Sunday, March 30, 2008


Some things are a given for me. [That I will interrupt a series of posts on relationships because of a pressing thought is one. But I will get back to looking at the dark rooms I've discovered inside me later.]

It is a given for me that culture is NOT to influence our understanding of the text of scripture any more than our present inability to be totally sure of the meaning of all scripture will permit. We must faithfully work with carefulness to see that it doesn't happen as much as in us is possible. [There is that 'glass darkly' thing now but then we will know even as we're known, fully and completely.]

It is also a given that I don't like labels. Egalitarians/Complementarians both have some things right and some things wrong. When we join a side of an argument, however, we, all too often, become blind to any wrong on our side or any right on the other. That's dangerous it seems to me. We all would probably wish to stake a claim [and both sides do generally] to being biblicists anyway. Let's agree that that is the healthy place for us all to be for sure.

Another given for me is that there is a difference between discrimination and differentiation. To differentiate between male and female as to public restrooms or certain birthing services [since men don't give birth to children] would not be diminishing to one or the other. It is recognizing differences. I AM glad that the diaper changing stations have been added to men's facilities now since we are fathers to our children and need to know how to do our share of parenting to them. [Every dad needs to know how to change his kid's dirty.] I'm even glad birthing rooms now permit fathers [if they can handle it] to be present and wish it had been so in our time. It wasn't.

That said, to make artificial differences like "a women shops but a man hunts" when in a department store, is to make a general statement that may not be true at all. It is the opposite with my wife and me. I'm the shopper. She's the hunter. I'm more emotional. She's more logical. [Though she is quite emotional at times and I'm even logical at times..but we're both a little bit surprised and are likely to call attention to it when either happens. :)] I'll stop there before someone thinks she's Paul and I'm Mary.

So there are differences between male and female but to teach in marriage seminars that it is "always" this way or that way for men or women may do a great disservice to some marriages. But that's differentiation. It is not wrong and can be helpful when not pressed as absolutes.

However, discrimination is a different animal. It is more of a judgment made about differences that produces the demeaning of someone BECAUSE of differences and a robbing them of their value as a human being because of that judgment.

Racial and gender discrimination are the two classic examples. There can also be, of course, discrimination based on social or wealth standards such as one demeaned because they live in a trailer or because they happen to be a street person without home or money and are treated disrepectfully and in a demeaning manner because of that status. [I'm aware other factors often come into play with these examples but you see what I mean I'm sure.]

It is this discrimination that is blatantly unchristian and anti-scriptural to the core. [James mentions giving the preferred seat to one of wealth as opposed to the poor as a no-no.] Jesus certainly refuted this in His life and ministry when the poor as well as the wealthy were called and men as well as women followed and served with Him. It was even stated in Acts that the New Kingdom would find "sons and daughters" sharing equally in Kingdom stuff.

One final given for me. I'm convinced the work of Grace God does in us as we are redeemed by the Cross work of Christ restores us to that relationship God originally intended and had accomplished pre-fall in Eden with Adam and Eve relationally. In other words, we, because of Grace, return to the original plan and purpose of God and it will be on display, not in culture where sin still reigns generally, but in the Church where Christ reigns most certainly. It is this Christian pre-fall relationship to God, the world, and each other that is in process now in all christians and will be until He comes to break the curse on creation. It is that relationship with God, this world, and each other that is to be effective in us as we live all of life as Kingdom livers right now. [This is not to lose sight of the coming King concept at all. But for us, He reigns in us now.]

So what does that Kingdom present and Christ reigning in us now look like? That's the message of the bible with it's descriptions of the Body/Church and it's Head, the Lord Jesus, as it functions relationally, gifted and serving as salt and light within society . But...are we correctly interpreting that message of how we should live and be as christians? Or are some in danger of letting culture /society dictate how they read that message instead of being faithful to the text?

Has culture caused Egalitarians [used to identify people with a certain view particularly about women] to think it's OK for women to teach men and even Pastor churches when the scripture clearly says they should NOT? Or have Complementatians/Fundamentalists [used to identify people with a certain view particularly about women] bought into the fallen state of a misogynistic [meaning the 'hatred of woman'] culture and are not willing to be different in the treatment of women?

Have the feminists given birth to some christians going against scripture and what it says about women so they [those christians] will be liked and well thought of? [This is the claim of many Fundamentalist/comlementarians against egalitarians.]

Or has the feminist movement arisen because the Church has failed to truly set the pace against discrimination of women because of their gender.? [Much as the Church didn't set the pace in facing and denouncing discrimination against African-Americans years ago. This is the claim of Egalitarians against Fundamentalists/complementarians.]

So..does culture influence one side or the other? If so, which side? Is there a cultural influence that causes some to fail in their willingness to stand on scripture about certain truths? If so, which truths? Am I, if I'm an egalitarian, liberal and sold out to culture, or, have I, if I'm a Fundamentalist, bought into a cultural christianity that denies the dignity and freedom won in Christ for people of all age, gender and race?

In fact, how are you to live in culture as a citizen and yet live as a citizen of another country [heaven] too, believing the bible all the while?

So many questions. So much thought needed. So little time and space to write.

It is here I will focus next time with what little personal insight I can give recognizing my own bias and limitations. But attempt it I will.

Paul B.

I'm using 'complementarianism' as distinctive from 'Fundamentalism' because some non-fundamentalists are complementarians. There is legitimately an argument that the two are NOT bed-fellows at all. I would agree. I do believe one could be just a milder version of the other however, and, unless careful with the scriptures, will wind up making the same mistakes about women. I'll let you figure that one out.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Definition........."Incredulous"......[ expressing disbelief]

That's what I'm doing. Expressing my disbelief. I cannot believe the nonsense I've read in the comment sections of some blogs over the last several days.

For example..Jesus was subordinate [according to one pastor] to the Father because of the nature of that relationship and so should the wife be to her husband [as pictured in the Trinity] because that's the way relationships were intended from the beginning. The subordination within the Trinity was used to prove that authority in relationships has always been God's way.

I wonder what happened to the equality of the Godhead? What happened to the study of the Greek language where the word 'hupo-tasso' was used to speak of one who was of equal voice AND value choosing to stand under and serve and was the word used of the submission of Jesus to the Father? [Which was the word used of the husband/wife relationship also.] What happened to the word in the same Greek language 'hupo-akuo' which was used of an inferior submitted to a superior but was NEVER used of Jesus to the Father OR in the husband/wife relationship either?

Another example of what leaves me incredulous as I read comments on blogs is the idea that women are not to teach the scriptures to men because this shows authority over men which is wrong. A woman is NEVER to be in authority over a man. [Said the commenter.] So..I guess this would mean, one.. you have to declare Christian women off base [sinning] who hold authority over men in our society..OR.. two, you would have to declare whatever organization a Christian woman might be in.. a 'church'.. if you don't want said woman in authority over said men in your said organization.

If the first is true one would be establishing a biblical standard for a society made up of unredeemed people with the same standard one would have for the church. If the second is true you are totally identifying the church as an organization and would have to declare ANY organization where this principle is put into play..A CHURCH. [Which one Seminary has done.] You've got to be kidding me. I don't know which is worse. The institutional church idea or the universal standard for all lost people idea.

Another example of what makes me one where some one stated that if you don't believe 1Timothy 2:12 is saying that a woman is to never have authority over a man..[as stated by that commenter...others say it refers to times in the church] and were you to think otherwise you don't believe the bible and can't have fellowhip with him.

So, because of my view which is that 1Timothy is speaking about one situation in one church.. [the language is singular].. and Paul uses a word here for 'authority' that is found no where else in all of scripture, or classical Greek either for that matter, [There is evidence it WAS used as slang in the streets with a sexual conotation in that woman using sexuality to gain power over men.] and was probably refering to a woman in that church converted out of the worship of Diana, whose temple was outside the city, who may have still had some old habits that needed addressing by Paul, since the mystery religion of Diana held strongly to women being created before men and superior to men in every way... [Thus, in context, NOT a universal principle, and I see this BECAUSE of an historical, grammatical, and textual study.]... I'm unable to fellowship with this commenter BECAUSE I don't believe the bible. As I've said, you've got to be kidding me.

His idea loses sight of a thought well expressed by someone who said.."Sometimes, the Bible doesn’t give you enough evidence, one way or the other, to settle a question beyond the possibility of a continuing discussion and debate. If this is true, and if the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit does not remove this ambiguity, then there are points beyond which discussion and debate ought to proceed only with considerable and generous amounts of respectful humility."

One final example of comments that leave me incredulous. Some one said that the attitude I just refered to in a quote is REALLY the view that is narrowing the parameters of our convention life and is being divisive in suggesting that there is NOT a clear biblical statement on ALL issues. All Baptists will know the truth about these issues of authority, or women, or the make-up of the church or whatever if we just believe the bible. To suggest a thought on something other than what is stated in scripture, as they interpret it, or the BF@M, as they see it, is dividing us. As one commenter said to another SBC pastor, "Shame on you for being divisive in SBC life." [Because that SBC pastor believed there were lesser important truths that we could hold different interpretations on even in the BF@M and still fellowship as SBCers.]

Add to all this the one hour conversation I just had with a trustee of one of our SBC Seminaries [which for the moment will remain unknown unless he reveals the information though I have his permission to reference this] who will not be renominated for the position because of his bad behavior and divisive [there it is again] attitude. His bad behavior? He asked for information on the use of some money designated for one thing and used for another by a Southern Baptist state entity. His divisive attitude? When he was refused the information he asked why? It became obvious to him that to disagree with a decision made and to ask 'why' about that decision was seen as divisive. His actions and attitude were reported to the powers that be and he will NOT be renominated as a trustee of one of our Seminaries. He was never contacted about any issue of action or attitude that resulted in his being dropped from the trustee nominations until after the fact and, then, not by those in charge.

I'm wondering if those in charge of that particular SBC state entity and several other SBC entities I know about have ever pastored churches. For a Pastor/Elder to be asked 'why' is par for the course and that Pastor/Elder had better have a good answer for the questioner. That is, unless of course, there is more than one Lord over the church. There does seem to be a danger of there being more than one Lord in Southern Baptist life in these days.

As I said, "incredulous" is the word that best describes my state of mind at the moment.

Paul B.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I'm a firm scripture person as I'm sure you are. When the scriptures speak on something I want to obey. When the scriptures are silent on something I'm free to act/be within any known guidance and personal preferences I might have. When the scriptures are hard to understand I am to be gracious and far less than dogmatic on any position I might take. That's where the Berean spirit must come into play for sure.

The issue of Christians in Court is one of those hard to understand things for me. I see 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 and I see 1Peter 2:13-15 as both valid for believers. It is the decision about whether something is a trivial matter or whether it is an abusive matter that violates the law that one must make to stand on either passage alone. Dr. Klouda is qualified to stand on the second passage IMHO. She stood on it. She lost her case in court. So be it.

Now what? The appeals process is always in order, if one can, because the courts have ruled in favor of the wrong side in more than one case historically. Slavery is an example. I believe there are similar issues involved with this case. Some disagree. But that is for the legal system to work out. It will eventually one way or another after all appeals are addressed.

But where does our convention stand now? With respect to a woman being Senior Pastor our Confession of Faith [BF@M] has already spoken to that as a guiding document which is non-binding on the conscience of any Southern Baptist since it is not a creed. SBC entities should choose to follow it very closely, even the parts you or I might personally disagree with, but certainly must be very careful to NOT exceed it without Convention approval or permission. Again, IMHO.

Now, however, we are told a Seminary can/will model itself after a local church. Aside from my theological problems with that whole idea biblically, I have to wonder if this is the kind of thing our Convention wishes our seminaries to be doing. If, in fact, this were to happen, where does that model begin and end? At what point do we say, "No, it's a Seminary at that point and not a church"...and vice-versa. Since our Convention is our voice to our entities and they are to hear us and respond, I'm assuming local autonomy would be one of those points. As I said, I'm assuming so. But.......

Really, however, my greater concern at the moment, is for Dr. Klouda and her family. There is a price that goes with standing on personal conviction. She has paid a great price personally. I believe her cause to be just. I hold, as I said earlier, her to be true to the 1Peter 2:13-15 passage. Some of you disagree. So be that too.

But now I believe all who agree with her stand and all who disagree with her stand will want to come together fulfilling the verse that says,

"Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

And I remind us all that is in the context of giving to those with whom you disagree. We all can be family here.

My final observation is simply this. I'm not sure but as the so-called Conservative Resurgence believed it was facing, among some other things, the systemic problem of the Trustees of our entities not doing their job well, [this can be debated I know] we, in fact, may be facing that very same systemic problem again. My hope is that we will not be blind to what problems we've produced over the past 25-30 years, or be closed to self-judgment and correction of any problems we may have produced, and unwilling to harbor agendas that would go beyond the integrity and sufficiency of the scriptures for life, a mission endeavor to reach the world with the gospel, and a purity of heart with one another as we debate how to solve any problems we might have.

If our Convention were to make of itself or any entity, in any fashion, our god to be worshipped, adored, and served at any price, may the One true God of heaven in His jealous love, bring to an end any such idol as He has been faithful to do in the past, is my final prayer and desire for the Convention I love.

Paul B.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Until my next post on relationships...enjoy this quote from 'The Shack."

"From the very first day we hid the woman within the man, so that at the right time we could remove her from within him. We didn't create man to live alone; she was purposed from the beginning. By taking her out of him, he birthed her in a sense. We created a circle of relationship like our own, but for humans. She, out of him, and now, all males, including me, birthed through her, and all originating and birthed through God."

"Oh, I get it," Mack interjected, stopping in mid throw. "If the female had been created first, there would have been no circle of relationship, and thus no possiblity of a fully equal face-to-face relationship between the male and the female, right?'

"Exactly right Mack." Jesus looked at him and grinned. "our desire was to create a being that had a fully equal and powerful counterpart, the male and female. But your independence with it's quest for power and fulfillment actually destroys the relationship your heart longs for."

Paul B.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I'm continuing my thoughts about growing older and changing in the process. I must admit that, after reading what someone said about twelve things that should NOT be done on anyone's blog, one of which was being too personal, [It's a real no-no.] I've had second thoughts. Then I had third thoughts. I think it may be a little like a clock. You have to decide what it's purpose is. If a clock's purpose is to tell time, and it is for me, then the shape color, size, and all the other characteristics don't matter, if it fails to tell time. If your purpose for a clock is to decorate a wall, whether it tells the correct time or not doesn't matter. The color does matter. So to determine the purpose of one's blog is essential. Mine is to be personal and relational. So if I shape or size it differently than some that's OK. If your purpose in reading blogs is NOT personal and relational...our purposes are like two ships passing in the night. I understand why you will exit this blog at this point. Thanks for coming this far.

For the rest of you, I've become something of a student of personalities. It doesn't matter to me at this point which school of thought about how personalities are explained you hold to, you have one. Personality that is. It is why yours' is the way it is that interests me. No one would doubt that there are certain aspects about one's personality that are in play from birth, but, that said, there are other reasons in play as to why we develop the one we have I would think.

Proverbs 23:7 says, in the context of eating with a selfish person, be careful because that selfish person is undoubtedly thinking a certain way in his heart and will act accordingly. This may be the case for all of us. We act as we are thinking in our heart. KJV says "for as he thinks in his heart so is he." Aren't we all!! Another translation says "As he calculates the cost to himself, this is what he does." Don't we all!!

In fact, my contention is that your thinking about your situation in life early on helps you create actions that are basically to protect yourself from whatever you see as imagined or real threats to you personally and, generally, this is an unconscious, though very real activity. Those actions or ways of behaving become encased in what we call personality. Call them what you will, type A, sanguine, phlegmatic, number 8 on the enneagram, or any other school of thought, what you have is your personality.

It is this pattern of behavior based on our thinking that is in the process of change through out life. It is this understanding that has opened so many hidden rooms in my own life that I had refused to look into. It is this that I'm convinced is, in fact, the flesh, that has to be put to death experiencially in a believer, myself included, and can be when the finished work of the Cross is adequately and scripturally understood.

Some Christians speak of their aggressive and controlling behavior and attitudes and wind up saying, "That's just the way I am." [Or worse.. that it's because they're a Prophet.] Others speak of their struggles with addictions and say, "That's just the way I am." [Or worse.. that it's OK to do this.] While others see their timidity and fear of rejection and say, "That's just the way I am." [Or worse.. it's your fault for what you did to me.]

Often I see those same people in their religious or christian setting and their behavior is no different than before they came to Christ. It just has a new language/verbiage and they are the same old person even if they have changed addictions or some behaviors, all with a new religious pattern to them of course. That was me for so many years I can't count them.

My contention is.."just the way we are".. is what we are described as when the scriptures speak of who we are 'in Christ.' That is who we are in our person-hood. A new creation, a peculiar [high-priced] people, a loved and forgiven person, and a myriad of other things are used in scripture to describe who we REALLY are. But how we act has to catch up with reality. Remember, we've spent years perfecting how we act [for self protection and self benefit basically] and now we're told to act differently. [Self-giving and being there for others basically.] It will take some time and some honesty about ourselves to learn to act like who I really am in Christ. There is no doubt that it also takes the power of God to accomplish this change, but His power is ours in the Person of the Holy Spirit in us. My point is that it comes through the same truth..."as a person thinks within himself/herself so is he/her in their behavior."

Here's the kicker. It isn't JUST that I've learned to think a new way, [The Truths of Scripture] but I'm beginning to challenge the protectionism patterns I developed during my life. I'm learning to open dark rooms inside and see WHY and WHAT I've hidden there. I know full well I CAN respond in the present in the same manner I did before I came to Christ. I catch myself doing it frequently. It even feels kind of comfortable. [Remember I used to define myself BY that behavior.] It is certainly agonizing when I try to do things differently. Hold it. Maybe that's what it means to 'die daily.' It sure feels like death sometimes. But every time I'm willing to go there...I come out on the other side...different. Maybe that's the new person I am in Christ. All of this is simply the work of the Cross and who Christ is as my life.. real..[because it is] in any given moment. I do know it is a journey. I do know it's the one I'm on. I do know it ain't easy but, wow, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, at the risk of being personal, I'm going to tell of an illustration or two from my own walk next time. :)

Paul B.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I wrote this originally as a comment on Wade's blog but decided to put it up as a short report post [with small additions and clarifications] until my next installment of "Growing Older."

It is in reference to the meeting I shared with 30 or 40 other men and women this past Monday and Tuesday in Arlington Texas. It was conceptually birthed and hosted by the Cornerstone Baptist in Arlington and her Pastor Dr. Dwight McKissic. You'll be hearing much more in the days, months, and years to come, the Lord willing.

Suppose, hypothetically, a person and fourteen others get together to support a idea to provide some funds, if possible, for someone who might need a little help in getting to a ministry God has called them to in spreading the gospel. To do so, the fifteen of them, decide what they can agree on as to the message of the gospel. In other words, what the message is that needs to be heard and must be believed to be saved. [Then that little group clearly states the essentials that are necessary to actually believe the unique exclusivity of the true gospel message. They call it their 'statement of faith' meaning for the gospel message to be the true one.]

Agreeing there, they decide, the fifteen of them, that their differing views on lesser truths will not be an issue for them to promote the gospel. In fact, they will even sing together, pray together, give together, share together, believing their unity is NOT, and never SHOULD be, uniformity but, rather, that their eyes stay fixed on Jesus when they're together which is their real essential when they gather together. They learned this in First Corinthians, Acts 11 and 12, from where the Antioch name came for the network and other places in scripture.

They agree that when someone teaches, they should be true to how they see the text in the lesser things but will always practice a spirit that says, "this is where I am on this but my enjoyment of praise and worship of our Lord with you is NOT dependent on you agreeing on this point with me. In fact, I won't demand you must agree and you won't demand I can't believe this." [Referencing whatever lesser thing they are talking about.] That is their commitment.

Someone might, in the course of sharing a homily, mention their belief in a private prayer language, for example, but they would know full well someone present believes, perhaps, that those gifts have ceased. [The mode of baptism would be another example.] Further, there is an unusual spirit of respect among those fifteen for the Spirit's responsiblity to make clear to each, as He wills, those things that need to be taught, [the lesser things] once the claims of the gospel have been responded to in one's life. But that will be wherever that person choses to affiliate with other believers locally in a church.

Were someone to join in worship with any one of the fifteen local fellowships represented in that group, they would hear the clear articulation of the variously held views on such things. But this little group of fifteen is not trying to be a local church, a denomination, a religious institution of any kind. They just want to be a part of a few people who want to love Jesus together, give money so that Jesus may become known, and love on one another as different as we all happen to be, and believe me, hypothetically, those fifteen are different.

Further, hypothetically, suppose that little group of fifteen is open to ANYONE joining them in the desire to enjoy Jesus and each other and get the gospel out in some new and fresh ways. [Knowing the exclusivity of the gospel message they hold to.] Would you NOT want to be a part of that small group? If not...then don't. If yes...then by all

Now, you may ask "Bro. Paul, why don't you just come out and say that's how you view that group?"Okay, I will. Just change the fifteen to thirty-five, and you have my view of what I experienced in Arlington. It won't replace my local church fellowship at all. It won't even replace my denomination.

But it wasn't half bad. In fact, it was plumb good. [In Oklahoma you can't get better than 'plumb.'] :)

Paul B.