Bobby Welch and Hunting Dogs

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ehaase, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. ehaase

    ehaase
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    http://ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=9079

    COLUMN
    Doggone Metaphors


    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Brian Kaylor
    06-20-07
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    "There are few things as toxic as a bad metaphor," writer and cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson has observed. "You can't think without metaphors."
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]One example of a toxic metaphor came during a recent address by former Southern Baptist Convention president Bobby Welch. Speaking during the FAITH evangelism luncheon held during last week's SBC annual meeting, Welch urged those present to be "hunting dogs" ready to "get out of the house and do some huntin'!"

    "We've got the hunting dogs in this room," Welch stated. "Lap dogs are those little dogs that stay in the house, sleep on the bed and shiver when it gets cold. You have to feed them certain things, pet them a certain way, and when they go out of the house, they're scared to death.

    "But hunting dogs are the ones who live in the yard, always ready to go," Welch continued. "They'll eat whatever you throw out to them and appreciate it. They're never happier than when they are in the back of the truck, heading out to the woods to see what they can track down."

    In Welch's metaphor, evangelists are supposed to be hunting dogs. Evangelism is hunting, and the lost are prey to be trailed, cornered and bagged.

    The problem with this metaphor is that it compares evangelism--literally "sharing good news"--to killing an animal. This is an unhealthy and inaccurate way of depicting evangelism. We should not try to hound people until we can coerce them into believing. Instead we need to befriend them, perhaps more akin to what a lap dog might do.

    Some might argue this is simply rhetoric, but the metaphors we use reveal a lot about what our values and the way we see the world. The whole point of using a metaphor is to provide a deeper insight.

    In their influential book Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson argue that a "metaphor is not just a matter of language, that is, of mere words." Metaphors, they say, impact not only "how we perceive" and "how we think" but also "what we do." The metaphors we use really do shape our lives.

    Using a metaphor offers insight into how a person thinks and acts. Welch's "hunting dog" metaphor thus provides important clues about his evangelistic strategy: Christians should be aggressive and unrelenting.

    Yet Jesus did not point and yell at sinners (just religious leaders), but rather lovingly invited them to come and follow him.

    Another problem with Welch's "hunting dog" view of evangelism is that it minimizes the importance of the person being witnessed to. Converts are reduced to trophies on a wall.

    Evangelism is done not out of love toward the person but to bring glory to the evangelist. Thus, this metaphor reverses the focus of attention away from the biblical example of concern for others.

    Welch has used violent metaphors for evangelism before. During an address to the SBC Executive Committee while president of the SBC, he compared evangelism to an elephant hunt.

    "I've come to the conclusion that what [Southern Baptists] are saying is, 'We want to go on an elephant hunt,'" Welch claimed. "They're tired of chasing squirrels and rabbits and birds. They've done that. They want to go on an elephant hunt."

    On top of presenting evangelism as an act of aggression, that metaphor added a colonial mindset. Welch boasted of having actually participated in big-game hunting in Africa. This metaphor is perhaps even more troubling than the "hunting dog" one, because here the lost person is dehumanized.

    Welch used war metaphors to describe evangelism in his book, You, the Warrior Leader: Applying Military Strategy for Victorious Spiritual Warfare, published by the SBC's Broadman & Holman.

    "This is blood-and-guts, dirt-and-mud warfare--crawling from trench to trench, house-to-house, person-to-person--all for the purpose of rescuing the perishing or caring for the dying," Welch wrote.

    "The Warrior Leader is like me and countless thousands of other believers, who have stood knee-deep in carcasses and blood of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, marriages, families, futures, homes and churches, to say nothing of our dear nation," Welch wrote. "The Warrior Leader will not stand by, because he is a Christian who is convinced beyond a doubt that we are in a blood-and-guts battle for souls."

    The use of such violent metaphors to describe the act of sharing the love of Jesus is inappropriate. It drives away people who might otherwise be open to hearing about God.

    It is time for Christians to put aside metaphors of hunting dogs, elephant hunts and bloody wars. We need to instead emphasize the love of Jesus and express our sincere concern for all people. We also need to offer open dialogue and a loving invitation.

    And above all, we need to get rid of those doggone toxic metaphors.

    Brian Kaylor is communications specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Missouri.

    Click here to order Brian Kaylor's book For God's Sake Shut Up!: Lessons for Christians on How to Speak Effectively and When to Remain Silent from Amazon.com.
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  2. PastorSBC1303

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    Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"Citizenship in a Republic,"
    Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
    [/FONT]​
     
  3. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
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    Anybody who takes a simple understandable metaphor such as this one, and tries to make EVERY point relavant to reality has a bigger problem that the "meaning" of the metaphor.

    He could wreak havoc on Jesus' parables with this line of thinking.

    Oh well, to each his own!!
     
  4. Martin

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    There is also the problem of Bobby Welch's semi-Pelagianism. This error in his thinking can be seen in his metaphors and his approach to evangelism and baptism. Bobby Welch was the worst choice for President the Southern Baptist Convention has made in recent history. In fact, he very well be the worst president the Southern Baptist Convention has ever had. His circus bus was an absolute disgrace.

    [​IMG]
    Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch’s nationwide bus tour launching “The Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism” pulls away from First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach Aug. 29 with a local police escort and a contingent of FAITH Riders, a Christian evangelistic motorcycle group of Floridians. (from SBC.net)

    Interestingly it has become very difficult to find a clear picture of Bobby Welch's circus bus.
     
  5. gb93433

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    Ever notice how those men never leave the area and go to some difficult area to promote their message and tell peope how to evangelism?
     
  6. Martin

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    ==Of course not. That would require real work and effort. That would require dealing with the real problems of the world. Welch was only interested in riding around in his circus bus and counting how many people he could dunk in water. Then he would go into nice church buildings and preach "to the choir" about all of his efforts and successes. If someone really wants to do evangelism they don't need a circus bus.
     
  7. James_Newman

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    Didn't Jesus liken evangelism to fishing? Whats the big deal?
     
  8. Pipedude

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    Bingo. As just-want-peace mentioned above, God used all kinds of metaphors that might "drive people away" (as the OP complained). The most famous, of course, was the blood drinking of John 6.

    As for the circus bus, with which I am unacquainted (being non-SBC), I have to remember that an army needs generals as well as riflemen, and I don't begrudge the general's role just because he isn't bayonetting the enemy down in the trenches.

    (Howzat for a soulwinning metaphor? :saint: )

    Maybe the churches need somebody like him tooling around and kicking up dust.
     
  9. npetreley

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    Jesus didn't talk about blood drinking and flesh eating in spite of the risk of driving people away. I think it's pretty clear He did it in order to drive some people away.
     
  10. blackbird

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    Jesus did say---unless we drink His blood and eat His flesh---we cannot be part of Him

    Canablistic to those whos eyes have been blinded and whos ears have been deafened by the god of this age----but absolute truth to those who have repented of their sins and have received Jesus by faith!!

    Welch's "Dog" analogy is parallel to an old sermon I heard once from Shadrack Meshack Lockridge(I think) called "Watch Dem Dogs"

    I've used war analogies, among many other analogies----some folks just can't "stomach" as much as others---the "Powder Puff" members--too many of um----if you can't hunt--stay in the dog pen!!!!
     
  11. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    I see the SBC haters are out in full form.
     
  12. corndogggy

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    Some people read WAY too much into things. :BangHead:
     
  13. JustChristian

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    This is one of my favorite quotes. To me, TR was saying that life is a participation sport not a spectator sport. This is particularly true for a Christian. The real action is not in Sunday School class but out on the street, at our jobs, etc.
     
  14. av1611jim

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    How ironic that Mr.Welch's metaphor was lost on this critic. Mr. Welch used TWO kinds of dogs in his metaphor. The hunter and the pampered. Seems to me that this critic has illustrated that he is more likely the pampered complaining about the hunter.

    Pomeranian: How come HE gets to go hunting?
    Owner: Because HE likes it.
    Huntin dog: Nanny nanny boo boo! Let's go boss!

    It is significant that the Owner (read the Holy Spirit here) is WITH the huntin dog but leaves the pampered behind.
     

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