Here is a report of the Florida Convention that includes the Executive Committee’s report that John Sullivan found “no voice to split CP funds in a 50/50 distribution” from his “listening sessions” with 43 of the state’s 49 associations. I don’t recall such a session being announced in our association. I wish I had not missed it.
I really hoped this time would be different. When you took it upon yourself to engage me and others here this time, I hoped that when your views started getting pressed hard and the necessary implications of your words started being exposed that you wouldn’t scoop up your marbles and run home. I hoped that this time you would stay and own your positions. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
You are correct that I am not a very good historian. Good historians learn from history. I allowed my brotherly love to let me to hope that, this time, you would act differently. Of course, you are certainly free to pop in here, stir things up and then leave when it gets too hot. But it further discredits your credibility every time you do.
Since you have offered some lessons that you have learned from our exchange, allow me to do the same.
1. Malcolm accuses me of having a “flawed” … understanding of regenerate church membership by allowing unorthodox Christians to commune” with me while having himself *admitted* that he would allow blatant heretics (even Servetus) to be included in the Baptist family provided they were sprinkled as adults into some kind of religious communion.
2. Malcolm thinks that, as a seminary employee, he has a right to demand of Southern Baptist churches that they answer to him about their beliefs and practices. This is the exact same mindset liberal professors before him had.
3. Malcolm thinks that churches that do not have the Baptist Faith and Message as their confession should nevertheless adhere to it in the way that he interprets it or be held up to abuse and scorn.
4. Malcolm thinks that “Founders compatriots” want to be “known as scholars” as much as he does. This is a classic case of projection and it is one of the great dangers that faces Malcolm and those like him. Again, the similarity with the pre-conservative-resurgence, liberal professors is striking. That was one of their great concerns, that they wouldn’t be respected by the academy. It sad to see that same mentality among conservative professors like Malcolm.
5. Malcolm thinks that mere theoretical affirmation of Baptist principles is enough to be known as a champion of them. Thus he theoretically affirms:
a) regenerate church membership- while actually being in communion with huge numbers of people who give no signs of spiritual life but who were dunked in a baptistry at some point and remain members of his local church. (Malcolm, you and I have discussed this previously at length, in an exchange of emails from May 2007. Why don’t we make them public so that everyone here can see the full range of our views on this issue? I will be happy to publish them unedited, exactly as we wrote them. Are you willing? I believe that would be a very enlightening opportunity for all Southern Baptists who care about this issue.).
b) priesthood of all believers-while actually wondering if he should judge “all Calvinists as flawed historians, unwilling to affirm Baptist orthodoxy, and holding unorthodox views of SBC polity” because of his perceptions of me. His colleagues at SWBTS should earnestly hope that Southern Baptists don’t follow his example in this and judge all of them by what he has written in this comment stream! Again, I hate to sound like a broken record but this is *exactly* the way I was treated by my neo-orthodox professors at SWBTS in the mid-80s. Guilt by association was all the rage then. Seems like not much has changed in that regard.
c) autonomy of local churches-while actually demanding first that our church make a confession that suits his standard of church polity and then demanding that we give an account to him–our servant–of our faith and practice. Amazing.
So, I guess by your closing remarks that we should not look for your further comments here since it would take away too much time from serving other churches. You should be comforted to know, however, if my email and phone calls are any measure, you have served many, many more churches than just mine in your words here. Your comments are helping many see things much more clearly than they previously have and are helping them make decisions about the future.
PS. For the record–my church does not allow unorthodox Christians to commune with us. In fact, we don’t allow those who give no signs of spiritual life to commune with us as members–something you cannot say.