Thursday, July 06, 2006

An IMB Trustee, A Calvinist, and Blog Subjectivity - Part 1

This blog is the result of my participation on other blogs. A few months back I began commenting on a blog operated by a certain IMB trustee, who continually criticized both the SBC leadership and IMB policies. His criticisms while disguised by pseudo-objectivity were factually lacking. But what seemed most disconcerting was the apparent irony of operating a blog calling for transparency and open-mindedness while not maintaining that standard himself. This error was not limited to his Blog but extended to another blog (Calvinist) on which I soon participated.

On both of these Blogs the administrators subjectively edited my comments by deciding which ones to post and which ones not to post. Below are the comments the administrators refused to post (the context is given before the comments). Comments they did not refuse to post are also mentioned, demonstrating their subjectivity.



IMB Trustee's Blog:

Context

Wade asks me to respond to his comments on alcohol, I respond the following:

Wade, To revisit alcohol…John MacArthur is a pretty competent expositor. I shall quote excerpts from his 3 part message on this.
“Is drinking wine today the same as in Bible times? Christians who drink point out that wine was commended in the Bible and assume it is therefore acceptable today. If drinking in biblical times is to be used as the basis for drinking today, the wine today should be the same as the wine used then. This deserves careful analysis.
The Biblical Words for Wine - Oinos/Yayin - The most common word in the New Testament for wine is the Greek word oinos. It is a general word that simply refers to the fermented juice of the grape…The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia (vol. 12, p. 533) states that yayin, at least in the rabbinic period, was diluted with water… Professor Robert Stein, in his "Wine-drinking in New Testament Times" (Christianity Today, 20 June 1975: 9-11), tells us liquid wine was stored in large jugs called amphorae. The pure, unmixed wine would be drawn out of these jugs and poured into large bowls called kraters, where it was mixed with water. From these kraters, it would then be poured into kylix, or cups. Wine would never be served directly from the amphora without first being mixed. And according to other historical data on this period, the mixture could be as high as a 20:1 ratio or lower than 1:1…Drinking unmixed wine was looked upon by Greek culture as barbaric. Stein quotes Mnesitheus of Athens as saying, "The gods have revealed wine to mortals, to be the greatest blessing for those who use it aright, but for those who use it without measure, the reverse. For it gives food to them that take it and strength in mind and body. In medicine it is most beneficial; it can be mixed with liquid and drugs and it brings aid to the wounded. In daily intercourse, to those who mix and drink it moderately, it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds, it brings violence. Mix it half and half, and you get madness; unmixed, bodily collapse."
So, is drinking wine today the same as in Bible times? No. Because of the lack of fresh water, it was often necessary to drink wine in biblical times.. This was in a day and age when all they had to drink apart from wine was fruit juice, milk, and water. Due to a lack of refrigeration, even wine mixed from the syrup base, if left standing long enough, could ferment. These people had little choice in deciding what to drink.”

Further, since the Bible does not prohibit mind-altering drugs we should say moderation in taking Morphine, for enjoyment (if it was legal), is not wrong. (According to your hermeneutic). There is no prohibition is Scripture against slavery either, but the cultural context must be considered and so it is with alcohol!”

Wade said...“Brad, My word. The laws of the land must be obeyed. Further, I would agree that CP funds should not pay for alchohol. That was never the issue. The issue was could CP funds pay the salary of someone who does not believe holds to the Biblical view of moderation. I said yes. Enough said Brad. I will not post any more on this issue or post your comments. Enough has been said.

Wade on his next Post entitled "I Believe in the Fundamentals But Don't Call Me a Fundamentalist" said:
“God save the SBC from Fundamentalism.”


Comment not posted:
“Wade says "God save the SBC from Fundamentalism" and yet offers no evidence that it needs saving from such. He says he has it, but does not offer it.
I've been to every convention since '87. I've never heard the convention speak against Calvinism (I believe Dr. Al Mohler is 5 point), nor his other concerns. The BFM2K is what the convention holds too and at no time after 2000 (or for that matter before) has the convention gone further.”


Comments that were posted on his blog:

ANN, many of us are in total agreement with your advice to brad reynolds.....Of course, he dare not humiliate himself by starting his own blogspot.....who would read and take most of his bloviating comments seriously???This strange verbose brother appears to one who likes to hear the sound of his own voice and read his own material. – comment by scripture searcher

You(Brad) sounded quite reasonable at the beginning, but now you are starting to sound like you are losing your core beliefs just to stay on the good side of the powers that be. I know your job depends on keeping these people happy, but don't you think this is starting to go too far. – comment by dlhj (who later apologized for making this comment)

I say this gently --- the new problem of the SBC may be your brand of Legalism and Fundamentalism (not the five fundamentals of the faith on which we all agree). – comment by Wade Burleson

I wonder about that, because there are alot of Christians who say most people are going to Hell, but when they see me tell people who are going to Hell to go to Hell they get really upset as if they want to fill Heaven to the throne with the Hellbound drug-addled devils who pull knives on me for telling them not to pi** on my church right in front of me. Another thing, gluttony and sloth are still sins right? I would think so, because alot of people are earning the wages of sin from choking down the kinds of dainties usually served before or after church services: sausage biscuits, fried chicken, fried doughnuts, fried coffee, and various other fried forage-crops. ...with extra butter. So, should we give funds to fat-a**es who chug pork-soda by the gallon while people like me are starving because it's more important to try to save the world than feed one person who's trying to save the world? – Comment by religious right-wing GOP Christian Ministries.


The administrator of the Blog where these comments were made has said that he had a problem posting comments that denigrate a person, but posted the above comments while refusing to post a comment that challenged him to support his implication that the SBC needed saving from Fundamentalism. Interesting.

Tomorrow I will post the editing at the Calvinist’s Blog
BR

13 comments:

IN HIS NAME said...

Brad,
I don't know why your Blog Posts, show so much hatred or jealousy? It's like you have a personnel vendetta against Wade. Why do you not show the GRACE and LOVE that I see in all of Wade's posts?.I have never seen such a display by a Seminary Professor in all of my Life, maybe it was because the others were all taught at Westminster Seminary and they were under the late Dr. Edmund P. Clowney.
Brad I'm praying for GOD to change your HEART.

brad reynolds said...

In his name,
There is no hatred nor jealousy. In fact I count Wade as a brother.

All I did, was post comments that were posted on his blog and one he refused to post.

The issues in the SBC are very important and to allow criticism to go unchecked is unwise. If one is to criticize the SBC, one should expect and respond to questions.

Thank you so much for your prayers.
BR

Jamie Wootten said...

Brad,

As one who has been often observing and occasionally participating in these discussions allow me to make a few comments...

#1)I have read Wade's blog almost daily and have found myself mostly in agreement with him concerning the IMB issues. To my knowledge I have not seen a credible reason from them for the implementation of the two new policies that got this whole thing started.

#2) I believe that Wade has conducted himself for the most part (we all fall short) with integrity and class espcially in light of the way he has been treated by some.

#3) I thought you were a little harsh and nitpicky with him over the entire "inerrancy" exchange a few weeks ago.

#4) I was very troubled by Wade's stance with alcohol. I respect any Christian brother who feels he has the liberty to drink moderately but I do not think it there is ever a good reason to do so. Where I sort of fell off the Wade wagon (pun intended) was when he along with a few other blogs began to boast and even celebrate their liberty in the face of those of us who are troubled by the use of alcohol. That does not mean that I question the committment to scripture of any who choose to drink moderately and I certainly would not say they are sliding down the road of liberalism based on that one issue. I just think they are taking a path filled with pitfalls in morality.

Brad,I do appreciate guys like you and Dr. Reid entering into the blog world and providing a voice of reason on these things. May we all learn from your knowledge and may your tone and character on these posts always be above reproach.

And to answer your question from a few posts ago, Williston is about 30 min. southeast of Aiken.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,

I am curious how the highly diluted "yahyin" could cause Noah to become drunk (Gen. 9:21)? It seems to me that if it was highly diluted (20:1 you say?), wouldn't it be nearly impossible for Noah to become drunk? Further, we find many passages (primarily in the Old Testament) where wine is blessed by God. Is it not sin to call evil that which God has blessed (yahyin)?
Another interesting observation regarding wine is that when Christ made reference to the similarity between His blood and wine (Mat. 26), His blood was "living" as wine is "living" - grape juice is not living (i.e. it has no active yeast cultures). This is not necessarily an argument against the prohibitioners, but rather an interesting observation. My prayers are that God will open your eyes through the power of His Word and the Holy Spirit. :)

sbc pastor said...

Dear "In His Name,"

I disagree with you concerning Brad's posts. I do not perceive there being any hatred or jealousy, nor does it appear to me that he has any ill will towards anyone - including Wade Burleson. I am thankful that we, the SBC, have such godly professors, such as Dr. Reynolds, that are willing to speak the truth in love in a blogosphere that is oftentimes filled with vicious attacks. I know that he has been treated improperly at times, as have I and no doubt many others. It is very easy to become defensive, as I have done at times, when someone is treating you in an ungodly manner. Also, I have found that oftentimes one will say that they are praying for someone else's heart to be changed, when in all reality it may be there own that needs to be touched by our loving and gracious Lord. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

sbc pastor said...

Jamie,

I know that you have "read Wade's blog almost daily and have found [yourself] mostly in agreement with him concerning the IMB issues. To [your] knowledge [you] have not seen a credible reason from them for the implementation of the two new policies that got this whole thing started."

Please let me share with you my thoughts and heart concerning the situation with the IMB trustees.
Is Wade Burleson the only IMB trustee that can be trusted to do what is best for the SBC? Surely, there are many, if not all, of our trustees that have been appointed because they are godly individuals that love the Lord, the SBC, and the IMB. If they as a group choose to implement a policy then why is it that they should not be trusted and given the benefit of the doubt?

Please try to see the other side of the IMB situation. Is it not possible that the other IMB trustees might feel that Wade is arrogant and is trying to "show them up" so to speak (and at least possibly in order to draw some type of following)? I know that if I was serving on a committee with someone that could not keep a confidence and be respectful of the wishes of the committe and/or board as a whole that I would feel betrayed. Is that not how many of the other trustees might feel? It may very well be that Wade has betrayed their trust and friendship as well as his responsibility to the SBC.

These are just my thoughts (whether right or wrong) and I appreciate the kindness displayed in your post. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

brad reynolds said...

Jamie,

I think Wade has, for the most part conducted himself with integrity and class. My point in posting this was to show that he has a certain bias he brings to the IMB and SBC discussion. I’m sure we all do, but I feel he fails to admit his bias and subjectivity and I think it wise for one to read his blog recognizing he is reporting IMB events through his relative lens…I know other IMB trustees personally and what they have told me is not congruent with what I’ve read on his blog.

I think he is too smart not to have answered the inerrancy question straightforward…his vagueness invited questions.

Good Comments
BR

brad reynolds said...

Posttinebraelux,

I did not write that about yayin, John MacArthur did quoting from Robert Stein’s work. Nevertheless, I would assume the answer would be as follows: Although, in NT times wine would not be served directly from the amphorae, this does not mean that Noah used an amphorae, nor does it mean that people could not choose to drink it undiluted.

Good observation concerning Christ blood and wine. Good observation that wine has active yeast cultures, also.

Thank you for your prayers, please keep praying that for me…I truly mean that and cherish such prayer.
BR

brad reynolds said...

JLG

Good thoughts!!!
BR

Cliff4JC said...

Brad,

Yes, you are nitpicky. LOL But I love you anyway! Sometimes, this makes you appear a bit combative. I know longer think you are. I'm glad I emailed you and we were able to talk that day. It has helped me immensely as I sort through all this.

I think you are thoroughly correct in your assessment of Wade's bias. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt however in that he is no more biased than I; or you; or Tom Hately. We are all biased. We stand for what we believe in and sometimes fight tooth and nail for it. Ain't liberty grand!

You know other trustees?? I'm jealous! Really I am. Outside of Jerry Corbalay, no one else wants to give their side of the story! (Jerry's rationale for the policy changes is laughable!) He won't speak to the personal issues that seemed to plague the last meeting. Why won't other trustees speak up? Why can't we have more openness and a much more public vetting of some of these issues? It is frustrating to no end to keep running into the brick walls of silence that come for the IMB BOT. They make public statements of accusation; don't back them up and then seem surprised when rank and file won't back them up. Wade has publicly asked and privately asked for evidence to back up the many claims against him they have made. They won't do it. They tell him not to speak out against other trustees; yet they let an outgoing trustee make the off color "bull" jokes about him on the way out go unchecked. Tom Hately is allowed to read accusations into the public record and won't let Wade respond. What is the watching world supposed to think? I'm trying to stay opened minded about this whole thing; However, as I said to you on the phone; the BOT leadership are truly allowing themselves to look really bad in the way they are handling this whole thing.

I think Wade just got aggravated with having to answer your "nitpicking" all the time! LOL You force him to spend lots of time responding intelligently. Human nature gets the best of all of us sometimes. I don't think he was trying to do anything malicious, but I could be wrong. I don't know him well.

I know a little more about Tom Ascol. Be careful how you call into question Tom's credibility or integrity. (not that you've done this) He has been a man of both his whole professional life. He's capable of laps in good judgment. Question those. But be gracious toward his heart and integrity. Is it possible (now I’m poking fun) that you let your loyalty to your old roommate cloud your judgment about Tom? BTW…did you ever read those exchanges from back in Feb? They were despicable. (I wish I was poking fun now!)

How’s your nephew’s thumb?

Joy,
Cliff

brad reynolds said...

Cliff
When it comes to inerrancy I am nitpicky and thank you for noticing. It would have been very easy for Wade to say “a liberal is one who denies the inerrancy of Scripture.” I asked him simply to say that. It appears to me, he did everything he could to keep from saying that until he realized he had to say it, almost a week later…I think he is smart enough to know what he was saying.

We are all bias, but we should acknowledge that. He does no such thing in reporting the events of IMB meetings. Further, as careful as one should be about accusations and implications, it is compounded when one is in a leadership position. I wish I could tell you what I knew, and I too wish the IMB trustees would be more vocal when they are harnessed with an individual such as Wade. But I trust the Trustees. And I do believe there are things that need not be discussed at the convention level…that is why we have Trustees. Can you imagine the convention discussing whether professors should sign the Abstract (talk about a fiasco).

I know nothing of Tom, but I trust your assessment of him. And I do not doubt his integrity or heart. His comments and participation in the Memphis Declaration speak for themselves.

Thank you for your friendship. There are times when I have a difficult time expressing my thoughts in print (especially in the spirit of Christian love). I think if we all knew each other the tenor of the conversations would be different. You are wise to give others the benefit of the doubt and it is an example to me. May we give the trustees the same benefit.

Alex’s thumb is doing well. He goes back to the doctor Thursday.

I hope Mackenzie and Caitlyn are doing well as newborns:) - I prayed for them today.
BR

NC Pastor said...

Today (July 8, 2006), the Charlotte Observer published an op-ed piece with the title, "One nation, in danger, under the influence." The article included the following information:

On July 4 in Charlotte, there were 30 arrests, fights, fires set, and a shooting.

In Hickory, NC, people in a crowd of hundreds tossed firecrackers at police and refused to disperse. Seven were arrested after the local version of a SWAT team cleared the street party.

On Masonboro Island, south of Wrightsville Beach, NC, multiple brawls broke out among partygoers and nature lovers. The fighting left participants with souvenir beer-bottle gashes and a law enforcement officer nursing assault wounds.

Thieves stole the show in Old Fort, a small western NC town, when they broke into a metal container holding the town's fireworks display and made off with 250 pounds of pyrotechnics.

In Sacramento, CA, drunken river rafters clubbed one another with oars, resulting in lots of bleading and head injuries.

The Observer piece concluded: "The common thread in all this celebratory mischief: extreme alcohol use."

Without a doubt, alcohol is an evil in American culture.

If Southern Baptists waffle, compromise, and accommodate on an issue such as alcohol, what will become of our prophetic voice in our society? It will slowly vanish. Compromise in one area of personal morality and holiness will inevitably lead to other areas of compromise.

For some Southern Baptists to advocate the use of alcohol or to downplay its danger in the name of Christian liberty [the purported rationale] or because of a misplaced and worldly desire to appear sophisticated [which I suspect might be the real reason]is abject foolishness.

brad reynolds said...

NC Pastor
Great observations!!!