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2008.04.21

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peter

camelrider,

Where does the Bible say one cannot instead of a glass of wine have a bit blue belly? If one insists on throwing the Mountain Dew in, there is no moral reason to not also argue for meth.

My hope is, we will one day swipe these surface slush objections aside and actually dig deep down and strike moral rock.

With that, I am...

Peter

Peter

camelrider

"My hope is, we will one day swipe these surface slush objections aside and actually dig deep down and strike moral rock."

I agree, I'm just trying to figure out why we take stances on non-essentials. If I drink a glass of wine and someone from the SBC sees me I lose my job...but if I overeat all year, never exercise and my health goes south all I get is grounded for a while until I pull it all together. This is the SBC which you said is the closest thing to the NT church. I'm just trying to figure it all out.

Maybe if we didn't make non-essentials equal with essentials then we could discuss the real issues.
Camel Rider

Charles

Peter,

Bravo!

Part of our loss of identity has been through the efforts of Tom Ascol and The Founders. They have somehow pulled the wool over the eyes of many Southern Baptists into believing that they (The Founders) are the heirs to Spurgeon, etc. when in fact they are mere impostors.

Charles
The Calvinist Flyswatter

Tim G

"My hope is, we will one day swipe these surface slush objections aside and actually dig deep down and strike moral rock."

Peter, that was worth the read my friend!

Timotheos

Now Charles, why're you wandering out of your little patch of woods - nobody to play with back home? Bob takin' a nap?

That one-string fiddle you been playin' forever is getting awfully tired, friend. How about a different tune?

Peace.

camelrider

Flykiller,
What loss of SB identity are you talking about? Because there are people that don't believe 100% like you there's a loss of identity? So we all have to believe everything exactly the same? You blog and call guys like Dr. Mohler a heretic and then wonder why numbers are on the decline.

Here's why...people are sick of this stuff. Research is coming back from all over that shows that under 40's are not embracing the ways of the SBC, they're not attending the convention and all of the key numbers are on the decline. We had our conservative reformation and then nothing happened. We don't want to grow, we want to protect...and guys like you want to swat flies and point fingers.

cb scott

Peter,

This is your best work. I stand with you in it.

You may or may not have read my comments relating to similar issues over at SBC TODAY on the "York" post.

You are not engaging on minor or secondary issues here. This is bedrock as you say. Those who do not understand this may never understand. Those who argue against this argue from a weak position.

Baptist theology is the closest adherent to biblical truth of any on earth. We must protect it.

We no longer are engaged with liberal or moderate Baptists. We are now debating those who have embraced a post-modern mysticism, seeking a progressive revelation, denying biblical absolutes and replacing biblical faith with personal experience.

They use the Bible to impose on the text their cultural meanings and desires that ignore or altar the meaning of the Scripture altogether.

In doing this they promote personal authority (self elevation) above the inspired Word of God.

The decline in the SBC is not due to those who hold to an orthodox faith, but, in fact, due to those who oppose it within, both to the left and to the right.

The post-modern world needs the same gospel Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill. A gospel formed by the culture will fail.

We must rise up and proclaim the gospel of Christ or we will fall. Baptist theology embraces the gospel for the gospel is the foundation of Baptist theology.

Therefore we must protect it, preach it, teach it, without compromise. If not we will go the way of so many before us. We will no longer embrace the gospel.

cb

Bill

I don't quite get it. People are lining up to give Peter an attaboy, which he may well deserve, but I still don't know what he thinks baptist identity is. The three things he listed? Sign me up. But I can't help but think that there's alot more he considers essential to baptist identity.

Steve

good comment CB!!
"We are now debating those who have embraced a post-modern mysticism, seeking a progressive revelation, denying biblical absolutes and replacing biblical faith with personal experience." Amen!!
Our Baptist distinctives are a protection against these things too (I guess our forefathers faced the same onslaughts as we do today).
Steve

selahV

cb...sometimes you absolutely blow my mind:
"The decline in the SBC is not due to those who hold to an orthodox faith, but, in fact, due to those who oppose it within, both to the left and to the right."

Powerful statement. If only we could all seek peace in the Peacemaker instead of our individual interests. selahV

Jennifer

What an interesting thread! I've discussed this very issue fairly recently with a friend of mine who's traveled a sort of similar path as me. I became a Christian in a SB church that my friend Amy's dad later became pastor of. We both moved away; she joined a Bible Church in Texas (family connection there and a lot of less-than-conservative SB churches, she has said), while I joined a Christian Church. I loved my Christian Church. It was actually pretty identical to my old SBC in belief (it didn't teach that baptism saves you, which is the stereotype of Christian Churches, and admitedly, is true of some). The only real differences were (1) communion every Sunday (for which they cite Scripture, and are certainly at least as convinced as any SBCer that they most closely match the NT church), (2) an even stronger belief in the independence of the local church than SBCers (the annual convention is preaching/teaching only -- no votes at all, and the president is simply the main preacher -- my preaching minister was president one year while I was there, wow!), (3) and a typical (but not uniform) belief in the possibility of apostacy -- I still hold to the security of the believer, but can hardly condemn my brothers and sisters who disagree when they read passages such as in Hebrews which in plain language seem to pretty solidly support their view! -- and, yes, I know there are passages which support the security view as well, I'm simply saying I recognize that they are doing their best to draw their beliefs from Scripture).
And now, Amy and I are back in SB churches! I moved to the norther Virginia area and searched for a whopping year and a half before finding a church that preaches the Bible and has its priorities straight. But I didn't choose it because it's Baptist. In fact, I visited Bible churches, Baptist churches, non-denom churches, and a Christian church. I got desperate at one point and looked into the local Lutheran church (though I am not Calvinist, I find the 4-pt. version more biblically defensible than the 5-pt. version). But then I found out they believe in transsubstantiation. Well, beautiful and meaningful as I find communion (and I learned to treasure it in my Christian church), I think that would make it kinda hard to concentrate on Christ's sacrifice for me. I'd be too busy looking at the person next to me thinking, "Wow, that person thinks he's drinking blood..."
Anyway, I apologize for my terrible longwindedness -- my point, I suppose, is that while I understand there's a need for "Baptist" to mean something, for me personally it's pretty unimportant. I actually don't take "Baptist" as an identify myself (Christian only, as the Christian church people historically said, probably to the annoyance of the other groups). Baptist is in the name of my church, but I was seeking a Bible-believing Christ-first church, and rejected a couple of Baptist ones along with the others before I found Centreville Baptist (shameless plug)...but perhaps there's a need for a core of people to somehow maintain "Baptist-ness." I think this will become more and more difficult as more and more people have stories like mine.
Anyway, I think this is an extremely worthwhile discussion!

peter

All,

Thank you for the thread. It's been a very good read. I realize some of the questions were not addressed. But perhaps part two can lend itself to more fully engaging them. Indeed, if things go as planned, I know so!

I especially appreciated a couple of new logs, Camelrider and Jennifer, to whom I address a note below.

Camelrider adds an entirely other dimension to the discussion while making one grin through a pinch of spicy humor. I like that...In fact, we all need that. Stop by anytime, Camelrider.

With that, I am...

Peter

P.S. Probably Part II of this post will go up Monday. Tomorrow I have a more provocative piece that may swarm a few of my Calvinist brother bees with stingers stiffened ready to stick. When the queen gets questioned, well...better head for the waterhole...

peter

Jennifer,

Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your story. And I agree, the independence idea of Christian Churches lends itself to precisely what you experienced: not typical of all of Christian Churches.

I also appreciated your term "Baptist-ness". You, my sister, have delivered to me a great descriptive word which captures much of what some mean by Baptist Identity. I hope I shall not be presumptous if I use it in the future.

One clarification, if I might. When we argue here for maintaining our "Baptist-ness", we neither mean by such in any way to argue against the full and final identity we possess with Jesus Christ; nor still do we even mean--at least I do not--that, at all costs whatsoever, we must retain the "Baptist" name.

From my view, having "Baptist" in one's name counts for absolutely nothing in possessing the "Baptist-ness" in our faith community. My son-in-law is Lead Student Pastor at First Redeemer Church in North Metropolitan Atlanta.

FRC is a fully cooperating Southern Baptist Church. Dr. Richard Lee, the Senior and Founding Pastor, is a great Southern Baptist. Yet they chose a public name without "Baptist" in it.

More significantly, the very issue we face and have been discussing on this thread and elsewhere is precisely although contrarily captured by this same idea.

We have now dissenting splinters within the Southern Baptist Convention who absolutely have no reservation retaining Baptist "in name" yet wish to thoroughly wash down the sink much of the honorable and biblical "Baptist-ness" our spiritual community historically possesses.

For me, though I prefer it, the name "Baptist" is ultimately inconsequential; it's our "Baptist-ness" that stands non-negotiable.

Grace, Jennifer. May your day be pleasing to our Lord. With that, I am...

Peter

Benji Ramsaur

Bill,

Just for clarity's sake, I'm not lining up to give Peter an attaboy. I don't think Peter and I agree here.

Byroniac

Peter, you have hit the nail on the head in one sense. I agree with you in your comments concerning Baptist versus Baptist-ness. What we disagree on probably is what exactly would constitute Baptist-ness. I cannot speak for the SBC as a whole, but in my local area, Spurgeon would not be welcome in a SBC church once the full range of his beliefs became known, with very few exceptions. I am NOT saying that everyone must believe like Spurgeon did--I honestly wish they did. But it should not be required. However, that same courtesy has not been extended to me in my experience locally. My beliefs are basically forbidden, causing me to disassociate with the name "Baptist" and all it entails in this area at times. I wish my experience was broader, but I have to work with what I have in this area.

Benji Ramsaur

Bill,

One more thing. I wasn't pickin' on you. I was pickin' on Peter [and Volfan].

Peter and I have a unique blogging relationship:)

James

Peter:

I'm just now reading this post, so please pardon my tardy reply.

Just a few thoughts...

I appreciate your involvement and approval of cooperating with evangelicals of other denominations.

I agree with you that planting churches with those of other denominations is unwise.

I seriously doubt Dr. Ascol and others involved with the Founders would be dismayed that you were saved in 1977 (and walked the aisle). Rather, I'm sure they rejoice for God's grace in your life 31 years ago (and so do I).

As a pastor I have come across many people (with no evident love for God and no concern about His Church) who believe they are saved because they: walked the aisle, were baptized, etc. Sadly, I've met many individuals with such erroneous thinking. I believe the main fault with this phenomena is not necessarily the altar call, but a lack of clarity in proclaiming the Gospel and Christ's demands for following Him.

Thanks for sharing your thought on this topic.

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