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May 28, 2014

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dr. james willingham

Hey, Peter< you wrote some good advice. However, I would like to call your attention to the reality that we have an offer for a music professor taken off the table at SWBTS, because his wife had had a previous marriage, one that had ended in divorce due spousal abuse. In other words, no one can teach at that institution who has a second marriage due to divorce, and that, includes, especially, the founder, Dr. B.H. Carroll. That dear brother, a theological giant as Dr. R.G. Lee called him, came home from the War (there was one back then and it was not the First; it was "the war.") to find his wife living with another man. He divorced her, married again, became pastor of the FBC of Waco, one of the leading pulpits of the SBC in those days, and founded SWBTS. And what shall we say about the lady who was assured that she would not lose her job. Well, she did, and her bills from her husband's cancer became a great reality for her. Peter, folks on both sides of the controversy do detestable things. After all, man his fallen, depraved, disabled, spiritually dead, and helpless to the point that it takes an almighty God working mniracles to bring him back to life.

peter lumpkins

Dr. Willingham,

I agree with you on the matter of divorce & remarriage. Simply barring people from ministry on the basis of divorce alone, in my view, cannot be sustained from a thorough reading of the NT.

Lord bless.

With that, I am...
Peter

Tom Buck

Peter,

You "strangely" link to our newsletter claiming that we didn't announce Dr. White coming to our church. You also use language in such a way as to make it appear that somebody was trying to hide something. First, you linked to our October/November newsletter, which was completed the last week of September. The reason one would scour our Oct/Nov calendar and not find it THERE is because Dr. White was here in September. Before you make insinuations that are meant to call someone's motives into question, you might want to take a few more seconds to get your facts straight. Or, you could simply write and ask me the question. I would expect more out of one who is hired as a Vice President of COMMUNICATIONS.

Second, our August/September newsletter was completed the last week of July. At that time, we had not yet scheduled Dr. White to be here. But we promoted him coming on our website for almost two months before he came and had the announcement in our bulletin for several weeks. If you would like to have a copy of those, please let me know.

Therefore, I am asking you to make a public correction of your account above and to set the record straight that you were wrong to make your insinuations.

Sincerely,

Tom Buck

peter lumpkins

Hi Tom,

I appreciate your stopping by. I'm delighted I got your attention albeit not under the most ideal conditions. Even so, perhaps we can exchange on the resolution you're proposing. Last year was my first attempt ever at writing one and an enlightening experience I might add. Consequently, I hope the overall process of proposing a resolution produces an enriching experience for you though my reservations nonetheless stand in the way of my supporting it. First things first, however.

In your first complaint, you take issue because I allegedly claimed that you didn't announce James White's coming to your church supposedly using language of which, according to you, made it appear you were hiding something. You go on to state that because I presumably scoured the wrong newsletter, it follows James White's announcement would not be there. Hence, you claim I questioned your motives, making premature conclusions apart from appropriate fact-finding consequently leaving you expecting more out of a "Vice President of COMMUNICATIONS."

In response, I'm afraid you misunderstand  Allow me. I wrote, "Buck's church strangely sponsored1 James White's unprecedented "seminar on Ergun Caner"... the first seminar a Christian apologist has ever devoted to bringing another Christian apologist down."

First, I suppose your use of "strangely" (as in, "You "strangely" link to our newsletter claiming...) was intended to be a pun on my use of "strangely." Fair enough. But note what I meant when I used the term "strangely." I was suggesting how strange it was that a church would sponsor an unprecedented "seminar" where one Christian apologist was doing nothing more than attempting to bring down another Christian apologist. Now, I'm all ears if you think that's a common thng to do, Tom. All you have to do is provide me a few links to other well-known Christian apologists and churches who partner together in sponsoring a seminar on bringing another Christian apologist down.

For me, it's unthinkable for William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Gary Habermas, Norm Geisler, Lee Strobal, R.C. Sproul, Paul Copan, et al to sponsor "seminars" where they attempt to bring down another Christian, a Christian whom they may even happen to believe has grievously and morally failed in one way or another. Rather these apologists seem to be singularly about defending the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and I thank God for them all, both Calvinists like Sproul and non-Calvinists like Geisler (he prefers moderate Calvinist perhaps).

But here's apologist James White doing "seminars" on bringing down another apologist. Indeed reading White's tweets and blogs, it's not excessively unfair to say, he appears to spend as much time defaming Caner as he does defending Christianity--pretty screwy activity were one to ask me. So unless you can offer some kind of contrary insight, I think it's reasonable to continue viewing what you and James White did as both strange and unprecedented. Thus, with this in mind, I'm not sure either questioning your motives or using language implicating you in hiding something applies--at least from what we've dealt thus far.

Second, you claim I linked to your "October/November newsletter" and that the reason one would scour it and "not find it THERE" is because Dr. White was came in September. Well, you're part right and part wrong. The fact is, the link I incorrectly gave was to a calendar in 2012 on archive.org! I had a lot of windows open and inadvertantly grabbed the wrong url. And, if you're asking for an apology for posting an incorrect link, you got it--

I'm deeply sorry for this and should have been more careful. 

Happily, I didn't "scour" that particular link alone nor was it even a main link I examined. I "scoured" several of your newsletters looking for what I desired but unfortunately never found.

Nor is the info I sought in the corrected source you kindly provided. Perhaps I missed it, but where in the church's newsletter you cited is the announcement about James White coming Tuesday, September 10, 2013 to deliver a "seminar on Ergun Caner"? It's abundantly clear you advertised his soon coming conference on Islam starting Wednesday, September 11. Indeed I said above so in my first footnote: "1curiously one won't find the seminar in the church's promotional material which named White's main reason for going to Lindale First Baptist Church--to give a presentation on Islam" (embolden added). Hence, I was perfectly aware of your promotional materials about White's Islam conference (and, good job on the newsletter, by the way. It's very good).

May I now rephrase the question? Since you abundantly promoted White's coming to Lindale for the Islam conference, billing White as "the leading expert in this field," and the conference starting on Wednesday, September 11, please show where White's "seminar on Ergun Caner" is listed in calendar. I confess I may have missed it in the same way I missed linking the proper newsletter. Care to assist us?

On the other hand, if you did not promote the "seminar on Ergun Caner" in the newsletter, what is your complaint? How did I call your motives into question? Indeed what actual facts did I contort (other than linking a wrong url rather than the proper url)? Please know I still may not be a good VP example, but I'm afriad it's not because I contorted facts, questioned your motives, or insinuated you were hiding something. [As an aside, and in light of your apparent desire for transparency, do you have an official head-count for the attendees at the "seminar on Ergun Caner" you'd share with us?]

You also tell us you promoted White coming to your church on your website for almost two months before he came, together with bulletin announcements several weeks in advance of his coming. Granted. But I'm not interested in promos for White's conference on Islam. The conference on Islam beginning on Wednesday September 11 has absolutely nothing to do with anything I've suggested on this blog. My sole concern in bringing up you and White is about your Tuesday event, the event where one apologist's presentation was exclusively about bringing down another Christian apologist. Hence, if you have all the promos for the "seminar on Ergun Caner" which James White presented on Tuesday, September 10, then I'd love to have copies of those.

As far as "setting the record straight" I hope I have: I mistakenly posted a link to a 2012 archived calendar in web cache rather than to the proper newsletter on your website. For this I beg forgiveness.

As for the "insinuations," I'm clueless as to your meaning. 

Perhaps we can discuss your resolution when you return to answer the few questions I logged.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

Tom,

I was hoping you'd come back and answer a few questions about your resolution. Maybe you've not had time (I know the feeling!) Anyways, I saw your comment to your friend and theological mentor, James White, about posting here and wanted to correct you on something if I may.

First, while I may have been tardy in posting your comment, I actually did post it when I saw it. Please know other commenters who logged on SBC Tomorrow had their comments held as well, and many of they were logging comments agreeable to this or that and not of a corrective nature as is yours. So, know I didn’t hold your comment because of its content or author. In fact, I was delighted to get an opportunity to exchange directly with you.

Now that that’s out of the way, there is a matter of your note to JW that gave me a belly-roll of a laugh, not at you, of course. But at what you emphatically told him when you clicked on my mistaken link. If I may:

@DrOakley1689 After you pointed out on Dividing Line that Lumpkins had put an incorrect link for you, I checked the link he put for me to say that we "strangely" invited you. What he was claiming as "strange" is that it appeared no where in our advertisements. When I clicked the link, it was to our church newsletter that was a month AFTER you came. I have responded to him with the message below, but he has yet to post it.(CAPS original)

All one has to do is click on my mistaken the link, and read the date, a date you obviously botched similarly to my botching the correct url. You told White my link led to a newsletter an entire month AFTER he came to church. No, as I said in my response to you above, the url I mistakenly linked—a leftover from several windows I had open at the time—was a link to an archived newsletter at archive.org. What really got me laughing is, you said the link was a month AFTER JW came. It was not. The archived newsletter to which I mistakenly Iinked was a newsletter a year BEFORE JW came to your church.

Whew. I’m glad I’m not the only one who can mess up a few of the non-significant details.

Hope you’ll consider coming back and discussing your resolution.

With that, I am…

Peter

Katherine

No matter what anyone says, this is about Ergun Caner and how he behaved in an unChristian manner. Unbelievers are watching and now wondering how being a Christian is in any way more enlightened or even kind than their own lives. I know an atheist who demonstrates more kindness and love towards others than Caner has. He could have shown just a scintilla of grace but chose the most ridiculous specious arguments I've ever heard. "Cyber-terrorists" indeed. The SBC needs to loudly say "This behavior is not appropriate for the redeemed."


Bottom line, Judge Moon said with a great gusto that this lawsuit was not credible. But let's just read his words.

The following comes from his ruling verbatim.

"Plaintiff’s counsel made astounding claims during the hearing that discovery would affect the fair use analysis by showing that Defendant was not “qualified” to direct “appropriate criticism” at Plaintiff, unlike “people that are qualified to render those opinions in the market place and exchange of ideas in academia and elsewhere,” and therefore Defendant could not assert the fair use defense. … Plaintiff’s spurious assertion that fair use only applies where a speaker “qualified to render . . . opinions” or to level “appropriate criticism” at a public figure proves ludicrous on its face."

“The First Amendment’s protections, advanced by the fair use defense, have never applied to some bizarre oligarchy of ‘qualified’ speakers.”

Plaintiff himself has extolled the virtues of these protections and warned against the dangers of censorship and “misinformation”: “The one great exponent of America is the freedom to think and rationally believe and reasonably consider for yourself.” … Conveniently, when criticism is directed at him, Plaintiff comes before this Court and argues that it should restrict First Amendment fair use protection to some amorphous group of “qualified” speakers. When pressed at the hearing to provide authority for this counterintuitive proposition, Plaintiff’s counsel fell back on his “beliefs” and failed to do so.” … As Defendant’s counsel aptly observed during the hearing, if Plaintiff’s counsel intends to make such outlandish arguments, he should go to the trouble of “typing out the citations” for any supporting authority. I doubt such authority exists."

What were those words again? Spurious, ludicrous, outlandish, bizarre oligarchy?

The lawsuit was an attempt to scrub the internet, and thank God (literally) Caner was stopped. His comments to the marines were dehumanizing, and treated women with extreme disrespect by showing their worth as sexual objects in his "mangina" remark. I hold to a complementarian view of the roles of women. How exactly were his remarks meant to value and protect women?


Mark's suggestion is valid and as far as I can tell, meant to show Christians as holding to a higher standard of conduct. Caner got caught engaging in an extreme form of mean spirited rhetoric. You can't call it factual, the judge found it to be otherwise. Caner valued intimidation more than the truth.

I can hardly wait to see Caner’s next tactic and use of creative argumentation.

peter lumpkins

Katherine,

Yes, of course it's about EC. But why not then stop with that rather than foolishly parroting James White's blurred reasoning concerning Caner which I've addressed many times here with no real response from White nor White's parrots? What you seem to not even realize is, by agreeing that the resolution is about Ergun Caner, you just slammed your own mentor's inspiration behind the resolution he encouraged his buddy, Tom Buck to submit.

In addition, what you and others like you don't seem to realize is, this resolution not only tries to address Caner, it also condemns the victims of the CLC scandal. But what the hey. At least you guys got what you were after--a chance to take yet another swat at bringing EC down.

Now since you're so motivated about morality and all, why not condemn the actions of Calvinists like James White for the godless, unholy harassment, stalking, and internet bullying he and his followers routinely pursue not only against Caner, but anyone connected to and/or in any way supportive of Caner? In fact, What James White and JD Hall do is hardly distinguishable from what the late Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church does.

So, since you seem so concerned about the way Christians are treated, would you like to go on record against the ungodly tactics of James White?

With that, I am...
Peter

Lydia

"it also condemns the victims of the CLC scandal"

This is my concern. What message is it sending to pastors who protect child molesters? Or those who go out of their way to protect pastors who protect child molesters? That is an even bigger concern here.

It is saying it is a sin to file a civil action so that truth can come out through discovery and people can know what sort of leaders they have been supporting? Leaders who tell 3 year olds they must face and forgive their molester? What sort of Christianity is that? And we have leaders who are supporting that behavior of other leaders.

What gives Christianity a bad name is to sweep such evil under the rug. If it takes civil/criminal court to expose such evil thinking in our midst then so be it.

Tom Buck

Peter,

You are correct that I have not had time. This is the first time I have even checked to see if you responded and just finished reading both of your responses. If possible, I would like to decouple the issue of the resolution and my concern (thank you for taking time to clarify and answer) about what appeared to me as you assigning false motives to how we chose to advertise Dr. White speaking.

First, I will be in Baltimore, and if you are there as well, I would love to meet with you. I do believe that emails, tweets, and even comment sections are difficult to hear the heart of the other person. So, motives get easily assigned. I also am willing to have the discussion in a public forum as on here. I just don't have very much time right now due to a variety of issues... several family related.

Second, I am more than happy to discuss Dr. White being invited to make a presentation to our church on Islam. That was the fundamental reason to have him at FBC. I don't have time to go into that right now, but am willing to talk to you at Baltimore over a cup of coffee (or beverage of your choice) and fill you in. I am also willing to post those reasons here.

Third, I am going to continue to be clear on the motives behind my resolution. Whether you think it is good or bad, it has NOTHING to do with Calvinism and it was not written to be a back door attack to get at Ergun Caner. James White and all the other people who have been listed weren't even aware I was submitting a resolution.

Thanks again for taking time to reply. I promise this won't be our last conversation.

Tom

Tom Buck

Peter,

One other thing after reading your response to Katherine. James White had no knowledge of my resolution. We have never discussed it... I never consulted him... I didn't "intentionally" keep him out of the loop for plausible deniability... etc. etc. etc.

Whether you believe it or not, I simply submitted a resolution out of concern for the issue of Christians taking other Christians to court.

Tom

Scott Shaver

Our associate pastor preached one of the best sermons I've heard in a decade this past Sunday. He called it "Growth Rings" and used First Corinthians 3 1-9 as his text.

At some point I intend to pass it along to Pete.

As a baptist layperson, I must admit my sense that every aspect of the SBC's corporate and public image seems to relect the problem this passage was designed to spiritually address.

Preacher last Sunday never mentioned the SBC or anything outside the context of personal and individual Christian responsibility, but the impact of the truth's he expounded were indicting to the point of alarm if set in the context of a religious (Christian) denomination.

education, democracy and creeds aren't the answers.

Scott Shaver

Wonder how many lawsuits and sbc resolutions have been filed and presented by SBC pastors over the last 30 years as compared to the previous 100?

Scott Shaver

Tom Buck, James White, JD Hall, Mark Lamprecht, just add to the list of hacks.

peter lumpkins

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the offer and clarification. I agree sometimes raw words might color properly or improperly the emotions which might be steering literary communication. Thanks for bringing that up. If I may, just a couple of things in the meantime.

First, you mentioned again concerning Dr. White being invited to make a presentation to your church on Islam, and your willingness to share how it came about. Please know that nothing objectionable whatsoever concerning your invitation to James White to come to your church and speak on Islam has been raised here or elsewhere--at least by me. White had just released his book on Islam, so why would I raise issues about that? Indeed while I might quibble with your description of White as "the leading expert in this field" that's no reason to object to your invitation to him presenting at your church.

On the other hand, the issue I raised is sponsoring a "seminar on Ergun Caner" which had nothing to do with the presentation on Islam as your own promotional materials indicate. The "seminar" appears quite distinct.

Second, nor have I made Calvinism the heart of either this post or objections I've raise. I clearly say in the OP above: "Let's be honest. Is this not a convenient way to indict Ergun Caner and call him to repentance...?" From every indication I've considered, it's obviously about Caner.

With that, I am...
Peter

PS: I'm genuinely sorry over your apparent difficulties at home. With you, home is so important to me. Lord bless you in your struggles...

Tom Buck

Peter,

Quickly, I will continue to say that it isn't about Caner. It obviously involves him along with any other Christian who sues another Christian... Including others in SBC life even now (I explained this on Here I Blog). But it is not fair to declare what my intentions are when I have made it clear that they were never what you claim them to be. However, since you are making this about Caner (I take the risk of you saying, see I told you it's about Caner or he wouldn't ask... But you are the one who keeps saying it's about Caner), do you think he was not in violation of 1 Cor 6 in suing two brothers? If not, why (this could help clarify how my resolution is too broad )? I'm truly seeking clarification. If he didn't violate 1Cor 6 in your estimation, then explain how that is the case.

If he did violate 1 Cor 6, then why would it be so awful for him to say, "I was wrong for taking that action against two brothers in court and I repent?" It is not an admittance about anything else. Yes, I've called upon him to repent concerning the fabricated life story (my words, I know you don't agree). But why do you insist that the two issues are one in the same? Let's say tomorrow that he says he violated 1 Cor 6 and repents. While I would rejoice in his obedience (taking my understanding of 1 Cor 6), I would not take that as either a smoking gun for the other issues nor would I think that repentance for the one would cover his decade of lies (again, I know you don't agree). In other words, repentance for sin B doesn't indict you for the accusation of sin A (it's still possible it was never committed) nor "absolves" you of it (if, in fact, it was committed). So explain why you're so concerned that this resolution, if passed, would be used as a club against. Caner?

Tom

PS Thanks for your kind words regarding my family!!!

peter lumpkins

Tom

I appreciate your taking the time to respond. 

First, you insist your resolution is not about Caner, and that it's unfair for me to declare what your intentions are when you make it clear your intentions are not what I conclude you intended. Even though you openly concede the resolution obviously involves him along with others and therefore necessarily is about Caner just not Caner exclusively, then let's assume it's so and move on. Fair enough?

Second, I think it's entirely fair, since I've suggested the resolution is about Caner as you rightly point out, to answer your question: do I think he was in violation of 1 Cor 6 in suing two brothers? Well, not necessarily. (I hope you realize you were not going to get a yes or no out of me (wink, wink & smile)).

As I indicated in my OP, to overlay a universal moral prohibition onto many, if not most, of the texts in the Bible dealing with moral issues is, for me, an exercise in inexcusable simplicity, undeniable moral confusion, and, if I may be so bold, shows irresponsible interpretation contrary to what our Apostle says to Timothy about "rightly dividing the Word of truth." As an example, were I to overlay onto the text of Scripture a universal moral prohibition for using intoxicating substances (i.e. the argument I develop in my book, Alcohol Today, is moral abstinence from intoxicating substances for pleasurable purposes), the procedure could rightly be dubbed inexcusable simplicity, undeniable moral confusion, and shows irresponsible interpretation.


In my view, Tom, what you've done with the way the resolution is presently worded is to so over-generalize the Apostle's words concerning one brother taking another brother to court that believing people have absolutely no moral options outside the church to seek moral, civil, and/or social justice. Period. That's the first undeniable implication of what your assumptions about 1Corinthians 6 appear to be with the present wording of the resolution. Indeed no amount of defending the resolution's wording by merely declaring it was "not written to be an exhaustive commentary on 1 Corinthians 6" assists (Who argues on the basis that resolutions on any subject must be based on exhaustive biblical commentary?). It doesn't have to be. However, if you think the Apostle Paul was making sweeping categorical denials to seek justice outside the church for all professing Christians at all times no matter the content or truth of the one seeking justice (against other Christians), then I think the onus is on you to explain your interpretative reasoning.  


What is more, your resolution fundamentally overlooks biblically contextual factors concerning the Apostle's injunctions in 1Corinthians 6 on taking other believers to court. You seem to defend against the few questions I raised about this above in your reflections on Here I Blog by suggesting the contextual reservations I mentioned reduce to absurdity:



Finally, to say that Paul was only applying it in a local church setting rather than giving a principle that has wider application is absurd. Would any reasonable person argue that a Corinthian Christian would have only been wrong to sue someone in the Corinthian assembly, but if the offending party were a congregant in the Philippian church that they could sue their pants off?



First, I never argued above nor would here that Paul's moral principle--whatever we determine the principle to be--would be applicable only to local believers and not to other believers in other assemblies. Hence I plead innocent from absurdity until you come up with something actually proving me guilty. Second, since the application nonetheless has local assembly parameters, then I think it's your position which actually reduces to moral absurdity. Allow me.


Paul's concern lies in the obvious abuse within the church at Corinth, abuse not limited to litigation against one another, but also sexual abuse (incest, 1C5), church discipline (put the "brother" out who committed incest, (1C5), Spirit-gift abuse, (1C14), relationship abuse (one clique against another, 1C1-2), love abuse ("neglect" perhaps is better term, 1C13), and even doctrinal abuse (denial or betrayal of fundamental doctrines like resurrection or believers' baptism, 1C15) among many others we might cite. So, wouldn't all of these issues possess ramifications--application--to other assemblies not just Corinth? Yes, but to make a flat application as if nothing else matters is fundamentally wrong-headed for several reasons only one of which I'll tease out abit.


One reason is Paul's language in 1Corinthians 6 which presupposes some sort of local church discipline and/or verdict. For example, Paul rhetorically asks, "Has it come to this, that there cannot be found among you one wise man, who can decide between his brothers..." (v.6, embolden added). Paul imagines a specific group of people at Corinth from whom could arise one man sufficiently wise to make the decision on the dispute between brother and brother.


Now, given your view, Tom, the one man sufficiently wise enough to make the decision between brother and brother in Corinth might not be found in Corinth at all but in some other church assembly. Please inform us as to where that might be and upon what criteria you would insist as you looked for the sufficiently wise man to determine the verdict.

In addition, since I'm under the impression you believe as do I that genuine believers are found in most historic denominations outside our specific Southern Baptist tradition, presumably since Paul writes before the denominationally-driven era, then the one man sufficiently wise enough might very well not have Baptist leanings at all but could be Pentecostal, Anglican, or Presbyterian. Again, please inform us as to where it might be and upon what criteria would you insist as you looked for the sufficiently wise man across historic Christian traditions to determine this verdict for brother against brother in a particular local assembly. Need I rehearse how this has been played out in the case of EC and who represents the one self-appointed wise man who delivered the verdict?


What I'm simply suggesting is to rip the Apostle's concern out of its local setting where local church discipline was adamantly expected and its absence condemned (1Cor5:1-5), and place it into some type of open court amongst all Christians everywhere is to embrace the absurd. Paul seems to have had no such meaning in mind. Nor have I even mentioned the impossible complication as to who exactly would make up the body which chooses precisely who is sufficiently wise to determine the verdict!


Back to your question, I'm not entirely sure given what I think I know about 1 Corinthians 6. These matters are particularly complicated, especially when we're presented with publicly condemning one of actual sin by assuming our specific interpretation alone as basis enough for public flogging. Understandably, some moral breaches have almost universally held ethical indictments (i.e. homosexual acts, for example). But prohibiting all litigation outside the church between Christians has no such historical precedent so far as I know.

Even so, it's not my view on Caner's lawsuit--or litigation per se--that's on trial. Rather it's your (and your supporters like White, Lamprecht, et al) absolute, incorrigible assumptions about 1 Corinthians 6 forbidding all litigation outside the church between professing Christians. By the way, Tom, does this injunction even broadly maintained, only extend to Protestants, or could an evangelical, for example, legitimately initiate litigation against say, a Roman Catholic? I think it's important to know since, given your assumptions about 1Corinthians 6 and the language you used in the resolution, Catholics everywhere profess to be Christians and they are certainly just in claiming to be within the broad Christian tradition. Or, is your resolution only applicable to those claiming a "born again" experience?


I hope that helps some. If I missed anything in your comment you'd like to restate, I'll be glad to oblige.


With that, I am...


Peter

Scott Shaver

Mr. Buck:

Are you actually what's representing SBC education at their graduate and church professional level these days?

What's your beef other than semantics?

Tom Buck

Peter,

First, I want to be clear, to one of the comments, that my issue has not been semantics in regards to what my resolution is about. I could name three different situations of Christians taking other Christians to court within the SBC that directly influenced my concern about this issue. One of those is recent ,and I even agree with their premise, but believe they’re lawsuit is a violation of 1 Cor. 6. Even if I’m wrong, as you suggest, I am consistently so.

What I object to is the continued attack, by some, that I wrote the resolution with the intention of getting at Dr. Caner. Whether you have said that are not, that is the continued argument of others who are close to you and how many of them are taking your words as well - if you just simply peruse the comment section (both here and at Timothy Rogers site). It is one thing to say that my position on 1 Cor. 6 calls into question Dr. Caner’s frivolous lawsuit (not my interpretation but essentially the opinion of two courts), it is quite another thing to say that I submitted the resolution with the intent of trying to get Dr. Caner to “repent” of something… repent of anything… just wanting to publicly humiliate Dr. Caner and beat him with any club that can be found. I don’t deny those people exist in the blogosphere (i.e. who want to beat up Caner for anything and everything), but I am not one of them. So I am not participating in merely arguing about and parsing the meaning of words. I am addressing the use of words in such a way as to assign false motives to my intentions, while diverting from the real issue: obedience to God’s Word in regards to civil lawsuits against fellow Christians.

Second, you argue, at great length, about the absurdity of my “simplistic” understanding of 1 Cor 6. But in the end, at the risk of being simplistic, you sum it all up with this: “I’m not entirely sure given what I think about 1 Corinthians 6.” They’re “complicated” matters, you say. Yet, I think it would be extremely important - for someone who holds the position of being a hired spokesperson for the one who is involved in two very public lawsuits that he initiated - that you be able to articulate a clear position on 1 Cor. 6. Perhaps you could ask Dr. Caner to explain to you his position on 1 Cor. 6 so that you could better communicate it.

Surely we could both agree that the MOST irresponsible position that could be held about 1 Cor. 6 would be to claim ignorance on what it means, call it a “complicated” matter, and then proceed to file lawsuits against other Christians. I believe, Peter, that you personally would never file a lawsuit against another Christian until you have finally reached a position on what 1 Cor. 6 means. I know you wouldn’t be comfortable entering a secular court while still in a state of ignorance on this issue. Therefore, I am equally certain that Dr. Caner, as a President of a Christian College, would not have moved forward with two lawsuits against fellow Christians while holding to an admitted position of ignorance on the passage in question. I am sure Dr. Caner wrestled with its meaning, came to the conclusion that he was acting in obedience to God’s Word, and THEN contacted a lawyer to file his suit. In addition, I am sure that even before contacting his lawyer, that he attempted to find “one wise man” to sit down with him and the Christian pastor to avoid taking the dispute into secular courts. (In your response to me, you kept giving all these hypothetical questions, but we are talking about an actual President of a SBC college and an actual Pastor of a SBC church. Surely we are to assume these men are both Christians. And surely, as large as the SBC is, at least one man could have been found to mediate this dispute.) I am confident that there is a good, clear, and well thought out reason as to why Dr. Caner chose to sue two fellow Christians, one being a SBC Pastor in good standing with our convention.

So maybe, as Vice President of Communications, you could help shed light on this issue. Perhaps the resolution could be modified in such a way that would clarify the right biblical position and would validate Dr. Caner’s obedience to 1 Cor. 6 in the execution of his lawsuits against fellow Christians. Again, surely he did not move forward in his legal action without being fully convinced that he was doing what was biblically right. You call my assumptions “incorrigible.” Well, I am asking you now to correct me and help me improve in my understanding of how I can take a brother to court and not violate 1 Cor. 6. More than most people, you have access to the information that can help all of us better understand how to apply 1 Cor. 6. So why won’t you serve us in this way?

Finally, you can try to put my simple mindedness on trial. I confess that I am not the brightest person in the room, even when I sit alone. But to take so much time to attack my “simplistic” understanding of 1 Cor. 6; to bloviate about all the things it cannot mean; and to show little to no concern about what it actually does mean is irresponsible at best. But to hold the position you do, while both trying to defend the actions of the one for whom you are hired to speak and at the same time claiming ignorance on the topic, is inexcusable. Perhaps what is “on trial” is not my “incorrigible assumptions,” but your admitted ignorance about the meaning of a passage of Scripture that directly relates to the defense you are trying to make for your boss.

Sincerely,

Tom Buck

peter lumpkins

Tom,

In response to your claim as to whether the issue concerning your resolution is about "semantics" I have no idea what you're talking about. I've mentioned nothing as I recall, and if others have, I'm sorry but have nothing to say about that. Hence, I'm surprised you'd bring the issue back up since I explicitly said in my last comment, "let's assume it's so [i.e. your resolution is not about Caner] and move on. Fair enough?"

Why you insist on not only mentioning it again but teasing out your reasoning is not clear. I have to say it looks as if you're purposely piling on more anti-Caner rhetoric in the process (e.g.--"Dr. Caner’s frivolous lawsuit (not my interpretation but essentially the opinion of two courts)." What's your point, Tom? I said we could move forward assuming your purpose as you stated it. Why feed the hogs more slop when we agreed they needed none?

Nor does your statement make an iota of sense to me--"I am not participating in merely arguing about and parsing the meaning of words." Excuse me, Tom, but who are you referring to? Where in the discussion thus far has it been suggested you're parsing words? If others have suggested this, I don't give two shakes of a gnat's behind if they're "close to me" or "taking my words," if we're going to have fruitful exchange here, then let's keep it here. Of course, if you're quoting my words I actually spoke about this subject elsewhere, then by all means, those words might very well be relevant.

Second, you claim I charged your position with being simplistic and absurd. You assume because I summed up my response ("I'm not entirely sure") about whether Caner was in violation of 1 Cor 6 because of  "complications" involved, that I should be able to "articulate a clear position on 1 Cor. 6." After all, according to you, someone who "holds the position of being a hired spokesperson" for the one who is involved in two very public lawsuits that he initiated should be clear in his understanding of 1Cor 6. You further claim you think I agree with you that "the MOST irresponsible position that could be held about 1 Cor. 6 would be to claim ignorance on what it means." Later, you conclude my "claiming ignorance" is both "irresponsible"and "inexcusable." 

Even though you go on for quite a spell in exhortation-mode, I think I've fairly summed up your second complaint without leaving out anything substantial (if I did, you are welcome to call my attention to it). 

In response, yes I did indicate your position--as reflected in your resolution--stands both simplistic and ultimately morally absurd. More specifically I was responding to your implication that my position reduced to absurdity. My specific words were: "Hence I plead innocent from absurdity until you come up with something actually proving me guilty. Second, since the application nonetheless has local assembly parameters, then I think it's your position which actually reduces to moral absurdity. Allow me." That's when I went into my "lengthy" response.

What is more, I did not, as you say, "put [your] simple mindedness on trial" anymore than you put others on trial when you stated unequivocally, "to say that Paul was only applying it in a local church setting rather than giving a principle that has wider application is absurd" or when now, in my last comment, you insist my "claiming ignorance" is "irresponsible" and "inexcusable."

Here's the deal, Tom: If you can't take your positions to be placed under scruinty without pouting and whining about it, I suggest you stay both off blogs and out of SBC politics. Your self-victimizing projection--"even when I sit alone"--gets you nowhere in rational exchange. If you can't take criticism, it's best to just quietly drop out of the conversation.   

Now here's the problem with your latest claim about my confessed ignorance: you confuse my textual understanding of 1 Corinthians 6 with my reluctance in declaring how the Scripture applies in each and every case. In other words, when I said, "I'm not entirely sure" you proceed as if I meant "I'm not entirely sure what 1 Corinthians 6 means." But it's hardly possible to take my assertion like that unless you mistakenly read it. Consider, if I meant it as you seem to suggest, you'd have my entire assertion reading: “I’m not entirely sure what 1 Corinthians 6 means given what I think about 1 Corinthians 6." What a Georgia hoot! I know I get tongue-tied sometimes, but not this time, Tom.

Even so, my follow-up should have been a dead giveaway as to my what I intended to mean: "These matters are particularly complicated, especially when we're presented with publicly condemning one of actual sin by assuming our specific interpretation alone as basis enough for public flogging (i.e. application)."

Hence, you fundamentally confused my interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6 with the application of 1 Corinthians 6. In fact, your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6 is what remains hollow so far as I am concerned. That's why the way you've applied 1 Corinthians 6--as reflected in your resolution--remains morally absurd. And, to insist that Southern Baptists embrace not only an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6 because, in your mind, it's the only valid interpretation, but also embrace your non-negotiable, unlimited prohibitive application in every instance to today's litigation laws, by passing an extremely simplistic resolution is not something I'd like to support.

One final thing before I straighten-out one of your claims. You apparently think I agree with you that "the MOST irresponsible position that could be held about 1 Cor. 6 would be to claim ignorance on what it means." No, I do not believe that. In fact, there remain many biblical passages where the only responisble thing to say to someone who asks is, "I actually don't know."

No. But what I would most heartily say is, the most irresponsible position that could be held about 1 Corinthians 6 would be to claim absolute assurance on how 1 Corinthians 6 applies to each and every situation we face toward today's litigation laws. Again, you've fundamentally confused interpretation and application.

Now allow me to straighten-out something here so we can move on in helpful exchange if you like. You claim I'm someone who "holds the position of being a hired spokesperson for the one who is involved in two very public lawsuits that he initiated." Do you have any proof  for this claim? Usually people hire spokespersons a) out of their pocket not their profession; b) hire spokespersons who have expertise in the field. But a) I'm getting no compensation whatsoever from either BPC or Ergun Caner to be a personal spokesperson for anybody much less on litigation issues; b) I have absolutely no background in law or litigation whatever. Now, you can drop your facade and cease with the moral insults. Nor am I interested in Caner's view on 1 Corinthians 6; neither have I ever discussed it with him.

On the other hand, I'm delighted you actually brought up the word I've been trying to get you and/or other supporters to address--"two very public lawsuits that he initiated." I claimed in my very first objection to citing Caner as the litigation boogieman, so to speak, that in 1 Corinthians 6, nothing Paul says in any precautionary way indicates that the only one to be considered sinful in lawsuits in the one who initiates the lawsuit. But you say here and in the resolution that the one who "initiates" the suit is the one who has sinned and must repent.

Now, for the record, in the OP above, I spent two long paragraphs dealing with your resolution which limits condemnation to the one initiating the lawsuit, a little detail I said added to Paul's words. I also mentioned initiating the lawsuit in the last comment I logged and asked how initiating applied to specific examples, the comment to which you responded. However, nothing in your latest response has dealt with what I called "adding" to Paul's actual words. A third time I'll ask again:

where do you see explicitly or implicitly in Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 6 (esp. in light of v.7) that only those who initiate lawsuits are to be considered sinful and in need of repentance?

With that, I am...

Peter 

P.S. Don't get side-tracked again by bringing up the insulting "hireling" rhetoric, Tom. Just stick with the words we use. That will keep the conversation moving...

peter lumpkins

All,

While Mark Lamprecht, James White, and White-camp-Calvinists have offered extensive support for the resolution I've criticized here (at least on blogs and twitter), Tom Buck is the one I most desired to engage since he authored the resolution. Thus, I was glad when Buck logged onto this thread. Apart from some unfortunate misfires, I think we could have had helpful exchange on whether the resolution has the firm biblical foundation Buck claims. I actually I think we would get "somewhere."

Nevertheless, after observing Buck's twitter feed last evening, it's hard to expect anything beneficial to come from our exchange. Why White-camp-Calvinists cannot simply and sincerely engage an issue apart from making things personal still confuses me. In this case, rather than engage my words here on this thread concerning what I think are both pertinent and challenging questions to Buck's interpretation (absolutely no litigation outside the church for professing believers contra professing believers) and application (resolution-style public condemnation for those who do) of 1 Corinthians 6:1-6, Tom Buck takes to Twitter in a series of ridiculous tweets concerning my engagement with him. Consider:

  • @PulpitAndPen  Check out Lumpkins latest tweet to me. He "trolls" people's tweets as much as anyone. He thinks he hammered me with his reply.
  • @DrOakley1689 Here's Lumpkins' response to my admitting I'm not the brightest person in the room. http://twishort.com/ez4fc
  • @DrOakley1689@Caner_Repent@PulpitAndPen  I think I hit a nerve. Lumpkins hated my response & encourages me to drop out of the conversation.
  • @DrOakley1689 If you're interested, this is my abbreviated response to Lumpkins saying that my resolution was "si… http://twishort.com/Nt3fc 

Once again, a White-camp-Calvinist would rather ridicule or dismiss or take the conversation elsewhere, perhaps as here, into "friendly" territory rather than engage. In addition, it seems clear all the verbal denial Buck recorded about no one having a part in his resolution is simply that--verbal denial. 

Even though we now have no desire to continue the exchange, we nonetheless wish Tom Buck the best. Not with the resolution per se, of course. Rather in his life, his relationships, and his faith.    

With that, I am...

Peter

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