Thursday, April 5, 2007

Wade Burleson Embraces Emergent - At Least That's How It Sounds

I can't believe this article and the quotes that came from Wade Burleson in regards to the emerging church movement. It is as though he is saying because they (The Journey) are filling seats the Emergent approach is OK. I am sorry but that is nuts; as a fellow Southern Baptist Pastor that is constantly fighting biblical illiteracy - I am amzaed to have read this from someone like Wade Burleson. Is this what the Southern Baptist Convention is going to become?? Is this more of the anything to fill the seats approach?? I am deeply troubled by where we seem to be headed. Wade uses the word enemy a lot for those that disagree with him. Speaking for myself, if you are an enemy of the Gospel and an enemy of the Truth of Christ, then I will point fingers and I will name you, whether you are Southern Baptist or not!

In response to a fellow Southern Baptist's critical comments against the emerging church movement within the denomination, one pastor called the remarks "reprehensible and unconscionable."

"I find it reprehensible and unconscionable that someone would call a Southern Baptist Church in Missouri, one that is reaching people for Christ and now running over 1,200 in worship, 'deceptive' and 'dangerous,'" said Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla., in a Tuesday post on his web log.

Burleson was referring to comments made by Roger Moran, a Southern Baptist layman that some consider the most powerful Baptist in the state of Missouri. Moran had raised concern earlier this year over the rise of the emerging church movement, including a local church called The Journey, and its "infiltrating" Southern Baptist life. He questioned some of the controversial approaches, such as providing beer during theological discussions, that The Journey is taking to draw the unchurched.

"They say they have a passion for reaching people for Christ … and I think that they do," Moran told St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. "But I think they cross the line in becoming so much like the world."

"Why in the world do we waste our time trying to identify the 'deceptive' and 'dangerous' within our own convention?" posed Burleson. "Could it be that the real enemy is being ignored and those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ and part of the Southern Baptist Convention are being unnecessarily attacked?"

Although the church calls itself "interdenominational," The Journey in St. Louis has ties with the Missouri Baptist Convention – the state arm of the SBC – which provided a $200,000 loan for the church.

Darrin Patrick, founder and pastor of The Journey, said earlier this year that his ministry and the Missouri Baptist Convention share the same goals - to reach out and help the poor.

"When you partner with other people, you invite conflict," he told the Associated Press. "But if we’re both going in the same general direction, why not link arms?"

Burleson shared a similar view.

"There is room in my convention for everyone who holds to the fundamentals of the faith and seeks to cooperate for the purpose of missions and evangelism," he wrote in his blog page. "I can't figure out why some wish to continue to narrow the parameters of cooperation and exclude fellow, Bible believing Southern Baptists from missions participation and convention leadership."

His comments come as Southern Baptists look to reaffirm their identity in the midst of controversies and debates around such issues as worship style, charismatic practices and control.

Some Southern Baptist leaders say their belief in the inerrancy of Scripture has kept them a strong denomination and continue to stress the "exclusivity of the Gospel," as David S. Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., said at a Baptist Identity II conference in February.

The denomination is trying to move away from controversy to a new commitment and cooperation.

Meanwhile, Burleson says, "We must get to the place where we no longer see fellow Southern Baptists as the enemy."

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