Patterson Wants War

“Southern Baptists have a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas that is determined to recover the Anabaptist and New Testament vision. While appreciating the compromised theology of the Reformers, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary refuses to truncate the everlasting gospel. Confident with the Anabaptists that we can say to every man, “God loves you individually and died for your sins,” Southwestern presses on in the intensity of a campaign to get the good news of salvation in Christ to all seven billion on this globe. While allowing no discrimination against our Reformed cousins who come to us, we continue to sound the trumpet of leading people to Christ, baptizing them by immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and gathering them into free churches with congregational governments.”*

Patterson wants a war. The old war-horse is not done fighting, and with the liberals gone (supposedly), he’s willing to turn inward. Listen to his language for the report he issued as the Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore.

“Southern Baptists have a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas that is determined to recover the Anabaptist and New Testament vision.”

This is bizarre. Patterson has had this strange Anabaptist fetish for some time, and it’s spread to the Caner brothers and others. Is Patterson under the impression that Southern Baptists have Anabaptist roots? We simply don’t. Our stream doesn’t run from the Anabaptist spring. No historian would allege such a thing. There are similarities in beliefs, but there’s absolutely no Anabaptist heritage or “vision” to recover. We never lost the “Anabaptist vision.” We never had it. This would be like an SBC seminary president talking about recovering the Wesleyan or Holiness heritage or vision. It simply wouldn’t make sense.

“While appreciating the compromised theology of the Reformers, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary refuses to truncate the everlasting gospel.”

Apparently oblivious to the fact that Baptists are children of the Reformation, Patterson characterizes the Reformer’s theology as “compromised.” Really? We can talk about various differences we have with the Sola-oriented Reformers but to call them “compromised” is the height of absurdity. Compromise would be having Rick Warren in stained glass at Southwestern seminary. That would be compromised. The Reformers would rightly throw a brick through that monstrosity.

Furthermore, Patterson accuses the Reformers’ gospel of being truncated. And this is coming from the branch of Baptist life that comes up with Four Spiritual Laws and Sinner’s Prayer methodology? Again – that’s absurd.

“Confident with the Anabaptists that we can say to every man, “God loves you individually and died for your sins,” Southwestern presses on in the intensity of a campaign to get the good news of salvation in Christ to all seven billion on this globe.”

Well first, I can think of a few people, in the Bible at least, to whom you can’t say “God loves you individually” and we can’t find any lost person in the Bible who is told that “[Jesus] died for your sins.” But again, to appeal to the Anabaptists for this is silly. Does Patterson stand with the Anabaptists on any number of other doctrines, like their disagreement with eternal security, that he rejects? Can an Anabaptist affirm the Baptist Faith and Message? No – they cannot. Furthermore, why tie Southwestern’s goal of getting the Good News to all seven billion people with his assertion that Jesus died for sinners in hell? Does Southern or Southeastern also not strive for this goal with Calvinistic confessions?

“While allowing no discrimination against our Reformed cousins who come to us, we continue to sound the trumpet of leading people to Christ, baptizing them by immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and gathering them into free churches with congregational governments.”

I guess we’ve just been relegated to the status of “cousin” to Patterson. The last time I checked, Baptists affirming the theology of our founders were considered brothers. And again, Patterson puts “leading people to Christ” in juxtaposition with those who are Reformed. Finally, Patterson takes a dig at elder-led church governments.

How many people can you offend and how many slights and insults can you put into one paragraph. In the SBC we can pretend that all is well and we’re adhering to the spirit of Frank Page’s Calvinism Advisory Committee. I assure you, Patterson wants war in the SBC.

All the smiling and handshaking between Patterson and Mohler’s camp is pure diplomacy. And as the expression goes, “Diplomacy is like saying ‘here doggy, doggy’….. until you have time to find a rock.”

* Thanks to Wade Burleson for the info, posted at his blog.

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