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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Confusing and Annoying: The Art of Pointing Fingers in Making a Point - Sort Of

There has been a flurry of articles (I mind you not blogs because blogs are of the devil) of late that have left me scratching my head. Does it every bother you when you hear people make blanket charges and don't validate or substantiate their charges? We have heard this sort of thing before when the whole "Hypercalvinists are destroying our Convention" in all these lovely white papers and sermons without giving definition or providing explanation. What befuddles me all the more is the implicit attitude that bloggers are biased, illegitimate sources of information not worthy of being read by the larger public while I have read "scholarly" papers from professors and "journalistic" articles from state papers that are incredibly suspect. Let me explain: The first article came from Dr. Danny Akin. In particular I want to draw your attention to the close of his article where he says the following:

Not Forgetting Our Heroes Finally, I shared at our meeting that I will not allow a new generation of Southern Baptist to forget our heroes. We today stand on the shoulders of giants like Boyce and Broadus, Carroll and Truett. More recently it is Criswell and Rogers, Vines and Draper, Smith and Elliff, Pressler and Patterson. For some reason there are today those who want to attack and malign some of these men, question their motives and actions. Are these men perfect? No. Are they good godly men who love Jesus, the Bible, the lost and our Convention? Yes! I often remind our students, and myself, that it is never right to do even the right thing in the wrong way. Some of those throwing grenades at these heroes of faith would be well served to think on this. The intemperate nature of their rhetoric is too often shameful and dishonoring to the Christ they serve. Any truth in their diatribes is lost in the bitterness and sarcasm that flows from their keyboard. (emphasis mine)
In my initial response which I made on the Founders' Blog, I said, "I have to assume that he is either talking about students at Southeastern or bloggers he reads on the Internet. My guess is the latter. If this is the case, then who and what is he exactly referring to? Who are those 'throwing grenades at the heroes of our faith?' That's a pretty serious charge to make. Of course, his warning and admonition is well received in that it should remind us that none of what we enjoy as conservative Southern Baptists would be possible if it weren't for the Founders like Boyce and Broadus and for the Resurgence from men like Patterson and Pressler. If anything, I see this younger generation more interested, more passionate, more concerned about the SBC than the elder generation was at large. Are there points where there is legitimate disagreement? Yes. Are there times where that disagreement is publicly expressed in a poor manner? Yes. Does this mean that we should not express our concerns and thoughts in a public forum or medium such as blogs? No." Now after doing a little more reading, it could be that he is referring to one person or possible a couple of people. But my point is, "Who knows?" Who is "they?" I just don't understand that such strong words from such an influential person in the SBC can be so vague and nondescript. I am not asking for name calling, but at least when making such statements some specificity would be helpful. Now the second article (which comes in a series from Florida Baptist Witness). Jeremy Green wrote an editorial piece called "'Young Leaders,' Follow Example of Past SBC Leadership" in which he said the following:

However, there appears to be a mindset among some “younger leaders” today that they are entitled to, or can demand, a position of leadership within our convention. Some may be infatuated with the ideas of holding office, receiving recognition from others, and climbing the denominational ladder. After all, how does one have time for sermon preparation with all of the new requirements for “younger leaders,” such as networking and web logging? Younger leaders are especially susceptible to a revolutionary mentality — one that is on a mission for change. Change is both good and necessary when appropriate. Nevertheless, this mentality sometimes results in a desire to change anything and everything for the sole sake of change itself – leading a rebel without a cause.

Furthermore, the manner in which some “younger leaders” are seeking to bring about change, make names for themselves, and assume their “rightful” leadership roles is disturbing: childish attempts to get one’s own way and to force one’s own voice to be heard no matter who it hurts and how it reflects on the SBC.

Again, there is this idea that this guys has the inside scoop on the secret agendas of "some" young leaders? How so? If this guy can go on record and call "some younger leaders" childish and "rebels without a cause," the least he can do is do some good journalism and get some facts. Anybody can say anything about anybody and make print? Where's the verification and vetting of some sources? Could it be that his only source is his imagination? Who are the ones demanding a position in leadership or holding an office? All this vague and ambiguous talk is worse than anything I have read in the blogosphere. Sure, it may be an editorial - but it is not good editorial. I realize that there has been quite a swell of interest after Greensboro about who these SBC bloggers and "young leaders" are and why they feel and write as they do. Over the past year, I have had the privilege of reading many of their blogs (not web logging Mr. Green) on almost a daily basis. Have there been articles written that probably shouldn't have been posted? Maybe. Could things at times been said in a different way? Sure. But these are brothers and sisters in Christ and fellow SBCers who do not have a chip on their shoulder, on a power kick, or simply want to rant. They are making good points, some bad points, but whether you fall in agreement or disagreement, it does not give anyone the license to make charges that are either coded for the insiders or blindly made. We are called to responsible writing and should seek to be credible, reliable, and trustworthy in what we say. Grenades are going off from both sides; unfortunately, we are not the enemy and neither are they.


Blogger james said...

Good post. I have been troubled by some of the recent editorializing that has a "you better fall into line" tone to it. The works of our SBC forefathers is something to be commended and thankful for but is not immune from scrutiny and correction. I look to the BF&M over the years and how some of our forefathers have made it more vague and less sound on certain theological matters. In some cases this has led to more cooperation but mostly it has led to a watering down of what the founders of our convention had envisioned in some respects. And this watering down is not above examination or question and neither are the silly things some of our present leadership (and convention at large) go for: (1) Alcohol Resolution, (2)Refusal to address integrity in church reporting, (3) Refusal to justify actions or policies on wholly Biblical grounds (IMB Baptism & cessasionism, etc.), (4) Baptisms at the convention, (5) Infatuation with "mega" churches, (6) And the list goes on...

This convention, of which I am an adament supporter, is not above the need for correction. We must discipline ourselves to truly live our what we confess and that means not just professing the validity and sufficiency of scripture, but actually putting that into practice and not being drawn into quibbles over non-issues that fail to have any basis in the Bible or Christian history at large. The SBC needs someone, anyone to rebuke us with our own words and with the Word of God so that we might be corrected and continue in the great works of God He has prepared for us with humility and truly God honoring lives.

6/22/2006 07:26:00 AM

Blogger Gavin Brown said...


The brothers Caner are guilty of the same flamethrowing with no qualification with regard to Calvinists (who they think are all hyper).

See Ergun's recent article "Pre-destined not to be a hypercalvinist," in which he makes a straw man argument against the dreaded "Neo-Calvinist."

Also, who is "CB Scott"? I live in the 'Ham also...just curious.

6/22/2006 10:21:00 AM

Blogger Timmy said...

@ James,

Yeah, the baptism deal at the Convention was weird.

One of the things I have realized in the blogoshere is when you disagree with someone who is in leadership, you are told that you are being disrespectful or divisive. So if I or anyone else for instance writes in disagreement with Dr. Akin or Dr. Mohler, it is like we are crossing the Bible. This occured just last month as another student challenged me because I thought it was unethical for seminary heads to endorse a SBC nominee for president.

In our convention, we need leadership that will have clarity of vision and charity of heart. To continue to write off the younger leaderships of the SBC or bloggers altogether is to continue to distance the future generations of the SBC. We are not asking for offices, positions, or even agreement. We simply want fairness and maybe a little respect. I have all the respect, love, and appreciation in the world for Drs. Mohler and Akin, but this does not constitute me being uncritical, unconcerned, or a blind and deaf follower of those who are in leadership.

@ Gavin,

From what I understand, Dr. Paige Patterson clearly argued that the contemporary talk about hypercalvinism in the SBC by the likes of the brothers Caner is not historically factual or intellectually honest. This was good to hear.

I don't know CB persoally, although he promised to take me out for a steak dinner. :) He does live in B-ham. You in the ham also? I need to come down there soon.

6/22/2006 02:06:00 PM

Blogger Gavin Brown said...


Yeah, I graduated UMobile in '02, and have been on staff at a church in B'ham (Bessemer, to be specific) since then. I should be here for awhile...starting an MDiv at Beeson next Jan.

6/22/2006 03:39:00 PM


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