Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Feb 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

On Southern Baptist Blog Wars, Liberals & Fundamentalists

Last Tuesday (2/3/09), controversial Southern Baptist blogger Wade Burleson penned a post entitled “Forcibly Removing All The Tulips At SWBTS” which claimed that Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and architect of the Fundamentalist Takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, was planning to kick the seminary’s Calvinist professors to the curb under the guise of necessary cutbacks due to the sucky economy.

Almost immediately, a Calvinist professor (and Assistant Dean) at Southwestern screamed BS and called on Burleson “repent of your lies and slanders against Dr. Patterson and SWBTS.”

However, Burleson did not retract his story and followed-up with the post entitled “Forcibly Removing Tulips At SWBTS (Part II).”

In typical fundamentalist fashion, several of Burleson’s detractors threw up posts calling Burleson both a Liar and a….wait for it….Liberal.  You knew that the L-bomb was gonna get lobbed.

Dr. Bart Barber, pastor of FBC Farmersville, Texas and the PraiseGodBarebones blog, described Burleson as “the wild-eyed liberal that he either always was or has recently become” in his February 4th post entitled The Log In The Eye of The SBC Tabloid Press.

Petey Lumpkins of the blog SBC Tomorrow followed Barber with a post entitled Wade Burleson: The Brightest Star Among The New Baptist Liberals.

Scott Gordon, a Missouri Baptist pastor who blogs at SBC Today, penned a post on his personal blog entitled If Not A Liberal…At Least A Liar.

Not surprisingly, fighting ensued in the blogosphere among conservative and fundamentalist Southern Baptists.  Some were called Liars.  Others were called Liberals.

The folks at the popular Independent Fundamental Southern Baptist blog SBC Today responded to all this drama with an interview from none other than Paige Patterson himself.  One need only read through a dozen or so of the comments to see the severe man-crush that some of these Southern Baptist pastors have on Paige, Richard Land-style of course.

At the end of the day and presumably the end of this particular blog war in the Southern Baptist Blogosphere, the fine folks at SBC Today blocked all those living in the Enid, Oklahoma area (home of Wade Burleson) from accessing the SBC Today blog.  Apparently, that’s how they do dat dere.

The SBC Today bloggers have also sworn off “any contact with or acknowledgment of Wade Burleson.”  Meanwhile the tag line of SBC Today continues to read:

Restoring Unity Through Biblical Discipleship and Baptist Identity

Unity Through Exclusion.  Yes, that’s the fundamentalist way….

Fundamentalists fighting is nothing new.  But the fighting has reached a new level in the Southern Baptist blogosphere.  All I know is that the old white guy-dominated Southern Baptist blogosphere can stir up more drama than a handful of teenage drama queens.

The resort to calling those with whom you have minor theological quibbles with a Liberal is O-L-D.  Southern Baptist fundamentalists definitely have not abandoned this tactic.  I’m just not convinced this tactic is all that effective anymore.  Wade Burleson, a liberal?  That might be hard to sell.  Fundamentalists need to be creative with their labels.  Mixing things up…a little creativity…that might help.  Or perhaps their lack of creativity in this regard has something to do with that “intellectual sterility” indictment that evangelical historian Mark Noll hurled at fundamentalists over a decade ago.  Just a thought.

Bloggin’ sure does bring out the best of Southern Baptists -that ole fundamentalist spirit.

So, back to my point from a week or so ago about the situation with FBC Decatur and the Georgia Baptist Convention: The problem is not denominations in a post-denominational world.  The problem is fundamentalism.  Fighting and using pejorative monikers is just how Fundamentalists express themselves.  In the 21st century, they do this in the blogosphere.  As the old saying goes, the only way to cooperate with a fundamentalist is to obey HIM.  Organizational unity is highly unlikely as long as fundamentalists are in the fold.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Brother BDW,

    “As the old saying goes, the only way to cooperate with a fundamentalist is to obey HIM. Organizational unity is highly unlikely as long as fundamentalists are in the fold.”

    That is well said.

    People that do not love one another,…seem to misunderstand scripture’s use of doulos, and the one that demands obedience.


  2. If this weren’t such a sad statement, it would be funny. Imagine who the Fundies will have to fight with after they run off the last bastion of free thinkers. Let the in-breeders reign!

  3. “The resort to calling those with whom you have minor theological quibbles with a ____________ is O-L-D. ”


  4. Aaron: As a former Fundamentalist,I agree with Chris. You are correct. I am praying however, and have been for three years that this will change.

  5. BDW,

    The point of that portion of the post, and of the label, was that Burleson is a rampant, indiscriminate, and inaccurate labeler. Although I have a very fun and creative rationale for pinning the l-word on Wade, and although he certainly has demonstrated that he is among the more liberal Southern Baptists walking around these days, I think you’d have to agree that it is VERY anomalous for me to label him in this way.

    He, on the other hand, can’t write his name without calling someone narrow, fundamentalist, “Baptist Identity Religion”, Landmark (or is it Neo-Landmark?), or the like.

    Well, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and I had finally had enough. Thus my post.

    I assure you that the content of my blogging in the future will be more stimulating than a tiring exchange of name-calling. It was simply cathartic for me to engage in doing to Wade what he does to the world every other day. I indulged once (OK…twice). Everybody deserves dessert once in a while. I promise to eat my veggies from now on. 😉

    Wade (the blogging persona. . . I know little about the man otherwise) is the J. Frank Norris of the SBC Left. He’s unhappy without a fight going on. He’s placed spies at SWBTS and throughout the SBC. He’s a bully. He’s incapable of admitting to mistakes. He’s incapable of making a simple apology. He drives me nuts sometimes.

    That I let it show so plainly either means that I’m “transparent” and “authentic” or that I lack self-control (or both). I’ll let those of you who read my stuff adjudge that question for yourselves.

  6. P.S.: When I post something like that, my greatest regret is in knowing that a personality like Wade Burleson’s is delighted to have provoked an open battle.

  7. Bart: What would Christ have been labeled? He was soft on sinners, slow in using the law. So what label would he be given today?

  8. Debbie,

    I’ve already made Wade’s week by wrestling in the mud with him. You’re just going to have to wait your turn.

  9. Soft on sinners?


    That’s new.


  10. “…the J. Frank Norris of the SBC left.” Is there a left in the SBC other than those who haven’t left yet?

  11. Yes CB. Soft on sinners. It’s not new to me. Read his response to sinners. It’s the religious leaders of the day Christ was tough on. Christ was introducing the New Covenant.

  12. First off, every leader (including every professor) LEFT in the SBC is fundamentalist because they threw the rest of us out. Whenever I see them use the same tactics on each other, it makes me glad that I am long gone from the new Southern Fascist Convention.

    Real Baptists seek freedom to disagree. They welcome it. It’s part of the priesthood of believers and liberty of conscience.

    You can experience this liberty in most non-SBC Baptist circles: the Alliance of Baptists, the CBF (except if you bring up same-sex marriage or ordination!), American Baptist Churches, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Canadian Baptist Ministries, etc.

  13. Aaron,

    I absolutely love the post–roasting us Southern Baptist pastors for our name-calling.

    I stopped counting at “fifteen”times you non-emotively referred to us as dorky, raging “fundamentalists” not to mention the ‘southern-white-guy hazing you gave. Oh, yes! The Junior High dig at me with “Petey.”

    Bravo! Aaron, Bravo!

    But wait! Our good friend, Michael even topped you–we’re facists!

    Yes, sir ree. You irenic, peace-loving Moderates have surely taught us a thing or two.

    With that, I am…

    P.S. for the record, Noll’s work was not about fundamentalism specifically. Unless, of course, at your party, we’re all assigned to swim in one pool.

  14. Petey,

    For the most part, I used the term “fundamentalist” in a non-pejorative manner.

    And for the record, Mark Noll specifically was taking aim at fundamentalists and fundamentalism with the “indictment” that I referenced above.

    But lumping you all together in the same pool, I think the thesis of Noll’s work was something like “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind Is That There Is Not Much of An Evangelical Mind.”

    Thanks for stopping by though. I hear you have some deadlines. Best stop blogging with us and get to work…

  15. I’d LOVE to know what the readership of the SBC Today Blog was in Enid, Oklahoma prior to their IP’s being cut off. Seriously? Does the SBC realize that they’re lumping themselves in with the Chinese and Iranians by restricting free access to information in such a manner? Totalitarianism is not Christlike.

    BDW is right; Noll’s work was about the strains in fundamentalism that view intellectual study and achievement with suspicion. The extension of his argument is essentially that Christians shouldn’t be afraid of intellectual inquiry if we really believe that God is the source of truth.

    The anti-intellectual stance is not limited to Baptists, to put it mildly, but this takes it to new heights.

  16. Sorry, should’ve said “SBC Today” where I said “SBC.”

  17. This is so much fun to watch! The SBC is coming apart even further and they don’t realize it. It is more fun to watch this than if we’d won the battles of the 80s and 90s.

  18. Iran,

    Oh, I get it. You employ, ‘non-pejorative’, accurate, and legitimate labels while we employ pejorative, inaccurate and illegitimate labels. Sweet!

    I suppose also your ‘southern-white-guy’ and Michael’s ‘fascist’ would nicely fit your “‘non-pejorative’, accurate, and legitimate labels” assessment as well. How divinely objective. And Double Sweet!

    Finally, though it’s been awhile since I read Noll’s book, I am almost positive he did not make a category mistake by clumping all evangelicalism into fundamentalism.

    Besides, Noll was lamenting the disease of his own body, a family trait. Thus, according to your logic, Noll is a fundamentalist. Interesting you did not grace him with that label, however. You cited Noll as an “evangelical historian.”

    Are you sure his book “Scandal” is not another one of those works you like to quote but have never read (e.g. Erickson)?

    Have a great day. With that, I am…


  19. Mr. Bumpkins,

    You might want to reread Noll. I have – not sure that you have though. The specific quote that I provided – “intellectual sterility” – is a direct “indictment” of fundamentalists/fundamentalism provided by Noll. The book is an indictment of evangelicalism.

    I think I said “old-white-guy.” You added “southern.” Again, read.

    You must not be worried about your deadlines anymore. Who is publishing your Sunday School lessons again? LuLu?

  20. Absolutely amazing that the folks at SBC Today in their desire for unity block people from commenting!!

    They must have a different definition of unity.

  21. Iran,

    I think you are completely missing your continued “not-getting-it.”

    I wrote, ‘”Besides, Noll was lamenting the disease of his own body, a family trait. Thus, according to your logic, Noll is a fundamentalist. Interesting you did not grace him with that label, however. You cited Noll as an “evangelical historian.”‘

    You come back with,”The specific quote that I provided – “intellectual sterility” – is a direct indictment” of fundamentalists/fundamentalism provided by Noll. The book is an indictment of evangelicalism.”

    I did not question Noll’s term “intellectual sterility,” I questioned your painting Noll’s wall the wrong color. I doubt he would make the category mistake you have twice now attributed to him: evangelicalism = fundamentalism.

    I do understand, however, how you do so. For you, all SBs are fundamentalists. I surely hope your trial lawyer tricks are better than your logic, Iran.

    Have a great day. With that, I am…


  22. Peter:

    Why did you close your Blog?

  23. Bumpkins,

    I have not once equated evangelicalism with fundamentalism. That’s in your mind, dude.

    I did however take a quote from Noll’s book, a quote which he directed towards fundamentalists and fundamentalists alone, and applied it to a handful of Southern Baptist fundamentalists. Very simple.

    For me, all Southern Baptists are not fundamentalists. But the Southern Baptist Convention is a fundamentalist-controlled denomination. You really do assume too often.

  24. I also don’t think all Southern Baptists are fundamentalists–just the LEADERS of the SBC. Those are also those I tongue-in-cheek referred to as “Southern Fascists.” It’s over the top if meant literally, which I didn’t. However, those of us who suffered the tactics of the takeover of the ’80s and ’90s will recognize that many of these tactics employed had much in common with those used by totalitarians and fascists.

  25. Bdid:
    I do hope you will take up the cause of the Tim George abortion pamphlet now linked at; and Glenn Jonas as well

  26. Every body is acting in typical baptist fashion (read Bill Leonard’s lecture on Baptists back in the 1700s). In other words, every one gets excited and goes ape except for a few. However, in the ferment things are taking place. Leonard’s lecture on the net at WFUDiv school I think does not mention that during that early period when the Episcopalian in NC was criticizing the Baptists, they were also obtaining religious liberty, laying the foundations for unity (uniting the Separate and Regular Baptists in 1787 and in 1827 a church in MO would be founded as a fruit of that union which I would pastor in 1965-66), initiate the Great Century of Missions from the admittedly limited perspective of Particular Redemption when the General Redemptionists were not very evangelistic and even careless abou soul-winning, using educated and uneducated ministers, acting very radically in having “eldresses”, and shifting the Reformation over from a Gospel Recovery effort to an outgoing, world mission minded force. there is more, much more. But my point is that all of this could be the precursor to the Third Great Awakening in which we win the whole earth to Christ in one generation and perhaps for a 1000 generations. After all, the promised to Abraham (cannot be numbered when compared to the snd by the seashore and the stars of heaven) calls for such huge amounts as to stagger the imagination. I do not speak of force to accomplish such thing but of sweet reason involving a deeper understanding of Holy Scripture which, is inspired by an omniscient God and ought and does reflect an intellectual depth commensurate with that inspiration. I found out from 6 yrs of research in Baptist History that the doctrines of the Bible are all two-sided and apparently contradictory and that holding both sides of a dotrine without trying to reconcile them will enable one to become balanced, flexible, creative, and magnetic. Interestingly enough all this baloney over theology is the result of a leaven at work, a ferment, a paradoxical intervention. God’s truths of TULIP and Predestination and even Reprobation are like mathmatical equations with inverse functions the produce the opposite effect. They are surely like the the paradoxical interventions of the counselors which are designed to enable the counselee to regain control, Pshaw! If counselors could do such thing, God has already done it even better. There is a intellectual depth to whole scripture reflective of the fact of being inspired by an omniscient God. Like a friend who was fishing a mountain stream in VA and who decided to cross over that stream; he looked down and could see the bottom and actually saw grains of sand rolling along the bottom and decided it was 2-3 feet deep. He stepped off int that water with all of his fishing gear on an like to have drowned, because it was 18-20 feet deep. God’s word is like that. Even when we think it is really clear and we fully understand it, we are very likely in over our heads. Every one ought to cool themselves with the thought that God understands all and is in control and we just need to trust him and let Him rule, We don’t need to control any one except ourselves and that will be hard enough. Like a tsunami that Great Awakening is coming. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Lord will lift up a standard, a counter flood against him. We all know sin abounds, but grace does what? Superabounds.

  27. Growing up in the Panhandle of Texas, about half of my relatives were Southern Baptists. When they tried to get me to join, I told them, “No chance. I’ve seen how Southern Batptists treat each other.” That was decades ago. You guys really hate each other.

  28. Yup, a bunch of Baptists is just like a school yard full of kids having a quarrel. Look at the NT, I Cors., for example. My first pastorate had fired the preceding pastor, they were divided, fussing, etc. God led me to preach on I Cors. Eventually the church simmered down. Only God gets the glory. But look at that letter and it is plain that they had problems as serious as any we have today. Such difficulties are an opportunity for growth and development as a Christian. I rather be in the family of God with all of their short comings than out of it without any hope of eternal life. I have been a believer for 51 yrs.+, and every step has been attended with difficulties, challenges, failures, successes, disappointments, ruptures and raptures. Life has those without Christ. Personally, I rather have them with Christ. I was an atheist before my conversion, making converts to atheism. Then I saw Jesus in a vision or a hullicination (how can I tell). He was facing me, looking at me, with his hand raised like he was knocking at a door. I ran, but he opened the door anyway. I am thankful to Him for His mercy and grace to me in salvation. I recognize that my brothers and sisters in Christ are like me, sinners being saved by His kindness – not our deserts. I am willing to suffer with them and endure their shortcomings as I hope they will endure mine. What they can and do in the way of accomplishments for good are sometimes a little short of miraculous. It is true that they can also fall little short of the diabolic. If the Lord Jesus would suffer for me and with me, it is a small thing to put up with the shortcomings of those who claim to be His children. Life is full of disappointments. Only an overruling providence can make things turn out for good as in the case of Joseph (Gen.50:20) and in the case of our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary. I say such as a product of a broken home who was raised in poverty by my maternal grandparents, would be nearly fired twice in my first yr. in pastoring and would be fired in the last yr. I pastored for no reason at all, would be deserted by a wife, would experience the loss by murder of my mother and two half-sisters, and a relative by marriage, would be unemployed for 12 1/2 yrs, have by-pass surgery, be treated with contempt, disrespect, sneered. Hey! that is little compared with what Christ suffered for me. It is a privilege to suffer for His sake. I can have a limited appreciation for what Africn American people have suffered from prejudice in this nation (I wrote a prospectus for a Doctoral Dissertation in Black History at Columbia University and I did my Doctor of Ministry Project on Christian Love & Race Relations without the support of the seminary or the director of the project). And still some of them are the greatest Christians I have ever known. To be in the same company with such people which also includes many whites in white churches, too, is a privilege. My prayer is for an end to the most segregated hour in America, the Sun. Morning worship. Praise God! That wall is beginning to crack even in the country churches. To the brother who could see only hatred, I say, you see hatred at work, in your community, in this nation, do you refuse to go to work or be a citizen in your community and your nation just because of hatred? And what about hatreds in families? Do you refuse to be a part of your family, if there is hatred in it? So why look down on Baptists just because none of them is perfect? After all,many many of them will come to your aid, if you wind up in need. And Jesus will send some one to help you even when you despise Him. I can’t do without Him. I don’t want to do without Him. And I will take all of His failing, rebellious children as my brothers and sisters just like Moses chose to suffer afflictions with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. If a former atheist can say such things, surely you might reconsider as you remember that relative, that neighbor who touched your heart with their concern. God grant that it shall be so is my prayer.

  29. Your nonsense about graceless Christianity is a clear indication that you do not take the necessary time to read and study scripture. With grace comes responsibility. With our brothers and sisters in Christ their is also a responsibility to reprove and rebuke with all long-suffering. We can rebuke without being graceless. It seems to me that you want Christianity to be the same religious system in the book of Judges where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”


  1. A takedown of name-calling Southern Baptist blog warriors « BaptistPlanet - [...] Big Daddy Weave covers that soap opera — flames, comments-closing, IP-address blocking and [...]
  2. You… you… LIBERAL! *gasp* « Rob Matherly - [...] On Southern Baptist Blog Wars, Liberals & Fundamentalists In typical fundamentalist fashion, several of Burleson’s detractors threw up…
  3. Reflections on the dust-up over Calvinism at SWBTS : Founders Ministries - […] Wade Burleson’s 1st post: Forcibly Removing All the Tulips at SWBTS SWBTS Professor Greg Welty’s response Bart Barber’s Response…

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *