a baptist perspective

 

About Me


Jason Sampler
New Orleans, Louisiana

My Education

B.A. History Education, SWOSU
M.A. Theology, NOBTS
Th.M. Theology, NOBTS

Most Popular Posts

IMB Trustee Contact Info
IMB Trustees and My Beef
And Behind Door Number Two...

Sites I Visit

Edgewater Baptist Church
New Orleans Seminary
Dip2000
Seinfeld Scripts
Pearls Before Swine

SBC Issues

Wade Burleson
Marty Duren
Art Rogers
Villa Rica
Micah Fries
Rick Thompson
Missional Baptist
Dorcas Hawker
Wes Kenney
Tim Sweatman

Friends

David Platt
D.R. (Daniel Randle)
Steve McCoy
Kevin Bussey
Joe Kennedy
Joe Thorn
Joe McKeever
Kiki Cherry
Cynthia Mathis
Panis Circenses
 

Monday, January 16, 2006

IMB Trustees and My Beef

There seems to be some confusion, mostly my fault I think, regarding what my major issues with the IMB trustees are. Some of the readers of my blog may think that my cause is defending Wade Burleson. This is not my major issue. Do I think he is being treated unfairly? Most likely yes, but I don't know all of the sides. If the IMB Trustees are going to wait until Greensboro to present their side, then the only information I have comes from Wade's side. This leads me to conclude he is being treated unfairly, but I may be wrong.

My beef with the trustees is doctrinal. I disagree with their theology, or specifically the new guidelines that have enacted regarding baptism and prayer languages. The purpose of posting trustee contact information was primarily so that Southern Baptists could write to inquire of the justification for these changes. In addition, they could also ask about the Burleson issue.

In an effort to present my thoughts on this matter, I submitted an essay to the Baptist paper in my state. Whether they will publish it is uncertain. However, I have decided to post it here so that you may understand my differences with the IMB trustees. The article is not a full-fledged argument. In order to make it publication worthy, I had a word limit. Therefore, there are some issues that are not fully developed, but this was for the sake of publication. Below is the article that was submitted yesterday:

As Baptists, we call ourselves a “People of the Book”. We pride ourselves on our desire to conform to the whole counsel of Scripture when it comes to our religious practices and to the teachings of the New Testament in matters of church life. In addition, Baptists have consistently been a confessional people. Confessions express shared beliefs among a cooperating group of believers or churches. Southern Baptists have composed three confessions in our one 160 year history, the most recent being 2000’s revised Baptist Faith and Message (BFM2000). What happens, though, when some Baptists begin to redefine core doctrines of our faith in a way that does not adhere to Biblical teachings or with our most recent confession? Could some Baptists formulate guidelines/beliefs that overstep the Bible or our confession?

This scenario is exactly what has happened recently. In November 2005, the trustees of the International Mission Board (IMB) voted to change certain policies regarding the requirements for missionary candidates. In an effort to narrow the requirements for missionary candidates, trustees revised their understanding of the issue of private prayer language and what constitutes proper baptism. The size of this article does not allow for me to provide an in-depth analysis of the entire situation. Instead, I will focus specifically on why I believe the changes to candidate baptism requirements should be revoked.

The previous IMB policy for proper baptism of missionary candidates can be summarized as follows: 1) baptism by immersion following conversion; 2) baptism is viewed as an expression of faith in Christ, not seen as part of the salvation process; 3) the candidate’s home church must be SBC affiliated which testifies that the candidate’s baptism is sound and biblical; and 4) the candidate must have been in good standing for at least three years. These guidelines sufficiently express Biblical and Baptist theology. However, the new policy adds additional requirements to the old guidelines. The church which baptizes the candidate must: 1) baptize by immersion only; 2) reject baptismal regeneration; 3) and believe in the doctrine of eternal security. These additions seem harmless enough on the surface, but on closer examination, may turn out to be not just extra-biblical and un-Baptistic, but harmful as well. In fact, my contention is that these new guidelines fall in line much closer with Roman Catholic theology than Baptist beliefs. Why would I suggest these things?

First, baptism is identification with Christ, not with a particular church (Acts 8.12, 8.38; 10.47-48; Rom. 6.3-5; Gal. 3.27). If baptism identified a person with a church, then logically one should be rebaptized every time he or she joins a new church. These new changes explicitly make the baptizing church’s theology vital to “proper” baptism. The BFM2000 defines proper baptism as symbolic of a believer’s faith in Jesus. Although it is considered a church ordinance, baptism does not identify a person with a local church. Baptism comes first, then church membership. The latter is dependent upon the former, but not vice versa. There seems to be an underlying assumption on the part of the trustees that one’s baptism is an endorsement of the theology of the baptizing church. I have been a Southern Baptist all of my Christian life. I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, but that does not mean I believed everything my church believed. I have disagreed on more than a few points of doctrine with various churches over the years, but I still worshipped and served in a cooperative manner. My baptism was not an endorsement of every doctrine of my baptizing church. It was my identification with Christ.

Second, baptism is identification with Christ, not with particular doctrines. We do not expect new converts who are baptized to understand everything about theology. Theological growth is expected after conversion, not before (e.g., the Great Commission’s order to “baptize” precedes the commandment to “[teach] them to observe all that I commanded you”). We all have grown and refined our theology as we have walked with Christ longer and studied our Bibles more. Even more significantly, though, the IMB trustees are not regulating what a convert must believe at the time of baptism, but what the baptizing church must believe. As Baptists, we believe in the eternal security of those Christ has saved, but we do not think that eternal security validates our baptism. If this was the case, it would follow that those having been scripturally baptized (by immersion as believers in a symbolic manner) who did not believe in eternal security were not really baptized! Do the IMB trustees really believe that?

As far as I can tell, no Baptist confession or theologian has ever required a church to hold certain doctrines before considering their baptisms to be valid. Baptist confessions tie proper baptism to identification with Christ, not a host of other systematic doctrines. So, what is the problem? First, eternal security has nothing to do with proper baptism. Second, these trustees have started with this doctrine, but who is to say this will be the only one? What if they later add other doctrinal requirement for baptism? What if the baptizing church does not believe in a literal seven-day view of creation? Will baptisms performed in a church like that be considered invalid by the IMB? What about churches that practice elder (instead of deacon) leadership? Will missionary candidates from elder-led churches one day be required to resubmit to ‘proper’ baptism by deacon-led churches? What about Calvinistic versus Arminian churches? How absurd is this? I’m not predicting that the trustees will continue to restrict the rules for right baptism and slide down this slippery slope, but even if they stop here they have already gone too far.

Third, this policy is more in line with Roman Catholic theology than with Baptist theology. Men such as Cyprian and Augustine, and events such as the Donatist Controversy, were vital in the formulation Roman Catholic theology on baptism. In these instances, the Roman Catholic Church defended the view that proper baptism depends on the doctrine of the church for the right administration of baptism. For Catholics, proper baptism is tied directly to the transfer of the church’s right doctrine to the baptized person. In other words, the correctness of Church doctrine validates the act of baptism. Am I accusing IMB trustees of being Roman Catholic? No. However, a similar line of thinking taking place: the Church possesses right doctrine, confers it upon baptismal candidates, and validates one’s baptism.

Fourth, IMB trustees have overstepped biblical and confessional beliefs and must be corrected. Trustees are elected by SBC church messengers at annual national conventions. Trustees are elected to oversee and to hold accountable the various SBC entities (IMB, North American Mission Board, seminaries, etc.). They are elected by us and are accountable to us. When they err, they should be corrected. I am not one of the IMB trustees. I was not part of their discussion on this issue, although I sincerely believe they gave this issue much thought before voting. I hold no ill will toward any of them; rather, I am extremely thankful for their hard work and for their gifts in overseeing a most treasured organization, the IMB. However, one of our responsibilities as Baptists is to hold trustees responsible for their decisions. In this case, I believe they are biblically and Baptistically wrong in adding these new restrictions to “proper” baptism. Therefore, I urge you to consider this issue carefully. Then, inquire about how you can become a messenger for your church and attend the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina this June. I suspect there will be a motion to rescind this latest policy change. Search the Scriptures, read the BFM2000, and decide if these policy changes are necessary. Then, vote your conscience.

posted by Jason Sampler at 2:23 PM

43 Comments:

Anonymous Jacob Smillner said...

I agree with you.

11:45 AM, January 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason,

Looks like I'm forced to being educated on the SBC/IMB by you. Steve McCoy couldn't keep his cool. (Rookie mistake. He's a funny guy, that Steve. They say he's a pastor ...)

I've read your post about this baptism thang. Well written. (Something I like about you.) I'll chime in later on it. Gotta let it sink in a bit.

Otherwise, I've been talkin' to some friends about this whole situation (getting lots of laughs out of the exchange with Steve and Ryan), and I guess it boils down to this, as I look at it: at a 50-15 vote by the trustees ... why can't the IMB reserve the right to refuse any customer? I mean, if they can insist on membership in an SBC church in order to ride the gravy train (which is clearly a sectarian issue ... a NON-biblical issue, and yet an issue that no one seems to be addressing), then why can't the IMB reserve the right to withhold breakfast from redheads ... or blondes ... or people who make claims to speaking in an unknown prayer language ... or those who believe in baptismal regeneration, who have been baptised as infants, or who reject the preservation of the saints? Again, I reiterate ... for YOUR SBC audience ... if you can't stand the heat, the go order your breakfast somewhere else!

Really ... why don't those behind the 15 dissenting voices go off and start your own agency? Why are ya'll insistin' on tormenting these other 50? Just walk away, prefer rather to be injured than drag your denomination through the ringer ... AGAIN.

Lots Tusej

5:37 PM, January 17, 2006  
Anonymous Baptist Theologue said...

Jason, you said the following:

“First, eternal security has nothing to do with proper baptism.”

Immersion pictures eternal security. Notice what Spurgeon said about baptism representing a permanent burial of the old life:

“The next thought in baptism is burial. Death comes first, and burial follows. Now, what is burial, brethren? Burial is, first of all, the seal of death; it is the certificate of decease. ‘Is such a man dead?’ say you. Another answers, ‘Why, dear sir, he was buried a year ago.’ There have been instances of persons being buried alive, and I am afraid that the thing happens with sad frequency in baptism, but it is unnatural, and by no means the rule. I fear that many have been buried alive in baptism, and have therefore risen and walked out of the grave just as they were. But if burial is true, it is a certificate of death. If I am able to say in very truth, ‘I was buried with Christ thirty years ago,’ I must surely be dead. Certainly the world thought so, for not long after my burial with Jesus I began to preach his name, and by that time the world thought me very far gone, and said, ‘He stinketh.’. . . I may sin, but sin can never have dominion over me; I may be a transgressor and wander much from my God, but never can I go back to the old death again. When my Lord's grace got hold of me, and buried me, he wrought in my soul the conviction that henceforth and for ever I was to the world a dead man. I am right glad that I made no compromise, but came right out. I have drawn the sword, and thrown away the scabbard. Tell the world they need not try to fetch us back, for we are spoiled for them as much as if we were dead. All they could have would be our carcasses. Tell the world not to tempt us any longer, for our hearts are changed. Sin may charm the old man who hangs there upon the cross, and he may turn his leering eye that way, but he cannot follow up his glance, for he cannot get down from the cross: the Lord has taken care to use the mallet well, and he has fastened his hands and feet right firmly, so that the crucified flesh must still remain in the place of doom and death. Yet the true, the genuine life within us cannot die, for it is born of God; neither can it abide in the tombs, for its call is to purity and joy and liberty; and to that call it yields itself.”

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/1627.htm

8:29 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

Lots,

I don't mind answering your questions, but I won't allow you to continue to berate others. Again, let me say, if you make any derrogatory comments about any person or the IMB (i.e., stop calling it a gravy train), your comments will be trashed. That being said, let me answer your post as best i can.

First, i'm not sure what the vote was. There is extreme discrepancy between what the actual vote was. Some say 50-15; the other count was 25-18. I wasn't there so i won't make a definitive statement on this. The IMB trustees do make policies, but every policy is subject to the approval of the convetion. Even if a policy passes 80-0, if the convention does not like it, they can vote it down and the trustees MUST rescind the policy.

Second, I hope you are only joking about comparing 'redheads' to proper theology of baptism.

Finally, you simply don't get the point that i/we are making. this is not an issue worth splitting over. I think they are biblically and baptistically wrong, but i'm NOT going to back out if it turns out the entire convention agrees with the trustees and against me. and what makes you think standing up for principle equals 'tormenting the 50'?

9:48 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

Baptist Theologue,

Thanks for your post. I always appreciate those who display knowledge of great men (and women) of our faith. I'm not going to address Spurgeon's quote directly, but maybe to clarify my point.

According to the new IMB policies, the baptizing church must believe in eternal security. My point was that the doctrine of eternal security should not determine if one's baptism is valid.

It's late now, so I'm tired and not able to compose a long reply. If this has answered your question, then let me know. If i need to clarify more, i'll do that tomorrow at the earliest.

9:58 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

To Jason,

Let me suggest something to you. Don't ever delete anyone's comments, unless they are threatening or explicitly profane. That's a tactic that those who care more about propaganda than education use to silence their critics. I have faith that you can take this guy to task well enough to let him keep showing his own faulty reasoning.

12:16 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Lots,

I think you completely miss the point, both of the SBC mission board and of denominationalism in general. Jason is the church history guy, but let me give you a rather incomplete, but sufficient lesson on SBC mission boards and the Cooperative Program. The CP was set up in order to distribute money give by cooperating churches to those who are a part of those cooperating churches. The SBC is not like other denominations, and thus really can't be strictly called such. We have no true governing body. All churches are autonomous and as long as they give money to the CP, then they are a cooperating church. There are local associations that require cooperating churches to abide by certain doctrinal positions, but those do not go beyond our Confession of Faith (read confession, not creed).

Now, as for the agencies of the SBC, they are there to serve the interests of the SBC at large and are subject to the cooperating churches via the conventional meeting, held in June. They do have trustees that take care of the day-to-day business, but those trustees are subject to the convention at large. So, moving on to the CP and the IMB again. The money given toward the CP is used to send missionaries both domestically (through NAMB) and globally (through the IMB). Any member of a cooperating church is eligible to receive money from the CP to go on the mission field. However, they must meet doctrinal and ethical standards agreed upon by the denomination. What has happened here is that the IMB trustees have pushed those standards beyond the scope of the Confession of Faith (the Baptist Faith and Message) and in doing so have excluded some members of cooperating churches who otherwise would be approved.

Now if we were a true denomination, then the General Board of Elders or the Executive Committee would make those decisions and we would have little to no input. But since the IMB serves the churches through the money given by those churches, then they should not be making rules that exclude missions candidates that are not generally agreed upon by the denomination at large. That is why this is important.

Yes, its a gravy train, but one that is created and administered by the churches (though the agencies), not by the denomination, the Executive Committee, or the trustees of a particular agency. And if those trustees could do this without check, then they would then have more power than the messengers to the convention (appointed by the cooperating churches), which would mean we are no longer be a group like the founders of the SBC envisioned, but rather a denomination like the UMC or the PCUSA. And that is not how we as Baptist believe denominations should be led.

Finally, to answer your question on why don't those dissenting voices leave and start their own agency? Because the agency belongs to all of us as cooperating churches and thus we should seek to work together to acheive the goal of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Sometimes that means we disagree and fight for what we believe is right. We don't cut and run, taking our money with us, like the CBF guys did (even if in the end we don't get our way). That is what true cooperation is about.

12:41 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

JASON — For what its worth to you ... I agree with d.r. Your prudish values lead your kind (and I include Steve McCoy in that bunch) to censorship too quickly. If the pen (keyboard) is sharper than the sword, then show your skill and dispatch me like a man. Otherwise, banning your oppenent from the match makes any claim to victory ring fairly hollow. Your a Ph.D. candidate, Jason. Your skin should be thick enough for this by now.

As to the overwhelming vote of the trustees ... I will just tell you that the 50-15 number is that which is making the rounds among "disinterested" venues (meaning venues that do not seem to have a stake in this one way or the other).

Since d.r. considers you the church history buff ... let me ask you: is it common in the IMB for a 50-15 vote of the trustees to be overturned by the churches represented by those trustees? Is this like a normal activity of the SBC? I would be surprised if this were the case. USUALLY in an organization like this, ya try to get men on the board of trustees that actually represent the overall opinions of your churches. These men were elected, weren't they? Or is there some kind of apostolic succession that operates within the SBC?

So, can you cite three OTHER times in the history of the SBC where an overwhelming majority of the trustees were slapped down by the convention? I'm sure there must be instances of this in the long sullied history of the SBC. I'm just curious as to which historical events would be fueling the confidence of you dissenters in June's meeting? As an outsider, I think ya'll are gonna be very disappointed in June (which is why I suggested on McCoy's blog that ya'll have "Plan B" firmly in mind).

As to my comparison of blondes with one's doctrine of baptism ... I gather from your objection that you consider the issue far more serious than what you have previously led me to believe. If this is a doctrinal issue ... if we are talking about eternal TRUTH here ... not matters of preference ... then why would the lot of ya'll be willing to roll over to a disappointing outcome in June? I mean, if this is not an issue of cardinal doctrine (as you have tried to convince me), then why take objection to my analogy? Does not the zeal of your protest undermine your position? I hope you see my point here. I'm having a hard time understanding yours. If the IMB is baptistically wrong ... okay. I think I can understand why you might be willing to roll over to a disappointing June. But if you GENUINELY believe that the IMB is BIBLICALLY wrong ... then the issue is no longer one of preference but absolute truth. For the life of me I cannot figure out WHY you would not pick up your marbles and leave if your were GENUINELY convinced that this is a matter of biblical doctrine. The fact that Wade has clothed himself with Luther's "Here I stand" expression, further leads me to conclude that ya'll keep talkin' out of both sides of your mouth! Either this is a matter of biblical conviction and you're ready to go to the mat (or the stake) over it, or its not. If its not, then stop talking like it is and "entrust yourself to Him who judges wisely". If it is, then stop talking like its not ... take up your marbles and follow Him ... and "entrust yourself to Him who judges wisely."

As to my comment on torturing the 50 ... it springs from this Army motto I learned a while back: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." As an outsider, it looks as the dissenters have committed themselves to a ministry of obstruction. I ask, why? Either demonstrate your more-biblical leadership by starting a new more homogeneous and theologically accurate agency, follow your present leaders, or at least sit down and shut up! "Lead, follow, or get out of the way!" I would think that YOU (a Ph.D. student) should have better things to do with your time ... like leading the "right"-wing toward better pastures. Well then, do it! Don't sit around grumbling and complaining about the current leadership. Bless them, and go your separate ways. Leave them to their ignorance. No one can say you haven't said your peace ... that you haven't tried.

Lots Tusej

1:42 AM, January 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To D.R. and Lot, your comments on censorship are somewhat tainted. This BLOG is not a news agency, and even news agencies don't let name calling and berating others. You see boys this is Jason's blog. Thus, he can censor any comment he deems inappropriate, crude, or debasing--and yes mocking and specifically calling someone out by name is debasing. I can say this because I have been censored on this blog for comments unacceptable. Jason and I talked about the issues, which led to my apologies. You don't have to like what I say, but I am right this site isn't foxnews.com, bpnews.net, or abpnews.com (for you Lot). By the way D.R., do you still have to sit in a booster seat everywhere you go? Oh wait I was berating the both of you. How fitting.

I am out-

6:53 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

Thanks to his childish ability to refrain from the exact thing I explicitely told him not to do, one of Lot's comments will be removed. I don't mind him commenting on my blog, but I won't tolerate mean spiritedness or blatant pot-shots at the IMB.

D.R., this is not about censorship. It's about keeping my blog free from junk. If Lots wants to post legitimate comments, then i would be more than happy to interact with him. However, I'm not going to let him post insulting remarks. I'm not running a propoganda machine, but neither will I let anyone write whatever they want on this page.

7:39 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

Lots,

I will address your remaining post on Friday. I am grateful for your patience until then. Still, I am asking you to refrain from posting inflamatory comments while I am away.

Jason

7:50 AM, January 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been following your blog lately. We appreciate your thought on this issue in the SBC. We did see the comments about "gravy train". As career missionaries with the IMB, it is offensive, but we can handle it. Honestly, we have friends in other organizations who raise their own support, but don't envy us at all. Just look at the current policy issue for example. They feel they have more freedom to ministrer.

I would just say that it is not a gravy train for the friends and family of those who were shot down in Iraq and Yemen in the last several years. At least for the memory of those who have given their lives, thank you for deleting those remarks.

8:08 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Jason Sampler said...

This post was posted by arthbay. It has been slightly edited to remove a sentence containing a foul word. Otherwise, the post is unchanged. People, this is not a hard message to understand: TREAT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS. I will not tolerate anything other than Christ-like behavior on this blog. We can disagree, but you will not call one another names or treat them with contempt. (Jason Sampler)


Jason,

I have been reading your blog throughout the past week. I have refrained from making comments because I did not want to incite or aggravate people especially yourself. However, today I am aggravated at the comments posted by D.R. and Lots.

First let me say I appreciate the fact that you are not going to allow anyone to post insulting remarks about the convention or its agencies. After reading your previous comments, I was actually surprised that you invoked censorship, which you have every right to do since this is your blog, and as you said not a propaganda machine. Maybe these other two will learn a lesson in tact, and personal freedom.

As for the comments posted by Lots, well. . . let me address Lots.

Lots, I am not sure where you stand on any theological issue. For me, I am a Southern Baptist, though I do not necessarily agree with Jason or the convention on all issues, doctrinal or otherwise. It seems that you have some problem with the SBC, and your lack of knowledge shows that you should refrain from making comments about anything in which you have no vested interest. Why not state your allegiance so people can understand your position better or simply end the BS, and stop antagonizing others. Your remarks toward the Ph.D are childish, I mean what is your problem? Are you a frustrated student, or one who thinks he does not need an education. . . in other words one who chooses to continually walk in ignorance. You have given yourself no basis for telling others what they should or should not do. Denigrate the people you identify with and leave the rest of the world to its business. To put it in terms you won’t have trouble understanding, “Don’t lead or follow, simply get out of the way!”

walk not alone,
arthbay

9:24 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

So, can you cite three OTHER times in the history of the SBC where an overwhelming majority of the trustees were slapped down by the convention?

This is simply a red herring. It is completely irrelevant to the issue at hand.

As for the rest, DR seems to have answered adequately.

12:09 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Kelly, glad you showed up. I knew you would smell out the logical fallacy in Lots argument.


To Lot,
You have set up a situation that is dangerous to the future of the SBC by regarding decisions made by trustees as authoritative and not in need of checking by the SBC at large. That was not how the founders foresaw the cooperation in the convention. The trustees serve the convention, not the other way around. And without the power to overrule them (or the guts to do so), then the convention is at the mercy of those in power. The fact that it hasn't happened before or very often is inconsequential. Maintaining the status quo does no good to those who suffer because of it. The issue comes down to fact that we are the SBC, there is no dissenters vs. leaders thing here. The majority of the SBC has no opinion (as of yet). The trustees don't necessarily represent the majority of the SBC and we believe that they truly don't represent the interests of the greater convention at large. It involves an abuse of power by the trustees and sets up a denomination of exclusion rather than one of cooperation.

As to how these trustees came about, it was by means of the nominating committee, which is chosen by the President of the SBC and, like the trustees, serves for a particular term. So, the messengers did not pick these trustees. They picked to President, who in turn picked the nominating committee, who in turn picked the trustees. Do you see now why it is so important that the trustees stay accountable to the SBC.

Also, in all the years of creeping liberalism and even during the Conservative Resurgence, I know of no instance when a trustee was asked to be removed by his fellow trustees. This speaks to the credibility of the committee and need to examine its decisions.

Lots, if you are an outsider and so ignorant of the SBC, then why do you want to make so much trouble for those who are seeking to change the status quo in the SBC and stand up to leaders that we feel have overstepped their power? It makes me wonder if you are just being beligerent. If you have no dog in the fight, then why are you so passionately taking us on -- those you call "dissenters"? It makes no sense.


To Mr. Anonymous, why don't you act like a man and identify yourself instead of trying to rebuke and insult us from cyberspace. BTW, I still disagree with you. A news agency this blog does not have to be in order for the author to be willing to take assaults in order to do the greater work of rebuking ridiculous arguments.


And finally, to Arthbay, I am not sure why you were offended by my comments. If it was over the use of the term "gravy train", I was simply using Lots terminology, understanding that he didn't mean disrespect for missionaries who give their lives everyday on the field, but as a tongue-in-cheek comment regarding the attitude some have in regards to the money given to missionaries. If your offense was taken in my statement about not deleting comments, I stand my position. As one who was censored by another site because of a need for that person to set forth propaganda and as a blogger who holds the same policy on comments as I advocated to Jason, I feel that it is best not to close comments simply because they may be offensive to others. In the end, those commenters are usually shamed and rebuked and eventually will go away.

1:53 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

Kelly ... cks?

I don't know that you might have missed my point ... perhaps for the smell of fish?

At any rate ...

I was not intending to drive the discussion any particular place with the question. I am genuinely curious to know whether within the history of the SBC there is historical precedent for the hope that lies within those who dissent with a 50-15 vote by the trustees?

I really am interested to know this. Do you know?

If there is no historical precedent for this, then it would only confirm my suspicions about the predicament ya'll are gonna be in on June 15th.

If there IS historical precedent for this, then ... well ... rally the troops! Ya'll might have a shot at coup.

Lots Tusej

2:19 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Lots, I don't think Kelly missed your point, I think you missed the fact that it your statements ARE inconsequential to the main argument (i.e. whether or not the trustees should be able to make general rules that are more exclusionary than our statement of faith which may keep potential missionaries from being appointed). Kelly is right that the statement you made is a logical fallacy, though it might be an "Ignoratio elenchi" (also known as irrelevant conclusion), which "is the logical fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid, but which proves or supports a different proposition than the one it is purporting to prove or support." It matters not whether this has happened or not in the past. One could equally argue that there has never been a time when the trustees of an agency set forth exclusionary principles that were neither explicitly Biblical or confessional, thus deeming such an action just as unusual as the situation that brought it about.

Still, it doesn't address the issues that you tried to debate in the beginning here, which where:
1. "Why can't the IMB reserve the right to refuse any customer" (which by the way is a rather ignorant way to say, why can't they refuse appointment to a candidate for any random reason -- which I believe I answered in my original post -- to which you have never responded)?
2. "Why don't those behind the 15 dissenting voices go off and start your own agency?" (again, this was answered in my original and subsequent posts)
and
3. "Why are ya'll insistin' on tormenting these other 50 (torment? -- come on Lots, that's ridiculous anyway)?

So, hopefully you can see that your argument was a fallacy. And one more thing -- we are still waiting on a real name for you as well. Are you scared of revealing your true identity? Or would you just be ashamed of your words here if people found out who you really are?

4:05 PM, January 18, 2006  
Anonymous jga said...

Please stop this endless debate. D.R. and Kelly it is obvious that Lot is a former SBC'er and now a CBF'er. Since both of you are Hyper-Calvinists this decision had to be predestined to happen before the foundation of the world. D.R. before you start some fruitless debate with me about TULIP just remember your Pontchartrain Baptist days--you know what I am talking about. Only one suggestion to Lot, in all honesty, Kelly, D.R., and Jason are three of the brightest young minds I have ever met. All three possess a genuine passion for the scriptures and the SBC; therefore, your arguments are not going to change their beliefs. You need to recognize and possible appreciate their beliefs and stop trying to antagonize the situation. You obviously know Jason and D.R. personally because everyone who knows them knows you can push their buttons. Just look at the other posts I have made over the past several days. D.R. and Kelly don't be strangers drop me a line sometimes.

Anonymous aka Carl F. H. Henry aka
Charles Spurgeon aka JGA

5:05 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

d.r. — well you're good at explaining SBC stuff, anyway.

I agree ... you answered the questions I had. (I have labored more than once to compliment you for doing so ... but perhaps I slipped into that unknown prayer language, thingy? ... maybe I got the gift?!?? :) Let me try again: "Thank you, d.r. You're the bomb!"

You answered my questions. I understand the dissenter's position much better since you started commenting. The others ... well ... Jason's still a student ... gotta cut the kid some slack ... and he's tired ... guy's gotta take a break from bloggin', for Pete's sake!

And ... I stand by the "torment" statement. (Because I'm fairly certain that those on the opposite side of the issue than you dissenters, are feelin' tormented.) I mean, try to walk a mile in THEIR shoes! I'm sure they wish that ya'll'd just pick up your marbles and "hit dee rode, gringo!"

Finally, as to your questions. Yes ... and ... yes.

I want people to dialogue with me about ideas. Revealing my identity would get in the way of this. I couldn't express myself as I desire. And, therefore, you wouldn't know what I really thought about you. This way all the cards are on the table ... you just don't know who is holding my hand.

Deal with the issues ... don't get caught up on a name. Its intentional that you don't know who I am ... or maybe you do?? ;) Could be a lot closer than you think ... just playin' the arrogant, moronic, outsider ... who knows ... ??

PEACE!
Lots Tusej

5:13 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

... and then CFH Henry insinutes that I'm a liar! ... now THERE'S charitable fer ya! ... but wait ... listen! ... hear that, folks? That's right ... its the cricket show! Brought to you by Jason! My feelings are hurt, Jason! Spurgeon called me a liar! ... wah, wah, wah ...

and yet he's there on your blog idn' 'e?

This is the kind of thing that makes leftist politics a dirty revolting business.

This standards of censorship are going to make it really tough for you to maintain your integrity, Jason. At the very least, it'll require you to play nanny to a bunch of grown men ... and women.

d.r.'s policy is best ...

Lots Tusej

5:23 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

I am genuinely curious to know whether within the history of the SBC there is historical precedent for the hope that lies within those who dissent with a 50-15 vote by the trustees?

Historical precedent, schmis-torical precedent. Doesn't matter. This is both a blessing and a curse in SBC life.

Fact is, trustees are singularly accountable to lay Baptists. Period. Blessing: this means that historical precedent is a non-issue. Non-blessing (curse): it also means that we may not have a precedent to fall back on.

I throw my (inconsiderable) weight behind the Greensboro attempt to wrest control back from "crusading conservatives." I think they're wrong. Blessing: my opinion, if it is shared by a substantial majority at SBC, Greensboro, does matter. This simply is congregational polity as typically conceived by the SBC.

No dice at Greensboro? Simply a rallying cry to conservatives who want to see SBC policy reflect the majority opinion of SBC-ers. Notice that I'm assuming the majority would not favor the recent IMB policies. And they may not be well-informed of the ramifications. So be it. As DR said, SBC-ers are not ones to cut and run.

We have too much invested. This stance relates to the priority we invest in majority rule--definitively in the control of local bodies belonging the SBC. If the majority lets this pass...well, I can't what I'd do personally. But, I don't liken this to the "conservative takeover" in the '70s-80s. Mainly, because I believe the resurgence was biblically founded, while this most recent move by the IMB was not.

So, will we break away and establish our own missionary societies? Not likely. The SBC, IMHO, is an entity worth reforming. Which is exactly what the resurgence sought to do. The fact that IMB trustees have carried the reform initiative too far is a moot point. This concern is adequately addressed by SBC polity. SBC-ers are not, contrary to opinions to the contrary, not willing or ready to jump ship, or (as Bob Dylan puts it), to change horses in mid-stream.

Bear in mind that the opinions expressed herein are liable to change. But not quite yet. Give us some time to let congregational polity do its leveling work. Post-Greensboro will be a time to take stock and change course, it it should prove to be necessary. Blessing: this is how the SBC works.

yes, Kelly. Who r u?

5:38 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger D.R. said...

Ok, Audirsch, everything makes sense now. Actually, it would be even more clear if I found out that Lots was Kirby. I thought you would be working out on the weights for your Christian Adjusters company that no doubt has many client in the Big Easy these days.

I figured after your comments about me that it had to be a poster whose butt I could easily kick. You better get back to pumpin' iron and doing whatever your Daddy (a.k.a. Clay) tells you to. Glad to see that you are still alive though.

6:22 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

Kelly — yet another very intelligent and refreshingly honest post. ('Course, completely unlike my own.) Thank you. You provide greater insight into the INsurgency. ;)

D.R. — not only a logician ... but a really FUNNY one too! :)

Do this make my butt look fat?

PEACE!
Lots

11:47 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Paul said...

Lots, there are two underlying problems with your call to "cut and run."

One: it is poor ecclesiology and very low ecclesiology at that. It veiws the church and our brothers and sisters who make up that church as easily disposable. I'm hoping that you aren't a marriage counselor. If you are then I'm quite sure that the divorce attorneys in your area are quite pleased to have you around.

Two: it is a spiritually immature position. Jesus tells us to be reconciled with our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree. Many of us have expressed our thoughts to the trustees themselves. Some of us have talked to them together. Isn't the next step to take it before the assembly?

By the way, what seems rather interesting to me is that you don't follow your own advice. You are the obvious minority on McCoy's blog and here. The majority has asked you to play nice and you don't move on. Your opinion is in the minority and you don't move on. Interesting.

8:41 AM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Paul said...

Good post, Jason.

8:42 AM, January 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller, Berlin, 1939.
Niemoller was a pastor in the German Confessing Church
who spent eight and one-half years in a Nazi concentration camp.

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out--because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out--because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out--because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

1:57 PM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Tim Sweatman said...

Jason,

Excellent article. I hope it gets published. People throughout the SBC need to be aware of what's going on and why these policies need to be rescinded. I have posted a link to your article on my blog.

9:07 PM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

I'll see ya'll after June. I'm looking forward to having you .. snicker ... feed me some crow. ...

Lots Tusej

12:38 PM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:07 AM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

Since this thread is supposedly about the theological arguments in the original post, I thought it might be fun to actually address one element therein contained. Of course, I could just call people names, more in keeping with some of the responses...maybe later.

"3) the candidate’s home church must be SBC affiliated which testifies that the candidate’s baptism is sound and biblical."

Was this provision of the old policies a guarantee in your mind that the candidate's baptism was, in fact, sound and biblical? I've seen some in SBC churches who would identify as 'sound and biblical' some things that were decidedly neither (in fact, I've been fired by some of those).

And about baptism generally: If I stood in the baptismal waters to give testimony of a salvation which I understood to be something I could by my own action lose, would that baptism I was about to receive be 'sound and biblical'?

And finally, what do an elephant and a grape have in common?

11:10 AM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

"And about baptism generally: If I stood in the baptismal waters to give testimony of a salvation which I understood to be something I could by my own action lose, would that baptism I was about to receive be 'sound and biblical'?"

If the baptism follows confession of Christ as savior, why would an immature view of salvation negate the legitimacy of the baptism per se? I don't follow the logic there.

Baptism is a testimony of identification with Christ in his burial and resurrection (and exhibits obedience to Christ's command). It doesn't proclaim one's belief in eternal security, does it? I've never understood it that way.

Again, I just don't follow your train of thought. Sounds like apples and oranges to me. Or, if you prefer, grapes and elephants.

12:24 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

I'm not sure if that would be best classified as an instance of ignoratio elenchi or the fallacy of juxtaposition, but I'm pretty convinced it doesn't establish the conclusion you imply: i.e.

(1) A does not believe in eternal security at the time of baptism
(2) [for the sake of brevity, let's just roll up all the other necessary qualifications with regard to A's baptism in this premise and say] A's baptism is otherwise legitimate.

In your post, you seem to imply that (1)^(2) [i.e., the conjunction of the premises (1) and (2)] implies

(3) A's baptism is not legitimate.

Am I missing something here in your argument? As it stands, you're missing at least one premise--a premise demonstrative of the assumption that disbelief in eternal security illegitimatizes one's baptism.

12:36 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

Or, maybe a clearer way of saying it would be:

(4) A's baptism is legitimate iff* he believes in eternal security.
(5) A does not believe in eternal security.
Therefore
(6) A's baptism is not legitimate

Why could I not in good conscience just dismiss premise (4) as unproven speculation?

*read: "if and only if"

12:49 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:48 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

Okay, the elephant and grape thing was a lame attempt at humor (answer: they both have really big ears, except for the grape) not in any way connected with the questions I asked.

I guess my question is this: if a person was baptized after their 'salvation' in a church that is teaching a salvation that is not biblical (your faith plus your continuation in obedience will save you), then the baptism can't very well be said to be biblical, even if that person later comes to a more scriptural view of salvation, can it?

Would I be in error in suggesting that this person, were they to present themselves for membership, be re-baptized?

I don't think so, but, then, what do I know?

sola diet dr pepper

1:51 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

I have always believed and taught that baptism, in addition to being identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, is also identification with the local church and all that encompasses.

Admittedly, I cannot prove that directly from scripture, but neither can I prove directly that instrumental worship is acceptable, and we do use a piano.

So, taking a cue from a favorite passage of Campbellites everywhere, in response to Peter's instruction to repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins (and I do read 'for' to mean 'because of'), when the text goes on to say that about 3000 were added to their number, is it not reasonable to suggest that their baptism, which came after they accepted his message, identified them with that local church and it's teachings, as well as with Christ?

2:45 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

Okay, I think I see your point a bit more clearly now.

I still think the argument as I've framed it above (premises (4) and (5), and conclusion (6)) is an invalid one--i.e., I think (4) is an untrue premise; and if (4) is untrue, the conclusion is negated and there you have it.

You seem to assume that the descriptor "biblical" is univocal--i.e., that it always refers to the same thing. I don't think that's the case. If you assume the "univocity" of the term "biblical," I think you're just barking up the wrong tree. Baptism (following profession, not seen as regenerative [as it is for Church of Christ members], and by immersion) seems to fulfill the criteria for being "biblical," even while a person who disbelieves in eternal security at the time of baptism (I would argue) does not have a truly "biblical" view of salvation in toto.

On the other hand, what about the baptism of a professing Mormon who later desires to become a member of a Christian church? I would never accept Mormon baptism as legitimate, although it does follow profession in Christ and is by immersion. But denying the legitimacy of Mormon baptism (as I've cast it above) seems to put me at odds with my earlier line of argumentation.

I think I can shortcircuit that problem posthaste, however. Mormons , I would argue, profess faith in an altogether different Christ than do Christians (for a whole variety of reasons I won't go into here). Therefore, baptism into Mormonism is not equivalent to baptism into a competing sect of Christianity. A Mormon's baptism does not follow a profession in faith of the true Jesus Christ. Insofar as that is true, I think I've avoided the seeming contradiction.

And I still hold that your line of reasoning won't work. But it is interesting.

3:00 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

"is it not reasonable to suggest that their baptism, which came after they accepted his message, identified them with that local church and it's teachings, as well as with Christ?"

I think it's reasonable, yes. And, in a general sense, true.

(On a sidenote, however, I think speaking of the Acts church in the passage to which you refer as a "local" church is a bit of a stretch. It simply was the Church at that time.)

But, no, I don't think that baptism identifies us (brands us, marks us) doctrinally for eternity with a given Christian denomination. I think baptism is much bigger, more important, and more universal than that. While it is certainly to be expected that baptism into a local church identifies us with that church, I think that identification is accidental, not essential. Or, it is extrinsic, not intrinsic.

I think it's a slippery slope to think otherwise.

And, BTW, I like the dialogue, even if I disagree with you.

3:10 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

On your Mormon argument, I agree that their baptism shouldn't be accepted because their Jesus is clearly not the Jesus of scripture. But some would make the argument (I've seen them do it) that the gospel without eternal security is a different gospel, and then invoke Galatians 1 (a curse be on him!)on those promoting that teaching. I do not take it that far; I look forward to meeting in heaven many AOG, Freewill Baptist, and others who are relieved that they were able to "hold out faithful to the end," only to discover that God held them in His hand all along and they couldn't have gotten out if they had wanted to...
While I don't hold their teaching as a 'different gospel', I do believe the identification is important. And not, as you correctly point out, eternally important. But I think when someone with a Methodist or a Presbyterian background expresses interest in joining our fellowship, the requirement of baptism shows that we take these things seriously, and if they are led by the Spirit to join us, they rejoice in being able to identify with us in this way. Our church's secretary was raised in the Catholic church, and I have no doubt that she came to us 8 years ago as a regenerated believer. She was eager to be baptized in this fellowship in order to be clearly identified with us. So the identification with the local body is important, not for eternity, but for now.

And yes, my reference to the First Baptist Church of Jerusalem was probably a bit of a stretch, but I think the point still holds. The very next verse talks about them being devoted to, among other things, the apostle's teaching. That was the teaching of that church, even if it was the "mother of all churches."

I, too, appreciate the dialogue. Also, I appreciate pie.

6:15 PM, January 23, 2006  
Blogger cks said...

"She was eager to be baptized in this fellowship in order to be clearly identified with us."

Was she really eager to be baptized in order to identify with your church, or was she eager to be baptized because she was convinced that her original sprinkling was not biblical baptism? My guess (and I'm completely speculating here since I don't know the woman in question, and you do) is that she wanted to be really baptized. Because Christ commanded it. Because the Bible teaches it.

And, yes, to be identified with a local body of like-minded believers. But I'd guess that that particular motivation was very much secondary to her conviction that she had not actually been baptized before. And wanted to be.

And even if her primary motive was simply that she wanted to be identified with your church, I'd say that primary motive (while not bad) was not the most important, most biblical motivation she could have responded to.

Just a thought.

I'm still convinced that identification with a particular group of believers (First Baptist Church of X) is not the foundational , biblical reason to be baptized. I just don't see that in scripture. But it's hard to tell. In the biblical witness, identification with the local church simply was identification with the universal church, in a much less problematic way than is the case today.

4:13 PM, January 24, 2006  
Blogger Wes Kenney said...

I think you've hit upon the reason that scripture allows for disagreement in this area:

In the biblical witness, identification with the local church simply was identification with the universal church.

All the churches we read about in the New Testament were founded and taught by apostles, and cooperated fully in everything (offerings for the Jerusalem church, for example). So baptism in those churches had only that one dimension.

I see baptism as the kind of dual identification I've described in earlier posts, and I still think this is supportable, albeit not explicitly so, from Acts 2.

But, hey, I've been wrong before.

You don't have anything against pie, do you?

5:07 PM, January 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm one of those CBF-ers and am not about to claim LOTS as one of our bedfellows!! Peace!

6:36 PM, January 30, 2006  
Blogger Lot said...

... uh ... what's a "CBF-er"? And what might one do who would be in bed with you? (I'm almost afraid to ask.)

Lots Tusej

3:54 PM, January 31, 2006  

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A Treatise on Church Order by John L. Dagg


Christian Doctrine by W. T. Conner


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The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Revised Edition) by Wayne Grudem


Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 by D. A. Carson

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More Thoughts on Contacting Trustees
Burleson Being Voted Out
IMB Trustee Contact Info
A Lesson in Redemption
My Thoughts During Christmas
Burleson Prepares for Battle
Psalm 46 and Me
Jesus, Santa, and . . . Paris???
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
Encourage Dr. Rankin

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