Abandoning Doctrinal Fidelity for the Lowest Common Denominator

February 13, 2009

While attending the FBC Jacksonville Pastor’s conference, the events of last week have weighed heavily on my mind. Namely what our site, SBCToday, should be about. The resource managers have primarily taken up the cause of the nearly forgotten doctrines concerning Baptist ecclesiology. Because of this, some have referred to us as “Baptist Identity” (BI), “neo-Landmark/Landmark,” or “fundamentalist” while sometimes adding “spooky.”

Frankly, last week Friday and most of Saturday, I was not keeping up with the blogs, yet through the preaching of God’s Word at the conference, God was dealing with me in how I represent His Word on the blogs. For what am I willing to suffer in the proclamation and upholding of His Word? This question was driven to me as Dr. Mohler preached from Colossians 1:19-28. Dr. Mohler’s point was that that we are “called,” men of God, not men working in a profession. This calling requires us to uphold the Word of God and suffer if we are called to do so in the proclamation of the truth. Essentially Paul was willing to suffer for the sake of the church to fulfill the Word of God.

It is my opinion that over the past couple of weeks, my name has been suffering for something that does not equate for what Paul is calling us to suffer. Though I believe I have done nothing ethically wrong in my blogging activities last week, I did in fact abandon my primary purpose of proclaiming the wondrous biblical truths of God and in articulating the overall situation Southern Baptists are facing. There is a systematic diverting of attention from doctrinal fidelity by the Southern Baptist (SB) ecumenist. This is being done by aligning oneself to the lowest common denominator for cooperation, a false redefinition of terms, and a pragmatic approach to missions cooperation.

I joined with the other men at SBC Today to bring awareness to the almost forgotten and severely neglected theology of Baptist ecclesiology. If anything, I wanted to be a part of the grass roots movement to help Southern Baptists journey back to their biblical heritage concerning matters of the church.

With this endeavor in SBC Today, I have frequently used a term called “ecumenical” or “ecumenist.” While some have dismissed using these terms as being unhelpful, by using them in the context of Southern Baptists, I have understood it and applied it in three ways:

1. Those in Southern Baptist life who are ecumenical are those who seek to cooperate using the lowest common denominator. Not only in Southern Baptist life is this a movement, but it is also in the wider evangelical community. The recent evangelical manifesto proved this as the document itself abandoned inerrancy as a distinctive for evangelicals. In the SBC calls for cooperating on the essentials of the Gospel is the mantra. After the 2007 SBC Convention in San Antonio the Garner motion was an effort of the ecumenists to keep SBC entities from making decisions beyond the doctrinal limitations of the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M). The ecumenists saw the BF&M as a “maximal document,” limiting the trustees to doctrines only addressed in the BF&M. In other words, the trustees could not fully fulfill their mandate as agents of accountability of the SBC. Fast forward to today. No longer are calls given by the Southern Baptist ecumenist to keep the BF&M as the limit of doctrines that are necessary for cooperation. Now the caveats have increased and the ecumenist desires to cooperate solely on the “essentials” of the gospel as long as those essentials remain in a state of flux so that no one is eliminated from their tent of cooperation. The belief in a regenerate baptized (immersed) church membership no longer matters. The ecumenist wants to work with the paedobaptist or sprinkler whether they were baptized as an infant or not. These issues are not of great concern to the SB ecumenist and do not impede cooperation for them.

2. Those in Southern Baptist life who are ecumenical wrongly redefine terms in order to evoke action towards their cause. Terms have been used to invoke fear among various groups of Southern Baptists. “Fundamentalist,” “spooky fundamentalist,” “Landmark,” “neo-landmark,” and “avant-garde self-styled defenders of Baptist Identity,” have been used against confessional Southern Baptists. Recently the issue of closed verses open communion took front stage. Those who believe that a church should allow, at a minimum, only those who are saved and baptized by immersion to participate in the Lord’s Supper were called “neo-Landmark.” Yet, by this post here, it was shown that those Southern Baptists who practiced this are abiding within the parameters of the Baptist Faith and Message. Those who accuse confessional Southern Baptists as neo-Landmark are themselves outside of what Southern Baptists officially believe. The aforementioned terms have been wrongly used to describe those who are Baptist Identity.

3. Those in Southern Baptist life who are ecumenical focus more on pragmatism and cultural preference (or feelings) rather than Biblical principles in forging their worldview. For instance, one may not want a woman to pastor their church because their discomfort “is personal and cultural – and not Biblical.” But when an autonomous state convention of cooperating churches, because of biblical beliefs, decides to disfellow themselves from a church that has a woman for their pastor, the convention is scourged on blog posts saying that it is unfair for a state convention to hold, in particular, those biblical beliefs not only in doctrine, but also in practice. Autonomy is only held in cases where it benefits the ecumenist. The state convention of cooperating churches, for the ecumenist, is not autonomous in this decision, yet through out Baptist history, there is example after example of associations and conventions who have operated as an autonomous body of churches that did not allow themselves to compromise their doctrines by one church’s decision to act independently of the confessional belief of the body. To claim that cooperating churches in a state convention cannot act autonomously against one aberrant church is weak if not illogical to say the least.

The ecumenical reformer understands certain truths from God’s Word to be stumbling blocks to cooperating with others. Where the doctrine does not pragmatically fit, it must be removed. We see this time and time again in the seeker sensitive or emergent church movement that is creeping into our convention. Don’t misunderstand, doctrine is not unimportant to the ecumenical reformer if it aids their cause, but when it is perceived to being a stumbling block, it must either be removed or avoided because it takes away from the pragmatic benefit of cooperation.

There is no doubt that a movement is afoot to make doctrine of secondary importance behind the shortsighted pragmatical benefits one perceives. When inerrancy (truth without any mixture of error), believers baptism by immersion, and the Lord’s Supper are considered tertiary doctrines that should not impede cooperation in a convention, association, or network of churches, then those who are not ashamed of the doctrines that make us Baptist must speak up and “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Wes Kenney

Well- said, Robin. Thanks.

Robin Foster

Thanks!

JIm Champion

I think that Alvin Reid said it best when dealing with the Mark Driscoll/Baptist Press mess. I think it applies to this post as well – this is his quote from Timmy Brister’s blog:

“Finally, I have a problem with my convention. I am a Southern Baptist. I have blogged before on why I am a Southern Baptist. But I have a problem with my convention, when we seem more intent on witch hunts than on contextualizing the gospel in our time, when we love to pick at each other’s differences than unite for the sake of the gospel, when we are more concerned about our total receipts than we are the lostness of our nation, when we continually confuse personal preferences with unchanging truth, and when we castigate younger men who love Jesus and His truth for simply doing what we taught them to do: study and honor the Word (when they come to different conclusions than some of us on secondary issues, they scratch their heads at the response they get). I was a supporter of the conservative resurgence before it was cool. But the resurgence I supported did not include a Pharisaical legalism that expects conformity in nonessentials. I supported a resurgence to stand on the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, one that now has led me and many others to see the need for a Great Commission Resurgence to be built on the foundation laid by the conservative resurgence. I am tired of talking good younger men off the ledge from leaving the SBC.”

    Chris Johnson

    Brother Jim,

    This came to mind as I was thinking about the little tiff going on ….
    1 Thessalonians 2:3-7 “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, (4) but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (5) For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness. (6) Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. (7) But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” ESV
    When a truth teller for Christ appeals to the crowd, they are entrusted with the gospel and there is a responsibility to speak, not to please man. This can be done in one of two ways, and it appears that on some occasions Driscoll allows himself to enjoy one of these two categories. One way is to not preach the gospel at all, but flatter people. The other way is to preach the gospel and flatter people at the same. In other words,…flattery can come in the form of nice words (without gospel,…a Joel Olsteen approach, not Driscoll) or flattery can come with harsh, corrosive and abusive words that may turn off one crowd, but to the delight of the flatterer…tends to please another crowd. Neither approach is condoned by scripture. Both approaches tickle a little, but tickle different crowds.
    That may be why this little spitting contest has ensued of which you are reporting.
    Blessings,
    Chris

    Joe Blackmon

    Jim

    I totally agree. There seem to be a growing number of people of certain theological persuaisions that have the mindset of “If you don’t agree with me, you’re not a Christian”. I, too, agree with the need for a Great Commission Resurrgence. It seems like the Conservative Resurrgence has turned into something that none of its proponents would have ever envisioned.

    I’m not talking about having no doctrinal parameters (i.e. Agreeing to cooperate with churches with women pastors–that would be clearly unbiblical) but rather refusing to cooperate on some non-essential doctrine (i.e.-A Baptist organization saying it wants to exclude Calvinists).

      Robin Foster

      Joe

      Please show me where this, “If you don’t agree with me, you’re not a Christian” has been said by any of the BI guys. This is simply not true and you know it. Again, you show perfectly how how someone redefines what BI is in order to provoke fear. Thank you for providing a stellar example for my second point.

        Joe Blackmon

        Robin

        May the Lord bless you, keep you, make His face shine upon you, be gracious to you, lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

        joe

Chris Johnson

Brother Robin,

“When inerrancy (truth without any mixture of error), believers baptism by immersion, and the Lord’s Supper are considered tertiary doctrines that should not impede cooperation in a convention, association, or network of churches, then those who are not ashamed of the doctrines that make us Baptist must speak up and “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

Your right,…those doctrines are not tertiary doctrines. I think everyone is good at making their own categories though. How we teach those doctrines is important. Some add to the doctrines to fit their pet systems as well,… which is as bad as thinking that they may be tertiary.

Rightly dividing the Word of God is the key, and it is hard work. That is what we should be doing….the hard work,….not the convenient contrived traditions with a hint of error.

Brother Jim,

I may be missing the point of your post…but are you saying that the “Driscoll’s of the world that use course language, shock jock techniques, etc., …..of which the Apostle Paul makes clear prohibitions, ….should not be confronted?

Blessings,
Chris

    JIm Champion

    Chris

    I believe that Driscoll repented of the course language. I know he ministers in an area that is very hostile to the Gospel.

    While I may not advocate his means, I praise the Lord that there is someone up there who is reaching the lost

      Chris Johnson

      Brother Jim,

      I am wanting him to remain qualified to pastor as well. So if this is habitual, it is an unqualifier unfortunately…for reason you have mentioned. We need more pastor/elders in the church to edify and build her up.

      Blessings,
      Chris

Robin Foster

Jim

I don’t think what Alvin Reid said applies to what I wrote. The doctrines I used as examples are in line with the BF&M. If Dr. Reid believes that the doctrines in the BF&M are nothing but mere “personal preferences,” and not “essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice,” then we might have a deeper problem.

Robin

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Robin,

Very succinctly done! The problem is not the narrowing of parameters, but the clear attempt by ecumenists to widen the parameters and abandon Baptist historical biblical ecclesiology.

Blessings,

Ron P.

JIm Champion

As long as the definition of what it means to be a cooperating SBCer are continually narrowed then the gist of Dr Reid’s can be applied to multiple situations – be it PPL, ACTS 29 churches ie the Journey in St Louis, moderate use of alcohol etc.

To me Dr Reid’s money statement is the following:

when we continually confuse personal preferences with unchanging truth

My problem with the BI group is that I think that you all take second and third tier issues and elevate them to 1st tier issues. An example, you say many times the the BFM 2000 is a minimal document – at what point do the expanding criteria begin to bleed into fundamentalism – when it finally gets to the right of where you believe?

    Robin Foster

    Jim

    What you say here is a different statement from what you originally said. Please show what I said in this post refers to personal preferences. If you cannot, I suggest you retract your statement concerning how Dr. Reid’s comment fits with this post.

    From your last paragraph, do I sense that you believe the BF&M and the doctrines contained within are first tier issues?

Alan Cross

Robin,

Your argument is with Wade Burleson. You should address Wade directly here, in my opinion. Anyone who has followed this knows that just about everything that you pointed to has come from Wade’s blog. I really am confused as to why you guys are so concerned about what Wade says. He is one person. By the way, has anyone else called you a “spooky fundamentalist?” I only saw Wade say that in one post like 2 years ago or something. Maybe some forgiveness there would liberate you. I know you and I don’t think you’re spooky at all. :)

I want to correct a few things in your post. In #1, you lump in all those who supported the Garner Motion with a group that you now perceive has basically no standards at all and will sacrifice Baptist distinctives for the sake of cooperation. That is a far leap and you are making it without evidence. Again, if you want to single out Wade, that is fine. But as one of the main proponents of the Garner Motion, you also have to take into account that I am on record as saying that there should be NO caveats to the BF&M allowed. You can disagree with me about the Garner Motion if you like, but you cannot draw me or most of the other people that were in support of the Garner Motion as traveling down the road that you have marked out here. I don’t even know where Wade stands on what you have characterized.

On #2, who has said that those who only allow those saved and baptized by immersion to take communion to be neo-landmark? Was that Wade again? The issue that I had was that being saved and baptized by immersion was NOT sufficient to take communion. The person also had to have been baptized in a church that taught eternal security. If eternal security was not taught in that church, even if the person believed in eternal security, then they would not be allowed to take communion. That was Dr. Yarnell’s view from our dialogue on this blog back in December. You reject the term “Landmark” in every form. That is fine. I won’t use it. But, what would you call that view? It is not enough that someone calls upon the Lord for salvation and is baptized by immersion. They also have to have been baptized in a church that preaches Baptist doctrine on eternal security before we accept their confession of faith as being valid. Can you show me where that is a biblical position? Dr. Yarnell could not.

As for #3, you again misspeak. You lumped in all supporters of the Garner Motion with a group that you call the Baptist Ecumenists in #1. You then say here that this group focuses on pragmatism and cultural prefences rather than Biblical principles in forming their worldview. Since I am someone who supported the Garner Motion, I categorically reject this statement as false. Again, in your examples you are talking about Wade Burleson. Why don’t you just say that you are talking about Wade? I don’t read all of Wade’s posts and I certainly don’t follow what is happening in his comment streams. He has his reasons for doing what he is doing and I don’t talk with him about that. I agree with him on some things and disagree with him on others, just like I always have. Just like we all always have. I especially agreed with him on the IMB issues and still do. I do think that those policies were an unnecessary narrowing of the parameters of cooperation beyond the BF&M. But, what you are now doing is assuming that everyone who worked on and agreed with the Garner Motion has traveled down a road of ecumenicalism that is to be rejected outright by Southern Baptists. That is decidedly not the case.

I actually don’t even know where Wade stands on the issue of ecumenicalism in the way that you are framing it. I bet that you could find out if you asked him, though, instead of writing posts that paint with a broad brush. Why don’t the writers of SBC Today invite Wade into a post/comment stream to engage in a dialogue and answer questions directly about what he thinks on all of this? Why don’t you guys debate? It would probably be far more productive than writing inaccurte posts about imaginary groups that are actually veiled attacks on Wade Burleson. I know that I would read such a debate.

Why don’t you settle all this once and for all?

    Alan Cross

    Going back and reading my post, I want to correct one thing. I realize that Wade has made it very clear as to where he stands on these issues. A debate would not throw further light on that. But, it would allow you to engage on issues where there could be point-counterpoint for all to make sure that we are comparing apples to apples in these discussions. It would be interesting, but I do not think that it will happen.

    As for me, I only wrote this because I saw that you were making a connection with those who supported the Garner Motion and what you are critiquing in this post. That connection is not there, at least in my case, and I wanted to affirm that it wasn’t necessarily there in the case of others either. I think that it is important to make those kinds of distinctions and deal with arguments and ideas instead of perceived groups that might or might not exist.

    Robin Foster

    Alan

    Concerning your first point, it is not my intent to lump all those who originally supported the garner motion as ecumenist. But those who have now abandoned that line of the BF&M for the more ecumenical flavor of essentials of the gospel fit that term.

    Second, Dr. Yarnell’s view on Communion is not at issue here. What ever issue you have with him on that I suggest you contact him. What my post (which I linked to) did was show that at a minimum one must be baptized by immersion as a believer in order to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Those who believe this are not Landmarker, but confessional Southern Baptist. BTW, I am sure and confident that Dr. Yarnell can very well explain any position he holds, I am not sure that those he is explaining them to are really listening to understand. :-)

    Concerning your third point, apparently you are hung up on the garner motion. I did not speak of the garner motion in my third point, that was done in the first point. Nor have I lumped ALL the supporters of the Garner motion as pragmatists.

    So, for all those who have read my post. It is not my intention to lump Alan Cross nor ALL the people who supported the garner motion as ecumenists. If they are abandoning the BF&M as a line of accountability, then they should proudly proclaim they do not want to be confessional in the BF&M tradition.

    So Alan, your integrity is intact and I hope my explanation will satisfy that I did not have you in mind, nor anyone else who has maintained their beliefs on the garner motion.

    :-)

    Concerning any interaction with Wade, “sigh!?!” I have debated, talked, and pleaded with him for three years to stop and seek more productive ways to drive change, he has refused to listen. I believe you were in the room one night at the conference on the Holy Spirit when you heard not only my desires for Wade to seek a different way to address his concerns, but Jason Epps’ also. BTW, Wade knows my phone number and can call me at anytime. Scott and Wes are not the only resource managers of SBC Today.

    :-)

    Alan, I love you and appreciate you. I honestly did not have you in mind when I wrote this post, only those who have stepped away from the standard of the BF&M as a line of accountability and those who are very pragmatic in their doctrine.

    Thanks for your time.

      Alan Cross

      Robin,

      Thanks for the clarification. For the record, I am not so proud to think that you had little old me in mind when you wrote your post. However, I saw the link that I thought you created between those who supported the Garner Motion and the current situation and that would have included me and many others. Thank you for clearing that up. In reality, those who supported the Garner Motion were never in agreement on everything. We were just in agreement on that. I’ve never been around a more independent group of thinkers and I was glad to be among them at that time.

      I’m sorry I didn’t read your link. My debate with Dr. Yarnell was in my mind. For the record, I DO NOT think that your stated view on those who should take communion is Landmarkest at all. You are right. As for understanding Dr. Yarnell’s position, I assure you that I understand it just fine. We spent about a week discussing it every way from Sunday and he was very clear in what he believed by the time we got to the end of the discussion. I cannot say that I agree with him. But, you are right: You are not Dr. Yarnell and I will accept your own words on these issues and not lump you in with him.

      I know that you have tried to talk with Wade and have done so many times. My point was that direct dialogue in a blog like this would be very interesting and insightful. Instead of accusations being levied and people talking past one another, a real debate could occur for the world to see. Perhaps a more neutral blog like SBCImpact could host such a debate. I would definitely follow it.

      It was just an idea. I did not mean for that to sound like you had not tried to talk with Wade in the past because clearly you have.

      There is no way to respond to your kind words without sounding mushy, but I will risk it by saying, I love you and appreciate you too, Robin. :)

      cb scott

      Alan,

      It is my opinion that you should, as did I, take Robin’s response to your concerns to heart.

      It is my opinion that we (you and I) wear basiclly the same hat in most of these issues.(I realize I respond more brutish than you when debating them)

      When I read Robin’s post I had some of the same reactions as did you. But now that he has qualified his statements I can see clearly he is very accurate with what he is saying.

      You said you agree with Wade on some things and disagree with Wade on other things.

      You spoke of the IMB situation. I am with you there. Yet, it is my present position that I now find myself in disagreement with Wade far more than in agreement on most anything he says related to the SBC or theology.

      I wonder if you find yourself in the same position? I know others that do and I think you do also.

      I believe Robin has well spoken here. And I hope you do give his response and its clarifications some thought.

      cb

        Robin Foster

        CB

        Actually I had Wally and that Villa Rico guy in mind when I wrote this post. They are the biggest ecumenists around.

        :-)

          cb scott

          Villa Rica does spend a lot of time with the Nazarenes. I don’t know much about Wally. He might be CBF.

          :-)

          cb

    Joe Blackmon

    The issue that I had was that being saved and baptized by immersion was NOT sufficient to take communion. The person also had to have been baptized in a church that taught eternal security.

    It amazes me that there are people with seminary degrees who hold to a position like that with no biblical support whatsoever.

      Robin Foster

      Joe

      You might want to contact Dr. Yarnell personally and get his point of view straight from him before you make rude and unkind statements about him.

        Joe Blackmon

        As best as I can tell, that statement was not directed to Dr. Yarnell but rather to anyone with a seminary degree who believed like that. Now, if I had said “Dr. Yarnell” then, yes, I would agree with you.

        I stand by my statement. It does amaze me that there are people on this planet that have degrees from seminary that believe as the gentleman had described.

steve

I am in a situation where I am being disciplined by my denomination for saying at Christmastime in a sermon on John 1:1-3 (In the beginning was the Word,and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created) 12 years ago the words “Baptists believe in the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some other groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and Christadelphians do not.”
And for saying on our website that the prosperity gospel is a dangerous thing.
It seems that I “preach against other denominations”.
Well… have fun fellas, you could be sitting where I am if the CR hadn’t taken place.
Steve

    Robin Foster

    Steve

    All I can say is keep fighting the good fight.

    Robin

    volfan007

    Robin,

    Great post. Great insight. Very well written.

    Steve,

    That’s exactly why it’s so important for us to stand on not only first tier doctrines, but to also stand up for second tier doctrines…Baptist Distinctives.

    May the SBC never, never come to the place where yall are in Australia, Brother. Stand firm and stand tall, Steve.

    David

Chris Poe

I don’t know if I will be in the SBC long term, but I do think Robin is right about the lowest common denominator. (I’ve also posted at length on Wade’s blog and elsewhere about the problems with the redefinition of terms in order to smear those with whom one disagrees. And I’m someone who disagrees with the IMB baptism guideline, BTW. My interest is in the truth, not a political agenda.) Those with such a stance who are Calvinistic try to paint it as a Calvinist/non Calvinist issue, but it’s not. You have the same divide within conservative Presbyterianism as well, between those who are more broadly evangelical in orientation (at times referred to as Barely Reformed or Broadly Reformed) and the Truly Reformed, or to coin a phrase, Presbyterian Identity folks who want don’t want to deemphasize their denominational distinctives for the sake of a perceived greater good. I’m not too familiar with them, but I understand there is a similar divide among Lutherans as well, with some who want to emphasize traditional Lutheran doctrine and others who are more broad in their outlook.

JIm Champion

Robin

I have two issues with the BFM2000 – The statement that it is an instrument of doctrinal accountability – which I think raises it to the level of a creed. And the statement on women, which I dont think belongs. Neither of those areas are fundamental to the faith – so I would not consider either first tier issues. Other than those two areas I am in agreement with it.

I think that Dr Reid’s point – while made about an issue that is causing a bit of consternation at SEBTS and BP is definitely applicable to the BI initiative in general. Which was the point I was making in both posts.

The SBC is a big tent, if it were not, the BGCT would have been kicked out a long time ago. Dr Reid seems to be arguing for a big tent. By coming out so strongly against any form of evangelical ecumenism – even ecumenism within the SBC (unless I am reading your post incorrectly), I take your post to advocate further narrowing – even past what our current BFM states.

David Rogers

Robin,

When I began to read this post, I was at first hopeful that perhaps the Lord had convicted you about majoring on minors, and that you intended to get back to majoring on the gospel. However, reading further, it appears that you “feel led” to dig in your heels even more, and continue to make the “BI” agenda a front-page issue.

On so many things, you and I are in perfect agreement. I am quite confident we love and serve the same Lord, believe the same Bible, and preach the same gospel. We are even in agreement, as far as I can tell, on all of the details of the BF&M, with the one exception of “closed communion.”

I will admit to using, on occasion, the term “neo-landmark” to describe many of the views frequently espoused on SBC Today. To me, that term connotes a “new take” on Landmarkism, or an updated, tweaked version for dealing with present-day issues. If, for example, you take classical Landmarkers on one side, and the majority of Southern Baptists (who don’t practice ‘closed communion’ or who don’t reject ‘alien immersion’) on the other side, it seems to me most of you “BI” guys would align more closely with the Landmarkers. Thus, the name “neo-landmarkers.” I understand that groups of Baptists have taught many of these same views before the name “Landmarkism” was ever coined. And I understand that many in the so-called “BI” movement do not identify across the board with all of the Landmark distinctives. But, there are a lot of similarities, when you are talking in generalities. If you feel the term “neo-landmarkist” is not accurate, though, I will be happy to quit using it. It does help to have some term to describe your views, and differentiate them from others who may be close, but not exactly alike. Any suggestions?

At the same time, I get the idea that you are calling the view that I take on these issues to be “ecumenical.” Maybe I am taking up someone else’s battle here. Maybe, as Alan says above, all this is really just directed at Wade. But, reading what you say here, I get the idea that anyone who does not agree down the line with you on these issues is a de facto “ecumenist.” I find it interesting that you have dropped the “evangelical” forename out of “evangelical ecumenism,” and now we are just plain old “ecumenists.” Yet, if you were to line me (and my views) up alongside classical ecumenists, and conservative Southern Baptists (including even all you “BI” guys), I am quite confident most people would group me with you, rather than with the ecumenists. I know I share much more common doctrinal ground with you, Malcolm Yarnell, and others like you, for instance, than I do with any of the leaders of the WCC or the NCC.

Also, when you talk about “lowest common denominator for cooperation, a false redefinition of terms, and a pragmatic approach to missions cooperation,” perhaps, as Alan intimates, you are just talking about Wade, or someone else. I don’t know. I would be interested to know if you consider me (and my views) to fall within what you are referring to here, as well, though. If so, it would be very helpful for you to define a bit more precisely what you mean by this, giving specific examples. If not, it would be helpful for you to clear up that, when you use this terminology, you are not really talking about people like me, but rather, about others.

    Robin Foster

    David

    Did you support the Garner motion as defined by some as a “maximal statement?”

    Do you disagree with the Baptist Faith and Message on the doctrines of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism?

      Robin Foster

      Also, do you believe that baptism as defined by the BF&M as an ordinance of the church is a prerequisite for the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper?

        David Rogers

        Robin,

        To be a little more specific than my answer in comment #13:

        1. I do believe that it is a good practice for Baptist churches to require believers baptism by immersion as a prerequisite for local church membership.

        2. I also believe that responsible parties within a local church, when supervising the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, should admonish those in attendance to search their conscience, and confess and repent of any unconfessed sin. I also believe that Baptist churches should regularly teach that Jesus commands his followers to be baptized, following conversion, as an act of obedience. In the end, however, I believe churches should leave partipation or non-participation in the Lord’s Supper up to the conscience of the individual participant. The exception to this would be someone who has been officially placed under church discipline.

    cb scott

    David,

    You said:

    “It seems to me most of you “BI” guys would align more closely with the Landmarkers. Thus, the name “neo-landmarkers.”

    David that is a narrow statement.

    When I said you were more akin to the Plymouth Brethren than to Southern Baptists, I may as well have said you were a raving Visigoth.

    David, history will give great credibility to the statement that what we believe as historic Southern Baptists predates what is called Landmark theology.

    Landmarkers do believe some things historic Southern Baptists believe. So do Plymouth Brethren.

    Yet, Plymouth Brethren, nor Landmarkers are historic Southern Baptists.

    cb

      David Rogers

      CB,

      There are a lot of things about the Plymouth Brethren and their take on things that I admire, and that I agree with. However, when you place the overall doctrinal position of Plymouth Brethren side by side with the BF&M, I think I come out closer to the BF&M. Also, I have chosen to affiliate with churches and ministries affiliated with the SBC.

      As I mentioned in my comment, yes, many “BI” views pre-date the “Landmark movement” per se. A lot of other things pre-date it, as well, including John Bunyan. The important thing, for me, is not whether we answer to the label Landmarkist, Ecumenist, Plymouth Brethren, or Southern Baptist, but whether we are faithful servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, and loyal brothers to our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.

        cb scott

        David,

        Most any rational Southern Baptist will agree as to “the important thing” you mention.

        That is not the issue of this post, is it?

        The issue of this post is related to some seeking the lowest common denominator for calling all who will agree Southern Baptists.

        There are specific distinctives related to being a Southern Baptist. It is there where some seek to stretch the “tent” beyond its frame and weaken its ability to sustain the storm.

        cb

          David Rogers

          CB,

          I am hopeful that indeed, as you say, any rational SB will agree about the “important thing” I mention. Unfortunately, the impression I get sometimes in midst of all the rhetoric is that it is being upstaged by other things, that, in the overall scheme of things, are not so important. Thus, I maintain that my statement is fitting for this particular comment stream.

          Actually, I am having a bit of a problem getting a handle on the use of the term “lowest common denominator” in this discussion. I am aware that Dr. Patterson used it in interview published here recently. However, it seems to me that all of us involved in this discussion have common denominators of one type or another. Also, there are common denominators that are lower than those any one of us in this discussion would hold to as a bare minimum. And there are also common denominators that are more stringent than any one of us would go so far as to demand. The ultimate question, thus, as I see it, is not one of either “lowest common denominators” or “highest common denominators,” but where we choose to draw the line, and trace the circle: both for Christian fellowship, on the one part, and for cooperation in ministry projects, on the other part.

          I would really appreciate it, though, if someone could explain to me a little better what all this “lowest common denominator” talk really means.

David Rogers

Robin,

That I recall, I never took a public stand one way or another on the Garner motion, per se. I will say, now, that I am sympathetic to the view that the IMB BoT should not go beyond what is written in the BF&M in their criteria for determining who are and who are not viable candidates for missionary service. I am sure I have voiced that much earlier.

I have, on various occasions, voiced my disagreement, or “caveat,” with the practice of “closed communion,” which, as I understand it, is advocated in the BF&M. As far as the rest of the BF&M is concerned, including the other points on the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, I am in agreement.

    Alan Cross

    I would agree with David here on these issues. I would affirm strict membership in that only those baptized by immersion may join our church, but I would not withhold communion from someone visiting from another part of the Body of Christ if they had a different view on baptism. I would also not withhold communion from say, a Presbyterian, who was coming to our church but was not convinced of believer’s baptism. They could not join our church until they were immersed, but I would not withhold communion from them. I see no Biblical warrant to do so. I understand that many see them as “unrepentant sinners” that should not be allowed to the Lord’s Table, but it is the “Lord’s Table” and not mine or my churches and whoever He has seen fit to redeem I would not keep from His table.

    Apparently, my view is held by a great number of Southern Baptists at this point and you can be a Southern Baptist and hold to a modified open communion position. I don’t think that makes me or them ecumenists, however. I am willing to be convinced that my view is unbiblical, but I have yet to see any evidence that is convincing to me.

    Here is where I am consistent, however: I have no problem with not being allowed to serve as an IMB missionary or with an SBC agency if my view differs with the BFM on this. The BFM says what it says and I will accept it. I tenuously hold to a different view on Communion (I say tenuously because I am studying this and thinking through it, more than willing to be convinced otherwise) and if that disqualifies me from service with the SBC, then so be it. I am waiting for SBC entities to enforce that article on Communion, however, because I think that a greater number of people than David and me will be disqualified if they do. At the same time, I don’t think that entities should be allowed to develop new guidelines that go beyond the BFM as they see fit. I have no problem with standards. Standard teach us and we are able to bump up against them.

    So, as David asked, does offering Communion to a Presbyterian who comes to your church but is not granted membership make one an ecumenist? Is that a great sin?

Robin Foster

David

I know you to be a man of honor and integrity, so please allow me this question. You say it is “good practice” for a church to require believers baptism by immersion, but do you believe the BF&M is correct in stating that it is biblically mandated before one may partake of the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper? Also, do you see either practice as ordinances of the church?

Also would you participate or help administer the Lord’s Supper in a community gathering of believers where some have been baptized by immersion and others have not?

    David Rogers

    Robin,

    I am looking for the place where the BF&M states that it is “biblically mandated” for a church to require believers baptism by immersion before one may partake of the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper. Could you help me find it?

    In the NT church, I believe that all those who confessed the name of Christ and identified themselves as Christ’s followers were normally considered to be “members” of the Body of Christ in the locality in which they resided. At that time, before the development of infant baptism as a common practice, I believe it is pretty safe to assume that all of these were also baptized as believers by immersion. As early as the Didache, there appears to some “wiggle room” on this, though. “Church membership,” on a congregational basis, is a helpful, practical, and logical, deduction as a good way to carry out the principles laid out in Scripture. But I would hesitate to go so far as to say all of this is “biblically mandated.”

    The term “ordinances of the church” is somewhat ambiguous, in and of itself. I believe that Christ “ordained” the practices of baptism and the Lord’s Supper to his disciples, in order for them to carry them out. I also believe his true disciples do all that they do in the context of the “church universal,” as some call it. I also believe there are many good and practical reasons for baptism and the Lord’s Supper to be carried out in the context of local congregations of believers. For example, when determining who to exclude on the basis of previously determined congregational decisions on church discipline, the application of this determination will normally be delegated into the hands of local church leadership, in most cases, the elders of the specific congregation in question. In keeping with all of this, I would say that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are “church ordinances.”

    However, I do not agree that baptism and the Lord’s Supper may only and exclusively be administered under the supervision of a specific local congregation, if that is what is meant by “chuch ordinance.”

    Also, yes, I would participate or help administer the Lord’s Supper in a gathering of believers where some have been baptized by immersion and others have not.

Doug

Robin,
You say: “Frankly, last week Friday and most of Saturday, I was not keeping up with the blogs, yet through the preaching of God’s Word at the conference, God was dealing with me in how I represent His Word on the blogs. For what am I willing to suffer in the proclamation and upholding of His Word?”

I do not know you, but from face value, that statement comes across as prideful. I think you like to fancy yourself as some “martyr for the cause”. How, pray-tell, have you suffered for the proclamation and upholding of His Word? By being called a few names? Give me a break! There are brothers and sisters around the world who are truly suffering for Jesus, even to the point of death. You should be ashamed to put yourself in such a class. Although you feign humility (“my name has been suffering for something that does not equate for what Paul is calling us to suffer.”), you clearly imagine yourself a modern-day Apostle. Such hubris seems to prevent you from listening to the entreaty of other brothers (some who speak to you eloquently in the comment stream, though I am afraid it falls on ears deadened by certainty of pride).
There are fellow Baptists who wish to fellowship and serve with the SBC around our simple faith in Jesus Christ as divine Savior and Lord. To hear you and other “BI”ers” suggest that unity in Jesus Christ is the “lowest common denominator” is highly offensive to all true Believers.

    cb scott

    “To hear you and other “BI”ers” suggest that unity in Jesus Christ is the “lowest common denominator” is highly offensive to all true Believers.”

    “Unity in Christ” is always based on unity in obedience to God’s Word.

    Robin is all in favor of unity founded upon the Word of God.

    That is a basic Baptist distinctive.

    Unity based on anything other than the Word of God is not unity and will lead to chaos at its maturity.

    cb

    Robin Foster

    Doug

    I will be patient with your comment as I have in the past misunderstood what someone else has said and made the unfortunate mistake of slamming them with out understanding them first.

    Actually, you partially make my point. People around the world suffer tremendously for the cause of Christ even to the point of death. What was said about me in no way compares to what our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are going through.

    With that said, did I suffer? Yes, I do my best to be a man of integrity and when that integrity is falsely maligned, it hurts. When I wrong someone, I apologize to make matters straight. That is integrity.

    Now again, did I suffer like those dying around the world for the cause of Christ? Absolutely not. First, I am safe and my family is safe. Second, I got wrapped up in something I should have stayed away from. Proclaiming truth from the Word of God is worth suffering and dying. Getting wrapped up in some of the accusations floating around last week is not worth it. Hopefully you understand me better.

Robin Foster

To all

I am going to a basketball game. I will try to get back here later.

    David Rogers

    Robin,

    Fine. I hope you have a nice time. Since I don’t know who’s playing, I’m not sure if I could honestly say I hope your team wins. But probably so.

    I am assuming the counter-questions you asked me in your response to my comment #12 were asked in order for you to better determine how to answer the questions I posed to you in the original comments. After answering your counter-questions, I am still waiting on your reply to my original questions.

    I imagine you are still planning on getting back to me on them. But, just reminding you in case they somehow got “lost in the blog shuffle.”

      Robin Foster

      David

      We are playing Prague. Our girls are up by 14.

      I haven’t forgot your question.

        David Rogers

        Cool. Ya’ll must be really good, if you’re playing teams from the Czech Republic and all that. And, it looks like you must have one of those new-fangled Blackberry things. Imagine–blogging at a basketball game! Better not let your girls see you doing that. :-)

          Robin Foster

          Uh, that’s Prague Oklahoma.

          But our girls are still good. The are up by 20 now.

From the Middle East

Brother Joe,

Brother Robin is correct.

I was involved in that conversation to an extent and Brother Malcolm made no such claim. Rather, if memory does not fail, his claim was that those who do not hold to eternal security were not really sure of their salvation at best or trusting in a works-based false gospel at worst. Thus, their baptism was not believer’s baptism and they should not participate in believers baptism.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

    From the Middle East

    The comment above was supposed to be connected to Brother Joe’s in 8 above. This new comment format is confusing to us less intelligent folk!

Todd B.

Robin,

I’m joining the conversation a bit late, but I think you are painting with a broad brush and mischaractarizing many who supported the Garner motion and who, specifically, oppose the IMB personnel policies.

If you’ll recall, the Garner motion passed by a majority of the messengers in attendance, and the wording of the motion came from the SBC Executive Committee (not Garner or the ex-trustee/blogger who supported him). I’ll not rehash the old arguments by your side that the voters didn’t know what they were voting for. I certainly did and I have no connection with those who brought it forth.

The problem with your post, especially point #1, is that I have no idea what you mean by “ecumenist” or “cooperation.” You seem to define them broadly with a specific interpretation in mind, but both words have a variety of meanings.

I am an ecumenist if by that you mean that all true believers who affirm the fundamental orthodox doctrines are my brothers in Christ and should be treated as such. I am not an ecumenist if by that we should have one world church, or that merely claiming to be a Christian is enough for Christian unity, or that doctrine doesn’t matter in Baptist life. You seem to transfer your views of one blogger and everything he has ever said on his blog to all those who happen to agree with him on the IMB BoT issue or the Garner motion.

I am for cooperation depending on what level of cooperation you are talking about. You need to be more specific. There are different levels of cooperation appropriate for different levels of doctrinal similarity. I think the guidelines set up by the IMB on cooperation are on target. I think the IMB personnel policies are not. Even though I know we probably disagree on this issue, It again seems that you aim at everyone on my side of the issue but in actuality are responding to specific things said on one particular blog.

Similarly, I am for a Baptist Identity in the sense that there are certain doctrines that are definitive for what it means to be a Baptist. I can readily affirm the BI call for “The Defense of Believer’s Immersion.” I cannot support that call, however, if that means that MY believer’s immersion is not Baptist because it did not happen in a church that believes in eternal security. I am NOT for a Baptist identity that continually draws the lines ever tighter to deny even those that affirm the BFM the right to participate in Baptist life because they don’t adhere to the narrower interpretation of a handful of trustees, professors, and bloggers.

I think the conversation would be more productive if, on every issue we discuss, there were allowed to be some middle ground. Individual arguments should stand on their own merits and not be judged by what someone else said on some other blog.

— Todd B.

    Robin Foster

    Todd

    Concerning your accusations about broad brush strokes, please see my responses to Alan. If you still feel the way you do, I don’t believe that I can convince you otherwise.

      Todd B.

      Robin,

      I appreciate your sentiments in the answer to Alan. I wish you would have been as clear in your original post.

      My frustration is that the debates on important issues seem to have been dominated by particular ersonalities than the issues themselves.

      I have more than once been accused personally of holding views I do not, simply because I agree with a person on a particular point.

      This has gone both ways. I agreed with Malcolm once and was accused of being “BI” (an unhelful monker, IMO) even though I disagree with him on a host of other issues.

      I’d like to get to arguing issues and their merits and cease with the lumping of people into particular camps. That’s all.

      Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

      Blessings,
      Todd

Tim G

Todd,
In your last comment, did you believe in Eternal Security when you were baptized? Just asking.

    Todd B.

    No, I did not. But I did have assurance of salvation and was not trusting in works.

Robin Foster

David

Concerning your first point, “I am looking for the place where the BF&M states that it is “biblically mandated” for a church to require believers baptism by immersion before one may partake of the privileges of church membership and the Lord’s Supper.”

In the BF&M it states, “That they are statements of religious convictions, drawn from the Scriptures.” If they are statements of biblical convictions drawn from the scriptures then when, concerning baptism, the BF&M states, “Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper,” it means that the BF&M believes that the Bible mandates or requires one to be baptized before they can participate in the privileges of church membership or the Lord’s Supper. Feeling something is a “good practice” (or pragmatic) is not the same as having a biblical conviction on whether it is a good practice or not (See point # 3 on my post).

Concerning your views on Baptism and the Lord’s supper, if I am correct, you don’t believe that a proper administrator (church) is required for baptism to be valid. This is contrary to the BF&M when it states that baptism and the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance (a prescribed religious rite) of the church.

You also state that you would have no problem participating or administrating the Lord’s Supper in a gathering of various believers. In this gathering there would be some who have not been immersed or could have been baptized as an infant. Would you admonish them to get properly baptized before they partook of the supper? The BF&M does not allow for baptism by sprinkling. It also states that baptism is done on believers, not infants who are incapable of believing. Therefore those who have improperly experienced baptism are outside of what confessional Southern Baptists believe about baptism and therefore do not qualify to participate in the Lord’s Supper.

I have stated where you are in direct disagreement with the Baptist Faith and Message. I have also shown your pragmatic/practical conclusions on why Churches should practice believer’s baptism.

Concerning your question of, “I would be interested to know if you consider me (and my views) to fall within what you are referring to here.”

David, I admire your service as a missionary. Taking your family away from family and a common culture is hard, so as I have stated in the past, thank you for your service. Concerning whether you fit into what I have stated, it seems that the shoe does fit you rather well.

Thanks

    David Rogers

    Robin,

    So, basically, if I understand you correctly, because I disagree with you on what the Bible teaches concerning open or closed communion, and the need for a proper administrator to validate baptism, I am an ecumenist, who is guilty of advocating a “lowest common denominator for cooperation, a false redefinition of terms, and a pragmatic approach to missions cooperation.”

    Very curious reasoning. Regarding my belief on the Scriptural legitimacy of “modified open communion” and the lack of evidence supporting the need for a proper administrator to validate baptism, I plead guilty as charged.

    Regarding your accusation of being “an ecumenist, who advocates advocating a ‘lowest common denominator for cooperation, a false redefinition of terms, and a pragmatic approach to missions cooperation,'” I plead innocent. And I think your case against me is extremely weak and unfounded.

Chris Johnson

Brother Robin,

I do appreciate your tenacity when you try to make your points.

I have never met David,…only visiting through blogs, but why would you think he is not advocating a proper administrator. I think he would agree with scripture that commissioned members of the body of Christ (church) are commanded to baptize. Paul is a grand example. Baptizing in jails, houses, etc. I could be that you have a more specific definition in mind that goes beyond scripture? So, using myself as an example…. I am commanded to baptize by the command of Christ as His ambassador….so therefore in obedience I baptize. Since I don’t believe that water baptism, in and of itself, is a church maker (only Christ is),… then following Christ’s command to baptize works well as Christ brings the adopted ones into the Kingdom. This was the form and function of the New Testament as we see baptisms in the city, the countryside, homes, jails, and wherever else that Christ sees fit for His adopted ones to confess and believe. This is the church baptizing with a proper administrator.

Allow me to come at this from another way. I have seen some folks baptized, as some would say as the price of admission to get into the church. Then a few months down the road those folks rejected Christ and some have never came back. During this two month stint, they were given their admitting privileges, Lords Supper and all the accoutrements that are part of the package, since they appeared at the time to be a member of the church….but were actually by their own profession later, never a member; since they testify that Christ is not Lord. So, all along this professing “member” of that church, lip-syncs with full authority…but on what basis? So, then this church moves forward developing even further policy and regulations to assure a “regenerate church membership”, since if you can’t know that the church is truly regenerate, then God is not pleased and the pastor has failed. This happens over, and over, and over again where the gospel is silently preached…and the law trumps the message week over week.

It is my hope that the faithful of God will learn His Word and understand that disciples are commanded to baptize. After all, this was the command to the disciples, so therefore it is true that disciples should baptize so that the one that has confessed Christ as Lord may identify with Him alone and follow in obedience to His Word. The bible teaches and illustrates this over, and over, and over again.

This biblical concept of baptism has laid ruin the Catholic teaching that baptism makes the church (gives admission to the privileges), and has laid ruin to the thought that infants confess Christ as Lord by some proxy process and thus are given baptism (for privileges) so that they are made members of the church. It seems to be a consistent aberration that men are so pre-occupied with getting someone into the church in their proper way (1 Corinthians 1), that they are more than comfortable to zoom past Christ; in whom we “are” baptized and forthwith identify “in” baptism. Being a Baptist for almost 40 years,… I am hopeful that we can expose the traditions of men that scripture consistently has laid to ruin, and begin to baptize like never before.

Blessings,
Chris

    cb scott

    Chris,

    This is not a valid argument for Baptism according to a NT model:

    “Allow me to come at this from another way. I have seen some folks baptized, as some would say as the price of admission to get into the church. Then a few months down the road those folks rejected Christ and some have never came back. During this two month stint, they were given their admitting privileges, Lords Supper and all the accoutrements that are part of the package, since they appeared at the time to be a member of the church….but were actually by their own profession later, never a member; since they testify that Christ is not Lord. So, all along this professing “member” of that church, lip-syncs with full authority…but on what basis? So, then this church moves forward developing even further policy and regulations to assure a “regenerate church membership”, since if you can’t know that the church is truly regenerate, then God is not pleased and the pastor has failed. This happens over, and over, and over again where the gospel is silently preached…and the law trumps the message week over week.”

    It is a good argument for church discipline and nothing more.

    The church universal and the church local did in fact receive the GC at the same time. That is plainly evident as one reads the gospels.

    The church local is the only biblical administrator of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    A person may rationalize that as he or she wishes, but it does not change the truth of Scripture.

    To advocate what David Rogers, Wade Burleson and others do relating to the ordinances of the church local is to, in fact, advocate a very weak ecclesiology.

    Chris, you personally, have appealed to this weak ecclesiology to justify advocated by the above mentioned brothers on more than one occasion. It is simply not biblical.

    Therefore, I beseech you, to go beyond this argument and look afresh to the Scriptures.

    We are not wrong here to say the church local is the only administrator for Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    This is not Landmarker theology.

    cb

    cb scott

    Chris,

    Your hope here is also my hope:

    “It is my hope that the faithful of God will learn His Word and understand that disciples are commanded to baptize.”

    Disciples and only disciples are commanded to baptize. And they are to baptize according to and within the context and authority of the church local.

    That is the biblical teaching (the very plain biblical teaching) as to the authority and context of biblical Baptism and the administration of the Lord’s Supper.

    cb

      Chris Johnson

      Brother cb,

      I agree with the first part of your statement emphatically, because that is the word of our Lord…. and has become our marching orders. The second part of your statement is where most find the rub.

      Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

      Certainly baptism’s are done within the purview and context of those that gather to worship, …how could it be otherwise, since those that are baptized by disciples will be about discipling as well. I believe some have coined the simple phrase “alien baptism”…I’m always reminded of star trek when I hear the term….as the intent of the discipler not to teach unity in the church as she (the church) gathers to worship.

      “Context and Authority” as you have pointed out is where the rub gets definition. There is no debate as to disciples baptizing. There is no debate that Christ forms His church and it is that church that gathers to worship in various places at various times. The fluidity of the churches from Jerusalem to Rome should give us ample encouragement that all disciples are baptized into Christ immediately or upon understanding (Acts 18 & 19). I think we have botched this command somewhat as Baptist’s because we spend an inordinate amount of time in administrative policy instead of carrying out the command. For instance, as I explained a few weeks back,….we have had, just this last fall at a Baptist Distinctives conference, a seminary President instructing his students to wait to baptize in order to have a Lake Front ceremony as an evangelistic outreach (which could be as much as 3 months or more…he later changed his tuned with me personally, but nonetheless the other two hundred students heard different). That is taking the oasis of authority local much too far. The Apostle Paul would have fell out of his boat if he got that type of news. Paul, (a member of the body of Christ) didn’t have any problem with sharing the gospel, and baptizing on the spot. He didn’t wait for confirmation from the deacons, or even make a phone call to see if his roll over minutes of authority had lapsed. He obeyed….and we should too.

      These stories of children baptizing, or alien whatever’s are just red herrings…to raise the authority of men and diminish the authority of Christ is dangerous territory. Certainly children will not baptize their friends if discipled correctly. They will come to their parents or leadership when taught the beauty and scope of baptism.

      Context and Authority are defined in scripture…..and it does not include what some may think it includes. The context is the church that Christ is birthing,…and the authority is Christ alone. So as disciples are trained to know who the church is,….baptizing is a simply reality for those being saved…anywhere, anytime. So, we should teach those that we disciple to simply make disciples, and baptize.

      Blessings,
      Chris

        cb scott

        Chris,

        The Red Herring would be in this illustration:

        “For instance, as I explained a few weeks back,….we have had, just this last fall at a Baptist Distinctives conference, a seminary President instructing his students to wait to baptize in order to have a Lake Front ceremony as an evangelistic outreach (which could be as much as 3 months or more…he later changed his tuned with me personally, but nonetheless the other two hundred students heard different). That is taking the oasis of authority local much too far.”

        It the illustration you are making my point somewhat. The authority for Baptism does not rest in the whims of a seminary president or any other person. It does rest in the context and the Christ mandated authority given the church local to baptize.

        You also say:

        “Certainly baptism’s are done within the purview and context of those that gather to worship, …how could it be otherwise, since those that are baptized by disciples will be about discipling as well.”

        This is true in as far as you take it. Yet, there is biblical truth beyond your statement.

        It is the church local who has been authorized to baptize and not independent, individual disciples acting on their own accord and with an “alien” authority not vested in them by the NT mandate of Christ.

        Each disciple is to subscribe to the mandate of Christ and make disciples. They are to do that in accord to the directives of Christ as He has plainly prescribed in the GC. Jesus did in fact mandated Baptism to the church local. Disciples are to function as part of a church local and in accord to the Scripture. Baptism is to be part of our obedience to Christ under the authority and within the context of the church local.

        Anything else is what should remind you of Star Trek. For anything else is alien to the NT as to the authority for Baptism.

        cb

          Chris Johnson

          Brother cb,

          The question is to what extent does “church local” diminish the command to baptize.

          For instance, You and I have built us a nice chariot to ride around the countryside somewhere in what is now known as Israel. We run across another gentleman that has come to Jerusalem to worship God, and we see he is reading Isaiah. Since he has a larger chariot, with a couple of padded seating areas, he invites us to come and help him understand this scripture that he holds so dear.

          We explain to him Jesus, and he get excited as he knows that God has made His understanding clear and he then confesses Christ as Lord and then as scripture plainly teaches,…God adds him to His church right then and there. He jumps up all excited and sees some water….and then turns back to both of us and says “What is keeping me from being baptized”?

          You and I then gaze at each other and we must tell this man something……

          My response is “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

          I would be a bit surprised if you jumped up and said….. “now just wait a dog gone minute here….. now Chris is a honest man and all,…and you got to know he’s read a few books and has a pretty good grasp on these things from what I can tell of his discipleship. But, let me give you a little more to meat to this skeleton that he has proposed,….

          I mean “if you believe with all your heart”….that sounds nice, but hey ….are you listening to me Eunich,….may I call you Eth for short. So to continue Eth, this baptism thing is not as simple as some have proposed. First of all, you must know that it is a local thing. You know what I mean, Eth…. Chris and I have suffered a lot back in Jerusalem; some have even lost their lives over this thing. So, I want you to be real clear about the implications of what you are about to do. Even though it is not so clear to you now,… just please remember that Chris, a member at the church at Solomon’s Portico and myself, originating direct from the Jerusalem church have made every intention to baptize you under our authority from those congregations. Are you listening to me Eth…this has got to be clear, because you are not actually being baptized into one of our churches, since that wouldn’t make a lot of sense, I mean when you visit you can’t even commune with us, ….but it is by local church authority that you are being baptized…..now Eth don’t look down,….look me right in the eye….because we have got to get this clear. Now when you are baptized you are baptized by the authority of the local church into the church…of course you know I mean Christ, just remember that…..now don’t give me that blank stare. So just so you don’t forget what I’ve told you as you go on your way…..I have jotted this system down for you and I will place it just underneath your parchment here….. Just remember where I put it…because you will need to explain this to someone else in the near future…..because God has great things planned for you as you go!!

          Now, lets get on down in the water….come-on Chris (while eating a snickers bar), what a glorious afternoon to obey our Lord.”

          Blessings,
          Chris

            cb scott

            Chris,

            Were the two of us in the historic moment you present we would be right to baptize the new brother.

            We are not in that time. We are in the time when the doctrine of the church is well defined by a reading of the entire NT and adhering to the whole counsel of God.

            Chris I will venture to make the following statement which may well get me branded as a heretic or worse by some among us. But I still operate by the same code in such matters as I did before I was saved by the grace of God; “They can kill me, but they cannot eat me for that is against the Geneva Convention”

            So I will just go ahead and cowboy-up and say; We do not get a complete ecclesiology from the Book of Acts and the events recorded therein. We get our theology from the NT as a whole and the whole counsel of God in its entirety.

            Many folks have made a great mistake by using Acts to justify, not only a wrongful doctrinal position, but entire denominations and systems of faith.

            Again, Chris, I challenge you to rethink this matter in light of the whole of God’s Word and not to isolated passages.

            cb

            Robin Foster

            CB

            Thanks for mentioning the need to see ecclesiology while viewing the entire NT. A lot of things remain unanswered if we narrow our view to only the book of Acts.

Robin Foster

David

Concerning your comment here:

“So, basically, if I understand you correctly, because I disagree with you on what the Bible teaches concerning open or closed communion, and the need for a proper administrator to validate baptism, I am an ecumenist, who is guilty of advocating a “lowest common denominator for cooperation, a false redefinition of terms, and a pragmatic approach to missions cooperation.”

First, nothing in my post indicates you must agree with me on doctrine to not be an ecumenist. I have used the biblical doctrines as defined in the Southern Baptist BF&M. I also have not declared you to be an ecumenist. I simply said that, “it seems that the shoe does fit you rather well.” Whether you are wearing it I will leave up to others. I guess I am trying to give you the total benefit of the doubt.

Second, you admitted that you have used the term neo-landmark for those of us who adhere to the BF&M in our doctrinal beliefs. So you have wrongly used a term to define who we are (Point # 2). You have also gone to the lowest common denominator when it comes administering the Lord’s supper (Point # 1). Finally, you said “I also believe there are many good and practical reasons for baptism and the Lord’s Supper to be carried out in the context of local congregations of believers.” Unless if I am wrong, it seems that pragmatism is afoot in that statement rather than biblical conviction (Point # 3).

These are just your statements in this comment stream. I have not gone into our previous conversations concerning matters of Baptism.
I hope this fully explains why it seems that the ecumenical shoe fits.

    Robin Foster

    David

    Allow me to add a little more to what I have said. First, you are not my enemy, nor do I hope to be yours. Anyone who goes to a foreign land that is devoid of any evangelical presence and devotes their life to preaching the gospel deserves our respect and admiration.

    With that said, you have stated some differences in belief and practice you have with the confessional statement of Southern Baptists. That doesn’t make you my enemy. We just don’t see eye to eye on the essential doctrines of the church as Southern Baptists see it.

    David Rogers

    Robin,

    Okay, then, because I disagree with the BF&M on “closed communion,” according to you I am an ecumenist. Or, it seems to you that the ecumenist shoe fits me.

    I fail to see this as an honest or serious use of language. Just applying a label to someone else communicates nothing meaningful.

    The great majority of people out there do not equate my view on “closed communion” with ecumenism. But, if you do, there is not much I can do to change it. All I can do is just point out to everyone what you actually mean when you say what you say.

    Regarding my use of the term “neo-landmark,” I have written that I do not think I am wrong, but I am willing to refrain from using it, because it rubs certain people the wrong way. I would still like to know a better and more accurate term to use to describe your views, though.

    Also, as I also mentioned previously, this whole “lowest common denominator” bit makes no sense to me. You are going to have to explain exactly what you mean by that, because, frankly, I am not getting it. Specifically, how is my view on administering the Lord’s Supper a “lowest common denominator” view? Are you saying any view that is different than yours (or of the BF&M) is therefore a “lowest common denominator” view?

    Next, just because I believe something is good and practical means I am operating out of pragmatism and not biblical conviction? Do you believe in Sunday School? If so, is it because you feel it to be good and practical, or rather, because it is biblically mandated? If it is the first one, then you are as much as pragmatist as I am.

    Having said all this, I am confident you don’t see me as “the enemy.” Neither do I see you as “the enemy.” We are on the same team, working for the same cause.

    However, I feel it is necessary to correct what I consider to be misrepresentations of my views or of Scripture, when I see them. This is all done with an “iron sharpening iron” heart.

      cb scott

      David,

      I would like to take a shot at answering your question:

      “I would still like to know a better and more accurate term to use to describe your views, though.”

      How about the historic, confessional Southern Baptist position on ecclesiology?

      Now, I will take a shot at describing your views:

      Plymouth Brethren or possibly Grace Brethren.

      cb

      Robin Foster

      David

      First, the BF&M does not teach closed communion. If you go to the link attachment in point two of my post you will see that at a minimum “close” communion is taught.

      Concerning lowest common denominator, please reread my post. It is not fuzzy or confusing. It seems you are wanting caveats on sections of the BF&M. For you, unlike Alan Cross, you will allow people to serve who have severe disagreements with what is termed “essentials” of our faith.

      David, if you disagree with me, that is your perfect right as it is anyone’s. I would prefer to disagree with out becoming disagreeable. But I believe I made my case. Those who have disagreed with me for some time on various issues will continue to disagree. One notable exception is CB.

      Again, I appreciate your service to the Lord and the sacrifices you made.

        David Rogers

        Robin,

        The terms “close” and “closed” communion have typically led to a lot of misunderstanding. When I use the term “closed” communion here, I am referring to any position that would indicscriminately bar from participation in the Lord’s Supper all those who have not, for whatever reason, been baptized as a believer by immersion. I am aware, however, that many prefer to call this view “close communion.”

        I have been quite open for some time now about my personal caveat regarding this one point of the BF&M. I would be surprised to find that was news to anyone who has been following the “Baptist blogs” for the last couple of years. From Alan’s comment on this post, though, it seems to me that his view and mine on the practice of communion are very, very similar, if not exactly alike.

        I hope my disagreement on this issue is not coming across in a disagreeable manner. I also appreciate you as a brother in Christ, fellow-servant in the Lord, and for the sacrifices you no doubt make for the sake of the ministry.

cb scott

David,

Please allow me to add an A-men to Robin’s statement that he is not you enemy. Nor am I.

I simply do not believe your position on ecclesiology is biblical. Nor do I believe it is within the parameters of the historic Southern Baptist position.

I believe you are a brother in Christ and one of the truly humble among us.

I do believe the historic Southern Baptist position on the doctrine to be closer to a biblical ecclesiology than any other under the sun.

I do not believe you hold the historic Southern Baptist position on ecclesiology. Thus far in every debate we have had on the subject of ecclesiology you have cemented the reality that you do not adhere to a Southern Baptist position on ecclesiology and that you consider it not to be biblical. In that opinion and obvious conviction you are wrong.

cb

Bob Cleveland

I feel a bit like a Little League kid playing with the Yankees here, but I do have an offering from the pew, so to speak.

The commands given by Jesus, to go into all the world, etc, were either spoken to the guys as disciples, or to them as the church.

If they were spoken to them as individuals, then none of them obeyed. I don’t think any one of them went into all the world.

So unless we’re willing to think that every one of us, today, can go everywhere in the world there are people, we must confess that it was spoken to the Body of Christ.

And if the “go order” was given to the “Body of Christ”, and we know what the other term for that is, how can we interpret the other 2/3 of the command any other way?

This represents a change in my thinking, but if I’m to be true to what I teach .. with reference to our each being a part of the Body, gifted to do our individual task .. I cannot now hold any other view on those things properly deemed church ordinances.

Bob Cleveland

Oh. I forgot. As a lone wolf running around in the forest baptizing people, I am not making disciples, and I doubt Jesus looks favorably on 66-2/3% obedience.

Local body authority is the only thing that seems to put a checkmark in all the boxes, to me.

    cb scott

    “Oh. I forgot. As a lone wolf running around in the forest baptizing people, I am not making disciples, and I doubt Jesus looks favorably on 66-2/3% obedience.
    Local body authority is the only thing that seems to put a checkmark in all the boxes, to me.”

    I certainly agree with this statement.

    cb

cb scott

Bob,

Disciples make up both the church universal and the church local. Jesus gave the mandate to “make” disciples to to both (universal and local) at the same time. For, in that moment in time both were comprised by the same disciples.

Disciples (of which we both are) are to make disciples. We are to do this according to the mandate of Christ under the authority of the church local in fulfillment of the GC to which we all have been commissioned individually and corporately at the same time. Every disciple is to be part of a church local and make disciples in obedience to the mandates of Christ as directed by Scripture.

BTW, The true “order is not in the “go”, but rather in the “make.”

To southernize the GC it is: “Bein’ as you a goin’ anyhow; Make disciples.”

cb

    Robin Foster

    Actually, the “going” piggy backs on the the word “make.” “Going is an attendant circumstance participle. The “going” is part of the command to make disciples. So to say, “as you are going” is incorrect. This aorist participle attaches itself to the imperative of making disciples. So it is a participle in the aorist tense, but in an imperative way.

    Sorry if I got too NT Greek nerdy wordy on you.

    :-)

      cb scott

      Robin,

      Yankee!

      I did not say it was not attached. I said the “true” order was not in the go, but in the make. Therefore, “Bein’ as you a goin’; Make disciples.

      Biblical Greek is Southern Greek and I don’t care what happened at Gettysburg or Appomattox. You Yankees might have won the war but you can’t change the language or the primary implication therein.

      So there, you Yankee.

      :-)

      cb

        Robin Foster

        How dare you impugn my true Southern roots. Born in NC, spent most of my life in Arkansas, and did 6 years of foreign missions in Texas.

        I demand satisfaction. 12 paces in Louisville. You and me with our Greek NTs till the death!

        :-)

Chris Johnson

Brother cb,

I believe you are a great distance from being a heretic my friend.

“So I will just go ahead and cowboy-up and say; We do not get a complete ecclesiology from the Book of Acts and the events recorded therein. We get our theology from the NT as a whole and the whole counsel of God in its entirety.”

I agree with you,…in fact, I am convinced that the entire NT gives us a clear picture of ecclesiology.

My answer to the Ethiopian would still be the same as Philip gave….without any caveat.

The church local is vitally important….How else would we be edified as members one of another without the church gathering locally? This was Paul’s encouragement to the church at Ephesus….

Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, (20) having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, (21) in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, (22) in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Blessings,
Chris

    cb scott

    Chris,

    You said:

    “My answer to the Ethiopian would still be the same as Philip gave….without any caveat.”

    I am in total agreement. I must not have made myself clear before.

    All of my qualifying was related to this present time and not during the actual event in history to which you are referencing.

    I would have gone right along with you, Philip and Eth right into the river that day and in that time.

    I am sorry for the confusion I must have caused in my earlier answer.

      cb scott

      Chris,

      Let me go quickly to sidebar.

      It is the inserting of “caveats” by some and the allowing of “caveats” by those who were supposed to guard against the inserting of “caveats” that has gotten us into some of this fine mess in which we now find ourselves.

      And friend that ain’t no “caveat.” That is just a plain fact. :-)

      cb

        Chris Johnson

        Brother,

        You got that right!

        Now…if you and I travel together someday and are led out to someone reading Isaiah…we can test our response to him concerning his question to be baptized, …seeing now we have better understanding than the the disciples in the early church.

        Blessings,
        Chris

Chris Johnson

Brother Robin,

It is possible that Philip didn’t have ecclesiology on the brain as he was baptizing by Christ’s command. He may have simply understood the command clearly and was exercising the authority that is given by Christ. So, I don’t know if it is right to conclude that the book of Acts is insufficient in how we see Philip conduct himself. ….or as Paul conducts himself in these matters. It would appear that Paul was not hampered by anything as he conducted baptisms in the jail, at peoples homes, etc. As he is baptizing, is not necessary to conclude that he is separating himself from any church local as well.

There seems to be a control factor in place today that was not present in the mind of Paul and Philip.

Blessings,
Chris

    cb scott

    Chris,

    Robin can well answer for himself, But if you will forgive my intrusion I want to take a shot at this.

    I think you are right in saying Philip was not thinking of ecclesiology when he baptized “Ole Eth”

    Therein we agree.

    But I do thing there is a legitimate control factor in effect today. Paul recorded much of it as did others. it is the Word of God.

    We must conduct ourselves according to the plainly revealed Word of God in faith and practice.

    cb

      Chris Johnson

      Brother cb,

      Your always throwing a life vest out to Robin … :) (just kidding Robin)

      Blessings,
      Chris

      (I can hear ole Robin gettin riled up…he will probably kick me out of the chariot at high speed :) )

        Robin Foster

        Chris

        No riling here. I will admit I am not the sharpest tool in the SBC shed. I leave that distinction to people like Bart Barber, CB, or Dr. Yarnell. And every now and then I do need a life vest. :-)

        I have been away from the computer for awhile. I did make one comment to CB, but that was only because I knew it would be short and easy to do on my iPhone. With that said, I appreciate anything CB might add to this conversation, but I am not in need of a life vest for this one.

        I will make a deal with you. The next time you, CB, or I are transported miraculously to a spot where an Ethiopian eunuch is reading from a scroll the book of Isaiah and they confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior with repentance, I can live with them being baptized at that moment. I would suggest though that in this day and age, if possible, to take them to a local NT church for this, but if that is an impossibility, I can live with their willingness to be obedient. But as a norm, baptisms should be done in a local church context or where a missionary is commissioned by the church (I believe Phillip may fall into this category, but there is debate on it) to go on their behalf when there is no local church to do so. To treat Ethiopian’s experience as the norm is to isolate it from the rest of scripture.

          cb scott

          Robin,

          I was pretty confident you were away taking care of more important business like being a good husband on Valentines Day. :-)

          For I know your strong suit is the doctrine of ecclesiology.

          I am just a “dabbler” in such matters and not to be compared with you or the “Mighty Knight” known far and wide as Yarnell.

          Therefore, in your absence I have gone among the brethren with the implements within my small arsenal as a bandit and black flag pirate.

          I shall now leave for a while to be a good husband on Valentines Day. I leave you and the other Mighty Knights of Ecclesiology to guard the castle with full confidence in your great abilities.

          Just don’t fall off that big old “motorbike” of yours while I am gone.

          :-)

          Chris,

          I certainly enjoyed the time we have had here today. Tell “Ole Eth” I said hell-o if you run into him.

          Until later my TN. friend.

          :-)

          cb

          Chris Johnson

          Brother Robin,
          There is no need to chew fingernails on this one…. To be obedient and baptize is not a consolation prize. The Ethiopian certainly understood that he was identifying with Christ in his baptism by his very confession…. So we don’t have to sweat that a local congregation is involved. Christ as head of His church is fine with our obedience to baptize Eth on the spot and all to God’s glory. We can then help and encourage him to find brothers and sisters at the local level if possible. Baptizing in this manner will not result in a fifteen yard penalty and loss of down.

          I think baptism within a church local context is wonderful as well. We are baptizing with another Baptist church in town because we do not own a baptismal. They were very encouraged to share and their leadership understands this as the work of the Kingdom. Praise the Lord! So, baptizing within a church local is fine as well. But, it need not be considered the norm, since there is good scriptural evidence that supports baptism in many places, with few folks and with many.

          When I am in Jordan this next week, when the Lord leads me in the path of someone that is adopted into His Kingdom, and he or she spots some water where they can be baptized,…my reaction will be to baptize. I may give him or her a note (to cb)… just in case they make it to the United States someday, to vouch for the validity of their baptism (a pretty silly thing to have to provide)….just in case some might disregard their confession and testimony to be less than enough to bring them into a church local in the US.

          Blessings,
          Chris

            Robin Foster

            Chris

            I never said it was a consolation prize. Please try not to add to what I have said.

            Second, you said, “So, baptizing within a church local is fine as well. But, it need not be considered the norm.”

            Really? Please tell us what needs to be the norm then?

            From these discussions can I also take it that you are in disagreement with the BF&M concerning baptism being an ordinance of the church?

james

This is what happens when a statement of faith is ambiguous at best. The definition of a Baptist is fluid and subjective. The whole attempt to “define” a Baptist is futile. It’s about cooperation and not identity. Maybe someone could help me? What is a Southern Baptist? I can’t wait to see the 50 different definitions.

“You live by autonomy, you die by autonomy.”

Robin Foster

James

Please tell me what is ambiguous to the point that one needs to be confused concerning whether baptism or the Lord’s supper is a church ordinance.

“Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.” BF&M

james

I agree whole heartily with that. My argument is that it is hard to identify what a baptist is when there are broad statements or silence on certain doctrines. I believe the BF&M needs to be more exhaustive in certain areas. Including the areas of Baptism, Lord’s Supper, and Women in ministry. I personally practice close communion and do not accept alien baptisms into our membership. Again, I ask what is a Baptist? I believe there should be an identity. If no identity, no accountability. That is why so many want a vague identity.

“You live by autonomy, you die by autonomy.”

Chris Johnson

Brother Robin,

I didn’t mean to add to your statements…

Baptizing is the norm to identify with Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is a church ordinance,…how can it be anything else? Only Christ’s church baptizes by His command. As we see in Acts, some were only familiar with the baptism of John the Baptist and then were baptized into Christ alone when taught properly.

Blessings,
Chris

Debbie Kaufman

Robin: You do not have to be a Yarnell,or a Barber to be a sharp tool when it comes to scripture. That has been Southern Baptists downfall in my opinion, being told that unless you went to seminary or hold some type of degree or “an expert” with a name, you are wrong or not the sharpest tool in the shed. That is so untrue. Every born again Christian is given a gift by God and the Holy Spirit who teaches us. Study to show thyself approved. Nowhere in scripture does it say it takes formal education or a degree to be knowledgeable concerning scripture. In fact the most knowledgeable people have been those who have no degree, but have read and studied scripture.

Robin Foster

Debbie

You are right, “You do not have to be a Yarnell,or a Barber to be a sharp tool when it comes to scripture. That has been Southern Baptists downfall in my opinion, being told that unless you went to seminary or hold some type of degree or “an expert” with a name, you are wrong or not the sharpest tool in the shed.”

They are not sharp because of the degrees on their walls. Notice, that is not what I said. In fact a pastor friend of mine in Texas has a Bible college degree and I would put him on par with the men I mentioned who have PhD’s. I have been around these men personally and what makes them sharp is the wisdom they gain from their relationship with Jesus.

David Rogers

CB and Robin,

You keep saying repeatedly that Scripture plainly teaches that baptism is only to be adminstrated by a local church. Just saying it is so doesn’t make it so, though. You need to show where Scripture plainly teaches that. To date, I have never had anyone be able to do this. Until you do that, I will consider you are just blowing smoke on this. The best I have seen are some 2 + 2 = 5 type of arguments based on the assumption that the 11 who are recorded to have received the Great Commission necessarily represent the embryonic church of Jerusalem.

As a matter of fact, as I see it, and as Dave Miller clearly demonstrated on the post linked to below (and the 2 following posts on his blog), the clear teaching of Scripture is the opposite on this matter. Over and over again, in the NT, baptism is administered outside of the context of a gathered local church, with no reference ever to a local church supervising or validating it.

http://thistentsjustright.blogspot.com/2008/05/baptism-in-acts-into-christ-or-into.html

    Robin Foster

    David

    I believe that point on the administration of the local church has been argued for nearly three years. That is not what the point of this post is about. The point is that the confessional statement of Southern Baptists confess this to be their biblical beliefs.

      Robin Foster

      David

      Allow me to add a couple of more things to my comment. I believe you and Nathan Finn argued that point scripturally a couple of years back. If Nathan couldn’t convince you then, I don’t see where I can.

      Second, it is not me who needs to show scripturally the administration of the church on the ordinances. The convention has already decided that baptism and the Lord’s supper are ordinances of the church. What you need to do is convince the convention that the belief they have held since 1925 is in fact error.

        cb scott

        David,

        Robin is right. It is you that must show how we are wrong. You can’t. We are right. What we believe is the biblical position. What you promote is not. You are the one who is simply blowing smoke rings in the dark.

        I tell you what I would also like to see you prove. Prove there were only eleven people who heard Jesus mandate the GC. Prove that. I would really like to see that.

        cb

          David Rogers

          CB,

          See my comment to Robin below.

          Whether it was just the 11, or a few more by-standers doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal to me. I agree it is hard to prove this one way or another. But I fail to see how any point in our present discussion rises or falls on this detail. Can you enlighten me?

        Joe Blackmon

        No, actually the person or persons making the claim that it is biblical have the responsibility to prove it. Otherwise, the person who says it is not biblical are in the position of having to prove a negative. You do not have to, nor can you, prove a negative.

          Robin Foster

          Joe

          Your logic makes no sense. Again, this is what Southern Baptists have believed as shown by their confession.

          When someone goes against what has been accepted as biblical they are responsible for showing the error of the people.

          In fact, may I suggest that David present a reasoned motion to the convention at Louisville to change the BF&M at this point. After all, if the convention is in error shouldn’t someone help their fellow believers who are in error to get right with God? If you want, Joe, you can join him in this and make it a joint motion.

            Joe Blackmon

            When someone goes against what has been accepted as biblical they are responsible for showing the error of the people.

            I imagine that the “Church” made the same sort of statement to Martin Luther. Appealing to “this is what we’ve always believed” isn’t much of a response. Saying “In the book of (insert book of the bible here) chapter (___) verse(s) (_____) would be a response I could respect.

            Robin Foster

            Joe

            Martin Luther did show the “church” (RCC) where they were in error. Thus far, you nor David nor anyone else has approached the SBC with your differences of opinion from the SBC statement of faith.

            Luther stood up to the RCC. He made the first move. As of yet, anyone disagreeing with the statements concerning the church or baptism and the Lord’s Supper, have not done so. So, my suggestion is that you guys present your motion to the SBC. Show biblically where the confession is wrong and then let the convention decide.

            Joe, you can take any historical event and twist it for your benefit, but the truth of the matter is that onus is on you guys to prove that the convention is wrong.

            Shall I warn you that you will be going against people who have already spoke on this like Herschel Hobbs and James Leo Garrett who see baptism and the Lord’s supper as ordinances of the church, not the individual or an unorganized collection of disciples.

        David Rogers

        Robin,

        I agree with you that is not the point of this post. The only problem is when in the comment stream it is repeatedly stated that something is the “clear teaching of Scripture,” and everyone is expected to accept that as the final word. I am just respectfully voicing my discrepancy, and appealing to Scripture itself. If you and CB choose not to answer, that is your prerogative. However, it doesn’t help to convince me of the truth of your position, and I imagine it doesn’t help to convince others who may be on the border line trying to decide what they believe about this point.

        Also, the “debate” I had with Nathan was specifically over closed/close communion, not the administrator of baptism. I hasten to add, though, that, although I ultimately come down with a different position than Nathan, he has always been very respectful and measured in expressing his disagreement with me, and I have come to have a great appreciation for him as a brother in Christ, a gentleman, and a scholar.

          cb scott

          David,

          We had this same debate at IMPACT months back. I presented a biblical ecclesiology. You argued against. it was during that debate I first told you you were more of a Plymouth Brethren than a Southern Baptist. That is still true.

          If you desire to go back to your archives at IMPACT you will be very able to read again the debate. You refused to see it then. You will now.

          If you will remember I told you we should get together and talk about this face-to-face.

          David, it is wrong of you to say no one has answered your questions. Unless you have a very short memory you know we have gone over this same property before.

          Now, do you want to present an argument that there were only eleven people on site when Jesus mandated the GC other than to say it was no “big deal” to you.

          You don’t want that to be a big deal to you because you want to continue a debate wherein it is you who has no biblical foundation.

          David, honesty is also a virtue. Humility is not the only one to seek. We had the debate. I answered your question.

          It seems your question and my answer are not going to change. So why continue?

          If you ever would like to have this debate face-to-face with some people let me know.

          cb

          cb

            David Rogers

            CB,

            I am not calling into question that the debate you mention here took place. I surely remember debating various matters of ecclesiology with you. And I remember your comment about Plymouth Brethren. Yet, I am having trouble locating where you specifically answer the question I am asking here: what is the Scriptural basis for the need for local church administration of baptism? Once again, I am NOT saying it is not there, just that I am having trouble finding it. And my memory is weak on this particular matter. If you could give me a link to the discussion you have in mind, that would be helpful.

            Regarding the Great Commission and the 11, the text simply says that Jesus came to the 11 and gave them the Great Commission. It says nothing about whether other by-standers were present or not. That is the only argument I have. But my views on the question of administration of baptism do not hinge one way or another on this particular matter.

            I am not looking so much to debate this matter (either face-to-face, or in writing), as simply to understand what Scripture teaches. If there are certain aspects of Scriptural teaching I am overlooking, I am certainly willing to consider that, and adapt my position accordingly. That is why I frankly and forthrightly ask here, what is the Scriptural basis for local church administration of baptism? If neither you nor Robin want to tell me here (not saying you haven’t told me before; I just don’t remember where, if you did, nor what you said), maybe someone else who is reading this can help me with this.

        Chris Johnson

        Brother Robin,

        Is there a couple of papers or articles, or books you can point me to that will speak to how the doctrine of baptism is biblically defended as is being delineated here. There have been some great theologians in Baptist SBC history…has anyone done an exhaustive work in this area to defend a position such as you are describing?

        I would like to read some of the arguments.

        Thanks,
        Chris

      Joe Blackmon

      Since “Southern Baptists this to be their biblical beliefs” giving a verse or verses to support such beliefs would be prety easy, I would think.

Tim G

Debbie,
I do not understand why you have to use such comments as above concerning the SBC. I have never heard such from anyone. In fact, Robin is correct in that many who do not have degrees (such as PhD)are more than involved theologically and …! Where do you get this stuff? I have been SBC for 40 years and have never heard it!

Debbie Kaufman

Tim: Just because you haven’t heard something doesn’t make it not there. There are those who have said they haven’t heard that the younger ministers are leaving the convention, but they are. I get the “stuff” from others and Robin’s saying that he isn’t the smartest tool in the shed would be wrong, at least in my opinion.

Chill out Tim, and maybe get out more. I don’t make this stuff up, I promise.

    Robin Foster

    Debbie

    Let me assure you that Tim gets out more than you, your pastor, and me all combined. I know for a fact that at a minimum he has spoken in over 20 churches from various theological backgrounds last year and on a daily basis he talks to pastors all over the country. Now, when you can match that, then you can tell Tim that he needs to get out more.

    Please, let’s focus on the topic of the post.

      volfan007

      I wondered when the old, “young Pastors are leaving/will leave” arguement would come up. For Heaven’s sake, let’s do whatever we can, and throw out whatever doctrine that we need to throw out, to keep the “young Pastors” from leaving.

      I’m gonna make a motion at this years SBC meeting in Louisville that we give all Pastors under the age of 35 a free SBC t-shirt and a free meal at O’Charley’s. Also, if their wife comes with them, then we’ll give them a coupon good for $20 for Victoria’s Secret in honor of Mark Driscoll and Ed Young, Jr.

      After all, we must…I repeat… we must keep the young Pastors interested and involved in the SBC at all costs! Spare no expense! Do whatever it takes! Just keep the young Pastors happy no matter what!

      David

Joe Blackmon

Ok, so your final answer is “No I can’t show you in the Bible where it says this. I’m just going to rely on the folks who decided before that it was biblical and conclude that they were right”. Well, if you’re comfortable with that, bully for you.

I can find no scripture to support your position. Just because there isn’t one that says the opposite of what you’re saying does not mean what you’re saying is right.

For the record, I don’t believe anything just because someone who came before me believed it. Maybe I’m just weird but if you asked me why I believed something I’d tell you where in the Bible I got that idea. I guess I’m a little strange.

Debbie Kaufman

david: No one has said this to my estimation. But it makes for a good strawman argument.

Robin: I am not referring to going church to church to church.

Now back to the topic.

Robin

Joe

My word is gentleness, so I will do my best to practice this fruit. I have argued on matters of baptism in the past. Nathan Finn and Malcolm Yarnell has argued this very subject with David. Please understand, I neither have the time nor desire to continue with a scriptural argument for the simple fact that this has been debated on the blogs ad nauseam. I will not convert David nor will I convert you. That is why the point of this post is that those who desire to not follow the confession of SBs, wrongly redefine terms to invoke fear, and tend to take the pragmatic approach in defining their worldview are ecumenists.

Now, your little tactic of trying to shame me into getting off topic worked when I was in elementary school. I unfortunately had a few fights with that when I should have walked away. But I have recognized the tactics of our enemy. Continue trying to bully me. One blogger has tried this in the past and it didn’t work for him, nor will it work for you. I will give you the last word on this, so make it a good one.

Robin Foster

Joe

:-)

Debbie Kaufman

Robin: I don’t see Joe’s comment as bullying but it could be that I am prejudiced to some degree. I would like to see an answer to his question. Could you give scripture to back what you are saying?

    Robin Foster

    Debbie

    Please see CB’s comment and you will see why I will not engage in this fruitless endeavor.

      Joe Blackmon

      Robin

      By “CB’s comment” do you mean the one where he says that the scriptural basis has already been given? If that is the case could you or someone excuse my ignorance and give me a link if not to the specific comment just to the article in question or maybe just tell me the name of it or when it was published over at Impact? I have no problem reading it for myself if you don’t want to repeat yourself but the idea of wading through months of posts to find the one I’m looking for is somewhat less than appealing. I can say with all sincerity I’ve never heard or read someone give the scriptural basis for this stance and want to read it for myself.

      As a side note, I can’t think of a good reason for baptism to not be administered by the church the vast majority of the time. I mean, if I met an Ethiopian and while I was talking to him God drew him to repentance and faith and he asked me to baptize him in a little pond I’d be like “Dude, get yourself in a bible believing church and get baptized by imersion there”. I also do not accept sprinkling or infant baptisims as legitimate. So it’s not like I’m some lib that says “Anything goes”. I suppose my question comes from reading about a missionary working among unreached people. A church had not been established as yet–just some bible studies. His child got saved. They did not have a church so he baptized his child in a pool. I see no reason in a case like that to say the baptism was not valid.

Paul

I’m awfully late to this dance, but wanted to add a couple of thoughts. First, it seems to me that point number one is a broad brush oversimplification. Your two examples are 1) the Garner Motion, and let’s not forget that a majority of the convention voted in favor of that motion. That would seem to make this point suggest that the majority of the convention falls into this “ecumenical” camp you’ve created; and 2) the Evangelical Manifesto, which Danny Aiken has signed off on. Are you suggesting Dr. Aiken is one of the “ecumenical” folks you have in mind here? By the way, I would be interested to know what you see as the fundamental definitional difference is between the phrase “totally true and trustworthy” (from the BFM) and “fully trustworthy” (from the Evangelical Manifesto). You obviously view the one (BFM) as affirming inerrancy while you view the other (EM) as abdicating the point of inerrancy. I’m having a hard time understanding the fundamental difference between “totally” and “fully” in that context.

Second, it seems to me that your point number two fails its own test. In other words, I don’t really see the difference in Wade Burleson calling you guys neo-landmark and you guys calling him (and others) ecumenical. You protest that you have developed your own unique definition of what “ecumenical” means and that is how you are using it. Well, as far as I know Wade coined the term “neo-landmark” and I would suspect that he has his own definition of what that means and I would also suspect that he is using it according to his own definition. If we all get to redefine our terms then I hardly see how there would be any validity to point number 2. Ecumenical is not a new word and is not one that doesn’t come with a well-established referent. To use it differently than that doesn’t seem entirely honest – or at least the protest against others who do the same thing doesn’t seem entirely honest.

Third, the SBC is awash in pragmatism and it isn’t simply the “ecumenical” bunch that’s guilty. For that matter the entire American enterprise owes much to William James, even if they’ve never heard of him. In many ways I confess that I am pragmatic, because ultimately I believe that the gospel is not only true, but that “it works.” I believe Jesus’ ethic and his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount are not simply arbitrary statements, but that they both express the will of God and produce a good life (they are pragmatic).

Lastly, I agree with Alan Cross that this seems to be a post primarily aimed at Wade Burleson – at least that’s how it comes across to me. Point number three, for instance, is based entirely upon an example taken straight from Wade’s blog and point number two is very similar. I would just encourage you guys not to feel like you have a need to be the “anti-Wade.” Gamaliel gave some really good advice in Acts 5:35-39. And then I also have the same concern that David Rogers has expressed, namely that this idea about those who want to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator seems to be ill defined. You’ve stated that David Rogers fits the definition of what you are trying to describe here, but I find a hard time (really hard time) seeing how David embodies some great threat to the future of the SBC simply because he doesn’t believe in closed communion or the local church as the only proper administrator for baptism. That just seems a little far fetched to me. Feel free to disagree with him all you want. That’s all fine and good. But a threat to the SBC?

    Robin Foster

    Paul

    Do you guys work in shifts and keep asking the same questions to wear me down? To be honest, it is working. But for one last time I will engage what you said.

    First, this post does not declare that those who supported the Garner motion are ecumenists. Only those who have abandoned their defense of the GM with an “essentials of the gospel mantra.”

    Second, my second point focused on those who falsely redefine terms. Actually, you might have a point. I have defined what I meant so that there would be no confusion on what I mean by ecumenical in the SBC. The word Landmark/neo-Landmark has been used in order to bring up old connotations that SBs abhor. To label me a landmarker would also label JL Dagg as one also. Of course one will defend him in order to rally calvinistic support, but to take him to task over his view of the Lord’s supper would not help the ecumenist agenda.

    Third, I will also agree with you that there is a lot of pragmatism in the SBC. That does not make all people in the SBC ecumenical. Remember, there were two other points.

    Finally whether this post is about him, who is not to be named, is a valid point to bring up. It is not all about him, but he, who is not to be named, does supply plenty of fodder for the feeding trough. Finally, David Rogers is not a threat to the SBC, I did not say he fit the definition of an ecumenist, and if he defines closed communion as only the church members of that particular church may participate in the LS, then I agree with him on his view of the LS. The problem is that he includes the ideas of strict and close communion.

    Now, I am done. This post has gone as far as it can and I can see no further benefit in answering the same questions over and over again. While I do appreciate the dialog from many, It is Monday and I have other obligations to attend.

      Paul

      Robin,

      Thanks for your reply. One of the main points I’m trying to make is that, just as you state that “neo-landmarkism” has a negative connotation among Southern Baptists, so does the word “ecumenical.” In fact, I’m not so sure that “ecumenical” doesn’t have a much more negative connotation than “neo-landmark.” That is why Nathan Finn has said that those terms (both of them) are unhelpful. That is why David Rogers has said that “ecumenical” is unhelpful. That is why I would say that it is unhelpful. Nevertheless, you guys keep using it and Lord Voldemort keeps using “neo-landmark.” I suppose if what everyone wants is a stand-still then this is a good way to get it. I just don’t see how it helps “restore unity,” which, after all, is the stated goal of your banner.

        Paul

        I don’t mean that your banner has a goal, I mean that you have a stated goal that is expressed in your banner. Or maybe it is just your banner’s goal. :D (Sorry, that’s just a joke!).

        cb scott

        Paul,

        Does this Lord Voldemort you speak of own a Wild Geese farm in Oklahoma?

        :-)

        cb

          Paul

          CB,

          To tell you the truth, wild geese do not permanently reside in Oklahoma, for the most part. They simply fly over. I think wild geese find their permanent residence in places like Alabama and Texas. And, of course, Canada.

          Oklahoma is the land of free thinkers. After all, we invented the electric guitar. :D

            cb scott

            Paul,

            Well, Paul we got the guy who invented peanut butter. The stock food of all Ph.Ds in seminary residence.

            Any old Hippie can play an electric guitar. We make brain food.

            :-)

            cb

            Paul

            “Man shall not live by peanut butter alone, but by every chord that procedeth out of the amp of an electrified Les Paul.”

            Gospel of Paul 4:4

Todd

Stopped over for the falderol or folderol and found the usual suspects spouting the usual stuff suggesting the way forward for unity while incessantly still dividing. Seems like the practice of lunacy – do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Alan Cross

Robin and SBC Today crew,

Micah Fries linked to this on his blog. It is from a professor at Southeastern and speaks to much of what we have discussed the past few years. He even addresses ecumenism at the end. I would encourage you to read it and I would love to hear your response:

http://www.baptisttwentyone.com/?p=1440

    cb scott

    Good post, with limitations as to perspective. Of course, that is true with all post.

    There are definitely more than two types of under 40’s in the SBC.

    Alan, you persoanlly do not fit exactly in either type he has presented.

    Also, and more importantly, not all first generation SBC, CR conservatives fit the description given in Steve’s post. Many of them would have been far more identifiable as what he describes as third generation conservatives in the present.

    They saw and articulated the problems within the CR years ago. They are still around. They saw the current divide in its birthing and were not surprised by its maturity.

    cb

Darren Casper

Home run

Thanks Alan

David Rogers

Money quotes:

“This generation has learned to read, and read critically. They do not accept explanations like, ‘it’s correct because it is Baptist.'”

“They are also able to discern what the fundamentals of the faith and association are, and act accordingly. Charges of ‘ecumenism’ will not stick, because third-generation conservatives have rejected theological liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, and strict separationism.”

    cb scott

    Then, David,

    It is time for you to catch up and stop calling people Neo-Landmarkers.

    :-)

    cb

David Rogers

CB,

I think you may be missing what I have been saying the last couple of days on the blogs about the term “neo-landmarker.” It has not been my intention to bring it up. I have merely been responding to Robin’s post, and Tim Rogers’ earlier post, and that of Nathan Finn to which Tim makes reference, confessing that I have been guilty of using this term in the past, explaining my rationale for doing so, and then saying, I will stop using it, if it causes misunderstanding or displeases those whom I have been using it to describe.

I intend to stand by that commitment. I will not use that term, unless someone else brings it up first, and I am responding to someone else’s use of the term. I think I did use the term “denominationally narrow” yesterday, or the day before, somewhere. I am still looking for another term to describe what I am talking about that will be acceptable to all.

In my opinion, “Historic Confessional Southern Baptist” doesn’t get it, though, since it doesn’t really get across the basic idea I am trying to communicate.

    David Rogers

    Now that I think about it, I notice that several have not backed away from the term “Baptist Identity Movement.” If that is acceptable terminology to everyone, maybe that is the best term to use. With the “uninitiated,” though, it is sometimes necessary to explain what everyone means by this, and give a bit of history. All in all, it may be the best alternative, though. What do you think?

    cb scott

    David,

    I have to be away for a couple of days.

    So, in the meantime, go to the library and study up on the principles and concepts of being a “Historic Confessional Southern Baptist”

    Then you will have the idea of what we are “trying to communicate.”

    We are a little different from you Plymouth Brethren. :-)

    Seriously, David, I will be gone for a couple of days.

    Please know you and your family are in my prayers.

    cb

      Alan Cross

      CB,

      I have found that for years now I don’t fit into any categories at all. It can frustrate those who like to categorize and it often frustrates me as well.

      Oh well.

Robin Foster

Alan

How about this category:

Brother-in-Christ

    Alan Cross

    Robin,

    I’ll take it and extend it to you as well. That is the category that makes the most difference of all.

      Alan Cross

      Not that it is for me to extend, of course. God takes care of that all by Himself. “Recognize what God has already done” is a better way to see it by far.

David Rogers

CB,

A lot of my Plymouth Brethren friends in Spain would be surprised and amused to hear someone call my Plymouth Brethren. But, if it makes you happy, call me whatever you please. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it, anyway. :-)

steve

By “Plymouht Brethren” David, do you mean Exclusive Brethren (which is what the name implies in this country) or the other main group, the Open Brethren?

Wikipedia says “A clearer difference between Open- and Exclusive assemblies is in the nature of relationships between meetings. Open Brethren meetings are generally local assemblies that are autonomous but often informally linked with each other. Exclusive Brethren are generally “connexional” and so recognize the obligation to recognize and adhere to the disciplinary actions of other associated assemblies. One practical result of this might be that, among Open Brethren, should a member be “disciplined” in one assembly, other assemblies may feel free to allow the member to break bread with them, if they are not concerned by whatever caused the disciplinary action of the one in question.
Another less clear difference between assemblies lies in their approaches to collaborating with other Christians. Some Open Brethren will hold Gospel meetings, youth events or other activities in partnership with Evangelical Christian churches, while others (and perhaps the majority of Exclusive Brethren) tend not to support activities outside their own meetings.
The Plymouth Brethren are, generally, dispensational, pre-tribulational, premillennial and cessational in their theology and have much in common with other conservative evangelical Christian groups. ”

Many thanks
Steve

    David Rogers

    Steve,

    That would be a good question to ask CB, since he is the one who brought up the whole question of Plymouth Brethren in the first place.

    From my understanding, both Open and Exclusive assemblies have the same historical roots. The assemblies I am most familiar with in Spain tend more towards the Open stance, though there are some more Exclusive assemblies as well.

    I did write a blogpost once, referencing Plymouth Brethren, here:

    http://loveeachstone.blogspot.com/2008/01/plymouth-brethren-william-macdonald-and.html

Darren Casper

I’ve been reading the thoughts of David for the past few years…and I’d take this “Plymouth Brethren” like Southern Baptist any day. He articulates well an attitude of partnership around the fundamentals as Baptists to touch a lost and hurting world with the never changing gospel.

The Gospel: Our Greatest Common Denominator « Provocations & Pantings

[…] reflecting a lack of commitment to Baptist identity.  The talking point quickly became the “lowest common denominator” implying that the cooperation they enjoy comes at the expense of upholding Baptist […]

Baptist Identity and Theological Triage « Provocations & Pantings

[…] common denominator” in particular with reference to Mark Driscoll at Southeastern Seminary.  In one of his articles, Foster writes, There is a systematic diverting of attention from doctrinal fidelity by the […]

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available