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2009.10.18

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Bart Barber

Acts 29 is an interesting phenomenon. They've obviously had some prolific successes in the terms of the number of congregations that they are able to plant. But they also pose some troubling questions for many Southern Baptists.

I think they stand in roughly the same connection with Southern Baptists in 2009 that Alexander Campbell occupied in 1820 or so. They are nominally Baptist-friendly if not precisely Baptist. They've championed some things that have gained them a following among some Southern Baptists. But they're on a clear trajectory to become a denomination unto themselves, although they would go apoplectic to have that word pinned upon them. Every word of that description could have been applied to the Campbellite movement in the early 1820s and to daughter Campbellite movements, and I think it all applies to Acts 29 today.

Just a wild-eyed theory from a guy who tends to see parallels in our history.

kim

Peter,

Thanks for addressing this. I have kept up on Dr. Akin's mythbusters series. I was a little put off by Dr. Akin thinking a big imagination is needed to believe in a future partnership with Acts 29. Seeing as how I am a Missouri Baptist, and an MBC board member...Incredible imagination?...Not so much. Everyone just needs to be paying attention...and ask LOTS of questions.

Barry D. Bishop

Peter,
You seem to have a great mind and keen insight. I like your discerning commentary on things Baptist. However, after reading your last few blog posts I am wondering if Danny Akin will be able to do anything right again, in your estimation.

It reminds me of blogs I have read about Rick Warren--some praised him to heaven, while others counted him as the Antichrist himself. But let's be honest one man can't be both.
All I am saying is that I find it hard to find the truth about something when there is a bias involved.

Everything I have seen, read, and heard about/from Danny Akin runs counter to what I have read here. But maybe I am wrong.
confused,
Barry Bishop

Byroniac

Bart Barber, I think I would have to subscribe to an alternate view. I think the Acts 29 network has such good ties with SBCers in the MBC because they seem to me to be very "Baptistic." And I think the alcohol issue is a watershed issue for SBC, and shouldn't be. The moderationists (if that's word) that I know, including myself, wouldn't make disagreement on this issue a fellowship issue. But it seems to me that the view of some in Acts 29 concerning alcoholic beverages is a fellowship barrier for those in the SBC. To me that's sad. There won't be an SBC (or an Acts 29) in heaven, and yet we must remain separate in doing gospel work? If you ask me, that's the question with a truly sad answer from the MBC.

peter lumpkins

Kim,

You're very welcome. Know I fully supported the decision the MBC made concerning A29N. And, the MBC should be a good barometer to consider when future decisions are made from either other state conventions or the SBC in general.

Grace.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Barry,

Thanks for your honest contribution. Please understand that I may be just as confused as you.

I confessed to another who commented on my criticisms concerning Dr. Akin's "myths" my complete dismay in writing these posts. I take no pleasure in it and stand to lose not only respect I have gained but friendship as well from some of Dr. Akin's former students with whom I now fellowship.

On the other hand, neither am I a 'hypocrite' (his accusation toward me)--at least at this juncture. Dr. Akin's denominational servanthood cannot stand as a generic shield against any and all criticisms.

My only consolation is I've done all I know to do to cleanse these posts from the personal. I realize, in the end, that it is virtually impossible to be completely impersonal if for no other reason than Dr. Akin's name is attached to the documents. Alone, that makes my responses quite personal. Nonetheless, my goal is to not deal with he who writes but the words he writes.

Finally, Barry, you have written what I wish some of Dr. Akin's closest confidants would shove under his nose--tie him to a chair if they have to!--in order for him to read: "after reading your last few blog posts I am wondering if Danny Akin will be able to do anything right again, in your estimation." I hear you, Barry. My heart aches presently. It is real and I must face this as a real possibility. May our Lord grant me grace to recover...

But, if it is real for me, it is just as real for others. That's why Dr. Akin, I think, made a tragic error in addressing these "myths" so comprehensively. The sad fact is, the posts lack a presidential aura about them--"Everything I have seen, read, and heard about/from Danny Akin runs counter to what I have read here." The only thing I'd change is, it runs counter to everything I've read in his series on "myths."

Grace, Barry. May our Lord grant us all an edifying way to dialog.

With that, I am...
Peter

Bart Barber

Byroniac,

If you would claim that Acts 29 is "baptistic" then you are going well beyond what they would claim for themselves. This fits the parallel perfectly. In 1820 Alexander Campbell was the darling of the Mahoning Baptist Association—the golden child of "Baptist" apologetics for his strident attacks upon paedobaptism. They would have gone far beyond calling him "baptistic" (both because they presumed him to be entirely Baptist and because they lived in an age in which people preferred words with actual meaning).

Acts 29 is the coalescence of a massive personality cult and a burgeoning network. It is not atypical for Campbellite groups to eschew the label "denomination," and I'm not positive that Acts 29 will readily welcome the descriptor, but Acts 29 is well down the path that other groups have trod toward becoming a denomination.

tyler recker.

It seems to me that saying that a partnership was in existence between the Missouri Baptist Convention and Acts29 requires that we let an anti-A29 agenda get in the way of our knowledge about how the Convention works.

Within the autonomy of the local church, SBC churches voluntarily choose to associate with the Convention. Likewise, some Missouri SBC church plants (that were receiving funds from the MBC) also had voluntarily (on their own through the autonomy of the local church) chose to associate with Acts 29. This really doesn't mean there was a formal partnership between Acts 29 and the MBC.

I am a member of NewBranch Community Church (SBC). I also am a member at REI (to get a discount on hiking equipment). Now, of course, just because I have chosen to associate with both NewBranch and REI completely on my own, doesn't really mean that there is a formal partnership between REI and NewBranch.

Cordially submitted... (Please correct me where I misunderstand the "formal partnership" that was in place between the MBC and A29...)

peter lumpkins

Tyler,

Sorry I don't get the point. I wrote, "a formal tie between Acts 29 and Southern Baptists was in existence--Southern Baptists who make up the The Missouri Baptist Convention." Further, explaining I wrote, "Indeed Acts 29 Network churches/church plants were receiving Cooperative Program dollars from Missouri Baptists until the Executive Board of the MBC voted in December, 2007 to cease..."

If I am not mistaken, if a church was a cooperating Southern Baptist with the MBC, then funds prior to Dec., 2007, were paid, on the church's behalf, to A29N new church plants as a budgetary item of the MBC. After Dec, 2007, a cooperating Southern Baptist with the MBC could still be a supporter of A29N causes if they voluntarily desired. However, a church could not support A29N causes through the MBC. I'm not sure how to make it any simpler.

Thanks Tyler.

With that, I am...
Peter

tyler recker.

Peter,

I am politely questioning whether that's really a "formal" tie because it seems very clearly to be an "indirect" tie.

CP funds went straight to churches who also happened to be A29. The MBC did not have a formal relationship with A29 that sent CP funds to the organization. Rather, the MBC had a relationship with the churches that also had a relationship with A29.

Again, my illustration. The fact that Tyler is a member at NewBranch and REI does not represent a formal partnership between the 2 organizations. In the same way, the fact that Generic Church was a member (and receiving funds) from the MBC and also a member of Acts29 does not represent a formal tie, but an indirect tie.

It'd be different if the MBC cut a check to Acts29 and then A29 passed that on to these churches, but A29 is primarily a network of peers who are united theologically and methodologically. Any partnership it had with the MBC came via the local Church.

Thanks Peter.

peter lumpkins

Tyler,

Allow me once again to quote myself. I assure you I am gaining no self-aggrandizing fuzzies in doing so.

In fact, I acknowledged precisely what you're saying: "Indeed Acts 29 Network churches/church plants were receiving Cooperative Program dollars from Missouri Baptists until the Executive Board of the MBC voted in December, 2007 to cease..."

Hence, the "direct"/"indirect" distinction you're citing holds absolutely no difference to the point I'm making here.

With that, I am...
Peter

tyler recker.

Peter,

The direct/indirect distinction makes all the difference between whether the tie between Acts 29 and the Missouri Baptist Convention was "formal".

Thus, it makes all difference when you say "a formal tie between Acts 29 and Southern Baptists was in existence--Southern Baptists who make up the The Missouri Baptist Convention."

So as you use the MBC/A29 relationship to tear apart Akin's statement by asserting that a "formal" partnership already existed, it does make a difference to the point you are making here.

If the relationship really wasn't "formal", then maybe it wasn't that it slipped Dr. Akin's mind. Maybe it just doesn't qualify as a formal relationship.

Barry D. Bishop

Peter,
thanks for the clarification. I do believe in absolute truth. The truth is the truth whether or not it is pleasant or popular. I will pray for you, Danny Akin, and myself--that God would give us the grace we need to obediently follow Him in all things.
Blessings.

peter lumpkins

Tyler,

Albeit your persistence to the contrary, Tyler, you simply cannot make the point stick. Even Dr. Akin's "myth" presumes what you are attempting to categorically deny! Indeed his entire post makes no sense reading it with your alleged "distinction." If you think you can make his post make sense doing it, be my guest.

And just because A29N itself received no funds does not negate formal commitments to A29N church plants and the MBC. In fact, formal ties were absolutely necessary between the MBC and A29N churches.

Why?

If no formality was involved, indeed, no checks could be written on behalf of MBC churches. If no formality was involved whatsoever, then the EC of the MBC had no reason to vote in order to end relations with A29N churches.

Individual churches may give to A29N churches before and after Dec 2007. That is not in dispute.

But no checks are being written to A29N churches by MBC since Dec. 2007 because no formal ties authorizes the check from MBC. In fact, checks are prohibited because ties were severed!

Your attempt to milk this cow is exhausted, Tyler. It's barren. Unless you've got another angle, I'm through with this one.

With that, I am...
Peter

Tyler Recker

What you have described is a formal relationship between MBC and MBC church plants which also happen to have a relationship with Acts29. Still, that doesn't constitute a formal relationship between MBC and A29. I would fully concede that there was a formal relationship between the MBC and its church plants (which happened to be A29 as well).

You miss the point because you can't see that the indirect nature of an A29-SBC partnership preserves the lack of formal partnership Akin referenced.

The MBC decision was very adolescent. "If you're partnered with them, you can't partner with us.".

At the end of the day, this kind of adolescent politicking will continue to drive young leaders away from the SBC. That's sad, because I'm a big fan of the SBC, even though I wince at many of the in-house discussions that we have. And even though a contingent of SBC folks have an anti-A29 agenda that manifests itself in shoddy hit pieces in state convention papers.

But I'll stay a part of the SBC, because frankly "the times are a-changing".

Neither Dr. Akin, nor any SBC leader, enjoys a place of privilege that is above thoughtful, cordial critique performed with a high concern for factual integrity.

peter lumpkins

Tyler,

And what you have described is based on the classic but flawed "distinction without a difference" toward the point I make in the post, Tyler.

Now, whether or not you conclude there has been neither "cordial critique" nor a "high concern for factual integrity" here is entirely up to you. Be my guest.

And, I am perfectly content to allow other readers to judge whether or not, from their standpoint anyway, you've made your case. So be it.

It is entirely unfortunate, however, for you to leave a parting slam against MBC--"The MBC decision was very adolescent." "Adolescent" according to you maybe.

Indeed perhaps this reveals why you relentlessly pursued a point that just simply lacks teeth. I don't know. But know I probably won't lose sleep over it.

Have a great day.

With that, I am...
Peter

volfan007

I'm really getting sick and tired of the "that's why the young leaders are leaving the SBC" statements. It's so old and worn out that it's just annoying and irritating to even hear it anymore. If they want to leave....then bye. See ya. Adios. So long.

This kind of arguement is almost like the little child who doesnt get to play the game like he wants to play it, so he is gonna take his ball and bat and go home and pout in the corner. Grow up.

Everything cant be exactly like we want it to be. That's life. And, if the "young leaders" are this self centered, and fleshly, and worldly, and arrogant and rebellious; then, maybe the SBC is better off without them. I know of other "young leaders" who arent like this. We need all of them that we can get in the SBC. But, to the cocky, fleshly, babyish, "I want my way," crowd....bye.


David

Byroniac

David, many of them are simply responding to the "my way or the highway" approach that's so fashionable in the SBC right now. It's like Bart Barber making analogy between Alexander Campbell and A29N, but there's no similarity of doctrinal heresy here, unless it's the failing to abstain from alcohol part. And time for me to say so long to this blog. I've had all I can stand.

peter lumpkins

Byron,

Wishing you the best.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

David,

How dare you! Your rant tipped our buddy Byron over the edge, pushing him to promise he'll never return.

I'm surely glad it wasn't any views I hold which freaked him out.

Ya just gotta laugh sometimes.

Grace, brother.

With that, I am...
Peter

volfan007

Peter,

True. lol

David

JR

Peter,

Tyler has described the situation between the MBC and A29 with precision. Your definition of a "formal relationship" is clearly not what Akin had in mind.

The same pattern is seen in your previous post about the IMB. The type of program you are describing is no different from 2+2, which has existed in SBC seminaries for years.

I respect your wish to provide thoughtful dissent, but your recent dissections of Akin's statements give the appearance that you are grasping at straws.

peter lumpkins

JR,

Why I'm logging on to address this same point is the surprise of the evening from my standpoint. I told Tyler I was done. I had my reasons, mostly because we were at the classic passé. He appeared satisfied enough--not that he agreed with my rejection of his point but because he apparently knew conversing over this point wasted energy. I concur, given the passé.

Now you log on to cast your vote, fearlessly proclaiming Tyler to possess the obvious upper-hand. And what are your reasons? Two stand out: A) Because Tyler is right B) Because I am clearly wrong. Oh my...

Why Tyler--and now you--do not see the alleged "distinction" made counts for nothing against the point of my criticism, I have no hint. What's ignored here are accepted canons of argumentation. First, an analogy never, ever proves anything logically. Period. Second, analogies are usually offered to clarify issues not confuse issues.

When I offer an analogy in argumentation and continually have make one apology after another not about the comparisons/contrasts between the two propositions I'm attempting to analogize; that's expected. Rather if I continue to apologize over the nature of the analogy itself, I stop to consider if my point is being lost in an analogy I thought to be appropriate but evidently is not communicating my point.

The point of the analogy is lost because it offers no commentary whatsoever on

a) the MBC's obvious relationship with A29N church starts which included enough of a "formality" for the EC to officially sever the relationship with A29N churches. The alleged analogy speaks zero--jack squat--concerning this, JR. And to ignore this and go right back simple asserting "the analogy is precise, the analogy is precise" is just a pint shy of silly;

b) Nor does the analogy proposed offer commentary concerning how it's supposed to be relevant that because MBC monies were given directly to the church starts instead of a check written to A29N for the church starts, that this demonstrates why no "formal" relationship with the A29N itself may be asserted, "formal" relationship at least on some level.

It's almost as if you guys want to assert that A29N is not an organization at all. And, please. I'd rather not hear again A29N is just a loose network, etc., etc. Network it may be. Granted. But like other organizations, it has a President, VPs, etc. It has originating documents, and I'd bet a week's worth of Starbucks, it is a 501(c)(3).

Yet, in the face of this, it's confidently insisted there clearly was no "formal" relationship with the MBC because monies were given to churches (which I've never denied but took pains to assert right from the beginning). Hence, my original point remains untouched, JR.

I'm, for the second time, done with this.

Now, as far as your curious notion that this issue and the last offers a "pattern", I'm not sure what your point is: "The same pattern is seen in your previous post about the IMB. The type of program you are describing is no different from 2+2, which has existed in SBC seminaries for years." Presumably, you mean a pattern of confusion, but that's only a guess.

What's not a guess is your completely ignoring what I asserted and did not assert in that post, JR. Your notion focuses on the type of program I mentioned, even suggesting it's "no different" from one already existing. If you know more than I do about what I was told, please let me know how you know this, JR.

I admited in the comment thread to your inquiry that possibly the program was the same (concerning which we both were aware had been at SE for sometime) but I was not willing then nor now to either equate the two as identical or admit a massive revisioneering of the program in place. I know neither. Nor did I assume either.

The fact remains, it makes no difference at all to the point I made in the post. And I emphasized that strongly in the OP. My point was and is, whatever program exists concerning which I described a possibility, the program is fiscally busted. It needs cash.

The description I gave was based on what was given to me as factual information. My conclusion was and remains, there's another side to the accusation that this is a rabbit pulled out of the hat.

Yet, JR, you bypass such and simply pronounce a "pattern" exists.

Here's my advice: when I write something, engage the issue all you wish. But please feel no freedom to waste a good opportunity to converse over an issue when you obviously are not dealing with the propositions under consideration. In short, one cannot just make up a scenario and conclude a "pattern" exists.

Grace. I trust your evening well.

With that, I am...
Peter

JR

Peter,

With respect to you, I should have been more clear when mentioning a pattern. The pattern is what I previously referred to as a "grasping at straws" when dissecting Akin's words.

I mentioned your use of "formal relationship" because I feel confident that Danny Akin would not define the former relationship of the MBC and A29 that way. I don't believe that the common usage of the phrase "formal relationship" is understood this way when describing the relationship of the SBC to other entities.

Obviously, you disagree and don't want to talk about it any longer, so forgive me if I continue to agitate.

As for any seminary students who go to work for the IMB (supposing that the IMB has the money to fund all of them), they are still working as missionaries for the IMB. Therefore, I fail to see a financial benefit for seminaries. Even if there is a monetary benefit in some small way, that is nothing new, though I understand that the IMB is currently cash strapped.

I hope that I have in some way clarified my previous statements. Please know that while I frequently disagree with your posts, your writing style often provides me amusement (and I mean that as a compliment).

peter lumpkins

JR,

Thanks for the explanation. Very clear and very relevant. Also, no problem on broaching the subject again. All said, neither you nor Tyler went on and on and on, ad infinitum. Some are so obsessed sometimes it turns obnoxious. We weren't anywhere near that threshold :^). Indeed if all of us could accept that the reasons which are persuasive to us for a certain position may be valid reasons but they do not hold the same degree of force for others.

With that said, something similar, in part, is going on with the "myths" purported. I hold little doubt many readers here, whether they ever log on or not, sympathize with Tyler and your judgment that Dr. Akin has made legitimate observations concerning perceptions about GCRTF work.

I further am convinced a significant number of reading Southern Baptists are as reserved as am I that Dr. Akin--albeit possessing a lot of support from younger SBs such as yourself--has failed to make his case, at least from the sketchy evidences he's marshaled thus far, that Southern Baptists by and large are plagued with so many established & varied "myths" about the GCRTF work, "myths" purported to be all the way from humorous to sinful.

That divide is real. And, since, in my view, an option to ignore the divide is pretty much out of the question, the way forward is to address the divide as soberly & Christian-mannered as possible. I'm first in line to admit my record at doing this, JR, is mixed at its brightest moment. Yet I am committed, through the power of Christ, to the task at hand, learning from my failures, forgiving others as they forgive me, hoping nothing but the Lord Jesus be honored in all.

I shall write provocatively again--not to mention throwing in a little funny ;^). And, you, as confessed, will disagree again. May our Lord grant us all to broach our grievances as Christian gentlemen and Christ-like ladies in the Lord.

With that, I am...
Peter

Bart Barber

Byroniac,

I made no suggestion of doctrinal similarity between Acts 29 and the Campbellites. For heaven's sake, take a chill pill! Acts 29 is a Calvinistic organization. All of Campbell's true disciples are Arminian. There's just very little theological similarity at all.

I was pointing to a historical parallel, not a theological one. I was simply stating my opinion that Acts 29 will very soon be a denomination in every real sense. In fact, they may already be there.

randy mclendon

David,

I'd like to encourage you to reconsider your statements. The "younger leaders leaving the SBC" may be an immature statement, but is it true? And if so, is that what we really need? What if that were 1/4 of the SBC...surely that would not be good. At the same time, if you or Peter picked up your bat and ball and started heading out, I'd say "Hey wait, let's talk about it." I fully support Peter's right to not only disagree with Dr. Akin, but to also publish his position. Because I think we need him doing so. And we need David shepherding the flock of God. And we need Dr. Barber and Tyler and Byroniac. Not for the sake of defining the SBC, but for the sake of His great Name!
Peter, thanks for the post. But even more so, thanks for the prayer for Christ-likeness and grace. May the Lord grant this to us...

randy

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