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(Peter you may want to delete this post and I understand if you do.)

Peter, I just don't know what to say. I am so saddened and distressed by this whole situation. If not for my children I think I would have given up on church completely and now I question if I should even be taking my children to an SBC church. You know that we are personally in the middle of a "take-over" attempt in our little church and things are heating up. Of course I should be greatful since I'm such a "weak" sister that one who is holier than me has decided to put in the effort to correct our wrong doctrine through deception and lies. Not sure where these Founder's types get the idea from scripture that believing they are the only ones who know anything about the Bible they are allowed to lie and deceive "weaker" brethren for their own good. But then they know the Bible better than us don't they? If I were to make a "Founder's Group" in my church with the express purpose of convincing everyone we needed to get the church back to the nonCalvinist, preTrib Rapture believing, Dispensationalist of my youth, I would be run out of church, but these people feel they have the right and to do this to our convention? This is nothing but politics. All this griping about unregenerate church membership and who are the ones acting unregenerate? What will be the end of all this? A convention torn apart? Will it be that important to the Founders when they've chased all of us away. They'll pat themselves on the back and say they got rid of us unregenerate, but will they have the money and power they are so desparately seeking? I'll tell you one thing that we've discussed in my homeschool group - if our sons decide to go to seminary someday, it will not be to the seminary training men to come into unsuspecting churches which they know do not agree with their doctrine with the express purposes of trying to reform those who don't want to be reformed. Hopefully, this situation will wake up the SBC to the fact that there are people who want to take it over, not coexist, but completely take it over. Someone needs to look into what kind of training Al Mohler is providing those coming from his seminary because Paige Patterson made they statement that whoever and whatever doctrine pastoral candidates hold they should be forthright. I know for a fact that this is not happening. They will say anything against anyone to accomplish their goal. If that's not enough reason to know their doctrine is a false doctrine than I don't know what is. Christians do not act this way.



where do you see the modern day issues in the sbc taking us? where will this all end up?



I'm not Peter but here is my take. Southern Baptists have made it this far fighting amongst ourselves, dealing with contention and the likes. History tells me we'll continue just like we have up to this point.
My eyes tell me that we'll end up with a very splintered, loosely allied, confederation of churches.
My consolation is that even if the SBC were to suffer a total demise in organization, Jesus is still Lord over the Body "proper" with our without an SBC label. Surely that would be a sad thought, no SBC, but our Savior is above tags. One old preacher explained it to me this way: Tags-you go up they fall off, you go down they burn off. I've never forgotten that.




Good morning. I know you like I anticipate a great Lord's Day--and that even in the face of the hurt you obviously feel over your Body right now.

Mary, I do not know the answers to your moving circumstances. I wish I could be more helpful. When our Lord allows someone close to us--or even us--to develop cancer or be plagued by another equally distrubing tragedy, we sometimes feel intense pressure to second guess Him by pondering over and over "Why Lord?" Why them, why us, why me?

I think it is not much different when the Body of Christ suffers in any number of ways--including but not limited to--perhaps an insensitive leader who does not calculate adequately either the stupendous change he's asking of the people he leads or if the direction is even proper and just for this particular Body.

Thus, "Why us, Lord?" is not a question that is off bounds to our Lord anymore than it is when we go through personal trials. I hear that cry, Mary.

You and your husband obviously love your Church and love your Lord. I encourage you to disallow the negative experience you face with a single person--even in this case, the Pastor--to seed an embittered root deep in your soul. Please understand: I in no way am implying you come across as bitter. You are not, from all I can tell. Rather you stand at a juncture where bitterness easily seeds, in the same sense that an individual sufferer may seed bitterness toward God because he/she cannot accept the reality that God allowed the cancer to spoil them.

I was Pastor at one church where I honestly thought I would spiritually die before God got me out. My soul rotted for months, craving any morsel it could find that I was not alone, that God had not given me over.

As I look back on that today, I hold only good memories; the bad ones vanished into a cloudy realm of the netherworld. For a while, bitterness held me captive. It definitely took root. Until I gained a glimpse that God was my gardener and the pain I experienced was actually God pulling roots.

I hope this has not come across as me "preaching," Mary. And, surely, I blush if it comes to you as "Now, Now. Don't be questioning God. He knows what's best. His ways are not ours..." To the contrary, I think God knows your pain now and it would stand mockery to Him to ignore it or pretend you were not hurting.

Take your Body to Him in prayer for it is really His Body after all. Take your Pastor too. And be prepared for what the gardener will do--even if ultimately it is to graft you into another Body. If so, be glad.

Grace today, Mary. With that, I am...



Peter, you have blessed me today and if we never meet this side of glory you're on my list of people I want to hug on the other side! I apologize to you and anyone else I've offended by my vent. It just seems like the bad news in the SBC is coming at the worst difficult time for us. No excuse I know. I just wish some of these leaders would recognize the influence they have and know that real people are getting caught in this conflict. This I know: God is good all the time and He is on His throne. I sooooo much do not want to be in this situation we are in currently, but I'm convicted daily that we are exactly where God wants us. So I need to get control of myself and throw myself into God's hands and let Him deal with HIS church in His way and His time. By His grace and only with His power I'll not stumble and cause pain to Christian brothers and sisters. I've always been a rather high maintenance emotional girl, but I'm confident my God is able to handle me. Thank you Peter, let me testify to the fact that your ministry has reached across the states to help a sister in need!

Tim, I will not be responding. There are several leaders involved in our church who are seeking God's face regarding several issues. I hope you'll forgive my rant. There is comfort in being able to vent to strangers over the internet, but know that in Christ we are not strangers but brothers and sisters.

Michael Westmoreland-White

The ironic thing about the early Baptist-Quaker debates is that both groups were switching members back and forth as they convinced each other (and then back again!) and both were guilty of taking the others' words in the worst possible senses. (George Keith, for instance, soon left the Quakers, accepted believers' baptism, and started a pacifist form of Baptists called "Keithien Baptists"--even though Keith quickly left for the Episcopalians. The Keithians lasted until the Civil War when most of their members were arrested for the duration of the war for draft resistance.) On the other side, about 25% of Knollys' congregation and much of Kiffin's left to join the Quakers!
Competition for members among a limited group of dissenters is bound to make debates far more acrimonius than necessary.
Mary, I will pray for you. Know this: I cannot speak for the Holy Spirit (thank GOD!) about what course your congregation should take, but remember that the SBC, big as it is, is not even the only BAPTIST group around, never mind the whole of the Body of Christ. Maybe if the SBC chases enough people and congregations away, the ones who remain will be open to the Spirit and repent.


My Brother David,

Thank you for your penetrating question. I also appreciate Luke's input and, very honestly, my own paint is probably the same color as his with but a slightly different shade.

Though it is difficult to predict, more and more, as Luke says, these splintering groups are driven by any number of competing interests: particular theological bends (e.g. Calvinists), peculiar church grids (e.g emergent/emerging), exceptional experiences (e.g. charismatic), or just plain power-hungry politics.

Presently, and, in my view, pitifully, the landscape of the SBC looks little different from either the Democratic or Republican party--take your pick. Now, I am naive, I'll be the first to admit. But not so naive that I think that politics is unique to this particular era of SBC history. While surely the Conservative Resurgeance (CR) was about the nature of the Bible, the CR was won at the ballot box of the SBC.

And, while I'm at it here, I may as well come clean and say that as much as I agreed/agree with CR theology--especially its view of Biblical Inspiration--the CR inherently spawned some unintended consequences that, I believe, may be the source of some of what we are experiencing today. Two examples.

First, the CR, the way I recall, placed a heavy amount of energy arguing for adherence to the Baptist Faith & Message. Know I personally have not one statement in the present BF&M with which I'd contend. But, quite honestly, I did not have any statement in the 1963 BF&M with which I would contend! We changed the BF&M not once but twice when we were in a postition to do so.

Given such a close connection to the BF&M,and a perpetual appeal to its summing up what Baptists are supposed to believe, there has unintendedly arisen, at least in my view, an unhealthy adherence in some circles to the BF&M as if an appeal to it should end our woes.

Dr. Mohler, Dr. George, Dr. Nettles continue to lament our lack of committment to our "confessional heritage" What the unsuspecting Baptist does not get is that this appeal to confessionalism rather than appeal to Scripture moves us more toward viewing our statements as "creeds" than general expressions of our faith.

On the more popular level, for example, we have folk like Wade Burleson arguing in essence that, if a doctrine is NOT FORBIDDEN in the BF&M or if a doctrine is CONSISTENT WITH the BF&M, then it is perfectly alright. The standard seems to be conformity to the BF&M.

For me, I get a little theologically queezy thinking about that. While again, I do not disagree with the BF&M2K, the only real standard the historic Southern Baptist possesses is the Bible.

Consequently, as I wrote somewhere in another thread, if the ones who continue to tout the BF&M as the authority for say, speaking in tongues--because it does NOT FORBID IT, know that we may both imminently and tragically find ourselves voting on a cessationist version of the BF&M for the simply reason that most SBs are cessationists.

For me, I'm not unsure that it would be a good idea to not talk much about the BF&M for about the next 50 years or so. By then, we may have deflated any excessive bloat we have about it.

One other example I'll quickly mention that stands, at least for me, as a possible unintended consequence spawned by the CR is the unhealthy resurgence of aggressive Calvinism in our Convention.

Now my Calvinist brothers will immediately say "Pleeease!" That's fair enough since a large focus here pertains to balancing out some of the possible aggression Calvinists have experienced over the past 10 years or so.

Nonetheless, if one will recall that, largely speaking, the intellectual guns the CR shot during the forging stages of the movement were staunch Calvinists.

Indeed the standard textbook for the historical Baptist view of Biblical Inerrancy then and now was co-authored by Dr. Nettles--Baptists and the Bible. This was the unofficial manual for inerrancy debates among Baptists.

In addition, Calvinists were not only the leading critics of non-inerrancy among Southern Baptists, but for the most part, the entire Inerrancy movement of the last quarter of the 20th century possessed as its architects--while not exclusively so, surely cheifly so--the Reformed theological community.

Nor am I "blaming" the CR for the aggressive Calvinist movement today. For me, I agreed as did they with the Calvinists' understanding of Biblcial revelation and inspiration. Yet--and the kicker is here--once we proverbially climbed in bed with them, it would prove harder to get out than it was to get in. In short, the CR got more than they bargained for.

The splintering will unfortunately continue from my view, different folks arguing for their particular strokes. Even so, politics is the worst possible product we could purchase; but, it seems to be the only thing on the market.

Come Lord Jesus, Come. With that, I am...


Richard Coords


You wrote: "For me, it would be a bit of fresh air to return to arguing theology than accusing the brethren."

What do you make of the controversy involving Bellevue Baptist & Steve Gaines? My brother in law recently left that church because of the issues involving Steve Gaines. Some of the matters that he raised were quite distressing.

I agree that in comparison, a return to arguing theology would be refreshing change, and recently, in my dialgue, I've tried to invoke a bit of humor to explain the principles behind our differences:


We'll see how it's received. It seems that there is a fine line between having fun, and tuning people out. I do not wish the latter.

Michael Westmoreland-White

Ah, here's where we differ, Peter. The CR (so-called) WERE wrong about Scripture, Nettles' book about Baptists and the Bible is full of historical inaccuracies, and that approach to Scripture has led directly to the creedalism (and undermining of biblical authority) that you are deploring. This is not just an unhappy confluence of events that could have been avoided. It is cause and effect.



I am not so sure, my brother. Though I have not "run the sources" on Nettles' book--it's been so long since I even looked at it--the thesis seems to be fairly consistent with my own reading of SBhistory.

But, as I faintly alluded, inerrancy was a question that faced conservative christianity (cc) in general and, in general, cc openly embraced it. There were and still are dissenters but they represent a stark minority, I think.

As for the "cause/effect" scenario, I agree with you. I think a misstep of the CR was to place an enormous amout of weight on the BF&M that now has spawned perperual--and trivial, in my view--protests based up it. However, that's hindsight. Which is why I called it an unintended consequence, or in your words, an unintended "effect."

With that, I am...


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