The SBC Continental Divide

Posted: June 21, 2007 in Uncategorized

I was reading on the blogs just the other day about one blogger’s description of various issues. This blogger, and I cannot for the life of me remember who it was, described an issue by referencing their time at the Continental Divide. The comments were about placing one’s feet on each side of the Continental Divide and realizing the water that melted from the snow under the left foot went to one ocean and the snow under the right foot went to another ocean. I thought that was a very perceptive insight into every situation one finds themselves. It is rumored there is a Continental Divide within the SBC and the motion passed on the BF&M sets forth a case for the rumor.

Let me illustrate by pointing to another example that I have seen on the internet. This example is a blog article that popped up when I went into WordPress.com. (**Warning** This site contains some pretty graphic language relating to the effects of a medication. I only refer to this site because it is a source for my thoughts. This reference is merely designed in order that I do not plagiarize.) It seems that there is a new diet pill, named alli, on the market that is being promoted and grabbed up by every obese person that ever wanted to lose weight. However, notice something important about this over-the-counter medication.

You see, there’s (1)what the drug company markets it as, (2)the medical description of what it does and (3)the biggest effect you’re actually going to notice.

The drug company markets it as a weight loss pill. They say it will give “safe, effective weight loss”. Because it’s FDA approved it must be good. What could possibly go wrong?

A simplified medical description of the drug is that it’s a fat blocker. It stops your body from absorbing some of the fat in your diet. It doesn’t burn calories. But fat that would have otherwise been absorbed by your body… isn’t. Because fat contains calories less calories will go into your body.

It is the #3 item I need to explain because the article uses graphic, vulgar language to explain the side effects treatment effects. The result of this, that the drug company refers to as “bowel changes”, means that your feces changes into oil and it makes you incontinent. You become gaseous and believe you are about to pass gas, but you end up squirting oil. It seems that the drug company allows for this by explaining it this way;

The excess fat that passes out of your body is not harmful. In fact, you may recognize it as something that looks like the oil on top of a pizza. Eating a low-fat diet lowers the chances of these bowel changes. You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it’s probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work.

C an you imagine the spin placed out there by the drug company? Isn’t it amazing that they compare the oil produced by your body to the oil on top of a pizza? If that is the same oil, I will never eat another pizza. Also, they advise you to, not only wear dark pants, but to keep a change of clothes with you. If I have to waddle into Heaven with Brother Ben Cole’s resolution on gluttony tattooed to my chest, I will not take this pill to lose weight.

Tying it Together

I have been told that the leadership of the convention is not together. Brother Jeremy Green also deals with this issue of a divide in our Great Commission Council. **SEE UPDATE BELOW FOR THE CORRECT RENDERING OF THIS SENTENCE.** However, any attempt on my part to determine if the leaders are together would be purely speculation and thus result in gossip. I will not attempt to explain if there is a division among those who lead us. However, there is no doubt that there are differing ideas. Dr. Chapman’s version of the use of the BF&M by trustee boards is quite clearly different than Dr.’s Mohler, Kelly, Patterson, Land, Roberts, and Akin. I use these heads of agencies because I did not hear any other heads of agencies address this issue.

How does this alleged divide play into the SBC landscape? It seems that others are trying to place Dr. Akin in an opposite position than that of the others mentioned. I would agree with the article of fellow Pastor/blogger Brother Micah Fries that Dr. Akin did not use as passionate language as Dr. Mohler, but he did say the same thing. Others have tried to paint him as saying something opposite. here here Which brings me to the advertisement for the diet pill.

What is the Real Meaning?

If you will notice in this ad, the drug company painted it the way they wanted it to be painted and depended on the office of the FDA to enhance their movement. What they did not tell you was that your bathroom needs would increase dramatically, not to mention your clothes cleaning bill.

What does it mean if the leaders in our convention are divided? It means that they do not see eye-to-eye on things and that to anyone who has been in Baptist life means they are Baptist. To those outside of the SBC it means that some predictions long ago are coming to fruition. Therefore, some are ready to hook their horses to the cart of dividing forces and roll their way back into the city of the SBC in a Trojan Horse. This Trojan Horse has the appearance of being a gift and it looks so innocent that to accept it and bring it inside would only help. It appears some leaders view the discontent of some within our ranks as such a gift. They see this gift, it appears, as one they can use to build their circle of influence. Others are correctly, IMO, discerning this discontent as what it is–a Trojan Horse full of the possibility of spilling open with every neo-orthodoxy practice that gained its way into the pre-1979 convention. It appears that Dr. Adrian Rogers felt not all those he opposed in the Convention would deny the inerrancy of the Bible. He said on page 166 of his book Love Worth Finding; “The moderate is a person who may believe the Bible to be without error, but who also believes in inclusivism. Also, some have said they do not desire leadership positions, but they court various leaders in order to make their voices heard.

The ones that promote the BF&M as being the sufficient guide–meaning nothing more is needed–forget that “On November 10, 1926 the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma voted to withhold Cooperative Program funds from any Southern Baptist Institution or Seminary whose faculty refused to sign the McDaniel Statement.” This was done in order to hold those teaching in our seminaries accountable to what the convention had passed. Let me add the McDaniel Statement said; “the Convention accepts Genesis as teaching that man was the special creation of God, and rejects every theory, evolution or other, which teaches that man originated, or came by way of a lower animal ancestry“, nothing in the McDaniel Statement is vague as “a sufficient guide“. While those that support sufficient guide–meaning it will be consulted and should be consulted as trustees make decision–remember that “Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.

Conclusion

While some would have you believe that we have a divide in our convention, I would like to say I DO NOT BELIEVE IT. I know that we have a difference of opinion. As the water that melts on each side of the Continental Divide ends up in different oceans, some that follow one opinion will end up in a different place than others that follow another opinion. Also, as the diet pill’s side effects treatment effects are not communicated as clearly as they should be, some effects of deciding to make the BF&M as a maximum confessional statement have not clearly been communicated. This is evident by the constant spinning of Dr. Akin’s address. Dr. Akin said the same thing that the other presidents said. It seems the only one that referred to the BF&M in a different way was Dr. Chapman. And while he is my Executive Director, I will humbly disagree with him and allow the convention to make the final decision on exactly what that statement means.

**UPDATE**I have misstated a point referencing Brother Jeremy Green article about a Pandora’s Box.  Brother Jeremy does not state there is a divide on the Great Commission Council and I have not stated that correctly.  What I should have said was; Brother Jeremy Green deals with a difference of opinion from one that serves on the Great Commission Council.  If I in any way misrepresented Brother Jeremy’s assessment I do apologize.

Comments
  1. bigdaddyweave says:

    Brother Tim,

    Let me offer my thoughts on Alli (60mg) – whose prescription strength is known as Xenical (120mg). Like other college students, I packed on the Freshmen 15 (well 20) my first semester. Too much midnight pizza. Well, intramural sports (softball, tennis) came around in the Spring. So on the advice of a friend (who is now pastoring a SBC church), I took Xenical or Xenipoo as we call it.

    It’s a great product. If you cheat on your diet – you WILL pay the price (I did once and never did again). But if you stay low-fat, you’ll never ever experience any side effects. it’s THE deterrent medication. Just had to throw that out there ;-)

  2. OKpreacher says:

    Tim,

    Nice article, but why quote from Jeremy Green. Doesn’t he disagree with your final analysis? He fells the liberal baptists are out to destroy the Southern Baptist Convention and then the world.

    OKpreacher

  3. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother BDW,

    I do not know enough about the medication to clearly argue the point. However, the first time I lose control and end up with fecal oil in my pants I just remain overweight. :>)

    Brother OK Preacher,

    Brother Jeremy and I do not always agree. That is the value of the relationship that we share. We agree and we disagree. My Brother is his own man and when we disagree it certainly has nothing to do with whether we believe the Scripture.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  4. Tim,

    Any xenipoo or allipoo joke makes me laugh very loud. Unfortunately, I’m at work tonight (BU library) and have brought stares upon myself….

  5. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother BDW,

    I will send you some dark pants.

    :>)

    Blessings,
    Tim

  6. lespuryear says:

    Tim,

    I must say that you get the vote for the grossest post of the year. Now I have to go to bed with that picture in my mind. :)

    Les

  7. cbscott says:

    Tim,

    I have no idea about this medication you and Mr. Weave are talking about in this exchange. I did not read the link and now, I don’t think I need to after reading Les’ comment:-)

    I do believe that the report Dr. Akin delivered in San Antonio was the best I heard there and possibly the best seminary report I have ever heard since 1975.

    I am not really concerned with who, among leaders, agrees with him or disagrees. I have not tried to evaluate that in any way. I do believe the goals and the measures by which he stated he desires to lead SEBTS toward said goals is a very positive statement of a seminary president seeking to lead an institution to fulfill the Great Commission. It seems to me that his heart is on focus to make a contribution to the advancement to the Kingdom’s enterprise by educating missionaries, pastors and teachers that are equipped to confront this post modern world with the gospel. If he is successful in his goals I believe Southern Baptist can “shake the gates of Hell” once again as in days of old. May his tribe increase.

    cb

    cb

  8. Tim,

    The article that you are refering to is “The Great Divide” by Gary Ledbetter, Editor of the Southern Baptist Texan. I posted it to my blog a few days ago… perhaps that is where you read it. God bless!!!

    In Christ,
    JLG

  9. Wes Kenney says:

    “You become gaseous and believe you are about to pass gas, but you end up squirting oil.”

    For some reason, I had trouble reading with any comprehension whatever it was that followed that sentence.

    Also, I’m having trouble sleeping now. Thanks…
    ;-)

  10. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Les,

    Sorry you were “grossed out”. :>)

    Brother CB,

    I have viewed Dr. Akin’s seminary report twice since returning home and both times I have been excited about what SEBTS stands for and the direction he is leading her. Let me ask you something. Other than Dr. Akin giving numbers of enrollment and some events that he is planning, did you hear him say anything different that Dr. Mohler concerning his understanding of convention’s vote concerning the BF&M statement?

    Brother Jeremy,

    You are correct! It seems that I have been telling you that on many occasions here lately. Maybe others will begin doing that also. :>)

    Brother Wes,

    This only happens when you take the medicine and do not eat a low fat diet. Unless you have taken the medicine you will be able to sleep comfortably.

    :>)

    Blessings,
    Tim

  11. Joe Stewart says:

    Does the medicine allow for oil changes?

  12. cbscott says:

    Tim,

    I believe (my opinion) is that Dr. Akin spoke as to how he is going to implement the BF&M at SEBTS. I believe (again, my opinion) Dr. Mohler was presenting commentary as to the positives and negitives of the BF&M.

    That is the difference that I observed. Please remember, as I said earlier, I have not truly tried determine as to any disagreement between the two addresses. I do not, frankly, think they made their reports with the thought of a comparision being made between the two.

    I hope I have answered your question properly. If not it is because I am limited to understand the motivations of either Dr. Mohler or Dr. Akin. I do believe they are both competent men in the positions they hold as seminary presidents.

    cb

  13. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Joe,

    I will have to allow Brother Aaron to answer that question, he is the one who has taken the medication. :>)

    Brother CB,

    Thanks for your honest observation. I can see what you are saying as to the difference in the addresses.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  14. Tim G says:

    I finally get the whole thing with this post – you want us to wear Depends at the next SBC! :)

    Ok, I know that was bad but that was the picture I got from the one section.

  15. Paul says:

    Tim,

    Two points: 1) The action of the BGCO in 1926 is exactly how it should work. In that case the churches told the convention what was and was not doctrinally acceptable. In our present case the IMB is telling the churches what is and is not doctrinally acceptable. That is a huge difference and goes to the very heart of the divide we now see.

    2) It seems to me that the one who is most capable of speaking to the meaning of the EC statement that was adopted is the head of the EC, not seminary presidents and Dr. Land. With all due respect what we are seeing is the equivalent of you bringing a motion to the Convention and me standing up afterwards and telling the convention just what you mean by your motion, despite the fact that it might contradict what you yourself have said about your motion.

    By the way, it seems to me that the convention already has said what they mean by the motion. Those who voted against the motion do not get to tell us what it means. I think those who voted in favor of it get that privilege.

  16. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Tim,

    Sorry for the mental picture. I was sitting here watching the 5 o’clock news and saw an advertisement for the weight loss medication that was in my post. I asked Gail if she wanted to order a Pizza. :>)

    Brother Paul,

    I will concede that one who chairs the EC should be able to explain what the statement says. However, he now seems to be backing up and now uses “double-speak” to express his desire to direct the debate. Dr. Chapman says; “Discussing whether the Baptist Faith and Message is a ‘minimal’ statement or an ‘exhaustive’ statement misses its greatest attribute. That attribute is that it is a ‘consensus’ statement that defines Southern Baptist doctrine as believed by the greater whole of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Upon these doctrinal statements, we agree to agree.” This very statement does not make sense. We should not be discussing whether the BF&M is exhaustive or a minimal statement because we miss the whole point!? Either it is exhaustive or it is minimal. Notice that he states the BF&M states where we all agree to agree. However, he seems to overlook the fact that trustees and Missionaries sign the statement then cross out areas where they disagree with what we have said we agree on.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  17. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Paul,

    Sorry for ending the last comment so abruptly. Gail called me to supper and when that happens everything stops on my end. :>)

    Allow me to end that last comment. Because Dr. Chapman appears to overlook the fact that we have trustees and M’s that sign the BF&M but then cross out the areas they do not agree with, it appears it is not a statement that we have all agreed to agree.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  18. Paul says:

    I don’t believe Dr. Chapman has either backed up or contradicted himself. To say the BF&M is our “consensus” statement is to say something different than to say that it is a minimum or maximum statement. In his article he isn’t addressing whether or not it is a minimum or maximum statement.

    As to your other point, if Dr. Chapman is stating that it is our consensus statement then why would he require a person sign off on every little jot and tittle? The very definition of “consensus” according to Websters is: 1. general agreement; the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned; 2. group solidarity in sentiment and belief (“solidarity” being defined as unity, not uniformity). If David Rogers can agree with 17 of the 18 articles of the BF&M – and substantially agrees with the other one except in the area of whether or not communion is open or closed – then I think we can safely say that he is in solidarity with Southern Baptists in sentiment and belief. The same goes for Wade and/or anyone else who may have a minor disagreement here or there with the BF&M.

    Let me also say that I think it is utter theological insanity to suggest (as some have actually done) that every article in the BFM is as “essential” as another. If someone is going to tell me that the statement on education is equally as essential as the statement on God or salvation then they are a danger to the Christian faith.

  19. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Paul,

    The Missionaries serving with the IMB before 2000 are, as I remember, able to sign with caveats. The Missionaries with the IMB after 2000 are not able to do the same. I believe the reason would be that those before signed the 63 BF&M and were told they needed to sign again. For whatever reason the IMB Administration approved this with the caveats.

    Those serving our convention, whether employed or volunteer should be in agreement with the BF&M without caveats. That is the reason I made the motion to change the ByLaws concerning reporting from the Nominating Committee.

    You and I may not agree on this. However, I need to know if you are being nominated as a Trustee and you disagree with the statement on education. Then we can allow the convention to decide.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  20. Paul says:

    Tim,

    I don’t have a problem with the convention deciding whether or not it is appropriate for a nominee for service to express disagreement on a minor issue. I do believe the convention would decide against that and I also believe that would be a terrible mistake, but if that is what the convention decided I would not have a problem with it.

    According to the book of reports churches continue to allocate less and less as a percentage to the CP. When the convention tells our church that no one in our church is qualified any longer for any place of leadership within the convention then our church may well look for other avenues of ministry support. There seems to be somewhat of a trend in that direction as it is. If that is the future the convention chooses for itself then I won’t be crying over spilled milk. God is bigger than the SBC.

  21. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Paul,

    Would you not agree that the convention would not have decided that had Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s nomination last year would not have been the fodder it was for CP giving? If you remember, the EC was the one bringing the recommendation for 10% but then removed the 10% language. Some, Dr. Bob Roberts from Texas, are now advocating that a church is looked at from her overall perspective of missions giving and not just CP giving. Well, it that were the case Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s missions giving would have been through the roof. Where were these voices last year?

    I personally have no problem with the convention demanding that those who serve should be from churches that support the CP, and not just some particular agencies. As far as a trend of supporting other avenues of ministry, that would be a particular church’s decision. The convention would not be telling a church; “you can no longer be part of us”, they would be saying; “you can be part of us, but because you choose to give to other avenues of ministry your desire for God’s Kingdom to be advanced through Southern Baptist appears to be in conflict with decisions that would enable that cause. Because of this conflict, others would be better able to help decide our direction for future advancement.”

    Blessings,
    Tim

  22. Paul says:

    Tim,

    I’m talking about a smaller church like ours that gives generously to the CP but does not believe or practice (and did not before I ever came as pastor, though I agree with them) closed communion and does not require Free Will Baptists to be rebaptized. If the BFM does in fact teach closed communion (and I have my own doubts about that) then no one in our church would be eligible to sign a statement that they “wholeheartedly” support the BFM.

    This isn’t about Bob Roberts or Ronnie Floyd or any other church choosing to support SBC causes in different ways. I know that most are happy for the SBC to continue to be the oligarchy that it is. It just isn’t very Baptist.

  23. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Paul,

    While I disagree with Dr. Chapman on some of his analysis concerning the statement adopted by the convention, he does do a great job of analyzing the BF&M. It is in that statement that he speaks how the BF&M addresses the various doctrinal issues.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  24. Jeff Ventura says:

    Another alli rant here.

    This drug is a trainwreck. Literally.