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Featured John R. Rice, Bob Jones Jr., and the “Mechanical Dictation” Controversy

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by rlvaughn, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Thanks, Fonzie
     
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  2. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Bju seems to in some areas really take Christian beliefs past "sound practices", as they want to make it really exclusive in what is to be seen as being real Christianity.
     
  3. OnlyaSinner

    OnlyaSinner Active Member
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    I think the top-down culture at BJU is different under Steve Pettit (as it was under Stephen Jones) from its earlier days. The Bible doctrines held remain much the same. I've no idea if their view of JRR is any different, however, or if they've even addressed the old (and unfortunate) dispute.

    I can't recall where I purchased "Our God-Breathed Book, The Bible." My first thought was the BJU bookstore in the late 1990s (until reading upthread that it was not allowed to be sold there, at least for a while), but it may have been elsewhere and earlier.
     
  4. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I agree, if I understand you correctly, Hank. The big deal is the doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration. If we can agree on that, I personally do not need to forge detailed agreements on how the process exactly transpired, a process of which we all probably lack understanding.
     
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  5. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    My Alma Mater (Calvary University) had his (Rice) publications in the school bookstore while I was there (late 60's, early 70's) though they did not always see eye to eye with him. I bought a publication there about "Bobbed Hair" on women and from then on I had a greater appreciation of woman with long hair (My wife has/had hair down to her waist). No I am no longer a legalist :)
    Neither was Rice IMO.

    HankD
     
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  6. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Right!

    HankD
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Something that Finn got right did not really hit me until my research trip last week, when I discovered in the John R. Rice Papers a long letter from JRR to BJ Jr. in which JRR instituted the break. Before I had assumed that the break came from the BJU side. I haven't read the whole letter yet, since I have tons of files to go through, but essentially JRR was saying to BJ that they were no longer on the same road in fundamentalism.

    Question: Did they have the same view of verbal inspiration? Answer: No! I asked my Greek teacher at BJU in 1971 or '72, "When there were synonyms in the original language, who chose the word to be used, the Holy Spirit or the human author?" The teacher replied, "The human author." This says to me that the JRR and BJU views were not the same. What JRR would have said is, "Both." His view was that the Holy Spirit spoke through the authors of Scripture using their own personalities and abilities, so that the result was 100% human and 100% divine.
     
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  8. FollowTheWay

    FollowTheWay Well-Known Member
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    Interesting. My twin brother was at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1991 to 1995 having felt the call to the ministry at age 42 after a 10 year career as a corporate financial analyst. He was standing in the room when Dr. Mueller was announced as the new President of the SBTS and had taken courses from several of the moderate professors who were thrown out of the SBTS including Molly Marshall. A former pastor of my current church in Atlanta, Dr. Daniel Vestal, left us for a church in Texas in 1991 and was the Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (1996-2012). The older brother of a good friend of mine when I was growing up in Louisville, Dr. David Wheeler, was a professor at the CBF Seminary in Kansa City with Molly Marshall. I went to high school in Louisville with the son of SBTS President Dr. Duke McCall.
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I have a friend who was a prof in an SBC seminary back then. The liberals used to mock the conservatives from the chapel pulpit.

    There was correspondence between Duke McCall and John R. Rice in the JRR Papers, but I didn't have time to examine it.

    Dr. Paige Patterson several years ago gave an interview in which he gave John R. Rice credit for planting the seeds for the SBC conservative resurgence. We discussed this briefly before lunch. It was great to get to know him. Back in those days, everywhere Dr. Patterson went, he saw the Sword of the Lord on the desks of pastors. John R. Rice kept up with liberalism in the SBC through his many contacts in the convention, and reported it in the SOTL.
     
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  10. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    John
    When I saw your post - it reminded me of something.
    Back in 1972-1973, I became a member of my first SBC church. (I had grown up in a GARBC church.)
    The Pastor, Rev Ralph Blair (Tenn Temple & NOTS) and I both received the Sword of the Lord.

    EVERY week the Sword announced churches that had left the SBC.
    Every week, I would ask Pastor Blair - if he had seen the front page of the Sword that week.

    With a partial frown, Pastor Blair admitted he saw the list of churches that left.

    He also was a member of a group -the name was something along the line of "Southern Baptists Conservatives"
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for sharing that. I'd forgotten about the "leaving" list. The history is fairly complicated, and dissertations are being written about it as we write. :Coffee
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Here's a great resource from Dr. Patterson: http://paigepatterson.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ConservativeResergence.pdf

    He writes on p. 9, "John R. Rice turned the torch of The Sword of the Lord on Southern Baptists. Sometimes he was not fair, but cleverly cobbled together with sermons on “soul-winning” and reports of revival, the reports of Southern Baptist apostasy had a general ring of truth. And while Southern Baptist leadership either excoriated their former associate or else desperately attempted to ignore this now Independent Baptist hornet, in the days of my youth I went into few offices of Southern Baptist pastors who did not have the latest issue of The Sword. Rice graduated to heaven never knowing, I suspect, the extent of his impact on the denomination he had left."
     
  13. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    would love to read some of those
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I have a terrible cold, and am about to go home, but first, several things I learned in TX about the mechanical dictation controversy. Maybe I can write more later in the week.

    1. This was just the culmination of a split that had been brewing for years.
    2. There was more to it than just the inspiration and separation disagreements. Jones Jr. had objected to Why Our Churches Do Not Win Souls (1966) by JRR for its opposition to formalism--something Jones loved.
    3. The split was actually initiated in a long letter by JRR to Jones, saying JRR saw that they were going different directions, so he would no longer preach at BJU, but wanted to remain friends.
    4. JRR made the point to Jones in his long letter that JRR's views on inspiration had not changed going back to Twelve Tremendous Themes (1943). (I checked this out, and it's true.) So it seemed strange to JRR that Jones was now objecting to the view.

    Chew on those facts for awhile.
     
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  16. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Praying for you.

    HankD
     
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  17. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Would you define/explain what you mean by formalism in this context? Thanks.

    I hope you are feeling better soon.
     
  18. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Thanks. Trying to take it easy this week and get over it. It's the lull before the Fall semester storm anyway.
     
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  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Formalism is when ceremonies in a church take the place of evangelism and the natural and free leading of the Spirit of God. JRR wrote, 'When churches lost their evangelistic fervor, then forms and ceremonies take the place of the zeal and power which are now lacking" (Why Our Churches Do Not Win Souls, 85).

    "The Sunday morning service particularly is a time for people to wear their finest clothes and sit with funeral solemnity and follow a printed schedule from which they dare not deviate. Only at certain times in the service may people be seated. There is a set time to stand and a set time to sit. The preacher prays a formal prayer, often one that is written out, and the choir chants a response or perhaps a four-fold or seven-fold amen!" (Ibid, 87).

    When I went to BJU in 1970, I was disappointed to find they had a very formal service on Sunday mornings. All the students were required to be there, not being allowed to go to a regular church. This explains Bob Jones Jr.'s objection to JRR's book.
    Thank you.
     
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  20. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    The difference reminds me of this old story:
    Back in the day when the family first came West they lived on their homestead and were brush arbor Baptists. Then in a generation or so, they prospered enough to move into town and joined the Methodist church. The next generation really made the famly fortune and they joined the Episcopalian Church.

    I think this division is rooted in the origins of the two men. JRR in the Baptists and BJ in the Methodists. My great grandfather pastored Methodist Episcopal churches in Iowa.
     
    #40 Squire Robertsson, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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