Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why Mark Dever did not get elected to 1st VP

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There it is. Not exactly a hanging chad, but the round punch-out signifying a vote for Mark Dever for 1st Vice President of the SBC. I am sorry that Mark did not get elected. He is exactly the kind of guy that we need as SBC convention officers. By that, I do not mean his Calvinism (though that doesn't hurt!). Rather, I am talking about his perspective in realizing that serving as SBC president or vice president is not nearly as important as one's ministry in a local church. Some guys seem to approach the prospect of having an elected position in the SBC as the final, if not penultimate, chapter of their biographies. If you listen to most of the nomination speeches for these offices, you will hear evidence of my point (the speech to nominate Mark Dever and Wiley Richards notably excepted; you should find the audio or video file to the latter and listen--it was classic!). Mark has a healthy, "minimalist" view of such things. It would be refreshing to see this kind of perspective spread.

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(a true hanging chad, for all you folks who don't live in Florida; HT: Ken Puls)

I think Mark would have easily won had logistics not interfered. He received more votes than the other 3 candidates on the first ballot and then less than that on the final ballot (the runoff). Why did this happen? Here is my take on it.

The second ballot was not scheduled but was conducted as soon as the results of the first ballot came back. Most messengers went out to get somthing to eat during the break after the afternoon session. The next scheduled business session at 7:20 PM. However, immediately after the "convention baptism" (that's a whole other story!) at 6:40 PM, the chair called for a second ballot vote on the top two vote getters: Mark and Jimmy Jackson. Mark lost by fewer than 80 votes. I have counted at least 20 people that I know personally who did not get back until 7:15 or so.

The hotels are located several miles from the convention center and though there are several buses that shuttle messengers back and forth, it is hard to arrive at a precisely desired time. In addition, it was raining last night, which further slowed the ebb and flow and traffic.

Of course, all of this is speculation and, ultimately, none of it matters. God in His providence had Jimmy Jackson elected to that office. I don't know him, but have heard from friends who do that he is a humble, faithful pastor. The fact that Mark received so many votes is, I think, a great indication of the widespread appreciation for his ministry. That is an encouraging sign.

57 comments:

GeneMBridges said...

I must echo what you said about the nomination speech for Brother Wiley. For those who weren't there:

At the end of his speech, the gentleman who nominated him (who was just a plain old country preacher type of man--the kind that I like to hang around at these events) said, "And with all this talk of prayer languages, let me assure everybody in here that I prayed with Brother Wiley in the hallway before coming in here to nominate him, and I understood every word that he said." That was the end of his speech. He stopped and turned around to walk offstage. ROFL! The laughter rose to the ceiling, and at that particular time, we all needed a good laugh. Based on that speech alone, I would have voted for Brother Wiley.

justin said...

Where can we find that audio?

Caddiechaplain said...

The election of Wiley Drake as 2nd VP of the SBC proves one thing and that is you don't have to have much going for you to get elected just a good nominator. Or as MoChap put it, a common-nominator!

I serve in CA and I have to tell you that he is the scorn of CA SB's. He would have never been nominated let alone be elected at the State Convention. You guys thought it was entertaining. We call it something else. I am a gentleman and I won't repeat what some would call it. It does have to do with a part of a horse's anatomy. That's all I can say.

H.E.S. said...

It is unfortunate that Dever didn't get elected VP. I have a question...does anyone know why they just don't elect the other officers of the convention at the same time as they do the President? Why not do back-to-back elections when most of the messengers are present?

Just wondering.

GeneMBridges said...

To be honest, Drake was very likely elected because it was largely contested race. 1 of the candidates were, if I recall, was not well known at all. A third was nominated by Daniel Akin, which, even though I personally like Dr. Akin and his work at SEBTS and SBTS, probably did not set too well with the younger people who were not partial to "Establishment" candidates. Wiley was known to them, having signed the Memphis Declaration, and despite J.D's age, many of the younger leaders were distrustful of the nomination of him by Dr. Akin, simply because it was probably perceived as just another instance of a high profile Convention personality promoting the Establishment ticket. Wiley's reputation does precede him, but as the most familar face, the rest likely chose him for that reason.

deusvult2 said...

Dr. Ascol, I was personally glad to see you at this annual SBC meeting. I would have liked to reach you and shake your hand, but I could never get up with you. However, let me say that I supported you and the courage you had to stand for the resolution you submitted on church membership and the comments you made on Resolution #5 on Wednesday morning. One is a field that needs serious reform in our churches and the other is an issue of conviction and conscience that should not be legislated as "canon law" by the Convention. BTW, I think the vote on Resolution #5 was much closer than many think and is an indication that a large part of SBC laity consider it a non-essential, as do I. Perhaps one day that will be the opinion of the Convention. Thank you for your much needed voice at the meeting. God bless.

Pastor Jeff said...

Tom,

You can add five more to your count of those who missed the run-off vote.

Three laymen from my church who voted for Mark in round one and were encouraged by his candidacy had to leave at the break to get back home to Charlottesville (They cited some crazy concern over getting back to their families and being able to stay awake at work the next day!).

Also a Pastor friend and I got into a fascinating discussion over the break on the doctrine of justification by faith with Frank Ruff (sic?), the Roman Catholic observer at the SBC meeting (that's a whole 'nother story...) and when we got back in the meeting we found we had just missed the vote.

I wish they had scheduled a later time for the run-off but do not think it was a nefarious plan to undo Mark.

As my Pastor friend said, "Next year in Jerusalem...."

Jeff Riddle
www.jpbc.org

jbuchanan said...

Bobby Welch said at the very beginning of the convention how they would handle runoffs. I was disappointed that Mark didn't win but Jimmy Jackson will do fine.

Florida Baptist said...

Tell us more of your thoughts on the baptisms at the convention. Is that not a local church ordinance?

Sojourner said...

People were baptized at the convention?

Brian Hamrick said...

I would guess there were probably 30 baptisms over about 6-7 sessions.

Then maybe another 200 baptisms recorded in videos shown.

There was an asterisk that indicated their local church was in supervision of each person's baptism. I believe in each case, the pastor of the church was baptizing them.

Doesn't mean I agree with what happened, but that's what I recall.

Greg B said...

I thought we were baptist? Baptism in a para-church meeting? You all have got to tell us about this. We are not Arminians, we are not Calvinists, we are not even Baptists with a belief in the church ordinances.
A strangely angry Greg B from Powhatan.
I am sure the break from pews is behind all of this Joe.

Brian Hamrick said...

Greg,

Someone will have to provide the direct quote from the program, but I think the perception being given was that the local church was doing the baptizing (not the SBC), only the location had changed. Sort of like going down by the river, only this time it was a 8 X 3 foot man-made pool on wheels in the Greenboro Coliseum.

I have no idea how many members of their congregation were present.

I am for one saddened these baptisms were not more connected to that local congregation where the believer will grow and be discipled.

I guess that is my greatest concern of what I witnessed- did we, intentionally or not- send the message of divorcing discipleship from baptism? Did we cause harm to that new believer or local church, intentionally or not?

Now that Welch is no longer present, and it appears we have not baptized anywhere near 1 million folks, perhaps this item will fade out of the annual Convention meeting as quickly as it came.

Brian Hamrick said...

There were no pews at the SBC meeting, so you may be on to something there, Greg.

jbuchanan said...

I was alarmed at first by the baptism deal but they made it clear that the baptism were in fact being conducted by a local church and that members of those churches were their to witness the baptism. So the convention was not doing the baptizing or anyhting like that. I thought it was a little bit strange and probably did not belong but would not oppose it.

In all I think that this was a good convention is continuing to move forward in a healthy way. I have heard very positive remarks about the Patterson-Mohler discussion. I attended the second session and really enjoyed it. I thought that both men did a remarkable job at presenting their differences but also the things that united them. I think that Dr. Patterson did a significantly better job at demonstrating his position from the Bible. i would disagree with him perhaps on some issues, but he was very clear about the passages that he believed supported his position. Dr. Mohler, however, did not refer at length to any particular Biblical passage to support or defend his position. Instead, he concentrated on dealing with the issue that the very fact that we are having this debate is a sign of health and that this is indeed a debate among friends. Both men did an exemplerary job at showing how we can differ over theology and still work together.

Curt Treece said...

Justin,

I noticed that you asked where you could get the audio of the nomination speech given for Wiley Drake. You can view the video here. The nominations begin at about 40:30 in. The one for Drake begins at 51:30.

-Curt

Greg B said...

Gee guys:
I had a really good case of righteous idignation going and you guys had to ruin it with a gracious telling of the truth. Just a little misdirected, not heresy. Thanks.
Just kidding guys.
Greg B

Amicus said...

My impression was that this baptizing at conventions thing was going to be a regular deal. There were baptisms at our last Pennsylvania/South Jersey Convention, and I just assumed it was going on in state conventions all over the land. Are you all saying that it isn't?

I find it more odd than outrageous, although I do wonder if what the Landmarkers down at the IMB think of all this. (By the way, in the Second Great Awakening the Finneyites often celebrated the Lord's Supper in their brush arbor meetings. Can that be far behind?)

Seriously, though, if we are going to think about regulating worship by the Word of God, and if as Baptists we are particularly concerned about baptizing according to the Word, perhaps we should think carefully and prayerfully about this practice.

deusvult2 said...

I would dare say that the New Testament ordinances are for the church, not a particular building or location. If Baptism or the Lord's Supper occurred in the Greensboro coliseum with thousands of believers gathered in Jesus' name, it was the Church and therefore appropriate. I don not mean this in any angry spirit, just an opinion. - Stephen

volfan007 said...

mark dever lost the vote to be first vice pres. because he is a five point calvinist...plain and simple. i have nothing personallly against mark dever, but our convention does not want people in leadership positions who are hyper...whoops...five pointers.

wiley drake was elected as a joke. especially since the second vice does not have any power. did you not hear everyone whooping and laughing every time his name was mentioned?

there was nothing wrong with baptizing people at the sbc. it was done by the local churches with some of their members present. let's not get crazy here. it was just an act to encourage the messengers to want to go home and win souls and baptise at thier church. huummmmmm...maybe that's what yall have against this? is it? you didnt like for soul winning and baptizing being emphasized?????? huummmmmmmm....could be.

John said...

To the previous post: The Founders of the Baptist movement held to the Biblical doctrines of total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irrestible grace, and preservation of the saints. For a Biblical defense of each, please see my articles in www.covenantdubois.com.

I hope Dever and his supporters aren't discouraged but keep working for a Biblical resurgence in the midst of the "conservative resurgence." May God bless your work!

North Georgia Pastor said...

Tom,

Do not be saddened by the fact that Mark Dever did not get elected. Remember that it was predestined from the foundation of the world.

NGP

kingofbleh1 said...
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Perry McCall said...

Volfan007,

I assume that you are a UT vols fan by your "anonymous" blog handle. Therefore, I would like to apologize for the Memphis Tigers washing away Peyton Manning's (whom I love) UT career and all hopes for winning the Heisman trophy. It had to be tough losing to such a no name program so I understand how you could become such a bitter person. The people who blog on this site often disagree and there are many who are not Calvinist at all. However, the majority of the commenters strive to live up to the standard of excellence that Dr. Ascol provides. I am sure that this standard might make you feel un welcomed because of your deficiencies but Tom is very gracious and lets almost anybody comment. So, do not let your inadequacies keep you from posting. When you begin to form arguments worthy of response I am sure many will be willing to engage in a discussion with you. Again, I am sorry that UT has become only a shell of a once mighty program but that really is no excuse for being so rude to so many wonderful people.
Perry

Haqbigu said...

Regarding baptism at the convention and it's scriptural appropriateness,
Is there clear scriptural warrant for restricting baptism to local church buildings or even local church gatherings? Put differently (regulatively?), where is it scripturally prescribed that water baptism take place in the assembly (surely it doesn't have to be inside the BUILDING!) of the local church? In fact, are there not multiple incidents approvingly recorded in the NT of baptisms outside the context of an established local church assembly? It is easier to see how the Scriptures prescribe the local assembly as the appropriate context for the Lord's supper. Re:water baptism, there may be good and wise reasons whenever possible to have water baptism in the context of local assemblies. Unlike the Lord's Supper,though, water baptism need not always occur in the gathered assembly, right? or wrong? There may be good reasons why baptisms or the manner in which baptisms are celebrated/"performed" at the SBC convention would seem imprudent or how baptisands are selected etc., but must baptism always and only be performed in the local assembly?

John said...

Dear North Georgia Pastor,

I hope you were trying to parody Biblical faith. That is, I hope you don't really think that fatalism is somehow the what it means to be a Biblical Christian.

It is true that everything that happens is predestined by God and under His control. Even the worst crime in all of history was predetermined by the sovereignty of God: the crucifiction of Christ was not an accident but the result of God's plan.

But that does not mean that we ignore the "means" God uses. Herod and Pontius Pilate and Judas are all clearly indicted in scripture for their part in God's predetermined plan. The assumption that if God is behind it then people are not responsible is not a Biblical way of thinking.

Amos said that if disaster comes on a city, the Lord has done it. But still, the Assyrians and the Babylonians suffered the judgement of God for the disasters they brought, even though it was God's will of decree that they bring those disasters.

www.covenantdubois.com

Morgan Owen said...

Dever didn't win... WHAAAAAAA
Sounds like your crying over a hanging chad and the fact that "everyone who wanted to vote didn't get to vote" is a page out of Al Gore's 2000 election year play book.

I believe you have missed the point when it comes to the voting for SBC officers. The President is the only one that counts. Frank Page won with 50+% of the vote. Quite a strong statement from the messengers that we don't want a good ole boy...we want someone who is committed to the heartbeat of our convention---missions & the gospel. Praise God that He has placed someone who is not in the "IN CROWD" of the SBC. In fact, he is someone who answers his own emails (I emailed him congrats and he replied within a day).
I am thankful that Dever did not win 1st Vice. The last thing we need is someone of Reformed thinking (yes, I have Trouble with the TULIP) leading our convention. I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for you and your friends to serve in the Presbyterian churches across the USA. I encourage you to pursue this and NOT SCREW UP A GOD FEARING, MISSION MINDED, GOSPEL DRIVEN Convention.

Perry McCall said...

Morgan,
You sound like a Vol Fan!! I don't know, you sound more desperate than bitter. Maybe you are a Jeff Gordan fan. He is having tough year. Anyhow, I assume that there is plenty of room for you in the American Baptist as well! We prefer to be true Southern Baptist around here.
Perry

John said...

Dear Morgan Owen,

Hi. Welcome to the site. Please do a lot more looking around here. Not just to blog but to learn about the history of the Baptist movement, especially the way that many of the "Founders" (!) believed in the Biblical gospel (that God has worked to save His people, not just that He made a way of salvation possible for people to save themselves). Mission-minded? Like William Carey and Adorniram Judson? Evangelistic and church planting? Like Isaac Backus, perhaps the real "father of Baptists" in America and a self-confessed Edwardsian.

I'd suggest you look into Mark Dever's teachings too. You'll find them very edifying and inculcating a healthy fear of God, as all who rightly proclaim our sovereign Lord do.

www.covenantdubois.com

volfan007 said...

way to go, mo! good, insightful, uplifting comments amidst a sea of debri. God bless you, bro.

Morgan Owen said...

volfan007---Thanks for the encouraging words! I'm sure we are a part of the 75% that voted that stupid motion (Church Discipline) down.

Which brings me to Perry---I think most of the ones responding on this website are a MINORITY (thank the Lord) of Southern Baptists (kind of like the confused 25% that voted in favor of the church discipline motion)

And now John---I'm a much more educated man than you may wish to admit. I am quite learned in Baptist History (having taken it in Seminary 14+ years ago). And after all was said and done, I came away from that experience with a greater desire to be a, dare I say, Christian than an Edwardsian. I'm sure Jonathan Edwards made it possible for Bakus to enter the Kingdom of Heaven???

As you may have noticed that the other day was the first time I commented on this blog. This is mainly due to the fact that I think its more important that we ministers should be about MINISTRY. So, I will depart for now to return to the trenches of ministry and leave the Blogging world to those who so want to make a name for themselves.

John said...

Dear Morgan,

The Lord Jesus only gave one specific instruction about the local church: Matthew 18:15-17. It's on "church discipline", which you just described as "stupid."

As for your education, you misspelled "Backus". He was probably the real "father" of American Baptists (not Roger Williams.) (That's academic anyway since both believed in the Biblical teachings of depravity and salvation by grace, etc.) Backus was key in the explosive growth of Baptists in the wake of the Great Awakening. He believed that Jonathan Edwards' teaching accurately reflected scripture (except on the matter of baptism, of course.)

As for your "trenches of ministry": you might want to begin with removing your breach of the third commandment on another blog at this site.

John Wootten said...

Mr. Owen,

I wanted to say a few things, but I doubt you'll read this, since you're indubitably out doing ministry right now. But nonetheless, you said...
I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for you and your friends to serve in the Presbyterian churches across the USA. I encourage you to pursue this and NOT SCREW UP A GOD FEARING, MISSION MINDED, GOSPEL DRIVEN Convention.

No thanks. I believe I'll stay to the God fearing, mission-minded, gospel driven convention instituted by such fine gentlemen as John L. Dagg, P. H. Mell, Richard Fuller, Basil Manly, Sr., Basil Manly, Jr., John Broadus, and James P. Boyce.

Also, if you believe that "The President is the only one that counts" then why do you care if a Calvinist holds to the first of the non-important positions?

Further you said...
I think most of the ones responding on this website are a MINORITY

Now of course, this is obvious. But you know this. You are just tinkering us with your intellectual prowess.

And finally, you said...
kind of like the confused 25% that voted in favor of the church discipline motion

I wasn't aware we voted on Church Discipline?!?!

Morgan Owen said...

Just taking a break from ministry to see the reaction...boy, you reformed guys really are uptight.

John, first the motion was stupid ("stupid" is an adjective describing "motion"--I thought you learned all of this stuff in elementary school). How can one messenger propose a motion that demands action towards "church discipline"? What gall?!? Even more the assumption is that church discipline is not being done. What a broad statement.

I thought that when I was typing Bakus, oops there I go again, Backus' name I was doing it right. Forgive me. I think I did spell Jesus' name right though.
One statement you made though confused me: "Backus was key in the explosive growth of Baptists in the wake of the Great Awakening." I thought the work of God in the lives of people is key to any growth....

Mr. Hooten, you really should get more sleep. Blogging after midnight could be hazardous to your spiritual health.
You need to decide if you are willing to hold to the BF&M 2000. This is supposed to be the definition of what a Southern Baptist believes. If not, then move on.

John said...

Dear Morgan,

Welcome back!

You haven't repented of your breach of the third commandment. You'll find in scripture that God is, in your words, "uptight" about the abuse of His holy Name. Believers with a reverance for the Sovereign God share that jealously for the glory of God.

Being a "smart aleck" isn't winsome or particularly smart. We who believe in what scripture teaches -- rather than the man-made (and man-centered) doctrines of Arminianism -- understand that God uses means to accomplish His purposes. For example, in Acts 4 the Apostles prayed that God had pre-ordained that Herod and Pontius Pilate would murder the Lord Jesus. That doesn't mean that they are not guilty for their sin. Nor does it mean that the Lord Jesus was purely a victim, taken by surprise by a treacherous disciple and two corrupt officials.

Isaac Backus was one of God's honorable vessels -- a means for His purpose. He was used by God to spread the gospel and plant many Baptist churches in the young US. He was self-conscously Edwardsian. (And not a smart-aleck.) Around the same time, another Bible believing Baptist wrote a pamphalet describing how God uses means to bring His gospel to the heathen: William Carey, the father of modern missions. Also not a smart-aleck!

Obviously, church discipline is not being practiced in many SBC churches -- or else there would not be so many inflated "membership rolls." The resolution called for integrity and discipline. Again, the only direct instruction of the Lord Jesus to the local church was to practice church discipline. And you described a resolution encouraging us to obey the Lord as "stupid."

Will you please review your placing of sarcastic words in the mouth of the Lord Jesus?

www.covenantdubois.com

Morgan Owen said...

John,

You have gotten your forums mixed up. That "unholy" statement was made at another location. Seems you're confused.

Its a shame that you have stooped to Name Calling---calling me a "smart aleck" shows your inability to debate the issue at hand. Well, I guess sometimes its easier to attempt to demoralize someone by flippant speech than deal with the facts.

Since you brought up this issue on taking the Lord's name in vain, you seem to think that I am one who owes an apology because of my unholiness. You can even say that my words will cause the sky to fall. I believe this is exactly the feelings the religious leaders felt when Jesus spoke truth. Likewise when the apostles spoke truth. Truth has a profound impact on one's life: you can choose to ponder it or you can be rash to dismiss it. Please ponder what has been said.

John Wootten said...

Mr. Hooten, you really should get more sleep. Blogging after midnight could be hazardous to your spiritual health.
You need to decide if you are willing to hold to the BF&M 2000. This is supposed to be the definition of what a Southern Baptist believes. If not, then move on.


I wish to address this, even though it is not directed to me. Also, since it is only 11pm local time, perhaps you will attempt to read and respond to this post.

I do hold to the BF&M 2000. Since you are so familiar with my sleeping habits and work schedule, no doubt you are aware of this as well. What do you know of me that would lead you to believe otherwise?

Since you are unfamiliar with the Founder's ministry and this website and blog, allow me to explain. John L. Dagg, P. H. Mell, Richard Fuller, Basil Manly, Sr., Basil Manly, Jr., John Broadus, and James P. Boyce were among the Calvinist leaders of the SBC during its beginnings in 1845.

Those of us who support Founders Ministry desire for a Convention where theological integrity is valued. I personally don't want to turn every member of the SBC into a Calvinist. We were varied in our theology in 1845, and we still should be today. What I stand for is the end to theological ignorance and apathy which reigns supreme in our Convention today.

I long for each member of the SBC to be a soul-winning Christian who understands theology and can defend his or her faith. Calvinism is neither the problem nor the solution.

John Wootten said...

Also, apparently the blog times are set to Dr. Ascol's time zone. I just posted two posts, and they both show post-midnight display times, yet it is still not midnight where I live.

John said...

Morgan Owen,

It doesn't matter where you broke the third commandment, whether on this particular thread or site or not on the internet at all. It matters that you did. You put smart-alecky words in the mouth of the Lord Jesus. Please repent. The Lord will not hold someone blameless who takes His Name vainly.

Morgan Owen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Morgan Owen said...

John,
It is better to keep your focus on what is mentioned on this specific forum and begin rattling off a response about a posting on another forum. It helps those who may attempt to understand what in the world you're talking about.

There you go again stooping to name calling. It clearly reveals a lack of debating ability.I guess you would rather pelt me with rocks than to forgive. Thus was the heart of those who stood ready to stone the adulterous woman. I'll pray that God will change your heart from one of stone to one of flesh.

According to your profile it says that you are a pastor. surely you do not treat your own church members with such harsh treatment.

Hootten, while the desire for Theological integrity is valiant, it gives off an attitude that "I am right and everyone else in the convention is wrong." This is a dangerous attitude. You have said on this blog that you don't want to turn everyone in the SBC into Calvinists. "I long for each member of the SBC to be a soul-winning Christian who understands theology and can defend his or her faith. Calvinism is neither the problem nor the solution." That's great as well, but how far is far enough?? Does one need to be a part of the Founders? Does one need to believe the five points of Calvinism? Four? Three? Two? One? Who has given you are anyone else the authority to tell me or anyone else how to believe? Was not Isaac Backus the champion for Religious Liberty?? (except for non-christians and Roman Catholics....)

John Wootten said...

Hootten, while the desire for Theological integrity is valiant, it gives off an attitude that "I am right and everyone else in the convention is wrong."

No it doesn’t. What gives that perception is the comments you have made here, when you read your anti-Calvinistic hostility into everything that is said. Oh, and when you asked us to leave and join the Presbyterian church, then implied that you are god-fearing, mission-minded, and gospel-driven while we are not. And also the many times you asserted your intellectual and educational superiority over everyone here.

I could go on, but suffice it to say, you are the one who is giving this impression.


This is a dangerous attitude. You have said on this blog that you don't want to turn everyone in the SBC into Calvinists. "I long for each member of the SBC to be a soul-winning Christian who understands theology and can defend his or her faith. Calvinism is neither the problem nor the solution." That's great as well, but how far is far enough?? Does one need to be a part of the Founders?

I can’t me any more plainspoken. You just aren’t willing to understand what I said and then respond to it.

To answer the question, it ends when everyone produces fruit, understands theology and can defend their faith. The theological hostility and ignorance you have shown are part of the problem. That is the dangerous attitude. You treat your theological position as the only possible one which should be allowed in the SBC. I disagree, and I do not think my own positions should be the only ones allowed either.

You are simply not understanding what I said. You seem to be having problems reading my posts. You spell my name wrong, then when I say…
I personally don't want to turn every member of the SBC into a Calvinist.

You respond with…
Does one need to believe the five points of Calvinism? Four? Three? Two? One?



???

No, theological integrity means being honest, respectful, thorough, mature, etc.



Who has given you are anyone else the authority to tell me or anyone else how to believe? Was not Isaac Backus the champion for Religious Liberty?? (except for non-christians and Roman Catholics....)

Again, you are just letting your ignorant hostility get in the way of understanding what I wrote. Where did I claim anything about having authority over what others believe?

I’m serious. Please find one post on this or any other article where I said this!

But wait…

This comment from the same person who said I should leave the SBC and join the Presbyterian church?

The same person who told me…

You need to decide if you are willing to hold to the BF&M 2000. This is supposed to be the definition of what a Southern Baptist believes. If not, then move on.

You have read quite a bit of misinformation and misunderstanding into the responses to your posts. Maybe you should check your own angry presumptions before posting. And also make sure you understand what is written before responding. I recommend blogging late at night when your mind is less anxious.

Morgan Owen said...

Wow, Wootten (I think I spelled it right that time--I was actually calling you Hootten for a modified name after the elephant made famous by Dr. Seuss--Your picture looks like you are trying to hear something like the book cover of Horton hears a Who)! Your quite uptight!

You said that maybe I should read what I am writing before I send it to the blog. Does this also apply to your posting of 1:25pm:
"I canĂ¢€™t me any more plainspoken. You just arenĂ¢€™t willing to understand what I said and then respond to it."
I think you meant to say that "I can't BE any more plainspoken." Or perhaps you were imitating Yoda from Star Wars with "Plainspoken any more can me be"
I was excited that you were posting during the day...maybe it would make a little more sense. I was disappointed. Your ranting made absolutely no sense.

You ask the valid question, though: "Where did I claim anything about having authority over what others believe?"

Well, You previous posting states:
"What I stand for is the end to theological ignorance and apathy which reigns supreme in our Convention today." Have you been to every church to see what those members believe?? Or are you making a broad statement lumping all members of a SBC church into the same "ignorant & apathetic" heap?? Before you jump into making such a statement you should do your homework and check out all of the sources available to you.
Oh, and believe me, I'm sure your intention is to do what you can to bring "the end to theological ignorance and apathy which reigns supreme in our Convention today."

John Wootten said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Wootten said...

I'm not really uptight, it would just go much farther to show you're really interested, respectful, mature, and serious about discussing with me if you took it upon yourself to correctly spell my name.

A former youth minister once told me that the most sincere greeting you can show someone is to shake their hand and remember their name. Obviously we cannot yet shake hands, so the name part is doubly imporant.

Concerning the accidental use of the word "me," you have made several typos in your posts, but I didn't bother to point them out. Even with the misspelled words, I still understood what you were saying.

My confusion stemmed from when I said that I personally don't want to turn every member of the SBC into a Calvinist. And you responded by saying...

Does one need to believe the five points of Calvinism? Four? Three? Two? One?

That's not just childishly chiding over a misspelled word. This is clearly not understanding what I have stated.

Further, you stated..

Have you been to every church to see what those members believe?? Or are you making a broad statement lumping all members of a SBC church into the same "ignorant & apathetic" heap?? Before you jump into making such a statement you should do your homework and check out all of the sources available to you.

What sources are you talking about? I am talking about my own personal experiences, and the experiences I have been priviledged to gain from several leaders with whom I have come into contact over the last few years, including several seminary professors, preachers, and evangelists from a broad spectrum of the SBC. I was basing it on that information. But I would love to know what other resources are available.

Also, if it will help you believe it by hearing it from someone you already agree with, I know many SBC preachers who aren't Calvinists, yet have stated from the pulpit that not enough doctrine is being taught in the SBC.

Oh, and believe me, I'm sure your intention is to do what you can to bring "the end to theological ignorance and apathy which reigns supreme in our Convention today."

I really want to take this as a complement, but I fear that if you can't correctly read my statement about not wanting to Calvinize the SBC, then you may also be reading an alternate meaning into this sentence as well.

I was told by the worship leader of a large and influential Southern Baptist Church in Tennessee that theology is not important. That for one is a serious implication that many people are being conditioned to be ignorant and apathetic toward theology.

I have also taught several youth sunday school classes, and I find essential doctrines such as the Trinity have never been taught.

As Dr. Ascol has said before, this is not a Calvinist problem, this is a Christian problem. These are students who are about to move off to college, and yet they don't know what they believe, and can't defend their faith.

Again, I believe this is where your anti-Calvinistic tendencies show forth. If a non-Calvinist were pushing for teaching people to, say, correctly define Calvinism, or study the Athanasian Creed to correctly understand the Trinity, would you still oppose it?

Morgan Owen said...

Wootten,
I was unaware of how sensitive you were to a misspelling of your name. Its not uncommon to see this on your basic blog. I honestly did not mean to misspell it. You just made it sound like things should be spelled correctly-just pointing out your mistake.

As far as sources mentioned, what was mean is that fact that one should not make a blanket statement concerning the spiritual welfare of a body of believers with walking with them or talking with them. Have you done this across Tennessee? the US? In the churches I have served in I have run across individuals who disagreed with certain decisions I made and was vocal about it. Did I make a blanket statement that the church was filled with hypocrites? No. I built the line of communication and when I left that church 7 years later, that person was my strongest supporter. Because I bothered to enter their world and see their perspective and walk in their shoes I built respect and honor. Unfortunately, there is the catch that if something is said long and loud enough, it is so.

I do desire Biblical literacy but it must be in a loving, caring way. I have witnessed ministers who leave after a year or two because of method. But, how far should we go theologically until everyone can sitdown together and feast?? What scares me the most about those Pro-Calvinists that I have met (and its been alot), the view is you have to believe like me or you have no understand of doctrine. We should not be so vain to believe that just one side is short sided

"I believe this is where your anti-Calvinistic tendencies show forth"

I believe that if each of us take on the responsibility of fostering biblical literacy in our own home (my two older daughters have had a passion for scripture instilled in them and they were both Bible Drill winners, State and Region) & congregation we will see amazing things take place for the kingdom of God.

John Wootten said...

Mr. Owen,

Wootten,
I was unaware of how sensitive you were to a misspelling of your name. Its not uncommon to see this on your basic blog. I honestly did not mean to misspell it. You just made it sound like things should be spelled correctly-just pointing out your mistake.


It shouldn’t be such a shock that someone would want to be identified by their correct name. It’s not just any word that was being misspelled, it was my name. I’m not really sensitive about it, I’ve been called much worse. Recently, in fact. But among Christian brothers, I expect the highest degree of respect, especially with either formal or informal disagreement. It’s more blogging ettiquite than it is personal sensitivity.


As far as sources mentioned, what was mean is that fact that one should not make a blanket statement concerning the spiritual welfare of a body of believers with walking with them or talking with them. Have you done this across Tennessee? the US? In the churches I have served in I have run across individuals who disagreed with certain decisions I made and was vocal about it. Did I make a blanket statement that the church was filled with hypocrites? No.

I didn’t call anyone a hypocrite.

And this isn’t about me, or simply disagreeing with my own beliefs. If anything, I am among the ones ignorant and apathetic. I seek a deeper walk with Christ and a more fruitful study of His Word, and I want to share that with others. It isn’t easy to find others with that same attitude who are willing to do anything about it.

How many would I have to talk/walk with in order to convince you that there is a problem with ignorance and apathy among American Christians? I haven’t talked with every Christian in TN or the US. But I have walked and talked with some. Obviously. Otherwise I would have no basis for making such a statement. What I said was a blanket statement, and it should be taken as such. That being that it is true, but not without exception. No, I haven't researched all the relevant geographic and demographic data. Perhaps my section of the state is the only one that sees such widespread apathy. Perhaps my neighbor who is the director of evangelism for the TN Baptist Convention is wrong in his infinitely more professional assessment of churches across TN, based on over 40 years of pastoring and evangelizing all over Tennesse and the Southeast. I didn’t know you were so sensitive about blanket statements :)

I am also a college student, so you and I should certainly see the problems facing Christians in their transition out of high school.


I built the line of communication and when I left that church 7 years later, that person was my strongest supporter. Because I bothered to enter their world and see their perspective and walk in their shoes I built respect and honor. Unfortunately, there is the catch that if something is said long and loud enough, it is so.

I am unsure of your point. Was your intention all along to get that person to agree with you? Because that is precisely the dangerous attitude you accused me of earlier.

My example in that situation is that I would want that person to understand my position. I desire transparency and the atmosphere conducive for asking questions and challenging assumptions which would eventually lead to growth for everyone involved.

An equal part of the problem is blindly adhering to a particular worldview sans the thinking and reasoning part. And as far as that blanket statement goes, the more people I meet, the more I see it is nearly universally true, myself first and foremost. As a matter of fact, just a few weeks ago I had a lengthy discussion of this same topic with a friend from India who had just returned from teaching Muslims in South Africa.


I do desire Biblical literacy but it must be in a loving, caring way. I have witnessed ministers who leave after a year or two because of method. But, how far should we go theologically until everyone can sitdown together and feast??

Theologically? I’m not sure. Again, my point is not total doctrinal agreement (assimilation? resistance is futile!?), but mature dialogue and unity. We don’t have to decide between unity and doctrine, we have to maturely pursue both.


What scares me the most about those Pro-Calvinists that I have met (and its been alot), the view is you have to believe like me or you have no understand of doctrine.

I hate to do this, because some people can’t take my irony-loving personality, but have you walked and talked with every pro-Calvinist across Tennessee? Or the US?

Also, are these Calvinists largely college-students? Because I became a Calvinist when I entered college, and many of these young men and women are overly ambitious. My initial attitude when I became a Calvinist was to Calvinize everything I came into contact with. It’s jokingly called the “Calvinist Cage. They should be caged for the first few years so that they have time to mellow out, work out their beliefs, and see how their doctrine is to be put into practice.


We should not be so vain to believe that just one side is short sided

I agree. I’ll also add that for most non-Calvinists that I have met (I can’t get away from those blanket statements!!!) they have not read contemporary proponents of Calvinism. Even fewer have studied the primary documents of the reformers. That is the fundamental reason so many strawman complaints exist against Calvinism. I can see how that would come across as over-intellectualism or elitism, but it really seems rather practical.

If I wanted to know how to become a campus minister, would it be better to come to you? Or someone who is vocally against campus ministries and has never set a foot on a college campus nor come into contact with anyone who has ever worked as a campus minister? Which would give me the more accurate, honest explanation?


I believe that if each of us take on the responsibility of fostering biblical literacy in our own home (my two older daughters have had a passion for scripture instilled in them and they were both Bible Drill winners, State and Region) & congregation we will see amazing things take place for the kingdom of God.

I agree, more than you could possibly imagine. I am experiencing this in my own life, congregation, and friendships.

Part of bringing up anti-Calvinistic tendencies is the fact that many of the reformed leaders of the SBC are proposing, and in many cases, actually doing something about it.

I used to attend Southern Seminary, and I lived in the same building which temporarily housed the central office for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I heard of several pastors who agreed with the concept, but would not participate simply because it was on Southern’s campus and included people like John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Al Mohler, Bruce Ware, R.C. Sproul, Chad Brand, etc.

It certainly isn’t a solely reformed and Calvinistic program, but people reject because these people are involved. Likewise, I fear you are being overly critical of what I have said simply because I hold to Calvinism, and are not trying to understand what I'm saying. My own attitude towards you has caused me to rethink my responses.

Even this post would have come before midnight if not for the need to erase and start over after rereading your posts to gain a better understanding.

John said...

Dear John Wootten,

Hi. I really apprecite your desire to be the one who will break through to Morgan. But we have this 800 pound gorilla in the room: He broke the third commandment and just expects us to forget about it. We can't do that. Unless he repents and apologizes (which would, at minimum, entail deleting his blasphemy), then the only subject we have to discuss with him is, "Have you repented yet?" That's what the Lord Jesus' command in Matthew 18:15-17 is about (a command that Morgan doesn't believe in following). If we just let his sin pass, just let him change the subject, then we enable his sin. We thus become participants in it.

Andrew has reported that now Morgan is threatening to sue him. Morgan needs serious pastoral help.

John said...

Also James,

See Andrew and my comments (especially my summary at a 12:08 AM posting) at the "Resolution Failed" thread (I think) about Morgan.

May I kindly poke your ribs about "pithy"?!
jc

Morgan Owen said...

Wootten,

This is the kind of dialogue that Glorifies God. I feel like we have sat down eye to eye.

I would like correct your understanding of one of my statements. I said:

What scares me the most about those Pro-Calvinists that I have met (and its been alot), the view is you have to believe like me or you have no understand of doctrine.

I was not speaking about all of those across the US, but rather I was describing those who I have personally come in contact with.


As far as your statement:

If I wanted to know how to become a campus minister, would it be better to come to you? Or someone who is vocally against campus ministries and has never set a foot on a college campus nor come into contact with anyone who has ever worked as a campus minister? Which would give me the more accurate, honest explanation?

I would love to talk with you about the process, challenges and joys of working with college students. As you have probably already figured out (thanks, Andrew & John), I serve in TN and could set up a time to meet with you. There are some basic steps. But I would talk with others from other ministries. I have some personal friends who serve with RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) who would be a good resource of advise.

I hope that if God is calling you that direction, you run with all you are because it truly is a blessing to serve.

John Wootten said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Wootten said...

John,

Hi. I really apprecite your desire to be the one who will break through to Morgan.

I never volunteered to be the "one." I think we all would have "broken through" to him had we taken the time to respond firmly and gracefully. (I personally believe most responses to him have been in the spirit of the law, not the spirit of grace.)I've been posting in blogs and online message boards for almost 6 years now, and one thing I've learned is that it is next to impossible to convey emotions because the "hearing" is done in the minds of the reader and gets filtered through all kinds of presuppositions.

That's one of the things I was discussing with Mr. Owen. His experiences with other Calvinists are clouding his ability to approach us in a fair and balanced way without reading into our posts the attitudes he percieves many Calvinists of having.


But we have this 800 pound gorilla in the room:

Reading your post without this particular comment makes it so much easier for me to respond with a gentle answer.


He broke the third commandment and just expects us to forget about it. We can't do that. Unless he repents and apologizes (which would, at minimum, entail deleting his blasphemy), then the only subject we have to discuss with him is, "Have you repented yet?"

I have a few questions about this. I'm not being facetious or patronizing, I just simply want to know your take on it. Is there a categorization for which types of sins are to be confronted through church discipline, and which types do not need to be confronted under Matthew 18 and would still enable dialogue and fellowship?

Does it depend on whether the sin is found in Exodus 20?

I ask, because the reaction to the post in question is largely based on a specific interpretation of the 3rc Commandment. I think I agree with you, and would add that other violations would be those billboards with a message signed by "God," as well as movies which depict Jesus(also possible 2nd Commandment), and professed Christians who openly support conspicuous sin.

That being said, I do believe that is was wrong of Mr. Owen to make such a statement, and sign the Lord's name to is. But I think his attitude toward fellow believers in this blog per his initial posts was equally sinful.

I'm not ignoring or downplaying the reality of his sin, but this is a blog, not a church body. My fellowship with Mr. Owen is based on nothing but pure technological providence from God. I don't live in his area of Tennessee, and I don't think these two sins require us to chastise him in such a public way. Especially since it is unclear as to how closely the process for discipline was adhered to per Matthew 18.

And if being a sinner and having difficulty showing grace and humility in a public forum disqualifies one from being able to participate, then you really shouldn't be talking to me, as I am often the same way.


That's what the Lord Jesus' command in Matthew 18:15-17 is about (a command that Morgan doesn't believe in following). If we just let his sin pass, just let him change the subject, then we enable his sin. We thus become participants in it.

According to Matthew 18, did you or anyone else attempt to contact him privately prior to posting all kinds of verses, proclaiming his need to repent, etc?

Then when that didn't work, did you or anyone else get together with one or two other posters at this blog and again approach him in private?

In my understanding of Matthew 18, this entire process should have been carried out prior to publicly rebuking him before anyone who could read this blog.

If you have been faithful to the Lord's teaching on this subject, just say so and I will believe you. You do not need to display the emails or anything like that, since they are private.

John Wootten said...

Morgan,

I can see you truly are passionate about serving college students. The Lord is leading me to work with High-Schoolers, so you get them as soon as I'm done with them :)

My comment there was just a tangent explaining the need to understand Calvinism from a Calvinist. Otherwise, there is too much opportunity for misinformation. That's why I want discussion. Not for the sole purpose of seeing Calvinism spread, but for people to know and understand and consider it.

I was just thinking about this as I read a newspaper article about Myspace.com, and the author was so careful to correctly and specifically explain how Myspace is set up and run (it was about the legal responsibility over sex-offenders). But just last week, this same paper ran stories about the SBC annual meeting, and their explanation of Calvinism was, let's say, less than accurate.

John said...

Dear john wooten,

Thanks for some intelligent interaction!

You ask: "I have a few questions about this. I'm not being facetious or patronizing, I just simply want to know your take on it. Is there a categorization for which types of sins are to be confronted through church discipline, and which types do not need to be confronted under Matthew 18 and would still enable dialogue and fellowship?"

I don't have an easy or ready answer to this. Perhaps we ought to have a church discipline thread to discuss it. I'd suggest such books as "Polity" (edited by Mark Dever), a compilation of Baptist writings on polity, including issues of discipline. Also, Gregory Wills "Democractic Religion." I would assume, at this stage, however, that a clear violation of one of the 10 commandments qualifies.

Others in the past (in "Polity", I think), have noted that when a sin is in public, the rebuke can be in public. Morgan did initiate a private e-mail correspondance with me which was just as combative and insulting as his public posts. When I challenged to repent or stop sending me e-mails, he felt he had to get in "one last jab."

I think if we feel the same kind of zeal for God's honor that is held up as exemplary in the Bible (especially in the "case law" that illustrates the working out of the 10 commandments), then we would be so full of indignation that we simply couldn't discuss anything else with Morgan until he got that right. If someone insulted my wife, and then wanted to switch topics, started discussing sports or politics or theology, I simply could not carry on that discussion until we got reconciled over the insult to my wife. Why should we feel less love for the glory of God?

By the way, I appreciate your graciousness.

Morgan Owen said...

John,

You closed out your last statement with:

"I think if we feel the same kind of zeal for God's honor that is held up as exemplary in the Bible (especially in the "case law" that illustrates the working out of the 10 commandments), then we would be so full of indignation that we simply couldn't discuss anything else with Morgan until he got that right."

Be it as it may, much of this has to deal with a difference in the interpretation of the 3rd Commandment. Which brings be to this question?

In light of the accusations you have made against me, the names you have called me, the suggestion for special help, and the false statement of harassment, could it be said that you have crossed the line of the 9th Commandment "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor"?

Using your process mentioned above, would it be proper to suggest that those in this discussions should "be so full of indignation that we simply couldn't discuss anything else with" John "until he got that right." Will you repent for the way you have handled this? Or will you wait for me to apologize before you can apologize?

I'll let you in on a secret... I have already forgiven you and Andrew.

John said...

Dear Morgan,

Hi. I sincerely believe you need some serious psychological and pastoral help. That's not meant as an insult but a hope that you get some kind of intervention in your life soon.

You intentionally come to a site to argue. And then you make this incredible statement:

"In light of the accusations you have made against me, (1) the names you have called me, (2) the suggestion for special help, (3) and the false statement of harassment, (4) could it be said that you have crossed the line of the 9th Commandment "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor"?"

(1) Name one "name" I have called you.
(2) Your behavior, especially the compulsion to attack, the harassing e-mails, etc., show you need help.
(3) You first initiated an insulting e-mail correspondance and you were eventually warned not to contact me again and if you did so you would be reported to your ISP. If you are going to deny this (as you have above), then I can post the copies of your e-mails (including the "one last jab" that you had to get in after being told not to contact me again).
(4) You've accused me of making a false accusation. I have the proof. Are you going to admit that you lied above and so added a breech of the 9th commandment to your violation of the 3rd?

You said you would not post here again. You broke that commitment. Why are you under such a compulsion to come here and argue?

Morgan Owen said...

John,

Just to help with your memory to your questions:

1) I can mention several names you called me
a) gorilla
b) smart aleck
c) disturbed individual

2) I must admit that there were times that I took some of my statements too far. But you must admit, you conveyed a spirit of attack as well.

3) Your threat to contact the ISP was due to the fact that I attempted to contact you to discuss this issue one on one. You called this harassment.

This point is important.

Why did you reject the very process that you were defending??


Matthew 18 clearly states to go to your brother, one on one. You rejected the very process that you defended and claimed that I called it stupid (which you know I didn't call the Matthew 18 process stupid--I called the motion enforcing all SBC churches to action stupid. Instead of discussing this issue, you stonewalled and could not get beyond the 3rd commandment issue. You would not give understanding to the interpretation of Exodus 20. (Keep in mind that the one who is supposed to initiate the discipline is the one who was offended, and instead it was the one who supposedly did the offending who sought restoration in the conversation.)
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother." Matthew 18:15 (ESV)

You never came to me one on one via email. Your desire was to begin the discipline process at the later steps including others, in a PUBLIC FORUM.

Its a shame that you even helped increase the level of intensity that led another blogger to take action to put my personal information on this blog. And when another blogger questions his motive, he attempts to water down the impact of his actions. The person Andrew mentioned on the post is not a peer who could correct me---the person is my personal supervisor. Thus, this was with malicious intent.

The final step in Matthew 18 is to ignore the person in the congregation (completely ignore his/her postings on the blog), not go to his/her employer to get the person fired. So you have taken unbiblical steps in your process of discipline.

Your final statement refers to one of the private emails sent to you. The PROOF--My exact words were:

"I will PROBABLY not return to
the forum as a participant but will check back to make sure my name is not smeared."

No where did I say I would DEFINITELY not post again.
Because of your consistant attack and the escalation of jeapordizing my ministry, I had to respond.

I have forgiven you and Andrew for the actions on this blog. This is just to help you see things clearly.