A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Frank Page Presents: Trouble With The Tulip!

After a grueling 18 holes of Miniature Golf this afternoon in the miserably hot Waco heat, I decided to crack open a Diet Pepsi, read some email, and visit a few blogs. Eventually I made my way over to the SBCOutpost where I learned that Frank Page has entered the race to be the next President of the Southern Baptist Convention!

Woo Hoo. This South Georgia boy can now state that he has met a Presidential Candidate for the SBC! Ok, I take that back. Daniel Vestal ran in 1990. I met him. Let me rephrase…I am now proud to announce that this South Georgia boy has met a Fundamentalist Presidential Candidate for the SBC! Woo Hoo.

The year was 2001. Maybe 2000. At the time, I was a senior at Vidalia High School but taking college courses at rootin tootin Brewton-Parker College (a now fundy institution of higher learning). Every now and then, I attended chapel in the mornings. The chairs at the Saliba Chapel were quite comfy and served as a great place for me to rest my eyes in between classes. The Dr. Frank S. Page was speaking to a sleepy crowd that day. He began his rant about all things inerrant – I quickly woke up. Same ole Same ole...

Afterwards, I walked up front, shook the Dr.’s hand, and grabbed a copy of his recently republished book “Trouble With The Tulip: A Closer Examination of The Five Points of Calvinism.” Dr. Page had already signed the inside cover for me!!! I skimmed the book that night. Back in high school, I absolutely LOVED reading short books – especially the Dr.’s 70-page rant on the dangers of Calvinism!

Today, after reading Marty Duren’s post on SBCOutpost, I crawled up into the attic in search of Dr. Page’s scholarly work. After a 20 minute hunt, I found “Trouble With the Tulip” stuffed in a plastic container full of Bernstein Bears and Hardy Boy Books. Classics.

I re-read Dr. Page’s book. For Calvinists (ahem, 19th century Baptists) – Page is no crowd pleaser. Here’s some quotes straight from his book…

The downside of this resurgence (of Calvinism) is that many people are falling into a trap set long ago. Manmade doctrines always fail. When any person or person begins to adhere to the teachings of one person, they join the company of many others who have made this serious mistake. It is most grievous to see a large number of individuals accept without question the doctrine of John Calvin in regards to salvation. (P. 73-74)

If one does follow the logic of Calvinism, then a missionary or evangelistic spirit is unnecessary. If irresistible grace is the truth, then there is no need to share Christ with anyone, since those persons whom God has elected are irresistibly going to be drawn into His kingdom anyway. If one studies the pages of history, one will see that Calvinistic theology (Five Point) has encouraged a slackening of the aggressive evangelistic and missionary heartbeat of the church. All too often, this precious spirit of concern and urgency is replaced by a cold, logical, haughty spirit. (P. 74-75)

Herschel Hobbs said it well when he described John 3:16 “For God so loved the world (not certain ones in it), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime) believeth (an act of man’s free will) in Him should not perish (be lost, destroyed, or go to hell), but have everlasting life.” God’s Word is clear. Let it speak for itself. (P. 76)

I want to very clearly state that my intention in this book is not simply to disprove the philosophical system of Calvinism, though I believe that will occur. Instead of adhering to a system of logic, which many seek to do or adhering in blind devotion to the teachings of any one scholar, as some are prone to do, I propose that we look to God’s Word for His clear teaching. (P. 7)

There are many persons belonging to churches that officially believe “five point” Calvinism. Many of them express surprise when they are told what their church truly believes. I would like to challenge all who truly believe in five point Calvinism to stop being closet Calvinists! If you truly believe these doctrines, then let others know about it. They need to know what you believe. (P. 42)

Calling all Calvinists and Closet Calvinists – How bout dem Apples? Will a Frank Page Presidency be inclusive of all-you Piper Fanatics? Pretty strong language from Page.

Whaddya Think?

So you’re left with two options: Fireman Floyd or the Anti-Calvinist himself, Dr. Frank S. Page..

Friday, May 12, 2006

Definition of Dissent???

My intention is not to rag on Ben Cole. He was always nice to me during my stint at Baylor. Indeed, Ben is a very colorful, pleasant, and articulate person. However, Ben has become very visible in recent weeks especially on the subject of "dissent."

On April 17th, Robert Marus of the Associated Baptist Press reported that Ben Cole plans to introduce a resolution on "Baptist dissent" during this summer's annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Click HERE to read the whole story...

Lets check out some quotes by Mr. Cole...

"It is unconscionable that Baptists would move away from our cherished distinctives” of individual freedom and the right of dissent"

"We regard all attempts to silence principled dissent by fellow Baptists within our denomination, or of any religious minority, as a compromise of our cherished Baptist witness and an egregious disservice to the Kingdom of God."

"We affirm dissenters both within our denomination and without who raise objection to articles of our confession, policies of our institutions, and governance of our agencies when that dissent has been voiced in a manner consistent with the teaching of Jesus Christ."

Southern Baptists “recognize majorities are not always right, and it is necessary for the voice of dissent -- the minority voice -- to be welcomed and heard if we are not to become authoritarian in our doctrinal confession or tyrannical in our denominational governance.”

WHAT IS SOUTHERN BAPTIST DISSENT? Where does this Dissent begin? Where does this Dissent end?

Dissent on What?

Alcohol but not Inerrancy?
Calvinism but not the Role of Women (within the Church and Home)?
Capital Punishment but not Abortion and Homosexuality?
Private Prayer Language but not Tongues in Church?

Is dissent permissible when it comes to topics within the BFM 2000?

What struck me about the above quotes was that Ben Cole’s remarks could have been said by any Moderate in the 80’s or any Moderate TODAY! Moderate remarks indeed!

Apply your remarks consistently to all of your Baptist sisters and brothers and some real progress might yet be had from this Memphis get-together.

If not, my original assertion is proved true once again……….

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And that, my friends, is hypocrisy...

Recently, a group of guys (and two gals) met in Memphis to express their displeasure over what they called a "narrowing of cooperation through exclusionary theological and political agendas" in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Please read Greg Warner's article on the meeting at the
Associated Baptist Press...

Here's a snippet from the "Declaration"

"We publicly repent of triumphalism about Southern Baptist causes and narcissism about Southern Baptist ministries which have corrupted our integrity in assessing our denomination bureaucracy, our churches, and our personal witness in light of the sobering exhortations of Scripture.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to a renewed pledge to integrity demonstrated by accountability in our denomination, both before God and each other, lest in preaching the meekness of our Lord to others we ourselves will be found guilty of wicked, sinful pride."

Like the "13th Disciple" Rufus said in DOGMA -
"And that, my friends, is hypocrisy..."

Let's define hypocrisy: SBC young-conservatives belly-aching about the power politics used by the Patterson led SBC dictatorship...

These fellas (don't forget the two token women) are a joke. You claim you believe in dissent NOW, but why weren't you shouting for the right for dissent during the Fundamentalist Takeover of the 80's? The sound of silence is deafening...

Aren't you just a bit hypocritical? Hmm...perhaps moderate dissent was not really dissent? Their dissent was heresy, or so you say. Beggars can't be choosers, boys. Dissent hasn't changed its definition. What moderates were doing was dissenting from Patterson's Fundy group (which includes the kind crafters of the Memphis Declaration...you). But where were you then? Dissent was not allowed and you were fine with the decision not to allow dissent.

One of the crafters of the Memphis Declaration is a man named
Ben Cole. Mr. Cole is the pastor of Parkview Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas. Cole is also a graduate student at Baylor University. A former guest of Patterson's "smoke-filled backrooms," Cole has been described by his friends as a "self serving jerk in the past." However, his enemies have accused the Reverend Cole of having a "personal vendetta" against Paige Patterson.

Recently Cole blogged at
SBC Outpost: "I believe the SBC is in trouble. I believe that I have been part of the problem..."

In another
entry, Cole confessed his sins...

"Several years ago, I went to work for the International Mission Board in order to gather information about Church Planting Methodologies. As a result of the data I gathered and the questions I raised, good men lost their jobs. For this I am deeply grieved..."

"I have repented of having had anything to do with schemes to discredit the administration of Jerry Rankin. For several years I was a part of a daily conversation in Wake Forest, NC, that sought to undermine Jerry Rankin's leadership at the IMB."

"Because of number 3 above, I refused to go on payroll at Southwestern Seminary in February of 2004 when a job was offered to me. The proposed job was to listen to audio-recordings of Jerry Rankin and to cull them for suspicious charismatic theology. I flatly rejected the offer, and went on with my ministry."

During the Fundamentalist Takeover, Cole and the Memphis Declaration Gang helped suppress dissent because it did not fit their agenda. But now that they aren't on the same page with Patterson anymore - they want to dissent. Aren't you getting EXACTLY what you used to dish out?

Cole says he repented of his "sins." Great. Good for him. But real repentance would also say you now repent for the power plays the Patterson group pulled during the Fundamentalist Takeover...

Real dissent is when you look at moderates you excluded and say, “I now see why you said the right to dissent was a Baptist distinctive.”

Guess what: Patterson is the consistent one here. He used power plays then and still does (according to members of the Memphis gang). You want to repent of some of the power plays, but not all.

While the Reverend Cole and the Memphis Gang are on their knees repenting...perhaps they will repeat this short little prayer...

"Oh Dear God, I ask forgiveness for some of my sins, the ones that are stopping me from climbing the SBC ladder."

Fundamentalists like Cole's Memphis Gang have always said that the end justifies the means. Beating heresy (moderates) was the end, so any means necessary was permissible in the "Holy War." So how is Patterson acting any different now? If you want to act different, good, but remember that you employed the ends and means argument during the Fundamentalist Takeover and you have NOT repented of that.

Until you repent of that tactic - it is best to call your stance Hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy at its finest Folks...

“Fundamentalism developed as a reaction to liberalism/modernism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Adherents vowed to fight for the “fundamentals” of the faith. Typically this included a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, miracles, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the virgin birth. Fundamentalists emphasized the importance of beliefs – doctrinal orthodoxy – and accountability usually through the use of creeds. Fundamentalism also refers to an attitude of no compromise and no toleration of dissent. In contrast to conservatives who often have similar doctrinal convictions but are willing to find unity of mission amidst diversity, fundamentalists adopt a “my way or no way” attitude toward cooperation. Or as some say it, the only way to cooperate with a fundamentalist is to obey him. For much of the twentieth century, militant fundamentalists were also independent from denominations. In the context of the Southern Baptist conflict, the moderates argued that their opponents were fundamentalists for their insistence upon inerrancy, creedal conformity and allegiance to the political agenda of the “takeover” leaders. "

Aaron Weaver

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