Sizemore's Statement at the SBC Convention (now with video!)

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Baptist Believer, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
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    I realize our discussion of Sizemore's statement is essentially over, but I finally located the video of the convention where Sizemore makes the statement that has been misused by the SBC leadership.

    Watch it and see for your yourself:

    http://www.baptiststandard.com/videos/videos.html

    Now here's the way the SBC-controlled Baptist Press reported it. Judge for yourself!

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    6 words: 'defining moment' between conservative & moderate Baptists
    by Todd Starnes

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--"... the Bible is just a book."

    As those words resonated through the Orlando, Fla., convention center June 14, thousands of shocked Baptists responded with audible gasps. For conservatives, it was a moment of truth. The 20-year battle for the spiritual heart of the Southern Baptist Convention had just been exposed in six words.

    "I think it was a defining moment," said Jerry Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., and author of "The Baptist Reformation: The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention."

    "That statement exposed where the moderate crowd is standing," said Sutton, whose history of the conservative resurgence was released earlier this year by the Broadman & Holman division of the SBC's LifeWay Christian Resources.

    Sutton said he was surprised by the statement. "I didn't think they would be so blunt. In the past the moderates have been secretive in their theological presuppositions."

    At issue, was the statement on the Scriptures in the proposed 2000 revision of the SBC's Baptist Faith and Message: "The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation."

    The moment of truth for dissident moderates and their denomination-like Cooperative Baptist Fellowship came when Anthony Sizemore, pastor of First Baptist Church, Floydada, Texas, offered an amendment to the proposed Baptist Faith and Message when it came up for discussion during the SBC annual meeting in Orlando's Orange County Convention Center.

    Sizemore, whose church supports the SBC's Cooperative Program but also sends designated money to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, wanted to reinstate a near-exact version of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message preamble. In defending his motion, he said that while the Bible is "true and trustworthy ... the Bible is still just a book."

    Sizemore's remarks drew a sharp response from the thousands of local church messengers and guests in the convention hall, and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a member of the BF&M study committee, responded from the platform.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what it all comes down to," Mohler said. "The issue is whether or not the Bible is the Word of God or whether it is merely a record of God's Word."

    "Sizemore was very outspoken," Sutton said. "In all honesty, it helped to set the context. There really is a strong divergence of opinion, and the truth is that he [Sizemore] is in the minority. Most of us think he's wrong."

    Sutton continued, "One pastor who asked me not to use his name said we couldn't have paid someone to better set the issue in its context. This guy said exactly what he thought."

    Ultimately, Sutton said, "The moderates really do believe the Bible just another book."

    Sutton said he believes that God used the statement to expose the moderates. "God brings truth out of confusion," he said. "God allowed the moderate crowd, some of whom were confused, to expose what they really believed. Out of the confusion of their emotions, he brought out the truth."

    In a telephone interview with Baptist Press, Sizemore said he didn't mean to draw so much attention, but he stands by his motion."

    "I don't care what Al Mohler said, the Bible is not the full revelation of God. Jesus Christ is God's revelation," the Texas pastor said.

    "As I shared, I believe the Bible is a book that God has given us for guidance. It's a book that points us to the truth," Sizemore added. "We're not supposed to have a relationship with a book."

    While Sizemore told Baptist Press he believes the Bible is inerrant and infallible on matters of faith and practice, he wasn't too sure about matters of history, geography and literature. He declined to speculate on how parts of the Bible can be infallible and other parts fallible.

    Sutton said that's a question all conservatives have been asking and one that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship should ask, too. "The CBF should ask themselves why are they here, what is their purpose, what are they hoping to accomplish," he said, noting that from a biblical standpoint, "Their foundation is shaky."

    The handful of people who voiced opposition to the proposed BF&M during the SBC discussion either contribute to or strongly support the CBF.

    "Every amendment that was made to the Baptist Faith and Message was an issue of presuppositions," Sutton said. "And every one of them failed. These moderates were attempting to displace what I call the conservative presupposition of the inerrant, authoritative Scripture."

    Among those who spoke against the BF&M revision were Charles Wade, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and a former member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinating Council; Bruce Prescott, a former leader in the CBF and president of the CBF-affiliated Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists; David Currie, a member of the CBF Coordinating Council and leader of the anti-SBC group Texas Baptist Committed; and Wayne Ward, a former professor at Southern Seminary under Roy Honeycutt's presidency.

    Ward characterized the BF&M study committee as hand-picked and "trying to impose its will on rank and file Southern Baptists."

    Ward's comments drew a sharp rebuke from Sutton. "When he criticized a group of outstanding theologians, leading pastors and laypeople, I think in a big way it betrayed his bias," Sutton told Baptist Press. "The 1963 committee was in many ways naive and they permitted neo-orthodox language to be inserted unbeknownst to most of them."

    The SBC's statement on the Bible is historic also among mainline denominations, which generally hold to the perception that the Bible is just a book, Sutton said.

    The former leadership of the SBC was on that same road, he noted. "I'm talking about heads of agencies and many of our professors," he said. "If that were not the case, then Ralph Elliott would never have been able to publish and the Broadman Commentary would never have been published," in reference to two works from the 1960s dismissing a traditional view of biblical authority.

    With an overwhelming majority, messengers gave their approval to the 2000 BF&M.

    Sizemore, meanwhile, said the revision does not reflect the views of traditional Baptists.

    When asked why thousands of Baptists voted for the revision, Sizemore replied, "When you put more control and power in the leadership, people can be duped. I'm going to have to say they [messengers] placed too much stock in the leadership's opinion."

    Sizemore said he nevertheless will remain a staunch supporter of the SBC. Currently, his church gives 13 percent of its undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program through the BGCT, in the giving plan which devotes 33 percent to SBC causes. He said that he does not plan to join the CBF. "My very first pastorate was a church that was 100 percent CBF," he said. "But I was able to counsel them and encourage them to rejoin the SBC and they did."

    As for the future of the SBC, Sutton issued a warning. "There is a major movement to entrench moderates and liberals in the religion departments of state Baptist schools," he said. "If they can't subvert seminary students, they will go a step backwards and subvert college students.

    "In time," Sutton added, "conservatives in each state, by necessity, will have to organize and challenge those moves for the sake of the next generation."
     
  2. All about Grace

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    I think Sizemore's words articulated the differences beautifully. I had not seen the video since that day I was in the convention hall. It was a greater moment than I remembered. Drs. Mohler, Kelley, and Land indicated clearly the distinction in beliefs. Thank you Sizemore and Currie for a great shining moment in resurgence history.
     
  3. Speedpass

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    Why are we bringing this up two years later?!?
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    I guess you missed the discussion we've had over the last few days... See the latter parts of the "BF&M Hitting Roadblocks Abroad" to see why I posted it.

    I'm starting to think that there is a profound inability for the "resurgence" crowd to understand the non-"resurgence" group and quite possibly the other way around. I felt sure the video would help people understand the point I've been trying to make, but the early report looks bad.

    Perhaps the evil one has been working in our midst in such a way as to confuse our communication. I understand that people can see and read the same things an honestly disagree, but this seems to be much more than that...

    I will start praying that God will help us sort out all of the charges and countercharges so that we can communicate with each other carefully and honestly, assuming the best about those which whom we think we disagree.
     
  5. TomVols

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    This was not the only article by BP on this issue. There was a much fuller treatment, including the full statement. Naturally, at this moment (11:50 pm on the east coast) I can't find the link. I will look for it. I quoted this in a couple of articles I wrote and sermons I preached, but give me some time to look for them. I've gotten three computers since then :eek:
     
  6. TomVols

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    BBeliever,
    Thank you for posting this. It clearly presents the outrageous statements of Mr. Sizemore relative to the Bible being " "A record of what Christ has done" and " "A record of God's revelation" and that "He [Jesus] is not the focus of divine revelation" and the tired bromide about the Bible vs. Jesus. I hope it is instructive. Dr. Mohler's statements clearly present the historical baptist belief about the scriptures. Dr. Kelly's statement was outstanding. While Dr. Land was accurate, I've never been a big fan of his, so I'll leave it at that :D I only wish the gasps and shrieks in response to Sizemore's radical statement could've been more audible in the clip so people would get the full tenor and spirit of the reaction of the people.

    [ June 28, 2002, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  7. Deitrich B

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    Tom
    You have your head in the sand on this one. It is painful indeed when people accuse you of not believing the Bible. When you believe a little differently than they. (A good friend of mine refuses to engage in these "discussions" because of folks like you and Todd Starnes and Russ Moore and Tammy Leadbetter. He says they are not discussions, they are little quips of one upsmanship where neither side tries to comprehend what the other is saying. And these folks; (read you and the names listed above) are more interested in pushing their agenda or building their power base than working together to support missions and reach a lost world with the saving gospel of Jesus.)

    You in another thread in an attempt to back up your impotent argument regarding the BF&M2K said that Dr. Sizemores quote was a CBF posistion. When your hand was called on it and you were presented with the facts you shifted the focus along these lines... I know lots of CBF leaders who believe this I believe it was a post or two later when you got tired of attempting to refute facts and truth and pulled the ol leave you in your sandbox routine. :rolleyes:

    You took the BF&M thread off on the resurgence trail with your remarks, when I asked for a name to research to back up your assertions, you sent me a pithy PM (well you know what it said) :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    You gave some advice to a poster in a thread one time...Please heed it now. When you have nothing pertinent to add to a thread let your fingers rest from doing the walking.

    [ June 28, 2002, 06:13 AM: Message edited by: Deitrich B ]
     
  8. Daniel David

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    Thank you BB for the link. I live in Orlando and had just joined a Southern Baptist church. I was there at the meeting and didn't know everything that was happening until right after the convention. Praise God that all true believers present affirmed the BFM2000. I am indebted to you for the link. I loved when an objection was presented and then a committee member demonstrated the objection to be foolish.

    All this confusion and "hurt" feelings wouldn't have happened if Hershel Hobbs had the integrity to draft a real confession of faith.

    How do you spell apostate? C-o-o-p-e-r-a-t-i-v-e b-a-p-t-i-s-t-s.

    [ June 28, 2002, 01:42 PM: Message edited by: PreachtheWord ]
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    And those who are convinced by the scripture that the BF&M is a very poor document are unbelievers???

    You must not be talking about committed saving faith in Christ then… You must be talking about true believers in the “resurgence.”

    Demonstrated it was foolish to some… demonstrated the committee member was foolish to others.

    Now you are slandering the integrity of Hershel Hobbs? Did you meet the man? Did you know him personally? I'd be careful about judging your brother in Christ.

    How do you spell “self-righteous person condemning their brothers and sisters for following their convictions and the call of God”? If you truly believe the Bible, you should know that you are wrong to have this attitude. Even if you are convinced CBF people are completely apostate, it shouldn't be a joking matter to you.

    You are revealing the thoughts of your heart here and it is really ugly. I’ll keep this matter in prayer.
     
  10. TomVols

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    Wow, Dietrich. You did everything but blame me for JFK's assasination and 9/11. Interesting to say the least. I find it interesting that ANYONE who has the audacity to disagree with these so called "Freedom loving baptists" on the left is painted as a power monger and politcal player. All I'm doing is looking at the facts of the whole circumstance which you try to evade. Sizemore's statement from the convention floor, coupled with his statements after, are part and parcel of a neo-orthodox position on the doctrine of revelation. Because of this fountainhead disagreement, not much else will gel either.
     
  11. Deitrich B

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    It is not unususal when people are confronted with the error of their ways for them to feel persecuted. I simply pointed out your behaviour.
    THis Freedom Loving Baptist has no problem with you disagreeing with anything. I have a problem when you play fast and loose with the truth. When you exhibit that behaviour in an attempt to further your own agenda (In this case it seems to be denigrating CBF) then Freedom Loving Baptists call you on it. Feel free to exercise your freedom by continuing to do it, but some of us exercising our own freedom will call you on it.
    The video of the event is available for viewing. Enough said. Just out of curiosity what is your disagreement with the neo-orthodox position regarding revelation?
    gel?
     
  12. TomVols

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    True. As I've said all along, the outlandish statements speak for themselves.

    To "gel" is an intransitive verb which can mean "Agree or set together." What I was trying to say was that when you jettison an orthodox doctrine of scripture and revelation, it is very easy, if not likely, if not at times mandatory, to jettison other cardinal doctrines of Christianity as well.

    If you'll allow me some sleep after a very busy week, I'll post my problems with the neo-orthodox doctrine of revelation. I may do so on the theology forum since that would be more appropriate. I'll let you know if I put it there.
     
  13. TomVols

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    And it's even less unusual for people to begin to attack the person and try to play "guilt by presupposed association" when someone is bereaft of cogent input, which you have done and repeatedly do. Once again, I'm tired of the na-na-na-na-boo-boo stuff. Got anything substantive, Dietrich?
     
  14. Aaron

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    I don't think I can remain silent upon this any longer.

    I would not think too highly of the "Conservative Resurgance." In my opinion based on what I have seen come out of LifeWay, it is not true conservatism. They honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from them. They honor God with their lips, but in works they deny him, bringing wantonness and sensuality into the church to make "seekers" comfortable and grow their numbers.
     

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