Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jimmy Jackson for SBC President

The Alabama Baptist reports that Jimmy Jackson will be nominated this Summer for President of the Southern Baptist Convention. (HT: SBC Today)

I was going to mention that I serve with Dr. Jackson on the SWBTS Board of Trustees. Upon reconsidering, I realized that such a statement did not nearly embody all of my feelings on the matter. Dr. Jimmy Jackson is not merely a trustee colleague at SWBTS; he is the elder statesman of the SWBTS board. He's the E. F. Hutton of the entire body. With an informed appreciation of the past and a bold vision for the future, Dr. Jackson is precisely the sort of man we need for this hour in the SBC.

The story in the Alabama Baptist listed above goes into some detail about Dr. Jackson's storied and long tenured history of work at Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL. He has demonstrated his leadership abilities in his state convention, where he has presided for the past two years. Jackson is a committed personal evangelist. His own story of conversion and service toward the Lord is inspirational. I hope that it will become a part of the ongoing dialogue as we near Orlando.

Speaking of his decision, Jackson said, "I've been encouraged to be a candidate for the Southern Baptist Convention president. "As we move forward as a state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention to reach the world for Jesus Christ, I would like to be a part of that. . . . As I've prayed about the opportunity, I have a peace about it and have consented to be nominated."

Needless to say, I am delighted to learn of his nomination. And for those of you who are too young to make heads or tails of my "E. F. Hutton" analogy above, I present the following cultural history lesson.

64 comments:

CB Scott said...

Bart,

Jimmy is in Hunstville, AL not Birmingham, but I wish he was in Birmingham. There is no finer pastor in the state of Alabama than Jimmy Jackson.

He has the heart of a servant pastor. He will serve the SBC well as president.

John Killian said...

Jimmy Jackson is an encourager, a man of humility, and a man who has a grasp of convention life. You won't see Jimmy Jackson off on any tangents.
Jimmy Jackson would truly serve well as President of the Southern Baptist Convention--in fact, I can think of no one who could serve any better than Jimmy "Stonewall" Jackson

Bart Barber said...

Hunstville....Birmingham....It all looks the same from Texas. ;-)

Bart Barber said...

But I fixed the error. Thanks, CB.

Joe Blackmon said...

Thank goodness someone is running against that egal from Georgia.

CB Scott said...

John,

I am sure you would agree that Jimmy would serve "all" Southern Baptists fairly from any and all parts of the earth, would he not?

I have been acquainted with Jimmy Jackson since the early 80's and he has always been known as a Baptist statesman by Southern Baptist leaders in the six states I have had the privilege to serve in Southern Baptist life.

I could think of no one better than Jimmy Jackson to serve the SBC at this present time. I believe his kind of wisdom is that of which only comes from a close walk with our Lord.

Tim G said...

This is GREAT news! He is a fine a man and Pastor. He is more than qualified to lead the SBC!

Great news!

Anonymous said...

I met Jimmy Jackson in the early 1980s during the CR. He is a fine person and would make a good SBC President.

I am not committing to vote for him at this point, but he is a great candidate.

Louis

Sheila said...

No one cares that he leads his church to give less than 5 percent to missions through the Cooperative Program? According to the Baptist Press article, he's a proponent of designated giving. "Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Whitesburg Baptist Church lists 163 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 1,556. The church gave $295,748, or 4.64 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $6,364,921. According to the ACP, the church also received $236,735 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $138,548 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions."

Tim Rogers said...

Sister Shelia,

I don't care how people add 4.64 of $6.34 million you get 5%. If some would like to focus in on the % of the CP giving that is fine. However, we as SB also believe in Annie and Lottie. Dr. Jackson certainly has one of the strongest giving records for those two offerings that I have ever seen. Most church's of his statute give strong to Lottie, but weak to Annie. Or they give weak to the CP (I am speaking of less than 2%) and strong to Lottie, but nothing to Annie. Dr. Jackson has certainly balanced the sacrifice in his giving to all missions we have known as SB. All of this and he still has a 9 million dollar debt that is being paid.

However, it appears that Dr. Jackson is certainly a soul winner and he teaches his people to be soul winners. According to the same profile the figures came from concerning his CP, Lottie, and Annie financial giving, we see that he baptized 163 people in 2009. That is a baptism ratio of 1:9. IOW, it takes 9 people that are regular attenders at Whitesburg to baptize one person. Pretty strong!!

William said...

Both Jackson and the other announced candidate, Bryant Wright, give similar amounts to the Cooperative Program and large amounts directly to the two mission boards. The percentages for both men are above my threshold for SBC president and their demonstration of commitment to God's work through the SBC is exemplary.

Doug Hibbard said...

Personally, I think you should have used the EF Hutton commercial that was set in the funeral home, where the guy mentioned EF Hutton and people sat up in all the caskets.

Wonder which financial crisis bankrupted EF and company?

Anonymous said...

Sheila:

I don't care about Jackson's church's CP giving percentage. Of course, if they gave $100, or something ridiculous, I would be bothered.

When I consider whom I want to be the SBC President, I look at a range of issues. The most important being his presentation to the public and the types of appointments that he will make.

Louis

Christiane said...

Hi LOUIS,

You wrote "When I consider whom I want to be the SBC President, I look at a range of issues. The most important being his presentation to the public and the types of appointments that he will make."

What are some of the other issues that you would consider important?
And do you feel that the criteria for personal integrity and ethical character, in choosing an SBC leader, may have changed FOLLOWING the CR movement when compared to the days of men like the formerly revered 'Mr. Baptist' Herschel Hobbes, who BTW, was booed off the stage by CR supporters? I ask this specific to the issue of 'does the end justify the means'.

Louis, please don't respond if you are not inclined to do so. But I would appreciate any light that you could shed on any of the above questions. Thanks, if you can help.

Christiane

John Killian said...

Under Jimmy Jackson's tenure as President of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, the Alabama Convention became the leading state convention in forwarding funds to the SBC.
Jimmy Jackson is a loyal Southern Baptist and a CP man.
Besides that, Jimmy is a humble servant of the Lord and the Lord's people--not an ounce of arrogance in Jimmy Jackson

Anonymous said...

Christiane:

Integrity and ethical character are the minimal threshold qualification for any office in the SBC. I don't know of any Southern Baptist who would knowingly vote for someone who lacked integrity and ethical character.

So, assuming all of the candidates start with that, I then look to qualities that distinguish them from one another.

The SBC President does 2 things that are really important. He nominates people to the Committee on Committees (which then nominates people to the Committee on Nominations, which then prepares a list or slate of proposed trustees to the SBC institutions, including the seminaries, LifeWay and the mission boards.

Baptists need to have good people on their boards. I want a President who is going to make good appointments.

Second, the SBC President is often the "Face" of the Convention to the media and the world outside of the SBC. I want a President who makes a good representation, who embodies the good qualities of the people and churches in the SBC.

Hope that makes sense.

I do not think that there has been more or less in the way of ethics since the CR. All one has to do is read the books and stories written about the SBC before the CR to see that SBC leaders, like all leaders, have made mistakes and have feet of clay. I believe it is a mistake to idealize a particular point in time ethically.

In your faith realm, it would be similar to idealizing the Catholic Church before Vatican II and saying look at all the bad stuff that has happened. The Roman Catholic Church, like all churches, has had examples of good and bad leadership in all ages.

Dr. Hobbs did much good in his life. In retrospect, it would have been good for him to have become President of Southern Seminary when he was in the running in the 1950s. I think that early on Dr. Hobbs chose the wrong side in the CR. But as it went on, Dr. Hobbs, I believe, admitted the need for theological integrity for which so many Southern Baptists had been working. He even said so to Paul Pressler near the end of the CR.

As for is being booed off the stage, I was not there when that supposedly happened, so I can't agree to a recounting of events. The moderates have told so many tall tales about things that happened during the CR that amount to legends, many of which are untrue. Paul Pressler directing the Houston Convention in sky boxes, paying for votes, all sorts of silly things that get started as rumor and then take off.

It is not inconceivable to me that some conservatives would inappropriately boo Dr. Hobbs for his role in the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message, particularly the inclusion of a Preamble to the confession that provided cover for liberal professors. Lots of people were distrustful of Dr. Hobbs for that and believed that despite the good things he had done, that was an unwise and devastating act. Go and read the 1963 Statement and the Preamble and tell me what you think about it.

I always enjoy hearing from you.

Louis

CB Scott said...

L's,

At the 1980 Marse Grant, former editor of the Biblical Recorder made the statement in the press area that Dr. Hobbs was being booed. I think it was something like, "They're booing Herschel Hobbs! There may have been a few boos. If so, they were few. Grant made it a far bigger issue than it was.

It was noting like what Bailey Smith got at the SBC in 1981. It was certainly nothing like Charles Stanley got when he was president of the SBC.

Paige Patterson was also booed when he was president of the SBC.

Patterson, Stanley, and Smith were not booed by CR supporters as you might have guessed. But, I assure you the booing those three received was far, far beyond the Hobbs incident that Marse Grant "created."

CB Scott said...

L's,

That should have been:

At the 1980 "SBC".......

Sheila said...

Folks -- I read last night what you said, and decided to ponder your words before answering. What I think is the result of your words is that it's okay for any church to give less than 10 percent to the CP.

As a result, the pool of CP dollars would decrease. As a result, the IMB, NAMB and state conventions all would have fewer dollars to deal with.

At the same time, we have the generations that enthusiastically supported the Cooperative Program dying off. Churches already are seeing significant decline in the number of dollars coming in, and at the same time, the percentages given to CP are dropping. It's a double whammy.

As a result, churches being churches, most all of them are going to take care of their needs first, which means fewer dollars will be going to CP, which has as its first gatekeeper, the state convention.

State conventions being state conventions, they're going to take care of the needs in their state first, which means fewer dollars will be going to IMB and NAMB.

Ultimately it means missionaries will be coming home, where they will try to find the dollars so they can return to where they believe God has called them. The most effective speakers will of course do best in this. But are the most effective speakers always the most effective missionaries?

You and I have seen these: men and women who exude God's love, but on an individual basis. They're not speakers; they're not good in a crowd. The Cooperative Program is their covering. What will happen to the people in the place where God has assigned the missionary if he/she can't be there?

The obvious answer is that God doesn't need the Cooperative Program. He will get accomplished what He wants accomplished. What then is the purpose of the Cooperative Program? Maybe it's for us.

Maybe by pooling our money, we can't feed our egos by saying, "Look at us: We're doing this huge thing for God. Aren't we great?" when we direct our dollars even to AAEO and LMCO. The Cooperative Program gives us ownership of it all -- 5300 missionaries internationally and 5000 in the US -- but of none, individually. (I know; most of those in NAMB are unpaid MSC; that's just a rabbit. Let's not go there in this discussion.)

I just think we can find someone with Pastor Jackson's laudable attributes, who also protects that which God has provided for us, to keep us from pride -- one of the seven deadly sins.

Christiane said...

Good Saturday, everyone.

To LOUIS: I am going to study the BF&M comparison charts for 1963 and the 2000. It will take a little while for me to do this.


To C.B.
Thanks for the info.
With all the 'booing' that has gone on, I guess All Hollow's Eve (Holloween) must be a major Baptist holy day. :)
(just kidding)


Hi SHEILA,

So you have noticed the present tendency to see 'money' as the answer for missions?

Sometimes I think the SBC suffers from a 'wounded spirit' and needs some internal healing from Our Lord, so that they will regain perspective a bit. That is not meant as a criticism; instead, it is a prayer for them, that they find peace and reconciliation with one another.
I see the focus and emphasis on 'money' as a symptom of that 'wounded spirit'.
I often think of the Franciscan friars of the southwest who founded the great missions. We know the names of these missions: San Diego,
San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, so many. The Franciscan friars traveled on foot, in sandals, for many many miles. They stayed for long periods of time among the native peoples.

The Franciscans did not have money, and it was not an issue with them.
They were 'mendicant' friars.
They trusted God to provide their simple needs.

You are right, Sheila. It's not about money. It never was.

Sheila said...

I came back here just now to add a clarifying comment, in case anyone thinks I have a beef with Pastor Jackson: I mean no disrespect to Pastor Jackson. I don't know him and never heard of him (I'm not from Alabama) before the BP article and then this blog.

My point is that no matter where the money is designated, it hurts the big picture. I know of churches that have decided to focus all their attention on a major city in China, or the country of El Salvador, or Denver, Colo., and the list could go on. These efforts are all great, but they hurt the big picture.

I've heard said the Cooperative Program is so impersonal. Well, make it personal! There's all kinds of information out there that could personalize it for any pastor or his delegate who would take the time to add a 1-minute description during the Sunday morning service of what some missionary is doing somewhere. IMB, NAMB, Baptist Press, the SBC Executive Committee all put out this kind of information, as does your state convention.

The only reason CP is not personal in your church is that the pastor has chosen to not make it personal.

Why do I care about this? About CP? About the SBC? Because I'm one of the people reached by Southern Baptists. People from a Southern Baptist church – several churches as I moved about from year to year as a married woman and then struggling single mother. These Southern Baptists, wherever they were found, reached out to me, a totally unloveable person without any "fetching up" having taken place in my life. They taught me kindness, they taught me love, they taught me to be as the Indians say, "a real human being."

There are millions of me across this nation -- and this world. Southern Baptists make a difference. As Southern Baptists reach out, touch lives, share Jesus and disciple the people they reach -- and by the way, that's a key that's been missed; we absolutely MUST focus on discipling those we reach. But I digress -- this is how God's Kingdom on earth is reached.

We can blow this opportunity by designating our money, or we can strengthen what Southern Baptists do by a re-emphasis on working together. And how do show we work together? By giving to and strengthening the Cooperative Program.

Let's elect someone whose church gives a minimum of 10 percent to CP and who will promote every church giving to it. You want Pastor Jackson to be president? Get him to get his church to give 10 percent to CP starting now, despite his $9 million debt. (I could digress again and ask what kind of leader would get his church into that kind of debt, but I digress again.) I bet his folks will rally and give even more, as God blesses their commitment to tithe their giving.

Try it and see. You absolutely cannot outgive God!

Anonymous said...

Sheila:

I agree with many of the sentiments that you have expressed regarding the CP.

I still do not believe that the giving percentage of the church where a candidate pastors or attends is the biggest issue for me.

But I appreciate your reminding us of all the good things that can be done by cooperating.

Louis

Christiane said...

Hi LOUIS,


Re: BF&M1963 Preamble/ Herschel Hobbs

I did read the Preamble and also the one for 2K to compare them.
I also found a related site specific to the issue that you raised::

http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/bpnews.asp?id=10576

This article in Baptist Press is by David Dockery and focuses on the Hobbs Preamble. I would like in future to read some articles that challenge Dockery's viewpoint, so as to understand the counter-points better. I quote from his article:

“Years after the 1963 BF&M was adopted, its language on the Scriptures was at the center of theological controversy. Much of the debate focused on one sentence -- "The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ." This sentence was used by some individuals as authorization to set the words of Jesus over against the words of Paul, other New Testament authors and much of the Old Testament. The sentence was removed in the 2000 edition and replaced with language identifying Christ as the focus of all divine revelation.
Dockery, though, said Hobbs' intention in using the language was not to muddy the theological waters. Dockery said the additional phrase "reflects Hobbs' belief that as an individual reads the Bible it is essential that he keeps in mind that Christ is central throughout. Many have criticized this phrase as opening the door to neo-orthodoxy in Baptist life, but Hobbs claimed that that was certainly not his intention."
The 1963 Baptist Faith and Message was written in part as a response to charges of liberalism within the denomination. The only previous statement of belief came in 1925. “

So, this is where I'm at now, Louis, in my study. The RED LIGHT sentences from Dockery for me are
here: “ This sentence was used by some individuals as authorization to set the words of Jesus over against the words of Paul, other New Testament authors and much of the Old Testament. The sentence was removed in the 2000 edition and replaced with language identifying Christ as the focus of all divine revelation. “
Problem with this for me is that I see the 63 Preamble as MORE clearly stating the Person of Christ as the fullness of God's revelation to mankind. Whereas, the 2K Preamble removes this clarification and inserts a less clear statement of allegiance to the pre-eminence of Christ's Words and Actions over all other Scripture. Of course, Christ is pre-eminent: He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
He is God incarnated. His pre-eminence is a 'given'.
My opinion is that 2K makes it possible to bring in doctrines that emphasize Biblical teachings in ways that do not have Christ pre-eminently as the central focus. That is a problem that has resulted in divisiveness, which is a sign that this practice is not 'of Christ'. The Spirit of Christ is one of unity.
The Lord Christ Himself IS THE DIVINE REVELATION of God to mankind..
All else in Scripture is commentary, not new revelation focusing on Him. BIG DIFFERENCE.
As was said to Our Lord when He asked the disciples if they would also leave Him:

'Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of eternal life.

bapticus hereticus said...

If SBC is unable to meet its great commission goals due to lack of financing, and further since such is the organization’s current emphasis, how does CP support not become an issue for a candidate seeking to influence said goal? While there is no guarantee that convention-wide initiatives will experience success with the most supportive CP leader, it seems a bit foolish to expect more than moderate participation (or success) by electing a leader that only moderately, at best (e.g., < 5% CP), supports convention-wide initiatives. If said level (i.e., 4-5% CP) is the new standard for high-commitment CP giving, then it seems the convention might wish to rescale its vision, and thus the expectations of its coordinated efforts.

Matt Brady said...

I seem to recall a fellow named Peter who said, "Silver and gold have I none." I think he made a fairly effective leader.

Matt Brady said...

I think the Great Commission did just fine under Peter's leadership despite the lack of money. There is money and then there is the power and blessing of God. One is tremendously more important than the other.

Matt Brady said...

Christiane,

In response to your view of the pre-eminence of Christ's Words and actions over all other Scripture, might I point out that all of Scripture comes from Him. Jesus does not contradict Paul nor any other part of the Bible. It is all HIS word.

2 Timothy 3:16

Christiane said...

Hi MATT,

St. Paul cannot be interpreted in anyway that dismisses the pre-eminence of Christ.

Christ's Words and Actions in the Bible have a gravitas that is greater than the words of creatures, simply because of Christ's divinity. St. Paul cannot be interpreted correctly without seeing his writing through the lens of Christ. That CHANGES how Paul is seen by Christian people who are guided by the Spirit Who points always to Lord Christ.

bapticus hereticus said...

Matt: I seem to recall a fellow named Peter who said, "Silver and gold have I none." I think he made a fairly effective leader ... I think the Great Commission did just fine under Peter's leadership despite the lack of money. There is money and then there is the power and blessing of God. One is tremendously more important than the other.

bapticus hereticus: When those in positions of leadership go into houses of worship and preach of a need for churches to commit to the work of the convention, including providing financial support, will people in said churches that are cognizant of the low levels of giving from organizational leaders’ churches be inclined to receive such a message with a high degree of interest? Granted, the need is great notwithstanding the one speaking or leading, but if said people are to serve as symbols, would said symbols be consistent, or reasonably so, with the stated goals of the convention? Does one think it reasonable to ask for God’s rich blessings on the coordinated work of a people in which the people, and especially its leaders, manifest little regard? That God has, and will likely do so again, bless people beyond what was and is merited, is not disputed, what is in question is why, especially with knowing and after having experienced this, would we desire to make so little of God’s graciousness? That God provides beyond expectations is what we have learned to expect, not, however, emulate to any significant degree.

Anonymous said...

Christiane:

Good work. I had misspoken. I was thinking about the section on the Scriptures, not the preamble. Dr. Dockery gave you a good summary.

I have no idea what Hobbs' intentions were other than what he stated. I think that Dockery's supposition is as good as any.

I have no problem with the supremacy of Christ as revelation to us, but this is not meant to be in contradiction to the Scriptures. I worship God, not the Bible. But I believe the witness of the Scriptures to be true, so I am not expecting Christ to contradict them.

Some academics who reject the scriptures do so because, they say, Christ has led them to do that. That is not a proper position for Christians to hold. It is not orthodox in any way.

So, if language is capable of being read that way (implying that Jesus will lead us to do things that are contrary to God's written word), then, isn't it a good idea to re-write the language so there is no confusion on that point? Only someone who believed the BFM was a sacred text would object to a re-write in that regard. Personally, I think that sentence makes no sense on its own. I never have understood it until someone says, "What that means is..."

I read C.B.'s post about Hobbs being booed at the convention. I suspected that whatever happened, it was greatly exaggerated. C.B.'s recollection is probably correct. It is not proper to boo people at the convention, regardless of who did it and to whom it was done. But let's not get carried away with what really happened.

By the way, you should go and read Dr. Albert Mohler's blog about the passing of one of the moderate leaders, Dr. Cecil Sherman. It was written a few days ago and can provide more insight into understanding why the CR took place. Dr. Sherman made the statement about the virgin birth that while he believed in it, he would not find someone out of bounds who claimed that the scripture led him to NOT believe in the Virgin Birth.

Yes, believe it or not, in Baptist colleges and seminaries we had people who did not believe in the Virgin Birth.

As a Catholic, I am sure you can appreciate the significance of that theologically. It's really pretty shocking.

When I was at a Baptist college, I was taught that the Virgin Birth was a myth created by the early church.

Take care.

Louis

Matt Brady said...

Christiane,

I agree that, "Christ's Words and Actions in the Bible have a gravitas that is greater than the words of creatures." But I was not referring to "the words of creatures." I was referring to the Bible. The letters of Paul in the Bible are the very words of God. Again, I point you to 2 Timothy 3:16.

Consider the words of God through Paul in Colossians 1:18: "That in all things He might have the preeminence..." Those words don't seem to indicate that Paul was suggesting anything other than the preeminence of Christ.

This argument of viewing Scripture through the "lens of Jesus Christ" is simply a way for some people to explain away portions of Scripture that they find to be less than palatable.

I would like to think that Southern Baptists as a whole still believe the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation and that every word of it is important, because every word of it came from God.

bapticus hereticus said...

Matt: Hereticus, I agree with you that we should give to God's work and that we should give sacrificially. However, when we place the amount of money given at the top of a list of qualifications for position, then we are practicing simony. When it comes to giving a man position or power in exchange for an amount of money given, the colorful words of Peter as translated by J. B. Phillips seem very appropriate: "to hell with you and your money" (Acts 8:20).

bapticus hereticus: If my argument was about money and one’s possession of such, then you would have a point, but such is not the point or emphasis of my post. I am not aware of the financial situation of nominated leaders, nor their churches, but I am aware that SBC presidents for some time come from churches with low levels of CP commitment when considered as a percentage of budget. If building a community of churches, in which each is seen as a responsible to and contributing member of the work of the community, is a valued goal, there needs to be some way in which to gauge responsiveness to the community and support of said community goals. Until a better measures are developed, percentage of budget is still pretty much an important standard, for such levels the ‘playing field.’

Moreover, inequity in groups and systems tends to attenuate participation, satisfaction, and commitment levels, thus when present attenuates levels of effectiveness and goal attainment, with its greatest impact on those bearing the inequity. Those benefiting the most and disproportionately so, often ask: ‘what has gone wrong, we have less to sustain our privilege?’ Applying this to SBC, one would have this situation: ‘you little guys with smaller budgets need to give more to the CP and be like us that give a good amount in REAL dollars, but far less than you do in terms of ability. But did I say REAL dollars? We can’t meet our goals without your support, and surely you don’t wish to be the reason for God’s work to languish, do you?’

If financing and financial ability is not of importance to SBC, then we might have seen a few SBC presidents from smaller, less financially endowed churches in the recent past, no? In all of SBC cannot one find a contingent of people from small churches that are successful in ministry and also exemplify a high-level of commitment to CP as a percentage of budget? Given the priority of ‘percentages don’t pay the bills’ argumentation over the traditional ‘we are a cooperative of people engaged in mission’ argument, is it not reasonable that over time there would be less enthusiasm for funding the work of those that have little understanding of what most churches in the SBC experience? SBC leaders want the ‘WOW’ programs (on their watch) but apparently don’t desire to demonstrate the ‘WOW’ commitment (on their watch) to bring it about. Instead, as you demonstrated above, they make comments that are consistent with the following: ‘well, is God’s blessing contingent on our money?’ No, and no one is suggesting such, but such really does miss the point, and to do ‘x‘ while expecting ‘y’ just might be playing God for a fool.

Christiane said...

Hi LOUIS,

thank you for responding.

I do tend to see all of this from a different perspective, which is to be expected, I suppose.

You wrote: "But I believe the witness of the Scriptures to be true, so I am not expecting Christ to contradict them."

The problem with this logic is that it empowers SOME leaders to select a few verses from St.Paul and interpret them in a way that does not honor Christ's message.

I would re-write your sentence in this way:

'But I believe the CHRIST of the Scriptures to be true;
so I am not expecting the witness of the Scriptures to contradict HIM."

The reversal of the words makes all the difference. The presumption that all Bible verses may be taken 'at face value' and not examined 'through the lens of Christ' leads to profound errors of interpretation.

Any interpretation of Scripture that involves an implementation of a doctrine in a way that does not honor Lord Christ, is wrong. No evil may be done that good may come of it. The ends do not justify the means, if the means violate Christ's Laws. All Scripture points to Lord Christ, and is meaningless unless it does point to Him. To interpret and implement Scripture knowingly in any way that is not 'Christ-honoring', would be a sin against the Holy Spirit. A very great sin indeed.

The written word serves the Living Word. No other possibility makes any sense.
If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures." (see Luke 24:45)

We approach God only through Christ the Lord.
We approach the Holy Scriptures only through Christ the Lord.
Christo-centric interpretation is required for any understanding. His sheep 'hear His Voice' in all of Scripture, by the grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, which illuminates them for us.

If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open our minds to understand the Scriptures." (ref. St. Luke 24:45)

Christiane said...

Hi MATT,
well, I suppose I approach Scripture in a much different way in that I see Christ all through Scripture, tying it together as the 'Logos'.
He is the promise, He was foretold, He spoke and God said 'hear Him', and He reconciles us to the Father.


The beauty of the Holy Scriptures is that, in order to understand them, we must come to them like a hungry child wanting to be nourished.
The Holy Spirit 'held the lamp' for the inspired writers of the Scriptures. And the Holy Spirit must 'hold the lamp' (illuminate) the Scriptures for a reader, or the Bible becomes a dead letter.

Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Bible will not reveal itself even to learned theologians. And for the Bible to yield up its meaning, Christ must be present in the heart of the reader. The ancient prayer before reading the Gospel is 'Christ be on my mind, Christ be on my lips, Christ be in my heart.' And when the reading is concluded, the prayer is 'this is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.'

Something written long ago in the
12th Century speaks of this total dependency on Our Lord and His Spirit for correct interpretation of the Holy Scriptures:

"it very much
strengthens Holy Christianity
That the unlearned tongue,
aided by my Holy Spirit,
teaches the learned tongue."

-St. Mechthilde

Hmmm, that reminds me of a verse in Scripture . . . a God Who takes pleasure in revealing to the simple ones what He keeps from the learned.
That makes Him a very great part of any interpretation of the Bible, so that it speaks to our hearts, as deep calls to deep.

Matt Brady said...

Christiane,

You quote Saint Mechthilde. I quote Saint Jerry Vines:

I find my Lord in the Bible,
Wherever I choose to Look.
He is the theme of the Bible,
The center and heart of the book.

He is the Rose of Sharon
He is the Lily fair.
Wherever I open my Bible,
The Lord of the book is there.

Yes, the Bible is all about Jesus. That is my point. Every word of the Bible is from God and every word ultimately points to Jesus. That is why EVERY WORD is important. We cannot write off portions of it as unimportant simply because it is not printed with red ink or because a parallel passage cannot be found in red ink.

I will leave off this discussion as it has gone far afield from the original post and because I imagine I am about as likely to change your mind as you are to change mine. I will simply say, that in light of how some people were using the 1963 wording to support a low view of some portions of Scripture, the BFM 2000committee was correct to suggest the new wording and the SBC messengers were correct to adopt it.

bapticus hereticus said...

Matt: Hereticus[,] [a]nother in this comment stream has already said it much more graciously and eloquently than I could, but let me say that I would rather elect a man who is recognized as a proven leader who stands for the right things yet gives a smaller CP percentage over a man who may not be as easily recognized as tried and proven who gives a larger CP percentage.

bapticus hereticus: Is leadership in SBC so thin as to present you with this choice? SBC does not have one that is “a proven leader who stands for the right things … and … gives a larger CP percentage[?]”

Matt: You are correct that in some people’s world, class envy and little people funding the big wigs is an issue. It is such envy that gave us the wonderful communist party and is pushing our own nation toward that wonderful way of life.

bapticus hereticus: Goodness, Matt, from demonstrated CP support to communist way of life?

Matt: I, however, as a pastor of a small church have no envy of the mega church pastor, nor their churches’ money, nor how their church spends their money. They will have to answer to God for their stewardship. I am primarily concerned with how the SBC spends the money our church sends there. That is what I will answer for. I want a man at the helm who will make committee appointments and provide leadership that will guide the spending of our portion of CP dollars in the right direction.

bapticus hereticus: Yet when a leader from a church that, at best, moderately supports convention-wide initiatives (via CP) appeals to your church for greater CP support you have no concerns as to the integrity of the appeal?

Agreed, that is, what this man and his church do with money is his and its business, but when he seeks office in the SBC, his and their record are not just a private, intra-organizational concern. He and his church are being set aside as a model for others to emulate and for the period of his tenure as SBC president, he and it are the face of SBC. Matt, this is not rocket science. This is not about maintenance due to large reserves, but about development and a renewed focus, otherwise why the energy of creating and charging a task-force to provide suggestions for direction? If goals are not being met due to a significant degree in inadequate financing, then, given current attitudes toward leadership and satisfaction with such, SBC will need to scale down expectations; however, if it wishes to reach stated goals and energize the organization, then those in the SBC might rethink what is acceptable for those that will serve as symbols for it. While it is true that we have not because we ask not, it is equally true about those darkening counsel with that which they don’t understand or practice.

Trust me. I know what is good for you.

Is it good for you, too?

No. We follow a different model.

Oh.

Anonymous said...

Christiane:

That is a great point that you made. I agree with it completely.

But there are a few points that need to be added, in my opinion:

1. There is no Jesus that has been revealed to us other than the Jesus of the Bible. I believe you agree with that. But it needs to be said. You haven't done this, but when people attack the Bible and claim loyalty to Jesus, it's illogical. Because all of Jesus' teachings come from the very book they are trying to discredit.

2. Jesus was not the human author of any of the Bible. The divine author of all the Bible, yes. But Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the gospels, not Jesus. So, it makes no sense to juxatpose what Matthew said with what Paul said and to give priority.

2. People may misinterpret Paul or Matthew or any of the writers in a way that is not consistent with Jesus' teachings. That has gone on for 20 centuries. It's just like honoring the teachings of any church leader over what Jesus taught.

I agree with what you said and appreciate your saying it.

Louis

Matt Brady said...

Hereticus,

Hereticus: Is leadership in SBC so thin as to present you with this choice? SBC does not have one that is “a proven leader who stands for the right things … and … gives a larger CP percentage[?]”

Matt: It is not a matter of how thick or thin our leadership is. It is a matter of considering the list of men who run for president and picking the one that after prayerful consideration I find to be the most proven one.

Hereticus: Goodness, Matt, from demonstrated CP support to communist way of life?

Matt: I don't have any more room for pulpit envy than I do for class envy.

Hereticus: Yet when a leader from a church that, at best, moderately supports convention-wide initiatives (via CP) appeals to your church for greater CP support you have no concerns as to the integrity of the appeal?

Matt: You seem to be under the mistaken perception that my church will determine how much we give based on how well we receive a personal appeal of the president of the convention. A personal appeal from a sitting president means very little to us. What matters is the causes which are being funded. If we agree with the causes, we will give enthusiatically. If we do not agree with the causes, then our giving will be curtailed.

If the convention were liberal and a liberal president's church gave 25% to the CP, my church would give diddly. On the other hand, if the convention were to continue in the right direction with a conservative president whose church might give only 5% my church would be excited about increasing our offerings to SBC causes through the CP.

Christiane said...

Hi LOUIS,

"There is no Jesus that has been revealed to us other than the Jesus of the Bible. I believe you agree with that. But it needs to be said. You haven't done this, but when people attack the Bible and claim loyalty to Jesus, it's illogical. Because all of Jesus' teachings come from the very book they are trying to discredit."

Some thoughts on your comment above:

'Inerrancy' which is taught by your faith would accept the quotations of the Words of Our Lord as 'verbatim'.

The 'Logos' which is Christ is the Living Eternal Word.

It is no attack on Holy Scripture to state that the Words and Actions of Christ in the Bible are to be the lens through which all else is seen.
Why? Because St. Paul can be interpreted only in ways that will point towards Christ, the interpretation and application of his writing will be Christ-honoring.
For example, a teaching may be applied by a Christian leader, but the way it is applied cannot violate the Law of Christ the Lord.

St. Paul's authority comes from Christ Himself. He would never want his own writing on behalf of Our Lord to be 'interpreted' by a group of men in a way that was not 'of Christ'. THAT, Louis, is a defense of the Bible, not an attack on it.

The 'attack' would come from those who manipulate Paul's verses to their own ends and break Christ's laws in the process, causing harm to individuals and to the Church.

The 'give-away' tell-tale sign is the harm done.
To be honest, Louis, some have even 'interpreted' and acted on verses in Paul's writings in ways that conflict with Paul's teachings themselves:
for example, when 1 Cor 13 is ignored in the application of a 'teaching' from St. Paul.

The results are always 'bitter fruit'.
That's how you can tell St. Paul has been mis-interpreted:
by the evil that results.

Anonymous said...

Christiane:

Again, I agree.

You do not appear to disagree with what I wrote. But, again, have mentioned sloppy or poor hermeneutics, or interpretation.

No one is for poor hermeneutics.

The words that Paul wrote, as well as the words that Matthew wrote, quoting Christ, can be poorly interpreted.

So, I am not really seeing any disagreement between us at this point. Are you?

I am sure that there are areas of disagreement between us when it comes to interpreting the scriptures in various places, or we would not be in different churches.

But I suspect that when it comes to the scriptures, our disagreements may be over something that you have not really hit upon so far.

My understanding, generally, is that Protestants, not just Baptists, reject the concept of the authority of the church to interpret the Bible or to make pronoucements beyond the text of scripture. I may not have said that artfully, but I believe that is the crux of the matter. Not one or two passages written by Paul.

Take, for example, Pope John Paul II's writings about salvation. If I understand him correctly, he believed that any person who does ot follow Christ, but follows his/her religion sincerely (e.g. Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist) will be in heaven. It is the work of Christ that allows this, so it is still salvation by Christ. I suppose Christ helps these believers from other faiths see how Christ is their salvation at the end of the age, and they get right at that point.

At any rate, my disagreement with John Paul II over this, and the Catholic Church, to the extent John Paul II's interpretation is mandatory for all Catholics (I know this can get technical) not simply a matter of twisting Pauline texts. There is a deeper divide here, I think, that affects many texts, both Paul's, Peter's, John's and the other Gospels.

But I agree with you. Many people, from the Protestant and Catholic traditions, have massacred certain biblical texts and taken them where they were not intended. Hence, the Inquisition and burning Tyndale at the stake.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Christiane:

By the way, did you go and read Albert Mohler's blog regarding the passing of moderate Baptist leader, Cecil Sherman?

My understanding is that the Virgin Birth is a very important doctrine in the Catholic Church.

What is the Catholic Church's position on a Christian who rejects the Virgin Birth and says that Mary had sexual relations and that Jesus had an earthly father?

Louis

bapticus hereticus said...

Matt: Hereticus, It is not a matter of how thick or thin our leadership is. It is a matter of considering the list of men who run for president and picking the one that after prayerful consideration I find to be the most proven one.

bapticus hereticus: Matt, this is not an honest response. Allow me to repeat your words: “I would rather elect a man who is recognized as a proven leader who stands for the right things yet gives a smaller CP percentage over a man who may not be as easily recognized as tried and proven who gives a larger CP percentage.” Again, I ask you, is leadership in SBC so thin that one whom is “a proven leader who stands for the right things … and … gives a larger CP percentage” cannot be found?

Matt: I don't have any more room for pulpit envy than I do for class envy.

bapticus hereticus: Do you have any room in your dialogue to explain how expecting leaders to model things that they are to promote is class envy and a communist way of life?

Matt: You seem to be under the mistaken perception that my church will determine how much we give based on how well we receive a personal appeal of the president of the convention. A personal appeal from a sitting president means very little to us. What matters is the causes which are being funded. If we agree with the causes, we will give enthusiatically. If we do not agree with the causes, then our giving will be curtailed.

bapticus hereticus: Also apparently meaning very little is having elected leaders that exemplify the processes that enable the organization to be an organization. Preach on the need for tithing, Matt, then withhold your paycheck. Not only will the personal appeal mean very little, it will serve as your first foot out the door. What will be the rep on you at that point? How about a lack of integrity?

Matt: If the convention were liberal and a liberal president's church gave 25% to the CP, my church would give diddly. On the other hand, if the convention were to continue in the right direction with a conservative president whose church might give only 5% my church would be excited about increasing our offerings to SBC causes through the CP.

bapticus hereticus: You make my point, Matt. Your church would not give because it does not accept the validity of leadership. But that you expect so little of your leaders, but much from God, is not very spiritually wise, but politically expedient, nonetheless. And it is your choice to make. And SBC will likely continue its slide into mediocrity; it will elect leaders that will admonish the people (for not doing what they don’t do, either) and the people will accept the admonishment, and when appropriate the people will elect another set of leaders like the previous set of leaders, and so forth. And some leader in time, again, will ask another group of people to serve on a task-force to address the question: “Why can’t we pay the bills? We have so much we could be doing for the Lord.” And the people will reply: "We know! It’s class envy and communism."

Matt Brady said...

Hereticus,

You are the one who started our conversation down the road of class envy.

Hereticus: "Moreover, inequity in groups and systems tends to attenuate participation, satisfaction, and commitment levels, thus when present attenuates levels of effectiveness and goal attainment, with its greatest impact on those bearing the inequity. Those benefiting the most and disproportionately so, often ask: ‘what has gone wrong, we have less to sustain our privilege?’ Applying this to SBC, one would have this situation: ‘you little guys with smaller budgets need to give more to the CP and be like us that give a good amount in REAL dollars, but far less than you do in terms of ability. But did I say REAL dollars? We can’t meet our goals without your support, and surely you don’t wish to be the reason for God’s work to languish, do you?’"


I say to your concern that one day we will not be able to pay the bills that if we are doing what God wills us to do, then we will not have to worry about the resources. But I must say, that having read your comments for some time, your concern for the future financial well being of the SBC seems to be quite disingenous. I suspect that you would be glad to see a conservative bastion's demise. I further suspect that you would prefer to move the discussion of qualifications for president to CP giving in order to take the focus off of what a candidate stands for.

Perhaps I am completely wrong about your motives, so feel free to tell me so and have the last word.

bapticus hereticus said...

Matt: Hereticus, You are the one who started our conversation down the road of class envy.

bapticus hereticus: If this is what you think I am stating or where I am going, Matt, then you truly do not understand the nature of symbol as related to leader or leadership. This very thing was an issue a few years ago in SBC, to which your fellow, conservative brothers were very alarmed. Were they advancing class envy? Of course not.

Matt: I say to your concern that one day we will not be able to pay the bills that if we are doing what God wills us to do, then we will not have to worry about the resources.

bapticus hereticus: That one is doing God’s will is no guarantee funds will be sufficient in the time and manner that one may prefer. It is sometimes the case that in doing God’s will funds may become less available. But, again, if funds are a major concern, and given the findings of the task force which suggest they are a problem, it behooves an organization to appoint one that has the most credibility in said regard. It’s about building a house, Matt, that is, it is about considering the costs before building, and surely not, if in building, laying a foundation on sand. Again, preach about tithing, my friend, and then withhold your paycheck.

Matt: But I must say, that having read your comments for some time, your concern for the future financial well being of the SBC seems to be quite disingenous.

bapticus hereticus: That was more the case several years ago, even if not completely operative, but now, older, wiser, and far more ignorant than any time in the past, I am concerned about the health of religious institutions, notwithstanding theological perspective, because I care about what they do and can do for the well-being of people. That is, they are important. Even the ones in which I don’t have a preference.

Matt: I suspect that you would be glad to see a conservative bastion's demise.

bapticus hereticus: When one perspective can legitimately claim the end of knowledge and truth, then all others will be relativized by such. As a liberal I cannot make such a claim, thus I encourage the conservative, and all other perspectives, to continue his and their search and value his and their contributions, as I do from the traditions that I place greater value.

Matt: I further suspect that you would prefer to move the discussion of qualifications for president to CP giving in order to take the focus off of what a candidate stands for. Perhaps I am completely wrong about your motives, so feel free to tell me so and have the last word.

bapticus hereticus: Matt, CP giving is about what a president stands for, especially if he or she cares about leading an organization in which it is the major vehicle for funding its programs, which themselves manifest the essence of the organization. What we have and how we use it reveals what is of value to us. Unfortunately when we consider such we are faced with de-centering dissonances. All of us; the best of us experience this. The question is, once we become aware, what will we do and what commitment will we exhibit in resolving these dissonances? That is, becoming aware, difficult as it is, is not the most difficult task we face. Acting with courage on said awareness is far more daunting.

Matt, if you think this is about class envy, well, my friend, awareness is still an issue for you.

Sheila said...

It seems to me that bottom line, we give to the causes we believe in. We give the most to the causes we most believe in.

You might throw the local Little League team a hundred dollars once a year, but give them a tenth of your income each week, each month, each year? You don't have THAT much commitment to kids' sports.

Politics? Same thing. You'll support one time or regularly candidates/causes you believe in, but do they warrant a tithe of your income?

God might warrant a tithe -- even more! -- but that doesn't mean the SBC should get it all. No, I want to show this pastor in India that I approve of his work, and this underground church in China, they're doing good work too. I am much more committed to God's work than I am the SBC's work.

That's fine. You're entitled to be as committed to whatever as you'd like. But why do you want to be the president of something you're not completely committed to -- at least enough to give them a tithe?

Money is not the issue. Power is. Adulation is. Achievement is. Selfishness is. If you aren't gung-ho committed to the SBC -- as evidenced by your wholehearted financial support -- then you ultimately are going to hurt it, to carry it down the path to ultimate destruction.

Let the plea of Southern Baptists who care be heard: If you don't care, get out of the way so those who do care can stand forthrightly before God and the convention, and promise an ever-more committed SBC to do its part to bring God's kingdom here on earth.

Christiane said...

Sadly, the 'tithe' favors the rich.
One tenth of a large income does not impact a family in the same way that it does a poor family.

A system that imparts a greater burden on to the poor must be questioned in the light of Christ's compassionate concern for the poor.

Anonymous said...

Christiane:

Don't forget about me. I am truly interested in your thoughts about the Virgin Birth and its significance to Christianity.

Let me know your thoughts on that and whether Christians should deny the Virgin Birth.

Thanks.

Louis

Christiane said...

Hi LOUIS,

I haven't forgotten about you. :)
You wanted to know my thoughts (?)
on "the Virgin Birth and its significance to Christianity."

As a Catholic, I accept the Gospel account of the Incarnation. The words of Mary as to 'how is this possible as I know not man?' received the angelic explanation.

There is much focus on the Incarnation in my Church as a part of the Mystery of Christ.
Mary, the Blessed Mother, being 'full of grace' represents the righteous remnant of Israel in her role in the Incarnation.

As far as 'should' a person believe?
The doctrine for us is 'under anathema', meaning when I teach in a Catholic School, I am required to teach the Doctrine as coming from the Apostles to the Church.

The Protestant world and the Baptists do not have a 'Mariology' other than some recognition of her virginity at the moment of Christ's conception. I cannot say for anyone of another faith community 'what they should believe'.

I do believe that the Doctrine of the Incarnation is very much connected to the Mystery of Christ.
I would caution against anyone 'using' any expression of the Christian mysteries in a way that is divisive or harmful to the unity of the Church. I would always want people who are attempting to 'define their identity' to seek that identity in Christ, the Lord.
Being Christ-centered fosters unity. What fosters 'divisiveness' is not 'of Christ'. I hope that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Christiane:

Thanks for the explanation about the Virgin Birth. I suspected that it is a very important belief for Catholics and you have confirmed that.

The Virgin Birth, however, is not just important for Catholics. It is important for all Christians. You have noted this, too. If we deny it, we deny the very important things about the nature of Christ as well as the truthfulness of the Scriptures.

Dr. Mohler's blog on this topic (which I hope you will be able to read) addressed this issue. Back during the conservative resurgence, Conservatives believed it was important for all professors in Baptist seminaries to believe in the Virgin Birth, just as you are required to believe in the Virgin Birth to be a teacher in Catholic schools.

The "Moderates", or those opposed to the Conservatives, did not think that professors in Baptist seminaries should have to believe in the Virgin Birth. For them, the doctrine was negotiable.

I was not sure that you knew this. I know you have been trying to learn about Baptists and their history and that you have been learning about what is called the Conservative Resurgence, the disagreement among Southern Baptists about how their seminaries and other institutions wwould stand with regard to Christian doctrine.

The Virgin Birth was one doctrine that Conservatives insisted had to be believed by Baptist theology professors.

You will note that the Baptist Faith and Message clearly states this doctrine. So one might ask, "if the doctrine was so clearly stated in the Baptist Faith and Message, how is it that moderates did not think it was important for seminary professors to believe that doctrine.

And the answer is - the article on the Scriptures and the premable of the Baptist Faith and Message.

Some professors said that while Luke clearly teaches the Virgin Birth, that they did not have to believe that in order to be in accordance with the Baptist Faith and Message.

Because the "criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted" is Jesus Christ, they claimed that Jesus was telling them that even though Luke recounts the Virgin Birth that they could interpret the text as a myth made up by the early church which did not have to be believed.

This pattern can be repeated with many other New Testament teachings.

Louis

Christiane said...

Hi LOUIS

You wrote: 'Because the "criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted" is Jesus Christ, they claimed that Jesus was telling them that even though Luke recounts the Virgin Birth that they could interpret the text as a myth made up by the early church which did not have to be believed.

This pattern can be repeated with many other New Testament teachings."

Louis, can you give me specific references to their quotes?
I must say what my Church teaches: that Christ is the lens through which we interpret Scripture, so as understand its integral unity in Him.

I wonder, in the difficulties you describe happening way back then, that there wasn't an 'over-reaction' that was harmful. I suspect there may have been, Louis.

bapticus hereticus said...

Christiane: I wonder, in the difficulties you describe happening way back then [i.e., conservative resurgence {sic}], that there wasn't an 'over-reaction' that was harmful.

bapticus hereticus: Liberals in SBC prior to 1979? Yes, a few. “Yes, a few, therefore, let’s replace all that are not a fundamentalist (i.e., what conservatives called themselves prior to calling themselves conservatives)” was a way of thinking that eventually became the norm. Yes, over-reaction is not an understatement.

Was it harmful? While both SBC and CBF as organizations are currently having financial difficulties, the synergy among the two ‘orientations’ might have attenuated current problems, but that really is an academic question requiring insights from various disciplines (e.g., sociology, history, economics).

Concerning the virgin birth. Whether liberal and otherwise, such was affirmed, and by far most professors literally believed in such, if public statements are to be believed. Even where liberals, the few, did not believe in the historicity of such, they, nonetheless, believed in the theological truth that the concept was asserting. Although embracing the theological affirmation of the virgin-birth instead of an historical reality of such is pretty common in mainline denominations (among both clergy and laity), it is still now and was then, problematic among a good many baptists, but mostly among laity, not clergy.

While both the liberal and the fundamentalist believed in Jesus as God’s son, the second aspect of the Trinity, the mystery of such would only be tolerated if believed by and in a certain fashion. The goal, or end, of the doctrine became secondary to a particular mean, or process. Actually not secondary at all, which implies some degree of importance, that is, if a particular means was not held to be historically factual, then it was denied that one could assert the goal of the concept or even claim membership in the same, albeit, greater faith group.

Anonymous said...

Chrisitane,

Go and read Dr. Mohler's blog about the passing of Cecil Sherman there. He has that quote.

Judge Pressler's book also has quotes in the appendix that are interesting.

That should get you started.

The only thing that Baptists did to address these issues was elect convention Presidents and approve the trustees that we nominated to serve the institutions.

There were very few actual firings in the CR. Most of the professors were replaced by attrition and early retirement.

As to the Christian Life Commission (now called the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission), the director retired, and he was replaced. That resulted in the SBC taking a prolife stand which was consistent with the churches in the SBC. Quotes regarding that can be found in the recent history of the Christian Life Commission written by Dr. Jerry Sutton.

Louis

bapticus hereticus said...

Louis: There were very few actual firings in the CR. Most of the professors were replaced by attrition and early retirement.

bapticus hereticus: A child receives three Happy Meals a day; in addition the parent intentionally refuses to communicate with him. When questioned the parent stated, “what’s the problem; I feed him on a regular basis?”

We spend the greater part of the day in a work setting, often intentionally limited in doing what we are capable, in an environment that often does not adequately value us as human beings having needs and aspirations. And when one seeks employment elsewhere (complete with the milieu of issues associated with such) we hear the following: “what’s the problem; we pay him on a regular basis?”

And who here is not familiar with this scenario: “go, now, on your own; it’s better than the alternative.”

Louis, you are factually accurate, but a good ways from the truth.

Louis: … the Christian Life Commission … [took] a prolife stand which was consistent with the churches in the SBC.

bapticus hereticus: And I was told by one in the Home Mission Board’s research division that it had data which revealed wide support for the work of SBC agencies, including CLC, and data that revealed limited support for the direction that the, then, fundamentalists wanted to take the convention. Like the still unpublished history that was written of the Baptist Sunday School Board, these data will likely never see the light of day.

Anonymous said...

BH:

Well, at least it's good to be factually accurate.

On the pro-life position, as opposed to Dr. Valentine's belief that the pro-life position was "Catholic", are you suggesting that the Soutern Baptist people are really pro-choice?

You mean after the election of a pro-life leader of the CLC, pro-life trustees and the adoption of several pro-life resolutions at various conventions for the last 30 years that in reality the Southern Baptist people are not pro-life?

Are you kidding?

Tell me this is a joke.

I know of very few Southern Baptists who are not pro-life. I am sure there are some, but a much smaller percentage.

The ERLC doesn't get any hate mail for its pro-life position, no pro-choice resolutions are moved at coventions, the ethics classes that the seminaries are pro-life.

I have no idea what you are talking about.

Louis

Christiane said...

For some people, 'pro-life' means nothing more than 'always vote Republican'.

For those who are truly committed to life from conception to natural death, the 'fruit' of that commitment is a strong advocacy of the 'common good' of our citizens from conception until natual death, which honors the dignity of each individual human life.
That kind of commitment does not end at the voting booth, or when an umbilical cord is cut.
It is a life-long commitment, which welcomes opportunities to better the situations of those who 'sit outside the gate' while we feast at the table of plenty.

The SBC has not always been against Roe v. Wade. It has suited certain denominations, religious organizations, and political organizations and politicians to 'speak' 'pro-life'.

Whether they are to be taken seriously is often dependent on 'following through' with total commitment to life in all of its respective stages and conditions.

Pro-life as a term has been used to manipulate people. That is a sad, sad and very cynical abuse of what many for millenia have supported as dear to the heart of Our Lord.

Talk is cheap. (low tax maintenance)

Commitment? It's gonna cost 'ya.

bapticus hereticus said...

Louis: BH[,] [w]ell, at least it's good to be factually accurate. On the pro-life position, as opposed to Dr. Valentine's belief that the pro-life position was "Catholic", are you suggesting that the Soutern Baptist people are really pro-choice? You mean after the election of a pro-life leader of the CLC, pro-life trustees and the adoption of several pro-life resolutions at various conventions for the last 30 years that in reality the Southern Baptist people are not pro-life?

bapticus hereticus: I am of the opinion that present-day SBC is more diverse than leadership perceives, even if it is less diverse than when led by a more progressive group of people; but it matters not what I think to be the case, if data do not support my opinion. Extant data, however, systematically derived, do (or once did) exist to support my previous post.

Louis: Are you kidding? Tell me this is a joke.

bapticus hereticus: Open the vaults, publish the history, review the data. But, being from Nazareth, so to speak, nothing that I state can have merit, yes?

Louis: I know of very few Southern Baptists who are not pro-life. I am sure there are some, but a much smaller percentage. The ERLC doesn't get any hate mail for its pro-life position, no pro-choice resolutions are moved at coventions, the ethics classes that the seminaries are pro-life.

bapticus hereticus: There is a way to test that proposition, but if SBC has more to lose than gain by knowing said proportions, what is the probability that it will commission a study to ascertain said knowledge? Second, concerning pro-choice/pro-life: a bit of self-selection has occurred of late, no? Last, and concerning hate mail: it is your expectation that moderates with a pro-choice orientation would resort to such? Is that what you would do if ERLC championed a pro-choice position?

Anonymous said...

Christiane,

Don't you agree that is consistent with a Christian ethic to believe and proclaim that it is wrong to kill innocent human life? Believing that is not "cheap." It is quite significant. At least that's what John Paul II's and many other Pope's writings and Mother Theresa said. I agree with them. It is not good for people to advocate for the taking of innocent human life. I am glad that Southern Baptists agree with your church on that. I would think that you could be happy about that.

As to "following through" to be truly prolife, those are completely different questions.

Just because I believe that innocent life should not be killed doesn't mean I have to agree with every welfare state project that some people like. Some I like. Some I don't.

I don't who first thought it would be "clever" to link the believe that innocent unborn human life with unbridled government spending. It's really quite a silly concept.

I don't think that a child in the womb should be killed. But that doesn't mean that I have to agree that the same child has a right to cradle to grave guaranteed government care, and if I don't, my believe that the child has a right to live is "cheap."

We can all disagree about the various government programs, which ones work, which ones don't, how much to spend etc. Adults can disagree about such things. At least, they can in my way of thinking.

Louis

Anonymous said...

BH:

Just show up at a state convention or the SBC meeting and propose some pro-choice agenda items. See how they do.

"Hate mail" is a term of art. If the ERLC started adopting a pro-choice position, I would write complaining letters, and I would take some action at the convention by resolution etc.

I respect you, but I really think it is silly to argue that Baptists are really pro-choice and to hold that position when all of the extant evidence is to the contrary.

Facts are stubborn things.

Louis

bapticus hereticus said...

Louis: BH[,] [j]ust show up at a state convention or the SBC meeting and propose some pro-choice agenda items. See how they do.

bapticus hereticus: I would imagine there would be a civil manifestation of displeasure, but, then, Louis, how many moderates attend annual meetings these days and for those that do, how many expect to receive a serious hearing on any proposal that is not endorsed by leadership? Are you under the impression that one somewhat aware of SBC would not know that?

Louis: "Hate mail" is a term of art. If the ERLC started adopting a pro-choice position, I would write complaining letters, and I would take some action at the convention by resolution etc.

bapticus hereticus: A “term of art,” you say, but your letters are “complaints. “ I expected better from you, Louis.

Louis: I respect you, but I really think it is silly to argue that Baptists are really pro-choice and to hold that position when all of the extant evidence is to the contrary. Facts are stubborn things.

bapticus hereticus: Yes, there is a pro-life contingent in SBC, in general, and especially those that attend meetings and vote on said resolution, and yes there is a contingent of pro-choice in SBC, in general, but are likely a small group at any present-day meeting. And I would imagine the proportions, discounting members that are also members of CBF, are in favor of pro-life. But, Louis, that is not what I am referring to. What I am referring to is the data collected by the HMB research division in the 80s that do not support the direction of the, then, fundamentalists. And yes, facts are a stubborn thing. I will assume, if you believe such, that you will call for NAMB to release these facts?

Anonymous said...

BH:

I don't know about any data that hasn't been released that supposedly shows something. I am for the release of any data.

I assume that if people who are not prolife are in the majority that they would carry the day in those debates. The conventions were quite large in the 1980s and people worked very hard to get as many of their supporters to the conventions as they could.

Also, on the agenda for many of those years were prolife issues. And yet, the largest conventions ever, with moderates and conservatives mustering all the votes they could and the prolife position, as much as I can recall, won every time.

If the unseen study from 30 years ago that you claim exists and is going to show what you claim it will show to validate some sort of point you are trying to make is ever released, I am not sure what difference it makes.

I believe it is correct to say that in the 60s and 70s that many Southern Baptists saw abortion as Dr. Valentine did - "a Catholic issue." That may have been true for many other Protestant groups as well.

But I believe it is also fair to say evangelicals in general, and Southern Baptists, in particular, had a shift in their views on abortion by the late 70s. That was one of the reasons that Ronald Reagan was preferred among Southern Baptists as opposed to Jimmy Carter. Economics and international relations were other issues. But the moral issues were also very much in play, and abortion was one of the top issues.

In the late 70s even people like Dick Gephardt and Jesse Jackson claimed to be for a pro-life amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That support ebbed over time.

I credit the Southern Baptist shift on the abortion issue primarly to Francis Schaffer and other Christians who began to talk about that issue in the early to mid 1970s, after Roe v. Wade was decided.

So, I readily agree that Southern Baptists have moved on this issue. But it was a matter of education and learning. Schaffer and others were the teachers on that issue.

I do not know about the CBF. It has an "Ethics" agency (the Baptist Center for Ethics or something like that) that it looks to much like the ERLC, but without the election of trustees etc. I do not believe that organization has taken a pro-life position on the issue of abortion. But I am not an expert on that or the CBF.

If I am wrong about that and the Baptist Center for Ethics is a pro-life organization, let me know.

I also watched the New Covenant Confab in Atlanta a couple of years ago. I do not remember any pro-life speeches or positions taken at that meeting.

Are you a CBF supporter? Are you pro-life on the question of abortion or do you favor abortion rights? Do you think that public money should fund abortions?

Louis

Christiane said...

Hi LOUIS,

You wrote: 'I don't think that a child in the womb should be killed. But that doesn't mean that I have to agree that the same child has a right to cradle to grave guaranteed government care'

'right to' life would include that a person who cannot care for themselves due to disability, and/or mental challenges are dependent due to their circumstances, and I know that you would agree here.

The problem is see is that there is a 'disconnect' among some who advocate ('speak' for) 'right to life' that use the issue politically and do not give evidence in their own lives of actually living out their 'belief' by genuine integral commitment to life in all of its stages. The name for that is 'hypocrisy'. The 'evidence' I speak of is active support for meeting the problem pro-actively. I posted a bio of Father Benedict which mentions his 'Good Counsel' homes from pregnant mothers as an example.

There is a kind of concern that doesn't wait for a tragedy to develop, but goes out and meets the problems before they can develop into tragic situations. It is a kind of response that is rooted in 'chesed' or the 'loving-kindness' of God as expressed by Christian people.

For those people of the Southern Baptist faith who express that kind of loving-kindness towards their fellow man, I can accept that their beliefs about 'right to life' are genuinely motivated, and that these beliefs are INTEGRATED into the way that they walk as Christians in this world.

For the ones who have been manipulated politically, I am sad. There is SO MUCH MORE to be done than just 'talking the talk' and 'voting'. But people say 'we don't have any obligation to do . . . . '
No. They don't understand yet.

It's NOT an 'obligation'.
It's an opportunity to witness to the world for Lord Christ.

Big difference, n'est pas?

bapticus hereticus said...

Louis: … I am for the release of any data.

bapticus hereticus: Such is not the current attitude of SBC leadership, which is not surprising given most of the leaders are from churches in which securing data can be highly problematic. Young is in the news again about his plane. Will the church ever get a full accounting on this issue? The 2008 financial report for one of the current SBC presidential nominees is no longer available on his church’s website. The link reveals a 404 error.

Louis: I assume that if people who are not prolife are in the majority that they would carry the day in those debates….

bapticus hereticus: Abortion resolutions prior to the takeover strategy of fundamentalists were actually quite moderate in tone, and it was after the emergence of the strategy did the tone of the abortion resolutions change. Whereas I do not have the vote totals, I am not under the impression that during the highly contentious years that any abortion resolution passed without a significant counter vote. It is one thing to say that a resolution represents a majority of SBC at a particular meeting, but it is something else to generalize that to the greater body absent corroborative data. In terms of the moderate resolution stances on abortion prior to 1980 there is corroborative data that allow for a broader generalization.

Louis: … study from 30 years ago … not sure what difference it makes.

bapticus hereticus: It makes a difference in that it checks a heap of revisionism taking place, and thus it will help undercut many fundamentalists’ claims concerning the nature of SBC prior to their control of it. While it may be said that there are those that desired such a change in the SBC, it may not be said that such was, in general, what laity desired. Data do not support a fundamentalist direction at this point in SBC history.

Louis: … many [SBs] saw abortion as … "a Catholic issue." ….

bapticus hereticus: Those that are most strongly advocating pro-life, are typically consistent with the Catholic position on abortion.

Louis: … fair to say evangelicals … and [SBs] … had a shift in their views on abortion by the late 70s….

bapticus hereticus: It is plausible that some SBs shifted (in both directions!), but who knows how many? With Reagan the country took a rightward turn from the center, but 30 years later after the shift, there has been no essential change in law on abortion. Reagan had little interest in the social agenda of evangelicals, but he, nonetheless, courted their vote. The abortion debate has been won by the pro-choice movement (not that there will not be tweaks to law, however) and with the passing of our generation, most of the passion on changing Roe v. Wade will be gone. Yet even if the current Court overturns Roe v. Wade, in time it will again be law. People will rightfully work to reduce abortions, but most will agree that such a choice is that of the mother, not the government.

Louis: … I do not believe [CBF] has taken a pro-life position … I do not remember any pro-life speeches or positions taken at [NBC]. Are you a CBF [pro-life, and government-funded abortion] supporter? ….

bapticus hereticus: In CBF one will find pro-life and pro-choice. CBF is not an organization that presents resolutions for affirmation, but that said, I have not been to a CBF meeting in several years. However, CBF is an organization that is about forging common ground, while respecting the fact that important differences do exist among its people. Concerning NBC: I don’t know all the topics that were presented, but I don’t recall any resolutions being offered. Again, NBC was about finding common ground and forging collaboration across racial boundaries, and given the mix of churches and people involved, a debate on pro-life and pro-choice would not have been conducive to said purpose. Last, concerning my position: not that it is a secret, but it is irrelevant to the conversation.

Anonymous said...

HB:

What's the big deal with hiding whether you are pro-life or not or a CBF supporter or not or support the funding of abortions?

I agree with part of what you are saying, if you will look closely. I agree that before and immediately after Roe v. Wade that many Southern Baptists neither cared nor understood the abortion issue. But after the work of Francis Schaffer (sp?) and others, most Southern Baptists are pro-life.

Richard Land did not come to the CLC (now ERLC) until 1988. The ERLC's pro-life efforts are consistent with the make up of the majority position of SBC churches, or as I said, you would see complaining and attempts to change the position. But because the oppoents, such as they are after the formation of the CBF, are so few, those are not attempted.

Reagan actively campaigned on the pro-life platform. The Republican party platform has been pro-life since 1980.

Since the issue has been decided by the courts, there is not much a President can do, except select judges who would interpret the Constitution to say that it does not protect the right to abort. Reagan, Bush I and Bush II all tried to do that ethically, and succeeded in some ways and lost in others. Primarily, however, because one doesn't simply pick a Justice and say, are you pro-life? It is a very complex procedure. Reagan's picks to the Federal Judiciary have been much more pro-life.

Reagan also spoke in favor of the Hyde Amendment. Reagan also issued executive orders regarding funding etc, which now go back and forth, depending on whom is elected.

The Dems win - abortion gets more funding. The Reps win - abortion gets no or less funding.

If there is something that you think Reagan could have done and did not do, I would be interested to hear about it.

I agree that the moderates, many of whom go to the CBF or stay home, voted against pro-life resolutions.

I would recommend Jerry Sutton's book about the CLC. He does a really good job outlining the history of the agency and the various resolutions at the convention.

It's one stop shop, so to speak, on issues like this.

I agree with you about the issue of abortion. I believe that more people in this country want it to be available - for somebody else!

In an odd way, most people agree that abortion is wrong and that they would never do it, but they want the right for others who would exercise it.

The fact that most people feel that way is, in my opinion, the result of increased medical technology (ultrasounds) which show developing human life. Even Christopher Hitchens in a debate with William F. Buckly said that you don't hear people any more talking about the child being part of the woman's body or it being a "glob of tissue" etc. - arguments that were fairly routine in the 60s, 70s and early 80s. The argument is different now.

The other reason people are still uneasy with abortion is because of those people who oppose it and speak of it as the horror that it is. The pro-choice crowd gets no credit for this.

The day we can really be sad is the day abortion is seen as a neutral procedure.

Louis

bapticus hereticus said...

Louis: … [w]hat's the big deal with hiding …?

bapticus hereticus: Louis, I have covered this ground in at least one previous post, and should you care to search the record, it is there; for this conversation, such is irrelevant.

Louis: … after the work of Francis Scha[e]ffer ….

bapticus hereticus: I would offer the counter hypothesis that most SBs have/had no idea who Schaeffer is/was.

Louis: … pro-life efforts are consistent with the make up of the majority position of SBC ….

bapticus hereticus: First, abortion resolutions took a more strident tone after 1979. Second, resolutions passed with significant opposition when moderates were in attendance (An aside: “Mommy, what is an abortion?” “Son, you don’t need to know; quit playing on the floor; sit in your chair and raise your blue card.). Third, your initial statement concerned hate-mail, which you walked back for people like yourself, but have yet to walk back for others unlike you. Fourth, I have not made the case that present-day SBC is not oriented toward pro-life, only that it is more diverse than leadership thinks, which will remain speculation (as is yours, but you do get more points for greater anecdotal evidence) given no systematic research will be conducted to ascertain proportions. And given many CBF churches still identify as SBC, diversity is a bit greater than some suppose or wish to admit, even if said churches/individuals no longer attend annual meetings. They, still, however, fund CP, thus their diversity and relationship counts, to the displeasure of some conservative and moderate critics, alike. Must we keep going over old ground?

Louis: Reagan actively campaigned on the pro-life platform … If there is something that you think Reagan could have done and did not do, I would be interested to hear about it.

Bapticus hereticus: Louis, you are repeating yourself. I have no interest in this question.

Louis: … the result of increased medical technology ….

bapticus hereticus: I agree that medical technology will aid in the development of defensible legal structures concerning abortion and to some extent already has. The question is: will either the liberal or the conservative allow such to inform their position? I am inclined to think that many, ideology notwithstanding, will not.