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Dec 13, 2012

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Ron F. Hale

Peter,
My Uncle Joe once had a Bluetick Coonhound that was true to the trail; he tracked the scent to the tree and was never wrong when he was found baying. Peter you have a nose that can track on cold historic trails. Your work is always interesting. Thank you for sharing some of the work of H.H. Hobbs; one of my favorite Baptists!

peter lumpkins

Ron,

Thanks brother. You're much too kind...

JND

I heard Herschel Hobbs preach a revival in the early '90s, just a few years before he died. He hadn't lost his power as a speaker. I agree with Ron; Dr. Hobbs is/was one of my favorite Baptists. Thanks for providing this information.

Adam Harwood

Peter,

Thank you for highlighting these comments by Dr. Hobbs on Article 3 of the BFM.

I was convinced from his other writings that he affirmed an age of accountability but I had *never seen* such a statement in his own words. I assumed that finding such a gem would require a search of his private papers (which, I think, are housed at Oklahoma Baptist University). I had no idea such a statement was already in this journal article. As you know, this journal was published at the time by the faculty of (wait for the irony... wait for it...) SBTS.

Well done, brother.

In Him,
Adam

Les Prouty

Adam,

"As you know, this journal was published at the time by the faculty of (wait for the irony... wait for it...) SBTS."

They are academicians, theologians and generally honest folks after all.

lydia

"They are academicians, theologians and generally honest folks after all."

Are you speaking of Hobbs and faculty? Did someone suggest they were dishonest? I missed that one.

Les Prouty

Lydia,

I was speaking of the SBTS faculty. And I don't think anyone suggested anyone was dishonest. Irony has a range of meanings so I was just putting in pixels that it shouldn't be surprising that the faculty of SBTS did the translation (as at "irony" might suggest). I certainly didn't mean to suggest that there was any dishonesty suggested by anyone else.

Adam Harwood

Les,

I am not sure how you understood my comment, brother. I was simply referring to this irony:

The current published SBTS faculty interpretation of the BFM omits any mention of inherited sinful nature and inserts the alien concept of imputed guilt. In this article, published by a previous generation of SBTS faculty, we read Hobbs' explanation that the 1963 committee intended what the current faculty now omits from its interpretation of BFM2K Article 3.

That strikes me as funny.

In Him,
Adam

Les Prouty

Adam,

No biggie. It's just that "irony" can have a not so complimentary. Funny as in maybe also odd? Odd being my word.

Anyway, not a big deal. And really not surprising that a faculty in a different era will have some different interpretations. Heck look at some of the interpretations that came out of SBTS prior to Mohler becoming president. Now those were some to really be concerned about.

God bless and may you have a very worshipful Lord's day this weekend.

Les

Louis

So, Dr. Hobbs says that the committee "clarified" the 1925 BFM. The language regarding imputed guilt was removed and "clarfied" by new language that does not contain imputed guilt.

There are 2 questions that come to my mind in reading this post:

1. Doesn't this show that Baptists in 1963 (those on the committee and those who voted to ratify the committee's work) must have had a keener eye to such things as imputed guilt than they did in 1925? There are lots of things that were "clarified" in 1963.

2. Despite the excellent unearthing of these references, don't we see the limitations of the Baptist equivalent of "legislative history?" Every person on a committee like that is going to claim what their perspective is - to clarify. But if one clarifies by rewriting a sentence to eliminate a concept, doesn't that qualify as a rewrite? Of course, Dr. Hobbs would claim that the committee was only "clarifying" and not writing something new. That may have been his true feeling, but it also is the most effective way to present changes to an old document. Don't leglislators do this all the time in their speeches about the intent of this or that legislation or amendment? Hence, we have to be careful of letting speeches about what was done not override the actual language. That's why courts often see appeals to legislative history as very limited in their appeal. It's usually best to stick with that words that were written rather than subjective thoughts of one or two legislators.

peter lumpkins

Hi Louis,

First, so far as I know, Hobbs didn’t use the term “clarify” at least in the quotes I have on this post (Hobbs used “clarity” once in the presentation at the 1963 convention but it was a part of a larger corpus of statements about the revisionary process). Both Breland & I used the term to describe the work of the Hobbs committee. Hobbs specifically says the charge the committee pursued was to “present a revised form of the 1925 statement.” And, while I cannot speak for Breland, I used “clarity” and “clarifying”, etc with a couple of different nuances. While some revisions would only be to “clarify” terms, I also mentioned in my understanding of the Hobbs committee work clarity in this sense: “Hobbs' committee sought clarity of doctrinal affirmation in the revisionary process not rejection or abandonment.”

Second, it’s but argumentative to suggest as do you the “language regarding imputed guilt was removed and "clarfied" by new language that does not contain imputed guilt.” Presumably, you assume the language found in 1925 denotes imputed guilt. However, that’s not necessarily so. And, I’ve given what I think are sober reasons for doubting it.

Third, I’m not sure what you’re asking about the Hobbs committee’s “keener eye.” Nor am I sure if by placing “clarified” in quotations you’re expressing contempt and/or doubt for the term, or if you’re just using it to properly mark the quoted word. I suspect the former since you use it in the context of “lots of things” that were “clarified” in 1963.

Fourth, the ‘Baptist equivalent of "legislative history”’? Again, I’m not even sure if you’re serious, Louis. I quote a single paper from a journal article and you analogically compare that to the sophisticated process of compiling and/or employing legislative history? You also make the assertion without argument or evidence a second time: “But if one clarifies by rewriting a sentence to eliminate a concept, doesn't that qualify as a rewrite?” And, who says a concept was actually eliminated? Presumably you’re speaking of the unproven assumption that the 1925 language in Article III categorically denoted imputed guilt. It’s not that simple, Louis. Once you explore the question on the supposed necessity of imputed guilt reading, you may discover it not to be any more evident than the “criterion” clause you specifically cited as the “biggest sign” the 1963 BF&M was “less Calvinistic”

Again, you appear fuzzy about what is claimed: “Of course, Dr. Hobbs would claim that the committee was only "clarifying" and not writing something new.” To the contrary, Hobbs specifically claimed the committee was to “present a revised form of the 1925 statement.” While clarity would definitively be a part of revision it does not necessarily exhaust revision. I do not see the point you continue to make, Louis. Nor are you fair to what actually took place when you state "[clarifying] is the most effective way to present changes to an old document.” Excuse me? Louis, the academic paper I quoted was published in 1979--16 years after the 1963 BF&M was adopted! Even so, even if the Hobbs committee would have presented significant departures from a previous confession, this would have been perfectly consistent with our own understanding of confessions.

Finally, to use analogous language between Hobbs’ academic paper about the changes in the BF&M published in The Review & Expositor a full 16 years after it was adopted to a political speech vying to move audiences makes no real sense to me. You even further caution us to “stick with that words that were written rather than subjective thoughts of one or two legislators” presumably I can only suppose, as yet another slap against Hobbs. So Hobbs is nothing more than a “subjective” player in the whole process of the 1963 BF&M committee? For some reason, I don’t think you actually believe that, Louis.

Louis

Peter:

I honed in on clarify because it became the focus of the post. I believe that revise is a better word to describe what Hobbs and committee did, so for accuracy sake, I would urge "revise."

I put "clarify" in quotes simply to continue to denote the verb we were talking about. I did not use the quotes in derision - until the end when I DID use it in derision in referring to other things in the 1963 BFM. I have harped on this before, and I suspect that you agree with me, but the phrase that Jesus Christ is the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted (or something like that) is perfectly awful. But I can see how you might have thought I was poking fun at "clarify" since I did criticize in that instance.

I do think that the words of the BFM of 1925 are so similar to the AP that by their natural reading they embrace imputed guilt.

And, again, the main point in interpretation is to look to the words. That's the only point I was making. Historical context is important. Stated intention is important. But in a document like a confession of faith that is written by a committee and adopted by a large denomination, almost all questions of interpretation should be decided by the words used.

You are doing a good service here in bringing all of this up and I am enjoying the discussion, but I must not be communicating my feelings here. You seem to be taking more offense at what I am saying than is intended. I am not trying to be bellicose, and I'll try to ease up so that I don't give that impression.

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