Saturday, February 13, 2010

On the Preservation of Freedom in the SBC

It is interesting how much of the blogging over the past few days has touched upon the question of freedom in the SBC. On the one hand, some analysts have taken Les Puryear's emails to constitute a threat to the "Academic Freedom" of professors within the SBC. On the other hand, people like me have suggested that the outcry over Les's actions constitute an unwarranted effort to curtail the freedom of pastors to complain about teachings with which they disagree.

Which is it?

I don't think that anyone benefits from a complete lack of accountability. Every sermon that I preach, I preach as someone who is accountable for his own words. On rare occasions, people object to something that I have said. Sometimes I believe that they have misunderstood me. Sometimes I see their point and apologize for my error. Sometimes I believe that they are simply wrong (and occasionally wrongheaded!) and I stand my ground. But even on those occasions, the challenge has brought me to refine my views, to examine my assumptions, and to hold my faith with greater fervor and sincerity.

I don't see any reason why denominational employees, including seminary professors, shouldn't live the same way. Now that I'm a trustee of a seminary, I get complaints about the seminary. I get them from buddies. I get them from people I've never met. I get them from people I love. I get them from people I'm trying to love better.

But I never, ever just dismiss one out-of-hand. Certainly it has never even entered my mind to throw the contents of one up on my blog and try to attack or belittle anyone authoring such a letter. Most of the time I take the time to write an actual reply and send it to the person who complained. Of course, since the seminary is governed by the trustees as a collective unit and not by any individual trustee, I never make promises about what I will or won't do, and I usually don't even express an opinion on the matter (since I ought only to make up my mind after hearing all of the data brought out by the deliberative process), but instead I promise to pay close attention during our trustee meetings and work hard to make prayerful, wise decisions. Those promises are sincere.

Oh, sometimes, at the end of a long day, I confess that I'm tempted to see another piece of mail as a nuisance. Sometimes, when conversing with a friend, I regret that the call is not about friendship, but about seminary business. But those are rare feelings that generally only occur when I'm fatigued, and even then I deliberately set those feelings aside. That's because I truly regard those complaints as something sacred. The represent individual Southern Baptists caring enough about the mission of their entities to become involved in them.

I may disagree with an individual Southern Baptist over the content of a complaint, but I usually try to include in my reply some statement of gratitude toward the individual for caring enough to comment. I believe that the Conservative Resurgence, although it was greatly about denominational employees not being able to ignore the truth of God's word, was also substantially about convention entities and employees not being able to ignore the sentiments of the Southern Baptist people. For years bullying tactics tried to shame or browbeat individual Southern Baptists who dared to question what the entities were doing. Sometimes and in some quarters today these things still happen. I want it to be clear to everyone that I stand against those sorts of tactics.

Most complaints will result in no action whatsoever. That's the way that it ought to be, for no entity can survive being whipped around in a new direction by a new letter every day. Read the letter, give it careful thought, and if it does not warrant action then move past it respectfully. It's OK to do nothing about a complaint made by a single individual. And yet every individual Southern Baptist ought to—must—be able to retain the right to stand up and disagree with what is going on at any entity without being tarred and feathered. Every once in a while, that letter from a concerned pastor or member somewhere is going to be right, and the entity is going to be wrong. And the great hope of our polity (as opposed to, for example, the Episcopalians) is that, when that situation occurs, the concerned pastor or member has a chance to state his case and maybe, with the Lord's help, make a difference.

72 comments:

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

Waiting for the ladies in my life to finish their times in the room with mirrors getting ready to be seen in public. While waiting I thought I would peruse your blog comments, only to be surprised by your new post. Let me be the first to thank you for such a reasoned response to the freedom of SBC Pastors to contact and entity president and her trustees.

As I remember hearing Dr. Adrian Rogers say; "If southern Baptist said the Bible taught pigs fly, then seminary professors need to teach pigs fly."

Blessings,
Tim

Anonymous said...

As a trustee of SWBTS I hope you and the other trustees will stop the unbelievable action of Paige Patterson and keep the Counseling Degree - which has most of the students in the EM School (over 200 students) and provides licensed counselors (one of which I have used for a family issue)- and are paid for by insurance. To dump this program will cause a decrease in the number of licensed Christian Counselors - a very valued and needed ministry.

Jim Champion

r. grannemann said...

If Southern Baptists said the Bible taught pigs fly and required seminary professors to teach it, then I hope all seminary professors would have the integrity to resign.

Bart Barber said...

Tim,

Thanks, brother.


Jim,

Certainly I and the other trustees covet and depend upon your prayers on our behalf. I'm confident that the data you have presented here will come before the trustees when we meet, as will all of the data from all perspectives. The seminary is the Lord's; may we follow His leadership!


Bro. Grannemann,

I agree with you on this one, as I'm sure would Adrian Rogers. Certainly a resignation under such circumstances would be the course of integrity for a professor who did not believe in flying pigs.

The course of action that lack integrity would be:

1. Knowing that the Southern Baptist people wanted a professor to teach that pigs fly, and yet thumbing one's nose at them (while taking their money) and continuing to teach about flightless pigs; or...

2. Hunkering down and teaching publicly about flying pigs in order to pocket the money, all while coyly stirring up an anti-pig-flying movement in private.

r. grannemann said...

Bart,

Adrian Rogers was trying to make a certain point. I was trying to make a different one. Yes, people who pay the bills have the right to say what is taught in their institutions. But it also true that academics will see a much greater range of possibilities that laymen in the pew, and what might be required may not be very good theology at all.

CB Scott said...

Back several years ago Jesus gave leave to a multitude of demons to leave a fellow (who later preached the first Ten City Crusade and had good results) and go into a herd of hogs numbering 2000.

Those hogs "flew" down an embankment into the sea. They all drown.

The former demon-possessed sat before Jesus completely whole in every way.

The owners of the hogs rushed out to see what had happened. They saw the former wild man and the effects of his new relationship with Christ--A pure miracle.

They saw their hogs were now fish food at the bottom of the sea.

They begged Jesus to leave. He did. Not one hog farmer there received a new life from Jesus because they rejected Him over the loss of their hogs.

Now we must understand the loss of those hogs in todays market would be around $270,000.00 since the closing price of a Top Hog was $66.70 cwt. yesterday.

I guess the morale of the story is: It all depends on how much you value flyin' pigs.

Debbie Kaufman said...

The moral of the story is. Feel free to disagree. Feel free to complain. Just don't threaten someone's job in the process.

Jack Maddox said...

Debbie

If your pastor wrote a letter to the trustees of SBTS issuing a concern or even complaint concerning Paige Patterson, would that be considered "Threatening his job" ?

Jack

Jack Maddox said...

sorry deb - I meant SWBTS

jack

volfan007 said...

Jack,

Excellent point.

Also, if certain people called for the resignation of Richard Land, and for all that they consider fundamentalists....

David

Debbie Kaufman said...

Jack: Of course not. Reread my comment. However, Les did more than just complain or disagree. As I told Bart in an earlier comment. Reason is a good thing not a bad one. So be reasonable Jack. There were threats contained in that letter whether intentional or not. They were there. That is the difference.

Bart Barber said...

Debbie, here's the part of the moral that you're missing: When your boss disagrees or complains, then your job is inherently threatened to some degree. You step out of bounds when you tell the boss that he can't threaten a job. The members of the SBC's churches are the bosses of the professors.

It is Les's right as an SBC member to come to the conclusion that any professor ought not to be working there. Now, certainly he is under obligation to the Lord to exercise that right with prayerful caution as unto the Lord. And he must recognize that his opinion is one among thousands. His opinion will not get somebody fired or hired unless it is matched by the opinion of thousands of others.

But God protect us from this bureaucracy-enabling hogwash that says that pastors like Les have to send in their money but had better keep their mouths shut. I do not believe that Andreas Köstenberger should be fired, but neither do I believe that Les Puryear should be muzzled or intimidated as has taken place.

Bart Barber said...

R Grannemann, you said: "But it also true that academics will see a much greater range of possibilities that laymen in the pew, and what might be required may not be very good theology at all."

I fundamentally disagree with this conclusion. I have a Ph.D. People with advanced degrees have certainly contributed some good things to the Kingdom of Heaven. But there is also no category of people on the planet who have shoveled more poison into the faith than have people with earned doctorates.

Furthermore, I think we ought not to be so detrimental and condescending toward the theologians in the pew. They certainly have faults and make mistakes, but as I have already said, so have the learned grandees. I have learned a great deal from these alleged bumpkins, and those things that I have learned from them have been among the most important things that I have learned about the Lord. It was the simple people in the pew who first pointed me to Jesus. I've seen them see straight through sophisticated heresies that trip up even some vaunted scholars.

Some errors you have to be ignorant to embrace. Some errors you have to have a great deal of education to embrace.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Debbie, here's the part of the moral that you're missing: When your boss disagrees or complains, then your job is inherently threatened to some degree.

I disagree with you on several levels here. First of all my job does not depend on my beliefs but performance. Second: There is not a convention or group that is responsible for my job. Yes, in a way we are the bosses. But my boss also goes by my past performance, not my beliefs. Big difference. The example given are not the same.

Debbie Kaufman said...

His opinion will not get somebody fired or hired unless it is matched by the opinion of thousands of others.

I wouldn't say thousands. Ask Wade Burleson, ask Dwight McKissic, as Sherri Klouda. It has nothing to do with numbers. It just takes one person. Sometimes a handful, depending on connections and power level.

Tim Rogers said...

Debbie,

First of all my job does not depend on my beliefs but performance. Go around your office and tell people you "believe" your boss is having an affair. See how long your performance keeps you there.

Tim

CB Scott said...

Debbie,

If a person began to publish private emails relating to your church and pastor would you defend them no matter what those emails revealed?

Debbie, I think Les was wrong to do what he did even though he had a right to do it.

I think Wade was wrong to do what he did whether he had a right to do it or not.

I think both Les and Wade allowed privilege to override good judgement.

I have done the same many times. So, probably have you. Probably all on this thread have do so at one time or another.

Some of us just pay longer and harder for it than others.

David R. Brumbelow said...

Bart,
Great post, and great comments about PhD’s, education, and theologians in the pews.

I well remember the days before and during the Conservative Resurgence. How many denominational leaders sought to browbeat and bully any who disagreed. How they had such condescending attitudes toward those on the other side. It works both ways, however, and I greatly appreciate your attitude as a trustee, even toward those who disagree.
David R. Brumbelow

CB Scott said...

Debbie,

I noticed you found my comment about John R. Rice and storehouse tithing and produced a post on it.

I just want you to know it is OK to do that since it was posted publicly. :-)

r. grannemann said...

Bart,

Not wishing to "put down" anyone in the pew (since that's where I am). It's true more knowledge makes it possible to weave a more complex misconstruction of data, but a person with less knowledge is clearly at a disadvantage overall.

More knowledge can make one see formerly held pat answers are not, in fact, quite so satisfactory. Theories of biblical inspiration, for example, have evolved with the understanding of the text.

I'll also cite Dembski's latest book, The End of Christianity, as an example. What he says there would probably be considered heresy by some of the leading contributors to this blog. But frankly, Dembski understands the data better than most, and he is attempting to carve an evangelical position out of a plethora of new data that really doesn't fit well with a literal reading of Genesis 1. I don't think Dembski should say "pigs fly" just to satisfy the (well intentioned but less informed) people who fancy themselves as defenders of orthodoxy. Good intentions don't make up for ignorance of today's historical and scientific framework containing data which is clearly not all wrong.

Bart Barber said...

Debbie,

There's a lengthy and notable list of seminaries that take precisely the approach that you're insisting—they don't think that belief matters at all when it comes to seminary faculty. Most of them can provide for you a great education in the wisdom of the Goddess Sophia and the love of Mother Earth.

I believe that there's room in North America for Southern Baptists to supplement these offerings with a few seminaries that do indeed (gasp!) care what their professors believe.

Bart Barber said...

R. Grannemann,

I guess then, since I have a Ph.D. in Church History, that puts me at an advantage over you when it comes to analyzing the historical value of contributions made to the Christian faith by people with terminal degrees. It's a mixed bag, my friend, and the mixture is no better (perhaps a slight bit worse) than the cumulative contributions of non-Ph.D. believers.

That's my professional academic opinion.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Bart: I disagree. We do take theology into consideration. But when one disagrees on another in orthodox matters that don't really matter, that is a whole mixed bag. You may want conformity, and since you have a degree in history, you will know that Southern Baptists have been disagreeing in theology since our conception. In fact that is how we split into Northern and Southern Baptists. We weren't right then either. :) But what do I know with no degree and all. :)

Your type of ideology has destroyed lives. And was it for Liberal views? In your view maybe yes? But in reality the answer is no.

It seems you and I are close in the tithing view, so who knows it may be you that will be moved again next by someone. I would oppose it as strongly as I oppose this. A degree doesn't matter Bart. Knowledge isn't gotten by a degree. Knowledge is through the HS and study of the Bible. I think you know this no matter how elite you may sound here.

I have met you only once, but you seem like a guy who has a degree but doesn't flash it around until now.

Richard said...

Bart,

You have an advantage over me in discerning the bearing and implications of church history on any number of things. It's knowledge which gives you some advantage, not your Ph.D. or whether you're a preacher, professor or pew sitter.

r. grannemann said...

That "Richard" post was from me. Somehow the computer picked up the name Richard (which is my name, but not what I ever use).

Debbie Kaufman said...

Have any of you thought it may not be the theology which is a sin, but the destruction caused to people by the adhering to any theology? What do you think God values more, our theology or the way we destroy people's lives, or if we keep someone from destroying another? I personally will take the latter any day of the week.

Bart Barber said...

Pay attention people. Catch the irony.

I said that degrees don't really matter, and that Ph.D.s need to be accountable to people in the pews.

Richard (didn't know your first name until now. Thanks. Makes discourse easier) said, "Oh yes, it does make a difference. Ph.D.s have the advantage."

So I said, "OK, well if you insist that Ph.D.s have the advantage, I have the Ph.D. and you don't, so I use my advantage to say that there is no real advantage."

:-)

I thought that was funny. Maybe not.

Dave Miller said...

Bart, since these are quarrelsome times, I thought I might quarrel with one of your comments above.

You said, "The members of the SBC's churches are the bosses of the professors."

Baptist polity can be a convoluted and difficult thing, I'm sure. But it is not really true that the members of SBC churches are bosses of professors, is it?

Each SBC entity is autonomous. SWBTS is under the authority of trustees who are elected by the SBC.

Nathan Finn teaches at SEBTS. He is an employee of the seminary and accountable to the adminstration. The BoT has ultimate oversight over the administration and faculty.

The only thing I can do if I don't like what Nathan teaches (and I think he is great, so this is all theoretical) is to try to get elected trustees who will do something about my concerns.

Actually, you taught me some of this stuff when we argued over the Garner motion and the IMB policies.

So, while I have the right to complain about what a prof teaches, I do not actually, as a member of an SBC church, have any real authority over that prof.

I know - picky, picky.

r. grannemann said...

Bart,

I pretty much caught your drift. I guess your misconstrued logic was just too far away from what I was trying to say to let you get off without a response.

Anyway, how do you know I don't have a Ph.D.? I'll let you have the advantage in church history, but not in engineering electromagnetics.

Bart Barber said...

My bad, Bro. Richard. I read too much into your "since that's where I am" comment. My bad, and my apologies, Dr. Grannemann.

I do have this problem with noise in a TV signal on a piece of coax I just pulled in my house. Any suggestions?

:-)

Anyway, back to our discussion. Let me come to my main point: Although I do believe that education is profitable and worthwhile (else I have wasted much time and even more money), I also firmly believe that those academic folks who are in the employ of Southern Baptists need to be accountable in some form to Southern Baptists.

Even in that, I believe that they have an advantage. The person who has earned a Ph.D. ought to be skilled at rhetoric. Southern Baptists employ these people not so much to know as to teach. Those who are skilled at teaching, if they know something that the people do not know, will have the opportunity to try to teach them as the debate ensues.

But because history amply demonstrates that the intelligentsia have oft erred (not BECAUSE they have Ph.D.s but because they have DNA), they need to labor in accountability to the people in the pews (mediated accountability that it may be, Dave Miller). It's good for them; it's good for us.

Because the people of the SBC do not directly govern the seminaries, a single pastor can opine and oppose freely. His only mechanism for securing any sort of action on the matter is to convince others to agree with him.

Maybe the pastor is wrong. Maybe he's making a big deal out of nothing. Even if that's true, what's the harm in letting him have his say without mobilizing the National Guard? Nothing, I say, and indeed the harm in treating him to public scorn is that you've signaled to all of the other Southern Baptists that they'd better toe the party line or risk being slapped down.

But maybe the pastor is right. Maybe the academic needs to be challenged. Maybe the time is ripe for some heroic someone to confront the naked Emperor. For the sake of just those occasions, the freedom ought to prevail in the Southern Baptist Convention for folks to send their complaints into the entities without fear of being singled out for nationwide public rebuke.

Darby Livingston said...

Whether we agree with a person with a PhD or not, it disturbs me to hear people denigrate such a degree as though it means nothing. It's just plain silly to think that an average Christian who goes to church on Sunday and reads a couple chapters of Scripture a week has an equally valid opinion on the Bible as a PhD, who has studied the various strains of theology that such a degree would require.

We don't do this with any other field. If I go into a hospital and challenge the decisions/ prescriptions of a doctor based on what seems right to me, I'd make a fool out of myself. I'll agree that the Spirit makes theology a little different. Spirit-inspired study of Scripture leads to knowledge. But why do we assume that Joe at home with a quiet time is MORE Spirit led and capable of knowledge than a PhD who has done nothing but exclusive Spirit-led study for years?

It's also sad to see those with PhD's almost have to apologize to the rank and file for having one (or a couple three if you're Ed Stetzer). It seems like hypocrisy to me to train pastors/ professors with a Greek-type degree program and then bash them for the study we claim is so necessary to spiritual formation.

Bart Barber said...

Darby, it means neither nothing nor everything.

My point is simply an historical one: The track record of people holding advanced degrees when it comes to having advanced the kingdom of God is not better, percentage-wise, than that of other servants of the Lord. Our having studied theology does not, apparently, accomplish quite so much to help us sort it all out any better than the folks in the pew, since for almost every serious viewpoint that a person in the pew advocates theologically, there's more than one Ph.D. somewhere who agrees with them!

I'd say that the chief benefit of advanced study is one of amplitude rather than one of direction. The person who is going to do good in the Kingdom, if equipped with a Ph.D., is likely to do greater good with it than without. The person who is going to do bad in the Kingdom, if equipped with a Ph.D., is likely to inflict greater harm with it than without it.

But, turned for good or for ill, either person is equally capable and likely of achieving the Ph.D. if so motivated (and funded!).

Bart Barber said...

For myself, upon my graduation, as I contemplated the people who had served the Lord well with a Ph.D. and then all of the people who had run ramshackle over the Christian faith with a Ph.D., I felt a foreboding sense of grave responsibility not to choose poorly.

r. grannemann said...

Bart,

I don't think I disagree with anything in your last post. You are contending for the right of the rank and file to challenge the academy or keep it accountable to the people who pay the bills. I don't think I've ever disagreed with that -- ever.

My original comment was a bit of a challenge to consider the other end -- the professor's side. There are going to be a lot of people demanding professors teach this or that. Some people will want professors to say "pigs fly." There is room for academic freedom, at some level, even in Baptist seminaries. Also, tenure, salaries and employment should be committee centered and not dominated by one powerful administrator. Trustees should be firmly overseeing hiring and firing of faculty and totally engaged in what degree programs are offered.

Bart Barber said...

Great, brother. There ought to be freedom on both sides, and each side ought to take care to manage their freedom well, since we are all bondslaves of the Lord. Let us deal with one another respectfully, and let us hear one another carefully.

r. grannemann said...

I'm referring to the "last post" you addressed to me as the one I agreed with.

Bart Barber said...

Well, my friends, Sunday responsibilities call.

Bart Barber said...

Awww... and I mixed in all those scientific terms like "amplitude" in the others just for you. ;-)

Have a great Lord's Day.

Bart Barber said...

It's a great shame that this medium can't really convey when I'm laughing while I type, trying to be clever and funloving rather than contentious.

Jake Barker said...

So CB,
Were you "within your rights" but still wrong nevertheless to make the comments over on "SBC Today" about and to David Rogers. What you implied are nothing less than slander....but I suppose it was OK since you used a smiley face...is that the same as "bless his heart"?

Tom Kelley said...

Of course Les had the right (even the obligation) to address with the seminary any serious concerns he has about what a prof was teaching. I haven't seen anyone claim otherwise. But since when does such freedom require secrecy? If a person has a objection to a public teaching, why attempt to deal with it privately? What biblical warrant is there for that?

These folks who are saying that Les didn't have the clout to get any professor removed are missing the fact that all it takes is one person asking questions to get the attention of the big boys, who will then carry out whatever it takes to remove those who don't hold to the party line.

And folks saying that it was wrong or unethical for Wade to publish a "private" email are missing the point of the need to do away with the secrecy and privacy with regards to contribution (CP) funded business. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy when sending correspondence to anyone in a CP funded institution.

This whole hierarchical, authority-focused mindset, which leads to abuse of power, and to secrecy to maintain power in spite of abuses, has got to go!

Bart Barber said...

Hi Tom,

You know, there's a Tom Kelly (different spelling) who did something pretty noteworthy in American History. Here's your trivia question for the night: Do you know who he was and what he did?

But to your point, I think there's a vast middle ground between absolute transparency and absolute secrecy. I think that the spot that we need to stake out is somewhere in there.

We have a pretty open church. My salary is $59,444.60 per year. Everybody in my church knows that fact (unless they just deliberately ignore it and don't want to know). If people want to ask me questions, I try to answer them. And I don't allow people to come into my office and complain about someone else unless that person is present for the meeting. I'm a big fan of openness.

But I do have private meetings sometimes. Sometimes potential problems can be resolved entirely in secret before they become a big public ordeal. That's generally a good thing, and I believe that there's warrant for that in Matthew 18.

It sounds to me like that end result of Les's conversation with Dr. Akin was that Les learned something from Akin and set out upon a different constructive way of pursuing his own thoughts upon the subject. Apart from the big public blowup, that's where things were heading. I know this to be a fact, as I indicated in my previous post. Is that not a good outcome? Is it not a far better outcome than what has happened since then?

CB Scott said...

Tom Kelley,

If you are so into the abandonment of secrecy, why do you refuse to identify yourself on your profile beyond your name (if that is your name)?

One thing that is evident in all of this is that hypocrisy knows no bounds.

And Tom, while I have your undivided attention let me say; the following quote from you is just plain stupid at best and certainly shows a vast lacking on your part of how a Southern Baptist seminary is structured:

"....all it takes is one person asking questions to get the attention of the big boys, who will then carry out whatever it takes to remove those who don't hold to the party line."

Tom, there is no "party line" about storehouse tithing. There never has been and never will be.

CB Scott said...

Jake,

Long time, no communication. Glad to know you are not dead yet. Maybe there is still hope for you to get right on the alcohol issue.

You will have to refresh my memory there Jake; Which time of my slandering David Rogers are you in reference. I have don it rather often.

Bill Brown said...

CB wrote Which time of my slandering David Rogers are you in reference. I have done it rather often.

It is attitudes like that exhibited by CB Scott that is our problem. Southern Baptists proud of slander? Southern Baptists proud of denigrating others? God help the SBC.

CB Scott said...

Bill Brown,

I did not actually slander David Rogers.

Jake Barker just enjoys saying things like that to start little set-tos. Feel free to produce the slander. If you can, I will deal with it.

Otherwise, you are nothing more than another Anony liar.

Bill Brown said...

CB,

You wrote a first comment.

"Which time of my slandering David Rogers are you in reference? I have done it rather often."

I couldn't believe you bragged about slandering David Rogers and so wrote a comment to that effect.

Then you wrote second comment.

"I did not actually slander David Rogers ... Feel free to produce the slander. If you can, I will deal with it. Otherwise, you are nothing more than another Anony liar."

Those two comments put together mean either, (1). You are a liar, or (2). You are a moron, or (3). You are delusional. Take your pick

CB Scott said...

Bill Brown,

I have been a liar, but not often. I have done some moronic things (probably responding to you is one of them).

But Bill, you are free to expose my slander of David Rogers if you will.

Jake Barker and I have been in many blog debates over the years. Mostly over the issue of alcoholic beverages.

He actually knows full well that I did not slander David. But he made that comment to start a set-to with me.

Has Jake produced the slanderous comment? No. He knows there is not one.

Have you produced the slanderous comment? No. Why? There is not one. You just think there is one and you go chasing non-existent dragons like Wade B. Quixote

But this does give opportunity to make a point about the issue at hand.

Les did send an email to Danny Akin. My opinion is that Les did not use good judgement in sending the email. Is there a serious breech of theology for some professor in a SBC seminary to disavow storehouse tithing? No. There is no concrete position about storehouse tithing in the SBC. There have been and always will be SBC folk who seriously differ with storehouse tithing based upon conviction and not personal greed. There has been and always will be SBC folks who believe in storehouse tithing based upon conviction and not greed. It is a non-issue. And no one is going to get fired over his position one way or the other.

I believe Les greatly jumped the gun with his email.

I also believe Wade made much of nothing in posting the private email. I frankly think it is unethical for him to do so, but as Bart said earlier: "He is what he is."

I also believe Dr. Kostenberger could not care less about the email Les sent to Danny Akin. And, as I have said more than once; Dr Kostenberger would probably be more distressed that Wade took up his cause and claims he has protected Dr. Kostenberger from the evil dragon, Les Puryear.

Kostenberger does not need protection at SEBTS. Les could not blow him out of there with ten pounds of C-4. And if Danny Akin decided to fire Dr. Kostenberger, Rambo could not stop him, which certainly leaves Wade with no hope whatsoever of stopping it. But it ain't gonna happen anyway over this silly mess.

This is all much ado about nothing.

Now you come along and take up a cause that does not exist.

Bill, is there an epidemic of folks taking Don Quixote pills of late?

Because you are fighting dragons that do not exist.
But, Bill I will give you this. I, along with others like me, may be the great problem in SBC life. But if I am, it is not because I have slandered David Rogers.

CB Scott said...

BTW, Bill Brown,

I was once delusional once, but that is because I failed to respond to an enemy fast enough and he hit me in the head with a rifle butt.

I was down for about a month from that one and I saw strange stuff in my nightmares for a while--I mean some scary stuff, that I had hoped to never see again. But then I became a Southern Baptist...and some of the things I have seen since are far more scary and I ain't even delusional any more at all....except, maybe when I read blogs.

Jake Barker said...

Ol' slanderer CB,
Maybe senility is getting the better of you these days, I don't know but...here is your post concerning David Rogers. I have taken the liberty of highlighting the sections that are slanderous.

"Well David,

SINCE YOU HAVE BECOME A SLOPPY DRUNK WITH YOUR THREE FINGERS, “NEAT” BOURBON, “CUT” WITH COKE I would expect you to say as much.

At the same time, I will give you the fact that no “system” is “cut and dried” even when one is “THREE SHEETS IN THE WIND.” (That includes Baptist Theology)

My point is that Baptist doctrine is closer to being biblical doctrine than any other theological system in human existence.

If I believed another to be closer, I would drop Baptist doctrine and embrace it FASTER THAN YOU SHOULD GET TO THE CLOSEST AA MEETING."

Is that proof enough of you slandering and demeaning a fellow brother in Christ?

Tom Parker said...

Jake:

Sadly for some the attacking and demeaning of others has been done to others for so long they don't even recognize that they are or have done it even where there is a record of it.

The SBC is a very sad place these days and too much of it is from these CR people.

The CR was going to turn the SBC around beginning in 1979 and it has the wrong way. It has divided people into so many camps for the SBC to be called dysfunctional would be a compliment.

Jake Barker said...

Tom Parker,
I agree with you completly. Bart, I apologize for wasting your bandwidth....we will will take this disagreement somewhere else....alley, dojo your call CB.

volfan007 said...

Obviously, there are some people who lack a great deal in the area of humor. When some of you cannot see a little friendly teasing, and you call it slander; well, it's just obvious that you're seeing what you want to see. And, it's not the truth.

CB, God bless you, Brother. Dont let these gnats bother you too bad.

David :)

volfan007 said...

Oh, and BTW, Bart, have you heard anything about Baylor hiring a Church of Christ fella to be the new President of you Alma Mater? I mean, a Church of Christ man leading a "Baptist" school?!!!!!??? That's what Dr. Russell Moore reported.

Wow, how crazy is that?

David

Tom Parker said...

Biff:

Awaiting your response to the last "joking comment." I doubt you will find any humor in it.

volfan007 said...

Tom,

There's no reasoning with you and the alcohol salesman. So, why should I even waste my time with any response? In fact, why am I wasting my time with this response? I've got better things to do.

David

CB Scott said...

Jake,

My beloved, now I know what you are talking about.

Thank you.

I will be back in a moment to set the record straight.

CB Scott said...

Jake,

Here is the context of your complaint that I have slandered David Rogers.

David Rogers said:

"David,

Once again, I’m not Andrew. But, I am fine saying I think the “Baptist” system (if we must use this language) is more biblical than the other “systems” you mention here.
However, I don’t think it is generally good to think of “systems” as neat and cut. There are a whole lot more nuances, in the real world."

David Rogers
February 12th, 2010 at 6:16 pm
“Cut and dry” was the phrase I was looking for, not “neat and cut.”

Then I ragged him by saying:

"Well David,

Since you have become a sloppy drunk with your three fingers, “neat” Bourbon, “cut” with Coke I would expect you to say as much.
At the same time, I will give you the fact that no “system” is “cut and dried” even when one is “three sheets in the wind.” (That includes Baptist Theology)
My point is that Baptist doctrine is closer to being biblical doctrine than any other theological system in human existence.
If I believed another to be closer, I would drop Baptist doctrine and embrace it faster than you should get to the closest AA meeting."

So there it is, Jake. if you consider that exchange slander then so be it. That would also mean I have slandered you many times also.

It was a lark and nothing more. But for your sake and for David's; If he, in any way, felt slandered, he may say so here and I will publicly apologize.

How's that?

CB Scott said...

Vol,

The weather might be getting Jake down. So he needs a good set-to to get his blood pumping again.

Why don't you post a good post against alcohol being used as a beverage and we can all get into a good battle right here like we used to do.

CB Scott said...

Tom Parker,

I have addressed you a couple of times in response to your comments. I don' think you can say I was attacking you here.

If so, let me know. Otherwise, tell me what you think of my response to you about the Les and Wade show.

CB Scott said...

Vol,

Is it true that Ken Star is going to be the new president of Baylor?

volfan007 said...

CB,

That's what I'm hearing. Ken Starr will be the new president at Baylor. Big Daddy is saying that. ABP news is reporting this. Dr. Russell Moore told this as well, and others have stated it.

CB, also, Ken Starr was a Church of Christ, and his daddy was a Campbellite preacher. Also, Ken Starr's wife is Jewish, from what I'm told. But, from what I hear, Ken either joined, or was attending a non-affiliated, indepent, Bible Church in the DC area. And, he supposedly made the comment, according to the ABP report, that he would join a Baptist Church once in Texas.

Sooooooo, I wonder what Church might receive Starr and his wife without requiring them to be baptised first? Or, will they both willingly get baptised in this Baptist Church? Interesting, huh?

David

Tom Parker said...

Jake Barker:

It is always a joke when some of these guys are mean to some one else, but they can not take it when it is directed at them. It is part of their CR training.

Tom Kelley said...

Bart Barber said...
You know, there's a Tom Kelly (different spelling) who did something pretty noteworthy in American History. Here's your trivia question for the night: Do you know who he was and what he did?


Hi, Bart,
There was a Tom Kelly who was a manager of the Minnesota Twins. There was a Tom Kelley who was a famous photographer, but I won't say of what (and I only know it because we share the same name and spelling).

But to your point, I think there's a vast middle ground between absolute transparency and absolute secrecy. I think that the spot that we need to stake out is somewhere in there.

I agree. I admire your openness about your salary; I think that's as it should be for pastors. I just don't believe a person is wise to expect any sort of privacy when dealing with email (just check with your ISP and see how many servers along the way it typically has to pass through and you'll know why), and I don't think a person should be expect privacy when corresponding with anyone in a CP funded institution. I suppose that they could request that it be kept private, and then hope that the recipient would honor that (as I would hope they would if it was a very sensitive subject), but they should not expect it in the sense of feeling somehow their privacy was violated if they don't get it.

But I do have private meetings sometimes. Sometimes potential problems can be resolved entirely in secret before they become a big public ordeal. That's generally a good thing, and I believe that there's warrant for that in Matthew 18.

Again, I agree. The key word being sometimes. But I do not believe that, in this case, Matt 18 is applicable, as (1) we are dealing with a public teaching, not a personal offense, and (2) Les did not go to the person he was concerned about, he went to someone else. Even if Matt 18 did apply, perhaps Dr. Akin should have told Les that he would not discuss the matter with him unless Dr. Kostenberger was presnt and/or Les went to Dr. Kostenberger first.

It sounds to me like that end result of Les's conversation with Dr. Akin was that Les learned something from Akin and set out upon a different constructive way of pursuing his own thoughts upon the subject. Apart from the big public blowup, that's where things were heading. I know this to be a fact, as I indicated in my previous post. Is that not a good outcome? Is it not a far better outcome than what has happened since then?

I'd just be speculating as to what might have been a better outcome; that's in the Lord's hands. I can't say whether what Wade did was the best course of action, but I do believe he did what he thought was right, and I don't believe he violated any ethics in doing it.
-----
Tom

Tom Kelley said...

CB Scott said...

Tom Kelley,

If you are so into the abandonment of secrecy, why do you refuse to identify yourself on your profile beyond your name (if that is your name)?

One thing that is evident in all of this is that hypocrisy knows no bounds.


CB,
I wasn't refusing anything; I just never thought about it. I have added some random info about myself now, since you are interested. I have given more info about myself in my profile than you have given about yourself in yours, so does that mean I win the "fewer secrets" prize?

And Tom, while I have your undivided attention let me say; the following quote from you is just plain stupid at best and certainly shows a vast lacking on your part of how a Southern Baptist seminary is structured:

You would have had my attention without the insults. :) I do understand how SB seminaries are structured. Surely you wouldn't say that it is impossible for one person to make a complaint, and for that complaint to get the attention of others, and for those others, if sufficiently concerned and convinced that there was a problem, to act on it.

"....all it takes is one person asking questions to get the attention of the big boys, who will then carry out whatever it takes to remove those who don't hold to the party line."

Tom, there is no "party line" about storehouse tithing. There never has been and never will be.


I wasn't referring specifically to this issue of storehouse tithing, just the tendency of more than a few in current positions of leadership in the SBC to demand conformity on lesser matters. But I would not be so sure that there never will be a party line regarding storehouse tithing in the SBC. All it takes is another tweak to the BFM to address a matter it never dealt with before, and there is plenty of precedent for that.
-----
Tom

Jake Barker said...

Tom & CB,
IF and only IF CB's comments directed to David are an "inside" joke then the comment passes with my approval....however my complaint is that to an outsider which I am and hope to continue on being, it sounds bad...very bad. Let me ask you this, should you have a problem that required discussion with a pastoral type trust this pastoral type with what is and should remain confidential information? After an outsider reading a blog comment such as this, I sure wouldn't trust you with my confidences. Can you understand that?
By the way...I have my long sword well sharpened...and yours?

Jake Barker said...

Biff(baptist identity fundamentalist forever),

"There's no reasoning with you and the alcohol salesman. So, why should I even waste my time with any response? In fact, why am I wasting my time with this response? I've got better things to do."
As I have said to you before, your brains are thourghly mixed up and well set....just like concrete...bless your heart.

CB Scott said...

Tom Kelley,

Thank you for the identity "Cowboy up" on your part.

I would like to take up a point with you.

You said to Bart:

"I just don't believe a person is wise to expect any sort of privacy when dealing with email...."

Tom, the real issue for we who are believers is that we are not basically dealing with email. Email is a tool. We are dealing with one another. Therefore, there should be prevailing integrity, ethic and ability to trust. I realize that that is high idealism on my part, but it is correct nonetheless.

Again, It is my opinion that Les should not have sent that email.

It is my opinion that it was an ethical breech for someone to give Wade the email. (I do not believe the email came from Danny Akin's desk to Wade)

Lastly, it is my opinion that Wade made a poor choice in publishing the email once he had possession of its contents.

Tom, I would be very surprised if Kostenberger was concerned with the email Les sent in the lest bit. And I am all but certain he would be far more concerned with Wade making of it what he did.

And finally, Tom; the thing about "leaders" in the SBC demanding "conformity" on the lesser matters is actually a myth. It is a useful myth for SBC conspiracy theorists; but a myth nonetheless.

Bart Barber said...

I expect in a few days to trot out Exhibit A to demonstrate how foolish is all this business about SBC leaders demanding conformity on every issue.

But, to get back to something else.

The Tom Kelly of which I was speaking (and, in my opinion, one who contributed more positively to American History than either of your two candidates) was this guy.

Thomas J. Kelly was the "Father of the Lunar Module." He and his team at Grumman worked absolute miracles to get the Lunar Module ready in time for Neil and Buzz.

Bart Barber said...

Tom,

It seems to me that there is a difference between whether it is or is not wise to expect privacy in email on the one hand, and whether it is right to violate privacy in email on the other hand.

To show the difference between the two, it is not wise to allow one's fourteen-year-old daughter onto the Internet without any supervision and protection. But if a parent were to do so, and if the daughter were to wind up conversing with some dangerous pedophile sicko, the parents' lack of wisdom would not undo the wrongness of the pedophile. And if I were to break into a conversation about the wrongness of the pedophile sicko in order to interject something about the foolishness of the parents, letting their daughter chat online like that...well, I think it would be wrong to do so.

This illustration demonstrates, I believe, that showing the lack of wisdom in making oneself vulnerable to a threat does not constitute absolution for the person who preys upon people by exploiting those vulnerabilities.

CB Scott said...

Bart,

There was also another Kelley in history I respect greatly.

He stole a herd of Yankee cattle for the Confederate Army during the War of Northern Aggression.

volfan007 said...

CB,

That Kelly of which you speak was a true hero.

David :)