Friday, January 05, 2007


The word "vision" there means to see, as in a dream or revelation. It is derived (thank you, Mr. Strong) from a word that means to see by gazing at something.

Good verse, but I think it applies to more than just seeing down the road for some unattained goal (that's apt to stay that way, anyway). I think it may well also apply to the ability to see what's going on around us.

Over at Wade Burleson's Blog, there's been a brouhaha going on about the narrowing of parameters, and inversely how the differences "they" seem to be trying to eliminate don't seem to make any difference.

One of the regular commenters said the following:

"These phenomena have become a major issue in Southern Baptist life, and a clear statement needs to be made by those representing the majority of Southern Baptists. "

To which I must ask "Why?" I don't recall any continualists, or folks with the gift of speaking in tongues (I refuse to call it what the Bible doesn't...) trying to assert their will over others, that we ought to become charismatic. Quite the contrary, they'd just leave and go over to "the dark side" if that were the case. If I wanted to be in a charismatic denomination, that's what I'd do!

Neither do they insist that everyone adopt a continualist view. They simply want to read the BF&M, and in accordance with the priesthood of the believer, interpret scripture according to the light of the Holy Ghost, and stay right here as Southern Baptists.

And do missions and teach in seminaries, etc.

For some reason, that does not seem to have been good enough for various folks in SBC life. Sadly, some of them are in positions of power and influence.

Let me go back a couple paragraphs. The BF&M 1963 said:

"Baptists emphasize the soul’s competency before God, freedom in religion, and the priesthood of the believer." Clear enough. But the BF&M 2000 says:

"We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers ..."

Both versions go on to reiterate responsibility to the local body.

I must ask why the change? Why now "believers" instead of "the believer"? Am I no longer imputed "priesthood" as an individual within the Body. Is my priesthood now defined by the local Body?

Is it an attempt to move the "priesthood" FROM me, as a Spirit-filled believer with direct access to the High Priest, TO the "body"? If it isn't, why change it?

And don't go yelling "Lone wolf wannabe". I want no such thing.

When I read what the New Testament said, I didn't have any trouble understanding the 1963 version. Now, I do. At least understanding the change.

Unless I DO understand it, and that's a scary thought.

So there we have it. A major issue, blamed on the people who object to changes that go beyond the BF&M. Some of the "blamers" even want, perish the thought, to CHANGE the BF&M to take a stand on the issues raised primarily by the change in IMB rules.

Normally, higher education clears some things up. In this case, it seems that a lot of highly educated folks can't see what's going on, and the fact that, by their actions, they are chipping away at what it means to be a Baptist.

Either they cannot see that, or there are alternate explanations I don't really want to think about.

I do know this, though: Wade Burleson, Art Rogers, Marty Duren, Benjamin Cole, and the other bloggers who refuse to sit down and shut up are NOT the cause of the "problems". They are there BECAUSE of the problems.

Thanks, God. You done good. Send some more like'em.

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At 3:25 PM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Alycelee said...

Yes, yes, yes.
I've been waiting for this and it was worth the wait.
I'm so glad you not only addressed this issue, but also the issue of the change in the BF&M.

Why the change? I think we know the answer to that one and you're right, it's not about the "lone ranger, Me and Jesus got our own thing going"

Concerning your last comment, Send more! I do believe he is Bob! Thank you Lord Jesus

At 3:34 PM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Wow Alyce .. you must have had the blog running in the background. I left when I pubished and went to Wade's blog and before it loaded, my Blackberry said I'd received your comment.

You do me honor, lady. Thanks.

At 3:34 PM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Scotte Hodel said...

The theological education level on Wade's blog is too high for me to be able contribute.

I've had a lot of thoughts and comments, but they're all too long and detailed. The simplest summary is the title of my original blog entry from fall 2005 on the subject: "Dear God: Please do not interfere with our missionary policies. Thanks. Signed, the SBC"

I get pretty worked up about the subject, and then my wife puts things in a different perspective. Our conversation is well summarized by this Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

If only it were that simple.

At 4:05 PM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

What? Education? I flunked out of my first year of college!

I'm not smart enough to know I'm stupid so I just plow on .......

At 5:47 PM, January 05, 2007, Blogger Alycelee said...

Well Scotte, at least you aren't an Aggie :)
I should be the one intimidated, after all I'm just a girl :) fortunately I'm A type.
Going home to Hubby, He and I agree! yeah.

At 8:12 AM, January 08, 2007, Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Bob,

I would like to see a good solution to the present situation, where you can be an SBC church member in good standing, and agree completely with the BFM, but not be allowed to serve in certain denomination roles because of beliefs not in accord with "the majority of Southern Baptists." I don't know that I have heard a good solution yet, but I hope there is one.

Love in Christ,


At 8:28 AM, January 08, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


Thanks for the comments.

The solution is simple ... just reverse the changes which have caused those people to be ineligible. Of course, that would require changes within, or of, the people who made those decisions.

The majority of "Southern Baptists" don't tithe or witness. What should we change to be in accord with that?

The majority of "Southern Baptists" aren't in church on Sunday morning. What should we change to be in accord with that?

I once asked a lady who was an AoG member if all believers were supposed to speak in tongues. She said "Yes, the Lord said that the sign of tongues would follow those who believed in Him". I said "How about picking up serpents or drinking poison and not being hurt?". She responded "Oh, we don't believe that".

That's like making changes in SOME things because of "what the majority of Southern Baptist ... in leadership's "humble opinion" ... believe".

There are several workable answers, one of which involves total collapse.

At 10:32 AM, January 10, 2007, Anonymous Lee said...

I wonder how many Baptists have noticed the difference since the 2000 version of the BFM has been out. It's a subtle change, but an important one. The purpose of it is to provide a theological platform to silence dissent. It makes "majority rule" the standard for decision making in church and denominational life, rather than consensus, which is more difficult to achieve and which requires effective leaders to consider the views of every person involved. It also means that the voice of one dissenter may be the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to the body. Yikes! If we operated like that, God might actually be able to move among us.

"Priesthood of believers" gives the body authority over the individual. In practice, it gives the pastor a level of authority over the body that the Bible doesn't give to him. At least, that's the way I see it being used.

At 10:52 AM, January 10, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


Not many, I dare say. There seem to be two conclusions relative to the reason for the change. One is that they indeed are moving more to "corporate priesthood" and thus away from soul competency. If that is the case, then I'd expect SBC institutions to more closely define what Baptists must believe to play in "their game".

That seems to be happening.

The other conclusion is there's some other reason that I cannot, for the life of me, envision.

Isn't it something that pointing these things out, and questioning them, seems to be equated with being radical?


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