Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chronicle - The Irenic Reformation of the SBC

For nearly two years, I have been reading and commenting on various SBC blogs. I posted my first article as a guest of Wes Kenney on August 20, 2007. It was entitled "The Irenic Reformation of the SBC". I originally chose not to have my own blog, because I believed there to be so many, that adding one more, would be of little value, especially since I would most likely not write posts very often. But, I have decided to jump in, though I still do not plan to post very often. As a matter of fact, I am posting this article before this blog goes live. Frankly, it may be quite some time before this blog becomes public. This is for my personal benefit of having this on my own blog.

Since my first (and only) article was posted on a blog not my own, I am reposting it here (with the comments) so I have an online chronicle of this and any future articles penned by me. Since the comments are included in the post, this is rather lengthly.

Guest Author - “The Irenic Reformation of the SBC”

Aug 20th, 2007
by Wes Kenney.

You have probably seen Ron P.’s comments on various blogs. Ron P. attended Criswell College from 1986-1988. He currently works in the IT industry, but has served as an interim pastor, two youth pastorates, and other ministry positions. He is a homeschool father of three sons (of which the second is starting college) and has been married to his wife for over 21 years. Today, he offers the following as a guest author here at Reason for the Hope:

For the past several months, I have been trying to understand the current reform movement by some SBC bloggers. In jest, I have come to call this movement The Irenic Reformation. I became aware of the Baptist blogs with repeated references to bloggers as source material in the religion section of one of our local newspapers. I just assumed it was the online chatter that traditionally was done in person at associational meetings and state and national conventions (not that gossip in person is any better than gossip by blog). I should have been aware of the movement, but I confess, like many, I was inattentive. I realize not all those within this crusade hold to all of the beliefs and practices that are prevalent in this movement. I do not wish to paint all with a broad brush, but it is not easy to ignore what has taken place in the “Baptist blogs”, unless, like me, you have not read them.

Part of the problem I have encountered in this endeavor, is the apparent change in the definition of words. In the computer software industry, this same practice with software standards is called “embrace and extend”, which one particular software monopoly is infamous for. An existing universal standard is taken (embraced) and then subtle undocumented changes to the standard are made (extended). The changes are pushed out, and by default, the change is now the standard, which is now owned by the one making the change. This very same thing is being done with the definitions of words by these so called reformers. History is replete with examples of words that once meant something to only be morphed into something analogous and sometimes disparate. A recent example is the word evangelical. It no longer carries the purpose and intent that it once did, as evidenced by the belief that one in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church can still serve as President of the Evangelical Theological Society. Another example is the word gay no longer really means merry, but something quite different in our culture. I believe that several words are being co-opted in this movement, such as conservative and inerrant. I find it ironic that some of the reformers have to endlessly remind us that they are conservative, just like moderates kept reminding us that they were conservative and inerrantists during the Conservative Resurgence (CR). However, just as it was during the CR, their words and actions betray them. The use of the word irenic has especially been “embraced and extended” in this movement. In essence, Post Modernism is thoroughly embraced. Definitions of words are changed, so that they can "embrace and extend" their version of the truth. You can even call yourself conservative and inerrantist if you want to. For the purpose of this analysis, I am not referring to the definition in the dictionary, as someone wanting to promote peace or reconciliation, but to those within this movement, that quite frankly, are promoting neither.

Being irenic apparently necessitates the acceptance of those that do believe and practice what is being published (and commented by those that are a part of the irenic) on the blogs. These bloggers have chosen, again I state emphatically, CHOSEN, to make their blogs and comments the public persona of this Irenic Reformation. I amassed this incomplete list of beliefs and practices, with website links for you, the reader, to reference. I apologize for the length, as what originally was only 894 words proliferated to this current document. Yet there is so much more out there. The more I researched and read, the more appalled I became. When reading the linked sites, please also read the comments posted by the irenic ones addressed to those that dare disagree or question them. Many times the comments by the irenic ones are much more atrocious than the blog entry itself. Some of the links below are from conservative bloggers that point out the fallacies of their logic (and theology). The number of links that could have been posted is too exhaustive for this work. Since I am relatively new to these blogs, I freely admit that there are probably better links available than what I have provided. Without further adieu, here are some of the beliefs and actions of the Irenic Reformers on full public display:

  • Public vitriolic ad hominem attacks are common place and encouraged. These same attacks against fellow trustees are even more laudable. The highest esteem goes to any attack upon Paige Patterson. See here, here, here, here, here, and here.

  • You get to call anyone who disagrees with you: gnostic, fundamentalist, legalist, or Landmarker. See here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

  • Privately praying ecstatic utterances (but not speaking in tongues) is the new Baptist, non charismatic practice that can not be questioned without being accused of being a cessationist or someone who wants to redefine what a Baptist is. A very flawed (scientifically speaking) survey is used to prop their belief that 50% of SBC pastors believe in PPL. Don’t laugh, they are serious. See here, here, and here. Oh, other new spiritual gifts are to follow: here.

  • The death penalty is morally reprehensible for civilized Christians. See here.

  • Gun control needs to be embraced. See here.

  • Drinking is a great evangelism tool. See here.

  • Ecumenicism is the new inerrancy. See here, and here.

  • It is no one’s business if an SBC church supports the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The church should still be allowed full fellowship with other SBC churches. See here.

  • Baptism – what does it matter? Duh, we are Baptists. See here, here, and here.

  • The pot calling the kettle black winner award: (SBC Blogger Bile): here.

  • Lawsuits and complaints against believers and our institutions, over clearly religious issues, are encouraged and supported, violating both Scripture and the U.S. Constitution. See here, and here.

  • Double entendres that are of a sexual nature attacking women of the non-irenic persuasion is well within the accepted (and defended) behavior of some. See the comment section here.

  • Publicly revealing confidential information about a pastor being called to another church, before the church is first informed, is considered an acceptable practice. Except when it is one of the irenic ones, who happens to be a contributor to said blog. I believe they were correct to NOT leak his move, just hypocritical. It is to their shame that they do not give the same courtesy and honor to a fellow pastor. See here, here, here, here, and here.

  • A Baptist Blog that touts itself as the premier information for Baptist news and information believes that religious concerns should not override their “news” decisions. I thought the Word of God trumped all. Mind you, these are actually pastors making such comments. See here and here.

  • You get to call your blog a bridge and a place of diverse opinions. However, only the irenic opinions are valued. If you don't like what you read you are told “don't read it”. How's that for valuing diverse opinions within the SBC? See here, here, here and here.

  • You can take a “clearly vague” statement that passed at the convention, and then get to claim it says something it does not say. In the same vein, when you incontrovertibly lose an important vote you were pushing, you just listen to the “Sounds of Silence” and ignore the loss and declare that it means nothing. See here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

  • The Baptist Faith and Message is seen as full of tertiary doctrines. Even though we as Southern Baptist clearly have stated that these doctrines are “precious and essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.” See here, here, here, and here.

  • The irenic leaders want the Baptist Faith and Message to be both a minimal doctrinal guide and a maximal guide. The twisted loops of logic that you have to go through to be able to hold to both of these opposite positions (at the same time), is enough to cause the most avid roller coaster enthusiast to say “no mas, no mas”. See here, here, and here.

  • Irenic leaders want to be able to allow those serving an SBC institution to affirm the Baptist Faith and Message with caveats (or be able to affirm any of our historic confessions). How is that affirmation to something that the SBC holds essential to our doctrinal unity? See here and here.

  • You can call yourself and others irenic, but only if they agree with the irenic. What is really priceless: Always being one of the irenic no matter how mean spirited and acrimonious you are. See here, here, here, and here.

  • If you are an irenic one, your comments are logical, thoughtful and scholarly. If you are not one of the irenic, you are just one of the minions of the evil one, blissfully ignorant of your blind stupidity. See here, here, and here.

  • Our missionaries, though financially sponsored and supported by our convention, should only answer to the Lord, which in reality is a push to be accountable to no one. They should not be required to affirm and teach the beliefs that uniquely make one a Southern Baptist Christian. Who are we to tell our missionaries what to teach and preach? See here, and here.

  • A woman's place is NOT in the home and there should be no support of such biblical archaic beliefs by our institutions of higher learning. Good grief, it's the 21st Century already! See here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

  • Christian men should not stand up and sacrifice their lives in defense of others, and most especially should not be encouraged to do so by evil men who love guns. It’s everyone for him self. See here.

  • Mohamed, the Qur'an, Mosque, Muslim prayers and Muslim beliefs about their god, can be continued to be held by "completed Muslim Christians". They can also forsake the assembly of believers. Those teaching this false gospel can serve as SBC missionaries. See here, here, here, here, and here.

  • Paige Patterson MUST be brought down! No matter what the cost, the sacrifice, the effort… Kind of reminds me of Moby Dick by Herman Melville: "I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up!" Also from Moby Dick: "Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee…” Read almost any posts/comments at: Baptist Blogger, click on the Paige Patterson link and read ANY of them. But see these too: here. Actually, read any of the irenic bloggers and note that Outpost is becoming a lead ship in their “whale hunt” of Dr. Patterson.

  • Anything that will help in the attacks on Paige Patterson is a legitimate high value target, including his wife, professors, his dog, or others that agree with him. See here, here, here, here, and here.

  • The ban on women Pastors is/will be something we need to repent of. Though not supported by one of the irenic leaders for personal and cultural reasons, he can not biblically justify the prohibition of women pastors. Women teaching men is OK by him though. I for one do not get that logic. It does seem apparent that the movement will definitely support Woman Pastors. See here and here.

  • Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Mercer, Bill Underwood, Tony Campolo, Marian Wright Edelman and others have organized the National Baptist Covenant (NBC). The organizers alone should give Southern Baptists pause to carefully scrutinize this effort and their motives. Some of the irenic leaders have been invited to participate. See here, here, and here.

  • The NBC, though not officially inviting pro homosexual conventions, do have them serving on committees. But don't worry; they'll be at the table in a short time. See here.

  • If leaders of the NBC personally tell an irenic leader that they believe in salvation in Christ alone, oppose abortion, etc. but yet publicly make contrary statements, those that point out the contradiction are denigrated or told that the personal assurance is enough and is to be believed. See here, here, and here.

Once you have immersed yourself in the blogs, certain conclusions are unavoidable:

  • Several of the reformers are anything but irenic (in the dictionary sense of the word).

  • Undermining those in authority is considered acceptable and common place.

  • Gossip is not confined to the local church but is blogged to a lost and dying world.

  • Posting an emoticon (like “:)” or “:D”) makes it OK to be acerbic and invidious while twisting the proverbial knife in the backs of the non-irenic.

  • It appears that animosity towards Dr. Paige Patterson and an aversion to anything for which he is associated is the propellant that fuels some of the irenic.

  • Attacks against a man’s wife (Dr. Patterson) though reprehensible and repugnant, seem to be done with such perverse delight by some of the irenic.

  • These “reformers” are quick to remove the speck in other’s eyes, but do not see the log in their own eyes.

In light of beliefs and practices of the Irenic Reformers, we need to wake up our Baptist brothers and sisters in Christ and sound the clarion call to once again, stand up, get organized and fight for the convention to remain true to God’s Word. This time it is not just the inerrancy of the Word of God that we must defend, but the sufficiency of it as well. We must also defend what we as Baptists have understood what it means to be a Baptist. Who would have thought that Baptists would have to defend biblical baptism within our own convention?

The Irenic Reformation appears to be nothing other than an attempt to undo the CR using technology (blogs and blackberry’s) as a tool, but employing an age old tactic: the politics of personal destruction. If you can not win on the issues, attack any and all who stand in the way. Again, I do not want to paint all with a broad brush, as some who agree with the irenic have been most kind and Christ like in their comments and actions. But some of those same sweet brothers and sisters stand by silently while repeated caustic attacks are made. Those that have been the most vociferous mistakenly believe that if they take down the leader of the CR, the whole resurgence will fall. How naïve of them! Despite their prating, the CR is not tied to any person, though we are most grateful to all who led the battle for the Bible. The CR is the belief in the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Holy Scripture to guide us in all matters, not the one who led it. I must humbly stand in opposition to a movement that would seek to strip Southern Baptists of their historic identity and do it in a manner that is more reminiscent of Absalom and Diotrephes than of Christ, the Apostles, and our Baptist forefathers. Those that have bled and burned for that heritage deserve so much more from us.

Wake up, Stand Firm, and be Vigilant!

65 Comments on “Guest Author - “The Irenic Reformation of the SBC””

  1. #1 Geoff Baggett
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Ron (& Wes),

    You have spoken what so many of us have felt over the past several months. I, too, think there are many things in the SBC that need to change. But I also know there is an honorable way to bring about change. Much of what I have read is anything but honorable.

    I have been almost entertained by the repeated use of this term, “irenic.” But, far from being irenic, I think that the movement is a bit more “sirenic.”

    There are many of us out here who want to talk about the difficult issues, but not act belittling and mean to one another.


  2. #2 Scott Gordon
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Ron & Wes,

    Thank you for this THOROUGH distillation of information. The aspect of the “irenic” label has been most troublesome to me. Beyond the issues being discussed, the acerbic, vitriolic posts and comments have nearly been enough to turn me off to this debate. If I were not so stubbornly convicted about my theology and ministry as a Southern Baptist, I would leave well enough alone. BUT, we must be ready (vigilant) to post warning signs warning of the dangers which lie ahead.


  3. #3 Paul
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Nice piece of quote mining.


    I believe the “sides” that have formed have become so polarized that we are no longer able to give the other the benefit of the doubt. I see this occasionally on the Outpost and I see it often in the status quo blogs (here, Robin Foster, Tim Rogers, Joe Stewart, etc.).

    Unless we can find a way to come to some sort of mutual agreements about our cooperative efforts I don’t see how the SBC can not further fracture. If we all keep posting this sort of stuff we’ll simply see further fracturing.

  4. #4 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I strongly agree with what Paul has written.

  5. #5 Jeff Richard Young
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Dear Brothers Wes and Ron,

    Thank you for this good post. You’ve really done your homework. Please allow me to add my perspective.

    Early in this process, about 20 months ago, I had great admiration for Brothers Wade and Ben, for bringing perceived (and in some cases actual) abuses of power to light. To the extent that they continue to do that, I continue to admire their work.

    Each of these men has also been very polite and brotherly to me personally, and has actually helped me in tangible ways when I was on my recent sojourn between pastorates. Ben invited me to preach at his church in his absence, and led the church to welcome me warmly and compensate me generously. Wade made a well-placed phone call to a search committee, and that search committee eventually did invite me to come to their church “in view of a call.”

    But, in the case of Brother Wade, his stances on such things as inviting “moderate” SBC-ers back into leadership, joining in President Carter’s new NBC, and dismissing Dr. P’s position on women out of hand have forced me to distance myself from him, and withdraw from his chorus of supporters.

    In the case of Brother Ben, his tactics and rhetoric in criticizing Dr. and Dr. Mrs. P have been out of line with Christian principles. He has shot himself in the foot with these methods, in that some of the very people most ready to believe him (me included) are being driven away by his behavior. His method has made his message non-credible. To his credit, his recent reports on financial dealings of agency heads, although transparently anti-Patterson, have been heavy on facts and light on spite. (Hey, that rhymes!)

    As for the leading persons of the CR, I have developed a strange sense of admiration mixed with distrust. It seems obvious to me that zeal for the SBC has confused their minds on certain points of doctrine. The IMB trustees, for example, are undoubtedly fine Christians. But their ridiculous November 2006 baptism policy, especially the ludicrous white paper belatedly issued in its defense, left me baffled as to their interpretation of both the Bible and historic Baptist distinctives. Likewise, the CR’s strong emphasis on total abstinence from alcohol led them to do some hermeneutical gymnastics that revealed their lack of commitment to the text of the very Bible they so strongly contend to be inerrant. I say this in love of men such as Dr. Jim Richards, who has been very brotherly to me (a very small fish in his SBTC pond) on two different occasions, and Dr. Al Mohler, whom I view as a heroic spokesman for Baptist Calvinists.

    That’s why I stand here looking at the “Irenic” Burleson-Cole-Duren-Cross camp and the “CR” Patterson-Corbaley-Mohler-Richards camp, not wanting to enter the tents of either. Neither group’s positions and persons seem worthy of full allegiance, so until a better camp is formed, I will just try to operate effectively and contribute meaningfully from out here in the wilderness.

    Love in Christ,


  6. #6 Ron P.
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 5:33 pm


    Thank you for posting this article. It was most gracious of you to do so!

    Ron P.

  7. #7 Ron P.
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 6:06 pm


    Thank you for your comments. I wish I had thought to use the term “sirenic”. Also, I read with great interest your post “My Last Visit to SBC Outpost”.

    Scott and Geoff,

    Thank you for reading. All of us on both sides should sincerely be ready and willing to debate, but as gracious servants of the Lord who regard each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. It really may come down to agreeing to disagree. Our historic confessions, I believe, are biblical and I am not prepared to abandon those convictions. I will try to graciously stand my ground, while respecting those that disagree.


    I was not mining for quotes. I truly was trying to come to an understanding of what they believe by researching their writings of these reformers.

    Regarding your statement about the polarization, you state in part: “I see this occasionally on the Outpost and I see it often in the status quo blogs (here, Robin Foster, Tim Rogers, Joe Stewart, etc.).” is quite a statement. Only occasionally at SBC Outpost? Even the former editor and several contributors would not claim that. I tried to find, but don’t have the time to search for it, the post that someone made that had a graph of the stories of SBC Outpost since it was launched. The great majority of it was dedicated to attack articles. It looks like many of those articles and comments are not going to be posted on the New,New SBC Outpost. With the utmost respect Paul, I hope you do not seriously believe that SBC Outpost only occasionally was polarizing.

    Ron P.

  8. #8 Steve
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    An excellent pice of work reminiscient of “The Truth in Crisis”.
    Well done!

  9. #9 Ron P.
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    I found the article to which I was referring in the above comment. An excellent analysis by Colin McGahey regarding the content of SBC Outpost articles at:

    Ron P.

  10. #10 Alan Cross
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 6:22 pm


    I am in no one’s camp. I tend to agree with some on certain positions, but I am my own person and desire to walk in truth. I certainly have no one following me and I am not making any decisions. I was asked to contribute and I have tried to do so in a respectful way.

  11. #11 Ron P.
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 6:42 pm


    Forgive me for misspelling your name in my comment to Geoff, Scott and you.


    I am not even in the same hemisphere with regards to that great work. But I thank you for the kind words.

    Ron P.

  12. #12 Tim Sweatman
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    “I must humbly stand in opposition to a movement that would seek to strip Southern Baptists of their historic identity and do it in a manner that is more reminiscent of Absalom and Diotrephes than of Christ, the Apostles, and our Baptist forefathers.”

    Uh, isn’t this statement an example of some of the things you criticize the “irenic reformers” for?

    Anyway, I agree with your statement that “some who agree with the irenic have been most kind and Christ like in their comments and actions. But some of those same sweet brothers and sisters stand by silently while repeated caustic attacks are made.” I don’t know that I could be called “sweet,” but I know that there have been quite a few instances where I thought some people with whom I agreed went too far in their rhetoric, but I didn’t point it out because I didn’t want to give the impression that I disagreed with the point of their statements. I freely admit that it was wrong for me to do so. That being said, I’m sure that many of the readers and I would have differing views on whether someone has gone too far, but that’s another matter.

    While your post was not meant to be humorous, I almost laughed when I read the following statement: “This time it is not just the inerrancy of the Word of God that we must defend, but the sufficiency of it as well.” I have no doubt that the status quo group is committed to inerrancy, but to me they seem to be a bit soft on sufficiency. I have yet to find anyone who can explain how the IMB guidelines, the insistence that abstinence from alcohol is the only acceptable choice for a Christian, or a crusade against Calvinism demonstrate a commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture. While I’d guess you probably don’t agree, to me it is clear that the reformers are the ones who are committed to defending the sufficiency of Scripture.

  13. #13 Paul
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 8:53 pm


    Since we have heard so many voices quite recently vociferously challenging the research of LifeWay regarding charismatic practices let me challenge our brother Colin’s “research” as well. First of all you state that all of those written about Patterson/SWBTS are attacks and they simply are not.

    I would also disagree with his method of categorization. As we heard so many say just a couple of months ago, it’s all in how you ask the question, and Colin has given some fatally flawed answers. For instance, I would imagine that he included my post regarding the SWBTS minutes. While SWBTS is mentioned in that post, it is only illustrative of the problem I was addressing: an entity refusing to send public minutes to the local church. That is, at it’s heart, an accountability issue, not a SWBTS issue. Had it been NAMB or Southern that refused to send the minutes the issue would be the same, only the particulars of the illustration would have changed.

    In addition, Todd wrote three pieces focused on the dangers of sectarianism, yet Dr. Patterson’s address to the convention served as the illustration. The post, at heart, was not about Dr. Patterson but was based on Dr. Patterson’s illustration in his SWBTS report to the convention. Had Morris Chapman given that same address Colin would have categorized the post differently, yet the issue would not have changed one bit.

    I’m guessing Colin has not had a course in statistics and research. This has led to a fatal analysis. It may be good fodder for these blogs, but it is not scientific, it is not scholarly, it is a perspective given by a blogging SWBTS student. I guess I could point out the obvious - that being that he has an obvious bias in favor of his school. If you guys want to continue to hold that up as the standard by which to judge the Outpost that is your prerogative, but let us not assume it is some kind of unbiased research from a disinterested blogger. It clearly is not.

  14. #14 Tim Rogers
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Brother Tim,

    You said; “to me it is clear that the reformers are the ones who are committed to defending the sufficiency of Scripture.” I believe you have just presented something that clearly defines the differences that are between many. We all would affirm the sufficiency of Scripture. I believe my question would be; what are the reformers desiring to reform? Once the reform is in place how far does one desire that we reform? You have seen where Brother Jeff Richard Young was concerned with the alliances being formed and the presentation of moderate-SBC’ers as something good to place back in leadership.

    I believe our separation is that we all understand we cannot be what we were in 1960 and move into 2020, but it appears there is no line of demarcation out there that even remotely resembles Baptist as to where the reformers are going to stop reforming.

    I do not say this in any derogatory way as I have been accused of being divisive in this comment stream. However, this is where I see the division. There is no limit to where we will stop the reforming. We throw theology and Baptist distinctives out of the window in the name of relativism.


  15. #15 Wayne Smith
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Wes and Ron P,

    I agree with Brother Jeff Young and Brother Tim Sweatman. I also agree with Paul because in the beginning I saw peaceful dialog and sharing of information on the Blogs. Then came the attacks from some in this group and I told them I could not see Their Hearts. Les Puryear was one of those in that group. Brother Les Puryear did a complete turn around and God Has been Blessing His Ministry ever since. So I ask what has God Been Doing in your Ministries???

    For REFORM by Being in GOD’s HOLY WORD to be INFORMED!!! Why don’t you Join Me???
    In His Name
    Wayne Smith

  16. #16 Paul
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    OK, I’ve asked this question a number of times in the past and it continues to go unanswered, but I’ll try again. In this post Ron P. suggests there are some in the reform camp who wish to give away our historic Baptist identity. Wes has suggested as much in the past. Tim Rogers says so on his own blog and here in comments. Robin Foster has made the same charge and I’m sure the list go be extended. In light of Wes’s question to Wade where he asks him to name one Southern Baptist who believes “it is wrong to educate women in the classics, the languages, or Biblical theology…,” may I now ask any of the aforementioned to name one Southern Baptist reformer who believes we should give away our Baptist confessional identity? Who is saying we should abolish the BFM? Who is saying believer’s baptism should become optional for all Southern Baptists? Who would have us give away eternal security, the priesthood of the believer/all believers (however one might want to phrase that one), local church autonomy or any other specifically Baptist distinctive? Just one example will do.

  17. #17 Ron P.
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Tim Sweatman,

    Thank you for reading and for your comments. RE: “Uh, isn’t this statement an example of some of the things you criticize the “irenic reformers” for?” No. I stand by the statement as an allusion to the behavior of some.

    I believe that Tim Rogers very capably answered your statements in your last paragraph.


    Thank you for your questions. I really appreciate you stopping by. One of the points that I think is clear, even by some of the contributors and the editor at the 2nd iteration of SBC Outpost is that it seemed to be all about Paige Patterson. That is what I was referring to when mentioning Colin’s analysis, which you affirm with several references to Dr. Patterson in your comment. Paige was the focus on SO much of the writings there. It became so abhorrent and reached a crescendo that it apparently caused many to decide to quit going to, posting on, contributing to, and editing SBC Outpost.

    You brought it up, so I do have one question for you. Since “…a course in statistics and research” determines whether or not an analysis is good, can I assume that you agree with Dr. Malcolm Yarnell’s ” assessment of the Lifeway study on PPL, since he IS an expert? See: here.


    My dear brother in Christ. I am (almost) at a loss for words. Though you did not intend to do so, you have shown that what I have found on the “irenic” blogs to be true. Your attack on Wes (and myself) as to whether or not our ministries are as successful as Bro. Les’ is something that should be grieved by all. I for one hope that Les is extremely successful in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I have the same hope and desire for you, just as I do for Wade and Ben and others with whom I do not agree on some of these issues. Your comments confirm my point above that: “If you are an irenic one, your comments are logical, thoughtful and scholarly. If you are not one of the irenic, you are just one of the minions of the evil one, blissfully ignorant of your blind stupidity.” Les was bad until he agreed with you.

    Ron P.

  18. #18 Scott Gordon
    on Aug 20th, 2007 at 11:53 pm


    UM….a SBC institution trustee who would sign the BFM with caveats (baptism)? One who would have us water-down the identity of Southern Baptists to attend the NBC? One who would lament the removal of the SBC from the BWA? Could it be that you would prefer that be called a redefinition of Southern Baptist rather than a changing, or losing, of the identity of our convention?

    If we need to broaden the tent so large, why don’t we just follow in McLaren’s footsteps in being a “a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, anabaptist/anglican, methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed-yet-hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian”?

  19. #19 Ron P.
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 12:01 am


    I copied the wrong link above in regards to Malcolm’s post on the Lifeway study. It is here and just in case it was not my fingers making the mistake:

    Ron P.

  20. #20 Jeff Richard Young
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Dear Brother Alan,

    I hope you and all readers here understand that I hold you in extremely high esteem. Including you in my “camp” name is because you have come down opposite the traditional CR leadership on several issues over these past two years, as have I. I know, and I’m sure it’s obvious to everyone else here, that you are operating on an ideological basis, not a political one. In include you as a leader of this particular “camp” because you have been a consistent, respected spokesman for the “reform” position on these issues.

    Love in Christ,


  21. #21 Wayne Smith
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Ron P,
    I don’t see your credentials or a Blog reference anywhere. I’m one of the dumb one’s that spent his life In the Computer World 1954-2001. What your handle?

    In His Name
    Wayne Smith

  22. #22 Paul
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 12:30 am


    Once again, I only mention Dr. Patterson because he is an illustration of some of our accoutability issues. Sometimes names have to be put on issues because the issues are predominantly being created by the one carrying the name. But in the end, it is the issue that matters.

    Regarding Dr. Yarnell, I would assume his analysis of the issue would be contrary to the analysis of the same issue by the people at LifeWay who actually make a living doing this sort of statistical research. Thus, we do not simply have Malcolm Yarnell who has some expertise in the area, but a team of researchers at LifeWay to consider as well. And in that case I would probably lean toward those who do that sort of thing for a living over a professional theologian who had some limited experience in the past. But I still don’t know where Colin’s “research” fits into all of that. Pretty low, in my view, particularly because of his obvious bias.

    Scott Gordon,

    I’m sorry, but none of those things you mention threaten Southern Baptist identity. Wade’s caveats are still in line with historic Southern Baptist identity. Not everyone in Southern Baptist history has held to close communion and some of our historic Baptist confessions actually seem to lean against such a thing.

    I don’t know of any Southern Baptists who have said that they will definitely be attending the New Baptist Covenant and if they did they would not be jeopardizing our Baptist identity by attending a Baptist event. Does the irony of those very words not speak volumes?

    As for the BWA, surely you know that Southern Baptists were instrumental in the founding of the BWA. So now it is preserving our Baptist identity to distance ourselves from an organization we helped found? And please tell me which Baptist distinctive the BWA has given away. Is it a Baptist distinctive to be vindictive toward the CBF? Oh, wait, maybe you do have a point with that one. ;) I’m sorry, brother, but you still haven’t shown how any of this is causing us to lose our Baptist identity. What would we be if we remained a part of the BWA, had a pastor all on his own attend the NBC or allow a trustee to disagree with close communion? Presbyterians? Non-denominationalists?

    And the McLaren quote is a fine example of a straw man.

  23. #23 Wayne Smith
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 12:35 am

    Ron P,
    How do you measure success? I said God is Blessing Les Puryear’s Ministry. I don’t know what your Ministry is. I also do not know how Wes’s Ministry is doing either. Les Puryear and I do not see eye to eye on everything, so how has he come around to my way of thinking?
    In His Name
    Wayne Smith

  24. #24 Ron P.
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 12:42 am


    Though I have links to posts and comments above that reference this already, I will answer your request to “name one”. Wade has made it abundantly clear that he finds the BFM to have “tertiary” issues. Southern Baptists have absolutely rejected this by adopting and affirming our confessions over these many years. Indeed, the messengers have affirmed, as stated above, that these doctrines are “precious and essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.” Removing any of these doctrines, I believe, would be throwing away our historic identity as Baptists.

    Let me add that the accusation that those of us holding to the historic/doctrinal/confessional beliefs, are trying to narrow the parameters of what it means to be a Baptist. Quite the contrary! It is the “reformers” that are trying to aggrandize what it means to be a Baptist and blur the lines of historic confessional beliefs and identity. This appears to this humble Baptist, to be nothing but the beginnings of ecumenism within the SBC.

    Ron P.

  25. #25 Ron P.
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 1:11 am

    This will be my last post tonight, as it is 1:00 A.M. here.

    Wayne, you ask how I measure success? By being faithful to God’s Word. Isaiah, when he answered God’s call, was told that he would preach to those who would not hear. Noah labored for 120 years, and only 8 people out of the population of men and women on the entire earth were allowed by God to be on the Ark. Faithfulness to God’s word is what I believe will bring about that desired response of our Father to say: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.

    Blessings, and goodnight.

    P.S. It is the blogging software, not my fingers that put this post as the hyperlink twice above.

    Ron P.

  26. #26 Joe Stewart
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Perhaps you’ve read my blog. I almost always land my plane on a certain runway, but I also attempt to circle the landing strip to look at other approaches. I do appreciate you parachuting in to drop the ‘occasional’ and ‘often’ packages. I assure you it’s a rarity that the status quo label is ripcorded my way, but I’ve often misunderstood the implications of missives spread in the comment zone. I honestly have no animosity towards you despite your group think assertion.


  27. #27 JIm Champion
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 9:17 am


    I agree with most everything you have posted in your conversation with Ron.

    I have really enjoyed the outpost, and in my opinon what I have seen as honest questioning of the entities and changing of what it means to be a Baptist are seen as attacks.

    Most of the attacks I have seen have come from those that come from the status quo camps, from Jeremy Green who relentlessly attacked Wade Burleson, calling him a theological moderate on countless occasions - and then providing proof by referencing his own articles! Then Brad Reynolds got into the act with his multiple commenters who seemed to be his own alter egos to Tim Rogers and even Bart.

    The fact is, the questions asked by Ben Cole are questions that should be made available to all churces at least once a year to show us how our CP dollars are being spent.

    Questions demanding accountability are not attacks, and just because someones name is used in an artilce or post is not an attack on that person


  28. #28 Trish
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 10:17 am


    If I understand your comments right, if the question being asked is valid, it doesn’t matter how it is being asked or why it is being asked? That’s not in line with scripture. 1 Cor 10:23-24, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things are edifying. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” and 1 Cor 10:31, “Whether then, you eat of drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

    While the questions might have been lawful, I did not see them as profitable or edifying in the manner in which they were asked. I found the questions to be asked in a destructive manner and not a constructive manner. We are to build up, not tear down. If something has been done wrong, it should be brought to light and corrected. If sin has been committed it needs to be confronted, speaking the truth in love with the goal to be confession and repentance, plus a renewed, stronger relationship with Christ. I did not get this from the articles that were posted about SWBTS and Paige Patterson. I did not see how the method used gave glory to God.

    Something I was recently taught, by a professor at SWBTS, that really gave me pause to think and reshape my actions, was how I should not look at what I want to do and ask myself if it is sinful, but instead to ask myself if it glorifies God. I see now how that is a good, common sense approach but I was not operating that way. I was more focused on not sinning and less focused on making sure God was glorified. It has definitely made me stop and think before acting, and that applies to this post. I am striving very hard, praying as I type, to have the right attitude and share my thoughts in a manner that gives God the glory. I think we can all agree that this is right, we serve Him for His purposes and at His pleasure. We owe Christ our lives, the very least we can do is to put Him at the front of all our actions.

    If there is a problem at SWBTS, if Dr. Patterson has sinned, if there are problems at the other SBC Entities, I trust that God will bring them to light and see that they are corrected, if we will seek His will in how to go about getting things identified and fixed.

    I keep reading about the need to get both sides together to discuss the issues that are causing division and separation, but some feel that the gulf is too wide to cross. I think some have forgotten that Christ bridges that divide and there is nothing that can’t be accomplished when it is done through His strength and for His glory. If all both sides can agree to is that Christ is Lord and Savior, then start there and build on that. It’s a great foundation, He is solid rock!

    Since learning about the SBC this summer and attending my first convention, my heart has grieved over what I see happening between people who all love Christ as their Lord and Savior. If my heart has grieved, and I’m just a wretched sinner, how much has God cried over watching the behavior of His beloved children?

    Let’s meet at the cross and go from there. God is big enough to handle this problem, it can be fixed. He just needs to be allowed to do it His way, not our way.

    Well, I wrote far more than I intended. I pray I did give God the glory through my words and actions. I pray my motives were pure and honoring to Him. I’m new to the SBC and was totally against it for years. But God worked in my heart and showed me the value of this denomination. I want to see it continue to be a light to the world, reaching the lost for the Kingdom, training disciples and sending them out to the world. I am confident that all of you want the same things.

    God Bless all of you and the love you have for Christ.

    Trish Reilly

  29. #29 Robin Foster
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 11:31 am


    Real quick three come to mind. I will leave the names out since I don’t want this to be about personalities, but facts.

    Authority of Scripture - Some believe that women should not pastor a church, but they come to that belief over cultural influences and personal preference. Baptist, while at times have not always done a super job, have based their beliefs on the Word of God. It is the final authority of faith and practice, not cultural influence and personal preferences.

    Lord’s Supper - Some seem to want to advocate taking the Lord’s supper with paedobaptists. This has not been the historic view of Baptists.

    Congregationalism - To take the authority of decisions away from the congregation, under the Lordship of Christ, is to devalue the priesthood of all believers. Some are advocating elder rule. While many don’t have an issue with a body of elders, Baptists have always drawn the line at allowing any body outside or inside of the church to make decisions that the church should make.

  30. #30 JIm Champion
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 2:04 pm


    If evidence is shown that our entities are being wasteful in the spending of CP $$ thier trustees need to deal with the situation. If the trustees are afraid, or unwilling to deal with the situation, they need to be replaced.

    The only way that we as church members can find out how our entities are spending thier funds is to examine the financial reports that are produced by the entities. If those entities refuse to produce the reports, or are afraid that those reports will make them look bad, most likely it is because they will.

    Ben Cole asked the questions, several of the entities responded to him, some did not. We as SBCers that send our CP contributions faithfully each and every month (Our church contributes 9% of our undesignated funds to the CP - total missions giving is close to 12%) deserve the answers. We should demand accountability from all of our entities.

    One thing that Ben has never brought up that I have wondered about for several years is why is it that SWBTS gives its VPs seminary provided (company)cars! Why in the world do they do this especially when enrollments are down and then on top of that they added a few VPs in the last three years or so!

    I do not think that Ben Cole attacked Patterson in asking this question, I think SWBTS opened Patterson up for critique by not answering the questions, as did any other entitiy that does not provide full disclosure.

    Wes, I sent you an email in response to the email you sent me


  31. #31 Robin Foster
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 3:07 pm


    You said, “I do not think that Ben Cole attacked Patterson in asking this question.”

    The problem isn’t that Ben asked the question. He sent this request out to all entity heads. The issue is that he gave detailed reports for Dr. Patterson (from SEBTS) and left other entity heads unchecked. There are no details concerning Morris Chapman. Why is that?

    I am not out to get Dr. Chapman. Frankly, I have more important things to worry about than how much he makes, but it seems that Ben is protecting some and going out of his way to ruin others.

  32. #32 Wayne Smith
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 3:54 pm


    I think Ben has shown us who is open and willing to show where and how CP Funds are used for GOD’S GLORY. If you are really interested in what they provided Ben, why don’t you ask these People yourself? They don’t have anything to Hide. I wonder why those you and your friends are protecting don’t want the Church to know what Good Stewards they are with CP FUNDS?

    In His Name
    Wayne Smith

  33. #33 Steve
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Paul, your stated question:
    “And please tell me which Baptist distinctive the BWA has given away.”
    It is good to see a revision in directors at the BWA this year. Former Ruschilkon trained Barthian office holders explored universalism and so had issues with evangelical soteriology.
    The General Secretary made a public statement in a newspaper that “There is no dofference between Baptists and Catholics except in regard to ecclesiology.” Canberra Times.
    I would have to say what I said of one BWA member, she may be a good Baptist, but she is a lousey christian”.
    In short, its not the Baptist distinctives that are of great concern with the BWA, its those things that are NOT distinctives, but essentials for evangelicals that are at stake with the BWA.

  34. #34 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    I have read twice now that Wade has wanted moderates to come back into leadership. Could you please provide a quote with a link to show this to be true. To my knowledge it has not now nor ever been the truth.

    Trish: We have the freedom Biblically to ask any question from any SBC institution or agency. I would go so far as to say we are foolish and poor stewards if we do not ask the hard questions.

    I again agree with the rest of what Paul has written. It seems the Great Divide is still going to be. The issue is that of will you be able to work side by side including in leadership and missions with those who disagree. Will you allow them to be in leadership and missionaries etc. if voted in although you had no part in voting for them personally. This is not a matter of changing anyone’s view. It’s always been about cooperation. Period. Allowing things in that you may not see in scripture, but that someone else clearly does. That is the issue here and this keeps getting stepped over.

  35. #35 Paul
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 10:04 pm


    It seems to me to be anachronistic to read the BFM2000 (let me spell that one out just for a little emphasis “two-thousand”) - a Baptist document adopted a mere seven years ago - and claim that everything in it is essential to an historical Baptist identity. What did that make those Baptists who crafted and adopted the First London Confession, the Second London Confession, the Philadelphia Confession, The New Hampshire Confession and the hundreds of other Baptist confessions? Were they Methodists because they didn’t have an article on Education? On Stewardship? On the Christian and the Social Order? On Peace and War?

    I would also say that your contention is not only with me but with Dr. Mohler who sat on the 2000 revision committee and then turned around several years later and proposed a view of theological triage in which he puts some of those very topics covered in the BFM2000 into the “third tier” (a synonym for “tertiary”) category. Is Dr. Mohler one of those you are critiquing here? I didn’t notice a link to his series of articles on theological triage in your post.

    Historically Baptists have not considered many things in the BFM2000 as “essential to our Baptist identity and practice.” Thus, I think your argument is not against what is historically considered to be Baptist, but what is recently (as recent as 2000) considered to be Baptist. Now, if you want to make the charge that many are not good current-day Southern Baptists you might have a better case, but to say these same people are not good historic Baptists is historically false.

  36. #36 Paul
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 10:12 pm


    I think your first charge cuts both ways. I see a great many from the status quo side who uphold Biblical authority with their lips yet deny it in their practice. We’ve even seen it in a number of our leaders who have said that total abstention cannot be supported exegetically from Scripture, but then conclude that it is the wise thing to do. I fail to see how that is any different from your first example.

    Lord’s Supper - a number of prominent Baptists in history have, in fact, practiced a form of open communion including John Gill and Charles Spurgeon. And they were Baptists.

    Congregationalism - that is also historically naive. There have been a great number of Baptists throughout history who had a form of elder-led congregationalism. Are you saying that Capitol Hill Baptist Church is actually not a Baptist church? I attended a Baptist conference last year and bought a book in their book store giving the Biblical basis for elder leadership from a Baptist perspective. It may not have been prominent, but it has always been a part of our Baptist heritage.

  37. #37 Tim Sweatman
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Tim R.,

    Part of the difficulty inherent in reform is that while reformers agree that change needs to occur there is a diversity of views regarding how much change needs to take place. For example, within the abolitionist movement there were those who simply wanted to see slavery ended as well as those who desired equality for black Americans. They agreed on the fundamental change (abolition of slavery) but not on what the status of the freed slaves should be.

    A similar diversity exists among SBC reformers. Most of the reformers agree on the following points: SBC entities should not be allowed to establish doctrinal parameters that have not been approved by the convention as a whole, SBC leadership needs to operate in openness and transparency about the inner workings of the convention and its entities, and we need to select leaders from diverse SBC (not Baptist, but SBC) backgrounds. Of course, several who have these goals have other goals that are not shared by their fellow reformers, but that does not stop us from working together to achieve those goals on which we agree. If and when the commonly agreed upon reforms are achieved, the reform group will undoubtedly split as some push for additional changes.

  38. #38 Paul
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Let me correct my statement about Dr. Mohler. He only uses different interpretations of eschatology as an example while affirming all that the BFM affirms in the statement on Last Things. I would certainly be interested to know if Dr. Mohler really believes the statements on Education, Peace and War and the like are first or second order doctrines which identify one as a Baptist. I remain skeptical that he would.

    By the way, why are his connections with the Together For The Gospel group not questioned in the same light as those who have shown an interest in the New Baptist Covenant? Several of the TFTG participants are not even Baptists. Is Dr. Mohler giving away our Baptist identity by working with those men? Is he one of Robin’s Ecumenical Baptists threatening the identity of the SBC?

  39. #39 Tim Sweatman
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 10:44 pm


    Your characterization of certain reformers as being reminiscent of Absalom (the traitorous son who waged war against his own father) and Diotrephes (who sought power within the church and used it in an abusive manner) is no different than someone at SBC Outpost questioning the integrity and leadership of certain SBC leaders. I’m sure that those who made such statements about our leaders stand by them just as much as you stand by your characterization of some reformers.

  40. #40 Steve
    on Aug 21st, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Paul again, your stated question:
    “And please tell me which Baptist distinctive the BWA has given away.”
    It is good to see a revision in directors at the BWA this year. Former Ruschilkon trained Barthian office holders explored universalism and so had issues with evangelical soteriology.
    The General Secretary made a public statement in a newspaper that “There is no dofference between Baptists and Catholics except in regard to ecclesiology.” Canberra Times.
    I would have to say what I said of one BWA member, she may be a good Baptist, but she is a lousey christian”.
    In short, its not the Baptist distinctives that are of great concern with the BWA, its those things that are NOT distinctives, but essentials for evangelicals that are at stake with the BWA.
    I am sorry that you cannot respond to this, as it is public knowledge that BWA issues were those concerning substantial doctrines even more important than our basic baptist distinctives (that which makes us differ from other evangelicals).
    The issues with the BWA had to do with essential christian doctrines. I guess from your silence these are of no importance to you either.


  41. #41 Ron P.
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 1:21 am


    Just got home a little while ago from a situation at church. I would ask you all to please pray, as we had a young woman show up tonight with her 2 year old daughter and some very serious sin issues. Praise God, she repented, and is going to publicly rededicate her life to Christ this Sunday, but she has a long way to go. I also praise God for the faithful members of our fellowship that visibly demonstrated the love of Christ to her and her daughter. God is so good!

    Since my vacation is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow, I am going to have to go to bed and not respond to all that have directed questions or comments to me today. I will try to get to them tomorrow night or Thursday. I really have enjoyed discussing these issues with you all.

    Tim Sweatman, I do want to address your comments to me tonight though. I think you are reading more into my statement than what I stated, or intended. I prayed and thought long over this article and especially that statement.

    I clearly was making a contrast. Absalom and Diotrephes both sought to usurp authority and did it in a manner that we all would agree was sinful. Absalom was purposely trying to turn the people against the king (authority) and telling all who would listen, if only he was a judge in the land, he would do things differently. He would be just. He would be fair. The Apostle John said that Diotrephes was “prating against us with malicious words”. This is of course in contrast to biblical submissiveness to those in authority. The manner, I repeat, the manner in which the dissent has been made by several of the leaders of this movement, is what I and so many others find sinful. Yes, I said sinful and I mean it. The attempt to turn Baptists against those in authority and wage a personal war against those who lead us, by their prating and malicious words is why I wrote that it was more reminiscent of Absalom and Diotrephes. Again, I emphasize that many who disagree with the historic Baptist beliefs that I and others are defending, have not behaved as such. But there is no question that some leaders of this movement have.

    Let me also point out, that dissent should be done biblically, while still submitting to those in authority over us. If you want to change the BFM, bring it before the messengers. If you believe that entity BOT should not be able to implement doctrinal guidelines, bring that specifically before the messengers to amend our bylaws. If you believe that women should be able to serve in the role of Pastor, add that to the changes you wish to make to the BFM. If you want the SBC to be more ecumenical and you want to broaden the parameters of what it means to be a Baptist, by all means make the motion to the convention messengers. If you believe that an entity president is not acting biblically or is fiscally irresponsible, approach that person privately. If not satisfied, go with two or three privately. If still not satisfied, bring the issue to the BOT. If that does not satisfy you, do what was done during the CR, elect Presidents that would use the appointment process to implement the reforms you desire.

    Ron P.

  42. #42 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 8:13 am

    You get to call anyone who disagrees with you: gnostic, fundamentalist, legalist, or Landmarker. See here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

    It’s not because we disagree, there are landmarkers and fundamentalists and legalism. One poster is a self proclaimed Landmarker. I’m sorry that this is angering to you, but by definition it is in the SBC and we would be remiss not to say so.

  43. #43 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 8:26 am

    One last comment here, irenic does not mean that we do not confront those who are wrong, it does not mean that we do not question and that we just go with the flow. It does mean that we love despite these things, it does mean that we do not want to go up against the powers that be or some of the policies that go both beyond the BFM 2000 or scripture, but it in no way means that we won’t. Irenic means that we care about missionaries and missionary candidates who are being rejected over these policies that churches are being excluded for these policies and more. It should be and we care that this is happening. Irenic is not the definition you seem to be giving it which is “go along to get along.”

  44. #44 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 8:34 am

    OK, one more comment. The things that are mentioned in your post with links attached are taking things out of context. That is not bile in your opinion? Sorry Ron, that is simply not true. I am glad that you linked to these posts however, people need to read them. They are what I believe to be happening in the SBC. It also puts what they had said into the right context. So thank you for that.

    For the record, I do not say this because Wade is my pastor, I am not in this simply because Wade is my minister. I happen to agree with him on this and the man I agree with happens to be my minister. I sincerely hope that people read these posts you have linked and decide for themselves, but as for me it is there. But I’m wondering if this post does not fall in the very category that you and others such as Wes have accused SBCOutpost of doing? OK I’m done. Thank you for allowing me to comment.

  45. #45 Scott Gordon
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Paul L,

    I have just posted on my blog concerning your assertion/accusation regarding Dr. Mohler and Together for the Gospel. I believe Dr. Duncan’s take on the issue is quite telling.

  46. #46 Scott Gordon
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Sorry, didn’t do something right there. Here’s my blog link:

    Together for the Gospel…AMAZING

  47. #47 Paul
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 3:13 pm


    I would ask you to please read my comment again. I make no assertion nor accusation. I simply ask questions.

  48. #48 Robin Foster
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 4:29 pm


    Concerning authority of scriptures, while it might cut both ways, I see it cutting deeper on the side of the Baptist ecumenist.

    Lord Supper - While Gill and Spurgeon may have practiced this, (I haven’t found Spurgeon advocating this) putting up one or two names does not mean that taking the Lord Supper with paedobaptists was a common practice of Baptists.

    Elder led congregationalism - I don’t see your argument here. Our church is pastor led congregationalism. Please don’t try to infer by a question that I somehow don’t think that Dr. Dever’s church is a Baptist church. In his church, the final authority rests with the congregation, not the elders.

  49. #49 Paul
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 5:13 pm


    According to the famous “slippery slope” argument it seems to matter little which one cuts deeper if it is happening at all on both sides. That’s like saying “Well, we don’t completely believe in the authority of Scripture but we believe in it more than you.” If you’ve given that much then it’s just a matter of time before you will either meet or exceed the depths of the cut. You logically lost this point when you made your concession.

    As to the Lord’s Supper, neither does it mean that it wasn’t. It simply means that there is evidence on both sides and that both sides were/are Baptists, and thus this is not an illustration of giving away Baptist identity.

    Regarding congregationalism my point is that Baptists have historically had a form of elder-led congregationalism in some churches. Some in history even had “ruling elders” who were unordained. In his book Elders in Congregational Life, Phil Newton gives his first chapter the title “Why Baptist Elders Is Not An Oxymoron” and covers this topic from an historical perspective. My argument is that Baptist churches that have a form of elder-led leadership are not giving away historic Baptist identity but are well within that historic Baptist identity.

    I’m not trying to paint you into any corners, but you must know that ideas have practical consequences in the real world. If you want to make the case supporting the polity of Capitol Hill Baptist as being well within the stream of historic Baptist practice then I will be thrilled for you to do so. It will, however, seem to undermine your point here.

  50. #50 Robin Foster
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    First, no slippery slope here. I did offer that concession because their might be be some comment tucked away in blogger land that has someone who would be in agreement with me on most stuff making a statement like that. I haven’t found it, but I was only trying to be gracious to your point.

    Second, to continue to think that because a few shared the Supper with paedobaptists means that is a baptist view is tremendously wrong. There is a possibility that some baptists handled snakes, that doesn’t make it historically a Baptist practice.

    I don’t know what beef you have with me concerning my views on congregationalism. I believe in a Pastor/Elder led congregation as long as the congregation has the final authority under the Lordship of Christ. I believe you would find Dr. Dever agreeing with me. What is unbaptist is Elder rule. I think you would find Dr. Dever agreeing with that also.

    To site a few references that skew away from the norm is not evidence that Baptists have held this view as their identity.

  51. #51 Paul
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 8:20 pm


    The point I’m trying to make is that Baptists have been a rather diverse bunch from day one. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church being told that if you have two Baptists in a room you’ll have three opinions. That is a testimony to our historic diversity as Baptists. That same diversity is expressed in the various Baptist confessions of faith. There is a world of difference on some points between the Philadelphia Confession and the BFM2000. Even the topics covered are different. The Philadelphia Confession has a statement on Christians and Magistrates while the BFM2K does not. The BFM2K has a statement on Education which the New Hampshire Confession does not. It is anachronistic to read a seven-year-old document and say that everything contained therein is historically Baptist. It just isn’t true, even if we have codified it in our statement of faith.

    Likewise, Baptists have always had a respect for minority views on issues that are not central to Baptist identity. Take for instance the Calvinism/Arminianism debate. Probably 90% of the early leaders of the SBC were strongly Calvinistic. Today LifeWay tells us that only about 10% of the SBC population is today. But we aren’t running all of the Calvinists off…well…some seem to be trying to do just that, but not on the grounds that it isn’t “historically Baptist.”

    The truth of the matter is that Baptists have had open communion adherents from the beginning, even if they were a minority, but we have not historically run all of them off or called them threats to our Baptist identity. Baptists have practiced a variety of forms of polity. The New Hampshire Confession doesn’t even speak to a particular form of polity, but no one was running off my home church in OKC which was constituted under the New Hampshire Confession as a threat to our historic Baptist identity.

    What I’m saying is that some of you are more narrowly defining what it means to be Baptist than Baptists have defined themselves for 400 years and it’s coming across as a crusade to purge the SBC of all those who are not like you. Is that what you want? Do you want all of the “Ecumenical” Baptists to leave? Do you want all of the open communionists to leave and be shut out of denominational leadership? And for what? So that you can presume to have a “pure” denomination? Even the Philadelphia Confession is humble enough to realize that even the best and purest of churches are still beset by a measure of error.

    Let’s not forget that this simply began as a call for our missions agencies to return to the policies they had lived with for decades. It continues because of their refusal to do so. We existed in cooperation and with a measure of harmony on all of those points for a long time. It is mystifying to some of us why all of a sudden it is no longer sufficient for our mutual cooperation. Please keep in mind that the IMB trustees finally admitted that there were no problems on the field that weren’t already being addressed. This was about theological changes they wanted to implement, and did.

  52. #52 Robin Foster
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 8:52 pm


    Let me say that my “beef” comment didn’t sound right the second time I read it. I hope you don’t take it negatively. I have appreciated the Christian tone you have expressed.

    I am not advocating that anyone run off. No doubt, we have been a diverse bunch, but the minority has not set the agenda.

    Baptists have always held to only those who have practiced credobaptism should participate in the Lord’s supper. While there may have been a few who advocated otherwise, if you look at the record, there has been a consistent majority witness to baptism being a prerequisite to membership and the Lord’s supper. Of course you and I have gone round and round on the whole Baptism and Membership thing before and we have agreed to disagree.

    I am not advocating getting rid of people, but the minority view should not overrule the majority or become the norm for all.

  53. #53 Ron P.
    on Aug 22nd, 2007 at 11:08 pm


    Thank you for your comments. Though we do not agree on some of these issues, I do appreciate the conversation.

    By no means do I wish to disparage you, but I must humbly point out that you have unwittingly affirmed my point on co-opting words.

    You state that:

    “irenic … does mean that we love despite these things, it does mean that we do not want to go up against the powers that be or some of the policies that go both beyond the BFM 2000 or scripture, but it in no way means that we won’t. Irenic means that we care about missionaries and missionary candidates who are being rejected over these policies that churches are being excluded for these policies and more.”

    Your statements are demonstrative of “embrace and extend”. Irenic means none of the definitions that you gave. My definition of irenic is not as you stated “go along to get along”. As stated in the article I see someone as irenic: “…wanting to promote peace or reconciliation”. For me, irenic is simply and only peaceful or reconciliatory. I am not the one pushing the irenic label on the “reformers”. This is a label they gave themselves.

    Lastly, you say that I am taking quotes out of context and ask if that is not bile for which I accuse SBC Outpost of. Respectfully, no. All I have done is search out the writings of the “reformers” and attempted to do it without attacking anyone. I have diligently tried to speak the truth without bile or malice.

    In the posted comments that have disagreed with the overall crux of this article, I have yet to see any substantive dispute of the evidence or conclusions presented. The conclusions may be despised, but they have not been discredited.

    I do hope that you have a very good week.

    Ron P.

  54. #54 Paul
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 12:06 am


    See, we really can get along, can’t we? ;)

    I don’t think anyone, least of all those who come from a minority position, are asking for their position to become “the norm.” Quite the opposite. We simply want to be granted our position as a valid position within the stream of historic Baptist thought and not be prevented from being missionaries or serving the convention in other ways. Wade Burleson has said that very thing so often that I’ve lost count. BTW, your linking baptism with eternal security is a minority position, I’ll bet, but that doesn’t mean I think you are threatening our Baptist identity (though I do think you are threatening a Biblical understanding of baptism). ;)

  55. #55 Robin Foster
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 8:32 am


    Let me say something a little better than what I may have said in the past.

    I link baptism to our identity in Christ. We are united to Him, to His death and resurrection. Christ rose from the dead, “…never to die again; death is no longer master over Him.” Romans 6:9

    Sorry for being so unclear before.

  56. #56 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 9:41 am

    “…wanting to promote peace or reconciliation”

    Ron: This is the correct definition, but that does not mean that we stand aside and agree with your view no matter how wrong it is. I am not saying that you are 100% wrong and I am 100% correct. I am saying that the definition you are giving it is different than the actual definition. I want to promote peace and reconciliation. In fact what Paul has commented on I agree with. I know, I have agree with Paul on all that he has said here, it’s just right on target IMO. What he has said to Robin is my desire, but I will speak out when exclusion is the goal. I cannot in all good conscience endorse that school of thought. That does not make me less irenic. In fact it is what makes me irenic.

    I am wondering why you list gun control among your list of things as a problem. I see no problem in this. Maybe I am reading you wrong. This is a sincere question.

  57. #57 Chris Johnson
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:50 am


    Interesting blog, …..I have watched this debate for almost 30 years now…..

    So who is the Body of Christ?

    1. Any whom God has given Jesus Christ
    2. Any whom believe, trust, and confess God the Father Almighty through the work of the Spirit.
    3. Any whom believe, trust, and confess the Gospel through the work of the Spirit
    4. Any whom believe, trust, and confess that Jesus Christ is God’s Son through the work of the Spirit.
    5. Any whom believe, trust, and confess that Jesus Christ died for the sins of His people through the work of the Spirit.
    6. Any whom believe, trust, and confess that Christ has risen from the dead for the justification of the elect through the work of the Spirit. (imputed righteousness)


    1. All of the above, and
    2. Only those obedient to baptism by immersion for membership into the body of Christ.

    Fortunately and biblically, you can’t have it both ways,…. yet the Body of Christ is baptized as Mark made clear “….. but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
    (Mark 1)

    I guess the real question might be…. Is the Church different than the Body of Christ?

    So far for me…..I have never found it difficult to baptize (immerse) members of Christ. It’s a great way to worship!


  58. #58 Ron P.
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 11:47 am


    The thrust of my article really was two fold. What do the “reformers” believe? What is their methodology to bring about said reform?

    During my research, I have come away with the impression that clear Baptist distinctiveness is at stake. I have come away with the conviction that this movement wants to widen the scope (aggrandize) what it means to be Baptist. It appears to be a movement towards ecumenism. Possibly, as an unintended consequence, but nonetheless it is where this reform is destined if not carefully checked and evaluated.

    The movement and dissent would have been better received if (so many of) the attacks were not so personal and clearly motivated by bitterness. Hence, one of the reasons I listed gun control as an issue, was to demonstrate that no matter what the issue, it really appears to be all about Dr. Patterson, whether it is attacking his wife, his dog, his professors, or his guns. As I said, I do not believe that to be the case for all though.

    The recalling of endorsements and having a third iteration of SBC Outpost, where many (including the editor) who were part of the dissent have left that blog, clearly show that the methods have had a very negative impact upon the credibility of the dissent.

    Again, I did not choose the word irenic to describe anyone. The rabid personal attacks (methodology) against people stand in contrast to someone being irenic. That is why I have come to the conclusion that this movement is anything but irenic. Paul and Barnabas in their disagreement about Mark, were not irenic. But they did not claim to be. The leaders of this movement are claiming to be irenic.

    Thank you for the dialog.

    Ron P.

  59. #59 Colin
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 1:14 pm


    If you had questions about my research (or “research”) why didn’t you comment on my blog or contact me and ask? I have in your two comments become uneducated in statistics, biased, guilty of “low” research, and have created a post that “is not scientific, it is not scholarly, it is a perspective given by a blogging SWBTS student.”

    Very interesting tactic, Paul. Was this why the comment was removed that had the link to my blog on Alan’s post at the SBC Outpost?

    A few questions for you:

    What makes you think any research in the world is unbiased? One thing I learned FROM MY STATISTICS CLASSES (plural) in college is the bias of all research. The key is minimizing that bias.

    What made you think I was pointing out everything negative or derogatory written about those subjects? Further, though a post may have a single theme, it may have several subjects. So do you double them up? Do you tally three different subjects for one post? You could, Paul, but your overall results will not be that much different. Or I could have just gone with the themes of the post- but that is not what I was commenting on. I was commenting on the mentioning of certain subjects, not trying to discern the authorial intent, and for that my data was objective. My point: the SBC Outpost has an issue with mentioning Patterson and SWBTS. The readers can decide if it was negative or positive. I bet you can guess where Frank Page, Thom Rainer and Jerry Rankin may fall on that decision.

    I can redo the chart if you like, but the data shows that per the 52 posts written since the June inception of the Outpost, Patterson/SWBTS is included in 16 of them. I could have deleted the “Letter of Financial Accountability” category and beefed up the numbers for Patterson/SWBTS, which I didn’t do even though they (hmm mm) mention him. I invite you to do the statistics on all the negative-critical-derogatory posts versus the positive-edifying ones.

    On being a SWBTS student, is that suppose to disqualify me from some kind of credibility? You’re in the SBC. Do you want credibility for your research on the SBC? I do know one thing, being here I can see firsthand much of what is written about on the blogs about the school, staff and classes is either a blatant lie or severe ignorance. Maybe some will see that as a virtue instead of a vice.

    I you have any more questions about this student’s qualifications in statistics, I can send you some of the maps I create illustrating statistical data for, say, the status of global evangelization, or the amount of urban growth in northern Travis County by building permit and year, etc. Because if you would have asked, you would have known I own and operate a consulting company that does exactly that.

  60. #60 Ron P.
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 1:39 pm


    I apologize if I got you pulled into this. I thought your graph perfectly illustrated that the SBC Outpost articles did have one resounding theme: Paige Patterson. It was precisely that point that I was trying to make.

    You gave a most excellent defense of your work.


    Ron P.

  61. #61 Paul
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 2:18 pm


    Ron P. gives a great example of why I wrote what I did. He (and others) attributes your graph to the theme of the posts, not subjects mentioned. As you have noted, you have choices to make in that regard and you’ve made them. I think the choices are obvious.

    I did not ask you questions because I didn’t have any questions for you. I did not say that your being a SWBTS student disqualifies you. I said that it may reveal a bias. My own opinion is that it does.

    Finally, perhaps you now know just a very tiny bit about what the LifeWay research department was probably feeling like back in June when the blogosphere that camps on your side of the block was raking them over the coals for their research. Everyone will want grace for you to go along with their hard-and-fast examination of LifeWay. I am suggesting that if they are not beyond critique, neither are you and perhaps you more so in this particular regard.

    Now, breathe deep and count backwards from ten to zero. It isn’t like I attacked your manhood and my own sense is that it was a tad bit more respectful than your reply (which seems rather ironic in light of your post today).

  62. #62 Colin
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 2:59 pm


    I am afraid I do not understand where I was disrespectful. I addressed each point you mentioned, and was rather nice given your attempt to discredit my research based on guesses about me. It is a clever tactic to disarm my points with a stab at my perceived defensiveness, worry about “my manhood,” etc. I hope we can avoid that type of communication and address the points of your critique and my response.

    I am glad you understand my point on bias and choices. I would like an example of where an ‘answer’ I gave in my research is fatally flawed, as you suggested. I hope you do not miss the point that you can choose otherwise and still come up with the same results, as I invited you to do.

    I also think you missed Ron P.’s point. He states the overall resounding theme of SBC Outpost is anti-PP, not that every post of the Outpost has that as its theme. I hope you do not dismiss the three denominational figures’ agreement with Ron P. on the tenor, etc.

    Further, I have never attacked Lifeway, and do not have a side. Please tell me what you think my stance is on PPL, tongues, or the new baptism policy. I am interested to hear.

    Paul, I am not trying to out-man you or save face. I am tired of rhetoric and negative communication, as I indicated in my current post. So I am going to hold you to what you say. Please back up your remarks (see above bold). I enjoy critique, it’s the only way I can improve my skills. However, let’s make sure it’s critique and not denigration.

  63. #63 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Ron: I will speak for myself here in answering your comment. I do want the Baptist Identity to widen, not past the BFM but certainly larger than I believe Robin, Bart, Dr. York, Dr. Herschel and others would have it. They have narrowed it down so far that I don’t think even they themselves could fit in. No one has answered what Baptist Identity is. For me however, it is scripture as the final authority.That entails alot. I do believe in immersion and the main fundamentals of the faith that the Bible is clear on such as Christ is the only way to heaven, virgin birth etc.

    During my research, I have come away with the impression that clear Baptist distinctiveness is at stake. I have come away with the conviction that this movement wants to widen the scope (aggrandize) what it means to be Baptist. It appears to be a movement towards ecumenism. Possibly, as an unintended consequence, but nonetheless it is where this reform is destined if not carefully checked and evaluated.

    The movement and dissent would have been better received if (so many of) the attacks were not so personal and clearly motivated by bitterness. Hence, one of the reasons I listed gun control as an issue, was to demonstrate that no matter what the issue, it really appears to be all about Dr. Patterson, whether it is attacking his wife, his dog, his professors, or his guns. As I said, I do not believe that to be the case for all though.

    This is going to be controversial but I am going to say it. There were no personal attacks in my opinion. Facts were brought out on wrong doing with documentation. Could some things have not been said? Sure. There was no false information brought out. It was fact. That seems to be alluded. The same attitude prevailed when it was brought out that Richard Land, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell met with Mitt Romney a Mormon who is running for President. They were supporting him. That is wrong. No a whimper from Wes, Bart, Robin or you. Les Puryear wrote on it. I bring this up because I can’t understand all the murmuring against SBCOutpost and I am sincere. But I believe in telling it like it is and maybe too much so. I don’t know.

    As for the pulling of endorsements? I am disappointed and believe that Jerry Rankin and Frank Page are wrong in writing what they wrote, but also respect their write to speak. It’s the first time I have ever disagreed with them on anything, but I thought asking for the endorsements was a mistake anyway. The posts on the Outpost were nothing compared to the comments. Emily Hunter was trashed. Literally in some of the comments. That’s just one example. Both views were wrong in the comments Both views. But I found those who would agree with you, Robin etc. especially harsh. Cruel even. I am not saying this to be tit for tat. It’s just the facts. Irenic people cannot go that far. We can go pretty far, but a line(at least for me) is drawn pretty quickly. I can’t cross that line. It is not in me to do. I’ll stand toe to toe with a harsh person, but I cannot get as harsh as some have been.

    Ron, Irenic is not passive. You are taking a definition which I believe does describe those who wish reform and taking it to a level that of your own making while fighting to the death yourself. Do you really think that we will not fight back to a large degree? Of course we will. When shot at, we don’t just stand there with a big grin and God loves you look on our face. Remember how this all began. Missionaries and some from my own church who I know personally, good men and women of God with a burning desire to do God’s call in their lives as missionaries were being rejected due to admitting to a private prayer language or having been baptized in a river by someone other than an ordained Southern Baptist minister. That is what began this desire in us to change things. Then my minister who stood against these policies privately with no response but lots of antagonism, was threatened to be ousted from his duties as trustee, behind closed doors, with no hearing and no recourse. That is not something that irenic people stand by and allow to happen without a battle of sorts. We would be utterly stupid to do that. So if you are saying go with the flow and just be quiet and let things stay as they are, letting too powerful people run others off just because they may disagree,then I will gladly drop the word irenic. No problem. I feel the word fits, but not by your definition. Look what happens to abused women or children when they are beat up and don’t fight back. It doesn’t stop the abuse, it spurs it to continue.

    I genuinely care about all the people in the SBC, but what you are proposing frankly hinders the gospel in my opinion. Look at the numbers. Church attendance down the past twenty years, Baptisms down. People leaving? Up. We are not the sixteen million that we claim. Far from it. At least ten million have left in the last twenty years and possibly more. That concerns me, but it also tells me a lot. I am sorry for the long comment but hope I have clarified things at least from my viewpoint.

    I would like to see us change things together for the glory of God and for the love of each other. My husband and I are polar opposites on almost everything, but I love him deeply and vice versa. We have been married for 23 years. I wouldn’t trade him for anything. We argue, we disagree, but in the end we always compromise because we love each other. Same principal should apply here. We should love Christ and each other along with other people so much that we are willing to sit down and talk this through. I would like to see what I experienced at the Holy Spirit conference permeate the SBC.

  64. #64 Paul
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 8:11 pm


    It seems clear we are talking past each other. You think I’m denigrating you when that is not my intention. I think you sound harsh and defensive and you say you are not. Perhaps we should simply agree that we disagree and move on.

  65. #65 Debbie Kaufman
    on Aug 23rd, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    For clarification, I do believe the CR should have happened. I was not a Southern Baptist then, but I read about it and I do believe there were liberal attempting to take over the Convention. That is not the case now however. It’s Conservatives disagreeing with Conservatives.