Have A Fear-filled And Dreadful Christmas: Our Immanuel, Our Brother, Our Refuge

The LORD spoke to me again: “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered;
give ear, all you far countries;
strap on your armor and be shattered;
strap on your armor and be shattered.
Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
speak a word, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.

For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness. (Isaiah 8:5-22 ESV)

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17 ESV)

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2 ESV)

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2 ESV)

Of the things the nations hate the most is the fact that the Father has given a particular people to the Son. Only for them was he born into this world. For some the Christmas story is very good news, for others it means judgement and doom. This little babe was set for the rising of the ones that the Father gave him as an inheritance, those whom he rightly calls brothers, not of this world, born as he, from above. At the same time he is set for the fall of many, a consuming fire, the Judge of all and warrior King. As we read in John 3 this is the way that God loves the world: that the believing ones would be saved, but the unbelieving ones would be condemned. And it was in this way that the world is not judged, that is destroyed, in his first coming, but as we find also, it was by his being born of a virgin, of being Immanuel, that the nations are judged by that coming and will be destroyed because of the world’s rejection of him. In light of the Lord’s name, Jealous, we recall that it is his to take vengeance upon his enemies for the release of his own from their captivity. It was for this purpose, as John 3 reminds us that he was given, a son, whose name is Wonderful, the Mighty God, Teacher, whose government knows no end, who crushes his enemies underfoot and presents to the father (John 17) all those who the Father had given him before the world began.

It is this that Christians celebrate, if indeed they celebrate at all the birth of the Christ. It was this message of dread and fear, and of hope and good news, that bowed the shepherds down and drew them to the Lord’s dawn. On this remembrance of his first advent, what then must be the Christmas message for this world that is perishing, that is being prepared for destruction at his next advent? Is it not this, that today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts, but fear and dread the Lord and not those things that the world fears? Is it not good news that you should repent and believe in this child who was born, lived and died and was resurrected in holiness on your behalf, and show forth that you were in him from the beginnings of the world, prepared as children of the king, given to the Christ child? It is, unless of course you are of those whose condemnation was written about long ago, who are condemned already, who John said hate this light because they love evil, in which case, you will only rage.

I Timothy 4:11-16: Authority Doesn’t Allow No Stinking Opinions

I. Speak with authority and instruct your flock with these truths.

Paul wants Timothy’s proclamation to be authoritative. The first point that Paul makes to Timothy is that his ministry should be authoritative. He’s talking about authoritative proclamation. Notice what he says in verse eleven: “Prescribe and teach these things.” Some of your translations may say “command and teach these things.” That’s a perfectly good translation. It’s a military word that’s being used. “Command” or “prescribe” here is the word that is used to speak of the orders that are given by a superior officer to inferior officers. Paul is saying to Timothy that his proclamation needs to be authoritative.

Do you realize how counter-cultural that is? I’m told by everybody around me today that the pattern of ministry in the Christian church needs to be changed because people don’t like to be “preached at.” They don’t like a sermon. They like dialogue. They like advice. They’re more into the give and take of therapy than they are in the direct proclamation of a lecture or a sermon. And so we’re told on every side the way we go about doing church needs to change, because people don’t like that. Well, I’ve got some news for you: people have never liked this!! There’s never been a time when people liked to have their hearts probed. There’s never been a time where people liked to have somebody discover where they have been weighed in the balance and found lacking. There’s never been a time where people liked to be told ‘you’re dead wrong; you need to go another direction.’

And Paul says that’s exactly what people have always needed, whether they like it or not. So he says, “Timothy, prescribe and teach these things.” In other words, in your preaching, be authoritative. You’re not speaking for yourself. You’re not sharing your opinions. You’re not burdening people with your own idea about life. You’re speaking God’s word to them, so be authoritative about it! And you know what? Because all faithful Christian teaching has with its view the production of a life of fellowship and obedience to God, it’s got to be authoritative because we’re not just speaking the word in order to tell you something new or interesting. We’re not just giving you some fun facts to know and tell. Christian teaching has in view the transformation of life. And so it’s got to be authoritative.

And as Christians, we ought to want to sit under a ministry that is faithful in the authority of its proclamation. That’s something that, if the Lord moves you from this place to another place, that’s something you ought to look for. Not a ministry that’s ‘dialoguing’ with you; not a minister that’s doing a late-night talk show chat on a bar stool; but someone who’s proclaiming authoritatively God’s word. That’s what Paul says we ought to do. This isn’t the opinion of up-tight Presbyterians: this is Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit telling you what God wants in ministry.

via I Timothy 4:11-16 “The Ordinary Means of Grace” Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III.

The sum of Paul’s teaching to Timothy is the faithful transmission of God’s authoritative, inerrant word. One simply cannot claim Christian fellowship with a doctrine of soul competency and liberty of conscience which allows another faith to be held other than that one once and for all delivered to the saints. Personal interpretation is condemned in Scripture. Opinions breed quarrels, and so we see the out working of that in the SBC where war between brothers is the scourge of a peace found only in the freedom to hold a personal opinions as doctrine rather than that one faith held out by Scripture.

This is no other than what Paul taught elsewhere. There is one mind of Christ, he is not divided and what one has received, all have received. The Holy Spirit does not deliver to the saints a double-minded Christ. He delivers to us the thing freely given to us to understand. We have the mind of Christ, not ours.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2 ESV)

The preaching of truth has to be authoritative. The words are life changing, or they are life destroying. It is a serious charge, one that carries with it the greatest weight and will be judged the harshest in those who call themselves shepherds of the flock.

John wrote:

We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Opinions are not from God, and Paul’s teaching to Timothy was to command silence of vain babbling which brings shame and does not edify but can only tear down. The pulpit is to remain pure, and it was this that Paul was addressing, that the sheep are weak and long for those words that tickle the sensuous mind so the shepherd must be ever watchful with a clear eye. A good shepherd knows what is good food and what is not. And a good shepherd knows how to transmit the sound doctrine once and for all delivered to other faithful men who will tender the flock likewise. All those who teach contrary to the doctrine that was received are thieves, killers, liars, whose god is their belly, who flee at the sound of trouble, whose reward is only condemnation. Take care, then, to not go beyond what is written, proving what is good, as a man who is stable, holding to it without wavering, as one approved of by God. The reward of the good race belongs to such. Teach these things, and your progress will be known to all.

Doublespeaker Dr. Brad Reynolds | Holding To And Teaching Heresy Doesn’t Make A Heretic | SBC Today’s Continued Assault On Calvinism

Calvinism is Heretical: A Plea for Unity? | SBC Today.

We do question sincerity when mishandling of facts makes us do so. If the anti-Calvinists cannot be honest about things under examination and must resort to distortions, why would anyone call them sincere?

Finally, an admission. There are those, quite a few actually, of The Statement kind who label Calvinists heretics, false teachers, magicians, et cetera, ad nauseam, for holding to what they think is the logical outcome of Calvinistic Biblicism. It is duplicitous to claim one doesn’t want to convert the opposition by exposing error, just as Reynolds is doing. His hypocrisy moves him no closer to sincerity.

We still have yet to find anywhere a definition of what a traditionalist is. SBC Calvinists are traditionalists. We only know that those who use the moniker Traditionalist are always opposed to Calvinism. To switch to Traditionalist doesn’t clarify, for tradition in the SBC is whatever one wants it to be, apparently. So it is best just to call all those who oppose the doctrines of grace, anti-Calvinist. Why, if one is sincere, use a non-descriptor? Why obscure if one is sincere? Honesty would seem to be necessary to maintain a claim to sincerity. To call one’s self a SBC Traditionalist is obscurantist double-speak.

The Council of Orange didn’t condemn foreordination to evil. It condemned those who said God foreordained evil by the power of God. If as Edwards said, by author it is meant that God ordains evil, that is he foreordained whatever comes to pass, then by all means he is the author. But if by it one says God does the evil in man, then of course it is rejected. The Council did not put this phrase in a Canon, by the way, instead it was in the conclusions. The Canon’s reject Brad Reynold’s take on their words:

If anyone asserts that Adam’s sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle, who says, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

We have to ask Reynolds, just who was it that cursed Adam’s offspring? Does he agree that God did this? Does he agree with the BFM that all will eventually commit actual sin because God foreordained it through the curse? Or, is he admitting that some might not sin because God didn’t curse the offspring of Adam with a corrupt nature and environment? Where does the BFM come off in saying that all will eventually sin if it is not foreordained? Does God control the circumstances, and therefore the outcome, the nature and environment, and therefore all the means by which decisions of his free creatures are made, which leads inexorably to sins, or not? Just who creates the nature? Chance? Just who establishes the environment, that is the lot of mankind? Fate? If God has not foreordained that evil will eventually work out in all who reach the age of moral decision making, then who?

Of course, Reynolds is not above calling all Calvinists heretics by definition, if not by name, by misquoting the Canons. He has also indicted the BFM: God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. Only an open-theist believes that God doesn’t know the future at some point in eternity past, but by knowing it is concluded that he has foreordained them. The world God instantiated, even if one is a Molinist heretic, is a foreordained world. Creation cannot exist upon any other foundation other than God said, Let there be. Some of the Traditionalist claim man has been given creative powers. Some how they believe that in diminishing God and exalting man they do service to the declaration of Scripture which says that there is no other creator.

Calvinists believe that God foreordained all things that come to pass. Not only that, but God actually did execute judgement on Adam and his posterity by foreordaining that the conditions would be exactly what the BFM describes. What has changed since the fall? Does not death and sin pass to all the offspring of Adam? And why? And did not God do this? The Canons of Orange confirm that God did so. It doesn’t deny it is so. What it did deny is that it is God who is actively in man doing evil. The contrast screams at the understanding when the Canons Conclusions say that good in the regenerate is done (powered) by God, where it is not the power of God working evil in anyone, regenerate or not. Even at that, no one would deny that God upholds all things by the power of his might, would they? This doesn’t mean, and cannot mean that God is doing evil, even though it is his power that sustains all things that exist including the free decisions of his creatures. Reynolds manipulates the Canons of Orange by stupidly assigning meanings where and when he wants by manipulating a word here or there. The phrase employed by Reynolds the belief that God foreordains men to evil changes the Canons’ anathema to something never intended when it said foreordained to evil by the power of God. Contrary to Reynolds the Canons are explicit that the conditions which will inexorably lead to sin are the punishment of God. To wit, Romans 1 bears witness that God gave them over to a depraved mind to do evil. Anyone reading Romans 1 is immediately struck by its creation reference, and the fact that all that then proceeds out of man was by the curse of God such that man is given over to evil by God’s decree of punishment. Just as the Council declared. Does Reynolds not believe the fall was decreed? That it took God by surprise? Does he think that God in the decree of the fall didn’t decree the fallen nature of man, also?

Reynolds speaks of duplicity as if uncovering the truth of what is being taught is not the seeking of unity. The Traditionalist Statement is semi-Pelagian, just as Reynolds is. One of the aspects of semi-Pelagianism is the denial of imputed guilt. Another is the denial of total depravity. Both Reynolds holds, and here, and I would imagine in his classroom, as an authority he teaches so. He is no innocent layman, but Doctor.

To put a word to a definition is not divisive if the word fits the definition. What is amazing as I watch this unfold is how those who are Dr. of this and Dr. of that of the anti-Calvinist side make such absurdly, stupid mistakes. With such illogical leaps that unity cannot be sought in exposing error, (just what is the worth of the historic councils and synods, anyway) we can only conclude that Reynolds is irrationally ego-attached to his cause. By not understanding, or at least not admitting, that semi-Pelagianism is broader than he infers, he not only undermines his credentials, but is disingenuously insulting. By defining, even by contrarily defining as Reynolds does, he necessarily labels. He is as bad at name calling as any. But his pride blinds him to his duplicity.

Scripture has authority. Absolutely, and inerrancy cannot stand where it does not, Reynolds rightly says. But then he goes off the rails. How can unity in education take place when the whole of Baptist doctrinal history is not taught? The unity of education that the BFM calls for is openness in academic learning because the true pursuit of knowledge will not rule facts out of bounds. When schools and churches deny in the education of their members the whole of the history and doctrine of the Baptist traditions and of Christianity as a whole, or obscures them as Reynolds does, they bind disciples to ignorance and turn them away from the freedom the BFM alludes to in honoring and glorifying Christ by those very institutions. Reynolds, here, in not honestly examining the Councils of Orange, denies the very education that the BFM seeks to employ for its mission and engages himself in propaganda. Seeing that SBC Today is a ministry arm of a Seminary, he undermines it too. In not advocating for teaching without prejudice the doctrines of historic Southern Baptistism, he becomes an obscurantist. The BFM’s own witness infers the opposite of what Reynolds said about the doctrine of imputed guilt. Why didn’t he admit it?

It is true that the BFM2K obscures the 1925, but in its preamble it states:

We also respect the important contributions of the 1925 and 1963 editions of the Baptist Faith and Message… The 1963 committee rightly sought to identify and affirm “certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified.” Our living faith is established upon eternal truths. “Thus this generation of Southern Baptists is in historic succession of intent and purpose as it endeavors to state for its time and theological climate those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us.”

The 1963 states:

In no case has it sought to delete from or to add to the basic contents of the 1925 Statement.

Speaking of original sin, the basic content of the 1925 was:

He was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.

And though the later BFM’s obscure this by changing word order (interesting Reynolds takes the same political tact), they don’t rule it out (and this despite the fact that Hobbs and Rogers were haters of Calvinism, as their commentaries and sermons testify). Condemnation, that is guilt, was part of the original formulation because anything less is semi-Pelagian. The later BFM’s are reworded, but I believe that for the purpose that there could be fitted under the broad statement those who now dominate the SBC, and are semi-Pelagian, without loosing favor with the historic traditionalist Southern Baptists, the Calvinists.

Original sin includes guilt, to diminish it or eliminate it as some interpret the BFM2K as saying that condemnation is result of sins committed destroys what Scripture teaches was the imputation of Adam’s transgression. Namely that one mans man’s transgression brought condemnation to all men. To destroy the imputation of condemnation in Adam destroys the imputation on no condemnation in Christ. A person who is merely corrupted but not condemned in that corruption is an oxymoron. It is corruption, that is sin which is condemned. That is to say, corruption is not merely a defect in a person, it is a sinful person. And, not merely one who sins, it is one who is condemned and in need of a savior. It is not one who is merely diminished who needs to be made a new creation, but a totally unmade man who needs to be made new. A dead man needs a resurrection, not a cripple.

One might read the last clause of the BFM’s description of the fall and the state of man, that in editing was left dangling like a half severed foot, and are under condemnation from an ahistorical view, prejudiced by the vain philosophy of freewill, to mean that condemnation is a result of sins committed rather than inherited sin, but you have to insert the word results, and you have to deny that the BFM2K reestablished the 1925, instead of nullifying it. Obscuring the history is the same as lying. Calvinists can claim the BFM2K because it doesn’t change the 1925. The 1925 traces its history through Calvinistic confessions. So the traditions that the writers of the BFM were working from assume a Calvinistic interpretation while allowing for interlopers to take a place at the table. They have proven to have very poor manners as guests, however, as they now seek to evict the hosts having consumed the great bounty they were provided.

Going on, he says that we must not sacrifice Scriptural truth for unity right after saying that certain doctrines by necessity separate. Which is it? The secondary doctrines of grace should, or shouldn’t divide? Are doctrines Scriptural truth, or not? Should Scripture divide? Many don’t think that necessary inferences of secondary doctrines of soteriology make them secondary. Some actually think that doctrine must be complimentary and not contradictory. In any case, if secondary doctrines, like baptism and ecclesiology can divide, why can’t, or shouldn’t, soteriology? If the secondary doctrines of something so important as soteriology don’t, why? Isn’t this lifting the horse’s tail to check his age instead of looking at his teeth? Unity cannot be achieved by denial of truth, as in what Reynolds did with the BFM and the Canons. But, then, why wouldn’t Reynolds bring the charge to the Convention that there is a need to divide, seeing that secondary issues are indeed a reason for it, by his own admission? Why challenge others when he should by his own admission do it? Shouldn’t the BFM be clarified to deny the 1925 rather than uphold it, if it was in error? Heresy or not, if what one side holds is by the admission of Reynolds contrary to truth, (heresy), then that contrariness stands in the way of unity, doesn’t it? It stands in the way of inerrancy because it stands opposed to authority, doesn’t it? And since when is false teaching (heresy) not a reason to divide? If Presbyterians hold to fundamentals, but it is only secondary doctrine which divides, how petty and arrogant is it for Baptists to divide from them if other secondary doctrines don’t divide? Why can’t anyone hold to secondary doctrine and still be in unity? Isn’t that the essence of the big tent of the SBC? Reynolds is simple self-contradictory. Irrational, is another way of saying the same thing. The man opposes himself and is unstable in all his ways.

I have to agree, if there is heresy, if there is any false teaching, it should have its day in court. The problem, however, is that there is no court in the SBC. Resolutions are not constitutional requirements. SBC churches are free to hold to their own confessions and reject the BFM if they so decide. Read the BFM, it allows its own rejection. So, even the stronger resolutions, such as those on marriage and inerrancy, which have been incorporated into the BFM, are not binding. Only when it becomes a constitutional article does it have binding authority. Such is the case with homosexuality. Short of that, the Constitution of the SBC is so loose as to what makes for exclusive doctrine as to be laughable. The SBC is not a denomination which by definition has a confessional basis for its constitution. The SBC is a convention which has for its basis a constitution and not a confession.

There are three parameters for membership churches in the SBC: First and foremost, money; second, a church of like faith and practice; third, anti-homosexuality.

The first is of course the almighty controlling factor for cooperation and for power. The SBC is a truly a political organization, a conventional, liberal in its self-definition, a strict, democratic congregationalism, after all. Because the second makes it possible to formulate any doctrine or any practice, it is possible anything “like.” Then, the first is the only one that “makes” one part of the club. The second also makes it possible for individual members, and therefore their churches, to hold to any form of belief, biblical or not, as long as they call it Baptist. The last, the exclusion clause, is unlike the first two. The first two are how one is included, (really, it is only the first that matters), the last, is the only one by which a member church can be excluded.

So the reality is, that it would not matter what the resolutions might say, they’ve passed tons of them, and none are binding. Only the constitution is. Not even the mighty BFM is binding by its own declaration of liberty and finds no place in the constitution as a required subscription. By its own admission, the BFM does not require that any hold to it. For each church or entity no matter how small has the right to draw up its own confession of faith and practice. Rather than subscription, the BFM encourages freedom from subscription. Absolute autonomy, not accountability forms the what is thought to be the unity of the SBC. And this is why the SBC is not a denomination, but a convention.

Were either a Calvinist or a Traditionalist to state his doctrines and/or a reviving in the beliefs of his doctrines are from God is blatantly arrogant. To say such is to imply the other side is holding views which are against a movement of God or the truths of God. This type of rhetoric has no place at the table of unity. The Traditional Baptist doctrines and the doctrines of grace are not equivalent to Scripture by any stretch of the imagination. They may be a summary of what we believe Scripture teaches but that is not the same as Scripture. May we be careful to recognize the fullness of the boundaries in the BFM2000 (affirmed by both Traditionalist Baptists and Calvinist Baptists). Further, may both sides be careful to affirm we believe our position is closest to Scripture and therefore we think God may be blessing us without crossing the line to affirm that our position is God’s position (such reveals a blindness to our own subjectivity).

This is perhaps the most confused, insane, and pride-filled statement Reynolds makes. Reynolds, himself, doesn’t hold to the fullness and boundaries of the BFM, as shown above. Why would he even teach or preach what isn’t of God, anyway? Is he saying that what he believes is not what God has revealed? Of course to hold certain beliefs can be from God. Is Jesus the Son of God? Scripture declares so. But, because Reynolds believes so it is arrogance on his part according to his own parameters? Of course by stating beliefs one is, by the very nature of what it means to believe, saying that what others believe is wrong. And that it came from God. Believing is to say that it is the faith which they have received from God. But, since Reynolds brought up the BFM, let’s see, oh yeah, it was written to state what some Baptists surely believe and to stand against what some other Baptists and non-Baptists don’t believe. The BFM calls its doctrines eternal truths. I suppose eternal truths come from God. What would that make others? The BFM by its very nature, not claiming to be Scripture from God, certainly claims its own writing as derived from God’s Holy Word. It makes no bones about holding what, as far as it knows, is from God. Who would claim otherwise, anyway? Does Reynolds understand that he is saying that his beliefs are not from God but his own imagination or elsewhere? What arrogance on his part to think that God is blessing him, though he may be wrong because he is just making things up, but not blessing others, though they may be right and simply claim their doctrine is from God. He is just a fool for thinking so.

Scripture on the other hand reveals that God hates a liar. It doesn’t allow for error, especially error taught by teachers as truth. Scripture is demanding in commanding that the faith, the one faith, be taught. It is not arrogance which says that God has revealed this or that, but it is quite arrogant to say that God reveals to each sometimes truth and sometimes error. God is not as double-minded are Reynolds and the Traditionalists. We do not hold ourselves infallible. Yet, we do not teach what can be proven to be fallible. Simply, Jesus said, everyone will be judged for every word spoken which does not work. And Paul commanded silence where truth cannot be proven. We are not to go beyond Scripture but prove all things and hold to what is good. According to Reynolds view here, nothing can be proven… except what God has blessed him with.

Now that is arrogant.

Addendum: This church is acting in violation to the clear teachings of the Bible and to the clear text of the Baptist Faith & Message. The Southern Baptist Convention needs to become a confessional fellowship in which actions like this one that are in violation of the Baptist Faith & Message constitute clear grounds for removal from the convention.

I am adding this just so the reader will know that even an advocate for the Baptist Identity Movement and a vocal opponent of Calvinism understands what few in the SBC do. Namely, that the SBC is not a denomination. It has no controlling confession of faith. The nearest it can come to that is seeking a majority vote at a convention to expel a member. Though Barber calls it a confessional fellowship, he uses the singular noun and he means denomination. Only a centralized authority could define and enforce a single interpretation of the BFM. One must understand that an autonomous church ceases to be autonomous under a confessionalist, denominational structure. That would end what is known as Baptist Identity, it would put an end to the SBC pride and joy, autonomy. As much as Barber wants it, becoming a confessionalist denomination, would end much of the cooperative Spirit of the SBC as it would vastly expand the inclusionary and exclusionary requirements of membership. It would require and entire shift away from autonomy to the establishing of local and regional courts… presbyteries in other words.

Greg Dutcher’s Killing Calvinism And Turning The Tables Of Southern Baptist Liberty Of Conscience

2 Timothy 2 – ESVBible.org.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:22-26 ESV)

Of course a teacher is to be affable. Kind in spirit in as much as it is right to be so, but when we want to know what gentleness is we must consider all that Paul is saying to Timothy without neglect to the broad parameters of what it means to be kind. We cannot forget that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, nor can we forget that it is through God’s kind judgement that repentance comes. No one repents except that they are charged with being wrong. Paul, in fact, calls holding to teaching that is false, sin. And yes, ignorance then is sin, for ignorance is the opposite of the likeness of the maturity of the Son of God who is light and not darkness. We are not to remain children tossed about by every wind of doctrine and the cunning of men, but to bring down every thought which exalts itself against the knowledge of God. What is the controversy in the SBC except being tossed about? The calm seas of truth settled as proven do not look a thing like the SBC.

Prautes- prah-oo’-tace Noun, Feminine: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness.

It is one of the words used for kindness. To be kind in 2 Tim 2, is epios. Though slightly a different cast, all words along with the full range of meaning used for similar descriptors of the proclaimers of truth must be taken into consideration with all of Scripture’s depiction of those who are the great cloud of witness. Not all of it is nice.

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:5-13 ESV)

Praus- prah-ooce’ Adjective: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness; Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time.

Also to be considered is the fact that since God’s mercy is toward us, we are to be equipped with the same mind. So, humility speaks to us that we are to have reverence for God, properly understanding that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord, knowing that our enemies whether within the household of God or without, are no more the enemies of God than we were at one time.

In the first instance of the root praus, we have what many have used to rule out any harsh speech when confronting error in the church. The second is what gentleness can look like in demonstration, for Jesus, who turned over tables and called his own disciples anoetos, cannot be anything less than our true example of the meanings. Following this out, here is John’s description of the temple event:

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:13-17 ESV)

Here it is, a holiday, and what does Jesus do? Being jealous, for that is what the word zeal means, he acts meek and mild, of course, not wanting to upset the peace and propriety of the occasion and so turns over the tables and whips the sin out of the poor, doctrinally challenged money changers. This is characterized as a monstrous display if found in a teacher of the church, today.

Demonstrating Christlikeness, is also found in Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”

You can see how the condescension of Christ, who was under the authority of God, fully submitted to the Father, did what was appropriate to the circumstance. He fed the crowds and called them gluttons who served their bellies. Likewise, one cannot reconcile the use of prautes to mean affable, soft, mild, in all passages even when epios is associated with it. Instead, there is an appropriation made of a range of definition. In fact, we have instruction that we are to show kindness, and the word used in Peter is chrestoskhrase-tos’, which means fit, fit for use, useful, virtuous, good. It can mean soft and mild, and other appropriations of common usage. But, unless one uses both definitions of both chrestos and prautes, he cannot get to the full meaning of Scripture, especially in 2 Timothy 2, which is a common place we find the error of the be nicety-nice or be rejected paradigm  defended. As the temple incident demonstrated, there is meek, and then there is MEEK.

Unfortunately, and too often, only the genteel meaning is used for those words commonly translated kindness, humble, meek, and gentle. So, any showing of harshness, as Jesus did, is deemed not in the Spirit, and operating against the principles of Christlikeness with which we are to approach error in the church. The problem is, Jesus didn’t act so foolish as to think that when whips were needed, dialogue and sweet disposition was the only appropriate response. Monologue, was his normal mode. And harsh correction was his oft used expression of the kindness of the Lord which leads to repentance, such as “Get behind me Satan.” Simply, one should not say his brother in Christ is serving the Devil in his thinking even though Jesus and Paul did.

In the SBC’s self-contradictory doctrine of “you can have your truth, we can have ours,” what is most glaringly obvious is the loss of biblical authority by the very fiat of cherry-picking the meanings of words to fit their traditions. This happens in both the anti-Calvinist and the Calvinist divisions within the SBC. Neither side can maintain neutrality, however, as each side seeks to defend it orthodoxy, which always provokes the other side to respond to invective by invective. It starts out often ostensibly innocently in saying things like “any thinking man,” or publishing a Statement. But, it quickly becomes as rough and tumble as would be expected when there really isn’t any sincere hope for peace.

A new book just out, Killing Calvinism, I prejudged. And why? Because it promtes the very error of Scriptural compromise for the sake of peace which makes John, Peter, James, Paul and Jesus and every other voice of God in Scripture, say what they never intended to say. How are brothers to approach one another? How are brothers supposed to deal with error? How are we to respond to the weak? To the world? By whom, to whom, and for what reason are necessary questions which need to be asked. How are we to deal with apostasy, heresy, divisiveness? Well in Paul’s time, it was turning such a one over to Satan so he might learn not to blaspheme. Or, “how do you want me to come to you?” Paul said:

For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.

And don’t mistake it, Paul is speaking of demolition as the necessary groundwork, some of which he has already been engaged in, before building up can take place, or the context of Corinthians means nothing. How did Paul approach Peter, we should ask before condemning the affect of emotive speech. Is there a situational nuance to meek and mild manners? Is anger a proper mode of dialogue? Is being emotive and using strong language the problem, or is the control of them? Does, “Be angry and sin not,” mean anything? And just who is supposed to defend doctrine? Can the laity give an answer when asked even though not mature? Is being abused under false doctrine a legitimate enough reason to passionately express the proper doctrine even if not a teacher? Does it even matter that a confession is supposed to mean something?

Here’s my take on it, the angst, and frustration that is often found among the Young Restless and Reformed, or the new Calvinism, or whatever one wants to call it, is because those who hold office in the church, who hold the Doctrines of Grace, refuse to defend them as truth and all other doctrine as opposed to the truth. The “can’t we all just get along” paradigm leaves those depending upon leadership wondering why bother if the leaders do not in sincerity hold these doctrines to be the only teaching of Scripture. Greg Dutcher says there is a problem with those who confuse the doctrine of Sovereignty of God with God. But wait, how can God be separated from who he is? Are his attributes incidental to his nature, or his nature? Jesus is not just a person, is he? Is he not the Truth?

In today’s church, Paul could not get away with such a threatening attitudes when present. Or, even the threatening elitism of corrections he made to false doctrine in letter. Saying things like fools as Paul did, and being deriding as James was, or Peter’s calling those who oppose the teachings clouds without water, predestined to damnation, or Jesus calling his disciples slow of mind, and spiritual dunces, would not ever pass the test of today’s so called apologists and teachers in most venues of Calvinism, SBC or otherwise. The real issue is confessionalism versus doctrinal laxity. As Kevin Boling rightly assessed the issue, we don’t lead with Calvinism, Calvinism is simply the teaching of the gospel and cannot be separated from it.

For all the feel-goodism in the can’t we all just get along of both camps in the SBC, no unity has been born except the false unity of the ecumenical spirit of the big tent compromise which bred the situation today rather than resolving it. The time has come to realize, that the figure heads, Calvinist or non-Calvinist, of the SBC don’t have a choice when faced with error. They must prove, hold to what is true, and rebuke those who oppose the truth. Scripture commands that error be silenced. Nor do they have the right to leave others to their opinions for peace sake, for opinions are nothing more than ignorant arguments. Should we leave the man bruised and beaten who has been mauled by theives? How can error be silence if it is agreed that all are ignorant and that’s okay? Ignorance breeds quarrels, and the seeking of teachers that tickle the sensuous fancy because it makes one feel good to think they’re right even if they’re wrong breeds ignorance. Jesus did not say when the Spirit of opinion comes, he will lead you into all sorts of dialogue. And it is blasphemy to think that each has received what others have not so that personal opinions stand as equals to doctrine. Paul condemned that and taught, rather, that no one has anything more than anyone else and that no one should go beyond what is written. The key is you have to know what is written not just speculate about it. There is one faith, not as many as there are quick-witted teachers. Until true humility reigns, which says that whatever we have we have from God, and that with reverence of that fact we need to speak circumspectly with fear as oracles of God, for we will be judge for every word, and that means dropping the pretense that God has given the church the right to hold individual opinions equal with doctrine, the foolish arguments, as Paul calls them, will continue and grow worse and undermine the authority of Scripture, thus making the salt taste like dung and so blaspheme the Name of God before the eyes of the world.

Here is another place where epios is used. But, unless we forget, Paul is not about to leave them babes suckling the teat for long:

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2 ESV)

A couple of things to note here. The Gospel was without error or deception. These were newborns. Paul and his fellow laborers were longing to return to complete the task of discipleship that they had started. And, these were people who Paul says were elected for this, chosen by God, so that the power of God in sovereign salvation might be made known (he obviously didn’t think election to be secondary). Those who fear the Gospel try there best to stop it, but it cannot fail because God is the one doing the choosing of those who will be saved. The doctrine of sovereign election is fundamental to the gospel. Funny thing is, that he tells Timothy, also, that he was called to announce the good news to the chosen ones, to whom he was sent just as Christ was sent, for which he was confident that they would without fail be brought to the faith because God had foreordained it. Ironic that the very niceness that some use to disqualify believers because insistence on election as primary doctrine is harsh, is the very niceness that insists on it.

Being motherly midwives of the Lord’s children, and then their fathers, the role of teachers is to complete the training with full faithfulness to the complete doctrine revealed in Scripture, and not just the milk of the gospel message. Paul later says: “But we do not want you to be ignorant…”

There is more to the gospel message, strong meat the author of Hebrews calls it, than just the evangel. And it was for this purpose that Paul wanted to return to Thessalonica, so that, as with Timothy, they would be fully equipped for every good work. They were to “not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

Doctrine which was sound was to be proven, not guessed at, and without error, or as he told Timothy, so that the worker would not be shamed. Paul instructed them in following his example in speech and behavior, as he did every he went, and insisted that only sound, that is proven doctrine, be taught. Paul will go on to say in the next epistle: “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” There is a body of doctrine beyond the elementary teachings of Christ which must be adhered to and in this case it was of eschatological specifics and not just the parousia in general. Of what are so erroneously called non-primary doctrines, Paul says that those who will be destroyed are those who teach them falsely. Doctrine is never adiaphoral matters of indifference. Contrary to Scripture’s insistence on teaching sound doctrine even in matters of eschatology, according to the triage advocates, unimportant doctrines, as if there were any such thing, are fair game and can be handled loosely and mangled at will.

It may be politically incorrect to say that both sides of the divide in the SBC are in error in wanting to approve of one another so as to allow each to call themselves of this or that tradition, or any other political faction. One thing is for certain, the Scripture no where allows for private interpretation and individualism in doctrine which cause such factions. It insists on a single tradition and one which can be proven. The SBC is in great apostasy by allowing such partisanism. But it is precisely a foundation of division upon which the SBC now stands, having given themselves over to the allowance of error as a badge of pride in the big tent circus.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t take a stand one way or the other on the doctrinal issues which divide the SBC. There is one issue, more than any other, that caused me to remove myself from the SBC. And that is the tolerance for making the Holy Spirit double-minded in the truth once and for all delivered to the saints. It is the undermining of the authority of Scripture by the so called right of liberty of conscience. Authority is a necessary aspect of inerrancy. There could be no more clear defining condition of liberalism as to deny that truth can be known. And no more revealing symptom of the syndrome than to say that each has a right to his own opinions as if all opinions were equal and equal to doctrine. What more warning does one need than:

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
(Matthew 12:31-37 ESV)

There is no right to private opinion, only the right to sound doctrine which all must obey. It is time to stop being so careless with the Word, it borders on the blasphemy for which no one will be forgiven. Oppositional opining makes the Holy Spirit to testify against himself as if he were a double-minded man. As Jesus said, either the tree is good or it is not, there is no other condition allowed. By their fruits they are known. The words spoken are either true or false, of the Holy Spirit, or against him. Prove all things, hold to what is good. Better to be known as a fool and remain silent than to open ones mouth and dispel all doubt. If you speak, speak as an oracle of God, or remain silent. It is as simple as that.

Here is a great article on liberty of conscience.

(The definitions and descriptions of Greek words belong to StudyLight.org © 2001-2012 and have been reformatted from their original.)

What, Me Pastor?

James White’s reply to Matthew Vines’ “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” YouTube presentation and more.

Local heretic Rodger McDaniel often has op-ed pieces in the town newspaper pushing the homosexual agenda. Leonard Pitts, a race-baiter and a homosexual advocate, trumpets anti-christian thought. Where is the Christian voice? Tim Keller, a well known PCA teaching elder with tremendous public reach, can not even bring himself to condemn homosexuality. Instead of defending Scripture, political social justice dominates his speech. It all sounds so nicety-nice. Some elders who don’t even read the local newspaper and the wonder is, if this community is their mission field, why do they not care about its people?

As James White points out, Vines is promoting false teaching through isegetical gymnastics and emotionalism. The debate has largely been lost by evangelicals because of the silence of those who have charge to promote the Gospel in truth. The sexuality controversy is an opportunity, a public forum for preaching. But if the evangelist is the man in the pew who is not equipped to exegete Scripture, then the field is surrendered. If only there were shepherds who, instead of trying to maintain self-sequestation, a neighborhood life-style, domestic tranquility, and professional appearance, had the zeal to demonstrate the biblical view in a public forum with the frequency we see from those opposed to Christ, there might not be a change in society, but there would be a change in the numbers of legitimate conversions to Christ.

The Gospel ministry requires not just the “good news,” preached to the world. It requires the bad news, and it first. And that means at times Truth taking advantage of the forum of the news media. It requires that those elders who have walled themselves in their church fortresses, familial or professional lives, actually do battle where the enemy is, the local square, which today is the mass media. “Cest la vie,” say some, “it isn’t our job to confront societal issues. That belongs to the man in the pew.” They insist that the church bear its testimony in silence to maintain good public relationships, rather than become a target of condemnation. If you open your mouth, be it in public, family, friendship, or neighborhood, you will suffer loss because the message is offensive, necessarily so Jesus said. If you don’t, you’ve denied him. If you’re not making enemies, you’re not paving the way to the peace which is offered in Christ.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)

Check the context. This is about those who would be those who were to “devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” You see, those who God has placed as the shepherds of the church are those who are to intercede and to go public. He sent them out among wolves, and even though the immediate ministry of the word for which Jesus had sent the Twelve and then the seventy-two, was first to the house of Israel, the reality will become, in the context of the Great Commission, that the elders would go even to the towns of the Gentiles. Those who were selected to serve the tables were “full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.” They were not the typical layman, and depending upon how one considers the testimony of Steven, not mere deacons, either. Skilled defense of the Gospel, wisdom from above empowered by the Holy Spirit, meant, even in the context of meeting the needs of the congregation, public proclamation of the Gospel. This was not the job of the laity, but those appointed and approved of by the Council of the Twelve to be overseers.

Jesus didn’t recognize relationship evangelism that doesn’t bring offense to those the Gospel is to be presented. And it requires a cost that far exceeds the demands placed upon those who are not leaders. The Gospel is preached, at least in the world, among those who are wolves. There are those who are men of peace among those wolves. But wolves are out there, outside the church, in the wilderness, where those who are to protect the sheep are to go and find those men of peace who, who being sheep, are to be rescued from those wolves. The only way to find the sheep is to make the attack public, to sound the alarm, to draw the lines of battle so that there will be a distinction between darkness and light. Becoming bait for the wolves, the role of the elders, allows the sheep to escape. Appointed to salvation, there already are sheep in every city. God will have already worked in them the regeneration which will enable them to receive the message of the Gospel when the pastor/elder’s evangel reaches their ears. Only sheep will hear, and receive it. Others will will not bleat, they will not repent and believe, they will just howl. But to do evangelism, is for the elders to get out among those the Lord is saving, and they are out there among the wolves.

The call to evangelize doesn’t belong to everyone, instead, Christ chose some, to go and intercede and minister the word to the lost sheep on the behalf of Christ. The laity have the tables where they are to serve, working with their hands what is native to them so as to give to their brothers in need. And for that, certain men full of wisdom (in other words, elders) were to oversee the work. Jesus wasn’t sent to all, but to the lost sheep of Israel, nor did he send everyone who is a sheep, just as he did not he reveal himself to everyone in the world. He sends now some, not all to make disciples, teach and preach and oversee. Each is gifted according to the measure of Christ and that particularly distributed, not all being what everyone else is.

The reason that evil has triumphed in terms of the homosexual takeover is the fact that those who have been gifted in knowledge and placed as overseers to protect the flock through the proper administration of their duties, have failed to do so. Instead of going public, they’ve become private professionals working toward comforts and retirements, living the lives of common sheep and not shepherds. The diminution of the roles and duties of the pastors/elders, is a tradition well past time done away. Somewhere along the line, the duties of teaching, evangelism, and protection has become the duty of the children of save up for their parents, while the shepherds (fathers in the faith) just supply the pulpit and perhaps are active CEOs, but nothing more. Curious, isn’t it, that all the pastoral cues taken from Scripture do not ever stake out the domain of the elders as only the pulpit parapet and church business management. To the contrary, it calls them soldiers not be entangled in the domestic trappings of personal life. They are called to live as if they have left behind those pursuits which are the vocations of the other members of the body of Christ, family, lands, et cetera. They are called to take the enemy fortress by force.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12 ESV)

John’s ministry was a public ministry, Jesus’ ministry was a public ministry, the apostles’ too, and they whom they appointed. Those who desire the eldership are to be known by the public. If a man is unknown in the community, indeed, if he doesn’t stand out as opposed to the systems of the world in that community, if he is not known as opposed to heresy and every lofty thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, it cannot be said that he is ministering the Gospel and seeking those sheep lost among the wolves. And if he is sending sheep out to find sheep, he is sentencing both to death.

Yes, our weapons are not carnal, but spiritual. Yet it is clear, any thought, any word, which opposes the knowledge of God is to be brought down. That is the violence to which Jesus was referring. Let the world call it hate speech. What is truth is only a threat to those who love their evil deeds. Have light in yourselves, Jesus said. The enemies of the cross with rebel against it. However, if a lamp is lit but hidden, what good is it? The thief will come in where there is no light.

Jesus came into the world, but the world would not receive him, but those who were born of God did. Following that example, the example of the Good Shepherd, he will not abandon his own where a hireling will. And as Christ said, outside the sheep fold are others to be brought in. To accomplish that, he has appointed some to be shepherds to bring them in. Where there are lost sheep, that is where the shepherd is to go. It is a dangerous business which will require the life of the shepherd. But, if he is not willing to go out among wolves, neither will he be willing to stay when the wolves endanger the flock.

Heresy’s Just Alright By Me: William Dwight McKissic, Sr., A SBC Voice

Fighting the Good Fight of Faith” by William Dwight McKissic, Sr. | SBC Voices

Given the big-tent mentality that McKissic trumpets, accepting Christian-modalists, can we soon expect that Christian-muslims and Christian-mormons will soon find a place in the SBC?

Here’s the Dividing Line program to which McKissic alludes. One cannot for a moment forget that heretical teaching is now accepted in the SBC as orthodoxy in the form of Keathley’s Molinism, and the denial of Original Sin in Lemke. As I noted before the wide-open door and the latitudinarian ethos of the SBC was a catastrophe marking its wholesale rejection of Biblical authority in favor of an ecumenical non-credalism that despite the fact that the SBC stood for inerrancy, it, by definition of broad doctrinal inclusivism, cannot establish that it really holds to it. Without authority, there can be no inerrancy. In the SBC, soul-competency trumps authority of the Scripture and creates a popery of the pew. Because of that, the mindless drivel of the likes of McKissic permeates the SBC.

The Missional of the Churchal That You’re In All

The Mission of the Church: An Ecclesiological Question « Between The Times.

“This stands in contrast to DeYoung and Gilbert, who are Reformed and Southern Baptist, respectively.”

I am not sure of any evaluation being worth the exercise and expenditure when a false dichotomy is presented. How is it that a Southern Baptist (SB) cannot be Reformed? After a review of Gilbert’s church’s confession, I would say he is more Reformed than SB, if what is meant by SB is a doctrinal category. But expressing SB as a doctrinal is like putting a label on mongrels. What is meant by SB varies among its own about as much as a definition of church or mission does.

Until you finally get to a definition of church, when you can actually say, “this is what a SB church is and what it believes,” (and I don’t mean the wishy-washy BFM way of giving non-definition to things), this debate is a little like the little boys behind the barn discussing the birds and the bees.

Two thousand years, and not a clue as to what the mission of the church is? No definitions? Oi vey! It is time to get your own house in order first, isn’t it, before trying to correct the church about what its mission is?

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:17-18 ESV)

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21 ESV)

What is this thing with one Great Commission given as to an immovable rock? How heartbreaking it is to find that Jesus could not even convey the meaning of what it is, or what it does, either in word or through his apostles in such a manner that today those who are called in his name to declare it cannot guard the deposit entrusted to them because they lost the knowledge of it.

Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. (Isaiah 5:13 ESV)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6 ESV)

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11 ESV)

Woe to the shepherds.

“When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.’ And as for the prophet, priest, or one of the people who says, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ I will punish that man and his household. Thus shall you say, every one to his neighbor and every one to his brother, ‘What has the LORD answered?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ But ‘the burden of the LORD’ you shall mention no more, for the burden is every man’s own word, and you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God. Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the LORD answered you?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ But if you say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have said these words, “The burden of the LORD,” when I sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’” therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers. And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’”(Jeremiah 23:33-40 ESV)

Reformation Polka:Define It Defend It: Apologia Expected Kategoria

Paul quoted the OT when addressing the muses on Mars Hill:

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him.

A look at a couple of OT verses should establish for us that the Lord is very concerned about lines of demarcation:

You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess. …You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter…The Lord tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries.

The idea of boundaries goes beyond physical location. The Lord set limits not just in creation when he said to the sea you shall come this far and no further, but he also placed limits upon man in his Word. Perhaps the clearest example is the Ten Commandments. Yet there are others which declare the severity with which God deals with his creatures for stepping upon the holy ground of Scripture:

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you…Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar…I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

The dire consequences are spelled out in both the negative and the positive senses:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Historically since the establishing of the Canon, yeah, even within the historical account of Scripture, we find that a necessarily demanded mission of the people of the Book, is to defend the boundaries set down within it. Canon itself means a measuring line. Orthodoxy developed out of a need to set into words definitions stated in both positive and negative terms. Concerning the Canon itself the Westminster Confession of Faith defines both the accepted and the rejected when it defines the Canon but goes further in stating what is not:

The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

The goal is clarity, the purpose is the defense against any attempts by the enemies of God to steal the liberty granted in Scripture itself:

for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary when the Truth set them free.

In each generation since the first “Has God really said,” just as men of old spoke, so also today, we must speak with clarity as oracles of God. It is an essential ingredient in the great commission, indeed, it is the charge of the disciple to learn not to go beyond what is written and to defend against all intrusion upon the sacred ground of truth.

Indeed, a study of the creedal development of orthodoxy, particularly in the early church, demonstrates time and again that the defining of orthodoxy and the defining of heresy is something which the church does simultaneously. This is hardly surprising: creeds establish boundaries, and so the establishment of creedal orthodoxy is one and the same act as the establishment of heresy… This approach is also most helpful when it comes to learning from heresies in the context of Christian education for the church. And we learn from heresies not simply by refuting them but also by first of all asking the critical question, `Is there a legitimate concern which underlies or drives this particular heresy?’ In almost every case, the answer is yes, and the orthodox can learn from the question as a means of critiquing, refining, and strengthening their own doctrinal understanding and commitment… It was far from obvious to the church in 319 that what Arius was saying was lethal to a biblical understanding of God and to salvation; the process by which the church came to realize these vital truths is central to understanding the necessity of Trinitarianism. Thus, by failing to spend time expounding heresy, one has restricted through incompetent teaching the knowledge of what orthodoxy means, and why it expresses itself in the way it does.

via Why and How I Teach Heresy – Reformation21.

Carl Trueman, in this essay, goes on to explain that error does not remain isolated by merely hurling invectives. And it is not rightly understood except that it is thoroughly exposed. Orthodoxy is not limited to a particular doctrine, or even a particular set of doctrines. Core beliefs will eventually impact even the furthest reaches of biblical teachings on faith and practice. Being able to give an answer requires that questions are not left in the realm of ignorance. All things are meant to be exposed by the light of Scripture, thoroughly examined, and not allowed to stand on any ground but that bounded by the truth of Scripture.

Flippancy and carelessness is eschewed when we read, study to show yourself approve, a workman who needs not be ashamed. If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask, but not doubting there is an answer, for that is double-mindedness and not a sincere quest for truth. In all things we are to prove what is right and good. That is the sign of faith. It is certainly the sign of a leader, for:

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

We are not, whether leaders or not, to engage in telling fables, myths, or espousing vain arguments for which there is no answer or for which it is said there is no answer. That is why we just can not tolerate error and pass it off on the account that everyone is fallible or that inquiry into error is a waste of time. Nor are we to, as certain fundamentalists do, shelter the teachings of those they call heretics from the eyes of congregants out of fear and ignorance. Scripture calls for the maintenance of the boundaries it has established and that always should done in public.

Do we not laud Luther’s publication?

Yes, indeed, we celebrate it.

Happy Reformation Day!

WHY The Man Series? Jeff Maness’ Element Church Cheyenne A Vision Of Human Potential

WHY The Man Series? « Element Church Insider.

Reflecting back on Maness previously teaching the occult practice of vision casting, here is an excellent look at that by examining another build the church though deception and false preaching preacher.

The Katakrima Rises To The Top

That preacher therefore had no adequate conception of sin who defined
it as, “The wilful transgression of a known law.” The greatest of all sin is a sin of nature. It is not dependent in obligation on our knowledge. (B.H. Carol, THE SUNDAY SCHOOL BOARD of the SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, 1935)

Furthering his Sunday School lesson:

1. An argument based on our seminal relations to the two Adams — This great doctrine is expressed thus: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (5:12). Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (5:18-19). If we combine the several thoughts into one great text we have this: By one offense of one man, condemnation came upon all men. So by one act of righteousness of one Man, justification unto eternal life comes upon all men who by one exercise of faith lay hold on him who wrought the one act of righteousness.

2. This text startlingly offends and confounds the reasonings of the carnal mind which says:

(1) One may not be justly condemned for the offense of somebody else, but only for his own; nor justified by the righteousness of somebody else, but by his own righteousness.

(2) Condemnation must come from all offenses, not just one; and justification must be based on all acts of righteousness, not just one.

(3) To base a man’s condemnation or justification on the act of another destroys personal responsibility.

(4) The doctrine of imputing one man’s guilt to a Substitute tends to demoralization, in that the real sinner will sin the more, not being personally amenable to penalty.

(5) The doctrine of pardoning a guilty man because another is righteous turns loose a criminal on society.

(6) The whole of it violates that ancient law of the Bible itself: Thou shalt justify the innocent
and condemn the guilty.

If the Gospel plan of salvation, fairly interpreted, does destroy personal responsibility, does tend to demoralize society, does encourage to sin the more, does turn criminals loose on society, does not tend to make its subjects personally better, it is then the doctrine of the devil and should be hated and resisted by all who respect justice and deprecate iniquity. But the seminal idea of condemnation and justification grows out of relations to two respective heads…

So it would seem, that in 1935, the clear Baptist, that is the SBC’s distinctive was diametrically opposed to Steve Lemke’s. It is a foregone conclusion, then, that Lemke doesn’t stand in the distinctives of the SBC, which he terms Baptist, and is therefore not Baptist. Carol not only says Lemke’s mind is carnal, and as a preacher he is not up to the task, he makes it clear that Lemke’s doctrine cuts off all who would be saved by the head. For the imputation of Christ’s righteousness doesn’t depend on the act of one man, Christ, rather, it hangs upon the innocence or acts of the individual. In short, Lemke’s doctrine is a different gospel, and one which cannot save.

What does Romans say about guilt in the offspring of Adam? It is simply this: that through one man’s trespass the judgement passed to all men because all sinned resulting in their having been condemned.

To simplify the wording, (if that were possible) krima means judgement. In a court of law that means the finding of culpability. In this case we know it was the finding of guilt because the sentence of death was executed. Now the sentence is katakrima, condemnation. Death and condemnation become word equivalents throughout this passage in as much as one does not stand without the other. What is without any doubt is that the condemnation that Adam incurred for guilt was executed, but not just upon him. It was executed upon his children. For death came to them through him because in him all sinned. The sentence that was executed was because of the judgement made. The declaration of the sentence is katakrima. Or simply, it is the determination of what punishment would be executed. Katakrima means the damnatory sentence, or condemnation and the execution of it is one and the same with it. To back track, death, which came to all mean is the execution of the damnatory sentence for the guilty finding. Far from being accountable at some age of accountability, the accounting was made before the children are ever conceived. In each case the action was accounted as completed in the past. For all die. The fact that even children in infancy die demonstrates they have received the just punishment for their sin which surely was not due to any wilful action on their part.

There can be no doubt that guilt was imputed to Adam’s offspring, for death is the prosecution of a sentence. And a sentence of condemnation is predicated upon the determination of the judge who has found the defendant guilty. All men die. That means that God reckoned all Adam’s offspring guilty. And that, not for actual sins they would commit temporally. For children often die before they can know to do good or evil. As Hodge remarks it is a punishable act, as much as but more than that which is established in their nature from their conception, through the act of one man before the children temporally existed. They are by nature children of wrath. There are no innocent children. All have inherited guilt as testified to by death spiritually in the corrupt nature, and by that which testifies to it in the temporal expressions of it. Period.

This, of course has nothing to do with the eternal disposition of all children who die before they can make any moral judgements. Scripture is silent on the matter of universal salvation of infants. And where it does speak to the issue of infants, the most that we can say is that some are saved. And that through the grace of God which provided for all things pertaining to salvation in the propitiatory sacrifice of our Lord. That is, by his one act, and not ours. That is the great exchange, his innocence, for our guilt.

Infant salvation has nothing to do with the supposed Biblicism of Lemke, then, (though he makes it the strawman to burn in effigy which somehow sets his faith apart from others as alone the true faith). For since there is no clear teaching on the universal salvation of infants it is a matter of speculation. It cannot be held out as doctrine. And cannot be used to argue any case against original sin. It may distinctively be identified by some Baptists as such, but it doesn’t stand as a distinct Christian doctrine.

Lemke rejects the clear teaching of Scripture, anyway, as we have seen through Carol. True enough, he is not alone. The blind rejection of the Scripture concerning guilt imputed is nearly ubiquitous in evangelicalism today, and weaves its heretical thread through the fabric of the history of the church. But, that presents a problem for those who would claim a distinctly Baptist heritage founded upon it. For the rejection of a clear teaching of Scripture such as the imputation of condemnation could never be a Christian doctrine, let alone Baptist. It also impinges upon another claim Lemke makes. One cannot at once uphold the inerrancy and authority of Scripture and deny the clear teaching of it.

Lemke’s spilled krima cannot be cleaned up without polluting many of the dogmatic claims he makes about Baptist distinctives in general. It brings into question everything that he might say, right or wrong. As was shown in the rejoinders to his original paper, Lemke isn’t as erudite as he expresses himself to be. Nor humble enough to have it pointed out as gauged by his responses to those who have challenged his assertions. And, he is not just wrong, but wilfully fraudulent in his presentations through fragmentation, word rearrangements, and by claiming things he knows not to exist. But again, that goes to the heart of his distinctive, exclusionary slant of what it means to be Baptist. He began his paper by using the canopy of the word Baptist to substitute for the SBC. And the ruse began. Yet his intent becomes perfectly clear that the only true Christianity, according to Lemke, is Baptist, and by Baptist he means SBC and by SBC he means his own perverted, myopic version of it. For we have seen that prior to Lemke’s era, his distinctive wasn’t distinctively SBC.

His idea of soul competency, then, can only mean that he is not beholding to the inerrant teaching of Scripture. As one of the rejoiners says:

Failures of covenant may reflect that current day Baptists have been conformed to the modern mindset (think 1600-mid 1900) of this world. Modern thinking rejected the contributions and restraints of tradition and community for the autonomous reasoning of a free and independent thinker. Among the many implications of the modern era was a new way of thinking of one’s group. An older view, which recognized our indebtedness and “rootedness” in a concrete organic body, gave way. Instead individuals began to see their relationships as elective; even the groups to which we belong we now see as composed of replaceable parts. Characteristically modern leaders who ponder change simply calculate the numbers (people) lost and gained. The record sadly shows that Baptists, like other children of modernity, treat almost every covenant with the same dismissive attitude; in membership or marriage we behave like everyone else.

When he has been proven wrong repeatedly in his interpretations of Scripture, when it is shown that he directly denies it, when it can be demonstrated that he has actually deviated from the Baptist (SBC) traditions before him, chosing to go his own way instead of the way of the community before him, his soul competency becomes the modernist rubric. In Lemke, the liberty of the believer and his autonomy results in the very liberalizing of the system that Lemke hopes to maintain as conservative. It then resolves that one of his distinctives, the soul competency of the believer who is free to believe and associate as he wills, contradicts and undermines the very foundations of Lemke’s so called distinctives. Scripture and its truth becomes fluid, meaning whatever anyone wants it to mean. When that is the case, the only distinctive left is that there is none. It also means that Lemke rejects Sola Scriptura and by that inerrancy. Indeed, he embraces solo scriptura where the almighty autonomous individualism of E.Y. Mullins kicks the authority of the text out the window in favor of unity through diversity rather than obedience to the control of historic Christian orthodoxy.

The end result of distinctivising the SBC will be either that Lemke is successful in erecting what he diametrically opposes, an association that dictates what a person must believe to be Baptist, or he is unsuccessful and must bite the bullet, accepting that there is no such thing as a Southern Baptist Convention distinctive precisely because of the nature of the autonomy upon which it is currently founded. The modern paradigmatic map of the SBC, or to use Lemke’s name Baptist, is that it means nothing other than what he says it does. And if you do not like that, get out of Dodge because you’re not him, or his kind, or one of the good old boys of the Baptist Identity Movement who tell everyone else what they must be. Such self-refuting confusion is the heritage that the likes of Lemke bequeath. In the future, when it is asked what distinctives they stood for, the only answer that can honestly be made is autonomy. The have rejected the traditions of their fathers and embraced whosoever will… following their own carnal imaginations.