5. Requiring Baptists to be Baptists

June 6, 2016

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

The membership requirements for a church to remain in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention are so weak that we run the risk of watering down our doctrinal standards in the areas of baptism and congregational polity. Additionally, one wonders if lax membership requirements, combined with generous church planting support systems and theological education tuition subsidies, might be attracting to our fold those who do not truly embrace our Southern Baptist principles and convictions. Can we honestly say that we are making more Southern Baptists when many of these so-called converts are actually BINO’s—or Baptists In Name Only?

The Process for Removing Non-Baptist Churches

How does one go about removing a church from the Southern Baptist Convention? To be seated as a messenger at the annual meeting, one’s church must have “a faith and practice which closely identifies with the Convention’s adopted Statement of Faith” and must have donated at least something to one or more convention causes in the previous fiscal year. But this restriction merely applies to the seating of messengers, and the vast majority of our churches do not send even one messenger to the annual meeting.

Perhaps the best way to identify a church as residing outside the Southern Baptist umbrella is for the local association to disfellowship them. Still, some of our churches no longer belong to an association, and rarely participate at the state convention level. How are we supposed to remove churches from the convention when they are not meaningfully involved in any way in the first place?

Whatever the method for doing so, it stands to reason that if a church is not adhering, at least generally, to our most deeply cherished beliefs, then we should not continue to consider them to be a Southern Baptist Church. In this matter, we are not being harsh or punitive. We have stated what we believe in black and white. If they depart from it, they are the ones who are actually defining themselves outside Southern Baptist parameters. Two specific examples are worth mentioning.

1. Churches Totally Rejecting Congregational Polity

This issue has been summarized by Robert Hutchinson in his excellent article published in February of this year. (Testing Our Commitment to Congregational Polity.) Hutchinson cites Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin, Illinois, whose bylaws state: “Members of the church do not participate in governance by voting.” This policy clashes with the Baptist Faith and Message description of our Baptist congregational polity as operating through “democratic processes.”

Another example cited is the Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Kentucky, whose membership packet clearly states that “…we are not congregational…”

It cannot be emphasized enough that the issue here is not simply the existence of churches who have elders and practice a form of elder led congregationalism, in which the churches do vote on occasion. We are talking here about churches that have absolutely repudiated any semblance of congregationalism at all, relinquishing all democratic processes by never voting.

Here are two other ways of asking the question: “Can a church be a Southern Baptist Church while affirming and practicing a form of church government and an organizational structure that is expressly disaffirmed by Southern Baptists?” “Can a church that functions like a Presbyterian Church (or a Catholic, Methodist or Episopal Church) remain in good standing in the Southern Baptist Convention?” I believe the answers should be “no.”

2. Churches Accepting a Non-Immersed Membership

No Southern Baptist Church of which I am aware is actually practicing the sprinkling mode of baptism after someone makes a profession of faith at their church. Thus, we all at least agree with The Baptist Faith and Message when it states: “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (emphasis mine)

However, a problem arises when someone who has been born again in a church of another denomination seeks membership in a Southern Baptist Church. If the denomination practices sprinkling (like Methodists and Presbyterians, for example) most Southern Baptist Churches will only admit these members if they are willing to be scripturally baptized by immersion.

In other words, most Southern Baptist churches require Baptists to be baptized. However, this time honored principle in Southern Baptist life is changing. A number of churches today, especially Calvinistic ones who are adding a fair number of former Presbyterians to their rolls, are accepting into the membership of Southern Baptist churches candidates who have merely been sprinkled after their profession of faith. (See The Sprinkled Baptist Convention.)

The Village Church, with several campuses in the Dallas area, clarifies their view on page ten of a publication on baptism: While we practice a baptism by immersion at The Village, we do not require the mode of immersion for membership. 

Do we not lose something very precious when we set the doctrinal standard for membership so low that a person does not even need to be scripturally baptized to become a member of a Southern Baptist church? Our very name, Baptist, comes from a word that means “to immerse.” If we refuse to insist that all those who wear the name Southern Baptist are immersed, we betray the very core conviction that identifies us.

Simply put, the term “non-immersed Baptist” is an oxymoron. If you’ve never been baptized, then you’re not truly a Baptist. And if you’re not truly a Baptist, then how can we possibly consider you to be a Southern Baptist?

Conclusion

By whatever method necessary, we must preserve the doctrinal integrity of the Southern Baptist Convention. A church does not have to be a Southern Baptist Church, but if they are going to be one, then it is an absolute necessity that they both affirm and practice our congregational form of polity and our membership standards related to the only biblical mode of baptism.

Transparency Agenda Survey Results

In a recent poll of SBC Today readers, we asked Southern Baptists to indicate if they “approved” or “disapproved” of the idea that we “Remove Non-Baptist Churches from the Southern Baptist Convention.” With 213 respondents, 69.01% approved of such an action, while 30.99% disapproved.

This article addresses Item Five of the Ten Item Transparency Agenda. You may READ the Transparency Agenda or COMPLETE the survey yourself. To read the articles reporting results from the other survey items, see the links below: 

ITEM ONE 

ITEM TWO

ITEM THREE

ITEM FOUR

ITEM SIX

ITEM SEVEN

ITEM EIGHT

ITEM NINE

ITEM TEN

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Ben Stratton

Rick,

What’s even more disappointing to me is that most Southern Baptist pastors don’t care about these things. You ask them, Did you know that Pastor James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin, Illinois have bylaws which state: “Members of the church do not participate in governance by voting?” Or did you know that Pastor Matt Chandler and the Village Church in Dallas, Texas will accept people as full church members who have been sprinkled after their profession of faith? When you tell most Southern Baptist pastors these things, they will shrug their shoulders and say those are just minor issues. Moreover it makes me wonder what those in leadership in the SBC think about these things!

I think this is the fruits of not teaching doctrine to several generations of Southern Baptists. If you look at the old Study Course books that were published by the SBC from the 1950s and back, you will find they were emphasizing Baptist distinctives and doctrine. Then look at what was being published in the 1960s and on. It’s a huge difference. Our chickens have come home to roost!

Jon Estes

“Can we honestly say that we are making more Southern Baptists”

Is this what we as Baptists are to be doing? I thought we were people of the book and in my careful study of God’s Word, I have never seen such a suggestion.

“it stands to reason that if a church is not adhering, at least generally, to our most deeply cherished beliefs, then we should not continue to consider them to be a Southern Baptist Church. ”

Yuup, we need a SBC Special Forces Squad. A good use for CP dollars. Go out and find those pesky churches which call themselves Southern baptist and let’s rid of selves of the vermin.

“Churches Accepting a Non-Immersed Membership”

Interesting. At the churches I have pastored we always baptized (by immersion) more than we added to the roll. I believe in believers baptism, not Baptist baptism. Yet… I did have one lady some years ago we did not baptize. She had an extreme phobia about water and being immersed. We chose grace instead of Baptist law.

“non-immersed Baptist”

Would the expression “non-immersed Christian” be more acceptable to Christ, if need be?

I’m not knocking baptism but I am sick of legalism.

Keep working to dwindle the dwindling convention. Maybe if the criticism chips away from both ends it will go away even quicker.

When can we get back to spending time on winning the world instead of correcting the things we see wrong. I’m speaking to me also.

    Rick Patrick

    Jon,
    Your reply is interesting to me, for I see these issues, generally, as the denominational equivalent of exercising church discipline—a trademark reformed distinctive. Why would a Nine Marks type of church embracing strict church discipline not also embrace the kind of logical boundaries that would define us theologically and denominationally as Southern Baptists? If church discipline is helpful in keeping good order within each local congregation, then why would it not also be helpful in keeping good order within an entire denomination?

    Either we have a convention or we don’t. Apart from the acceptance of homosexuality, is there anything else a church can do to reveal that it lies outside the Southern Baptist Convention?

      Jon Estes

      Rick –

      “Why would a Nine Marks type of church embracing strict church discipline not also embrace the kind of logical boundaries that would define us theologically and denominationally as Southern Baptists?”

      I can’t answer why a certain church or denomination does what they do, like some here seem to be able to. I can suggest that being biblical is more important than being Baptist (which I hope you would agree).

      With that said and one who believes in Believers baptism is the way to go biblically, there are some primary things in scripture and some tertiary things. We need to come together on the primary things.

      Not being baptized is not hurting the church (I know there are two negatives but I hope you get what I am saying). Not having church discipline is.

      I could go on about some of the damaging problems in the churches today, both from leadership and the pews… but that is for another article. Let me at least say this… The church is filled with apathy in the USA (IMPO) and because we are congregational, we let these people who apathetic towards the things of God vote and make decisions for the direction of the church. Baptism – doing it or not (and we should) is not hurting the church today but apathy is.

      “Apart from the acceptance of homosexuality, is there anything else a church can do to reveal that it lies outside the Southern Baptist Convention?”

      Being a people of the book, I believe a list can be made. With baptism specifically, the church is not reaching the lost – that is not the SB way. Why worry about baptism when most churches are not winning anyone to baptize? Seems like there are foundational issues to address before we address that which is built on top of that foundation.

      Why is church discipline so hard for those non-Calvinist pastors?

        Jeffery Stading

        Jon,
        You wrote,
        “I can’t answer why a certain church or denomination does what they do, like some here seem to be able to. I can suggest that being biblical is more important than being Baptist (which I hope you would agree).”

        I believe that Baptist distinctives best represent biblical Christianity. That’s why I’m a Baptist. I attend a Baptist Church because I am a Baptist. I can fellowship with Presbyterians, Lutherans, and others but I won’t join their church because I’m a Baptist.

        Yes making disciples is our main goal. I would rather see a man convert to Christ and become a Presbyterian than to remain lost. However, I would rather fund a Baptist missionary to evangelize the lost and then disciple the convert in Baptist doctrine (the most biblical doctrine) than a Presbyterian missionary evangelize the lost then disciple the convert in reformed doctrine (a less biblical doctrine).

        I understand that Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and a host of others would object to my parenthetical stats as to which doctrines are most biblical. And thats okay, it is why they are not Baptists. The problem is that there is an element that waters down the meaning of Baptist to mean what ever they want it to mean. There are many that want to be Southern Baptist for the sake of controlling the denomination’s resources (entities, CP receipts, and publishing arms) but do not want to be called Baptist and will not say that Baptist distinctives have any value.

        Maybe we should re-frame the discussion this way. If the SBC ceases to be Baptist should Baptist church continue to support it? By asking the question I am not advocating that we defund the CP, or entities. We give 15% of our general receipts to CP because we believe this is the best way to reach the world with the gospel and disciple new converts with Baptist doctrine (what we believe to be most biblical). What happens when we come to the conclusion that we are instead discipling converts in a less biblical doctrine?

          Jon Estes

          Jeffery –

          “What happens when we come to the conclusion that we are instead discipling converts in a less biblical doctrine?”

          Then it would not be discipling.

          For me the thought goes deeper. Even if we disciple correctly and the ones being discipled choose not to follow – do we consider them to be Southern Baptists?

          If an SBC church (in name) habitually refuses to witness for Christ – do we consider them to be Southern Baptists?

          We have disfellowshipped from churches for different reasons — who gets to add to the list of what will be next to get a church in our convention booted?

          I’m all for making it biblical but as a Baptist, the Priesthood of the Believer must be cherished and honored… even when someone interprets a few things differently than us.

          It used to be that supporting the CP made one Southern Baptist. A lot of larger churches supported the CP in a manner which left a bad testimony among other SB’s. So what did we do.. we changed the way we consider what supporting the CP means.

          Outside of baptism… how many churches are really SB in what they are doing (regardless of what they say they believe)?

          Keep going and keep removing the unwanted (because they are not SB enough) and watch the missionaries you support dwindle because the funds do.

          It is possible that most churches will be found guilty of not being SB enough in some area of where we believe SB’s must be.

          We have fought and won against the biblical liberals – next target… the baptist liberals.

            Jeffery Stading

            Jon,
            When I was a new believer I was asked to attend a class for new church members. Each session of the class covered different aspects of the Christian life and church membership. As best I remember the class went as follows:

            Session One: Christian Essentials – assurance of salvation, baptism, church membership, prayer, and Bible Study
            Session Two: Christian Witness -personal evangelism and missions
            Session Three: Christian Stewardship – Tithing, Offering,and Budgeting
            *Session Four: Baptist Distinctives – Believers baptism, Autonomy of the local church, Priesthood of the believer, Two Ordinances, Individual soul liberty, Separation, Two Offices
            *Session Five: Baptist Polity – church business meetings, associations, conventions

            I put an asterisk on the last two sessions because until I attended college I thought that a church the held to those distinctives and that polity where Baptist and those who did not where something else. Now granted, I was ignorant as to other types of Baptists. I did not know of Independent Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Freewill Baptist, or any one else. When I enetered a baptist college that was affiliated with our state baptist convention I was shocked by the fact a small but vocal group of student rejected what I was taught to be Baptist polity and even some of the Baptist distinctives. I also became aware of churches that where underground Baptist (did not use the Baptist title in there name.)

            As Lydia stated early I was pretty sheltered. Evangelized by a baptist church, baptized by the same baptist church, discipled by the same baptist church, called in to vocational ministry in the same baptist church, educated in a baptist college and seminaries. I have never been ashamed of our doctrine or polity.

            I have had several negative experiences with reformed or semi reformed churches and church leaders. I followed behind a reform minded pastor in two of my first three pastorates. In my first pastorate the previous pastor had led the church (with much resistance) to cancel weekly visitation (as it was not effective in his opinion) to reduce CP giving from 10% to 2.5% in order to fund individual missionaries directly. The individual missionaries were Christian but one did not even claim to be baptist. He also fought to do away with WMU as it was an auxiliary and not under his direct authority. He also wanted to do away with monthly business meetings and elect an elder board to oversee the church’s day to day operations. When I arrived I made peace with the WMU (allowed them to conduct the annual International Mission Study and missions education classes for girls and boys), led the church to restore its historical support for the CP (we allowed designated offering for the individual missionaries) and restarted the week visitation programs. My time there was one of reconciliation and church growth.
            In my third pastorate, I followed a pastor who had adopted a reformed approach adopting elder rule, cutting CP giving in favor of Great Commission Giving (ie designated giving to IMB, SEBTS, SBTS, and Acts 29 network, teaching and preaching strong Calvinist doctrine, and doing away with VBS because child evangelism was not effective. The church had lost many of its membership to other baptist churches that known for Baptist polity, support for CP, and VBS. He had I very long tenure and most of those who remained in the church had adopted i his theology and methodology.I preach expository and evangelistic not systematic theology so Sundays went well but most of my nearly decade of ministry was difficult as they did not understand my emphasis on evangelistic outreach involvement in our local association, or insistence on developing children’s ministry included VBS. The most difficult aspect was having to constantly beg the board of elders to release funds that were already budgeted for. Constantly being asked to lead them to grow but being resisted in evangelistic efforts.

            Sorry, I just realized that I started to rant, but, these experiences contribute to the perception I have of those who reject what many others and I understand as Baptist distinctives. I don’t really want to run anyone out I just want to work together with like minded churches and pastors who do not insult me for me “old school approach” or dismiss my church’s contribution to the kingdom because we don’t have over 200 in attendance.

              Jon Estes

              “I have had several negative experiences with reformed or semi reformed churches and church leaders. ”

              Most pastors have had their share f negative experiences. I have also. As a reformed thinking Southern Baptist (born and bred), I have been asked to resign because I was to evangelistic. The former pastor let it be known in his circles (he still lived in the area) that I should not be pastoring but doing full time evangelism.

              Many of my church people over the years find it odd to what they have been taught that I, a Calvinist, would be evangelistic. Their mindset was Calvinists do not evangelize. I taught the FAITH Evangelism strategy for LifeWay for 8 years. I presently am an online adjunct professor who is the instructor for EVAN 101. And by golly, I am a Calvinist. I live in the Middle East and am regularly sharing Jesus.

              Yeah, there are those pastors out there that do not reach the world. They are in both camps. The argument should not be about those Calvinists who do not witness but those believers. But then, the non-Calvinists would have to accuse their own for not loving the lost. Arguing soteriology is easier and more fun for some – it seems.

              Win them and Baptize them with a believers baptism, not a baptist one. I’ve seen to many churches that want believers to be baptized a second time if they were not immersed in a Baptist church. We make ourselves look foolish.

Lee

The essence of being Southern Baptist isn’t in doctrinal purity, or in fidelity to what other people think being Baptist ought to be. It’s in the fact that the denomination serves the churches, not the other way around, and the churches are independent, autonomous, led by and filled with the Spirit. A denomination can easily be turned into a religious fraternal organization, and tightening the parameters of “friendly cooperation” by using doctrinal boundaries that are more a matter of personal interpretation and cultural influence than Biblical scholarship will push the Southern Baptist Convention into that category more rapidly than it is already moving there.

    Rick Patrick

    I do not consider our polity form or our baptism mode to be “matter(s) of personal interpretation and cultural influence.” (Neither does The Baptist Faith and Message.) I consider these doctrines to be core Baptist theological distinctives. Adoniram Judson, our first Baptist missionary in America, evidently considered believer’s baptism by immersion to be denominationally defining. If this is no longer the case, when did it stop? When did we decide that a Baptist did not have to be baptized in the only manner accepted in the BFM2K?

    Tightening the parameters of “friendly cooperation” to ensure that our Baptist churches are, in fact, Baptist churches, is no legalistic exercise denying anyone their autonomy. Non-Baptist churches have the autonomy to be non-Baptist, just as Baptist conventions have the autonomy to define what that means, and to determine which churches are in and which churches are out, according to the beliefs and practices we cherish and hold dear.

Jim P

Dr. Patrick,

Many of your concerns are valid. You mention ‘doctrinal integrity’ and I think you’d agree that that should be derived from Scripture, the Bible, but you are qualifying the ‘doctrinal integrity’ with the ‘Southern Baptist Convention’ phrase.

What happens if these two, the Bible and ‘Southern Baptist Convention’ find they are challenging each other? I remember reading very fondly of a Southern Baptist writer stating that ‘he is a Baptist because it is Biblical.’

It is a huge hurtle arguing Biblical validity of a doctrine. Jesus confronted that with the Jews of His day when He said, ‘Because of your traditions you invalidate the Word of God.’ There must be a wrestling with scripture to validate a ‘doctrine.’ If not then we invalidated what God’s word, His purposes, and violate sincere believer’s conscience..

Southern Baptist’s tradition hold to baptism by immersion and congregational rule in churches. I think both can be argued biblically and it needs to be argued in an open fair dialog. But it does open the door on whether it will be ‘being about being Southern Baptist’ with its traditions or ‘being Biblical.’

I believe this is where you are bring this discussion whether you are aware of this or not.

Sincerely, Jim Poulos

    Rick Patrick

    Jim,
    Thanks for reminding me of the ultimate source for the doctrinal affirmations we Southern Baptists have reduced to writing in The Baptist Faith and Message. That source, of course, is the Bible. I am thankful that we have clearly articulated both congregational polity and baptism by immersion as our Southern Baptist interpretations of the Word of God. Rather than being “mere traditions,” our views come straight from scripture. Thus, as we live in accordance with The Baptist Faith and Message, we are simultaneously living in accordance with scripture, so that by calling these churches to adhere to Southern Baptist principles, we are actually doing nothing other than calling them to obey the Bible itself.

Steven

Well Rick, I occasionally write when I disagree with you and try to always write when I agree with you. I agree with you.

I also agree with Ben Stratton’s comment that the genesis of these issues is in the lack of doctrinal preaching and teaching within the denomination. I know of a baptist church that has largely abandoned both of these distinctives. The church holds one vote a year to rubber stamp the deacon board and approve the church budget. However, the deacon board is nominated by a committee selected primarily by the deacon board and the pastor. The only other vote, other than deacon board, that the congregation has is for a new pastor. This is not congregationalism. It is a good ole boy (and girl) network.

The church’s policy on baptism is no better. The official church policy is that all new members must be baptized by immersion. However, the pastor has explained to some that the church has “voting members” (those that are allowed to vote on the deacon board and budget) and “non-voting members” (those that do not get to vote). To be a voting member you have to be baptized. To be a non-voting member you don’t have to be baptized. As best I can tell, the pastor has only made the offer for a person to become a non-voting member when the person has significant net worth that they might contribute to the church. Thus, a non-baptized, non-voting, “member” of the church could be a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and leader in the church, and participate at the Lord’s table. When the pastor has such a low view of important doctrine (and really the commands of Christ), then you have to expect the church to follow suit.

I remember a few years back when Dr. Mark Dever made the comment about our Presbyterian brothers that while they were genuine in their understanding of scripture, he believed that they were genuinely wrong and thus in sin. Many, including many Baptist, were offended that Dr. Dever would say that an un-baptized believer was in sin. I was not offended, and I suspect that you were not either because that is what we believe. Dr. Gregory Wills at SBTS did an excellent talk a few years back on the importance of baptism. You can find it here: http://goo.gl/dBKbEo. He really hits home on the importance of the ordinance and why we should protect it.

Steven

Lydia

I don’t think one can appeal to the BFM with a straight face. It dawned on me recently that many SBC pastors and entity employees embrace ESS as orthodox. Ware, Burk, Mohler, etc, etc. Does the BFM affirm ESS, too?

    Jeffery Stading

    I hate to sound stupid but what is the ESS?

      Lydia

      They are calling it new names now but it Eternal Subordination of the Son. Seems to be a huge conflict between Presbyterian theologians and SBC Calvinists including Grudem the ST guru.

      It’s about time some took this on. It has been standard indoctrinated fare at Southern

      Bill Mac

      Jeffery,
      As far as I can tell, the only purpose of ESS doctrine is to reinforce gender roles within the church. It is advocated by strict complementarians, and although it does seem to be favored by Calvinists it is not limited to them.

        Andy

        Not so,

        Once one gets over the silly idea that submission to authority is always a negative, Certain aspects of ESS can help us realize that while it is God-reflecting for a Leader in any arena of life to exercise their authority in a humble and selfless way…it is also God-reflecting to submi to authority, as Jesus was sent by, and submitted to the father. An employee who obeys his boss without complaining or resentment is reflecting Jesus’ attitude.

        As far as the biblicality of ESS itself, I simply don’t see how some aspect of it is escapabl: If rejected, does it mean that before, in reality, the Son could ha e sent the Father to live and die as a Man? Or that the Holy Spirit could have sent the Father?. Jesus said the Father sent the Son. To me, this implies that even before the sending, some relationship of distinction existed. (2 Cor. 15 notwithstanding).

        Andy

          Lydia

          Andy, you guys are just eaten up with authority submission Doctrine. You have been trained to think in terms of pecking orders and roles.

          So maybe you can tell me who the Holy Spirit reports to in the Trinity.

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: “As far as the biblicality of ESS itself, I simply don’t see how some aspect of it is escapabl:”

          Which aspect is inescapable?

            Andy

            1. The father “sent” the Son…
            2. The Titles of father and Son. Themselves.
            3. 1 cor. 15:24-28 seems to say that at the end, all things will be subject to Jesus, except that Jesus will also be subject to the Father. If you have another careful explaination of this passage, I’d love to hear it
            4. Corollary to ESS is ESHS. The holy spirit is said to be sent by both father and son. His role is not to glorify himself, but to glorify the Son.
            5. The Father speaks through the Son (heb. 1), not the other way around. He also created the world through the Son, not the other way around .

            To summarize, there seem to be specific statements, as well as a general pattern of the Father directing the salvation plan, and the Son carrying it out.

            To state it simply, it seems simple and by biblical to accept that Jesus and the Father exist eternally as equal beings with distinct roles…roles that part of which is defined by the Son submitting to the Father and carrying out his will…pre, during, and post-incarnation.

            It does not necessitate any kind of unbiblical rating of humans, but allows for recognition of different roles in life, and gives another point of encouragement for those people who must submit to a Boss (which is most people)….that submission DOES NOT EQUAL INFERIORITY. Any accusation that ESS teaches an INFERIORITY of Jesus misses the fact that it teaches the exact opposite. A Christian can joyfully submit to an employer may not be any more qualified than they are, and yet is the boss. To do so mirrors Christ.

            It is not a drive for superiority or power that drives such a belief….quite the opposite…it is a desire to imitate Christ.

          Les

          You all may find this helpful on ESS.

          http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/06/god-the-sonat-once-eternally-g.php

          Lydia

          Andy, in John 5, Jesus claiming to be the Son was understood by the Pharisees as claiming to be equal to the Father. Much of the problem is not understanding Hebrew thinking and communication.

          One has to buy into a inferior ‘role’ as “equality” to buy into a lot of this cognitive dissonance. A lot of ‘separate but equal’ thinking going on.

          It is dangerous to take a metaphor too far. As in ‘Some sheep are more equal than others’?

          I do understand the fear of losing position in the adult caste systems some love to construct to feel important. It is the world’s way. The Gentile system. The Roman code.

          If Jesus was just following orders to the cross …. actually that fits ESS to a T.

          Bill Mac

          Andy,
          That we see submission in the person of the Son to the Father in his ministry on earth is inescapable. I think it is the word Eternal that gets us into areas we can’t possibly know.

        Lydia

        It is also mapped to hierarchies in the Body. I have never been able to get any ESS proponents to tell me who the Holy Spirit reports to in the Trinity.

        I think you can even make a case for the teaching of God’s 2 Wills from it .

        It has recently become a Calvinist family fight, though. Grudem was very hurt that theologians from his old Seminary were taking it on.

Randall Cofield

Dr. Patrick,

How would you respond to the following question from those who agree with some (but not necessarily all) of your transparency agenda:

What assurances to the contrary would you offer to those concerned that you might use this same methodology (assuming it is effective) to oust Calvinists from entities and churches within the SBC?

Grace to you.

    Lydia

    Randal,l maybe he could sign a nondisclosure agreement with you guys. :o)

    Actually that is a very funny question. That’s like asking your partner, ” how do I know for sure you won’t be like me and do the sneaky things I do”? After all you want to guarantee that your partner is nothing like you.

    Rick Patrick

    Randall,
    I seek proportionality, balance, a fair representation. The goal is not to remove all Calvinists from the convention. Rather, it is to restore what Dr. Richard Land described as our historic “melody” (Traditionalism) and “harmony” (Calvinism).

    Right now, the harmony line is drowning out the melody line and the music is not very sweet. I like to put it this way: “The SBC will soar higher with TWO healthy denominational wings.” Right now, Calvinism is just sucking the life out of conventional participation by Traditionalists, who feel marginalized and “irrelevant,” to borrow Brad Whitt’s term. Things are very unstable, in my view.

    I’m not sure what you are looking for in the way of “assurances.” (Do you want me to give you my watch or a credit card?) All I really have to offer you is my word. While we may have disagreed about matters, I hope you are comfortable believing me when I say that the goal is not to oust Calvinists, but to balance Calvinists and Traditionalists in the SBC at a measure approximating their balance within the churches of our convention. I assure you that is the goal.

      Randall Cofield

      The watch thing sounds promising. Is it by any chance a Genevan Rolex?

Robert Vaughn

Rick, on the “Baptist Board” I pointed out the practice of the Village Church and asked the question, Would you receive sprinkling? I was very surprised by the number of Baptist responders who agree with the Village Church position on receiving non-immersion “baptisms” or think it doesn’t matter.

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