Pastor’s letter challenges seminary’s proposed stance

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=24184

    Pastor’s letter challenges seminary’s proposed stance

    By Art Toalston
    Oct 17, 2006


    FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--In a five-page letter Oct. 16, Texas pastor Dwight McKissic set forth his opposition to a planned vote by trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to disassociate the institution from Pentecostal/charismatic doctrines and practices such as a private prayer language.

    “My conscience and biblical convictions necessitate that I vote against our president’s recommendation,” McKissic, a new trustee, wrote in reference to SWBTS President Paige Patterson.

    When trustees voted Oct. 17, McKissic registered the lone opposing vote to the SWBTS stance.

    McKissic stated in the letter that he intends to maintain his friendship with Patterson, expressing ongoing appreciation for the Southern Baptist Convention’s conservative resurgence of which Patterson was a part.

    But, he asserted, the stance recommended by Patterson and the trustees’ executive committee will tell “potential faculty, administrators, students, donors, and the entire Southern Baptist family ... that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is not a place where a diversity of views about the work of the Holy Spirit within the history and theology of Baptists is tolerated.”

    McKissic asserted that the stance will shift “the historic position of Southwestern Seminary from a place of open and diverse theological discussion within the parameters of the Baptist Faith & Message to a de facto cessationist school” that believes some of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit have not been operative since the New Testament church.

    Citing the proposed stance’s description of such practices as a private prayer language, which McKissic said he experiences, as “unnecessarily divisive,” McKissic asserted, “The source of division in Southern Baptist life is not from those of us who want more of God’s empowering presence in our lives, and are willing to seek his power earnestly. The source of division seems to come from those who wish to silence and deny us the freedom to serve in a convention that has never in its history spoken definitively on this matter.”

    McKissic noted, “... I do not understand the agenda of those who wish to drive into the shadows those of us who are open to this area of the Spirit’s work, as clearly attested in Scripture.”

    McKissic referenced controversy at the International Mission Board where the president, Jerry Rankin, has acknowledged his practice of a private prayer language and where trustees have adopted a policy against appointing missionaries who engage in the practice.

    “I now know what God-called Southern Baptist missionaries must feel when they are told that they are unqualified to serve because of a work of the Spirit in their private devotional life,” McKissic wrote. “I know what it must feel like to serve as a leader in our convention, like IMB President Jerry Rankin, when the institution you serve passes policies that would keep you from serving had they been in effect when you began serving.”

    McKissic, a former Southwestern student and now pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, sparked the controversy in an Aug. 29 chapel message at Southwestern stating that speaking in tongues “is a valid [spiritual] gift for today” that has been embraced or accepted by a number of Baptist leaders and theologians. The seminary issued a statement that afternoon disagreeing with McKissic’s view, and his message was removed from the seminary’s website.

    In his Oct. 16 letter, McKissic referenced “other differences that threaten to divide us as a family,” such as Calvinism, the end times and the question of whether “a woman should teach a man in any context.”

    On the latter question, McKissic asserted that some members of Southwestern’s trustees “sat under the teaching” of the late Betty Criswell, who led a Sunday School class for many years as the wife of W.A. Criswell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. And McKissic asserted that Patterson’s wife, Dorothy, a Southwestern faculty member, “has spoken at Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, formerly pastored by my friend and mentor, the late Dr. E.K. Bailey, during the Sunday morning worship hour as the principal speaker.”

    “It is time for Southern Baptists to recognize our diversity on these matters,” McKissic wrote, reiterating his call for the Southern Baptist Convention “as a whole to address this matter.”

    McKissic’s Oct. 16 letter followed a 10-page letter he wrote Oct. 13 to the trustee chairman, Van McClain of New York, and to two other trustees, with copies sent to the entire trustee board, answering various questions they had raised.

    “I have been told that because the majority of Southern Baptists hold to the cessasionist or semi-cessasionist viewpoint, my [chapel] message was out of line with the majority of Southern Baptists,” McKissic wrote in the Oct. 13 letter. “Since when did majority opinion dictate theological interpretation in SBC life beyond the Baptist Faith and Message?”

    McKissic noted that a majority of Southern Baptists once upheld slavery and segregation and that the SBC was on record as affirming the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision during the 1970s. “To put it simply, popular opinion doesn’t always validate a theological position,” McKissic wrote.
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    check out sbcoutpost.com for some more skinny on the dirty in Fort Worth

    cessationism is sad place for us to be, imho
     
  3. Jim1999

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    What are you saying? That you want pentecostalism in Baptist Churches.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Allan

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    Just because there is diversity does not always nessecitate all veiws are truth.

    With the lengths to which the Charismatic/Pentacostal movement is going I think that now IS a good time to look at things that in the past were not ranging from an of kilter view to out right blasphemy in somethings as the movement is concerned and this tongues issue at the heart of much of it. (maybe better the interpretation of the tongues or the reveleation of what they are speaking with in their tongues) Sounds like I'm tongue tied, huh :)

    Prayer language has taken so many different views and forms that if we allow a non-discript allowance of it, any type of teaching can come in.
     
    #4 Allan, Oct 18, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2006
  5. blackbird

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    Ditto to Allen's post here! I think its better to line up in the Cessational pool than to fall into the trap of Sensationalism. Give me a thousand words I can understand over one syllable of unintelligence!
     
  6. mcdirector

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    Amen Brother Allan
     
  7. gb93433

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    How about interpreting scripture in light of its historical context. I have yet to find many who really interpret those passages that seem controversial in such as way that they even know the historical context before drawing their conclusions. When one knows the historical context the rest is usually rather easy.

    The problem is that many interpret those passages in light of their personal or observed experiences. That is not hermeneutics but personal bias.

    If one were to take the position of a cessationist on the basis of tongues causing trouble then one would also have to believe that preaching has ceased because preachers have caused division and strife on the basis of the abuse of their gifts. Gossip has caused a lot of trouble in churches but it has not ceased.

    Just because the abuse of something causes problems does not mean it does not have a legitimate place. All things are to be done decently and in order.

    I have yet to meet a Baptist who promotes 1 Cor. 14:29-33, "Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."

    If Baptists claim to believe and practice what scripture teaches should they not also practice 1 Cor. 14:29-33?
     
  8. gb93433

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    I do not agree with with choice you have made. God's ways are not our ways.

    Many churches are full of gossip. It has not ceased, yet, so many allow it to continue, and scripture is very clear on that practice. Gossip is in sensationalistic and cessationist churches.

    I do not see the choice as an either or, but as one choice--God's choice. There are those who teach the historical context of the passages in question but few listen because they want to be the big cheese. Even cessastionists who have written Greek grammars have stated that they cannot explain their point of viewon grammar alone. I take the position that tongues has not ceased and if someone chooses to speak in tongues then there needs to be an interpretation. That takes care of the problem. I also believe that is what Paul taught the people as well. I see no facts to substantiate any other point of view.

    I have dealt with some of MacArthur's gradates and they only know what they are told and when confronted with the historical context they do not know what to do because they simply do not know the historical context.

    I have always taught the historical context of those passages and have never once had a problem with anyone in the church. Once I began to dig and gather information on those passages I had to throw out most of what I had heard because most of what I had heard was nothing more than opinion stated as fact. They stated their view with as much dishonesty as the evolutionists do about creation. When it comes right down to it, most are repeating what they have heard, not what they have actually studied.

    My point of view is that tongues along with many others things was a problem in the church in Corinth and Paul was trying to put it under control. I see no eveidence that it had ceased. However from what I read I believe that it will cease on its own in the church if people do what edifies those present. I see no evidence that it has ceased outside among those who have experienced it. What I see in churches is a wholehearted embracing of it without any regard for the others present and others who practice complete disregrad for its use. There are those who disregard the facts and write it off to practice what they want.

    When I started pastoring I decided to preach through 1 Cor. because we lived near San Antonio where John Hagee had a lot of influence among the heath wealth folks and other heresies. I came a passage which I was forced to deal with. When I aksed a couple of older men they told me to avoid thsoe passages. One of those men was a DOM and another was soon to retire and had been a trustee at both SWBTS and Baylor. That was my introduction to what some did to their congregations. They did not deal with the tough passages. I also found that a lot of pastors had preached very little from the gospels.

    We should not be asking why congregations know so little but why it's a miracle they know so much because so little is taught.

    Heb. 13:7 is an excellent test of who to take a look at. If we want to see the resukts of a theology then lok at the person who has been practicing it for many years.

    Heb. 13:7, "Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith."
     
  9. Jim1999

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    What is tongues supposed to do in the modern church?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. James_Newman

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    It's a sign to unbelievers. A sign that Christians are potty. :eek:
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    you are not either cessationist or Pentecostal...there is LOTS of middle ground. Personally I'm open but cautious about miraculous gifts and stand by my stance on that. Too many Baptists want to put God into a box imho. Also too many Baptists don't undestand biblical definitions of miraculous gifts.

    Private prayer language is exactly that...private. Not for use in the church. Who is saying that it is? Show me where the advocates for private prayer language are:

    a. violating Scripture
    b. trying to practice this openly in the church
     
  12. Inadequate in Myself

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    the issue here though is what will be taught at a Baptist seminary. will the seminary continue to support traditional Baptist beliefs on gifts (especially how one defines tongues) or will it allow any number of teachings to be advocated within its doors. Its not a question of the right to discuss the positions either, it is simply one of advocacy. McKissic misses this emphasis in his letter.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    The seminary should support the biblical view on gifts, whether or not that conflicts with the so-called "traditional Baptist beliefs on gifts."
     
  14. Baptist Believer

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    This is coming from a man whose church has distinguished itself in Fort Worth by screaming "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL!" at people in downtown on weekend nights. Personally, I've been the recipient of that kind of greeting from members of their church on at least four or five occasions. Apparently if you allow your wife to wear slacks out in public or you line up to see "Finding Nemo" at the downtown theater, you are destined for the flames of hell, no matter if you are a follower of Christ or not. (They never bothered to ask.)
     
  15. James_Newman

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    Brother, I appreciate your kind criticism of our community outreach ministry. I would love for you to come out some friday and teach us a better way!:sleep: But I know we don't have time to stop and talk about Jesus when we're on the way to the movies...
     
  16. Jim1999

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    Are those who advocate that glossolalia (tongues) are valid to-day, implying that extra-biblical revelation is also acceptable? If so, what makes our Bible authoritative and the final word from God?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. RandR

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    Jim,
    No. At least not the Baptists who are arguing for "open but cautious", or the so-called "third wave" position.

    This is NOT about stopping some threat of creeping pentecostalism in SBC churches or missions. This is, and has ALWAYS been only about one entity president's desire to see a change at the top of another entity. The spillover into SWBTS stemmed from that and created its own mess that had to be "cleaned up".

    The precedent being set is unfortunate. SBC Calvinists, get ready. You're (we're) next. SBC non-dispensationalists, you're time will come, too.
     
    #17 RandR, Oct 18, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2006
  18. RandR

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    I did not intend above to equate "open but cautious" and "third wave". The comma could give that impression. My punctuation mistake.
     
  19. gb93433

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    I think there are those who do advocate extra-biblical revelation and are walking in dangerous territory. It is not far from the self proclaimed prophets who focus on themselves and their wallet in a way which seeks to gain control of people who do not know their Bible.

    Only a small amount of scripture deals with foretelling. The rest deals with preaching. Yet scripture uses the same word for both.
     
  20. RandR

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    I'm under the impression the discussion here has a SB context. Do you believe there are those who advocate extra-biblical revelation within the SBC? Please elaborate or give examples.
     

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