Posted by: Robin Foster | December 14, 2007

Here We Go Again, But It Is A Little More Awkward This Time

I am sure that most of you have heard of the TBN show that featured Dwight McKissic, Dr. Dwain Miller, and Dr. Scott Camp. The whole subject was on SBC pastors who practice tongues and the controversy in the SBC stemming from tongues and her policies on tongues.

There is something else I must relay to my readers. When it comes to friendship, I do my level best to be loyal to those I count special in my heart. This will hopefully shed some light on the next paragraphs.

I met Dwain Miller early in my pastoral ministry. He was a great encourager and I coveted his prayers for strength in my ministry. I have known Dwain to be a man of integrity, a pastor’s friend, and a pastor passionate about the lost. He has reached out to those who have been forgotten in most target groups. My ministry and life has been blessed by God giving me opportunities to talk to him about God and the ministry. We have not talked about the differences concerning our views on the how the Spirit operates in His church, but I hope to have the opportunity one day to do so with love and grace.

I had the privilege to meet Bro. Dwight for the first time last year at the round table he sponsored at Cornerstone. From that time we have had the opportunity to talk at length concerning our differences. He was gracious enough to invite me to participate in the Conference on the Holy Spirit and has encouraged me in my studies at Southwestern. Dwight is a big fan of education at the Seminary level and persuades others who are seeking to go in the ministry to enter seminary. He is a man who loves the church. I have also known Dwight to be a man of integrity, a pastor’s friend, and a pastor passionate about the lost.

While the aforementioned men I disagree with concerning tongues and other areas on gifts of the Holy Spirit, I also have friends on the other side of this issue that I agree. It has been a great privilege to know Dr. Bart Barber. He has proven himself to be a man of integrity, a pastor’s friend, and a pastor passionate about the lost. I first met him about six years ago and was reacquainted with him about a year and a half ago. Bart loves the local church and has proven himself well equipped to handle controversies, yet humble to admit his mistakes. I consider him one of my closest confidants and trust him as a mentor in my life.

Wes Kenney has become a friend that sharpens this friend. Since he first came out and stood up for believers baptism as a requirement for church membership, we have been friends. There isn’t hardly a day where we don’t talk about SBC issues, the ministry, or family in general. He is a man of integrity, a pastor’s friend, and a pastor passionate about the lost. He is one of the sharpest individuals I know and often takes me to task for my grammar or lack there of. (That preposition was for you Wes.) Many may not realize this, but he is also one of the funniest guys I know. I mean, this guy is really funny. My life is blessed by this friendship.

Tim Rogers and I have had contact for over the last year. I finally met him face to face in San Antonio and that, with previous conversations, led to us collaborating on SBC Today. This is another man I find having the highest integrity, a passion for the lost, and a concern for fellow pastors in the ministry. He is another Iron Man in my world of friends and I have been blessed by our interaction. Tim also ranks as one of the funniest guys I know. I wish I had his gift for gab and humorous sayings. But since I don’t, I will listen to him.

Tim Guthrie is a man that I first met at San Antonio. Since that time, we have talked many times and I have witnessed his integrity, his love for his church, and his love for the Southern Baptist Convention. I have gained knowledge and wisdom with our conversations. He has a no non sense attitude when seeing how things are happening in the convention and I appreciate his analysis. He is also a man I consider a friend and I am blessed for it.

With all that said, I don’t believe that Dwight agreed with everything that was said on the TBN show. I wish he would have spoke up when Dr. Patterson’s correct view on the Greek grammar of 1 Cor. 13:8 was called, “silly” by the moderator. You can disagree with a man’s point of view, but to call it silly to millions of people world wide without him being able to speak to it is just wrong. I wish something was said. There are many things I wish Bro. Dwight would have done, but I also realize he is on T.V. with millions of viewers world wide. That is very intimidating and the venue did not allow Bro. Dwight to express his view points fully. Do I disagree with him on his theology concerning tongues? Absolutely! Do I believe he is a man lacking moral character? Absolutely Not!

Now some may see me as going soft. Let me assure you, I am not. I stand against the beliefs that were expressed on that show and I will do all I can to stand up for what the Bible says about those practices. I will stand and work with Bart, Wes, Tim R. and Tim G. in solidifying our Baptist distinctives in the convention. I also believe they have brought to light some legitimate questions concerning the TBN show. I am also angered that Dr. Patterson was criticized and mocked during that show. I am disappointed that the SBC in many instances was represented in a condescending tone. It is my desire to maintain the friendships I have gained over these last few years, but I will stand for truth and a proper understanding of what the Bible says even if that means studying the Greek and Hebrew to get there.

Do I believe there is a push in our convention to go fully charismatic? Yes. Do I believe all the men on that show are organizing to lead that movement? No. I believe the show represented a desire by some to have the convention go this route, though, I don’t believe Bro. Dwight is willing to go as far as what some would want.

The argument about how far we will go rests in the understanding of the BF&M. If it is considered a maximum statement, then ultimately the policy on tongues would have to be removed from the IMB and NAMB. Why? Because the BF&M does not discuss matters of Spiritual gifts and the full operation of the tongues practice would have to be allowed on the field along with being slain in the spirit, holy laughter, and holy shouts just to name a few. This is not to spread fear, but to show the logical outworking of a maximal policy concerning the BF&M. Whether people realize it or not, this will happen if a maximal view is taken.

I don’t believe the show on TBN is the issue. I do believe it is a result of the debate concerning maximum/minimum view of the BF&M. But, the real issue is this debate. I will do all I can to allow our agencies and our trustees to deal with issues as they come and not be hindered by a maximal view of the BF&M. I will also do all I can to appreciate the friends God has brought into my life. It is my prayer that God will grant me wisdom on how to stand for truth, yet remain faithful to my friends.

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Responses

  1. Well put……

    Thanks Robin

    -Chris

  2. Robin,

    I agree with every word that you wrote, with the exception of…

    “Do I believe the men on that show are organizing to lead that movement? No.”

    I could agree with this:

    “Do I believe that ALL of the men on that show are organizing to lead that movement? No.”

    I believe that you have accurately demonstrated the differences between Pastor McKissic’s theology and that of Miller, Camp, Blessitt, and Hogue. Doing so does not, I don’t think, introduce any tension between your viewpoint and mine. Even if it did, that would be OK, but I don’t think that it does.

    Nevertheless…and you were there, not me…didn’t one of the participants in the panel (not McKissic) explicitly call in Arlington for the formal organization of a group to take control of the SBC or leave it?

  3. Yes Bart, it was Scott Camp who called for Bro. Dwight to begin a new organization outside of the SBC.

    I also agree with your correction to my statement. I will change it.

    Thanks

  4. Robin,

    Thanks for the post. It is well written and a needed word. I was one Dr. Welty nailed for implying Dwight McKissic ‘attempted’ to embrace moral cowardice. That was unfortuate wording and Dr. Welty was precisely correct in calling it into question.

    On the other hand, I do not think my intended point was overturned even though I absolutely botched the expression of it. Namely, inaction constituted an example of moral cowardice. In that particular case, a friend’s view was hacked to pieces in his presence without a word of caution and/or distancing himself from it.
    TV or not, from my perspective, it was a failure.

    Grace, Robin. I trust your heart and pen in all this. With that, I am…

    Peter

  5. robin,

    good word. hunker down, my bro. the snow is coming. throw another log on the fire and get out the extra quilts.

    david

  6. Yeah, well what about me? You big sissy. 🙂

    cb

  7. Well said Robin…
    Steve


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