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2006.12.13

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selahV

Mary: You said, "Al Mohler had a great quote when he said something like it's better for us to be talking about these issues (Calvinism) rather than the gay marriage issue which is where we were heading."
I don't think Calvinists are just "talking" about Calvinism. I believe they believe it as the truth and nothing but the truth. I may be wrong.
SelahV

selahV

Volfan: We have now covered A through O; do you have the P?
selahV

peter

All,

No doubt, this thread stands as perhaps one of the most provocative since I started blogging back in July. And, one would wonder, if it is worth it all.

For me, I, without the least apology say "Yes, as long as I can keep my own Christian dignity."

I do not mind some of the emotional displays for after all, we are emotional creatures made in the image of God. Even our Lord "looked upon them with anger" Mark tells us of Him, displaying emotions.

What concerns me most in situations like these is not another's emotional outburst. Nor is it for me to get the last word or beat them at their own game or make them look stupid or offer the most clever retort.

Rather, it is whether or not what I write and how I write it displays dignity to the other person who's both made in God's image and yet fallen the same as I. I am not perfect at this. But I am called to be perfect nevertheless.

Michael has some good points he made. By the way, if you haven't checked out his blog, do so. He is a very good writer and possesses a provocative flair all his own. You may not agree with him but you will, in your own mind have to grapple with his thoughts.

I do think, at least for me, contrarily this issue is more than a "tempest in a teapot." And, I hope that I can think more on that this week end and perhaps post on it next week.

For now, I simply have to get up and get out of here. I'm already late for an appointment.

Have a grace filled day. With that, I am...

Peter

P.S. Be nice...Just one rule...Be Nice :)

selahV

-jk: you could have just saved some time and chosen, "G". But thank you for your generous input. I have difficulty with (i) because I understand Calvinist do not agree to testimony of men as credible to their doctrinal stand.
(j) seems totally illogical to me(k)leaves me with more questions than answers(l) means a stupid person like me can't have Jesus (m)am going to have to go read Wikepedia for this one or back to Olson's interview...give me some time (n)perfect thought is in Jesus and I simply don't buy your side as "right" (o)totally disagree on all points--one is that Calvinists hold to a "belief system". They don't. When you ask questions, they have differing opinions. Glory is most certainly given to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only One to Whom ANYTHING is made possible for ANYONE. Grace to you my brother as Grace is to me...SelahV

selahV

-jk: I agree, in part with (h). SelahV

selahV

Michael: Since I am the only one who has spoken to what you have said since Peter has posted, I am certain I have been misinterpreted. I really do like your last name. Seriously. And the Bariette is my mother's maiden name and the Bartlett is my husband's given name before he was adopted. That said, I really liked your last post. I think you are right on! So I hope I have cleared up my bumbled attempt at my last post to be a compliment. SelahV

Luke

Peter,

I think the issue raised by Dr. Cody's remark is very insightful into this whole confessional topic. And I'd like to, if I may, add my own take on this isse. It seems to me that a "Confessional" statement lasts only about as long as the generation that makes it. Sometimes, maybe a little longer, sometimes, a little shorter, but just from simple observation, they appear to me to hold significance only for those whose generation it witnesses. We've watched the very same thing happen with the Constitution of the United States. There is NO DOUBT what the Founding Fathers of this nation had in mind when you read the Constitution. But over time, we keep amending and amending and amending. I'll even suggest that some of those amendments have even been warranted if not necessary. My observations lead me to believe that each generation and it's "great men of faith" do the same thing. Surely, we'd like what we say to endure until the end of time but that would be tantamount to claiming infallibility for ourselves and that seems a little more popish to me than Southern Baptist. Yet I doubt that there is very little "new" that we'll discover in the pages of Scripture so it would be prudent on our part to take very seriously what the "great men" of the past have had to say. But it seems to me, that we are more interested in the intellectual part of theology rather than the practical, the fleshed-out, the lived. Which leads me to my rather protracted point. I just cannot abide under the label of "Calvinist" if for no other reason, than the fact that he "practiced" forcing his views on the public and dealing sharply with those who dissented. So, if we are going to "resurrect" or "return" to these confessions, there are a lot of people I'm watching to see if they are going to also live like those whom they espouse.

For myself, I'll continue to teach Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, Crucified, Resurrected and soon Returning. I can see of NO GREATER to follow, espouse and to imitate. Will I fall short at times? You know I will. I'm not planning to fall short or making preparations to fall short. BUT, if and when I do, at least I'm falling short of the right person to follow. Jesus the Christ. The ONLY one who can truly cleanse, pick up the broken and heal the hurting. A name of which I'm not worthy, but THE NAME by which I am made worthy.

With that, (to borrow from you Peter)...
I am Luke

volfan007

all,

(p) God really does desire to save the whole world.

(q) Jesus wept over jerusalem because they would not repent.

(r)God takes no delight in the death of the wicked.


volfan 007-ridgerunner

Luke

I even reread before I posted and missed this. isse is supposed to be "issue".
Sorry

Luke

selahV

Luke: I loved your post! Preach on, dear brother, preach on! SelahV

VolFan: Are p,q,r part of my string as to why the resurgence of Calvinism? If they are, I think I'd have to disagree. But my mind is getting so twisted up, I may be wrong. I think they probably can all go into my letter (e) though. I know I'm pretty shook up. SelahV

mary

SelahV, I've copied a link about the Al Mohler/Paige Patterson Debate

http://www.baptistcourier.com/634.article.print

I think we all have beliefs that we believe to be "truths" What I get from reading these words from Al Mohler is that we need to respect that not everyone agrees with what we believe to be "truth" and so therefore we "discuss" I'm sure Al Mohler believes the five points to be "truth" and yet he seems able to present himself in a way which shows that he respects someone like Paige Patterson who disagrees with him. Was I clear? LOL? I'm looking for the article where I think Al Mohler hints at his belief that the resurgence in Calvinism in the SBC is related to the liberalism from the 70's/80's I really don't mean that to offend anyone, it just happens to be the opinion of a lot of us in the trenches and something I've read pretty often. I'll try to find the links.

mary

Here's a link:
http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=23457

And a quote from the article by Dr. Mohler:

Were it not for the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention," he added, the discussion over election might instead be over the ordination of homosexuals.

"By God's grace we are not there," he said to applause

Timotheos

Good Morning Peter,

Thanks for the reply, nicely put as always. Undoubtedly I was unclear in my previous comment about a couple of items you note in your response.

The "father/mother" comment was meant only to note the parental connection between an educational theological institution and the "children" which it seeks to produce. As the first institution which would shape the future generations of the newly minted Convention, it seems more than reasonable (and probable) to believe that the Abstract - far from being the singular theological convictions of one man - represented the agreeable confessional theology of all 293 delegates to the first convention in 1845. That men's theology drifts from it foundations - sometimes very quickly - is indisputable, if not disconcerting, but that is another matter altogether.

And in speaking of the Convention's confession, I did not mean to suggest that the SBC had its own formulated SBC confession when it first met in 1845 - it's clear that it did not. What is known about all of those first delegates is that they all came from churches or associations which held to the Charleston Confession, a derivative of the Philadelphia. I'm not operating on assumptions here, although it seemed so in my other post. Forgive the misunderstanding.

With regard to Dr. Cody's assertion that "no church holds...Calvinism," I find it hard to believe that He could empirically know the certainty of such a dogmatic statement. It is reminiscent of so many other similar hyperbolic (in my judgment) statements made by apologists of a particular view over the course of the Convention's short history. No theological side has been immune from such assertions. If it is, however, an objectively true statement, it merely speaks to the fluid nature of men's "convictions." This is also true regardless of one's theological persuasions.

It is, as you note, quite facinating, and worthy of more study.

Grace and peace,

Timotheos

Timotheos

Arrrrrgh! I despise sloppy proofreading! Shame on...me!

-jk

SelahV, without a doubt you have the coolest screen name out there, and you write with flair.

I think from your list, I would lean toward (f). I'd be interested in knowing more about the role of seminaries. My alphabet soup of reasons are those which, to a greater or lesser extent, I've noticed or have attracted me. But I may have misled you, because while Calvinism has definite draws, I personally do not march under that flag. Like you, I'm trying to make sense of its growth.

One other drawing card came to mind though, and let's see, I think we're up to (s): the sense that Calvinism is the true heir of the reformation. And you might say that this thread is a response to (t) the sense that Calvinism is the true heir of the SBC founders (phew! back to topic!).

Blessings, and apologies for throwing you a curve.


selahV

-jk: I thought this was topic! LOL! If we aren't careful we will have our own book on Calvinism from A to Z. Thank you for the two compliments...my screen name and writing style. Some have noticed the name...few the flair. Do I dare say anything else other than (u)because man must always be trying to explain God? SelahV

P.S. I wondered about your lettered answer to me. Especially given your earlier post to Peter. Must say I was a bit thrown. Thanks for clearing that up.

selahV

Timotheos: God's blessings my brother. I so enjoy reading your posts. I've learned much from you. I wondered about the father/mother thing. Glad you cleared that one up for me. I was scared. SelahV

Seth McBee

Wow...you guys have been busy...it has been crazy up here in Seattle with some major wind storms...anyway...I have yet to read every comment and I am not going to start now...but I wanted to just make sure that selahV's comment is answered from the original...

Mary, you had it completely right in your answer so thank you for that honest assessment of our views on when the elect are saved.

Hope all is well, and know that if I offended rella or Mary I apologize as that was never my intent, my intent was to have a good discussion on selahV's question and then further with John 12:32...

Peter...keep it up brother...and yes, the bees have been busy...

Michael Westmoreland-White

SelahV, No hassles. My biblical mentor, George R. Beasley-Murray, also had a hyphenated name. When my wife, Kate, and I got engaged, she wanted to keep her maiden name because of her fears of identity loss--she had seen it happen to many. And friends from high school were already asking her if, in getting married, she would give up preaching and "submit to her husband" (this from a woman who dominated her husband--and was the only one who didn't know this!).
But I had my own fears. As a child of divorce, I thought that if we each kept our names it would be too easy to split up if things got rough. And I feared people thinking we were shacked up instead of married. So, the hyphenation was part idealism and part compromise.

Mary, "inerrancy" was doubted in the SBC because it's an unbiblical doctrine. Scripture nowhere teaches it. Biblical authority was traditionally understood by Baptists in other ways until Fundamentalists pushed "inerrancy" on the SBC as a means of thought control--the Calvinism issue is a way of taking this further.
And, I'm afraid that I am one who thinks that gay marriage is a crucial theological issue. I'll try to just ignore the quote from Mohler. I have known him for years and our mutual dislike is intense. Since I am commanded to pray for enemies, I have to go pray for Al just now.

Grace and peace,
Michael Westmoreland-White

mary

Michael, I disagree with Al Mohler I think more than I agree. I respect your opinions on inerrancy, but do not agree. Shame on me for assuming everyone posting here thought like me on this matter. I will look forward to learning more of your beliefs and why you believe the way you do. You've impressed me so far with the knowledge and information you've presented so I shall expect to be challenged!

I take it from your post that we do tend to agree that the resurgence in Calvinism in the SBC was/is a reaction to what was termed "liberalism" from the 70's/80's?? My husband and I wonder if Al Mohler would have even been given the position he has today if there hadn't have been such a backlash.

Seth, thank you for the apology and I too apologize. I tend to fly off the handle and so I shall strive to put my preconceived ideas about "all" Calvinist aside as I post here.

Seth McBee

Mary,
I would agree with you on the "inerrancy" issue with the Bible. I don't understand how this is an "unbiblical" doctrine to say that God's Spirit perfectly moved the writer's to transcribe His Word. (2 Peter 1:20,21) Or with Psalm 119:89 that states "Forever, O Lord Your word is settled in heaven." With many other references to God's word it would seem as though what He gave His people would be perfect or inerrant in the originals.

Just my thoughts.

Michael Westmoreland-White

Perhaps it would take a different thread to discuss inerrancy? If Peter wants to start such a thread, I will be happy to participate. I try to give brief answers in comments sections. Longer arguments belong on one's own blog and I haven't seen any reason to blog on inerrancy. There are good evangelical cases against it on the web already. I'll look them up and provide links to those interested. (Why reinvent the wheel?)

I do agree with Mary that Mohler obtained his position as a reaction to the former "liberalism." (Actually, I knew him when HE was a liberal, a real liberal, but that's another story. He went from being too far Left to too far Right almost overnight!!!)

As for the resurgence of Calvinism in the SBC, this got going after I left, but the seeds were sewn along with the fundamentalist takeover. The takeover involved a purge of most of the SBC's intellectuals--all classed willy-nilly as "liberals." (There were--MAYBE--50 true liberals in the whole denomination and maybe 20 in teaching spots of which, perhaps 5, were in seminaries. That's the honest truth of the matter.) So, now there was an intellectual vacuum. Along comes the Founders Forum--referring not to the founders of Baptist life in the early 17th C., but to the founding leaders among big pastors and theologians in 1845 when the SBC was formed to defend the rights of missionaries to own SLAVES. (BTW, Calvinism, with its emphasis on predestination, was the number one theology used to defend slavery as God's will.) The Founders group had existed at least since the early '70s, but had been very small and unorganized. They made common cause with other Fundamentalists to take over the SBC. But then, since they had an intellectual system (however sterile)--NOT of the large Reformed tradition, but of narrow, 5-point 19th C. scholastic Calvinism--and the rest of the fundamentalist leaders did not, the Founders group were able to fill the vacuum. Some theology had to be taught now that the great theologians of the world (including the great Baptist theologians like Mullins and Moody, etc.) were all to be banned as "liberal." Biblicist revivalism wasn't going to cut it.
Thus, the Calvinist resurgence in the SBC.
But it is also a further erosion of Baptist belief in liberty of conscience. After all the non-Calvinists are purged from power, something else will be used to narrow things still further. Or so it seems to this Baptist from the South.

Michael Westmoreland-White

Here is a link to a great series on inerrancy and why it is the wrong way to describe biblical authority.

http://www.christilling.de/blog/2006/11/inerrancy-series.html

Michael Westmoreland-White

Peter graciously commended my blog, Levellers, (http://anabaptist418.blogspot.com/). But I should try to give potential readers an orientation. I do not write a straight theology blog: I combine posts on theology with posts on politics and social criticism from a Christian (Leveller) perspective. Thus, I write advocating gospel nonviolence/pacifism, economic justice for the poor and the elimination of hunger, an end to racism, sexism, and (more controversially) heterosexism, defense of human rights, care for the earth including the urgent attempt to reverse catastrophic global warming.

Theologically, I am an Anabaptist at the left end of the evangelical spectrum and/or the right end of the "neo-orthodox" or "post-liberal" spectrum. Part of my theological perspective can be found by using the search engine on my blog for posts on Mentors (5 profiled so far) and on Baptist Heroes. I also gave a post on my conversion experience (because a very rightwing blogger was accusing me on several blogs of not being "born again.") and one on "My Favorite Liberals" (see http://anabaptist418.blogspot.com/2006/10/my-favorite-liberals-my-essential.html ) and the first of a projected two part post on evangelical dialogue partners (http://anabaptist418.blogspot.com/2006/12/conservative-evangelical-dialogue.html). I expect the 2nd post on evangelicals to be finished before Christmas. And, I ran a contest on "Top Living Theologians" (http://anabaptist418.blogspot.com/2006/12/contest-top-living-theologians.html ). I will also start a series on "Faces to Watch" on up-and-coming theologians.
That should orient you.
Peter is right: Sometimes I write in a deliberately provocative manner. My pacifism is not because I am a naturally peaceful person but because Jesus commands nonviolence and enemy love.

Some people read my blog for the theology posts and others for the political ones. A few for both (thanks Dad!).

Now, I return you to Peter's wonderful blog. Forgive this extended commercial, please.

mary

Michael, thanks for all the information. I'll have to find the time to go through it all now. I doubt you'll change my mind, but I enjoy hearing different perspectives. Since the subject has been brought up here perhaps Peter will give us an inerrancy topic. I would also be interested in hearing more about the Calvinist resurgence in the SBC. What you've stated sounds pretty much like what I've heard through the years. I wonder how much actual "hard" proof there would be available to support all this? Al Mohler a liberal???? Who'd a thunk it! With that I'll say have a good weekend everyone! Seth I hope all is better soon in the Pacific Northwest!

Michael Westmoreland-White

Mary, "hard proof?" I can point to studies that did the historical and sociological work and provide evidence. For the rest, as with Mohler's former liberalism, I can say, "I was there. I'm a witness." The re-written history ("We had to save the SBC from terrible liberals!")is like Holocaust denial--sheer nonsense.

Hey, I understand about not changing minds. I read people all the time who are NEVER likely to change my mind. That's what dialogue is all about. When all you hear is an echo chamber of your own thoughts, you tend to do strange things like invade the wrong country in payback for 9/11 and nonexistent WMDs--ah, skip it. :_)

mary

Michael, LOL! One thing that I think is good about the Calvinist resurgence is it has challenged us to examine what we believe and to know exactly why we believe it. I agree with them in that many sitting in the pews are pretty weak when it comes to their knowledge of the Bible. Unfortunately, that has left some open to just any ol' theology someone presents to them. We've witnessed young men coming out of seminary who burn out really fast because they are simply not prepared to "dialogue" but want to force their doctrine. This is going to offend some people, but seminary is messing up more than it helps from what we've seen over the past ten years.

I'll enjoy checking out those sites. I've been pretty immersed in the far right so going left will be good for the ol' mind. Me - I'm probably closer to right, but hopefully you wouldn't think I'm too far gone! Moderation!

selahV

Mary: so you agree it is (e)? God's way of shaking the salt-shaker. LOL. selahV

Seminary doesn't prepare young seminarians for the "real" people in the pews. They are not all hungry Christians waiting to be fed raw steak. They are diverse, some lost, some babes, some starving, some well-nourished. The seminarian who goes to a church needs to realize his first priority is a servant and a shepherd. When he understands that he is the least of them, and must decrease so Christ may increase, then he can equip, edify admonish, exhort and encourage. My husband's first church thought it was their "responsibility and God-called mission" to train new preachers. We must have been really hard-headed for we stayed 6 years. I'd put our education there up against many folks with degrees. LOL! We dearly love those people and they us. SelahV

Timotheos

Ahhhh, Peter, now we get to hear from the "kinder, gentler" wing of Baptistville on your blog. I hope I hold out...:-)

selahV

Timotheos: What? SelahV

Michael Westmoreland-White

You know, if we are speaking of SBC seminaries, I can't speak about the situation after '94, but prior to that field work in churches meeting "real people" and ministering with them was part of the seminary experience--and you couldn't pass without it. I had a semester at a church, one in a hospital and one a prison setting.

I've since taught as a Visiting Prof. in Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical seminaries--and all required such field work still.

Given that, either the SBC schools have abandone such programs (which I find hard to believe) or something else has gone wrong with the seminary education--so that these poor mixed up new preachers you write about are unprepared IN SPITE OF their seminary experiences with real people in churches, rather than because seminary doesn't expose you to such. So, what else is going wrong? What's causing these young men (ALAS! No more young women in this part of Baptistdom!) to ignore their field experience or fail to learn from it??

peter

All,

I thank you all for the sometimes lively conversation and surely am glad it ended with a much better spirit.

One thing comes to my mind as we wind this thread down: how we shifted from an issue that affects the present SBC--Calvinism vs. nonCalvinism--to an issue that affects hardly anyone in the SBC--inerrancy vs. noninerrancy--brought a smile to my tired old face.

Inerrancy, whether one embraces it or not, now defines for SBs--indeed, I think evangelicals at large--how we collectively view Inscripturation. Only the tiniest dissent remains.

Even secular authorities acknowledge this about evangelicalism. The jury is in and it is, for all argumentative purposes, unanimous. What issue?, then, becomes the question.

In addition, peronally I settled that in my own journey in the early 80's, sifting through, as best I could, evidence both pro and con. And, as for it being a wrong way to view it, the only response I can say is, wrong according to whom?

For me, if evangelicalism has ever been right about anything, it surely is right about the nature of Scripture. Perhaps no concept has marshalled more philosophical, historical, theological and Biblical energy pre or post Reformation than the concept of Biblical authority.

Though Calvinist he was, Warfield surely captures this nonCalvinist's personal creedo about Biblical Revelation: "Whatever Scripture says, God says."

With that, I am...

Peter

Michael Westmoreland-White

Peter,
Inerrancy may be a "settled issue" for the SBC (because almost all the seminary-trained dissenters were driven out and the rest intimidated into silence) and it has just been made official policy of the Evangelical Theological Society, the dissent is still a very large minority view of evangelicals--including among Nazarenes, Pentecostals, Baptists outside the SBC, etc. Further, the issues won't go away, so it is bound to resurface in the SBC. Who would have thought a few years ago that beer-drinking would become a debate in the SBC??
But if this means that you see no profit in discussing this issue, fine. It's your blog.

selahV

PETER: Are you going to write anymore of Cody's works? Where can we find more of his essays? Can you get a listing of professors of the same period in which he wrote this? SelahV

selahV

PETER: how does one go about driving someone out of the SBC? Can they not have a voice, though it be silent or in the minority? Do associations vote out churches for the way their practices? I haven't had much dealings with this, so I was just wondering? SelahV

selahV

PETER: correction "vote out for their practices" Sorry, selahV

volfan007

selah,

churches can be and have been voted out of thier local associations, state associations, and the sbc...for thier beliefs and practices.

God bless ya, gal.

volfan007

Michael Westmoreland-White

Yes, take mine for example. We were voted out of the local association in 1991 for calling a woman pastor (who had been associate pastor for 10 years with no one complaining!) and then we left the SBC itself after they refused to seat messengers from any church that admitted having gay members!

So, these days we belong to the small Alliance of Baptists and do missions through networks of partnerships with indigenous Baptist groups instead of working with a large bureacracy. We joined the BWA as a congregation after the SBC left it as an act of solidarity with global Baptists who don't want to be dictated to by the SBC just because it is large and rich.

Despite all that, guess what? The SBC, KBC, and Long Run Association list us on their website as members--though they removed us 10 years before they HAD a website! And the SBC talks about other Baptist groups inflating their numbers. Sheesh.

volfan07

michael,

if your church has ordained women as pastors, and has known gay members, and yall are ok with that, then yall should have been asked to leave all that you mentioned.

in fact, i am proud of your association and the kbc and the sbc for thier action.

volfan007

volfan07

or, maybe i should have signed my name...

volfan007-tn-ridgerunner

peter

Michael,

Perhaps I have my head in the sand. I have been accused for such so it may be true, I'll admit. But I missed it on the BP or elsewhere that our SBC accuses others for bloating numbers. Which groups are these, Michael? I'd really like to know.

Secondly, Michael, has someone from your fellowship asked anyone at any of these entities who may be able to correct the faulty numbers if he/she is aware of these discrepancies?

In addition, if your fellowship left the SBC, for conscience sake, my view is, whether I agree with your position or not, you are to be commended. Yet, I cannot help sensing, Michael, a bit of resentment toward the SBC coming from your posts.

If I am correct, why would you not wish us well as you follow the path you believe God has led you as we would like to offer you the same blessing?

Frankly, agree or not, just as we've defined our understanding of Biblical inspiration, with which you obviously disagree, Michael, so have we as SBs clearly defined the parameters of both complemetarianism as well as a clear position on the gay agenda.

I trust you Lord's Day has been well, Michael. With that, I am...

Peter

selahV

VOLFAN007-TN-RIDGERUNNER: You crack me up! Do you have any diplomacy in your sweet Tennessee veins at all? :) jk

MICHAEL: I have to agree with Volfan as to your church not associating with SBC. Not that my one little voice means anything. I haven't been a messenger in years. Just talking here in blogworld.

I'm glad you have found a home in which you feel comfortable worshipping as you see right with the Lord. I am very happy you are happy serving under the leadership of your wife. I hope you are glad that I am where I am, and you are able to rejoice with me in the fact that I am happy serving under the leadership of my husband, too.

My husband just went to Boyce for 2 years, then began pastoring. But we know there were some "liberal" (if that is politically incorrect, I am sorry.) churches in the Louisville area. It truly perplexed us as we couldn't rationalize it with what we saw in scripture. Homosexuality may not bother you. It bothers me. Not because I'm homophobic. I have a friend who happens to practice that behavior and he knows where I stand. We're still friends. I pray for him and he says he prays for me.

That said, I am certain that whitewashing scripture is responsible for our greatest ills in the SBC. Which may be one reason the association didn't raise public objection to your church having a woman associate until she was made pastor. I don't know. I wasn't there.

Plus there's that mega-media circus we SBC must deal with each time we burp. I find no joy in people like Haggard getting publically rebuked the way he was. I sincerely believe the leadership in his church did the right thing.

What you do in your church is up to you and your congregation of believers. And if your church wants to associate with a group of churches who disagree with you and they vote you out because of your practices, then I suppose you should be quite happy with the smaller BA if that is where you are all comfortable fellowshipping together.

I find it rather odd that you'd say, "We joined the BWA as a congregation after the SBC left it as an act of solidarity with global Baptists who don't want to be dictated to by the SBC just because it is large and rich."

I sincerely doubt that is the reason for severing ties. Or is it tithes? How'd that song go Southern Baptists use to sing for a bendiction? Doesn't matter.

But what does matter is sin in our lives. Any leaven is more leaven than needed. Jesus died that His bride be unblemished. Scripture supports how He expects her to look when He returns. And I just can't get past those numerous scriptures that hand us the scrub brushes and Lava soap.

We reap what we sow; and the seeds we sow in darkness, will spring forth in light. And the seeds which are weeds need to go the way of weeds, pulled out and layed in the compost. Should God regenerate and make that weed into richness worth cultivating back into the ground, then Praise His Holy name! But should the weed have grown enough to produce a pod of seeds to dry and grow in the midst of the compost, then it is well that the tillers, remove them before they are allowed to grow.

Just my take on things. I'm only a woman. What can I say? Maybe I'm brainwashed.

BTW, I have a dear Christian friend who was a major disciple of the Lord in the SB church I was saved in. She was so vital to my early growth as a Christian. Today she serves as an Episcopalian Minister up north somewhere. She went to Southern. (There's only one.) But she left the SBC because she could not serve as a Pastor in our convention. Her choice. The SBC has choices too. And at this time, they choose to follow their understanding of scripture.

I do not condemn you, nor my friend, for choices made. I am only a human. I am not your judge. Your choice is to be part of the BA. My friend's is to be Episcopalian. Mine is to be a Southern Baptist. I am held to account for my teachings and my understanding of the Word of God, not yours, Michael.

When I stand before God, if I am wrong, I will accept whatever He doles out. I'm okay with that. What I am not okay with is demeaning another because they do not choose my view. It is their choice to choose their path. It's my choice to choose mine.

And I am happy as a daisy in a cowpile at night when I lay my head on my pillow. I do not fret, nor fear this stuff. In this vapor I inhabit for a moment of eternity, it just doesn't matter as much as loving you as God would have me love. SelahV

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