slowly. I say that they are likely to be too important to move hastily. We ought to be more careful in our Southern Baptist voting than is our United States Congress. We ought to have read these proposals and deliberated over them at length before we take any action.

This is not about factions or victories or losses or human power. This is ultimately about the ultimate mission. Our structure will not accomplish the Great Commission. Our money will not accomplish the Great Commission. Our size, large or small, will not accomplish the Great Commission.

Our obedience cannot help but accomplish the Great Commission.

And thus, if our sole emphasis is upon obedience to the commandments of Christ, then we will find few attributes of the process more important than the careful and unhurried building of Southern Baptist consensus by which we all reach a prayed-through confidence that the task force's recommendations are indeed God's will for the SBC, and together by our Holy Spirit forged unity we are able to redeem from its ignominy the sentiment and the phrase, "Deus Vult!"

48 comments:

Tom Parker said...

Bart:

I believe our churches in the SBC need to go ahead now and be doing the Great Commission and not wait on this report.

Dave Miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Miller said...

Tom, that is the fundamental question I have about this whole thing. I'm all for looking at changes and restructuring and any new ideas that come us.

But ultimately, churches bring the gospel to their community, not denominations.

A new slogan or strategy isn't going to fundamentally change things.

Structural changes may or may not help.

Churches making disciples in their communities and beyond - that is how things will change.

I wonder if, essentially, we have a church problem that we are trying to fix on a denominational level.

Its kind of like our politics. We look to Washington to fix all of our problems. Here, we look to Nashville, Richmond or Alpharetta.

Tom Parker said...

Dave Miller:

I think precious time is being lost on this "project."

bapticus hereticus said...

bapticus hereticus: allow the body time for reflection and dialogue? goodness, in the SBC the more important something is the less time it is afforded by the body.

Mike 1: Brother, amen. Just what we need.

Mike 2: Allow me to offer another interpre

Moderator: Ugh, Mike 2, you are out of order and besides your mike is breaking up, err, actually it's not functioning at all I am told. All in favor, please raise your ballots.

CB Scott said...

Baptist Heretic,

Do you get bonus stamps when you shop at the ignorance store? Because, I notice you shop there a lot. But you do share your "goods" liberally.

cb

bapticus hereticus said...

hi, CB. granted, i am ignorant, but i am aware of such. but more to the point, consider the words of a conservative from another forum:

"Ronnie, we're giving you guys a year and $250,000 to get this thing right. You're going to give us a day or so? Is this the megachurch protocol on making important decisions? How about treating the SBC with some respect and not like a medieval fiefdom?"

and you might also wish to consider the words of Bart:

"Then again, neither do they need us, the Southern Baptist messengers, to rush."

but with a different set of players, it is a bit different this time for some, no? that is, this time it’s “hey, guys, let’s talk, OK?”

how are your doctoral studies coming along?

volfan007 said...

Baptist Heretic,

Are your initials P.L.?

David

bapticus hereticus said...

David: Baptist Heretic, Are your initials P.L.?

bapticus hereticus: no. they are b.h.

Carrie said...

Baptist Hereticus:

It was said to you by David: Baptist Heretic, Are your initials P.L.?

bapticus hereticus: no. they are b.h.

Outstanding reply!!!!

Bart Barber said...

BH,

I presume that your goose-and-gander type comments are related to the Conservative Resurgence. I would simply remind you that the Conservative Resurgence did not take place over the course of 48 hours. Rather, it took place over the course of 20 years.

Furthermore, rather than the specifics being hidden until the last minute, the basic strategy of the Conservative Resurgence was widely known throughout the entire movement.

Finally, the success of the Conservative Resurgence was the result of much prayer and sacrifice.

Tim G said...

I do say that I enjoy the laughter this comment stream has produced in me tonight! It is enlightening and better than any comendy on TV.

Thanks guys!

Tom Parker said...

Bart Barber:

You said--"Finally, the success of the Conservative Resurgence was the result of much prayer and sacrifice."

You left out the two PP's driving the vehicle to takeover the convention by using tactics that the other side never dreamed would be used against them.

The passage of time continues to prove that the tactics of the CR have ruined the SBC.

But let's take some more precious time to study what is wrong.

bapticus hereticus said...

Bart: BH, I presume that your goose-and-gander type comments are related to the Conservative Resurgence. I would simply remind you that the Conservative Resurgence did not take place over the course of 48 hours. Rather, it took place over the course of 20 years.

bapticus hereticus: The conservative resurgence [sic] would not have been successful had not the annual meetings been in the hands of, at the time, fundamentalists, who, after focus group findings revealed that the moniker was negatively perceived, latter referred to themselves as ‘conservatives.’ More specifically, if reflection and concern for the other was important, perhaps some previous decisions would have been given more time for said reflection and dialogue, and given such, perhaps some of the silliness that is present today could have been avoided. Thus, although it took several years for fundamentalists, cum latter-day conservatives, to completely control the convention, it was a series of decisions made in the planning and management of each annual meeting, whose cumulative effects paved the way for the present leadership. With their preferred and successful way of doing things, that had the support of like-minded individuals, the convention began to change in the desired direction for some, and now some of the same some now find themselves on the wrong end of the stick and wish to cry ‘foul!’ It’s a rather pitiful, saddening cry; but it is an important moment, nonetheless. In all likelihood, however, it will be a wasted moment.

Bart: Furthermore, rather than the specifics being hidden until the last minute, the basic strategy of the Conservative Resurgence was widely known throughout the entire movement.

bapticus hereticus: Sure, Bart. Basic Strategy = Parity. Hidden Agenda = Removal of a people. Be about integration with public comments, but use power to ensure segregation. But the ‘you knew’ argument is bluster and misses the point: For defining decisions that require the action of the body (and there were many) , is it not wise to provide for much discussion in various, formal fora? But if you wish to play the card of “it was OK then but not Ok now,” be about it, my friend, and enjoy your status as hack instead of scholar.

Secondly, power is not mostly manifested in the final vote among alternatives (which in SBC means up or down on this, not, instead, a vote on this or that or the other); nor is power mostly manifested in determining alternatives, either. Power in its fullest is seen when it interprets the environment. All else, alternatives and eventual choice, flows from this event. Control what people know and how they know it, then their subsequent behavior will not likely be disappointing. The SBC is not and has never been good at asking the question: ‘whose interest does this decision (best) serve?’

Bart: Finally, the success of the Conservative Resurgence was the result of much prayer and sacrifice.

bapticus hereticus: I don’t doubt much prayer went into it. I do doubt, however, that enough prayer characterized the time. Concerning sacrifice, we have the words of a previous SBC President, to which I will paraphrase: letting the blood of moderates. What blood did your side lose?

volfan007 said...

Tom and BH,

The Conservative Resurgence has been very successful. The SBC is now having sound doctrine taught in it's seminaries, and in it's literature, and other places. We are now solidly resting on the Bible as our playbook, and we're on the right track once again.

You see, being true to the Bible, and preaching a true Gospel, are the marks of success. Not numbers. Numbers can mean many, many things; and the numbers can be false. But, being true to the Word of God, and preaching a true Gospel, is the true mark of success.

So, whatever the numbers are doing in the SBC, and whatever issues we seem to be debating at the moment, is not the measure of success or failure. Being true to the Word of God is successs, which is what the SBC is doing now.

Thank God. All glory to the Lord.

David

bapticus hereticus said...

David: The Conservative Resurgence has been very successful. The SBC is now having sound doctrine taught in it's seminaries, and in it's literature, and other places. We are now solidly resting on the Bible as our playbook, and we're on the right track once again.

bapticus hereticus:

What’s the goal, Fred?

Where are we, Bob?

At the intersection of Third and Main, Fred.

Well, Bob, that’s the goal.

That you perceive the conservative resurgence [sic] as successful is expected and illustrative of some in organizations that prefer post-hoc assessments of anecdotal evidence. The a priori belief set forth by Stanley did not materialize, thus the apparent preferred method has more to recommend it.

Concerning sound. OK. Those with 51 votes determine what is sound and what is not sound. Of course, such is not the case in a strict sense, but considering SBC (or CBF or AB, for that matter), the notion is usually operative in organizational functioning. The difference being the standard error around the ‘norm’ is a bit wider in the latter. Lest one be cute with this concept, unless one knows the mind of God and the end of theology has occurred, yeah, even the ‘norm’ among conservatives will have its standard error, too.

David: You see, being true to the Bible, and preaching a true Gospel, are the marks of success. Not numbers. Numbers can mean many, many things; and the numbers can be false. But, being true to the Word of God, and preaching a true Gospel, is the true mark of success.

bapticus hereticus: If that (i.e., true to scripture, preach true gospel) is the mark of success, do you wish to assert it has been attained by SBC leadership?

David: So, whatever the numbers are doing in the SBC, and whatever issues we seem to be debating at the moment, is not the measure of success or failure. Being true to the Word of God is success, which is what the SBC is doing now. Thank God. All glory to the Lord.

bapticus hereticus: Isn’t ensuring the SBC will be 'true' to the Word of God the issue that it has formally tasked some individuals to study, to which Bart has some concern? Would the SBC name a task force after the Great Commission if it did not think it had a bearing on faithful living, that is, being ‘true’ to scripture?

r. grannemann said...

Baptist Resurgence: Do you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture?

Baptist Infidelticus: That’s a complicated question, if I was really to go into it.

Baptist Resurgence: The Bible is either true or it isn’t. What could be simpler than that?

Baptist Infidelticus: Every time I get into this discussion I realize I’m going to lose. My nuanced position can’t be demagogued as easily as yours.

Baptist Resurgence: Not answering a simple question is the sign of a weasel. Is there any Scripture you don’t believe?

Baptist Infidelticus: Actually, I’ve recently had a problem with Genesis 1:14. It says the sun, moon and stars were made three days after the earth, one day after the plants on the earth.

Baptist Resurgence: You wolf in sheep’s clothing, you.

Baptist Infidelticus: I didn’t know I was such a heretic. I actually believed myself an evangelical. I believe in miracles, give the benefit of doubt to the plain reading of Scripture whenever I can. I believe the Scriptures are the declaration of God’s creative power, the story of his profound love, the truth of the resurrection and saving power of Jesus. But concerning the moon and the stars, on that one I have to go with the data. The moon and stars were formed before plants grew on earth, not as the literal reading of Genesis makes it appear. Go outside on a dark night and look at the stars. We’ve discovered they are the factories making all the elements we see, converting the hydrogen from the Big Bang into the 105 elements of the periodic table. So the stars had to be here first, because they make the elements, all 105 elements we find on earth. Maybe our view of Scripture is incomplete … or flawed. I want consider options.

Baptist Resurgence: Infidel! You leader of men to Hell! May God be found true and every man a liar. God blew a kiss and the universe appeared exactly as it is. You think there’s a physical mechanism for that? Evolution? That’s heresy! You deny the inerrant Word. Think I can’t read the Bible? Moderate Baptists will go to Purgatory for this deception.

Baptist Infidelticus: But if you opened your mind just a little the world wouldn’t find Baptists stupid and irrelevant. Maybe with a little deeper thinking we could bring the Good News to both the intellectuals and the masses, reverse the secularization of the world.

Baptist Resurgence: You slanderer of God’s anointed people, troubler of Israel. Out of God’s holy convocation of true churches.

volfan007 said...

Of course, we are concerned about carrying out the Great Commission. How could we be true to the Bible and it's commands, if we werent concerned with doing all that we can to reach out to the world?

Let me give you another numbers thing. If the CR had not happened, then the SBC would not be nearly as big as it is today. You talk about losing young Ministers? Let me just tell you that if the CR had not happened, there would have been a mass exodus of young ministers, middle age ministers, and old ministers back in the 80's. I heard many, many people say that they were ready to just get out. A few did get out. Some of those are starting to come back into the SBC. But, I know of many, many fellas that had to be talked into staying and to help to turn the SBC around.

So, if you want to talk about numbers...if the CR had not happened, then the SBC would have been a lot smaller now than it is. A lot smaller. And, we would not even being having these discussions, nor would there even be a GC task force deciding what we could do to reach more people.

But, I'd like to say once again, that success in God's eyes are not numbers; it's about faithfulness.

David

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

Pardon me for getting back to your post. You said, "I hope that someone from the task force will move that any proposed measures unveiled in Orlando be postponed until 2011 for a vote, in order for the Southern Baptist people to have adequate time to pray about the proposals before voting."

I would love to see this happen, but I really doubt it. It ain't the megachurch way. :)

Les

Tom Parker said...

007:
You said-"So, if you want to talk about numbers...if the CR had not happened, then the SBC would have been a lot smaller now than it is. A lot smaller. And, we would not even being having these discussions, nor would there even be a GC task force deciding what we could do to reach more people."

Can you prove the above statement?
I say you can not.

It is this continued worship of the CR that is cementing its demise.

volfan007 said...

Tom,

I lived back in the CR days. I talked to many, many fellas; and heard many other conversations. I personally heard this said by many, many people back in the 80's.

So, you can either believe me, or not. I know that I'm telling the truth. I was there.

David

volfan007 said...

Tom,

BTW, I was a young Minister back in the 80's. I was ready to leave it. If it were not for the CR, I would have left it.

David

selahV said...

Bart, this is a very thoughtful post. I don't understand something though. I thought the Task Force was only given authority to study the SBC and consider ways we could improve it to better reach the lost in the world for Jesus. How can the task group present things to change the convention without allowing the convention time to prayerfully and thoughtfully consider their ideas?

Can someone from the floor recommend that we bring their recommendations back to our churches and present them to our congregations before we vote to change the structure or whatever it is the task force wants to change?

This makes me think of the health-care bill and all the junk in it that we cannot decipher and no one wants to take the time to explain before they make it the law of the land. Neither makes sense. selahV

Anonymous said...

Bart:

I cannot imagine how any major reconstruction or other recommendation would survive a motion to defer (or whatever it is called).

It may be, however, that the recommendations are not going to be in the nature of restructuring etc. They could be more minor but as important (e.g. that all giving to the SBC in Nashville be considered "Cooperative Program" giving), or they could recommend the appointment of additional committees to study whether combining IMB and NAMB would be advantageous.

As you may recall, I was not overly impressed with the concept of the GRC because I believe that the SBC and her churches are very concerned with doing the GC, and that the SBC as a denomination is. To me, it was like telling MADD to really get out there and be against drunk driving -really!

But, I have supported all of the discussion and such because it is a better topic than lots we could take up.

And, it really hasn't caused us to waste any time. Our church isn't waiting for some pronouncement to tell us what to do. The IMB still has missionaries on the field, the schools are educating etc.

I find it hilarious that some people constantly bring up the CR. It's typically those who were against it.

It is a waste of time to discuss the CR with some folks. One can almost write the posts and the responses before they occur.

Guys like Dave Miller, VolFan, you and I were for it. I became involved and participated in it as a result of attending a Baptist college and taking religion courses there.

Others opposed it. And the opponents are varied in their reasons etc.

But I find it interesting that those whose perspective did not carry the day from 1979 to about 1990 or so are so wanting to go back and reargue the same issues. It would seem that they would have something positive to contribute to help shape the future. If I were on that side and decided to stick it out even though my perspective lost, I believe that I would focus on the future and things that can be done that in my perspective would move us forward in the right direction.

Instead, there seems to be a lot of time and energy given toward trying to get people to agree that some past movement was a bad idea.

One would even moderately (there's that word again) honed social skills would realize that it is usually unproductive to try and get thousands or millions of Baptists who demonstrated that they were and are of a particular mindset to say - "Hey. I guess you are right. I was wrong all along. Sorry about that." or some equivalent.

That's why I am actually glad for the CBF, Mercer's divinity school, Wake Forest's department of religion etc. Those are places where people of a certain perspective can go to purse their vision.

That would be more productive, in my opinion.

Louis

Tom Parker said...

Louis:

Many of the CR supporters regularly bring up the CR in a gloating way, so please don't put the blame on those of us about bringing up the CR.

I'm glad you were "there" but the end result of the CR has been the tearing down of the SBC.

I know you and others can not see this anymore than I can see that the CR saved the SBC.

You won the battle but lost the war.

And I'm not leaving the SBC. That is not always the option those of use who oppose the CR wish to choose as much as we must be an irritant to those in control.

Anonymous said...

Tom:

I don't want you to leave the SBC, if you don't want to and I did not even say that(though people don't leave anyway. your church can.)

What I woulld like to hear are your ideas for moving forward instead of revisiting what ended almost 20 years ago.

Of course you don't have to do that.

For example, I would like to hear you suggest 1 or2 things that you believe can be done on a denominational level that would help churches fulfill the great commission more effectively (that don't have anything to do with the CR).

Any thoughts?

Louis

bapticus hereticus said...

Louis: That's why I am actually glad for the CBF, Mercer's divinity school, Wake Forest's department of religion etc. Those are places where people of a certain perspective can go to purse their vision. That would be more productive, in my opinion.

bapticus hereticus: And some of these people mentioned above also support SBC-related causes, even if they sometimes scratch their heads, prior to engaging in voice behaviors, in response to some SBC leadership behaviors. When individuals no longer desire and speak to the attenuation of dysfunctional system behavior, individuals then, notwithstanding the present effectiveness of the larger system which promotes said behaviors and those that engage in them, have abdicated responsibility both to the body and to one’s self, and thus comprise the system and the relationships on which it is built. Not that some leaders, amazingly, would not prefer such, however, in some members? Yet, mature, effective leaders are open to dissent, differences in perspective, and critical reflection on their preferred ways of being and doing. When it comes to SBC and CBF, affiliation is a bit complex for a good many churches and individuals, alike (and leadership would do well to take this seriously), and due to affiliation, it would be unethical of SBC leadership to dismiss these people, vice versa, yeah those with whom they have some significant disagreement, out of hand, especially if said leaders are committed to congregational and associational governance structures, to which baptists are noted.

Tom Parker said...

Louis and others:

I often wonder what would happen to the SBC if all those that were not completely happy with the results of the CR completely left the SBC.

Joe Blackmon said...

I often wonder what would happen to the SBC if all those that were not completely happy with the results of the CR completely left the SBC.

But I thought you said there were no moderates left in the SBC?

bapticus hereticus said...

Shared by a former employee of the HMB, the Home Mission Board's research department conducted studies tracking people's attitudes toward the events of the 80s and into the 90s. Findings were not favorable toward what is often referred to as the Conservative Resurgence [sic]. These studies would be helpful in the development of a history of the era and would add to the body of work already advanced by Ammerman.

Joe Blackmon said...

Findings were not favorable toward what is often referred to as the Conservative Resurgence [sic].

And of course we should make decisions as to whether we stand for the truth of the Bible (which is exactly what the CR was about) on public opinion. (/rolls eyes)

volfan007 said...

The SBC would be a much better place if all the people who did not like the CR would either get right with God, or else leave.

David

bapticus hereticus said...

Joe: And of course we should make decisions as to whether we stand for the truth of the Bible (which is exactly what the CR was about) on public opinion. (/rolls eyes)

bapticus hereticus: The findings represented the attitudes of members of Southern Baptist Churches (which said churches require a commitment to Christ prior to membership), to which your statement apparently assumes, because some (as I recall from the conversation, most) did not favor the CR [sic], they were, thus, incapable of standing or desiring to stand for truth. The point is that many/most people did not accept the fundamentalist canard of ‘moderates’ not accepting scripture as normative.

David: The SBC would be a much better place if all the people who did not like the CR would either get right with God, or else leave.

bapticus hereticus: The SBC would likely be a much better place if its people were a bit more magnanimous, graceful, and loving.

Joe Blackmon said...

Peole should not be magnanimous, graceful, and loving toward theological heresy. Those who say the Bible "contains" the word of God rather than it IS the word of God deserve no charity for holding to such unbiblical beliefs. If they want to believe that, the CBF is always looking for new churches as is the ABA.

bapticus hereticus said...

Joe: Peole should not be magnanimous, graceful, and loving toward theological heresy. Those who say the Bible "contains" the word of God rather than it IS the word of God deserve no charity for holding to such unbiblical beliefs. If they want to believe that, the CBF is always looking for new churches as is the ABA.

bapticus hereticus: Well, if these people are your enemies, sadly to think so, I think Jesus may have something to say about that, too: "... Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you ...." Reckon you might rethink magnanimity, gracefulness, and lovingness?

Tom Parker said...

007:

You said--"David: The SBC would be a much better place if all the people who did not like the CR would either get right with God, or else leave."

Your haughty arrogance continues to amaze me but not really. It is what it is--shameful.

Joe Blackmon said...

bh, it's called context--why don't you try to look into it.

Galatians 2:11, Titus 1:13, II Thessalonians 3:6, Jude 3

Yeah, we're supposed to just cowtow to theological liberalism--let everybody believe just anything they want to believe and never, EVER stand for the truth.

Are you sure you're not from Enid?

bapticus hereticus said...

Joe: Yeah, we're supposed to just [1] cowtow to theological liberalism-- [2] let everybody believe just anything they want to believe and [3] never, EVER stand for the truth.

bapticus hereticus: Pertaining scripture -- It seems the moderates really are your enemies and are thus perceived to be in need of rebuke and separation. Does that, then, render void Jesus' desire that one be, say, magnanimous, graceful, and loving toward such people?

[1] Is Daniel Vestal in need of rebuke and separation from the body?

[2] Yes. In this country people are free to believe whatever they wish. In this life, God allows us to believe as we wish. What place does coercion occupy with faith that is authentic?

[3] Is there no truth for which Daniel Vestal stands?

Joe Blackmon said...

[1] Is Daniel Vestal in need of rebuke and separation from the body?

Well, he is the Executive Director of the Cooperate-with-anyone Baptist Fellowship so, although I don't know him personally, I'd be willing to be a lemon-filled Krispy Kreme doughnut that he is.

[2] Yes. In this country people are free to believe whatever they wish. In this life, God allows us to believe as we wish. What place does coercion occupy with faith that is authentic?

I should have been more clear. Of course people can believe what they want. They just shouldn't expect their unbiblical beliefs to go unchallenged. I mean, if someone said "Your mama was a hoochie, for real" and your mother was in fact a chaste woman you would be offended and set them straight, I'm sure. Don't act all suprised when my God and His word are slandered if I do the same.

[3] Is there no truth for which Daniel Vestal stands?

Well, I imagine he would say that he holds to the truth that the Bible is not inerrant since he is in the CBF. That's just a guess, however.

bapticus hereticus said...

Joe: “… he is.”

bapticus hereticus: You don’t know Vestal personally, but you would be willing to bet he is in need of rebuke and separation? That, Joe, is, well, rather remarkable, and telling for many of the canards proceeding from some SBCers.

Joe: Of course people can believe what they want. They just shouldn't expect their unbiblical beliefs to go unchallenged. I mean, if someone said "Your mama was a hoochie, for real" and your mother was in fact a chaste woman you would be offended and set them straight, I'm sure. Don't act all suprised when my God and His word are slandered if I do the same.

bapticus hereticus: It is the nature of challenge that is of concern, for, apparently, some think “challenge” and “demonization” are equivalent terms. Legitimate interpretations of scripture, yet each carrying epistemological suppositions that differ, may lead to tensions, which themselves can be very productive, but the body is built for such, and actually needs it to some reasonable degree to develop and maintain viability in the environment. Some conservative churches use a hermeneutic that supports, say, women deacons, and other conservative churches come to a conclusion that such are not permitted. One system says yes, another no, thus the other must be ‘unbiblical’ and unworthy of relationship. Who is biblical and worthy of relationship, then, one asks? Easy, the way this game is played: the one with 51 votes. Thus they cut fellowship with the one with 49votes. Sooner or later the group with 51 votes will land on an issue that divides it and fellowship will be further delineated. A pretty amazing trajectory for a people that believe in an inexhaustible God; that is, to justify all these fellowship splits, one would think some have pretty much exhausted what there is to know of God and God’s desires.

Secondly, when God is slandered, you need not get defensive, nor is it your responsibility to “set them straight.” One, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has shown us that God has overcome what is not right in the world, thus you already have ‘won’ the ‘event’, and two, you (and I) are incapable of setting anything straight, even yourself (myself). That someone says such about my mother does not offend my mother or me nearly as much as it actually offends the one making such a remark, that is, said person has done high insult to his essential being. Is it not to these people that God says, “Nonetheless, Love.”? I think, perhaps, God might prefer we be a bit more graceful than bombastic, thus standing up for God is probably more about loving than rebuking.

Thirdly, too bad the leaders of said groups are either unaware or unwilling to state that within any system of thought there will be internal consistency problems. That a system “as construct” may not garner measures indicating perfect fit with reality and rhetoric does not mean said system “as construct” does not have some measure of utility. But do note that rejected here is relativism, for some systems “as constructs” are preferred over others and are not generally equivalent, and instead that which is favored here is pluralism. Pluralism allows for difference, but does not preclude legitimate critique. But the larger point here is that sometimes cutting fellowship with other groups (especially those that are more alike than un-alike) because of their (perceived) inconsistency is sometimes to be blind to one own (perceived) reality.

Joe: Well, I imagine he would say that he holds to the truth that the Bible is not inerrant since he is in the CBF. That's just a guess, however.

bapticus hereticus: I notice that you have not dealt with the words of Jesus in this post, thus I will repeat: Pertaining scripture -- It seems the moderates really are your enemies[, Joe,] and are thus perceived to be in need of rebuke and separation. Does that, then, render void Jesus' desire that one be, say, magnanimous, graceful, and loving toward such people?

volfan007 said...

BH,

Joe is whipping you all over this page.


Way to go, Joe.

David

bapticus hereticus said...

David: BH, Joe is whipping you all over this page. Way to go, Joe.

bapticus hereticus: David, you come from a faith tradition in which many of your fore-bearers were whipped. Did you desire such for them?

volfan007 said...

BH,

Dont try to divert the fact that you have been theologically and philosophically whipped all over this page by Joe. Take your whoopin' like a man. Dont cry and whine.

David

bapticus hereticus said...

David: BH, Dont try to divert the fact that you have been theologically and philosophically whipped all over this page by Joe. Take your whoopin' like a man. Dont cry and whine.

bapticus hereticus: ‘Way to go, Joe’ for giving him a ‘[theological and philosophical whipping]’ counts for a Christian attitude these days? How does whipping anyone and celebrating such, notwithstanding perspective, count for civil discourse and express a reverence for the other and a reverence for life? When Jesus instructs his followers to love their enemies, does that mean prior to or just after they have given them a ‘whoopin’ and gloated about such? Or might it suggest that whoopin’ our enemies and then gloating about such is counter-productive to demonstrating that God and God’s people care? If Christians take delight in whoopin’ others, whether theologically, philosophically, or physically, how do they hold moral ground against the principalities and powers that also find celebration in said behaviors. When God said ‘no’ to the finality of death with the resurrection of Jesus, do you suppose he was laughing and gloating at those he sought to liberate? When Jesus was on the cross demonstrating the power of love and its power over evil, was he gloating? I think until his last breath, he was about saying, I care and have hope that this is the right thing to do and you see the length that I will go to demonstrate that God cares. Is such an attitude toward life and the other an attitude about whoopin’ the other and then gloating over it?

Tom Parker said...

BH:

For some in the SB world it is all about "a ‘[theological and philosophical whipping]’.

It is a win or lose attitude that mostly can be attributed to the CR.

It matters not about winning people to Christ it is about whipping "them."

volfan007 said...

Sounds like someone is a little bit bitter about being whipped in their attempt to put down good, sound, Biblical thinking. Sounds like someone has a fairly thin skin, and just does not like to lose...especially in an intellectual discussion.

Tom, get over it, man.


David

Tom Parker said...

007:

You said:"The SBC would be a much better place if all the people who did not like the CR would either get right with God, or else leave."

When you make such ridiculous statements such as the one above there appears to be some getting right that you need to do, but your blind spots don't allow you to see the obvious does it?

bapticus hereticus said...

Chris:

[1] … you do not believe that the Word of God is true.

[2] You believe that homosexual acts are holy …

[3] That Mohammad brought glory to the same God as the Apostle Paul …

[4] That Jesus Christ is not God, by virtue of a bible that is potentially fallible (in other words…not God breathed to men infallibly by God… a bible estimated as being esoteric doesn’t quite get there since the mystery has been revealed).

bapticus hereticus:

[1] That my understanding of some scripture varies from yours does not demonstrate that I perceive scripture to be untrue, but such is sufficient for you, however, to draw such a conclusion.

[2] Correction: some homosexual acts are such, not all. I believe that God expects the same level of commitment in these relationships as he does in those of heterosexuals.

[3] Goodness, where did I even mention Mohammad?

[4] Never said the bible was fallible or inerrant, but I do believe it to be infallible, but not inerrant. Nor do I equate Jesus with God, due to my Trinitarian beliefs. However, I do agree with Barth that Jesus is the God-man, the clearest manifestation of God that we can know; and yes, I believe what Jesus said when he stated that he and the Father were one. However, if you are up to the task of removing all the mystery surrounding the Trinity, please, I am very interested. You will be the first theologian or biblical scholar to do so. Most of said people that I have read have been a bit more humble about his or her assessment of such.

Chris: … the Holy Spirit does not testify to those fictional beliefs that you appear to defend … Daniel Vestal … and I were in the same local church …. He does not believe any of what you have intimated ….

bapticus hereticus: My beliefs are also pretty much on display in the writings of most individuals that publish in the Christian Century. Thus I can at least take comfort in not being alone. In terms of Vestal, tell that to blog regular that questioned his status last week.

Chris: … Your philosophy appears to be anti-Christ. … Love seems to be your catch all phrase … Love though, is not ambiguous … but here is … unambiguous love.

bapticus hereticus: Why bother telling you anything, Chris, you are doing a pretty good job on your own of constructing then deconstructing me.

Chris: … Love is patient … kind … not jealous … does not brag and is not arrogant ….

bapticus hereticus: A few weeks ago one of the blog regulars posted on his blog the following (concerning Romans 12): “… Also, verse 14 is one of those verses that should be practiced more and more and more by the people of God. It says, “Bless them who persecute you; bless and curse not.” How many times in a day do you have to deal with people who treat you bad? Who act ugly to you? Who say mean things to you, or about you? And, our first reaction is to cuss them out, or hit them in the mouth. Our first inclination may be to give those people the evil eye, or to store away the hurtful event, and treat those people coldly, or even meanly, in the future. But, what does the Bible teach us? In spite of our feelings, we should bless those people. We should bless those who treat us bad. Wow!”

He then went on to state on this blog: “BH, Joe is whipping you all over this page. Way to go, Joe.”

Chris: … If truth is relative as you seem to imply….then there is nothing to rejoice with, and God is absent from that type of “relative love”….

bapticus hereticus: The essence of God being “creative love” is a pretty God metaphor for God, I think. As a Christian, I am not compelled to perceive myself as being less for such a belief. The possibilities … we have only begun to imagine.

Last, if participation on this board places me in the company of Carter, Obama, and Vestal, then my esteem for myself has increased even as I am humbled by the company. Jesus was also told he was “NUTS”, even had a devil, to which I assume that was about his “anti-[God]” views and ways. He was out; they were in.