Your Thoughts on San Antonio

UPDATE: Remember Doug Baker’s article that Baptist Press censored?  Well, Christianity Today has chosen to carry it for us.   Too bad we have to outsource our media too!

I said last week that I thought about doing this, so I am going to roll with it.  This is an open post to talk/discuss anything you want related to stuff going on in San Antonio.  There’s no particular order or theme, so long as it is related to the SBC.  Here are some examples of what I am talking about:


Any particular message you enjoyed/didn’t like from the Pastor’s Conference? 
Any particular resolution that you hope passes?  Any that you do want to see passed?
Who do you want to see get 1st VP – Jim Richards or David Rogers?  Why?
Surprise candidate to run against Frank Page this year?  From TX perhaps?
Debate during motions? 
What of Calvinism, private prayer languages (PPL), the Cooperative Program, alcohol, Acts 29/emerging church, sexual predators in the SBC, Baptist Faith & Message vs. Abstract of Principles, denominational pride, political correctness of the SBC, outsourcing the young people, and relationship of Southern Baptists with the rest of the evangelical world?
Has the Conservative Resurgence gone too far?  Not far enough?
Do you believe the SBC is narrowing parameters of cooperation and becoming too fundamentalistic? 


That’s some of the stuff I’ll be looking for in San Antonio.  What about you? 

Oh, let me link you to some of the resolutions in case you are not familiar with some that have already been made available on the Internet.  Tom Ascol’s regenerate church membership, Wade Burleson’s love for fellow Christians, Bart Barber’s role of BF&M, Ben Cole’s on gluttony, C.B. Scott on rescuing victimized children, Marty Duren on pastoral longevity and local church ministry, and Robin Foster on glossolalia and private prayer languages.  I also got word that Dr. Coppenger is going to debate Dr. Akin on Calvinism at 1:00 p.m. today, and Dr. Moore is going to debate Dwight McKissic today at 5:00 p.m. on private prayer languages.  For more information on that, go here.  Last, Drs. David Dockery and Timothy George are distributing 14,000 copies of their booklet entitled “Building Bridges” which is a compilation of their messages from this years’ Baptist Identity Conference to all the messengers in San Antonio.  I took notes from both these messages (for Dockery, go here; for George, go here).  I believe the brightest future of the SBC lies in the direction and leadership of these two men.

I have shared a lot of my personal thoughts in the comments section of these two posts (here and here).  Now it’s your turn.  Let me (and others) know what your thoughts are on the SBC, and in particular, this week in San Antonio. 

Oh, and to watch the live video feed, go here

Explore posts in the same categories: Responses, SBC

65 Comments on “Your Thoughts on San Antonio”

  1. Adam Winters Says:

    Open posting?!? Very shrewd way to get around your promise to take a sabbatical from SBC issues! 🙂 I’d love to see Dr. Dockery and Dr. George’s work on the Building Bridges. Dr. Akin and Dr. Coppenger both have a tendency to be outspoken and emphatic, but I think a Calvinism “debate”/dialogue would go well between them and could really be edifying for all Baptists. I really need to get around to attending an SBC convention in the future. Maybe Louisville in’09?

  2. Adam,

    Do you know if Coppenger was here when Akin was Dean, or was he at Midwestern at that time?

    Two years in a row debating Calvinism at the Convention. I guess that’s better than five years in a row bashing it at the Pastor’s Conference. 😉

    Oh, I never said I was taking an SBC sabbatical. I said I was tired of me personally talking about it. I want to hear from others, like yourself, on these issues.

    But then you turn it again on me. That’s not fair. 😦

  3. Kyle Barrett Says:

    If I remember correctly Dr. Akin left before Dr. Coppenger came on as full time faculty. Dr. Coppenger has taught J-terms at SBTS for several years though.

    I think their “debate” will be helpful because at least you have two men who are sympathetic to and knowledgeable of the issues. I don’t think either of them have a dog in the fight politically either so that should help tone down the rhetoric.

    I’m very interested in the Moore-McKissic discussion just because it touches on so many other current issues in the SBC (SWBTS, IMB policy, Baptist history, etc.). Should be a good one.

  4. Bill Lollar Says:

    Did anyone gag on Michael Whitten’s recommendation speech (it was alliterated, for heaven’s sake) for Michael Catt as President of the Pastor’s Conference? Unbelievable!!

    When are we going to say “Enough!” to this type of bragging from the platform?

    Oh, wait a minute…Hayes Wicker just explained it. The elected leaders’ churches have to fund the entire Pastor’s Conference out of their church’s resources: so it has to be a BIG church—one that is certainly worth bragging about—so the nominations must be a way of assuring everyone that expenses will be covered for one more year. In return, lavish kudos from a national platform!

  5. Kyle,

    I think the Moore-McKissic debate will be good too. I wonder, however, why Dr. Moore isn’t going up against Dr. Sam Storms who is there in San Antonio as a messenger. McKissic will do fine I think, but Storms has written on this extensively.

    Regarding Coppenger/Akin on Calvinism, one is a four-pointer, and the other is a five-pointer. Are they going to debate limited atonement? How Calvinism is received/rejected in the SBC both politically and ecclesiologically? You’re right. I think there are less political investments in these two men, so the rhetoric should hopefully be lessened.

  6. Kyle Barrett Says:


    I didn’t realize Storms was a member at an SBC church until just recently. I was surprised to find that out. I’m not sure why McKissic over Storms other than McKissic is the one who has been involved in so much of the discussion specific to PPL. I don’t think it’s because the organizers (Criswell?) wanted to tilt the playing field. People will listen to good arguments regardless of who gives them. Also, I don’t think Storms would present arguments McKissic couldn’t. From what I’ve heard of him McKissic is a very capable pastor-scholar minus the credentials.

    I’m curious what you (and others) think Timmy when it comes to the role of historic baptist identity in determining the acceptance or rejection of PPL? To my knowledge it’s not been a widely accepted practice ever in SBC life but it hasn’t been discussed much until the last 30 or 40 years.


  7. Kyle,

    I think the PPL issue is complex. For one, it is not confessionally addressed, and if we are going to define ourselves that way, then I think we need to avoid the ad-hoc approach of defining our identity.

    Also, I think what is important is how the question is framed.

    Can you have a PPL and be evangelical? Yes.
    Can you be Reformed and have a PPL? Yes.
    Can you have a PPL and be Southern Baptist? Many don’t think so.
    If you have a PPL, are you therefore no longer a Southern Baptist?
    See where I am going with this?

    I am probably more evangelical than those arguing against PPL. I not have one and personally hold a cessationist conviction. However, I am not going to be on the campaign to remove Southern Baptists that do.

  8. Kyle,

    I don’t know if you got the text message, but Brad sent a quote he heard from San Anton. I thought I’d post it here:

    “In our Convention, the gospel has become so watered down that non-elect can’t even reject it.”

    Now that’s a statement.

  9. Kyle (and anyone else),

    Did you listen to the McKissic/Moore debate? Wow, that was interesting.

    McKissic was impressive. I found his arguments strong and straightforward.

    I wish they would have addressed the issue of whether PPL is going to be a litmus test or line of demarcation for fellowship, cooperation, or mission work.

  10. Kyle Barrett Says:

    Hey Timmy…

    I got Brad’s text. I’ll second that. I’m about to listen to McKissic/Moore. I’ll get back to you in a couple of hours.


  11. Okay, I’m intrigued by the Calvinism debate. Dr. Akin is a 4 Pointer/Amyraldian and Coppenger is, I believe an Infralapsarian.

    So, what did they do, debate the order of decrees? LOL

    Or did Dr. Akin actually take the contrary view and accurately represent it, thereby showing that he, unlike those about whom he wrote awhile back, is actually capable of fairly and accurately representing a position contrary to his own general position, so much so that he can actually assume that contrary position in a debate? If so, I must applaud him for that example. It is one that many an anti-Calvinist could emulate.

  12. Tom Ascol wrote briefly about the Calvinism debate and spoke positively about it. I tried to find the audio in the archives of the Jerry Johnson show as well as Criswell’s website to no avail. If someone has the link or directions to listen to that audio, please let me know.

    BTW, Gene, did you see what Tom wrote about a major announcement tomorrow at Founder’s breakfast?

  13. Yeah, I noticed that. I wonder what that’ll be. I’m hoping it will be something about integrity in church membership…like the EC has decided to formally request each state convention to conduct workshops on proper church discipline in every association and closely work with every SBC church to purge their rolls of double (or triple) enrollees, chronic truants, etc.

  14. That would be awesome, and that is a very optimistic outlook. I hope it is along that vane rather than more bad news from FL.

    On another note, one of the things I didn’t mention as a problem in the SBC is pastoral plagiarism. Dr. Ray Van Neste and others have done a great service in addressing this issue, and I applaud their efforts. Just tonight, Dr. James Merritt advocated plagiarism in the pulpit for all pastors to take his sermon and notes and preach a father’s day address straight from his website. Ironically, in his message on holiness, he noted that the number one thing that people want to me known for today is being authentic. I guess that doesn’t count for pastors. Yikes.

  15. John Says:

    kudos to you and the others for keeping up the running comments. finances kept me from the convention this year, and kids keep me from the live streaming. so, thanks for keeping the rest of us up to date with info and commentary on the events of the sbc. all of it is much appreciated!

    i did get to hear part of the debate on ppl. honestly, i cannot help but think much of the concern from some in the sbc is from fear of the unknown. i myself do not have a ppl (as defined in the debate), but do not think it should be a matter of in or out for those int he sbc. after all, we are talking about a ‘private’ prayer language. if such activity is not even maing an impact in public services, why make it such a contraversy?

    i understand that ppl is one of several issues that affect the overall picture of one’s beliefs and ability to lead a church. but i personally think that this is less significant than the debate on reformed theology. and while i am reformed, i am comfortable working beside the majority, non-reformed folk in the sbc (though i wish they didn’t say such uninformed things about what i suppsed beleive and do because of my reformed reading of the Bible!). i guess, i am asking, is this issue of ppl really such a important question? so important that should determine who serves as a missionary in our convention? or am i missing something in all of this?

    God’s richest blessings,

  16. John,

    You asked some good questions – questions I think McKissic made. For example, since private prayer languages are private (“to God”), why is the public making it such a big deal? My guess is that they see it as a gateway to Charismatic excesses, so any semblance of Charismatic influence in the SBC (as the LifeWay report showed) must be dealt with. Others have argued that it is the next step of the Conservative Resurgence. Once the charismatics are removed from cooperation, next comes the Calvinists. I don’t know whether that is true or not, but for me it is not an essential matter of cooperation. I do think we need healthy dialogue, discussion, and debate over this issue, but I do not think it should lead to a dismissal or refusing to appointment missionaries because of it. But is what has come of it. I talked to a missionary today who told me that, when this new IMB policy came out, IMB missionaries who he never knew spoke out against it, having a private prayer language. Why did he never know.

    Because it was private.

    There is probably more to be said on this matter, but alas, time to go to work. 🙂 Let’s continue the discussion . . .

  17. Nathan Says:

    Are these debates archived somewhere?

  18. I admittedly haven’t paid too much attn. to the PPL issue, because I’m, for the most part, a cessationist on that. Overall, I’m a semicessationist, because I affirm healing. I think Hanserd Knollys is a good case study in that regard.

    The logic of the PPL objectors, as I understand it, is something like this:

    PPL is a prayer language that infers continuing revelation. (CR). CR = “leaky canon” revelation like Grudem believers. If the canon is open, then no Sola Scriptura.

    There are a few problems, as I see it.

    1. It is arguing from the lesser to the greater, but the PPL people are not arguing Grudem’s view of revelation.

    2. Cessationism itself does not cure the canon question for any Protestant. In theory, if we found a new letter by Paul, and if we could authenticale it, we’d have to concede the canon is not closed. Ergo, the PPL to open canon argument cashes out at the same place, only by a different mechanism.

    3. Ergo, the mechanism is important. Is the mechanism really the same for PPL and “leaky canon revelation?” Who among the PPL camp is putting them on the same par?

  19. Nathan,

    I checked and have not been able to find any archives from yesterday’s debates. FYI, I checked Criswell’s website, Jerry Johnson’s website as well as his blog (which is his archives), and the radio station which it is hosted. Nothing came up on any of those. My guess if/when they become available, Denny Burk will alert us to that since he is on Criswell’s faculty and has the inside scoop.


    I don’t know all the arguments on this issue as I have not studied it as I should. One of the things that made the heated was when McKissic kept going back to Scripture again and again, saying, “The Bible says . . .” while Dr. Moore and Dr. Johnson spoke more from church history and hermeneutical principles.

  20. Some required reading this morning:

    Bart Barber vs. David Rogers on Roger’s consent with the BF&M:

    Andrew Lindsay’s reflections on Johnny Hunt’s sermon:

    Said at Southern responding to Dr. James Merritt’s call to pastoral plagiarism:

    Wade Burleson’s assertion of the most important vote in ten years:

  21. Tony Kummer Says:

    Denny Burk said the MP3 of both debates would be posted at
    when they become available.

  22. Any word as to Ascol’s “major announcement”?

  23. Robbie Sagers Says:


    So if a Jehovah’s Witness says to you, “The Bible says, Jesus Christ is ‘the firstborn of all creation,'” do you end the debate? Did he win? Is he more biblical?


  24. Robbie Sagers Says:


    Here’s another one. If someone says to you, “1 John 2:2 speaks to an unlimited atonement. It’s right there in the text!”, that ends the debate for you, right?


  25. Will Jackson Says:

    I’m listening/watching the SBC while here at work. Right now, there is alot of discussion about the resolution from the X-Comm on the definition of the Cooperative Program. Maybe I missed something, but I’m not sure the reason’s for all of the discussion. Any help?

  26. Jim Patterson Says:


    The Dockery-George booklet is a project of Convention Press, the publisher (14,000 copies to be distributed). Thom Rainer and Morris Chapman wrote blurbs for it.

    Jim Patterson

  27. Quesiton 1:



    You’re welcome.

  28. Question 2:



    You’re welcome.

  29. The conference is @ Ridgecrest. That’s 2 hours from where I live. I expect I’ll be there. I’ll do my best to drag Dustin Segers with me. I’ll expect you, Andrew, and Nathan there too!

  30. Gene,

    I will do my best to be there. It should be great!

  31. I’m upset. That conference is after Thanksgiving. UPS doesn’t allow time off after Thanksgiving due to peak season. If it was on the weekend, I might be able to do it. 😦

  32. Stephen,

    Yeah. I forgot about that! Our baby’s due date is really close to that time as well. There is a great Reformed community in that part of the country, so it should be well-attended even if others from other parts of the country cannot attend. Next semester will be huge for the students of SEBTS as they are also having Mark Driscoll speaking on the emerging church movement.

    Kudos to Dr. Akin for the excellent work being done there at SEBTS.

  33. Wow.

    Did anyone listen Dr. Patterson on the SWBTS report?

    Going downstream includes “evangelical ecumenism?”
    Against bridge building (except for co-belligerency)
    For Anabaptist orgins (real surprise)

    If anyone is wondering that there is a divided SBC, it should be clear after this week.

  34. David Wilson Says:

    It was clear before, Timmy.

  35. Lucas Defalco Says:

    Bro. Timmy –

    You are are right about the reformational baptist community here! We have a church over in Winston-Salem (Twin Cities Baptist) that just installed Carey Hardy as pastor. Hardy comes from serving 13 years as John MacArthur’s exec pastor. There are many others.

    I watched Dr. Patterson’s presentation also, and my heart sank. This was the man who preached John 3 at my former pastor’s funeral when I lived in Jacksonville, FL (a very tender moment for many members and former members of FBC Jax). I grew up being spoon fed the preaching of Vines, Lindsay, Rogers, Patterson, etc. week after week and year after year. As much as I love them for their unflinching stand for innerrancy, it hurts me to see them wield the same sword at everything else that is not “like them”. That’s all I can say about it. It just hurts.

  36. Lucas Defalco Says:

    Ok….I just have to ask this question.

    Is anyone other than me growing tired of seeing “praise teams” that look like boxes of highlighters?


  37. Lucas,

    Where for art thou, Brother? I’m in Winston, but am a member of Shepherd’s Fellowship in Gso.

    Les Puryear is pastoring FBC Lewisville, not far from my house. Karl Minor @ Beck’s Baptist is Reformed too. Rosemont is a 1689 church, and then there’s Twin City. There are a couple of others, and, I believe Freeom Baptist has a Calvinist pastor (as I’ve heard him preach the doctrines of grace accurately and passionately), but they are also KJVO. Then there’s the Presby churches. Who else is in WSalem about whom I don’t know?

    “Conservative ecumenism” = Anybody not like us. That’s a nonstandard definition, of course, but why would Patterson actually use jargon correctly? Nobody is advocating comporting with Rome…well, except it seems when it is convenient to the sociopolitical agendas of some in the Convention.

    Honestly, I’m not too sure about the BFM motion. Who gets to interpret the BFM 2K? I think Mohler’s comment about trustees determining 2nd tier issues may reflect a concern on his part that his trustees are, I think, using the Abstract to determine those issues. If, however, the majority of the SBC is synergistic, for example, then what will become of the Abstract at SBTS and SEBTS, which differ? I would move to amend the motion to include the Abstract.

    Anabaptist origins, eh? What did I tell you, Timmy? I think we need to push for a debate on Baptist origins btw Drs. Nettles and Emir Caner at the Conference in November. There is a move to revive the Anabaptist theory. Anabaptistery was synergistic and anti-Reformed. Sound familiar?

  38. David,

    You are probably correct. But the alliances are being ever clearer to me at least.

    In one camp there is the hard-core separatist/fundamentalist camp spearheaded by Patterson/Yarnell with an Anabaptist touch.

    In another camp, you have the Baptist consensus camp with a “conservative ecumenism” led by Dockery/George/Rainer/Akin. I would be in this camp.

    In another camp, you have the anti-establishment camp led by Burleson/Cole/Duren.

    Those are the big three in my mind. There are other smaller ones which I are out there like the landmarkists and moderates/liberals. Notice I did not divide the camps between Calvinists and Arminians. Rather, the division is coming through leadership, core principles, and the direction going in the future.

  39. Bro. Lucas,

    If I hear another “He is one of us” . . .

    I feel like I am picking sides on a middle-school basketball court. “Hey, he’s on my team.”

    Who is “us?” What is the buddy-buddy system telling us about the cronyism rampant in the SBC?

    One of us.

    Gimme a break.

  40. Gene,

    I think Marty was right that Paige used his platform to get the crowd rawled up for the 1st VP vote. If you look at his presentation, did he say anything specifically about the state of SWBTS? It was fitting rhetoric for Southern Baptist politician. I find it humorous that the same person who is saying that the younger Southern Baptists don’t know enough about Baptist history “to crawl out of a thimble” is arguing that we have Anabaptist origins!

  41. Tiimmy, you should see if there’s anything on Youtube from Invasion of the Body Snatchers and post it. “Not one of us” hearkens back to that. What is the SBC leadership supposed to be, Pod People?

    I’d add that the anti-establishment coalition is cozy with the conservative ecumenism group you noted. In fact, there are those reporting that was a swipe not at Akin, et.all, but Burleson,

    I’d add a fourth, the vast SBC middle who is fed up. The EC is the new peace committee. If it wasn’t for the EC, the SBC would be in a state of interagency war.

    I wish somebody had asked Patterson if Yarnell was going to be disciplined for speaking against Lifeway, since apparently speaking against a sister agency is verboten…at least for some folks at SWBTS but not others (or so it seems)…

  42. John Says:

    i’m sad to see such divisiveness come from a man like patterson. he used to come about once a year and preach at the college i attended and i loved him! looking back, i now disagree on a few things he said, but he always seemed to preach the Bible, which was encouraging to me as a budding preacher.

    but, i think the mindset he shows is the same of many who fought the fight to keep the sbc from going american baptist – they have never disengaged from fight-mode. they keep looking for someone WITHIN the sbc to get fired up against when really there is no need. i also think they might begrudge that the younger generation doesn’t want to do things they way they want them done. any thoughts?

    also, patterson always pulls out that anabaptist talk. in every interview or book that he has been a part of on baptist polity, he brings it up. one of the best books on the origin of baptists in general is by james mcgoldrick, called, “baptist successionism.” he has a great chapter called “baptists are NOT anabaptists.” amazon carries it, and if you wonder about these things, you should get a copy.

    in the interest of spurring further discussion and sharing a concern among like-minded brothers, does anyone ever tire of the sbc politics to the point of leaving? i pastor a small ‘frontier’ sbc church in michigan and find such things (on the national and state levels) to be a real hindrance to the work of ministry. i keep telling myself to stay because of the great missions work and the ability to work for change on the inside. i take encouragement from places like 9 marks and the founders, but sometimes i just get tired of nonsense. anyone ever feel this way? what do you tell yourself to stay sb?

  43. Lucas Defalco Says:

    Bro. Gene –

    I am in Greensboro. I attend Green Street Baptist in High Point. We Just called Dr. Darryl Kraft from Chattanooga, TN as pastor and we are overjoyed and very excited. He’s not a Calvinist, but I think he understands Calvinists enough to know we aren’t all trying to split churches and kill evangelism.

    There’s a good pocket of us at GSBC and by my last count we all voted FOR Dr. Kraft (in case anyone from GSBC is reading this blog).

    I am always looking for opportunities to network with some of the reformational baptists in the area. I’d love to get together sometime if you or anyone else reading this blog in the Piedmont Triad area of NC would. I can be reached at lucas *at* kingofbleh *dot* com.

  44. Lucas Defalco Says:

    Bro. Timmy –

    Yeah I felt the same twinge in my neck during Dr. Brunson’s nominating speech. However in hindsight I got the distinct impression that he point our that Jim was not a denominational bureaucrat. Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention, I dunno.

  45. Will Jackson Says:

    Timmy, you mention the 3 different “camps” that exist w/in the SBC. Not understanding too much about the major differences between the 2, what if any is the harm in these 3 co-existing? Or do/can they co-exist in the SBC? Just trying to gain an understanding of what I have been reading about.

    Second thought, how amazing is it that SBC churches have stepped up and exceeded the goal set with $150 million plus!!! Having served as a Jman this is some of the best news that I’ve seen today. From what I can remember, this has been the goal for at least the past 3 years, and this is the first time it has been met. I praise the Lord for laying missions on the hearts of the SBC to see the gospel spread to the people of the world.

    While the testimonies from the missionaries and the national believers shows the work of God, I’m not so sure about that ‘theme’ song. I just wonder when the IMB will realize that slow, tug at the heart music is not the best method to recruit men to the mission field?

  46. Goodness! Lucas I’m at Shepherd’s Fellowship (! We need to get together. Also, we have a dear brother in High Point who is having a rough time. His name is Robert Scott. He’s @ Brentwood Baptist over there. He really needs some encouragement. I gather the church is an older church as it is. I know they had no confession of faith until he came along and taught them the NHC. That said, Dustin tells me that Robert has a small cadre of people that “get it” and the rest are nominal. HP is a hard area, you know. It’s Arminian heaven, I mean, literally! It’s the home of the Wesleyans and Methodists in the Piedmont! I think he may want to start a new work. I’m going to suggest he get with NAMB to do just that. Dana, his wife, is from Winston, so maybe I can persuade him to start a Reformed SBC church in Kville, since it has easy access to all 3 cities here. He is wanting to start a Founders fellowship in the area. Some of us met with him and a dear brother from Stanly County last year about this time, but we’ve not met since. We really do need to do better fellowshipping and encouraging each other.

    My email is .

  47. Lucas Defalco Says:


    Check ur email.

  48. John,

    I addressed the whole leaving question in my previous post entitled “The Outsourcing of the SBC.” But let me copy and paste a portion of my comments that might speak a little to this matter. I hope it informs you a little on my perspective on things. I stated,

    “I was brought up all my life in the SBC. I was saved and baptized in an SBC church. I was licensed and ordained in an SBC church. I went to an SBC college and now attending an SBC seminary. Some of the greatest men I have read about are founders of the SBC, including J.P. Boyce, John Broadus, and Basil Manly Jr., and I long to continue their legacy. I have dozens of friends and roomates serving overseas and stateside who are supported through the Cooperative Program and local SBC churches. I have also in recent years become hopeful in seeing the work of Mark Dever and IX Ministries as well as Founders Ministries which are committed to church reform and building healthy churches. Finally, my grandfather who name I bear and who greatly influenced my life, was a graduate of SBTS (1943) and served SBC churches for over 65 years.

    So if you are wondering why I am still in the SBC, those are some of the biggest reasons (outside of those mentioned already in my post, such as the leadership of Drs. David Dockery and Timothy George). So if I leave, that is what I am leaving behind – something I am not ready to do.

    HOWEVER, that is not to say that there is a really possibility the SBC is leaving me, leaving the heritage of its founders, leaving the work my grandfather labored for, leaving the commitment for church reform, leaving the unity forged through our Baptist confessionalism, leaving the missiological thrust for which it was created. There is a strange thing going on today in the SBC. While Conservatives would agree that they would leave the SBC if it became liberal, didn’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture or the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, BUT no one is saying that they would leave because the SBC became too conservative, by that I mean too fundamentalistic. Isn’t that odd? Is it not possible to err on being too fundamental as much as it is being liberal? I fear that some don’t think that is a possibility.

    YET, that is exactly what is happening today. Secondary and tertiary matters are elevated to primary matters, now becoming a litmus test of being conservative and a dividing line of orthodoxy, cooperation, and baptist identity. We have undermined our confessional hisotrical documents which have been used to unite us around our Baptist identity and provide a consensus for cooperation.

    So the question for me is, then, when or if any leading Southern Baptist conservative leader will recognize that the reason why people are leaving is NOT because we are becoming too liberal, but that we are becoming too fundamentalistic.

    Anyway, I say all this to point out the intricacies of such a weighty decision about one’s involvement in the SBC. For me, it is intensely personal, historically invested, and ministerially consequential. I am not looking for an easy way out, but I am looking for “a reason for the hope within” – the SBC.”

    Now, let me tell you where I find that hope. I find that hope in the pastors I have met in the shadowlands of obscurity. I find that hope in the leadership of men like Drs. Dockery, George, and Akin. I find that hope in the conversations with my fellow seminarians who are passionate about the gospel and the local church. I find that hope in the missionaries like the one who my wife and I are hosting while he takes his summer classes and is preparing to go back to Southeast Asia with the IMB. I find that hope in the ministries like IX Marks and Founders under the leadership of Mark Dever and Tom Ascol. Finally, I find that hope in the people who I have met through my blog.

    I don’t find that hope in the annual meeting of the SBC. I don’t find that hope in SBC politicians or bureaucrats with divisive agendas. I don’t find that hope in the next resolution or motion passed this week.

    So I guess it depends on what you choose to look at and focus on. I hope we can focus on the hope that is within the SBC and come together on that. Be encouraged, friend, and let’s continue to labor together for the gospel and for the strengthening of our churches that they may be lighthouses for the world around us.

  49. Will,

    First with the CP. Some have said that 2006 was the year of the Cooperative Program. If Greensboro made a statement, it was saying that Southern Baptists do missions better together than apart. It was a HUGE emphasis. In recent years, we have seen larger churches in the SBC develop their own missions programs, go on their own mission trips, and basically give a nominal amount to the CP. When the issue came out with Ronnie Floyd’s church and their CP giving, it was the death knell of the “kingmaker” nominee. Southern Baptist messengers spoke loud and clear. If you are going to represent us, then you are going to represent the Cooperative Program. That statement, I believe, became a catalyst and a wake-up call for churches to give more attention and money to the CP, and I think the report was evidence of that. Praise God for His providence!

    Regarding the three camps, what we are seeing is the further fracturing of the Conservative Resurgence. I honestly don’t know if the different constituencies can co-exist in the SBC. I see the division at least in part to be geographically, theologically, and academically. For instance, SBTS and SEBTS are closely related and radically different than SWBTS and relatively different than NOBTS, both geographically and theologically. The north and east are theologically more Reformed while the south and west have a more Arminian bent.

    Another issue is the matter of exclusivity and separatism. SWBTS is called for it, while SBTS and SEBTS are not. SBTS and SEBTS also have the Abstract of Principles as their confession (the others do not). Unfortunately, exclusivity can lead to triumphalism and equating the SBC with God’s last best hope for reaching the world.

    I would add that all three camps were at the Baptist Identity conference at UU this past February. It was interesting to see who sat at what tables and who talked to who. The question of Baptist identity will be huge in the days to come. Some will want to build bridges. Others will not. Some simply don’t care and want to stay out of it. My guess is that the “vast middle” who are fed up (that Gene mentioned) are growing by the day.

    I think I’ve got one more article left in my that has been brewing in my mind recently that touches on your thoughts a little more. I will see if I can get it posted soon.

  50. Some required reading this morning:

    Dr. Morris Chapman’s hotly debated message about BF&M:

    Andrew Lindsay on Voddie Baucham’s message at the Founders Breakfast:

    Scott Slayton on Tuesday at San Antonio:

    Marty Duren on the Future of SBC Communications:

    Art Rogers’ Analysis on the BFM Motion:

    Tony Kummer on Boyce’s 3 Tests for Doctrinal Unity

    Louisville-Courier Journal’s report on San Aton:

    Bonus: If you are really feeling historical and want some 19th century perspective, check out C. D. Mallary on Denominational Idolatry:

    . . . and a little 21st century reflection by Nathan Finn:

  51. Hutch Says:

    SWBTS has a lot of Reformed faculty members now – a lot more than it did 10 years ago. But Paige Patterson, Emir Caner, and Malcolm Yarnell usually speak for the school and give the school its image and reputation.

  52. Ron Kinzel Says:

    The outcome of the resolutions committee is absolutely disappointing. We shouldn’t EVEN CONSIDER resolving to have integrity in our denominational statistics and in our local churches. Destroying church autonomy? Telling the truth just gets in the way of our local autonomy. I am listening to the worship right now as I write this and the words seem so empty. They’re singing that God is God alone, unchangeable, unstoppable. Appearently he does change; that bearing a false witness to the world of our membership just doesn’t matter.

  53. Ron Kinzel Says:

    Dr. Mohler’s address got more applause breaks than a State of the Union address.
    Would that we applauded humility and honesty in our churches, heck, in my own life. We all need to pray for our convention. For all that is right and for all the things we are doing to honor God, we need to attend to those things that need to conform to scripture that yet aren’t. May he still use us and not cast us off as we are conforming to the image of Christ.

  54. Will Jackson Says:

    Timmy, thanks for your further explanation. Do you think that this “camp division” is just the next progression of the SBC? First we settle for conservative, and now once that is completed we start to look further into defining the SBC narrower? I haven’t had Baptist History yet, but how was the original SBC? Were they united over primary doctrines and then differing on “secondary and tertiary” issues such as the general consensus is that we are today?

    I can see how many of the issues are related geographically, etc. But isn’t that what makes the SBC the SBC? A common uniting for the gospel, missions, etc? Or is it the “etc” that everyone says makes us SBC versus other Baptist groups or Sovereign Grace or some other denomination that I can’t think of?

    On a side note, I appreciate Dr. Mohler’s speech this morning. I love our president! It also seems that the next year is going to consist of determining whether or not the BFM motion makes the BFM the minimal document or the maximum document. Not really sure this motion made things all that much clearer.

  55. Lucas Defalco Says:

    Rob Zinn is tearin’ it up!!!

    “If you think our problem is Calvinism, oh please! Lifeway says 10% of our churches are Calvinist, but 89% are plateaued or declining. What’s wrong with the other 79%? And if you have your theology right, you would know that some of the greatest missionaries in history were Calvinists.”

  56. Hutch,

    That’s true. I guess it’s what SWBTS wants to be known for. The Calvinists at SWBTS are not a storefront display if you know what I am saying.

  57. Regarding the rejection of the regenerate church membership resolution:

    I did not get to see what went down this morning regarding Tom’s resolution, but as I understand it, the committee did not allow it to be voted on because it “infringed upon the autonomy of the local church.” The only way I understand it is to say that autonomous churches have the right to be un-Baptistic, yea have the right to be unbiblical. We must respect the churches who do not respect the integrity of church membership. And when this is the message being sent from those leading our denomination, don’t wonder why our Baptist Identity in the world is shaped by our dogged convictions about alcohol and lethargy about God’s Church. Don’t wonder why our world is not being reached with the gospel. Don’t wonder why churches are being split by unregenerate church members who are allowed to have their way.

    Everyone I have listened to in the past year recognizes that regenerate church membership is THE biggest issue right now in our Convention. At the Baptist ID conference, EVERY speak addressed it and called for its recovery, including Rainer, Patterson, and Dockery. Yet, with all the heavy hitters in agreement on this, we can’t even get a vote on the floor for it. Last year it was disappointing. This year it is an indictment.

    My friend, notice what resolutions that get passed. Pay attention to what the committees allow to “infringe upon the autonomy of local churches” (such as their right not to hold to abstentionism). Here’s Tom’s post this morning which share his thoughts on the rejection of his resolution:

    And, for good measure, let me also include Mark Dever’s “Southern Baptist Mistake.”

  58. Will,

    Some have argued that the next step in the Conservative Resurgence was to deal with the charismatics in the SBC, then the Calvinists. Last year’s Convention in Greensboro had a lot of attention paid to Calvinists. This year it is the Calvinists. Paige Patterson is calling for another cleaning house of sorts as he explained in an interview this week (calling them “liberals”).

    From the beginning, Southern Baptists have been embroiled in controversy. I think the battle is what will win out in the SBC – cooperation or controversy? Some are focusing their energy on cooperation and others are trying to stir up more controversy. I think that is what Morris Chapman was talking about yesterday. Basically, he was telling them to stop dividing and causing needless controversy because it is affecting our ability to work together for the gospel. And that is what I was speaking to in my earlier post (“The Outsourcing of the SBC”) regarding the hard work of calling out men who are busy burning bridges while others are building them. If there is more ash and smoke than brick and morter, you will know what has won the day.

    The “etc.” stuff can either be our bragging point of distinction or our contribution to the broader evangelical world. Some had made that to mean that we cannot cooperate with other conservatives in the evangelical world (a la Patterson and Yarnell), but others are saying that it is what makes our involvement important and necessary in the evangelical world (a la Mohler and Dever). We must know who we are (identity and distinctives), but we also must know how we present ourselves to the Christian community around us.

    I missed Dr. Mohler’s address. I look forward to hearing it. Right now, it is not archived so I can’t watch it. So all I know is what others are telling me.

  59. Checking my Google reader, I found some really exciting news today, and I want to point you to it. Friends Steve McCoy and Joe Thorn have decided to live-blog today. They are giving us the scoop from all the events not happening in San Antonio. I find this really important, so I wanted to give you the links to their blogs to check into the world outside S.A.:

    For Steve:

    For Joe:

  60. Sean Post Says:


    I’ve never commented on a blog site but I have read yours and others for quite some time and find them beneficial to the body of Christ. Thank you for your work and dedication to bring forth information that many would not have been exposed to apart from this blog site. In that vein, I have seen at least two comments in this thread stating that Patterson has called Calvinists “liberals.” Could you let me know where I can find this interview? Thanks for the help!

  61. Sean,

    I’ve read a bunch of stuff lately, so I cannot remember exactly where I saw it, but from what I can remember, the interview was done by Jerry Johnson, president of Criswell, who also held the other two debates. I don’t know if he mentioned specifically Calvinists being liberals, but the whole idea of kicking liberalism out of the Convention has been spoken of by Patterson has been commented by more than just a few people.

    Thanks for reading my blog, and I do hope you find it helpful to you. Thanks for commenting.

  62. One more link since I have been tossing the linkage around:

    Advocating Pastoral Plagiarism:

  63. There’s a lot here to address, so I’ll just do points.

    1. Regarding Dr. Patterson calling Calvinists “liberals,” what was actually said is that the enemy the SBC faces include liberals. He also talked about 3 evils from which to steer clear as one proceeds downstream: liberalism on the left, neoorthodoxy in the center, and conservative ecumenism” on the right. Personally, if that’s the course, either (a) the stream is an obstacle course or (b) he thinks we need to pick up the boat and carry it on land!

    2. Regarding the early SBC and diversity. The early SBC was composed from messengers who hailed from churches holding the Philadelphia Confession. You can find plenty of associational minutes where associations would lament declension from the confession (or a suitable abstract thereof) in their churches, even calling for repentance and discipline of the church.

    I might point out that most people do not know, regarding local church autonomy, that the Sandu Creek Association was known for strict discipline. Stearns was somewhat of an autocrat, and the Regular Associations that united with the SCA did so on the condition that the SCA give up its autocratic control of the churches. That can be found in Paschal, Volume 1, I believe, in case anybody disputes that.

    The early SBC was forged in the 19th century, when many of the problems and declensions of the day had not yet come into the churches. The first was the Campbellites. Campbell obtained an exemption from the confessional standards of his association and then used that to preach his heresy. The result was a wide movement that destroyed many of our churches. FBC Nashville was cast out of their own facility and had to find another, for the majority went to the Campbellites. I would point out here that this should illustrate two truths that pull in opposite directions:

    1. Exemption from confessional standards leads to declension and license.
    2. Confessional standards do not guarantee orthodoxy in any local church. The confession is no good if (a) the people are not taught it (b) they do not believe it (c) they can be persuaded from it so easily and (d) the eldership does not exercise discipline for declension at either the associational or local level.

    So there is a tension in Baptist confessionalism.

    There was no uniform confession for the seminaries. SBTS used the Abstract. SWBTS chose the New Hampshire (which is why SWBTS uses the BFM in its latest form…it is an iteration of the NHC).
    There was no uniform confession for the churches, though there was general agreement between them on the Philadelphia/Charleston, (see above).

    There wsa tolerance for some declensions from these confessions and abstracts. For example, the Sandy Creek did not approve of Arminianism or Amyraldianism openly, but they would allow for some variance when it was useful. They would urge those persons to amend their views, however. In the 19th century, Graves, in the 1880’s was openly contradicting the doctrines of grace, yet he was not, to my knowledge reprimanded, although he was by then out of favor anyway. So, when it suited the Convention, they allowed leeway but within certain bounds, but on a case by case basis.

    3. Regarding the failure of Tom’s Resolution.

    I suggest the following:

    a. All Baptist bloggers supporting this measure should spend the next year discussing this subject on the blogs. This is not a Calvinist-Arminian issue, and there is widespread agreement between us regarding this. We have been adversaries in some ways, but we have a real opportunity here to unite over this. We should take advantage of it. This will effectively keep it in the public eye too, and it will demonstrate unity around a common goal, which is something greatly needed.

    b. We should write our state papers lamenting the failure of this resolution for a second year in a row.

    c. We should petition Dr. Ascol and Dr. Akin to include a speaker/worshop on regenerate church membership / integrity in membership at Ridgecrest. This originated in the Calvinist camp (yours truly is the one who actually first suggested the resolution and Tom ran with it) so it is logical to begin doing this at Ridgecrest. The goal here is to start a grass roots campaign.

    d. Apropos c, we should also collate as much written information, blog articles, seminar notes, presentations, online articles, etc. and make an info packet for distribution @ Ridgecrest. I have already volunteered to man the table or booth to hawk the material there. It would help if a non-Calvinist would help in that regard, again, showing unity at the conference. I would gladly form a posse to go room to room to sit and talk with each person about this material if necessary. If somebody would fly me to Glorietta and put me up for another conference, I’d do it there too. I feel that strongly about this. By the way, the reason I feel so strongly, isn’t because of any proprietary interest in the resolution; rather it is because I believe that a regenerate church membership is THE key Baptist distinctive from which all others come. Without this, we are doomed as a denomination, Calvinist and nonCalvinist, moderate and conservative alike.

    e. That same material should be put into .pdf format and posted on the internet for anybody to download and read and distribute. Packets should also be sent to the appropriate state agencies if possible with a letter urging them to get with the DOM’s on this to get it to the churches to educate their people, esp. next year’s messengers. They could have a speaker like Brother Voddie do the state evangelism/pastor conference circuit and preach on this too. If he came to NC in Feb., where this is usually held at my home church in Winston-Salem or a sister chruch in Charlotte, I would distribute material there too!

    The ultimate goal is NOT to just pass the resolution in Indianapolis. The goal is to get the churches to act on it! The letter should be signed by many persons from many parties, including, uut not limited to: Dr. Ascol, Dr. Akin, Dr. Yarnell, and whomever else of note from as many of the diverse “parties” as possible.

    f. Somebody should also do the legwork and get ACP stats from “flagship” churches from each state. We’re told these are our examples to follow, and often the Pastor’s Conferences/Bailey Smith Conferences/State Evangelism Conferences crowd pat each other on the backs for jobs well done that aren’t well done. I think we need to name the churches and show their ACP stats. Dare I say, the disparities will be shameful, but if that’s what it takes to jolt people to attention sobeit. This isn’t to attack those churches, rather it’s to point out that this is not an imaginary problem, and it is systemic.

  64. Gene,

    Thanks for the insight on Baptist history. Your commentary and analysis is correct in my understanding. I was under the impression that Boyce stressed the need for writing the Abstract because during that time more and more individual declensions were taking place, and he want to ensure the doctrinal integrity of the Philadelphia Confession. I also wonder what role W.B. Johnson played in his anti-credal statement.

    The debate will turn on whether the BF&M is understood either as a minimalist document or maximalist document. Also, I think the Chapman vs. Mohler part has to do with whether the final arbiter of theological or confessional decision lies in the hands of the Convention messengers or the trustees of that respective entity. Those two points I see to be central to the debtae over the motion.

    I really like your ideas about getting the word about regenerate church membership. We need to find some way to translate the truths into more than mere statistics and help Southern Baptists see the crucial aspect of integrity in church membership. I really hope we can unite under this Baptist distinctive.

  65. I just thought I should mention that the audio from the Calvinism and tongues debate is now available.

    Go to to download the MP3’s.

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