Discussion vs. Debate:
A model for SBCToday commentary, and wherever Christians assemble to talk theology

July 10, 2012

Norm MillerNorm Miller is the director of communications and marketing at Truett-McConnell College.


Discussion vs. Debate: The title itself invites both its subjects. Honestly, to which are we most prone? There, I did it again: invited either a discussion or debate or both.

Webster defines a discussion as an informal debate, and a formal debate as contentious. The question is whether Christ followers should discuss or debate. Jesus was contentious, even righteously indignant; however, those traits showed when he was dealing with Pharisees, moneychangers, et al.

But was Jesus contentious with the Pharisee Nicodemus? The account reveals that the two had a discussion, not a debate – at least not a formal, contentious debate. Nicodemus had some truth, and Jesus had a distinct divine advantage in that vein. He was(is) the Truth, knew the truth, and was able to discern the hearts and minds of men like no other.

Nonetheless, the exchange between the God-Man and the one who considered himself a man of God provides a rubric for what is writ on the digital pages of SBCToday.com.  Acknowledging that all analogies eventually break down, consider the following in light of the aforementioned discussion.

The children of God have known discussions, debates, set-tos, controversies, splits, and many other difficulties indicating, among other things, that we are not yet as sanctified as we ought to be. Indeed, the SBC Conservative Resurgence reflected all such aspects and more. And I’m sure that the people of God on both sides have some personal regrets and wish that some events and interchanges had been handled in a more God-glorifying manner.
Sola Dei Gloria, a most worthy goal, we see written often. Therefore, let us live by that ancient adage. Let the words of our keyboards and the meditations from our handhelds be acceptable in the Lord’s sight, and to those to whom we write.

It is my humble preference, therefore, that the message threads on this blog be as considerate as a congenial discussion and not as condescending as a contentious debate. Vitriol, of course, is not a spiritual gift.
So, discussion or debate? That is the question. Obviously, for this co-laborer, discussion.

While it is difficult or even impossible to minimize or ignore that the readers/writers of this blog have very strong opinions, and thus appear to represent opposing sides, ought we not strive to avoid the “us vs. them” mentality? Granted, that is difficult; but this writer believes that our carnality naturally views those who don’t share our opinions and beliefs as being “on the other side.” Whereas participative bloggers may be on opposite sides of a question, must we draw lines in the sand? Doing so too easily blinds us all to the reality that we are God’s children, obscures the Golden Rule, and instills amnesia to the command that we must regard others more highly than ourselves. We must remember that it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

I ponder such matters thusly: Debaters take the pro or con and employ rhetorical and argumentative skills to win the debate. But who wins among God’s children in that scenario? To the extent that we are carnally motivated, we all lose. And the watching world wonders whether we have ever met the Prince of Peace, or even if he exists at all. True, we are the only Bible some will ever read. Let us comport ourselves accordingly.

Let us not consider ourselves on opposite sides of the table. Rather, let us consider the table round. If the table is rectangular, then the psychological and even the spiritual advantages can too easily belong not to any human, but to him who would work ill among us.

If the table is rectangular, then we come to it with this tacit position: “I’m right and you’re wrong, and you’ve got to prove otherwise. Let the debate ensue.” If such is the case, how will anything ever be settled to the satisfaction of the participants and to God’s sole glory?

Ah, but if the table is round, then there is the unstated acknowledgment of equality, of no sides extant, a centrality of purpose, a humility extending to all, and the universal understanding that all at the table have some truth to contribute that ultimately will raise the quality and amount of truth held by that body corporate. That ought to be the goal of those assembled, and not that one side wins over the other. How can be there be sides to a round table, anyway?

Above all, know that no one owns the truth. Propositionally, it is outside of us, challenging us, teaching us, judging us, encouraging us, and, hopefully, unifying us. How can we not be unified if we all gather around the objective truth of God? If unity does not prevail, then the truth is not at fault. Let us all consider ourselves a Nicodemus in that we have some knowledge of the things of God, but not all. Let us admit that others may have more such knowledge than ourselves. Let us all say to each another, “I’m a mere beggar on the road of life, and I’ve found a piece of bread. Let us eat.”

And where is Jesus in all of this? Well, if he reigns in our prayer closets and pulpits, then he shall reign in our presence, for he is wherever two are gathered in his name.

Application:

  • When posting an original or responsive thought, abstain from ivory towerism and self-deceived spiritual superiority, for God opposes the proud.
  • Abstain from curt comeuppances and the “I told you so” attitudes.
  • Be as gentle with others as was Jesus with Nicodemus. Forthright is fine. Forceful? Not so much. Being gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent doesn’t mean your commentary must inject the adder’s poison.
  • Employ deference, not defiance.
  • Make sure your comments emit more light than heat.
  • Remember that the Golden Rule is not a gilded club.
  • Be pointed, but don’t pierce.If you find you must add an emoticon (smiley face) at the end of a comment, that’s probably a sign that you need to rephrase the statement, or not make it at all. Digital jest hardly comes off that way. Usually, it offends.
  • Respond to others as if you were responding to Jesus. Granted, some of us make that nigh unto an exercise in futility, but try anyway. You, if no other, will be better for it.

God, please grant me the power and humility to practice what I preach. Amen.

Norm Miller is director of communication & marketing for Truett-McConnell College.

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Malcolm Yarnell

Well said, Brother Miller. It is interesting that Scripture connects indignation with righteous. An attained standard only with the Christ.

peter lumpkins

Norm,

We welcome you and TC–including Dr. Caner–to blogdom and expect some well written pieces which will undoubtedly serve as literary models from which most of us may greatly benefit. And, I see you already are following the good lead of Dr. Lemke in using words we poor West Georgia rednecks must seek a dictionary to obtain clarity, words like–

“goal”–I thought you meant those shiny rocks that used to be found in North Georgia
“carnally”– yep, I thought it had something to do with the county fair next month
“presence”–I have to confess. I thought of Christmas
“amnesia”–that’s my cousin’s wife’s name
“reality”–I thought that’s what Aunt Peggy sold for her boss
“universal”–I kept adding the word “joint” until my wife told me what I was doin
“reigns”–Billy Bob has several sets for his mule named Ned
“futility”–my neighbor’s daughter and husband had problems having a baby and went to see one of these specialists
“jest”–I thought you didn’t know how to spell the word “just”! (funny you spelled it exactly like it is correctly pronounced!)
“gilded”–what old man Taterman does to his pigs every time the church plans a West Georgia Caviar Cookout
“propositionally”–honestly, it ain’t decent to tell you what I first thought this word meant

Yes sir. I learned a lot from Lemke, and I expect no less from ya’ll.

With that, I am…
Peter

    Jerry Corbaley

    Shades of David Worley!

    Rather ‘Early David Worley’.

    My thanks to both of you for the frequent innocent chuckles.

      volfan007

      Jerry,

      I’m still a country redneck. I understood everything that Peter was saying. :)

      BTW, Jerry, we finally got rain in these parts. We’ve been a’hurtin’ for rain for purt near a month. But, praise God, we got a few gully washers here in the past few days. We didnt get any frog chokers, but we did get some gully washers, and periods of light rain, as well. We’re all as happy as a hawg in cool mud on a hot, July day.

      God bless, Brother.

      David

    Brad Reynolds

    Peter,
    Hilarious!!!

    Lydia

    I had to look up “universal joint”.

    LOL!

    Mr. Norm,

    I have my dictionary handy to read your posts and comments. Loved the round table metaphor. Thank you.

Darryl W

Child of God, Baptist, Calvinist, desiring good Christian dialogue, and cautiously optimistic.

Norm Miller

Daryl: Thank you, Brother. I especially appreciate the priority of your self-description, and that you are also optimistic. God bless you, Sir.

As for you, Peter: One should not be eating cereal or drinking milk when reading your missive (yes, go get your dictionary). If you and other West Georgians have trouble with the 25 cent words on this blog, you could always perambulate eastwardly and matriculate in a collegial motif.

With that I am — amused,

Norm

    volfan007

    Norm,

    Me and Peter is from Tennessee. We’re from the hills and hollers of TN. But, yall aint too far from us…in those Georgia mountains. Aint yall learned to speak the native language, yet?

    David

Stan Rasberry

Dear Norm,

What a great start! Starting with “A model…” and seeing that model needs to be Jesus Christ and Him alone. When our passion for the debate rages it is always a good time to pause and let the master potter rework our clay into the vessel He desires us to be.

Thank you, and blessings,

— Stan

Randall Cofield

Norm,

You said:

While it is difficult … disagreeable.

In the spirit of your statement, I again offer what I believe to be a reasonable paradigm to resolve the tensions which now exist (though my offering has been largely ignored to date):

To see Mr. Cofield’s “Reasonable Paradigm,” please see one of his three postings from yesterday.

    Tom Parker

    Randall:

    I’m not convinced that the Traditionalists are going to allow a place at the SBC table for the Calvinists, if they do it is going to be in an extremely limited role.

      Norm Miller

      Brother Tom:
      Perhaps you missed the point of my post this a.m. Or, perhaps you’ve missed the weeks, day-after-day, where people not embracing what this blog stands for have been allowed to comment, and that commentary allowed to stand. For you to predict “an extremely limited role” is not based in reality and does not pour any oil on the water, sir, which is what I attempted to do in my post, and what I am adjuring other posters here, such as yourself, to do.
      Blessings,
      Norm

      Norm

        Darryl W

        Brother Norm,

        Many truly seek healing in the convention and I believe we saw a good deal of that in New Orleans. However, I serve in a State convention where the one of the leaders has publicly claimed that to be Baptist, is to say one is not a Calvinist. I will confess that if I had to minister with this person today it would be a difficult situation filled with distrust. Perhaps that is my personal failing but it is an honest evaluation.

        -Darryl

          Norm Miller

          Thx for your honesty and transparency, Darryl. I appreciate both very much. I want healing, too.
          Ps. 133.1: “A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
          That someone would say a Calvinist cannot be a Baptist does nothing to move the discussion forward. There are some whose definitions and requirements would reduce the SBC to a membership of only 1.
          You’ve heard the joke about the lone survivor of a shipwreck who was finally rescued? His rescuers asked him about the three huts he’d built on the island.
          “Well,” he explained. “I live in that one, and I go to church in the other one.”
          “But what of the third one?”
          “Oh, that’s where I use to go to church.”

          Blessings,
          Norm

      Cb scott

      C’mon Tom Parker,

      I keep trying to tell you. The Calvinists have always had a place at the table. It was the Liberals (you) that we put on the bus.

      Long live the CR!! Long live the SBC!! Long live the SEC!! And long live Rock&Roll!!

        SAGordon

        CB…

        You? A rocker? In one sense a rocker makes sense… o:-)

          Cb scott

          A “rocker” in the sense of Earnest T. Bass?

          Scott Gordon, you have to admit there was never a man more at peace with himself and the universe than Earnest T. Bass when he had a pocket full or rocks and a worthy target at which to throw them.

          Bob Hadley

          CB…

          Briscoe Darling… not Earnest T…. come on that boy can’t sing… oh… I get it now… you can’t either.

          what wuz I thinkin cuz!

          ><>”

    Randall Cofield

    To All,

    For the record, my above post was substantially altered from its original form.

    May I ask why?

    Soli Deo Gloria

      Norm Miller

      Certainly you may ask why, Randall.
      Your post wasn’t censored – at least not in the classical, restrictive sense of that term – and I know you didn’t use it that way, either. No one is trying to silence you. Rather, your post, as you noted, was altered in form, that is, truncated. Whereas I noted that folks could go back a day and see the same info at least three times (and that it is not a hotlink due to my current technical ineptitude), the truth is that you have posted this same info about 5 or 6 times in the last couple of days, and all of those posts still stand, unedited, unaltered and un”censored.” Humbly, Brother, I think that is more than enough to make your points known. However, in the interest of deference and practicing what I preach, your “reposted” concerns below will stand unaltered.
      BTW: That I substantially altered, that is, truncated my own re-posted comments should be of no bother to anyone. Fact is, for those who log on today, they will have already, hopefully, read my post, and be happy to abide by its intent, or at least appreciate its content as many have already done. Thx much, y’all.

      Blessings,
      Norm

      Cb scott

      Randall Cofield,

      I understand your frustration. In the last few years, I have had to have all my pants altered, the waist wider, the legs shorter.

        Chris Roberts

        Cb,

        I believe seamstresses everywhere saw a sudden rise in business of this sort following SBC NOLA.

Brad Reynolds

Norm
GOOD WORD – So be it. Type is a horrible medium for understanding a person – I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume pure motives (although my wretchedness certainly creeps in via my own subjectivity) but truly desire to affirm your words both in type and in deed.

    selahV

    Brad, you are one of the most cordial, kind, unassuming, self-controlled and tolerant bloggers in the SBC. I have sorely missed you since you closed down the Guardian. I am so happy to see you back among us and while I know that your family is a primary in your scheduling, I’m thrilled they will share a portion of your time with us. selahV

CW Griffith

Excellent post! There would be much more to gain in our “discussions” if this model were followed. This article may need to be re-posted from time to time as a reminder of what we are striving to achieve.

    selahV

    Dr. Miller, I am guessing, not presuming, that this post (in blog-language) is meant to cut down on the drive-by comments, the tit-for-tat nit-picking of words, the put-down humor, the vendettas, the boulders tossed in the streams, the grenades launched, the declarations of war, the introduction of strawmen, the recruitment of troops to defend ground, the use of smiley faces to punctuate insults, the consultation of a dictionary for defining words, the promotion of warm milk as a beverage rather than hot black coffee or Red Bull stimulates, and encouragement for taking one’s medication before joining the “discussions”.

    I might add that you most certainly see the “closet” as a place for prayer and not for harboring skeletons to drag out when conveniently desired to trash or denigrate a fellow brother or sister in Christ.

    I like your style, Dr. Miller. Thanks for the perfect first post for SBC Today under new management. It makes me feel really good and deeply encouraged.

    May I ask if the new management will be disciplining those who falter in their walk under the application section of your post? (Just trying to cover my bases.) selahV

      Norm Miller

      selahV:
      What ever will be, will be, I guess, in terms of “disciplining those who falter” from the intent of my “perfect post” (your words thx)” this a.m.
      It is the nature of blogdom, or at least one such as this, to let folks have their say. Truly, my post may be so idealistic that it is not realistic; but, as I learned in the 7th grade from Mrs. Tordoff, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” Or, if you will, “A person’s reach ….”
      So, I have attempted to set a high standard, or, rather, challenge all posters here to reach for the highest standard of all, our Savior Jesus Christ.
      While I suspect SBCToday detractors will continue in their own way, I more strongly expect the friends of this blog to set the example of Christlikeness.
      Having said all of that, I don’t see a day when people will be banned for posting their thoughtful, venom-free disagreements on this site; however, if they are disagreeable and mean-spirited continually, then change may come. Some may exclude themselves by their own actions and words. We’ll see.
      Let’s stay on target. Let’s keep Jesus and the issues at the fore. Let us have consensus wherever possible. As Adrian said: “Unity in the essentials; diversity in the non-essentials.”

      Blessings,
      Norm

        Bill Mac

        While I suspect SBCToday detractors will continue in their own way, I more strongly expect the friends of this blog to set the example of Christlikeness.

        Would you be able to flesh this sentence out for me? Thanks.

          Norm Miller

          Sure, Brother Bill:
          What I see in that comment is my inadvertent and unintended implication that detractors will not be Christlike. Whoa. Stop the presses. Please forgive me for that blind spot. I am sorry if that is how some may read it. I did not mean to communicate anything negative. My expectation for friends of this blog is to be as Christlike as anyone else on this blog, and even moreso. Yes, I did draw an intentional distinction, but that was based on how a few detractors already have distinguished themselves here. But the implied distinction, as I noted, was entirely accidental, and I apologize.

          Blessings,
          Norm

          Bill Mac

          Fair enough, thanks.

Dave

Randall,

Thank you for your meaningful, thoughtful, sincere, and sage resolutions. I’m sorry that others have chosen to ignore them.

With that, I am

Not surprised.

    Randall Cofield

    Dave,

    You are too kind. The fact that you are only one of two individuals who responded positively to my post is quite telling. The fact that it was censored above (@ July 10, 2012 at 8:42 am) seems a little ominous.

    Grace to you, brother.

      volfan007

      Randall,

      Maybe he took it off, and gave it a hotlink, is because you’ve posted this same thing many times. We’ve all seen it. And, he did give you a hotlink, in case anyone wanted to click on it and see it, again. C’mon, Dude.

      David

        Randall Cofield

        David,

        It was not given a hotlink.

        Peace

          volfan007

          It looks like he tried to give you a hotlink, but it didnt work. Do you see the comment in the “lit up” blue?

          David

        Randall Cofield

        And my quotation of Norm, to which my resolves correspond, was substantially altered.

        Randall Cofield

        David,

        Do you not find it odd in any way that a comment which accords perfectly with Norm’s post here was substantially altered?

        I am not aware of any posts being altered to date on this forum. Are you?

        Peace

          Mary

          I was just reading something about hyper-sensitivity. You are demonstrating that perfectly Randall.

          Mary

          And Randall, this is new management and they were trying to do something new today. So your insinuation that you are somehow being picked on is hollow. You Randall are the one attempting to sow discord here with your false insinuations of censorship.
          Mary — Scroll up to see my answer to Randall’s question about why his entry was truncated. — Norm

      Brad Reynolds

      Randall
      Have more than two responded negatively to your reasonable paradigm? That may be telling as well.

      I used to get emails consistently that said “if you love Jesus send this to 10 friends” – I usually didn’t disagree with the content of the emails but I also didn’t send it to 10 friends. It does not follow that I did not love Jesus. And thus, here just because people have not signed it, it does not follow they disagree with it (I have been told by numerous individuals they agree with the TS but just did not want to sign it – one said he signs nothing but his Bible (which isn’t true unless he has never owned a car or home)).

      It could be that some did not find the necessity to affirm something by which they are already abiding. It could be that others are weary of being asked to sign yet another unity statement. It could be that others recognize their own wretchedness to such a degree that they would hate to sign something which they fear they would fail in despite their best efforts and finally it could be that some (I would be here) might struggle with the Scriptural validity of some of the proposals (for example if we Traditionalists are proffering the gospel unScripturally someone (be it Calvinist or not) should say something, further if I am heretical I would hope someone would tell me I am being heretical).

      Nevertheless, it does not follow that we disagree with the spirit or intent of it. In fact, I am grateful for both the spirit and intent.

        Cb scott

        ” I usually didn’t disagree with the content of the emails but I also didn’t send it to 10 friends.”

        Brad, I have told you and told you that you need to become more of a team player.

        abclay

        So…..you don’t really go to hell if you don’t forward it?

        Mike Davis

        So you’re the one who broke the chain! Next thing you know you’re gonna say you don’t do Meme Tags! (…/resisting urge to type a smiley face …)

Greg Alford

Wait a Minute… Just wait one minute here… Something fishy is going on!!!

We have that other Miller guy over at SBC-Voices (you know the 2nd VP) who is running that blog, and now we have another Miller here at SBC-Today running things???

While some in the SBC have been concerned about the growing influence of Calvinism in the SBC and others have been equally concerned about the growing influence of Anabaptist in the SBC… It is now clear that we all should have been watching the “Millers”.

This Resurgence of “Miller-ism” within the SBC will be our downfall, you just wait and see… The C.P. is doomed, International Missions will end, NAMB will soon be planting only “Miller” Baptist Churches… It’s all over friends, the end is near!!!

Grace for the Journey,

    Norm Miller

    Bro Greg:
    Miller is the 7th most common name in the US. The other Miller is my brother by the Blood, but not by blood.
    Norm Miller

      volfan007

      Norm,

      Or, put another way. “A Brother by another Mother.”

      David

      Greg Alford

      Norm,

      So, what you are telling me is that according to the most recent LifeWay survey “Miller-ism” is already deeply rooted in the US, and by extension the SBC?

      Next you will be claiming that “Miller-ism” goes all the way back to our “Founders”? This is completely unacceptable… but now that I think about it, there have been “Millers” in ever single church I have served in… so I guess it was just a matter of time before they took over.

      Ok…. in all Seriousness, I wish you all the best in your new role here at SBC-Today.

      Grace for the Journey,

    volfan007

    Greg,

    I see that you took my advice and got a Super Sonic cheeseburger and a cherry, diet coke! See what good it can do for you. It always helps me.

    :)

    David

    PS. If I was near your part of the world, I’d take you to Sonic and buy this for you. We could get CB to come along….he’s a good peace keeper. And, we might even let Peter come, as well…if he’ll let me ride in his convertible with the top down.

      Greg Alford

      David,

      Now you’ve done it… I will have to be nice to you for at least a day, hour, one comment.

      P.S. You, CB, and Peter on a road trip to North Florida (Panama City Beach!) in a convertible… I can hear it now “Honest Honey, we were just going to Sonic for a burger!” LOL… David, I’ll tell you what, if you three show in Peters convertible I’ll buy the Sonic Burgers for all of us.

        Norm Miller

        If you’re inviting folks to PCB for a burger on you — I’m in.
        Norm

          volfan007

          lol…I really wish I could.

          David

        selahV

        Greg, hey, you have any furnished (uninhabited) condos down there that a retired preacher and his wife could have a bit of R&R? We’d even take ya to dinner if ya could hook us up. selahV

        P.S. For those of you who do not know Greg Alford, he is the one Calvinist on Founders’ comment stream who did his level best to educate me on the DoG, the Abstracts, and the finer definitions and terms within the calvinistic camp of reformed thinkers. He was first to defend me and call his brethren out to assure them I was not there with unseemly motives. That said, it’s really easy for me to be nice to him.

          Greg Alford

          selahV,

          You are asking a Southern Baptist Pastor if he has a condo on the beach? LOL… I wish I did, but every time I bring it up the building committee just roll their eyes at me.

          In all seriousness the price of condos in Florida is at a 20 year low… so if any of you have ever considered buying vacation property in Florida there may never be a better time.

          selahV

          Greg, oh, I’m sorry. Should I send you a love-gift? (no smiley face but I am grinning).

      Cb scott

      I’m in! Let’s go.

    Chris Roberts

    When they start advocating for church to meet on Saturday instead of Sunday, we will know these modern-day Millerites have gone too far.

Randall Cofield

Norm,

As my above post on this matter was substantially altered, I re-post my concerns here. I trust that they will not be censored.

Seven Suggestions To Resolve the Current Theological Impasse

1) Calvinists should resolve to avoid telling Traditionalists how they should preach and proffer the Gospel, and vice versa.

2) Traditionalists should resolve to avoid telling Calvinists that we cannot live, preach, and teach our beliefs with liberty in the SBC, and vice versa.

3) Calvinists should resolve to avoid telling Traditionalists how to do mission work and plant churches, and vice versa.

4) Traditionalists should resolve to avoid telling Calvinists that their leaders are unworthy of leading entities within the SBC, and vice versa.

5) Both Calvinists and Traditionalists should resolve to drop all pejorative and self-serving monikers and simply address one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

6) Both Calvinists and Traditionalists should resolve to refrain from the use of divisive descriptors such as “arrogant,” “heretical,” and “hypocritical.”

7) Both Calvinists and Traditionalists should resolve to love one another with a pure heart fervently.

There is a point which is being completely overlooked in this debate: Both sides have errors in their respective theologies. As Calvinists, we do not know what our errors are, else we would correct them. Conversely, Traditionalists do not know what their errors are, else they would correct them. As it stands now, neither side seems capable of correcting the other.

If we give ourselves to the above seven resolutions and to advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with abandon, errors on both sides of the divide will be exposed and corrected over time.

Soli Deo Gloria

    selahV

    Randall, the first time you posted this, I skipped it because of several of your other comments. I apologize for not reading it. The second time you posted it, I ignored it because of the same reason. I repent. The third time, I must have missed it. The fourth time I read it and find some of it admirable, however, upon the constant repetition (and insistence upon everyone to sign it), I have found it a bit like my stepmother making me wash behind my ears. And when she was dissatisfied with the outcome on the third try, she brought in her scrub-brush and lye soap. It was not a very pleasant experience. It might be something like every time I posted a comment, instead of chatting with the commenters, I posted Proverbs 11:3 “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” After a while, folks would find me quite irritable. Ya know? selahV

      peter lumpkins

      SelahV

      Leave it to you to bring us a gooey illustration that one couldn’t pry loose from our brain with a 4 foot crowbar. Leave us alone!

      With that, I am…
      Peter

        selahV

        Peter,
        I’ve learned from the best. :)
        “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Pr.11:3
        with that I am,
        kidding,
        selahV

Greg Alford

Randall,

I think if we approached our Theology as a Journey of Faith and not a Destination then we all could better appreciate where those who do not agree with us are. After all Jesus said “But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead (guide) you into all truth.”

When we stop allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us (from the Word)… When we become so ridged in our ideology that we edit the Scriptures to say what we believe, instead of editing our opinions according to the Scriptures… When we drive our stakes into the earth and say “Here I stand, I shall not be moved!”… It is more often than not, a sure sign that we are no longer being “lead by the Spirit”.

Grace for the Journey,

    Norm Miller

    So true, Greg. For those who think they have arrived at their theological destination are merely indicating their need to travel farther.

    Norm

    Darryl W

    ITA. One of the reasons I do not want us to lose our SBC heritage is that fact that men and women who were Christians and highly motivated to spread the Gospel were so very, very wrong on the issue of slavery in their own backyard. We are all susceptible to allowing our culture, defined in many ways, to distort our theology.

      Norm Miller

      True, Darryl. But if memory of my Baptist History class serves me correctly, James Reeves — the slave owner who eventually divested himself of such — put the racial/slavery issue to rest, at least for himself. Your point, nonetheless, is well-taken.
      Blessing, Norm

    selahV

    Greg, I try to look at others in the comment streams as ones with whom God is still working on, just like me. Philippians 1:6. And boy does He work on me! It’s when I feel like everyone else is trying to work on me that I can get a bit weary, ya know? selahV

      Norm Miller

      SelahV:
      Plz be still while I try to remove that speck of dust from your eye.
      Norm

        selahV

        Norm, okay…you get Today’s award for tickling my funnybone.
        And yes, Peter, I thought you were funny, too. selahV

    Randall Cofield

    Greg,

    Thanks brother. That is the essence of what I was trying to say in the concluding paragraphs of my 7 suggestions. You’ve said it far more eloquently.

    Grace to you

Max

Good counsel, Brother Miller.

This conversation has been anything but a family discussion for a while. In recent days, it has taken on a spiritual dimension that reminds me of mankind’s first debate question “Is that what God said?”.

If I were the devil and wanted to distract the largest Protestant denomination in America from their great commission with God, I would get her members embroiled in theological debate. I would get them so mixed up, wound up, and broken up with each other, that God’s favor would be removed from them for a season so that my mission to kill, steal and destroy would be unhindered by their great numbers.

May SBC debate merge into discussion, lest we lose further ground. Dr. Lemke and crew did an outstanding job in recent weeks steering Southern Baptists to this point. I look forward to future posts at SBC Today and wish you the best, Brother Miller, in your role on this blog site.

    Norm Miller

    Thx much, Max: Your post expresses my heart as well. Shall we be turned inwardly too long at the “round table” I suggest at the expense of the hordes headed to hell? God forbid.
    Blessings,
    Norm

      Max

      Certain folks listening in here need to redeem the time … the night cometh. Some of the hordes headed to hell don’t have time to wait on a bunch of Southern Baptists to talk about this. Paul counseled Timothy to ignore the noise and do the work of an evangelist.

        selahV

        Max, I’m reading and commenting and googling Dr. Miller’s syllables so I can get smart, all while watching my granddaughter’s swim in the pool, teaching them measurements and how to break eggs in order to make cupcakes, and overseeing their online Kindle-Fire games and television viewing. I would say I am multi-tasking but not sure if it is one word or hyphenated.

        I do understand your views on the disagreements being unprofitable and also that knowledge will pass away, but I truly do like the exchanges wherein we learn from one another. Plus, there are scriptures that are being put forth and discussed that have given me great devotional ideas. As a grandma who undergirds a daughter so she can be a sponsor at youth camp for middle school girls (and my 14-year-old granddaughter), I find my time is being wellspent reading about these issues. Vigilance has never been a strong suit for me regarding the SBC, I’d always just been one of those casserole baking, visiting the sick with my pastor/husband, and teaching youth. This has been an eye-opening and mind-broadening experience for me.

        And if that isn’t enough to turn one’s crank for these blogs, I have found some really great missionary friends for whom to pray more specifically. Amazing what plums can be plucked when one looks beyond the wormy fruit. selahV

          Max

          Agreed Hariette. The current SBC conversation has certainly caused me to dig a little deeper and to test and try what I hear and read. When I’m stirred to make blog input, I’ve endeavored to contend for the faith rather than just being contentious. I’ve slipped a few times in the war of words and had to repent.

          I was reading Galatians 5 (a great chapter!) last evening and noted Paul’s warning about unhealthy debate: “But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another” (Gal 5:15). Some of us certainly need to pray and talk this thing through, while others stay on mission to win the lost for Christ and equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. Souls are at stake.

          (enjoy your time with those girls, sow Truth into their lives, they grow up so quickly)

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Randall,

With all due respect, in this instance you are guilty of one of the most annoying habits of people who comment on blogs: hijacking a thread. It is an etiquette violation equal to if not greater than “yelling” via caps lock.

Norm,

Excellent start to the tenure and stewardship of this blog. Looking forward to what God has in store here at SBC Today.

Blessings,

Ron P.

mike white

First point:
“When posting an original or responsive thought, abstain from ivory towerism and self-deceived spiritual superiority, for God opposes the proud.”

Good thing to say, but, but how does one abstain from being self deceived? If the Trads are right or the Cals are right, one group is deceived.

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to lead the children into truth. So you and I have no claim on superiority even if we are right. And I would think that you all think, like I think of me, think that you’re right or you wouldn’t be defending your position as truth.

So let us be humble so that the Spirit rules our conversations so that our faith and its increase rests on Him and not on words of man,

    Norm Miller

    Brother Mike:
    I’m not exactly what transpires in self-deception, but I know it happens. Cf. James 1.22. Thx for your comment.
    Blessings,
    Norm

Darryl Hill

This thread may get a feeling of something akin to an episode of Newhart momentarily (I’m aging myself, I know), but I’m not Darryl W- I’m the other brother Darryl. Ha! I’m very new to this blog, but not new to commenting on blogs and message boards.

Anyway, I think the original article here is excellent and is a great goal, to be sure. I agree that we set our sights high if we are going to even come close to behaving toward one with grace and love. That is always my goal, I must say, but I also fail in that goal for various reasons. Sometimes I fail because of miscommunication- or misunderstanding. I had a couple interactions with CB not long ago that took that route. I find that when I’m assuming someone is attacking me, my reactions are usually the worst. Of course, at the time, I’m just frustrated and don’t care about taking a step back. Still, I’ve found that I usually fail most miserably in the intent of the original post here when I’m reacting quickly and assuming an attack.

I don’t know if others have that same issue at times, but I bet we all would do well to take a step back at times and consider the other point of view. I’m certain it helps me when I do.

Regardless, thanks for this Bro. Norm. Feel free to let me know if I’ve failed in this.

    Cb scott

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Baptist Blog World,

    I would like to know why it is that when past altercations in a blog thread or the purchase of somebody else’s lunch is part of a comment, my name is always mentioned?

      Darryl Hill

      Hey Cb, no offense intended man. That whole deal was mostly my misunderstanding and not your fault. I totally misread where you were coming from. Or it could be that you’re just a big meany. :-)

      Darryl Hill

      Hey Cb, here is another explanation that you might like. I have a friend who is so brilliant that he routinely gets misunderstood by those attempting to communicate with him via text. So, that could be it as well. Now, don’t get the big head. ha!

        Cb scott

        Yep, that’s it. Happens to me all the time.

      selahV

      CB, well, I suppose when the shoe fits, ya have to wear it. and when ya can find a free meal in this economy, you go for it. You are one of those omni-present figures in blogs. It’s easy to pick on you because you are so much fun. selahV

        selahV

        CB, plus you have the hide of an alligator and the heart of kitten. :) selahV

          Cb scott

          A Kitten???? SelahV, a Kitten??

          Why not a goat or a old lion, or a sacred-up, crippled old pit-bull on the porch, or maybe a one-eyed-rooster, or a tamed badger, or fox, or at least something that still has a little grit and steel left in him? But not a kitten. Surely not a kitten. That is just too “gooshey.”

          selahV

          C.B, okay, I don’t want to be disagreeable. You have the heart of dried up old skunk. There, ya happy, now? A kitten is purr-fect for a guy who’d take in those darling gals of yours by building bears and putting pink ribbons on bulldogs, while also endearingly tending to a helpmate in need. A dried-up old skunk is a bit brash of me; I repent. I’ll give you the heart of a tamed tiger. Okay? selahV

    Norm Miller

    You’re right on target, Darryl (the other one). So glad you are here, and to get a sense of your heart and spirit.
    Blessings,
    Norm

    Darryl W

    Hey Darryl Hill,

    Believe it or not there were three of us in our college apartment and two of us were named Darryl. So, you know what our third roommate did…This is my roommate Darryl and my other roommate Darryl. Although, the joke does date one a bit.

mike white

Another point:
“Be pointed, but don’t pierce.”

Another good thing to say, but how far is too far when yielding a sword? One would need to know his or her opponent pretty well to know just how far to push a point. And i confess I know you all not so much, and you probably know me less than that. (-:

Let us search for the questions and responses that give room for the Spirit to pierce as he sees fit. But what if the Spirit wants your question or your response to be piercing? So let us discuss with humility so that we can soften the possible rapier and slip by any pride abiding in the one we think in error.

    Norm Miller

    Touche, that is the point; let the Spirit pierce.
    Thx again, Mike,
    Norm

    selahV

    Mike, one of the finer points made today. selahV

Ron Hale

Norm,
I pray that SBC Today continues forward in being a voice for many. I know you guys will do a great job! Thanks for this article and the healthy principles that you have laid out before us. Blessings!

    Norm Miller

    Thx, Ron.
    I appreciate the tenor of your remarks.
    Blessings,
    Norm

Chris Roberts

A good post, with mostly good things, but let me push back a little on one or two items.

There is a challenge to seeking unity in the midst of definite disagreement, but I think we need to find a way to be clear that we are united even with people we think are wrong. In the post, you caution against attitudes such as “I’m right and you’re wrong!” and I understand the caution, but I think we do need to be equally careful to maintain the value of absolute truth. You have noted that value, but there are some realities about the world we live in which should influence how tightly we hold to our beliefs:

1. We live in a world in which many people think truth is relative.
2. We live in a world in which many people think truth is unknowable.

Put these two together, and when they see Baptists saying, “Well, you think what you think and I think what I think and that’s fine because neither of us have a monopoly on the truth,” they are hearing ideas that mesh with their own perception of the truth. I want to be able to stand up and declare, “I believe what I believe. It is certainly possible that I am wrong, but unless you convince me that I’m wrong, I will continue to believe and declare the truth, and if you disagree with me, I will continue to believe you are wrong.” If we get to the place where we say, “We disagree, but I’m not willing to say that you are wrong,” then to some degree we are weakening the value and strength of personal belief and conviction.

The challenge is how to do that while building unity. I find it frustrating when people seem to think that unity means not being able to disagree or voice the implication of disagreement (that at least one person is wrong, and I don’t think it’s me). I think there is a way to disagree, to wrestle with these issues, and to remain united in the work of the gospel. It’s a challenge, sure, but we weren’t called to easy things.

    Norm Miller

    Push back is a good term, Chris. Just don’t shove me down. I know you won’t, but the distinction is what I was striving for in my a.m. post.
    Yes, you make numerous great points. Opposing truth claims cannot both be true. We can’t simply to agree to disagree on matters that are foundational to our existence. That’s why we need a discussion; but, as noted in my original, the discussion should be reasonable, not raucous; tempered, not tempestuous; congenial, not confrontational; deferential, not disturbing. — well, you get the picture (besides, I’m depleting my alliterative accesses, or is that excesses?).
    Also, these particular words of yours — oh, so good: “I think there is a way to disagree, to wrestle with these issues, and to remain united in the work of the gospel. It’s a challenge, sure, but we weren’t called to easy things.”
    Thank you!
    Blessings,
    Norm

    holdon

    I agree

    Cb scott

    Chris Roberts,

    In the reading of comment threads, one will read crazy comments. One will weak comments. One will read angry comments. One will read heretical comments. One will read sound comments. One will read questionable comments.

    One will read cry-baby comments. (Those are perfect fodder for Black Flag Blog Mercs to pirate.) One will read just all kinds of comments in a Baptist Blog comment thread. (It is like going to the Zoo. All kinds of animals live there and the interest level is always high from one enclosure (comment) to the next.)

    Then there are excellent comments. They are rare. They make one think and they give insight into another person’s true nature. Those comments are the ones from which we gain knowledge from one another. We ponder them and store them away to use and ponder again.

    Then one finds within an excellent comment the “statement” that just breaks through all the fog and presents a crystalized truth worthy of specific and intentional mention and highlight.

    Here is one of those rare and grand “statements” which gives the “excellent comment” its star quality.

    “The challenge is how to do that while building unity. I find it frustrating when people seem to think that unity means not being able to disagree or voice the implication of disagreement (that at least one person is wrong, and I don’t think it’s me). I think there is a way to disagree, to wrestle with these issues, and to remain united in the work of the gospel. It’s a challenge, sure, but we weren’t called to easy things.”

    Chris Roberts, may your tribe increase.

    Bob Hadley

    Chris,

    You wrote,

    “I want to be able to stand up and declare, “I believe what I believe. It is certainly possible that I am wrong, but unless you convince me that I’m wrong, I will continue to believe and declare the truth, and if you disagree with me, I will continue to believe you are wrong.” If we get to the place where we say, “We disagree, but I’m not willing to say that you are wrong,” then to some degree we are weakening the value and strength of personal belief and conviction.

    The challenge is how to do that while building unity.

    I believe you are right. A lot of folks will agree with you. We ALL believe our soteriological position is correct or these debates would not be taking place. We can talk about everything else under the sun but the truth is the truth.

    The problem with the unity in our diversity is in WHERE the diversity is centered. We are not talking about the color of the carpet in a sanctuary… although we all know that is deadly! We are talking about how a person passes from death unto life… and it seems as if I am the only person man enough to say… I do not like your position ANY more than YOU like mine…

    We are positioning ourselves to make our theological position THE theological position of the SBC… that is a fact and that is where the “push back” is coming from as I see it. I can fellowship with YOU and your church… but I do not want a calvinistic influence in the entities just like you prefer that influence there because we both believe that is the correct theology. I do not know HOW we manage the differences. I really don’t.

    Norm…. I am glad we had a chance to meet and that I did not believe some of those things Adam said about you… I KNEW you would one day be somebody special! LOL

    Great job; I look forward to your censoring some of my comments… just NOT this one!

    ><>”

      Norm Miller

      Thx, Bob, I think. That Adam — the one who posits that we inherit Adam’s sin nature, but not his guilt — I think he is an exception to his own thesis.
      As far as censoring you, Bob, that means I would be attempting to silence you. Not having seen a mute button on your person, I suspect such an attempt would be in vain.
      Blessings,
      Norm

      Bill Mac

      We are positioning ourselves to make our theological position THE theological position of the SBC… that is a fact

      I wonder if your “traditionalist” brethren agree with this statement? I thought (because this is what we have been told by “traditionalists”) this movement was about making your voice heard.

      Norm? Rick? Tim? David? Harriette? Others? Do you agree with Bob’s statement? Thanks in advance.

        Bob Hadley

        Bill Mac,

        The statement that you lifted is taken somewhat to an extreme… the statement was not written in the context that you have lifted it. The point was, we all have our own particluar theological positions and it is fair to say that our preference is indeed that it be the theological position of the convention.

        Consider the purpose statement of the Founders… consider the theological moves at Southern to conform to the AP… the reformed posturing in a number of the church planting organizations… why… because those individuals believe their theological position is the correct theology… that calvinism is the truest presentation of the gospel…

        So lets not play these linguistic games and think you are backing me or anyone else into a corner that your side is already fully engaged in…

        At least try to exercise some level of integrity in your accusations please.

        PS…. all of these guys will tell you I do not speak for any of them.

        ><>”

          Bill Mac

          Bob: With all due respect, I read and re-read your statement numerous times before cutting out the quote, and then re-read it again to make sure I was not lifting it out of context. I hate it when people do and and I’m very careful about that kind of thing. Now perhaps you didn’t mean it the way it sounds, but I think I was pretty fair with the quote itself. You even capitalized THE. I don’t care what Founders or SBTS or others are doing. Anyone (including the aforementioned) trying to make THEIR position THE position of the SBC ought to be called on it. Yes, everyone believes their position is the right one. Yes, it is no surprise when people who think they are right try to convince other people that they are right. If they are successful, so be it, the pendulum swings. But were I able to transform the SBC to a completely Calvinistic entity with a wave of the hand, I would not do it. I do not want Calvinism to be THE theological position of the SBC.

          For the record, I did not imply you spoke for the folks I questioned, I just asked if they agreed with you. I asked the question because what you seemed to be saying does not jive with what I have been hearing from “traditionalists” for the most part.

Randall Cofield

Norm Miller, volfan007, Mary, selahV, Ron Phillips, Sr., holdon, cb scott, et al,

Brothers and Sisters,

When the TS was first posted on this forum I joined the discussion at your invitation. “Believing all things,” I assumed the invitation to be genuine and that Christian dialogue could be had. I began posting honestly and without rancor my objections to the TS. I was promptly labeled an “arrogant YRR” (among other things) and my participation was dismissed with seeming prejudice.

For a time I tried to continue in the spirit of Christian courtesy, but it soon became apparent that this was devolving into nothing more than graceless mudslinging. When it appeared that I had offended some, I sought forgiveness and reconciliation. My efforts were met with unmistakable derision, and I soon found myself stooping to the level of many of my fellow posters.

Recognizing my sin, I again asked forgiveness and began trying to promote civility and unity, posting five proposed resolutions to that end. Again, my efforts were met with ridicule, so I modified the language of my resolutions and expanded them to seven in an attempt to enhance their acceptability. I then began posting them on each new thread of this forum. To date, only three individuals have had anything positive to say about my call for civility and unity, and all three of them were Calvinistic brothers.

However, you, my Traditionalist brothers and sisters in Christ, have yet again responded with seeming derision. It is now apparent that you have read my resolutions, yet you have chosen to respond only negatively. Despite Norm Miller’s current call for moderation and civility– which is at least the third such appeal on this forum in the last 3 weeks–in the space of a few hours I’ve had my call for unity:

1) “truncated” by the moderator of this thread,
2) my objection to that truncation deem “hollow,”
3) and called an attempt to “sow discord,”
4) deemed a case of “hyper-sensitivity,”
5) relegated to the category of “C’mon, Dude,”
6) termed “quite irritable,”
7) had my tongue-in-cheek call for signatories framed as an “insistence upon everyone to sign it,”
8) the re-posting of the call for unity called a “most annoying habit,”
9) a “hijacking” of this thread,
10) and an “an etiquette violation” akin to “’yelling’ via caps lock.”

Forgive me for being blunt, but those are not responses of individuals interested in having Christian dialogue with those who disagree with you. And Dr. Miller, they are not characteristic of your own call for civility and unity.

As my time of dialogue on SBC Today begins to come to a close, I leave my Traditionalist brothers and sisters with this: The “discussion” on this forum has been anything but God-glorifying. And if you think the Calvinist “problem” is going to simply vanish because you have chosen to have a closed conversation about it among yourselves…you have radically underestimated those with whom you disagree.

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

    Darryl Hill

    Hey Brother Randal,

    I think your proposed resolutions are excellent and I would gladly sign on with them. I think most folks here would do the same. I don’t know it is the case or not, but I would speculate that some saw your “sign your name by adding a comment below” as a way of poking fun at the original soteriological statement, and they didn’t sign because of that. I could be wrong.

    I can’t speak to the intent of anyone else here, but my intent is to see continued cooperation for the sake of Christ and His Gospel and certainly to avoid anything that would divide Southern Baptists into different categories or conventions. Personally, I am willing to engage in a dialogue to help clarigy the issues and promote unity. I am willing to even accept the fact that agreement can’t be reached fully and proceed anyway. I do it every day in my own local church, which could aptly be described as strongly traditional according to the terminology we’ve been using in this discussion.

    I should hasten to add, for the sake of those who might be concerned. I will be preaching this coming Sunday and I do not intend to turn everyone in the congregation into a Calvinist. :-)

      selahV

      Darryl Hill, so grateful you’ll be preaching the gospel this Sunday. May the Lord add many to His church this week by the hearing of His Word and through the faith each exhibits in response. May His grace be upon you and abound. selahV

      Greg Alford

      Darryl Hill,

      It is never the Preachers job to turn anyone into a “Calvinist”… As our Statement of faith says…

      “Calvinism, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

      Grace for the Journey

      Randall Cofield

      Darryl,

      Thank you for your kind post.

      The request for “signatories” was pure jest. In retrospect that was probably a mistake, but I never expected anyone to be offended by it or to take it seriously.

      While I find your willingness to continue dialogue here admirable, I just don’t see the point. This never was about actual dialogue, and the last 6 weeks on this site have all but guaranteed that it never will be.

      If not before, I’ll meet you at Jesus’ feet.

        Darryl Hill

        Randall, you may be right. I’ve nearly stopped commenting altogether about 3 different times, but I just keep getting sucked back in with various articles and comments. I may well give up at some point. I am curious about the new direction of this blog, though. I guess we’ll see what happens. And yes, by God’s grace, I will see you when these things no longer cause division. Grace and peace to you bro. :-)

    Norm Miller

    Note, Randall, that we did not close this conversation to you, you did. I told myself earlier today that you would bow out before days’ end. That was not my hope, but was my prediction. Honestly, Brother, I think you’re wearing your feelings a bit too close to your sleeve.
    It should be noted that, at other blogs, your second post of the same info would have been deleted. If you had persisted, you would have been banned. I let your 5th posting of the same info stand, and it is still standing as are three others of the same content. I offered you an olive branch at the end of one of your posts, and I can’t help but sense that you are ‘switching’ me with it. No offense taken, however.
    You are welcome here anytime, Randall, as long as your commentary moves the conversation forward — and you don’t try to post the same stuff again, and again, and again, and [truncated], and again.
    Additionally, we don’t hope that Calvinists will go away and push back from the table as you have done. One can’t have a conversation like that.
    Come back when you are ready. You are welcome.
    Blessings,
    Norm

      Randall Cofield

      Norm,

      Brother, I have not stated this explicitly, but I do appreciate the spirit of your a.m. post. I even appreciate the spirit of your post to which I am replying.

      That being said, this conversation has, indeed, been “closed” on the SBC Today forum from the beginning. Note that not one opposing view has been allowed in the lead articles. In addition, it has been the practice of many (if not most) of the Traditionalist posters here to eventually label every Calvinist who dares post as “arrogant,” “YRR,” “hypocritical,” “heretical,” etc. Both of these phenomena indicate that the discussion is indeed “closed,” and it was not we who closed it.

      Brother, I am a husband, a father, a grandfather, a seasoned pastor, and have been a minority Calvinist in a majority Traditionalist SBC for 15 years. I assure you, one does not survive in that environment by wearing one’s feelings a bit too close to one’s sleeve. And I can also tell you from experience, you will not call many to “the table” with those kinds of insinuations.

      Additionally, I have not posted the same info twice on any thread on this forum. I have adapted the “resolutions” I offered as objections and criticisms (and mockery and derision) arose, and re-posted the changes. As each new thread has developed, I have re-posted my resolutions, hoping to garner support for unity and liberty. Is this methodology anywhere excluded in the posting rules of SBC Today?

      Yet both you and others have mis-characterized what I am doing: (“You are welcome here anytime, Randall, as long as your commentary moves the conversation forward — and you don’t try to post the same stuff again, and again, and again, and [truncated], and again.”)

      Brother, it was never my intention to “switch” you with your olive branch, but I certainly understand why it could be perceived that I did. The fault for that lies squarely at my feet, and I ask your forgiveness.

      In the end, my only desire is to see all who are part of the SBC come together in unity on the essentials and grant one another liberty on those matters that are non-essential. I weep at the discord that is being sown here, as do some of my Calvinistic brothers (one of which was scathingly mocked just yesterday for his tears by one of the “heroes” of the Traditional crowd here–accompanied by several disgustingly complimentary and supportive replies…high-fives all around…).

      Brother, I appreciate your invitation to remain active in this discussion at SBC Today, and I believe it was issued with sincerity. But I see no real possibility of anything positive being accomplished in the current environment (see paragraph 2).

      Which brings me full circle to my 7 suggestions….

      When the table becomes “round” I’ll be happy to participate… vigorously.

      Grace to you, brother.

        Joel Hunt

        I agree with you, Randall. I’ve had my commenst deleted as well, and they were only a call for balance in the debate. While I appreciate Mr. Miller’s plea for unity, the comments from the past dew weeks are ample evidence of how the TS folks wish to carry things forward.

    selahV

    Randall, having been named, called out, and posited as one who wrote tongue in cheek the “insistence to sign” your thoughts, I offer you an apology for hurting your feelings. To your parting words:

    “And if you think the Calvinist “problem” is going to simply vanish because you have chosen to have a closed conversation about it among yourselves…you have radically underestimated those with whom you disagree.”

    To the contrary, I for one have no illusions to this declaration. None whatsoever. I suppose that is part of why I signed the statement: I wanted to discuss what I believed rather than constantly defending myself for what I did not believe. But that’s just me. Don’t know about everyone else. They can speak for themselves. We believe in free church. selahV

    Brad Reynolds

    Randall,
    Please see my 1:11 pm comment under your 10:41 am comment to Dave’s 9:16 am comment. I explain my reservations (and perhaps others) but strongly supported the spirit and intent of your reasonable paradigm.

    I think Norm’s intention were clear in the original post – he desires Christian conversation.

    I also desire such. If this ever becomes a blog where everyone on the same side just pats each others back than I have no interest in commenting (I don’t think it will). We need a conversation in the SBC about the Elephant in the room and hopefully this is a place the “Traditionalist” feels safe and the “Calvinist” feels welcome. (Of course we won’t agree but your opinion on the issues should always be welcome – that’s the point of conversation). I will be the first to “rage against the night” when a false accusation of heresy is tossed my way. But I hope I have never made you or anyone else feel unwelcome.

      Darryl W

      Brad,

      I agree with your motives. Mine are similar. If I meet a Brother and find we have a different view I want to discover the why. You have a passion for the Word and differing views on soteriology, so that makes your position of interest to me. I have a BIL who is a pastor in another denomination that holds a low view of Scripture. Discussing doctrine with him is fruitless! And will always be an exercise in futility that I try to avoid.

      -Darryl

      Greg Alford

      Brad,

      As a Southern Baptist Calvinist for over 20 years now… I would appreciate it very much if my Anabaptist/Traditionalist brothers would stop referring to my soteriology as the “Elephant in the room.”

      In return I shall refrain from calling Anabaptist/Traditionalist soteriology the “Gorilla in the cage”.

      Deal?

        Tom Parker

        Greg:

        Maybe it is time for some to remember the words of the late Rodney King–Can’t we all just get along?

          Cb scott

          Tom Parker,

          How did that work out for Rodney King?

        Brad Reynolds

        Greg,
        I am not sure I implied Calvinism was the Elephant in the Room (it is certainly not what I said – I try to be careful about my wording although surely at times fail) but the Calvinist/Traditional conflict or if you prefer the Calvinist (non-Calvinists) controversy in the SBC is the “Elephant in the Room” or if you prefer “Gorilla in the Cage” – Sorry for not being more clear as to what I was referring.

          Cb scott

          What about:

          “Pig in the Parlor.”

          Greg Alford

          Brad,

          No apology needed… You have not offended me in any way. I just wanted to go on record as letting my fellow Southern Baptist know that this particular phrase is both divisive and derisive.

          Wikapidea defines this phrase as follows:

          “”Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.[1]
          It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.”

          I think it particularly unhelpful for one group of Southern Baptist to be saying that my soteriological convictions are an “obvious problem or risk” or a “looming big issue” that needs to be addressed.

          I do not see any Calvinist referring to the Anabaptist/Traditionalist soteriological convictions in this manner… And, on a more pointed note, Jerry Vines should be ashamed of his use of this phrase, and his tempting others to follow his very uncharitable example.

          Grace for the Journey,

          Grace for the Journey,

        Brad Reynolds

        Greg
        Concerning Dr Vines let’s be fair – he did not say your soteriological convictions were the elephant in the room. That is blatantly unfair – he describes clearly his point – by elephant he means new Calvinism by the room he means the SBC – some of the characteristics of the new Calvinism that Dr Vines notes is 1) calling their brothers Semi-Pelagian (heretics) – something Calvinist in the convention had not been in the habit of doing before. 2). returning from a Calvinistic seminary with unkind critical attitudes toward their childhood pastor etc – see his article for his full list of concerns.

        Conflating these concerns with your soteriological belief system is simply wrong. You may consider rethinking your comment.

          Brad Reynolds

          should be “are” not “is”

          Greg Alford

          Brad,

          I am very familiar with what Jerry Vines has written, said, and done concerning his ongoing warnings about Calvinism in the SBC.

          Over the years he has made no effort to distinguish between Hyper Calvinism, Evangelical Calvinism, and now this so called New Calvinism.

          Just who came up with the label “New Calvinism”? And who in the SBC gets to decide who falls into this camp? And Jerry Vines list of concerns appear quite petty and actually even bitter… Needless to say I am not moved by them at all, but that is another discussion for another day.

          Being an Old Calvinist, For the most part I am contentcontent to let you “New Anabaptist/Triditionalist” have your say… But as I said, I do not find the phrase “the Elephant in the room” helpfull to our debate.

          Grace for the Journey,

          Brad Reynolds

          Greg
          I think we shall gently disagree on this one my brother. I would not state a concern for young men having critical attitudes for their childhood pastors is petty and I certainly wouldn’t state a concern for calling brothers heretics is petty. Nevertheless, soul-competency will cause me to trust we will just disagree. The idiom you find offensive is honestly part of the English language to be employed for things people have not been quick to publicly address. I think it is most applicable and thus I can’t promise to avoid ever using it but in deference to you, when you and I are discussing I will do my best to refrain from its use but you may have to gently remind me from time to time.

          Finally – I think you and I read the article differently – he did distinguish between Calvinism and some of the characteristics of New Calvinism

          Not sure who came up with the term and I imagine those who fall into that category are those who display at least some of the concerns he mentions – I hope that helps

    John

    Randall,
    Sometimes it is better to pickup a fishing poll than a pen. You planted the seeds let God water it, if you found good soil it will grow. I realize you have put a lot of effort into your attempt to portray positive dialogue by a Calvinist to a Non Calvinist opps I mean Traditionalist blog. Time will tell what the goals of traditionalist are. God will decide if the Traditional movement grows or wilts just like he will decide if Calvinist take over the SBS. :-). As a Calvinist you must remember God already knows the doctrine He implemented, and All people will be automatically enrolled in Corrective Theology 101 at the rapture.

      Cb scott

      “…and All people will be automatically enrolled in Corrective Theology 101 at the rapture.”

      I just love this statement. Thanks, John.

        John

        I read that and stole that from Dan Phillips a Calvinist of Calvinist over at Pyromaniacs. He won’t mind if you use that Cb it is true and it is biblical :-).

        Bob Hadley

        CB…

        That class with be taught at one of the seminaries… which one is yet to be determined.

        ><>”

    Cb scott

    I have seen some mighty tough men endure things to achieve success in their missions that were just unbelievable, yet they made it through to victory.

    But I tell you what will get even the best every time. It is what finally brought Randall Cofield down. It was when their “efforts were met with unmistakable derision.”

    That old “unmistakable derision” will get you every time.

    Bart Barber

    Randall,

    I don’t think we’ve ever met. I’m Bart Barber. I’ve been blogging in SBC life at varying levels of activity since 2006 and have known a lot of people in this particular field of endeavor. That may not make me an expert, but I do think it qualifies me to offer an opinion. Some of what happens online is about theology. Some of it is about personality conflict. Some of it is about blogging etiquette, which is a new and sometimes hard to define discipline.

    It’s probably a horrible way for us to have our first interaction, but I’m trying to show you what I think is a mistake that you’re making. You’re presuming that the problem you’re having has to do with theology or with personality conflict. Instead, you’re problem is that you are repeatedly violating one of the unwritten rules of blogging etiquette, it seems to me. Here’s how.

    You’ve written something. You’re proud of it. You think it is important. You think people ought to read it. You think people ought to sign it and carry it forward. There’s nothing wrong with any of that.

    But this is not your blog. This blog belongs to somebody else. It is a cardinal rule of blogging: The owner of the blog gets to choose the posting content, and people who come along to comment are supposed to comment about THE BLOGGER’s content. Use of another blogger’s post to promote your own content that you have written is poor blogging etiquette. Doing so over and over and over across multiple posts is a flagrant violation of this.

    It is like Katy Perry setting up a table outside a Lecrae concert to sell her CDs.

    If you don’t have a blog, create one. They’re free. Do the hard work required to build an audience. Then you can promote your own content on your own blog using your own reputation rather than trying to take advantage of the popularity of someone else’s blog to advance your content. That’s the honest and polite way to do it.

    In saying so, I’m not judging your character. You’ve stepped off into a different culture. Blogging is a slightly different culture. People come into it and just don’t know the unwritten rules. I think that’s happened to you in this case, brother. So I hope you’ll consider the suggestion that I’ve made.

      Bart Barber

      “your” not “you’re”

      I re-wrote that sentence and failed to change the word. Sorry.

      Brad Whitt

      Bro. Bart, well said. That is something that is hard for some to learn, but remains a vital element of today’s blog interaction. Thanks for your gracious way of helping our brother.

      Cb scott

      Randall Cofield,

      Bart is right. Blogging is a different culture. And Baptist bloggers are a sub-culture within that culture. And definitely a double sub-culture in the SBC.

      Let me illustrate Bart’s point by interpreting part of his comment for you.

      “I don’t think we’ve ever met.”
      That means you have not been elected to my elite circle of blogger greatness yet.

      “I’m Bart Barber.”
      Never forget that name now that I have made myself known to you. I am a “Real Biggie.”

      “I’ve been blogging in SBC life at varying levels of activity since 2006 and have known a lot of people in this particular field of endeavor.”
      If I, Bart Barber, don’t know ’em, they ain’t worth knowin’.

      “That may not make me an expert, but I do think it qualifies me to offer an opinion.”
      Now, I am making you know I am humble. ‘Cause I really am and expert and don’t you ever forget it. Not only am I qualified, but I helped write the book on Baptist Blogging.

      “Some of what happens online is about theology.”
      I have to say this because I have a Ph.D. and I must justify my time spent blogging. I cannot say I just do it ’cause I like it.

      “Some of it is about personality conflict.”
      It is about personality conflict and that is the fun part. Baptists love conflict and especially when personalities are involved.

      “Some of it is about blogging etiquette, which is a new and sometimes hard to define discipline.”
      This means Baptist blogging is a no-holds-barred, root-hog-or-die, blood and guts sport and is not for the faint of heart or the thin-skinned. And I, Bart Barber, have been in it from the beginning and am one of thew toughest kids on the block, so if you are going to come into my house; Cowboy-Up!

      See what I mean Randall Cofield? I just gave you a perfect, inerrant interpretation of Bart barber’s comment to you.

      He is right now thinking of some way to pay me back. But, he will not, because if he does, I will expose him as the one who actually pushed Tim Rogers out of the C-130 at Ft. Bragg the day Tim’s ‘chute didn’t open.

        Bart Barber

        Well, C.B., as to the “elite circle of blogging greatness,” you’ve proven more than once, the last time being in the lobby in NOLA, that I’m greater in your mind than I am anywhere else. ;-)

    volfan007

    Why was my name included in this, Randall? I didnt do anything; did I? What have I done now?

    David :)

    holdon

    Randall,

    As you mentioned my moniker (didn’t see it at first), I went back to the first threads where based on your answers I came to certain conclusions and I treated you harshly for that. I don’t think any of it was unjust as it was just your own position reflecting back on you, but you were apparently not prepared to envision the extent of it. I am not apologizing for bringing that out as it is my conviction that truth should be told and in my mother tongue they say “soft healers make stinking wounds”. Truth is wholesome indeed. I also believe that it is best to bring out corrections about doctrine publicly (but not when it is about private sins and weaknesses) to the benefit of the believers as we have the example of Paul and Peter.

    However, I must sincerely apologize for bringing your name up twice in the forum. That was bashful and wrong. That is too much salt than is healthy for anybody (our speech should be hearty, but not poisonous). So, please forgive me for that. I feel truly bad about it.

    Also, I feel bad about the derision that you have been the target of, from the part of several here. That is reprehensible. I understand sometimes a bit of lightness is needed when all is high strung, but derision is not lightness.

    A lot of the misunderstandings of these soteriological positions is due to teachings that go back a long time and are so encrusted in the thinking that it is hard to conceive of anything different. Some of these have even influenced translations; all of them have influenced the confessions and creeds. Let us go back to the Scriptures and allow Him to wash and nourish His church with the word. I’m afraid we’re all stained with mud and would feel so much better after a good bath.

      Randall Cofield

      holdon,

      Brother, thank you for the godly sentiment of your post. I bear you no ill, and I ask you to likewise forgive me every occasion in which I was unduly harsh and abrasive.

      If not before, I’ll meet you at Jesus’ feet.

Brad Whitt

Bro. Norm, thanks for your introductory post. It was a real enocouragement. I look forward to your leadership at SBCToday. Praying for you my brother.

    Norm Miller

    Thx to you, Brad, for the encouragement. I look for forward to your leadership as well.
    Blessings,
    Norm

m. b. woodside

Randall,

As a fellow Reformed brother and someone who sympathizes with your concerns regarding the discussions, I think Bart Barber has given some good advice regarding interacting with blogs.

While this is a blog in which fellow Christians are discussing matters of theology, that does not mean that anger and pride cannot rear their head very easily when the right buttons are pushed. I frequent lots of blogs that deal with culture, politics, and sports. On all those blogs there are certain ways to frustrate the owners or moderaters of the blog or site. Bart has accurately described that in his post.

SBC Today is the voice for the Traditionalist viewpoint. As a Calvinist, I view myself as a guest here. As on most blogs, there are core group of commenters that know each other well through the blog or know each other in real life. Most of the blogs I frequent I do not know any of the posters. Therefore, I don’t comment. Furthermore, I don’t know their sense of humor or their personalities or their ways of expressing themselves. If I feel the need to comment, I answer a question directly or make a brief statement and then move on. As I get to know the blogger or commentors better, then I feel more at liberty to write with more candor what I need to write. Dr. Reynolds was right in a previous comment when he mentioned that blogs can be a poor medium for communication (paraphrasing). Tone is hard to detect and decipher.

May the Lord be honored in our conversation.

Blessed are the peacemakers . . for they shall be called the children of God . . .Mt.5:9

m. b.

Norm Miller

Well, Gang:
It’s been a blast moderating the site today. I stuck pretty close as I wanted to learn some things and wanted to keep track of the responses. From 7 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., my tukus was planted on the couch. After a bit of lunch – to the office for more. Then back to the couch after supper – to watch Jeopardy. What an experience to engage so many folks.
Peter, you cracked me up, Brother, with your humorous take on the words unintelligible to you and others in West Georgia. I’m sure they won’t be offended at what you noted, as most of them can’t read anyway. SelahV, Sister, I’m just glad you agreed with me. Whew, Gurl! Darryl, thank you for your kinds words. Greg, your willingness to engage in some verbal frivolity I found refreshing and encouraging. Maybe there is some hope – for me. Max, thx for the challenge of your posts. The world needs Jesus more than we need to be engaged in a discussion that may ignore their peril – although the discussion bears closely to what is on your heart, and that is the essence of evangelism and, thus, salvation. I know others of you also helped to make my day a great experience, so thank you all, too. All-in-all, I’ve enjoyed this day very much (but 14 hours’ worth?).
In the days to come we intend to upgrade the site. The core technology is first to be updated, and then we will work on a way ala Facebook to keep comment threads together. We may already have a solution for that. We will also post an updated set of commenting guidelines, too. If you have other suggestions, plz let me know.

You will def want to stay tuned for an upcoming interview with a former Calvinist who through years of study has come out of Calvinism, and who sees some of its positions as unscriptural.

I’ll be around tomorrow. Y’all be nice to one another, esp. to any newbies in the room.

Deus caritas est, 1 John 4.8

Norm

volfan007

I have noticed that some people enter into blogs every once and a while, and they say something that goes like this: “Maybe yall should quit all that talking on blogs, and get out there and win people to Jesus.” I agree with the sentiment. BUT, why cant we do both? I enjoy interacting with my friends and others on facebook and blogs. I conversate a lot in this blog. This does not mean that I dont try to win souls and minister. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, or anything; but I do want this crowd to see something.

Today, I commented on facebook, and I also commented on this blog. Also, I studied on a sermon. Drove nearly an hour to a hospital to witness to a man dying of cancer; shared the Gospel with him, his wife, and a nurse who was in the room working on him. Tonight, my wife and I went out to some people’s homes….we reached out to them…invited the children to VBS…witnessed to some of the parents….

So, while I understand the exhortations to “get off the computers and get out there and witness, or start a church, or whatever else may come to mind;” some of us really do try to do both. And, like Hariette said, I have learned much from blogs, have had my faith expanded, and have had a good time fellowshipping with friends. I really dont see it as a bad thing….

David

    Norm Miller

    Good words, volfan007
    I think folks who urge us to get off the ‘puters mean well, esp. as their encouragement directs us to evangelism. Noted, you have done that today. Nice job. Bro.
    I oft’ wonder at the end of all this bloggery, so what? So one crowd can say, ‘Yes, the SBC is now totally Reformed!’ or the other crowd, ‘Not!’, I still say, so what? What I am not saying, however, is that the discussion about the ‘large gray animal in the rectangular enclosure’ is futile. Indeed, no. At the end of it all, it had better mean that we end up doing more of what God commissioned us to do — making disciples thru evangelism. That’s why I have an ear and a heart for Max’s comments. Now, were we discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, then I’d be singing the chorus to Max’s verses. But, the discussions about the ‘immense, charcoal-colored, tusked mammal in the dwelling compartment’ is absolutely necessary at this time, and particularly as it pertains to Max’s concerns regarding the urgency of evangelism.
    Thx for your comments.

    With that, I am, tired
    Some of y’all need to get to bed, esp. Brad Reynolds. If there ever were a candidate for beauty sleep – he needs to be Rip van Winkle.

    boney noses,
    Norm

Randall Cofield

Norm,

You said:

Ah, but if the table is round, then there is the unstated acknowledgment of equality, of no sides extant, a centrality of purpose, a humility extending to all, and the universal understanding that all at the table have some truth to contribute that ultimately will raise the quality and amount of truth held by that body corporate. That ought to be the goal of those assembled, and not that one side wins over the other.

Brother, that sentiment is both noble and biblical.

This would seem to necessitate that SBC Today allow Calvinistic voices to contribute lead articles on this forum…and thus allow us the opportunity to contribute to the truth posited here.

I pray the new management will embrace the spirit of your statement…and return to a rounded table.

Grace to you, brother

    Brad Reynolds

    Randall
    In the spirit of forthrightness I certainly am not opposed to your suggestion but this is not my rodeo either. Nevertheless, for the record, it would not bother me one iota to have a guest commentary from a Calvinist from time to time. Truth should be our goal. But if the powers that be choose otherwise I support that, as Norm has a point – one need not look hard to find such blogs.

Norm Miller

Randall:
As has been noted on this blog many times, it is a privately owned blog. As such, the content herein is at the owner’s discretion. If you want to read calvinistic positions, there are scores of other such blogs in the b’shpere for you to read. Numerous folks have responded to your “issues” today w/regard to blog etiquette and expectations. Take heed, friend.
Also note that this table doesn’t need to “return to a rounded table” as detractors from the point of this site are allowed to comment here. I’m sure there are no more than 360 degrees to a rounded table.
I encourage you to come back to read my interview with a former calvinist who would, I believe, take exception to part of your statement above. He studied the system biblically, and found it wanting for truth in some areas. You and those of your ilk can come back when his interview is posted and have a field day. Again, a rounded table they will find.
Blessings,
Norm

    volfan007

    Randall,

    If you want to read the Calvinist position, all you have to do is go to SBC Voices, and you can see all the blog posts of the day. They are at the very top. Many Calvinists have blogs, and they write stuff everyday. The other side is clearly out there for whoever wants to go and read it. I’m glad that we have an alternative here. It was time for us to have an alternative, although we do have a few others now….more now than we did a few years ago. For some reason, the Traditionalist types in the SBC have just not gotten into blogging. The Calvinists seem to really love it.

    David

      Kyle Thomas

      David,

      Ironically, most of the blogs you would consider to be “Calvinist” are always talking about mission and discipleship and serving the local church. There’s very little there about Calvinism per se.

      Is it any wonder young guys flock to those bloggers rather than blogs that beat one drum endlessly?

        Norm Miller

        Just wondering, Kyle, how such blogs that are “always talking about mission and discipleship and serving the local church” came to be characterized as calvinistic blogs? Odd that such would happen if “[t]here’s very little there about Calvinism per se.”
        Note today’s post on deacons. I think that’s about mission and discipleship and serving the local church.

        volfan007

        Kyle,

        One of the reasons I first got into blogging in 2006 was because some of the “Calvinist” blogs were talking about drinking alcohol as being good and ok. That’s the only reason I even started blogging. It wasnt about Calvinism. It was about drinking alcohol, and they were bringing the subject up.

        Secondly, Kyle, it’s just nonsensical for you to come in here and act like the Calvinist blogs are only talking about Church planting, discipleship, etc. Yea, with a strong Calvinist slant….very strong….and even stronger in some of them. This is laughable.

        Also, the blogs I was first very involved in..along with Bart Barber, Wes Kenney, Robin Foster, Scott Gordon, Tim Rogers, Tim Guthrie, and many others…was to promote sound, Biblical, Baptist ecclesiology. We took a stand against some of the weak doctrine that was floating around, out there. And, we especially encouraged people to not just do anything in the name of pragmatism. We exhorted people to not throw sound doctrine to the wind, all in the name of “getting crowds.”

        My prayer is that the young people of the SBC will LOVE Jesus, and sound doctrine….that they will be truly missions minded with a heart for evangelism…. not just in some theoritical sense, or just when meeting in a conference with popular speakers while drinking Starbucks coffee…but, actually get out there and seek to win souls to Jesus. That’s my heart’s desire, Brother. And, I’d bet’cha 2 dozen, Krispy Kreme donuts that that’s the desire of all the men and women, who signed the Traditional Statement, and who run this blog, and who participate in this blog.

        Why would young people not want to believe sound doctrine? Why would young poeple not be concerned with sound doctrine? Why would young people not be concerned that we are holding to the clear teachings of the Scripture? Is that what you’re saying Kyle? Because, when I hear comments like what you’ve made, and what some others make, about young people not wanting to deal with tough issues, and deal with things that are not pleasant, and with issues that will take a tough hyde; then it concerns me. When I hear that young people are running away from the blogs that are talking about doctrine, or that they dont wanna go to the SBC meetings, because they dont like controversy, or it bores them, or waaa waaa waaa, then I’m glad that the young people, who were young like you all today, didnt have that mindset back in the days of the CR; or else the SBC would be going down the drain fast today. I’m glad that they had the guts and the grit to tackle the tough issues of that day in the SBC. And, God used those young people to do something wonderful and unreal….to turn a “denomination” from going down the liberal drain….to go back to believing the Bible, and truly preaching the Gospel of Jesus….

        Kyle, God bless you, Brother. Iron sharpens iron. May the Lord help us both to glorify Him today in all that we do and say.

        David

        I think we still have some young people, who care about good, sound doctrine. I think we have some young people, who still want the SBC to preach the Gospel, and to do it with soundness. I know some of them, Kyle. And, they arent just interested in running to the latest fad of theology. They arent caught up in the “popular” authors of books telling them to do this, and do that, and believe this, and go this way with your life. They are more interested in following what the Bible teaches, and pleasing God, and witnessing, and ministering.

          volfan007

          I’m really not sure how the ending of my comment jumped in front of the last paragraph of what I was writing…but…..

          lol

          David

          Kyle Thomas

          David,

          You read a lot more into my comment than what was there. And who said I was young? :)

          I was just making a statement – that many of the popular blogs that get labeled as “Calvinistic” are most often dealing with issues in ministry and theology that people from any stream could benefit from. That’s why their popular. On the other side, Brad Whitt’s blog is a good example of a “Traditionalist” guy who is writing good devotional stuff for his people and not beating the anti-Calvinist drumbeat all the time online.

          My point wasn’t to say that young guys don’t care about sound doctrine. I think they do. But they are more likely to find edification in blogs that are all about mission and discipleship than never-ending theological debate.

          Southern Baptists are going to have to learn to agree to disagree when it comes to Calvinism.

          My two cents.

          Have a blessed day, brother.

          volfan007

          Kyle,

          When someone calls you “young,” just accept it with a smile! :)

          Maybe I did read too much into what you said. I sometimes do that….when thinking of other comments that have been made in the past by other people…dealing with a similar subject.

          Brother, I hope I didnt make you mad with what I said. If I did, then I’ll buy you a cherry coke when I meet you, or coffee…whichever you prefer. Or, maybe we should let CB Scott buy it…he’s good about paying, from what I hear. :)

          David

        Brad Reynolds

        Kyle,
        That is a good point and one well-taken. But as Southern Baptists we have those resources (IMB, NAMB, etc). Personally, my heart is for missions, this blogging is about as enjoyable as shaving my head with a cheese-grader, when compared to sharing the gospel with the lost world.

        Nevertheless, there are times when we need to hammer out who we are as Southern Baptists (BFM2K) and there are other times when we need to hammer out how we can come to a better understanding of each other for the very goal of cooperating to reach the world (this is one of those times).

        This blog has become a focal-point for those discussions to help us understand each other and each others theology from emic perspectives. Granted it’s ownership is traditional baptist but I think all are welcome. This is perhaps its niche.

          volfan007

          Brad,

          And, it’s a good niche, too.

          David

Tom Parker

Kyle:

You said:”Southern Baptists are going to have to learn to agree to disagree when it comes to Calvinism. ”

Do you really think this is possible?

It used to be the problem of “liberals” and now it is the Calvinists.

    volfan007

    Tom,

    Liberals was a real problem.

    David

      Shane Dodson

      “Liberals was a real problem.”

      So is Semi-Pelagianism.

      – SD

        volfan007

        Shane,

        Yes, Semi Pelagianism is a real problem. Let’s hope that no one in the SBC is involved in that.

        David

          Shane Dodson

          “Semi Pelagianism is a real problem. Let’s hope that no one in the SBC is involved in that.”

          See the SBC’s “Traditional” statement…compare it to Canons 2 and 6 of the Council of Orange (which specifically addressed Semi-Pelagianism) and you will see there are plenty of people in the SBC who are “involved” in Semi-Pelagianism.

Norm Miller

Kyle/Tom:
We could learn to agree to disagree, or we could do as the former calvinist did that we will soon feature, hopefully later this week. He realized that opposing truth claims cannot both be true, and he left calvinism for reasons he will make abundantly clear. The interview he granted will hold ample amounts of discussion fodder. Regarding opposing truth claims, I suppose both could be incomplete to varying degrees and therefore deemed wrong, but that would not mean that all of the tenets of both are wrong. Perhaps a few are wrong, or misunderstood. That’s why a discussion is needed.

    Kyle Thomas

    Norm / Tom,

    If Baptists haven’t agreed on this subject for the past 400 years, we ought to have a strong dose of humility in realizing we’re probably not going to all convince each other on this either.

    Nitpicking each other to death over it though (on either side, the Calvinists have done their fair share of this too) will not move us forward and will keep our eyes off the Great Commission.

      Norm Miller

      Not denying the history, Kyle. Would to God that Calvin would’ve had a dose of humility in Geneva. History notwithstanding, shall we say that all is futile b/c these matters never have been solved? Will all walk away rather than deal with the philosophical proposition that opposing truth claims cannot both be true? One or both parties will choose to walk away in their error rather than to find common ground. Shall we not discuss these matters and break 400 years of division, or come to more, better, deeper truths that would enlighten all around the table?

        Kyle Thomas

        The conversations aren’t futile, but the discussion lately seems to have further polarized the debate and entrenched people on both sides. Not laying the fault for that on this blog or on either side.

        I think the BFM is the common ground we seek. We don’t need to demand that everyone interpret the Bible in exactly the same way on these difficult issues.

        I don’t fit the Traditionalist side completely or the Calvinist side completely. I’ll gladly converse with either side. But I won’t demand that everyone adopt my interpretation.

        Is the goal total uniformity in doctrine? Or is it unity in doctrine (broadly speaking) so we can have unity mission? If it’s 1, then I think it’s a futile cause. Baptists have never been uniform. If it’s 2, then I think we can move forward.

        Debbie Kaufman

        Fortunately however, we had humbleness in men like Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Fuller, William Carey the missionary.

Norm Miller

I, like you, am for point #2 if attainable. “Unity in essentials; diversity in non-essentials,” as Adrian Rogers said. The discussion is, or should be about what some believe to be essential.

    Max

    Then “essentials” of SBC belief and practice need to be adequately defined if we are to have unity, rather than union. Some would say that BFM2000 makes that case; others would say that the BFM2000 revision provides too much theological wiggle room which is contributing to the current debate on “essentials” vs. “non-essentials”. Agreement on God’s plan of salvation would seem to be essential to me.

Dave

There is agreement.

Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ.

Right?

    Max

    How precious did that Grace appear… the hour I first believed.

      Dave

      Um, that’s not scripture…it’s a hymn.

        Max

        You’re right Dave … those are lyrics from a great old hymn. Isn’t it amazing that Amazing Grace made the cut in Lifeway’s 2008 revision of the Baptist Hymnal?!

        I sure miss some of the old hymns that were in former editions. “O Zion, Haste”, with “he who made the nations is not willing one soul should perish” isn’t in the new hymnal. Songs that suggested that Christ’s death atoned for everyone and not just the elect – like “Whosoever Will” and “Whosoever Meaneth Me” have disappeared from the song index. “Oh What a Wonder It Is”, with its “all who would believe in Him, He’d save them every one” and “Holy Bible, Book of Love”, which proclaims that Christ “died for everyone” have vanished, as well. I suppose the revision committee applied appropriate theological criteria to song selection, but I miss them nonetheless. I guess it’s just an old traditionalist thing on my part.

Dave

Yea, amazing grace is a great song….in fact, tht may be partly due to the fact it was written by a good Calvinist bother. ;-)

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