Posted by: Robin Foster | April 29, 2008

The Move From “Cornbread and Butter-Milk” to “Conversational Terrorism”

I find it quite disheartening to see a man who had tremendous promise in helping guide the International Mission Board, ultimately give in to what seems gutter-like tactics when referring to a man such as Dr. Yarnell. But, this latest episode has not caught me by surprise. No, the surprise ended when the irenic standard was abandoned for “conversational terrorism” in the attack of Peter Lumpkins over an innocent remark about cornbread and butter-milk.

The strategy to discredit those who disagree seems to have carried over to a new target, Dr. Malcolm Yarnell. Read this snippet from Mr. Burleson concerning his view point about Dr. Yarnell, the IMB, and SWBTS.

Malcolm’s conversational terrorism, which includes ad hominem varients, is precisely what happened at Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board. In other words, he illustrates the attitude of past trustee leadership at the IMB and current administration of SWBTS.

Frankly, I have gotten out of the Burleson watch. My time is more precious than to spend it on the petty things that have come out of Mr Burleson’s blog. In full disclosure, I did contact a friend of Wade’s over what I felt was bitterness rooting in him after the Klouda incident. I think my naivety still held hope for good things to come forth from Wade. But alas, I am believing I was wrong.

Again, I have gotten out of the Burleson watch business, until this post on Dr. Yarnell and still, I would have kept my blog quiet if it were not for the comments that Wade has allowed to remain on his blog concerning Dr. Yarnell:

“A determined partisan protected by a closed culture of political activists careless of what their management is doing to a once-proud institution?”

“my loyalty is to my paycheck, first and foremost.”

“That still does not excuse your first response to Wade which everyone can read for themselves and know it means: I don’t have to answer you because you are NOT one of us. Or maybe you are scared of your boss.”

“In some countries where there is a high degree of murder, the “church” has a teaching we should notice. In this denomination, it is taught that all are going to Heaven. The one sin, which might keep you from heaven, is murder. They have figured a way around this. The assassins have a special church/chapel to go to before the killing and they offer a prayer and burn a candle and confess the upcoming sin to the priest (without using the word kill or murder, of course). THEY ARE FORGIVEN Then, they go out and do the killing. THIS IS APPROVED BY THE CHURCH LEADERS IDENTITY? Wade, terroism is the right word.”

“Like the RCC before the Reformation, the powers that be in the SBC seem to believe salvation requires them ALLOWING the person to be baptized. It seems to require membership in a local church of which they approve and of course control. It sounds more and more like they believe they control who can be saved and who cannot.”

I am not a betting man, but if I were I would bet a year’s salary that none of the people who made those comments ever sat down to learn what Dr. Yarnell’s theology is and to witness the grace and humbleness in his heart.

It would be awesome if more academic theologians engaged the internet with the types of posts Dr. Yarnell has done. Conversations over the nuances of theology would be great. In the end however, I believe most theologians do not engage because they live in fear of attacks that do not explore the subject, but only feed the flesh. With this type of environment prevalent, we will all ultimately lose.

I will probably go back to my corner of blogsville, just focusing on my participation on SBC Today. I am growing weary of this sort of thing and will again focus on restoring unity through biblical discipleship and baptist identity. See you at SBC Today.



  1. Well said, my brother…well said.

    Sola Gratia!

  2. Robin,

    For the first time ever, I flipped the moderation switch to “ON” when I posted Dr. Yarnell’s essay. However, before I actually did so, I stepped away from the computer for what seemed only a few moments. Two comments–one from David Rogers and the other from Wade Burleson–beat my slow maneuver.

    David wanted answers to just a couple of questions that would allow him to “understand him better”. Mr Burleson’s query followed but with a bit more “steamy” content:

    “will you at least admit that one of the principles you call bedrock is a departure from historic Baptist belief, and [if so]…the new Baptist Identity movement…is a movement that will ultimately separate, isolate, and disintegrate all cooperation – even among Baptists”

    That was not actually what I was looking for so quickly. I thought we could at least tease out Dr. Yarnell’s essay a bit. That did not happen from the beginning. Rather, guns were cocked when they rounded the corner to discuss and “better understand” Dr. Yarnell’s position.

    Later, I noted on a friend’s site where a bit of whining was being expressed about my decision to turn the moderation on. I did turn the moderation back off. The whining bled over to my site, though a bit subte.

    As for the post you refer to here, the “conversational terrorism” was obviously an intetional slam against Dr. Yarnell. When the “cornbread and buttemilk” post was strategically posted, one could google “Southern Baptist” and “racism” and guess whose name appeared?

    I feel somewhat responsible for this idocy toward Professor Yarnell since he posted at my invitation. I could not agree more that if we desire some of the deeper thinkers we possess among us to allow their names attached to writings or dare enter the blog world itself, we must, under God, pull ourselves together and not allow this to happen.

    As for me, it really does not matter if either I am made to look goofy, a dweeb or whatever. Perhaps I am either or all those things together. But we must not allow such to hinder us from deflecting the heat away from Professors like Dr. Yarnell.

    Grace, my brother Robin. I am with you 7/24 on this one.

    With that, I am…


  3. Scott



    I wondered how quick the response was to your post. It seems from the expediency of the comments that you are being closely watched.

  4. Robin,

    Very funny.

    Have you ever heard of Bloglines?

  5. David

    Glad I could humor you.

    I have always cosidered you a reasonable man, could you answer me this question? Do you think that Dr Yarnell engages in conversational terrorism? Or is he a man that just expresses an opinion different from yours?

  6. Robin,

    To be honest, I thought the choice of words (“conversational terrorism”) was unfortunate. I was disappointed by Dr. Yarnell’s reluctance to answer Wade’s question (and the obliqueness with which he chose to answer the first question on my first comment). But, I did not repeat the question mainly because of that. I repeated it because it was a question for which I wanted to know the answer as well.

  7. Smiley face unintentional on last comment. Don’t read anything into it.

    Intentional 🙂 this time.

  8. David

    Thank you for responding. I am having computer problems at this moment, but I wanted to say thank you.

  9. Robin,

    Thank you for the excellent post. It is indeed a sad day in the SBC when repeated assaults on the character of one who is faithfully serving our churches and one of our institutions is perpetrated by one called to preach the Gospel.

    Ron P.

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