Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Dahlberg Peace Prize" for Transformation Ministries' Board? Do I Hear an Amen? Or Maybe Just a Surgeon's Saw?

Several friends in other regions have always been quite gracious about claiming their Baptist kin in Transformation Ministries as still part of the "framily." However, judging by a response to one of my recent posts, they may be in the minority in their generosity toward TM among American Baptists. Evidently the left likens their left-coast kin to a gangrenous limb lopped off to the relief of just about everyone. Writing in response to my post, one always sharp and thoughtful reader, Amill-presup (although not himself hailing from the theological left), wrote:

God bless those ministers for staying... for not leaving the ABC in their part of the country to become a "spiritual Netherlands." BTW, your description of how the "Transformation Ministries" annual meeting was like "a sigh of relief" couldn't be more fitting for this ABC biennial that just ended. Having finally lost some of the most contentious, least Baptistic among us was like removing an infected limb before the infection could spread. It was painful and it will be difficult to adjust. But we're already moving ahead.


Since Dr. Salico and his board in Transformation Ministries is responsible for producing such a collective "sigh of relief" by voluntarily removing their spiritually necrotic and "contentious, least Baptistic" selves from the body politic of the ABCUSA, perhaps they deserve the coveted "Dahlberg Peace Prize"??? Afterall, "removing an infected limb before the infection could spread" has purportedly brought great relief and peace to the now unified ABC. In fact, Amill-presup seems to believe that the ABC lives in the millennial state now as the absence of PSW/TM, however "painful", has made true eschatological peace in the ABC a reality at last.

Wait a minute! Salico and crew can't receive the Dahlberg prize. They are no longer in the amputated-limbed family. Maybe the "surgeons" over at AWAB deserve the award for precipitating the removal of the infected PSW limb from the body in the first place?

Just a thought. Never mind. BTW - in the over-the-top metaphor game, last year an Executive Minister spoke of TM's withdrawal as a spiritual pruning along the lines of John 15! Hey, I couldn't make this stuff up.

More seriously, I am truly glad that the ABC senses a collective relief over the absence of TM. Amill-presup testifies to part of what I had hoped would happen as TM separated itself from the larger body. Honestly, my prayer was that other regions might follow TM in their departure. However, whether TM goes alone or with others, my argument all along was that it was time to wish each other peace and to pursue our differing visions for future ministry without rancor and disruptiveness.

The kind of grinding conflict and hard feelings so effectively alluded to in Amill-presup's reply, were both enervating to the spirit and destructive to forward movement in both TM and Valley Forge. The centennial celebration with the CBF sounds as if it got things off to a very good start for ABCUSA. What a blessed way to ease past the loss of a significant region! The additional numbers at the Biennial and sense of transdenominational cooperation contributed to high spirits and helped create a spirit and the promise of momentum into the future.

Sounds as if the Lord intends to bless both Barnabas and Paul this time too! Amen! Dr. Medley is a kind and gentle man who means well. He deserves a break! TM similarly seeks to honor the Lord and be faithful to his leading. Dr. Salico has also earned the peace he currently enjoys.

Looks like a win-win to me.

Disclaimer: Not being a part of the TM board until recently, I deserve no part of any awards, prizes, honorifics, or general good-stuff commendations flowing to the PSW (now TM) board for their wisdom in cutting off the offending member (i.e., themselves) from the body of the ABC.

7 comments:

Amill-Presup said...

WOW! What a prominent place for humble ol' Hypercalvinist, Amillennial, Presuppositional, conservative me. The only part that didn't make sense was extending my opinions out to apply to "the left." I mean, when I got married, my pastor told me to stand to the right of my wife, then quipped that it should be no problem, since he doubted I've ever been on the left of anything. So please don't confuse ecumenism with theological liberalism (alhtough "liberality" may sometimes be a fitting term). In fact, reading you praising the Neo-Orthodoxy of Barth leads me to believe that you may even be left of me. However, I promise I will not read your opinions and then re-hash them as the feelings of "the left."

Anyway, I'm glad you're thriving down there, I really am--I hope more people are getting saved than were before the amputation. I even hope that someday, we can have the same kind of "joint gathering" and communion service with TM that we had with CBF and Progressive National Baptist Convention. But, all the same, I'm glad it's done. Maybe the limb amputation was the wrong metaphor. Maybe it was more like an organ that had rejected the body and the resulting fight was sucking resources from both. I'm just glad to find that the body can make it without.

BTW, I don't know what kind of reports you've heard about "Arise and Shine," but there was a lot of the same old stuff... AWAB had their people wearing obnoxious scarves and button pins and their gay "Rainbow Choir" sang as we entered the building Saturday night. There was also a little political extremism coming from the Baptist Peace Fellowship (which kind of dampened the Patriotic mood that DC leading up to the 4th of July had created for me). But I count all that as the price we Baptists will always pay for our refusal to go top-down, our refusal to embrace creedalism, and our commitment to Soul Liberty. And if that's the downside, then just one of the many upsides is the fact that a Presup-Amill like myself can belong, even in an incredibly Evidentialist-Dispensationalist place like American Evangelical Baptist churches.

-A.P.

P.S. If you are able to get a hold of Dr. Campolo's talk from Saturday morning, it was AWESOME.

Dennis E. McFadden said...

Amill-presup -

Just tweaking your nose a bit. I wondered how long it would take you to nail me for my rhetorical flight of fancy. Yes, I know that you are conservative. If memory serves me it was a GARB background wasn't it (Detroit Seminary???)?

And, with my Westmont and Fuller background, I may actually be further to the left than you. While my credentials boast pretty conservative views (some of the ABC bro/sis types have stigmatized me as a fundamentalist), back in the 70s my teachers taught me in school the following . . .

* The Pentateuch is "mosaic" only in that it is a mosaic of bits and pieces cobbled together in the 7th century or later.
* Jonah was a parable.
* Nothing in Gen 1-11 is anything other than a story/myth.
* Daniel was a vaticania ex eventu from the 150s B.C. with no futuristic prophetic elements.
* Isaiah was either written by three guys on one fellow around the 5th or 4th century.
* Jesus didn't say some of what was attributed to him.
* Paul didn't write Ephesians.
* God only knows who wrote the Johannine epistles, 2nd Peter, and Revelation.
* Revelation is best handled as a tract for dealing with suffering in the first century without any real futuristic implications.
* And, covenantal homosexual unions are greatly to be preferred over one night stands so the church ought to find ways to perform ceremonies of commitment for gay couples.

BTW - most of those "fundy" "contentious and non-Baptistic" clerics in TM were taught the same thing in seminary.

And, I gave up evidentialism some time ago in favor of presuppositional apologetics. While both classical apologetics and evidential arguments may be utilized, they fail to convince or satisfy me.

I guess neither of us fits the stereotypes, heh?
However, while you are not personally progressive (merely ecumenical), your sentiment does echo much of what I heard from friends on the left. So, you became the presenting cause/excuse for my posting.

Dennis E. McFadden said...

Amill-presup--

In normal parlance, hypercalvinism denotes a variety of view including a belief in supralapsarianism rather than the infralapsarianims endorsed by the Canons of Dordt. Is that you???

Also, as you could tell by my post, your words were not the first to use amputation/pruning language to express a spiritualized "good riddance" to TM. Last year one of the Executive Ministers published a letter utilizing the John 15 theme as applicable to then PSW. So, regardless of your personal and individual views (and given your anonymity), I saw no harm in using your comments as the foil for my response.

Amill-Presup said...

> In normal parlance,
> hypercalvinism denotes a
> variety of view including a
> belief in supralapsarianism
> rather than the
> infralapsarianims endorsed by
> the Canons of Dordt. Is
> that you???

Indeed it is... I used to feel the need to explain and apologize for my five-pointiness, but that's long since passed.

> Also, as you could tell by
> my post, your words were not
> the first to use
> amputation/pruning language
> to express a spiritualized
> "good riddance" to TM. Last
> year one of the Executive
> Ministers published a letter
> utilizing the John 15 theme
> as applicable to then PSW.

That I did not know. And here I though I was being original... And despite my tendency to get polemical, "good riddance" does not convey my feelings about the PSW. After all, the churches that pulled out area lot more about Christian unity than my GARB friends. Heck, my seminary used to tell people that they could only take a "convention church" (and they meant ABC--SBC was okay), if they promised to try and pull the church out before they moved on. YUCK.

> So, regardless of your
> personal and individual views
> (and given your anonymity), I
> saw no harm in using your
> comments as the foil for my
> response.

If I ever meet you in person, I suspect we'd get along famously. We just might be great buddies. And (given my anonymity), I sure as hell wouldn't tell you I'm the "liberal fundie" always busting your chops on your blog.


see ya.
-A.P.

Dennis E. McFadden said...

Amill-presup,

Yes, I'm sure we would get along famously. My closest friends are never selected on their degree of agreement with me. Some are gay ministers, others are flaming Arminians, and still others are actual agnostics and pagans.

BTW, you missed my point on the hypercalvinism. Both supralapsarians and infralapsarians are five pointers. Hypercalvinism typically denotes the lunatic supralapsarians. It is just that the Dordt gang (who coined the five points in opposition to the Arminians) came down on the softer, gentler side of infralapsarianism.

Amill-Presup said...

When I say Hypercalvinist, I am refering to double-predestination, not the order in which God created and ordained the fall. Seems like utter folly to begin postulating on such things.

Dennis E. McFadden said...

Agreed.

Hey, friend, some time you will have to drop your non de plume, at least in a private e-mail. Afterall, my fat fanny is right out there to shoot at any ole time Roy and the gang choose to do so. It really isn't that scary.