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Feb 09, 2012


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peter lumpkins


Thank you, brother. You've injected a dose of common sense into this politically-charged, and in many ways, emotionally-driven, exchange over name change, Calvinist aggression, and other denominational issues Southern Baptists presently face.

It's too bad the juvenile label is pinned to those of us who are 1) asking tough questions of our leaders; 2) without getting into character assassination. It has become so desperate in some circles that to raise even the most basic question, one is accused of maligning the character of those being questioned. When are we going to reasonably deal with issues rather than churn out empty accusations against those who ask questions like so much sour butter? While we must be careful to respect those leaders toward whom we raise our issues, nonetheless questioning them is not an evil atrocity, including questions about both belief and behavior, both doctrine and decisions.

With that, I am...

Tim Rogers

Brother Howell,

A wonderful and needed word. When the day comes that a voice is marginalized simply because one does not want to deal with the questions, it is hard ball that violates free speech.



Isn't referring to people as "yes men" just as dismissive as the term "conspiracy theory?"

peter lumpkins


I'm not Howell, but allow me:

You may think one is "just as dismissive" as the other. I don't share your view. While any name-calling may qualify as being rightly called "point not well taken," surely there exists no flat-line understanding in viewing names or monikers or "labels" etc. In other words, if I called you a young whipper snapper I do not see how such a name--albeit a playful name but a name it remains--can be categorized "just as dismissive" as if I called you an ignorant slob who repeatedly demonstrates the basic inability to understand 4th grade language. In short, there are degrees it seems to me.

Now, when we consider "conspiracy theory" so far as I am concerned--and I think I represent a fairly large group of people when I suggest this--few, if any, associate such a label with any thing other than a wacko-nut-job person who offers no reason, no proof, no substantial evidence of any sort to make his or her outlandish proposals. Indeed it's not wrong to call it the concoction of paranoia--an actual mental disorder.

And, I think my thinking on "conspiracy theory" is a working one deeply embedded within our culture. The Clintons used this particular strategy to their advantage quite well I recall--"right wing conspiracy theories". The labeling of "conspiracy theory" strategy remains a mainstay in contemporary politics.

I'm with Howell on this one. I think he nailed it pretty doggone good.

Howell Scott


Thanks for the question. Good name, by the way :-) I did not say that all labels are necessarily bad. Sometimes labels can be very useful. Everyone uses labels, in some form or fashion. My use of "yes men" or "elites" or "establishment leaders" are intended to be shorthand to convey a more lengthy definition. Some may not like when labels are attached to us, but I do think that a line is crossed when we begin to directly call our opponents crazy (i.e., wackadoodles) or, indirectly, when we imply that our opponents are wackadoodles by accusing them of believing in conspiracy theories. That happens even when any questions or criticism is directed toward someone. That's where I would draw the line, but you and others might draw it differently. Thanks and God bless,



Howell, are you suggesting that the missing Roswell aliens and current weird events within SBC are NOT related?! ;^)

You write “A conspiracy, by its very nature, is something that is secret. What has happened in the last few years, with both the GCR movement and the Name Change Task Force, is open and far from secret.”

Conspiracy theories are most often formed on the basis of limited, partial, or circumstantial evidence. Thus, I tend to look for signs that indicate a conspiracy theory is likely to be untrue. However, when inconvenient truths emerge that connect the dots, conspiracy theory gets swallowed in reality.

Thank you and Peter for your perspectives on the issues critical to SBC's tomorrow. Keep speaking the truth to power - I believe some of the powerful may be listening.



Let me throw this idea out to you. Ask Ed Stetzer if he'll let you head up a new, Sunday School curriculum, which is Gospel Centered-Mission Focused. You'll get to pick all the advisors and writers. We'll call the new SS material "The Doctrines of Grace." Let's see how that goes over with a cetain crowd in the SBC...let's see if they become the conspiracy nuts which they ascribe to others....

David :)

Bob Hadley


Thanks for the post. There is a difference in speaking of a conspiracy and an agenda. The SBC is loaded with folks who have a variety of agendas. While I do not suppose to put words in Max' mouth, his comment about "connecting the dots" has merit. The current theological battle being raged as I see it, is one that is centered in the entities of the SBC and that did not "just happen". The more I look at what is actually taking place in these entities, the less I like it.

That has seemed to offend some. It is as if some are just outraged that I have an opinion and the audacity to voice that opinion, while they on the other hand are always gracious and logical and what they say is pertinent and deserves to be heard. It really is amazing. I have been chided more than once.

For those who throw out those wackadoodle monkiers, remember they may be like boomerangs and come back to slap you upside the head!



I read this article here this morning, then looked at this over at HuffPo and the first comment on the stream was one word: WACKADOODLES! (not to be confused with labradoodle)


It's a classic Alinskyesque tactic to distract from cold hard facts by name calling - the problem is that if one side keeps presenting cold hard facts and the other side continues to ignore facts and name call - the issue of creditabilty slings back on those launching the attack.

So for instance, we've been told by our betters the "elites" that only Calvinist have the Gospel that the only way to understand the gospel is through the prism of Calvinism, then we see Lifeway come out with the Gospel project where all the advisory people are Calvinist - it is not tin foil conspiracy to connect the dots and say "what's up with that" - we've been told over and over and over ad nausuem by people like Mohler that only Calvinist have a true grasp of the Gosepl and now Calvinist are in charge of the "Gospel Project" but we're not supposed ask questions. And oh yeah we're supposed to believe that no one had any clue about the soteriology of anyone on the advisory committee even though we know that nonCalvinists are being excluded at seminaries and now we see it happening within the NAMB church plants. There are too many dots being connected and the wackadoodles are the ones who continue to ignore the dots being connected because their pride won't allow them to admit they've been wrong all along and then there's the whole issue of "yesmen" because some see the dots and like the "direction" even though they claim they just really want to get along and not exlcude anyone even thought the evidence points that people are being pushed out and exluded.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. And, given the last post I put up, there are some Calvinists I might even invite to be on it!!

Grace, brother.

With that, I am...


Ed Stetzer just went wackadoodle. He's sounding the alarm against "purging" the Calvinists from the SBC. Why doesn't Stetzer address the very real issue of the purging of nonCalvinists from our seminaries. If it's wrong to "purge" Calvnists why isn't anybody sounding the alarm against the very real purging of nonCalvinists? Another yesmen article. It's a shame a leader like Stetzer doesn't care about those who are been actively purged from our convention. Add the term "bogeyman" to those terms used to try to distract and distort from what's happening in the SBC.

peter lumpkins


Thanks for alerting me to this piece. The problem I have with pieces like Stetzers is, it comes across as a bleeding heart more than serious reflection on an issue that almost in every sector of convention life, people know Calvinism is divisive. Yet rather than actually address the issue, he makes it into a victimization essay where so many of us are but picking on Calvinists.

What he fails to realize is, he remains an intricate part of the problem. Just at a time when he could have made a quantum leap forward in fighting off those who he alleges create the "boogeyman", what does Stetzer do? He packs the first curriculum to come from LifeWay in over a decade with all "Reformed" people. He then has the unashamed boldness to suggest we're "creating a boogeyman".

I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis somewhere who said in another context, "you cut out the organ and expect the function."

We will continue logging our evidence here, Stetzer's rhetoric to the contrary.

With that, I am...


Peter, Mary,
Where is the article of Stetzer's you reference? I cannot find a recent one on his sight dealing with the purging of Calvinists from the SBC


Another tactic is accusing those who have questions of being merely suspicious and then questioning their motives for asking as "unloving".

Driscoll used the phrase: Sinning by questioning. Mahaney was big into this, too, calling it a form of gossip. Mohler claimed to the Courier Journal that the SGM bloggers just did not like "strong leadership". So their questions and stories were really just a sinful rebellion and gossip.

We all know where this sort of thing is going....actually has gone: Elistism. Not questioning the leaders or the direction. Who wants to be labeled a nut job?

These are cultish tactics but they work. I never thought I would see the day when liberal political tactics were used so well by so called "conservative new Calvinists".

The only way to have and maintain control is to keep serious probing questions from being asked. And if you guys have not noticed, asking questions...any questions that are not in agreement.... is making them very angry. I am a bit shocked at the reactions. Howell is one of the most irenic guys out there who brings a very balanced and logical view to every issue he discusses.

peter lumpkins


Here you go Chris:

The Baptist Bogeyman” @ Between the Times.

With that, I am…



Speaking of bogeymen, I just took a look at the Acts 29 strategic plan and was struck by the following announcement "Mars Hill Executive Pastor Sutton Turner will be the president of ... the “king” board ... when we hired him, (he) was the CEO of the business empire of the prince of Qatar, overseeing $38 billion in assets and 1,500 employees. He will help Acts 29 get to the next level organizationally." http://www.acts29network.org/acts-29-blog/dear-acts-29-members/

Even Wackadoodles couldn't make stuff up like this!!


Peter, not sure if bleeding heart is accurate. I think Stetzer is trying to do damage control and distract from the issue which is:

Calvinist like Al Mohler have told us time and again only Calvinist understand the Gospel.

Lifeway puts together the Gospel Project.

The word Gospel has been demonstrated to have been highjacked by Calvinists to mean DOG.

Lifeway's the Gospel Project is stacked with only Calvinists.

Thus the sun will set in the West tonight.

But Trevin whatever talks all nice and frilly about the BFM and wanting to teach the Gospel - and all the while we've been told by our betters that we've lost the Gospel - but how dare we question our betters! Let's call names and try to delegitimize anyone who dares questions our betters!

And in the meantime when are the name callers going to actually deal with Al Mohler and company keeping nonCalvinists out of positions in our seminaries? Well they're not because they don't really want to cooperate, they want to be good lil' yesmen and walk in lockstep to advance the glories of DOG.

Howell Scott

Thanks for all your comments about my post. I appreciate Peter giving me the opportunity to submit this guest post for SBC Tomorrow. I am amazed (but shouldn't be) at the hardball politics at play within the Convention, but when you are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars (or hundreds of thousands in the case of MWBTS) and control of our entities and the future of the SBC, it's no wonder that some within the establishment class have gotten peeved.

What is interesting about the current state of affairs within the SBC is that the Calvinist/non-Calvinist issue, while big, has often been used as a smokescreen to obfuscate the real issue, which is a radical redefinition of the SBC away from grassroots cooperation and toward top-down command and control by a small group of elites who think they know better than the masses. As an inconsistent Calvinist, I come at this as someone who is willing to partner with cooperating Southern Baptists of all stripes.

But, cooperation is the key. It's difficult -- if not impossible -- to cooperate when those in leadership continue to govern (in perception and reality) in such a way as to be dismissive of the concerns of a large segment (majority?) of Southern Baptists. And, I don't just mean a majority of 3,000 messengers who happen to show up at an annual meeting in Phoenix. Thanks for the kind words. I'll keep calling 'em like I see 'em! God bless,



It's kinda amusing that the people who claim to want to have "discussions" about "issues" and want to "cooperate" are the ones who are the loudest at calling everybody names when issues are brought up.


"Calvinist/non-Calvinist issue, while big, has often been used as a smokescreen to obfuscate the real issue, which is a radical redefinition of the SBC away from grassroots cooperation and toward top-down command and control by a small group of elites who think they know better than the masses. "

I totally agree with this. Calvisin is being used as a rallying cry and the young uns are falling for it. It is really a power grab for top down control. And because they see it as "intellectual" as in "We have truth" so we should be in charge. But what is strange is that they cannot see that this brand of neo Calvinism is not the same at all. And as it grows you will see more and more non Calvinists on board saying well, I am a 3.5 or a 4.1 to be on the winning team. So everything is defined around TULIP. We have lost our way.

All I can say is that once the power grab is complete, the SGM (As I predict it will merge) wing will be fighting the Acts 29 wing of the SBC for power. That is where it is headed.


What a coinkydink! Another anti anti anti anti-Calvinist blog post.


yes the man who is the executive director of the ministry who's stated purpose is to "reform" the SBC because those of us who reject DOG have "lost the gospel" is lamenting the "divisiveness" of "anti-Calvinists" (cuz calling people names is not divisive when you're a great man like Tom Ascol) Yes Tom Ascol and Founder's who want to reform the SBC would like for us to please stop talking about the reformation and stop resisting said reformation.

You know what's interesting, besides the fact that we're seeing a flurry of "whatever you do, do not listen to anyone giving you facts about the agenda to Calvinize the SBC" is the very fact that Ascol et al can't actually refute any actual, ya know facts?

Ascol goes on his little oh so gentle rant about those who are dividing the SBC, but he cannot refute one thing in the editorial he copied. Because you can't refute the truth. Oh some will try to spin, but you cannot refute the truth. He just wants to call people names and tell everyone that if you don't agree with him that you are guilty of division and discord, unlike the Founder's Ministry who continues it's ministry to reform the SBC whether we choose to be reformed or not. Nothing divisive about telling Christians they've lost the gospel because they reject DOG.

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