Friday, April 3, 2009

Ten Reasons to Call Satan As Your Next Pastor

  1. From the book of James we learn that Satan believes in the same monotheistic Creator God that we do.

  2. From his encounter with Eve in the garden we learn that Satan does not practice an overbearing, hyper-authoritative leadership style, but is delighted simply to put options before people and let them make choices.

  3. Satan has a profound influence upon this culture, and has demonstrated a giftedness for relating to this generation.

  4. Satan has had astounding ecstatic experiences, having even been caught up to heaven to interact with God, as we learn in the book of Job.

  5. It is likely that Satan has a correct understanding as to what the gospel is.

  6. Even if Satan is not perfectly obedient at all points, it could be healthy for our churches to be engaged in dialogue with him. We need to hear what he has to say. If our faith is strong, what are we afraid of? It will be healthy for us to overcome our intolerance and have our prejudices challenged.

  7. Satan has been marginalized and demeaned by the powers-that-be in the Southern Baptist Convention for decades. The present conservatives preach against him and defy him. The liberals in power before them were no better, questioning his existence. It is high time for somebody to give him a break.

  8. Satan is recognized not only by Christians, but by Jews and Muslims as well, and this common ground (as well as his extensive experience around the world in other cultures) makes it likely that he could teach us many things about good cross-cultural evangelism.

  9. Satan is no legalist.

  10. Satan has an impressive résumé of past work in Southern Baptist churches and denominational institutions.


Alan Cross said...

10 Reasons to call a Muslim as your next Pastor:

Believes in scripture

Doesn't drink alcohol

Fights against pornography

Respects and submits to the authority over him

Cares about family values

Believes in and enforces patriarchy and the resulting submission of women

Believes that religion should directly influence the state

Wants to use government laws to stamp out sinful behavior

Longs for the "good old days" when everyone obeyed them

Wants to spread his faith all over the world

This comparison could be applied both ways against both your target here (I bet I could guess who you are thinking of) and also against fundamentalists if you turn it around. A lot that the Muslim wants is a good thing and I would agree with it. But, context is everything, isn't it? Without the gospel it can easily change its meaning and purpose as you demonstrate in your post. A form of religion without the power of God is worthless, no matter which direction you are coming from.

I would disagree with you though when you said that Satan is not a legalist. As our Accuser, he is the greatest legalist there is. He is always accusing us according to our failures to keep the Law. Fortunately, we have an Advocate.

Interesting and thought provoking post.

Anonymous said...


Bart Barber said...


Beware the imagination. There is no singularly identifiable "target" of this post. In fact, I can't think of a single person who could be made to squirm by each and every point.

Bart Barber said...

I don't discount, however, the idea that there might be anybody out there who "probably thinks this [post] is about [them]."

Alan Cross said...


I never assumed that your points were all encompassing toward one person. You are right, they are focused in several different directions. A few of them, however, did cause me to think that you were comparing a certain person to Satan, albeit indirectly. I'll take your word that you didn't have anyone in particular in mind when you wrote this and that if anyone thinks that you are specifically targeting them it is just vanity on their part. I say that assuming that you last line is a Carly Simon reference.

volfan007 said...

Woohooo...this is great. Bart, you are one smart cookie, and you float my boat, Brother!

I think I know a few Churches that have "Satan" as their Pastor.



Bart Barber said...


We've been blogging for a long time (in Internet years), haven't we brother? The post challenges a lot of the ideas that I have encountered over the course of that time, showing that although some of them might be good in a certain context (as you have indicated), each and every one of them is far secondary to something else.

There's something that differentiates us from Satan. None of these things is it.

Bart Barber said...

You'd think I would have learned by now not to leave things implied as some function of literary style but just to state them plainly in a quest for accurate communication. So, before anyone misconstrues, the thing that differentiates us from Satan is simply that Satan is in unabated rebellion against the Lordship of Christ, which Christians have something new within us that is not. It is in subservience to the Lordship of Christ that we find the way forward.

Alan Cross said...

Fair enough. I agree completely.

From the Middle East said...

Brothers Bart & Alan,

Great stuff!

Peace to both of you,
From the Middle East

Bart Barber said...


I failed to interact with your critique of my #9. My bad.

Satan does recognize right from wrong, and he is the Accuser as you note, but Satan never interferes with people's personal liberties to sin. He holds his own view of sin, but he's not a legalist in the sense that he is against people imposing their views of righteousness upon others.

bapticus hereticus said...

Bart: The liberals in power before them were no better, questioning his existence.

bapticus hereticus: actually, this is incorrect. (some) liberals do allow for existence, just not in the manner that (some) conservatives assert.

Nate said...


I realize you weren't pointing this post toward any one particular person, but it brought to my mind Wade Burleson bringing William Paul Young to preach at his church this very weekend. :)


Bart Barber said...


There's a point or two in this list that could be applied there. Some don't seem to fit at all.

Alan asked if this was about people. There are people in Southern Baptist life associated with ideas. Talk about the ideas, and we're all likely to think about one person or another in connection with those ideas. So, ideas are personal, but there's a difference between making it about the ideas (with unavoidable personal implications intact) on the one hand and making it personal in a primary sense on the other hand.

I've done some of the latter in my day. Not this time.

Bart Barber said...

But you feel free to apply it wherever you think it might fit. ;-)

selahV said...

Bart, I do believe you could write about a discarded candy wrapper and someone would accuse you of writing about them or someone else they know. Brings to mind the song, "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you." selahV
BTW...this is not posted about anyone in particular. Unless of course you think you are a candy-wrapper.

Bob Cleveland said...

And the #11 reason?

You'd get to spent FOREVER with your pastor!


Anonymous said...

Bart: It's posts such as this that cause me to take such a strong stand against the BI ideology, but I am rather glad you posted it because it does show that maybe those of us who pointed out certain facts that you and others deny aren't so far off the mark. It does make me know why there are so many leaving however. Disagree with you and get posts like this put up. The second one in the blogosphere I've seen in two or three weeks.

Anonymous said...

And you can call it vanity, I call it seeing it for what it is. Something my grandchildren could probably do it is so obvious.

Joe Blackmon said...

"Even if Satan is not perfectly obedient at all points, it could be healthy for our churches to be engaged in dialogue with him. We need to hear what he has to say. If our faith is strong, what are we afraid of? It will be healthy for us to overcome our intolerance and have our prejudices challenged."

I can think of one SBC church in particular invoking this line of reasoning to justify someone they're going to preach the gospel in their church knowing full well that the person denys the penal substitution of Christ's death on the cross. How in the world do you have a gospel without penal subsitutionary attonement?

Thank you for your encouragement.

Joe Blackmon said...

Typo alert--

My previous comment should say "someone they're going to have preach the gospel".


Bart Barber said...

And, like so many times in the past, Bob Cleveland wins the golden comment award.

Bart Barber said...

When different people all come on here with different ideas of the "target" of this post, each certain that he or she is right, it gives me the perfect kind of chuckle to cap off a good day.

Anonymous said...

It's not about who Bart. It's about what. A theology that tells us that we are to be transparent, full of grace, even to those who we disagree with. To even hint that a Christian brother or sister is being manipulated by Satan is a sin in my opinion. I don't think Satan would want us to treat each other with kindness and respect in disagreements, in fact I think he would want the opposite. Satan is an imitator of God. He takes the things of God and perverts it. He is not original. The more discord he can cause in the church, the happier he is. And the thing is, he doesn't have to do a thing. Just leave us to ourselves. Legalism takes care of itself. Look around in other religions. How different is this than the Fundamentalist Muslims. Some kill just not with bullets or the body, but they kill none the less.

Chuckle on that for awhile if you can.

Bart Barber said...


The great value that you contribute to this blog is simply this: Whatever is the most ridiculous and insidious and negative MISreading of this blog that is humanly possible is consistently demonstrated by you. If ever I write something that you do not misconstrue, then I know that I have written something that cannot possible BE misconstrued.

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

BTW, you wondered whether I could continue to chuckle. I confess that I cannot.

I cannot hold it to a mere chuckle; I break out into full-fledged laughter whenever someone who alleges that I (for disagreeing with her) am …

…"[no] different…than the Fundamentalist Muslims. Some kill just not with bullets or the body, but they kill none the less."…

…and this comes right after she breaks her arm patting herself on the back for being…

…"transparent, full of grace, even to those who we disagree with."

Better irony cannot be found.

Bart Barber said...


I agree. Alan got it. He contributed right back with pretty good material of his own. That was a worthwhile conversation.

Dave Miller said...

(I deleted this above and made a small edit)

One of the things that annoys me is that every thinks every post that everyone writes is about a certain Okie Rev.

It puts me in mind of an old song, "You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you (him)."

I thought this was a pretty witty post. I thought Alan's first response was pretty good too.

Both show us how easy it is to focus on the wrong things and make majors out of minors.

But the responses also show that we have almost completely lost the ability to "lighten up" and enjoy a well-written, controversial, thought-provoking post.

Anonymous said...

Dave and Bart: Your complete lack of respect for those who disagree with you is showing. If I write a post like this I'm sure you would be jumping all over me, and you should, I would deserve it.

Dave: The next time you rail against those who speak the plain truth that should be said and mention names with it, remember that they spell their names correctly and use the proper title. Unlike you have done here. Forgive me if I think you are saying one thing and doing another. Now you can say the elephant isn't there all you want, but it's there. I see it.

I'm saying there is an elephant in the room, a big one, and no amount of your explanation will have me think differently. Maybe I'm the only one with the guts to see it as it really is. I don't beat around the bush, I don't mince words because I want to be heard clearly without the guessing games that you are providing here.

Dave Miller said...


I have no idea why you are so angry, and I simply do not understand what you are saying. If you will explain why you are so angry at me, I will try to respond appropriately.

My point is simple: I am not surprised that Bart's post was interpreted by so many people (you included) as having to do with Wade.

There are a lot of bloggers (I used to be one) who see the entire blog world as being about Wade - either supportive of his every word and action, or critical of everything about him.

That is a world I no longer want to be a part of - on either side.

By his direct statement, and by the simple reading of his post, Bart did not address Wade. Others read it that way. Bart's response was sort of "if the shoe fits."

You brought the anger you complained about.

Anonymous said...

Debbie reminds me of a Obamma supporter if you do not agree with them they get nasty

Anonymous said...

Why is the charge of anger always given to confrontations? I'm not angry, just wanting you guys to think before you post something like this. This is not right at all. I would never even think of using Satan to manipulate people's final vision of someone they disagreed with. This is going too far, and it's more politics than theology. Let alone even close to proper theology. I would say the same thing if this had been written about any one of you.

Remember Christ was accused of doing miracles by the power of demons. This is no more true than the accusations made against Christ, no matter who you are referring to.

Bart Barber said...


As of now, here is something I would like to do when I get to Heaven: I would like to find Augustine of Hippo, give him a big embrace, then hold him out by the shoulders, look him in the eye, and say, "Not everything is an analogy!"

To you I say the same.

When James ascribed belief in God to demons, he wasn't saying that ANYONE was basically standing in the role of Satan. He wasn't saying that ANYONE was manipulated by Satan. He wasn't alleging that ANYONE was demon-possessed. His line of reasoning was so clear, so pristine…

1. You say that you believe in God.

2. The demons believe and tremble.

3. Clearly implied: Therefore, your belief in God doesn't mean SQUAT unless accompanied by the actions that demonstrate a submission to the commandments of God that accompany saving faith.

My original post here is exactly the same literary device. As Alan and Dave easily comprehended, the point I was making, and with which you are free either to agree or disagree, was that none of the attributes listed point-by-point in the original post mean SQUAT unless accompanied by the actions that demonstrate a submission to the Lordship of Christ.

Are some of the ideas in the post representative of the kinds of arguments that your pastor has made? Yes...him and countless others. But what you seem incapable or unwilling to see is that others of the points represent not the sort of thing that Wade has said, but the sort of thing that FTME or George Barna or the culture-chasers in our convention have been saying.

In any and all of those cases, the point is not allegorical. These people are not being COMPARED to Satan, nor is the suggestion being made that Satan is really MANIPULATING them. The point is simply that their ideas ARE NOT the be-all-end-all summum bonum of Christianity, because the same could be said of Satan.

Not everything is an analogy!

Bart Barber said...

And so, now that the logic of the original post has been clearly spelled out, we are left with this conclusion:

The idea that I've alleged Satanic manipulation of ANYONE and the idea that I'm essentially a Muslim terrorist killing people with words have one thing in common—both ideas originated in the mind of Debbie Kaufmann.

Anonymous said...

Debbie Kaufmann might have called you a terrorist, but I didn't. :)

I am saying however that the killing of a person's spirit spirit, taking away their ability to think is as wrong as killing the body even if it is not done intentionally.

volfan007 said...

I'm getting a headache!

I dont know why.


Anonymous said...

The more she talks, the more she reveals about herself. Sad really. But it do get tiresome.

Chris Gilliam said...

Bart- Great post, now trun it into a questionaire for PSC and I bet you get a book deal!

It would be funny if it were not so true!

Les said...

Satan would certainly encourage all of us to be kind and respectful of all opinions,beliefs,and life styles. He knows the value of blurring the line between God and society. The discord is disguised as slow erosion.

Joe Blackmon said...


Excellent point!! The fact is there are certain pastors in the SBC who want to respect everybody's opinion and belief (and I do mean everybody, women pastors, catholics, people who deny the penal substitutionary death of our Lord). The fact is, if these people had it their way, they would issue a new BFM that had one setence in it "It's all good". While there are issues that we can agree to disagree on there are not nearly as many of those issues as certain SBC pastors want to pretend like there are.

And yes, Debbie, I'm talking about exactly who you think I am.

volfan007 said...

Uh oh, you've done it.

I would suggest that there are many Pastors and SBC entity workers out there today, who would want to run Churches and the SBC in the same way that Bill Clinton tried to run the popular polls. God help us if we ever get to this point.

Also, something that intrigued me that happened in TN not too long ago...that goes along with all of that the TBC did some sort of poll...asking lost people what was the best way to witness to them!!!! Lost people!!!! Lol.
I'm still waiting to hear from entity heads what the data tells us, and how we should now pattern our witnessing after what the lost people told us. lol.


From the Middle East said...

Brother Bart,

You said:
"Are some of the ideas in the post representative of the kinds of arguments that your pastor has made? Yes...him and countless others. But what you seem incapable or unwilling to see is that others of the points represent not the sort of thing that Wade has said, but the sort of thing that FTME or George Barna or the culture-chasers in our convention have been saying."

Sorry bro, I can't see how any of those applies to anything I have said in the blogworld or elsewhere.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

Tim G said...

This comment stream has made my Monday morning. I thought the post was a shotgun approach (not to kill anyone) that one could apply to many things.

Still laughing though at where the comment has gone!

Thanks for starting my Monday morning off with some great comic relief!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday and is ready for a great Easter week!

Anonymous said...

Les: You have totally misrepresented what I am saying. But, if you think that just Southern Baptists are Christians, or if you believe that just Southern Baptists interpret the scriptures right or that we are right in our interpretation of the Bible in every area, you have missed the message of the Bible.

When right theology on every jot and tittle comes before treating all people with kindness because they disagree with you, then you have missed the message of the Bible.

I think that we as a whole, as Southern Baptists have missed the message of the Bible. I also believe this post is a perfect case in point.

Tim G said...

I woul dask you this question:

"Does not this post simply present a clear picture of American culture from religious to political idealogy?"

I think it is possible that you are applying this post in one specific manner and yet it obvious that the post was not written with one specific target or point to make.

Could it be? All things are not anti-Wade!

Anonymous said...

Debbie if we as Southern Baptist have missed the mark on the Bible then why are you one? I would want to not belong to a group I think is totally wrong. Every blog I read you on your always bashing the SBC. If we are so wrong why be one.There is a difference between so kindness and joining hands and singing kumbyah my lord around the campfire. I have friends in the ministry I disagree with and some in other groups we know we disagree. We also stand firm for what we believe. If I do not believe I am right when I preach in the pulpit then I ama hypocrite. Paul told Timothy to stand for sound doctrine. Sound doctrine means right teaching. So you want us to just allow every wrong teaching to come in? As far as your church having the author of the shack there I believe your pastor and your church are the ones to be accountable for that. What I mean is that is a thing of church autonomy on the same hand as I think that you and Wade have no business interefing with FBC Jax as that is a local church issue

Les said...

Sorry,I am not an SB, and I don't know who Wade or any of the others are or what they represent. I don't think only SB are Christians,in fact I would venture a guess there are many who are not.(That is a general statement based on human nature not directed at anyone specific.)
My personal relationship with Christ has and is teaching me how important discernment is and that jots and tittles matter.

Anonymous said...

If I were the Devil by Steve Gaines

Luke said...

50 just seems so much more appropriate than 49.

Writer said...

I just want to make it clear that the commenter with the name as "Les" is not me. Carry on.

Les Puryear

Bart Barber said...

Thank you, Les Puryear,

I have never known you to hide behind anonymity, and would not have thought it of you now. You are man enough to own up to your words. Any time you post, the world knows that it is you posting.

Les said...

Wow! I haven't stepped on that many toes since the last time I danced. Les P I think you can rest easy I doubt anyone has mistaken me for you,you are much more eloquent. Bart I have not consciously been hiding behind my initials. I promise you that if I ever feel I have something to contribute again I will use my full name. I sincerely apologize for any confusion.

Bart Barber said...


You are not commenting anonymously. I wasn't criticizing you. I was just trying to say something positive about Les Puryear.