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Nov 26, 2008

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scott shaffer

Peter,

This whole episode would be funny if it wasn't so sad. He said, no he didn't, no this is what I meant, no you didn't, etc.

I have to say, my initial response was that Miller's letter was a joke of some sort. I would have a difficult time penning such a sarcastic piece of correspondence. Of course, I don't know the relationship between Miller and Vines. In any event, Vines' response was very gracious.

However, I take exception to your stated thesis:

In fact, were one to take Ascol's single comment lifted from the source, the only conclusion to accept is, David Miller's critique of the J316C is a credible, unbiased source to consider. Such is so far from the truth, however, it pains me to correct it.

I read Ascol's post yesterday and I never got the impression that Miller's critique was unbiased. One thing I have learned reading the Calvinist versus non-Calvinist debate in the SBC is that few, if any, are unbiased.

peter lumpkins

Scott,

Thanks. And, I do not disagree with your conclusion that "few, if any, are unbiased"--including, of course, me.

Even so, it doesn't even matter if Miller was joking, Scott. Ascol cited this document as "the most devastating critique he has read." Coupling such with Ascol's laudable description of Miller on his site, can only be taken, from my view, as a total misrepresentation of the facts. Ascol knows better than this.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Scott,

Oh, by the way: you missed my stated thesis. While you rightly quoted an assertion, that is not the thrust of my post. Instead, note:

"In my view, Tom Ascol has so distorted the intent of the document that David Miller penned--the document which he dubs as the most devastating critique he has read--it remains all but impossible to accept it as not an intentional twisting of sources. From my view, this may be the worst case of the proverbial "cherry-picking" a quote in order to make a point I have ever encountered anywhere."

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

scott shaffer

Peter,

No, it doesn't matter if he was joking. I threw that in for free.

My initial response is to agree with you that Miller's letter was hardly a devastating critique, but I'm not sure what to call it. So, I looked up the definition for critique:

1. an article or essay criticizing a literary or other work; detailed evaluation; review.
2. a criticism or critical comment on some problem, subject, etc.
3. the art or practice of criticism.

Clearly, it wasn't a detailed evaluation or review, but it looks like it meets the second definition.

peter lumpkins

Scott,

Actually, Scott, whatever it was, it cannot constitute "the most devastating critique" one reads.

And, as I noted in my update, Brister is now lauding the letter as coming from a SBC "statesman." Look up that word and see what you find.

With that, I am...

Peter

scott shaffer

Peter,

Thanks for the quick response. I'll pass on the Brister comment though.

Scott

Scott R.

Peter,
This "review" seems to echo most of the reviews and comments that I have seen. They address very little of the actual content of the conference. The ad hominem arguments are getting predictable. For example, Miller laments Dr. Vines mention of the greek word "pas", he does nothing to refute the point Dr. Vines was making. Probably because the simple greek semantical force of that little word reeks havoc for the doctrine of limited atonement.
Dr. Allen presented a very thorough and scholarly message on the historical, theological, and exegetical issues against limited atonement. These are not brought up in Miller's review. It's just said to be "sarcastic".
My opinion is this "review" is the classic response when someone is losing the argument. They have to resort to arguments agains the style, or ad hominem, and that there were charges for the conference, etc, etc.
Also, doesn't it seem ironic that Miller's review seems to do the same thing he is critiquing the conference for doing?

Frank Gantz

Did you actually read David Miller's letter? To accuse Ascol of cherry-picking is ludicrous. While I was a student at Mid-America Seminary, David Miller would preach each year at the beginning of the year. His sermons were a highlight of the opening conference.

His letter was indeed a "devastating critique" by whatever means you might want to define those words.

peter lumpkins

Dear Frank,

Yes I read the letter.  And, like I said, we'll let the reader be the judge, so you are welcome to conclude it "indeed a "devastating critique" by whatever means you might want to define those words."  So be it.

You do, however, remind me of Danny.  Take a look on this link.

With that, I am...

Peter

cb scott

Peter,

Rattlesnakes are not as mean as you.

But, I have to admit the "Danny link" was funny. "I will never be the same." It was a good laugh to end the day.

We must meet again and have more laughs and coffee.

Chris

Peter,
The levity was delightful! We can all use it when dealing with such topics.

Dave Miller

Peter,

If I missed it, do you have any biographical information on this David Miller guy?

I am an Iowa pastor who has been a fairly active blogger through the years.

I am always interested in guys named David Miller. I am a Sioux City, Iowa pastor.

Do you know anything about where this David Miller is from?

Byroniac

Until this very comment, I misunderstood and thought you were the same person! But now I know better (shows you how much of the SBC I really know).

Frank Gantz

Peter, I expected a reasoned response. I didn't expect to be ridiculed by a video link. If you wanted to link the video, that would have been fine. I'm sorry that you felt you had to do so at my expense. I can take it. So if you must communicate this way, go ahead.

peter

Frank,

Good Morning. Here is the deal, Frank:

As you, I expect reasonable responses to posts I write. So, when you asked if I "actually read David Miller's letter," I took it as not a reasonable response.

When you further asserted that that accusing Ascol of cherry-picking is ludicrous," I took it as not a reasonable response.

When you concluded that Miller's letter was 'indeed a "devastating critique" by whatever means you might want to define those words' I took it not as a reasonable response.

In fact, the only reasonable response I took from your words, Frank, was that David Miller's "sermons were a highlight of the opening conference" when you attended seminary. But David Miller per se is precisely what I said my original post was not about.

Hence, my response to you.

So, Frank chill out. The flick was a hoot, was it not?

With that, I am...

Peter


peter

Dave,

Unfortunately, I know very little about David Miller except the letter above, which, I gather, is not an accurate picture of his entire life and work.

With that, I am...

Peter

johnMark

Who is David Miller?

David Miller has been preaching for 43 years. He pastored for five years before serving as Director of Missions for Little Red River Baptist Association (Arkansas), a position he held for 25 years. An itinerant preacher, David has been in full-time evangelism (Line Upon Line Ministries) since 1995. He served on the Board of Trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, for eight years. He currently prefers the title “Country Preacher-at-Large.” (source)

I have verified from one of Miller's friends that this is indeed who wrote the letter.

Is he a statesman? You tell me. But why even ask this question?

Mark

*Sorry, looks like my tag was broken above. Please delete the first comment.

Frank Gantz

Peter, I'm not sure where to begin. You questioned Ascol's motives as well as his assessment. From your intro, I expected the Miller's letter to be quite different from what it actually was.

I did not intend to indicate that you had made an issue of Miller. I only included my experience with him as a reference.

Perhaps you have interacted with more bloggers than have I, but I did not expect to be ridiculed by responding to you. I let you know this, and you bite back again.

For me, I simply wanted to challenge your critique of Ascol. I attempted to express my dismay and apparently did so too harshly. For that I apologize.

I have read you often in the past, but this exchange leaves me wondering if it is worth spending time reading somebody that is abusive towards his readers.

By the way, whether the video is a "hoot" or not is really not the issue. I think you know that.

peter

JohnMark,

I do not conisder the letter above written by one that can be described as a statesman. Perhaps you need to consider the first comment I sent to Frank (esp. the link).

Frank,

Two things. First, I was not ridiculing you anymore than the two brothers were ridiculing Danny. They just could not overcome the humorous moment. There is a diference.

Secondly, I tried to be more thorough in my second response since you did not think my first one adequate, but BOOM! Busted again. I now allegedly bit back the second time.

Simply asserting the opposite, Frank, offers no challenge to a person's view. It states a contrary fact but that's all. You offered not one thin reason why you dissented, which is why I was more thorough in the second comment.

Nor do I think either of your comments harsh so an apology is really not needed. As for reading me in the past, I am very humbled; and as for possibly not reading in the future, I am equally saddened.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

johnMark

Peter,

I just don't understand why you would even comment on the "statesman" reference. Who is to say who is or is not a statesman for any particular venue? I suppose you could take a poll, but there are probably not enough people here given the size of the SBC to matter.

It would seem just by the above that Jerry Vines has known Miller for some time and has a certain regard for him.

Does pointing out your opinion on this issue somehow lessen the weight Tom Ascol put on the letter? If so, is this to the detriment of Ascol or Miller? The further we go down this road would eventually bring us to ask - Who is Peter Lumpkins to comment and critique on any of these men?

With that, you're not...

Mark

grosey

I guess the great difficulty with any critique of anything or any statement made by anyone about anything (have I "pas"ed?) is that egos are frail everywhere.... (umm is that pride?) and sooo as a consequence we are left with two options.. to never critique anyone or anything anywhere (which would mean losing the right to freedom of speech .. including ultimately the right to freely articulate the gospel, and the right to disapprove of anything that may be heretical) or we need to lean back and not take a critique or a comment personally when it doesn't suit us.
I think there was a lot of good in Dave Miller's critique (sure remove the sarcasm and there was nothing in it that Jerry Vines has not said of the SBC!)I think there was a lot of grace in Jerry Vine's response. Both men should be commended.. ahhh there you go... how to critique without a backlash .. wait until the comment thread is over so no one knows what you wrote :)
Steve

peter lumpkins

JohnMark

I suggest you clam down, take a good warm shower and eat a bowl of wheaties before calling it a night.

With that, I am...

Peter

p.s. down forget to watch 'Danny'

johnMark

Peter,

lol...what in the world are you talking about? I suppose you're the only one who gets to ask questions?

Thanks for cheering me up even though I didn't need it. :)

With that, you're not...

Mark

peter lumpkins

JohnMark,

When you drop the cryptic game, JohnMark, and ask a direct question, I may consider answering it.

I am glad you liked Danny.

With that, I am...

Peter

Kevin

I thank God for Bro. Miller, he is not only a Godly man who faithfully expounds the Word of God and preaches the gospel, but he has been a committed foot soldier in the SBC resurgence. Johnny Hunt stands on the shoulders of a lot of men like Bro. Miller who upheld the truthfulness of God's word at a crucial time in our convention.
Especially as a trustee at SBTS, during a time when the trustee board was far from unified about conservative principles, he was used of God.
For those out there who are grateful for the work Al Mohler has done at Southern, you owe at least a small debt of gratitude to David Miller, for helping shepherd the process that led to bringing Mohler on.

David is obviously a straight shooter and I believe his letter reads like a typical conversation he would have with any of these long time friends over a cup of coffee. David also tries not to be boring.

I speculate that David is irritated and disappointed in some of his friends at the conference, because the conference represents a break in a long lived understanding that there is room in the convention for reformed and non-reformed Baptists.

Too much is made over this ascol quote and the word "devastating". Was it a devastating critique of arminianism? NO. Nor was that the intent, obviously.
I won't lose any sleep over the word "devastating", for I am sure I have used too strong an adjective at least once or twice in my lifetime. And I'm sure in a room of 5 Baptists, there will be 10 different opinions over the correct adjective.

For those who would like a small sample of David preaching, here is a link to a promo made for a conference at our church.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYAA5K36CTw

Kevin

peter lumpkins

Kevin,

I did my best to distance myself from this being an issue about either David Miller or Jerry Vines. Indeed I do not know how I could have better accomplished such.

But allow me to say this once again: this is not about David Miller or Jerry Vines. Rather it is, as I stated, about whether or not Tom Ascol exploited a reference, making the source appear something it definitively is not.

As for your query, "Was it a devastating critique of arminianism? NO. Nor was that the intent, obviously," you are correct. However, no one is disputing such here, so I'm not sure why you would mention that.

What is disputed is whether Miller's critique represents a "devastating critique" of J316C and whether Ascol "cherry-picked" the quote, leaving the unwary reader with the impression David Miller had an honorable, serious engagement of the J316C, when, in reality, his letter could be much more described as a bitter rant personally against Jerry Vines.

That's why it was important, from my view, for readers to make up their own mind by reading the entire letter not a carefully selected quote that makes the letter appear what it is not.

If that's the kind of wholesome--albeit devastating--critique Ascol applauds, then I'm sure Southern Baptists would like to know that.

Nor, Kevin, will it do, at least for me, that you prop up the "open letter" with qualifiers such as:

--David is a "straight shooter"
--The letter reads like "typical conversation" with "long-time friends over a cup of coffee"
--David "tries not to be boring"
--David is "irritated and disappointed"

O.K. Let's see if your qualifiers offset a few of the letter's more potent moments:
--3 out of the 5 [presenters] were so full of themselves...
--I saw [Dr. Vines'] rear-end at least 3 inches off the pew giving Lemke physical signs of your discontent
--Dr. Vines' sermon was "a Greek grammar lesson which was as boring as a 5 hour long WMU meeting!"
--"Old Jerry Vines had him a conference E-I-E-I O..."
--Dr. Allen's "vitriolic statements condemning men who don't give a public invitation the same as you...This was classic Clintonian rhetoric."
--Men like [Dr. Vines] denigrate the doctrines of grace...
--"[Dr. Vines'] kind" of evangelism and methodology has produced this colossal number of unregenerate church members [within SBC churches"
--My guess is, [Dr. Vines'] church has spent more money on interest on debt service in the past 15 years than it has on foreign missions
--I for one am sick of [Dr. Vines'] duplicity and hypocrisy
--Why do you brethren seem hell bent on dividing the Convention over this? Is your rear-end gaulded to such an extent because Southern Seminary, led by a Calvinist, has now become the largest seminary in the convention
--[Dr. Vines] could not muster more than 600-800 people in attendance, and many of those were Calvinists who came out of curiosity
--Paige signed the abstract of principles while serving as president of Southeastern. Evidently during his tenure at Southeastern he believed both in total depravity and unconditional election or else he was guilty of doing the same things that we castigated the liberals for

So much, I'm afraid, for attempting to rationalize such cynicism and plain hateful language at Dr. Vines' expense, Kevin. Nor would you or I like that kind of "straight talk" over a cup of coffee.

With that, I am...

Peter

Kevin

Peter,
You have convinced me based on your quotes from the letter that this is the "most devastating critque of the John 3:16 Conference"

Thanks!

KBH

peter lumpkins

Kevin,

I am glad I could assist. Grace.

With that, I am...

Peter

Greg Dills


Peter,

I guess I would disagree with your assessment of David's letter and Tom Ascol's use of it. David is a dear friend of mine. He has preached in churches that I have served multiple times in the past. I intend to have him again. I would also be delighted to have Dr. Vines speak sometime as well. They're both wonderful men of God. I don't think Tom Ascol did any disservice to the context of David's letter. It seems to me you disprove your own point.

If you knew David Miller, you would understand there was no bitterness in him at all toward Dr. Vines.

In His Grace,

Greg Dills

peter lumpkins

Greg,

Thanks for logging on. Know I haven't the slightest doubt that Brother David is a great preacher. Nor do I necessarily suspect he has "bitterness" in his heart with Dr. Vines. Thus, by such I do not believe that this letter defines David Miller's entire life, ministry and character.

On the other hand, whatever we may say about virtuous about the author, the fact remains that this "open letter" to a beloved and honorable servant among Southern Baptists is neither appropriate to mail to the public nor is it a devastating critique of the J316C. The personal hubris aimed at Dr. Vines personally canceled out any value to be gleaned about the substance of J316C.

Indeed the letter is so overly sarcastic that one is at pains to discern what level of truth is portrayed on any level.

That said, my brother, while I concede the letter not definitive of who David Miller to be, sober discernment dictates that neither should his "critique" define what the John 3:16 Conference to be.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Cap Pooser

This is the David Miller who once said that if the convention ever split, he was going with the annuity board. ha ha. You can hear some of his preaching at sermon audio.com. Regards, Cap Pooser

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