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

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


Anonymous A 10-40 Worker said...

Big Daddy,

How can anyone repent for anything other than their own actions? From my reading of all that was said in Memphis and since, there was acknowledgement of wrongs done in the past, but the "Memphis 30" were repenting for their own activities, or lack of same.

3:05 AM

Blogger JUSTAMOE said...

Glad you're able to talk about your observations and feelings about them. At the end of the day, you still have to move forward making progress. So does everyone else--when you look around, you'll still see everyone you otherwise have had a problem with (not a criticism here; just a truth).

Dissent lets us speak up and out; it doesn't let any of us not choose our brothers in Christ--as you essentially indicate in your post. Can you forgive, choose not to remember, and get on with kingdom work cooperatively?

5:24 AM

Blogger art rogers said...

Big Daddy,

I am sympathetic for the pain you obviously experienced. I truly am sorry for any part I played in the culture of politics within an organization that was intended to advance the Gospel.

I don't apologize for my beliefs, but neither do I want you to apologize for yours.

Let me answer a few of your points.

The ladies to whom you refer as "token," are both former IMB trustees and active in national SBC leadership for years. They had more credibility in that meeting than the vast majority of us who had never served nationally.

You asked where we were in the 80's and then said: "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?"

In the 80's I was a teenager and was mostly unaware of what was going on. Ben is in his early 20's - newborn when this stuff started. Tom Ascol, one of the brightest minds in the room, said that he opposed the tactics at the time and had his career threatened. He was "blackballed." He said that he was a preacher nobody wanted and he went to a church nobody wanted and they have been together happily for twenty years. He could have been a Seminary President, but was unwilling to play that game. Ben Cole could have been a Seminary President as well, but also gave up his brilliant academic career to oppose these tactics. Others have their stories.

Yes. We are reaping the fruits of our silence, which is the constriction of cooperation to the point of uniformity. Conservatives take that statement as a repudiation of the authority of the Bible, but it isn't. Moderates take that statement as "too little, too late."

No. We did not speak soon enough. We can do what we can do, which is to act now. I don't believe that this is hypocrisy, but repentance for wrong actions. Actions that you point out.

This is not about Paige, but about us. I can't repent for Paige or anyone else for anything anybody alleges they've done.

This is not about our belief in the Bible, but about how we treat others who don't interpret the Bible as we do.

Because your comment was on a thread that was not directly related to this topic, I deleted it. I will, however, post a main page reference to this post of yours. I hope you think this is fair.

7:02 AM

Blogger art rogers said...

Excuse me, but I should have said that Ben Cole was born AFTER this stuff started.

7:19 AM

Blogger Kevin Bussey said...


Where was I? I was in high school when the takeover started. I went to a SBC University (that is no longer SBC) that had profs that were Godly and some who taught some not so Godly stuff.

Where was I when SWBTS was taken over in 1994? Where was I when Dr. Dilday was canned? I was protesting outside the trustees meeting along with Art Rogers.

I'm sorry people lost their jobs. But to call those in Memphis hypocrites is off base. They (and I have signed since) are repenting of only what we are guilty of. All we can do is move on from now and learn from the past.

7:35 AM

Blogger Taran said...

Big Daddy!

I very much appreciate a Baptist poster who referenced Dogma. Well done.

I will continue the roll call and let you know that I was 10 when the resurgence started. I was at SWBTS when Dilday was fired. Although I was not at the trustees door (as Art and Kevin were) I was on Dilday's doorstep the next day with hundreds of other students, praying for him and for the convention.

Ultimately though, you are right. We can only repent for our own actions. Several of my friends and mentors no longer have a role in SBC life and that grieves me. Some of them are holding out hope for apologies from actions taken a decade ago.

I am sorry that you experienced this pain first hand. I hope that the Lord will bless your ministry and your work in law school.

9:19 AM

Blogger Paul said...

I was 14 and I can assure you that I was thinking much more about girls than about some wrinkledy old judge and an upstart Bible College professor. I was planning on being an architect (the real kind, not the convention kind) and making the freshman basketball team.

You may well call the actions of some who were on the front-lines of the "resurgence" hypocrisy, but by definition repentance is a turning away. King David was a huge hypocrite when Nathan confronted him and told him that little story about a man and his lone sheep. But he soon repented of his hypocrisy. He still reaped the conesquences for his sin and the SBC may still reap the consequences for hers, but it's hard for me to call someone's repentance a bad thing if it really is repentance.

9:47 AM

Blogger JUSTAMOE said...


I wanted to point out, in light of Art's post of today, that NO ONE yet has demonstrated that ANYTHING significantly "moderate" was theological in nature in or prior to 1979 (the Peace Committee found something--but, essentially, almost NOTHING). It was, instead, POLITICAL--meaning that, one day and probably soon, we'll look the Lord Jesus Christ in the eyes and answer to Him for something seriously done wrong to His Body for no good reason. I'm not willing to risk that anymore, and I can't believe anyone reading these blogs WITH COMPREHENSION is willing to do so either.

We all need to get along now--and not just for Jesus' sake, but for OURS!

10:50 AM

Blogger art rogers said...


Sorry you couldn't post this at 12 Witnesses. I had problems with blogger all day yesterday, and who knows what is happening there.

I wanted to let you know that I copied and pasted your words and posted them for you.

11:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While many of you still seem to be "fighting the good fight", defined as fighting each other, others of us have pretty much moved on. The last great institution, SBC missionaries, that has caused many of us to hang on to SBC ties seems to be on the verge of collapse. The SBC "morals" police have been ferreting out the "infidels" who dare to cling to a belief of soul competency (priesthood of the believer).

Let me give an introduction of myself. I am not a professional clegyman. I went to college with intent of going on to Southern Seminary as a music minister as did my brother before me. I can remember from an early age having an awareness of God's presence around me. At 8 years old, I walked the aisle of a Southern Baptist Church (that was so proud of its heritage that it changed its name from FBC to First SOUTHERN Baptist Church in order for us to further distance ourselves from those heretic Indepedent and General Baptists all around our town).

I served as a part-time music minister in a small town during my senior year in college. It was during this time that God began working to show me that He did not intend for me to go on to seminary as I had been preparing to do for the previous 4 years. It was a decision that I questioned God about until He revealed that me that He had enough ministers and needed more "real" people to be the salt and light to the world. As those of you who are professional ministers, you know that those "of the world" believe that ministers act the way you do because you are paid to do so. For the last thirty years since college in the mid-1970's, I have watched the escalation of hostilities among the SBC membership. I had always described myself as a conservative Southern Baptist to identify my Biblical tendencies rather than using the term to identify a political position within the SBC. When I was growing up, the SBC President was a man that was chosen as an example of Godly attributes and Godly wisdom. No one ran for the presidency. It was something bestowed on him by the messengers to the Annual Convention and it was unusual for a person to serve as President beyond one term as I recall. There were no benefits or powers assigned to the holder of that office.

While I was in college and active in the BSU, I began to hear rumors of "liberals" teaching at our seminaries. My opinion was that of any good conservative Southern Baptist that such persons should be removed immediately. I didn't know names of any of them and I didn't personally know any liberal Southern Baptist. No REAL Southern Baptist would ever be liberal in interpreting the scipture. That's how naive I was. I thought "liberal" was a tag placed on anyone actually daring to misinterpret God's Word. As the lines for the control of the SBC formed, I still called myself a Conservative thinking myself to be somewhere in the middle---not Fundamentalist and certainly not a Liberal. Then the lines became blurred as the Fundamentalists become "Conservatives" and anyone automatically became a "Moderate", interpreted as "liberal" by the new "Conservatives". For the most part, none of the fight was really over Biblical interpretation but along the lines of what Paul wrote to Titus: "...avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless."

A few years ago, my pastor and I had occasion to visit with a Jewish lady who was married to one of our members. When we introduced ourselves by name and then by church (First Baptist), her respose was immediate, "Oh, you're like Jerry Falwell who says all Jews are going to hell." This was before the Rev. Falwell was welcomed into the SBC fellowship as one of their own. My response to her at the time was, just as there are different Jewish sects, there are many different kinds of Baptists. The kind of Baptist that Jerry Falwell is, is NOT the kind we are representing. Unfortunately, I can no longer say this to be true.

Our leadership has sold us out from our traditional roots as Baptists. No longer do they wish to espouse the priesthood of the believer, unity through diversity in the SBC, the seperation of church and state, etc. The methods of worldly politics have been employed to bring others to comply with their goals of domination/control or have been hatefully forced out. The focus of our leadership has been a worldly vision of domination rather than the Vision given by Jesus we all know as the Great Commission. Some would argue this to be untrue but I would call attention to where the majority of the efforts of Southern Baptist leadership have gone and that is to their vision of purifying the Fellowship of the SBC. They might as well have issued everyone uniforms as we were required to "swear in". We have an SBC that no longer recognizes that we are "all sinners saved by grace" and I among the greatest of these. We have an SBC that proudly condemns homosexuals and abortionists while publicly announcing that we are targeting Jews and Muslims for salvation during our annuals Conventions and then wonders why we have little effect on reaching these groups who are singled out in a whole world that needs to hear about the God who loves us with an everlasting love and offers grace unconditionally to those who will accept it as a gift from Him. Jesus was known as "a friend of sinners" and the religously disenfranchised of His day were drawn to Him. The church of today who is supposed to represent Christ as His Ambassadors (and yes, I was an RA, too!), but the sad fact is that those we need to reach are repulsed by our lack of reflecting the one who embraced those who needed Him the most.

I could go on and on and I guess that I have. You may now tag whatever label you wish to me. I call myself by the label in regards to the SBC, Dismembered.

4:06 PM

Blogger D.R. said...

Justamoe, I am sure I am pretty far behind this discussion, but just in case you haven't gotten an answer about theological problems in the SBC prior to the takeover, I wrote a paper about this in Seminary and would be willing to send it to you if you would like. Please stop by my website and post a comment on my latest post with an email address and I will send it to you as an attached file.

11:12 PM

Anonymous Steven Gregg said...

Regarding Dismembered's posting, I made the post and being new to blogging (my first blog post was this one), I inadvertently clicked chose the "anonymous" button. As I disregard and detest anonymous letters which have little credibility in my opinion, I wanted to set the record straight.

8:30 AM


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