Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Baptist Blogging Conflagration

Let's face it folks, we have reached a new Baptist blogging low in the last week. First, Wade posted information (without any sources or proof) which reflects badly on Dr. Patterson (are you shocked? I am!)

Then, thing really heated up. Liar! Wild-Eyed Liberal! Fundamentalist! The name-calling got pretty intense.

But that was just the start. First, Wade was accused of altering his comments (which he did, by his own admission). Originally, his post referrred to conversations that had taken place "yesterday" (Monday), and that word was removed. He also, as I understand it, changed the word "said" to "implied" when speaking of Dr. Patterson's comments.

Thats when something really hit the fan. SBC Today is accused of altering time stamps on its comments to deceive the blog world. I, to be honest, don't really understand the thing much. An anonymous blogger named John 3:16 asked them to shut off comments. Wes Kenney agreed less than a minute later. Then, the time stamps of these comments were evidently changed to reflect a 10 hour or so time differential.

Wade has responded and explained his editing, which has satisfied his supporters, but not his critics (again, duh!). To my knowledge, SBC Today has not made any attempt to explain their altered time stamps. That may be forthcoming.

I have ever seen the kind of name calling that is taking place now. One blogger has taken to calling Wade, "Slick." Nice, huh? On Wade's site, commenters are engaging in a barrage of comment questioning the integrity of SBC Today.

Here's my take. Folks, we can do better!

We can disagree without name-calling or character assassination.

We can operate in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, kindness, patience, self-control) and still speak the plain truth.

We can "love our enemies" and "bless those who persecute us."

(On a wholly inappropriate note, if I see one more person end a comment filled with bitter criticism of another with a smug and condescending "brother, I'm praying for you" I might throw up.)

Instead of smug condescension, we can honor one another and demonstrate grace as we pursue truth.

I am not sure I am going to glad of all my words when we stand before God and every idle word we speak is judged by the Savior.

I keep looking for a hero in this. It seems we have all accepted the motto, "If your brother disagrees with you about SBC issues, consign him to perdition."

Brothers (and sistern) WE CAN DO BETTER!!!!


Tom Parker said...

I wonder if it is possible to call a truce and get the main people together and work all of this out?

Dr. Michael Kear said...

I really appreciated Wade's comment which he posted on his blog:


I have called Wes Kenney at his church, home and cell phone and left messages with my private cell number. He has not returned my calls. I have done the same with Scott Gordon. He has not returned my calls. We are still blocked from accessing SBC Today. I have done my part in trying to resolve the issue discussed in this blog stream and feel I can do no more.

So, I have come to a decision.

I am going to forget about it. I would also ask you to forget about it. I am not going to post about it, nor will I discuss it any further. I am thankful for those of you who have taken the time to research and write about this issue.

The Bible says "love covers a multitude of offenses" and though I felt offended when I found out what had been done, I thought about it and have decided I love Scott Gordon and Wes Kenney. I also love David Volfann (I've met him once), Peter Lumpkins (likewise, met him once) and Bart Barber (I've sat on the platform at a conference with him), Tim Guthrie and others who feel I am a danger to the SBC. It is best if I simply continue pastoring my church, writing what I believe needs to be said to help our Convention maintain a spirit of complete cooperation, and not take any personal offenses at any one, or all, of these men.

A person I have grown to respect over these past three years is Bob Cleveland. While I was at the charity auction today I received and email from Bob on my blackberry. He wrote:

"Perhaps in the Grand Scheme of things, God is, in effect, sending Pharoah's army after you, and you're at the Red Sea. God's promise "I will fight for you while you keep silent" rings louder than ever."

Wise words, Bob.

I shall simply be silent, and I do have a spirit of forgiveness - genuinely.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Anonymous said...


I think the only person in blog land that can take both parties to task and come up with some sort of resolution is CB Scott. CB in the past has shown a fierce independent streak and it looked like he tried to get to the bottom of the issue on SBC today, but for the most part he has been strangely silent (I think he may have gotten the email from the BI boys) I would hope that he would be as in your face critical of them as he has been of Wade when he disagrees with Wade, as I think only someone like him can have an effect.

You have been valiant in your efforts.

Our friend volfie has an excellent post up today - however he is also capable of seeing only one side, and would not say anything against his BI boys if his life depended on it.

I read both groups, on the BI side I read the SBC today boys, Bart Barber, Peter and volfie on a reguar basis. On the non BI side I read Wade, Les, SBC impact and you when you actually put one up - and of course my favorite SBC Outhouse, but he posts very rarely these days.

I have several areas of disagreement with the BI boys, but my biggest problem with them is the strong feeling of haughtiness from them.

I treat blogs the way I treat any news source - I like to read all sides of an issue. I will admit that I generally come down on the Wade side - you typically are more of a centrist Bart Barber type, however Bart has disappointed me with what I think are some anger issues.

This latest conflaguration would have been pretty good theater if it were not so sad.

All that to say, keep up the good work

Jim Champion

Dave Miller said...


I do not hold much hope for a mediated truce or a "sit-down" (I love the Sopranos on A&E).

Look at the exchanged between Bart and Wade on Bart's site. The sarcasm was thick.

I think both sides have so totally condemned the other side that sitting down to talk would be compromise with the devil

Both sides now seem content on staking out the moral high ground. Hard to do in this morass.

Jim is right, below. CB might be able to get through to both sides. But I'm not sure even that will work.

It is about as ugly as I have seen it.

Bart Barber said...


What would a truce look like? The cessation of labeling and general hostilities, I suppose. And if that's what you mean, here's hope. Although Wade will profess his undying love for us all and promise to lift up our names in prayer daily, the labels and vitriol will remain in his blogging, which will alter not one whit.

But, truce is possible unilaterally. It is within the power of just one of us to quit, whether the other does or not. And I'm willing to do precisely that. I know at this point it is the right thing to do.

Dave Miller said...

I think that in reconciliation there are probably two stages. First comes the cessation of hostilities. That can occure unilaterally.

Rebuilding relationship, the second phase, takes time, and is more dependent on the other's response. It is much more difficult.

It all starts with the kind of commitment you mentioned above.

Anonymous said...


Now that things have calmed down a bit I have a bit more back bench analysis

Wade sees himself as a reformer, the only reform the BI boys are open to is reform that moves their initiatives further right. Wade, I think, truly sees no reason for things to move any further right than they are, and is worried about a further drift to landmarkism.

Wade is not going to change, he is going to continue to drop the occasional bomb. I think Wade does a very good job of dropping bombs - including naming names - yet stays respectful of those that disagree with him. his commenters - not so much

I am probably in the minority that think that while blogs are messy - in the long run they are good for us. They are a great place to put ideas out there and have others praise/bash them.

Being human, and knowing that our position is ALWAYS the correct position, we dont see blogs change many minds - but do we ever? I have seen a couple posters over at Wades who were Wade bashers once upon a time but now carry on respectful conversations with him and his comm enters. He has some regular comm enters that rarely agree with him, but I always scroll down to see if they have dropped by - the best being Louis. Louis has shown that someone can disagree with Wade yet not have to wage war.

I think that the BI boys could either engage Wade at his site - if they could do it w/o the air of superiority that they tend to carry, or deal with the issues that Wade raises without making their posts about Wade.

Reformers stir up trouble - that is their nature, it will not change. Dont forget that Wade was a reformer on the side of the CR when it first hit Oklahoma - he was the one that nailed his 95 theses to the door of the CBF meeting in oklahoma. The fact is we need them to keep those in power honest.

Jim Champion

Bart Barber said...


Your analysis is lacking in documentation. Did your research include my early post about the areas in which I agreed with Wade & Ben? If not, you might check it out.

Here's what makes me tick:

1. I'm so thankful that Jesus forgave my sins and saved me. He founded a church. He remains the Lord of the church today. We do not have the right to do what we want with His church. I want to help to lead my church to greater obedience, and to encourage others to do the same.

2. I believe that we either have lost or are close to losing some important biblical doctrines (regenerate church membership, believer's immersion, biblical church discipline, etc.), and that our churches are the weaker for it and are disobeying Christ in our wanderings.

3. I'm not ashamed of being a Baptist, yet I believe that it is just fine to cooperate with and appreciate non-Baptist Christians, but that we can and should have a distinctively Baptist forum for the cooperation of Baptist churches. I am resistant toward evangelical ecumenists who would, in effect, sprinkle the SBC. Let each church choose how to cooperate with non-Southern-Baptists individually, and not through the SBC, the IMB, or any other Southern Baptist entity.

4. I believe that postmodernism and liberalism are cancers to the gospel and the church. I sat in the hallowed halls of Baylor University to be told that Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Noah, et al, did not exist at all; Abraham might have existed but certainly did not offer Isaac up as a sacrifice; Jesus walked on a sandbar, not the water; we shouldn't call homosexuality a sin until we know all that we can about its origins and causes. My church is no longer funding those lies from Hell, and I'm proud of that. I'm thankful to everyone who sacrificed and suffered slings and arrows to put an end to it, and I have a very low tolerance for anyone who says that there really weren't any liberals in the SBC. Not only were there; there still are.

5. I believe that Julie Pennington-Russell is a liberal. Anyone who says that she's as conservative as he is, I take him at his word. ;-)

6. I believe that our Triune God is the one-and-only God, that Mohammed is not His prophet, that the Qur'an is not His book of revelation, and that only those who worship Jesus Christ are worshipping Him.

Dave Miller said...


I have a question for you, hoping you will wander back here to read this.

Is there a way to find old comments? I remember once being in a set-to with a blogger, and he asked me for documentation. I was pretty sure he had said what I thought he said, but I couldn't go back and find the quote, at least not without hours of research.

Let's say I wanted to analyse my blogging interactions with Wade (easy now, he won't respond to anything I say - that simplifies things). Several of those interactions are from two or more years ago. Is there a search engine to find them?

I just thought of that from your mention of documentation to Jim.

Dave Miller said...

Perspectives on what Jim and Bart said above:

Jim, I am not sure I see Wade quite as sympathetically as you, but perhaps not so severely as some (Peter, the Tims, Vol, etc).

However, I do agree with one thing you said. Wade is often painted by the words of his commenters. He says something (which often I disagree with), but it is often his commenters who I find offensive.

Are we responsible for the comments on our sites? To a certain extent, I believe we are. A man name Charles used to post the most horrendous nonsense about Adrian Rogers. I just didn't care to hear it. I deleted it.

2) Bart, I agree with every one of your points. I think my only disagreement with you is sometimes your application. For instance, I think FTME at Impact would agree completely with #6, but I am not sure you would agree with that.

Heaven spare us from another discussion of that issue, but I just thought I'd mention it.

3) I have a problem with the whole "Baptist Identity" thing. I agree wholeheartedly with you and Dr. Yarnell's "Association of Convictional Baptists" statement. But when that starts getting applied in certain situations, I get nervous.

4) The term "evangelical ecumenism" is a slippery one. I am Baptist and there are certain things that I would only participate with other Baptists for (church planting, etc). But I am probably open to cross-evangelical fellowship than you might be.

I was raised as a good pre-tribber (still am one, actually). So, I shy away from the word "ecumenical" at all costs.

Anonymous said...


I could very easily be a member of your church. I doubt that I could be a member of Rev Pennington's church, but I would not throw her out of the convention. From what I have read of her she believes in the same fundamental's of the faith - real Jesus, died on the cross rose again, is the only way to heaven etc.

I truly do not try to stir you up - but I seem to be fairly effective at it :)

I am sympathetic to Wade and like I said - I think we need a few Wade's around the convention. Wade is no liberal - but he does seem to me to be closer to a moderate-conservative (as I would categorize myself) as the BI folks are closer to the landmark side of fundamentalist conservative.

Your points
1. Amen
2. I have not seen that, but I have always been in churches that are very stong bible teaching - SS and worship.
3. SBC churches are and should be cooperative - but I would never have nashville dictate who is and who is not an SBC church
Caveat - homosexuality, heresy and any other area that the Bible specifically prohibits.

We are both in TX - you with the SBTC, me in a BGCT church. I am great friends with one of the SBTC pastors in town, and have heard him preach on several occasions. He is great, but no more conservative nor does he do as good a job with Bible exposition as does my pastor.

4. To be honest with you, I have never really considered Baylor a Christian college - the one I went to was much more conservative so I judge all colleges on that basis. I will tell you that Russell Dilday who I know a bit - is conservative, and the seminary he ran was the conservative SBC seminary in its day. They did not have professors who denied the bible - regardless of the students who were sent in with tape recorders to try to catch them in some misstatement - I know a certain History proff who this happened to on numerous occasions!

5. Rev Russell - Is she liberal because she is a female who feels that God has led her to preach - or because of her theology. As I said above her theology apart from an Egalitarian interpretation seems fine. But to tell you the truty I dont really know. Mohler and Page basically had an egalitarian view pre resurgence.

6. Amen

Dave - I think that I would also be very comfortable with you as my pastor as well - perhaps you and Bart would both throw me out :)


Bart Barber said...

Dave Miller,

Each blog on Blogger, I think, comes with a search bar at the top. You can look there.

Or, you can try for multi-blog searches. Sometimes it is like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles, so I would reserve this process for things I really cared about.

Bart Barber said...

Jim Champion,

The difference between the conservative folks in the BGCT (and yes, there are a great many of them) and anybody in the SBTC is that, no matter how conservative a BGCT person is, he's still spending more money to fund that garbage at Baylor than he's spending to reach the world for Christ. Intentionally? Probably not. But he's doing so all the same.

Congratulations to you on being in an SBC church that still practices biblical church discipline, where the membership are all regular attenders, living lives of visible discipleship as regenerate "visible saints" and the like. You don't realize how rare that is in our convention, but God has truly given you a blessing.

Anonymous said...

Good one Bart - our church is probably not as perfect as yours - however we do purge the church rolls on a yearly basis. That meaning that each member of the church is assigned to a sunday school class - each year the sunday school teacher call on those that have either dropped of the face of the earth or we rarely see. If we cant find them, we drop them.

We do take the issue of regenerate church membership seriously however. Before a family joins, they are required to attend a new members class that stresses salvation, baptism and what we believe as a church. I would venture to guess that we have a higher percentage than normal in regular discipleship classes. When we counsel with someone who joins, we ask them specifically if they can point to a date that they accepted Christ as their savior. Are we perfect - no, but we try to do the best job that we can.

I recognize that some of our money goes to Baylor - but it also goes to Buckner and Texas Baptist Men and a host of other great works that the BGCT performs. The new head of the BGCT, Randall Everett even spoke in chapel at SWBTS - now he was the first one in Patterson's tenure who was not identified as one of Patterson's best friends, but he gave a great address. The newly elected president of the BGCT is also much more SBC friendly - I think we are seeing a good trend in in the BGCT.


Bart Barber said...


Your church's careful maintenance of your rolls puts your church ahead of ours, but we're working on it. I was not being sardonic. I meant it when I said that it was a blessing for you to be a part of such a church.

Anonymous said...

Bart I apologize for reading something into your statement that was not there. These blogs can distort perception, we certainly do lose not engaging face to face.

My family is truly blessed to part of the church that we attend.


Dave Miller said...

Our church was founded in 1962. I am now involved in what I believe is probably the very first roll examination. I've only been here 3 1/2 years, but there are a lot of people no one has any idea about. A few that should have been disciplined, but were just left idly on the roll.

On the other hand, the church split about 4 years ago was an effective roll reducer!

Dave Miller said...


I think you bring something up that I find interesting.

I would guess that Bart and I are in unity on the vast majority of doctrine. From the sound of it, you could worship in either of our churches happily.

Yet, in the things that we focus on in the blogs, I find myself often the counterpoint to Bart's point. I don't remember engaging you in disagreements, but we probably have at some point.

My point is that blogging may tend to magnify our differences, by its very nature.