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Say What Again!?! The KJV, Bauder, and Smith

Kevin Bauder, Central Theological Seminary

Kevin Bauder does not need me to defend him. In fact, he would be justifiably embarrassed that I come yipping and yapping out of my little kennel to fight off the verbal thuggery that is part of his routine experience since he’s decided to make mincemeat out of some sacred cows. In fact, I will go so far as to say that this is a formal statement on my part as a non-defense of Kevin Bauder, nor are the following statements to be read as an endorsement of him in anyway. I have not read all of his 23 “self-conflicting and Bible-deficient tomes” as Dwight Smith has officially labeled them. In fact, I have thus far only read three: #1, #23, and because of Dwight Smith’s blazing denunciation, #22. I am therefore completely unqualified to speak in defense of Kevin Bauder.

I should like to offer my services, however, as a defender of the “Say What Again!?!” readers who lurk in the shadows of these public blog battles. The “Say What Again!?!” people are an interesting breed. We are not very well educated, but we have this silly little quirk of reflexively and impulsively scratching our heads when we hear something that sounds like a bad argument. “Say what again!?” We are people who try to think even though it makes our heads hurt and we’re not cowed into unthinking dullery just because some “man of God” pontificated on something. Nor are we partisan.  We’re the Say What Again!?! majority.

Now, like most Say What Again!?! readers, I have limited contact with well-known leaders, and it is true for me with this case as well. I have met both men. Kevin Bauder is the president of a fundamental Baptist seminary and my interaction with him has always been stimulating and enlightening, even when we disagreed. Dwight Smith is a fundamental Baptist evangelist. I’ve had limited contact with him, but it was mostly positive. I personally introduced and promoted him to the leadership of my home church many years ago and they subsequently invited him to come as an evangelist. I would not have him now because I believe that we are theologically and philosophically on different pages, but I have no axe to grind with the brother. But Smith’s 2,739 word response to Bauder’s 2,478 word article is loaded with fodder for the head-scratching “Say What Again!?!” fellowship.

Dwight Smith, Evangelist

There are a number of you who read my blog who have begun to question the credibility of the King James Only position. However, you have no clue how to discuss the Textus Receptus, the Masoretic Text, Wescott-Hort, manuscripts, double inspiration, and so forth. It’s all greek to you. Now you hear a preacher — an evangelist no less — whipping out all those terms and insisting that he is standing by the Book, the Holy Word of God and he is declaring a seminary president of being dangerously astray on a fundamental of our faith. Besides the fact that you know full well that an evangelist is sacrosanct in most fundamentalist circles he lays out a whole string of arguments that have obviously persuaded him and many others. But you are beginning to doubt.

Now, most people just kind of hang with whatever teacher they happen to be under without asking questions, but Say What Again!?! people are everywhere and they can’t help but reading things in the debate that make them say, “Say what again!?!

Now, I would like to guide you people with the Say What Again!?! tic because it is very important that you use your tic as a gift from God to find a place of truth. So, let me lay out some laws for Say What Again!?! disciples.

Law #1:  The Law of Needing Smarter People

Here’s a fact. We all need smarter people in our lives. As a Christian I have to choose carefully the smarter people I’m going to listen to. It’s risky because smarter doesn’t necessarily mean wiser or more biblical. But we would all agree that being wiser and biblical includes always trying to be smarter. And it certainly included a conscientious effort to be intellectually honest.  In the current case study we have a seminary president who might be a heretic and an evangelist who might be a heretic and they are both pointing at each other and telling us that the other is wrong. Now, assuming both people are smarter than me (not a difficult proposition), I am forced to analyze which smart person builds my confidence most. I need smarter people in my life and I’ll never be able to get away from my need to figure out which smarter person I’m going to listen to.

Sadly, most people decide what is right and then choose the smart person they are going to listen to. When I read Dwight Smith’s missive I was reminded why many smart Say What Again!?! young people are leaving fundamentalism. If Kevin Bauder is a heretic it needs a better rebuttal than what the evangelist delivered.

Law #2. A commitment to good argumentation is a character choice that is unwilling to sacrifice the ethic of honesty because it believes that holy truth can stand without artificial props.

I think the ethos of much of fundamentalism is suspect because of its careless willingness to sacrifice intellectual honesty and truthfulness for the sake of their predetermined theses. It is suspect, I say. It may not be wrong, but thoughtful people everywhere need to ask themselves why it is that a theory is so dependent on bad argumentation and flagrant abuses of fact.

Law #3. Therefore, a Say What Again!?! thinker assumes that any conclusion that is inadequately propped by sloppy argumentation demands review.

Law #4. However, a conclusion is not necessarily invalidated because of bad arguments. There are many good conclusions that are argued for poorly.

Law #5. A Say What Again!?! thinker will not be able to follow a man long term who repeatedly uses bad argumentation even if his conclusions are correct. He will rightly begin to wonder about the intellectual honesty and moral character of the leader.

Law #6. When a man egregiously misrepresents his opponent in such a way that defies a common sense reading of the man then his conclusion must come under intense scrutiny.

Example A.

Dwight Smith said that

In part 22 of his [Bauder’s] series he dismissed the need to expound on 2 Thess. 3. This is a sad display of what happens when a man or institution turns to human reason instead of the Bible for their moorings.

Say what again!?! I had actually heard Kevin speak to this verse in person. And the accusation that Kevin was turning from the Bible to human reason seemed, well, extremely bold to say. But being not well educated I have to either choose to just take Smith’s word for it or read the source myself.

This is what Kevin Bauder actually said:

These observations are of special relevance for a certain species of fundamentalist. Some fundamentalists insist that Christians are obligated to separate, not merely from apostates (professing Christians who deny the gospel), but also from all “disobedient brethren.” These fundamentalists correctly insist that certain Scriptures do require the limitation of fellowship with professing brothers who sin (1 Cor. 5:112 Thess. 3:614; et al.—my present purpose is not to expound these texts). These passages must not be dismissed, nor may they be limited to the disciplinary process of the local congregation. It makes little sense to suggest that a notorious adulterer should be expelled from the pulpit of his church but invited to preach at the local Bible college. Separation among believers must extend further than simple congregational discipline. The problem for these fundamentalists consists in finding any brethren who are not disobedient. (emphasis mine)

King James Only fundamentalists who are becoming Say What Again!?!: take note:

Smith said Bauder dismissed the need to expound 2 Thessalonians 3 clearly implying that Bauder was dismissing 2 Thessalonians 3 as relevant to the fundamentalist argument when, in fact, Bauder credits fundamentalists as being right about the text. Smith also suggests that Bauder is abandoning the Bible on the basis of this misrepresentation and therefore poisoning the well for hundreds of unthinking fundamentalists that are not thoughtful Say What Again!?! types. However, Bauder said about that particular text:

1. “fundamentalists correctly insist that certain Scriptures do require the limitation of fellowship with professing”brothers who sin” and in parenthesis he inserted which verses he had in mind. This in itself expounds what he thinks the verse teaches.

2. This passage cannot be limited to church discipline. This is another way of expounding what he thinks the passage teaches.

3. He said that his present purpose was not to expound the text. Yet, while explaining that his present purpose was not to expound the text he did more expounding of texts than anything Smith did in his accusation.

Smith basically lied. But, being charitable, I don’t want to say he lied. I’d rather say that he was being sloppy. But how is sloppy thinking any reassurance to thinkers who are trying to figure out which smart brother to listen to? How is Smith allowed to give all kinds of references to Scripture without exposition but when Bauder essentially excuses himself from taking the time to go deep into an exposition of a text in which he concedes the main tenets of fundamentalism anyway he gets accused of slipping from the Bible to human reasoning.

Smith used many references, including one very disputable proof text (to be discussed later) that he simply pontificated about without bothering at all to excuse himself from expounding the text because it didn’t fit his present purpose.

You don’t have to know anything about Greek, Hebrew, Masoretic Text, the textus receptus, double inspiration, or even much about the fundamentals to have a legitimate, God-given basis for doubting, if not the conclusion, at least the man and the culture that think that is good preachin’.

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34 Responses

  1. Alas, I have to agree! But the woods are full of bad arguments on all sides…

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

    PS, the above should not be taken as any sort of endorsement for Smith’s KJO position!

  2. […] Original  –  Now, About Those Differences, Part Twenty Three by Dr. Kevin […]

  3. Bob:

    In Part 22 of his Differences Bauder wrote, “These fundamentalists correctly insist that certain Scriptures do require the limitation of fellowship with professing brothers who sin (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14; et al.—my present purpose is not to expound these texts). These passages must not be dismissed…

    And with that he dismissed them.

    You may have heard him speak to that passage somewhere, but it is irrefutable that KB decided and said so that he will not expound on 2 Thess. 3. He has made no application of it to his discussion of the differences between Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Why not? Do they have no bearing?

    Friends and I knew from Part 1 that Bauder would never make a serious application of the principles of biblical separatism from 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15 or Romans 16:17 in this series, and he did not disappoint.

    LM

    • Lou, this is really a foolish response. There is no need to expound passages over and over again every time you mention them. To castigate him for this point only cheapens the other points you are trying to make.

      Maranatha!
      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  4. Lou, if a staff member of a church that’s part of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention bumped into Dwight Smith and bought him lunch with his DCBC-tainted earnings, and Dwight thanked him and gave him a 2 John chairein, would Dwight be holding hands with someone who’s holding hands with someone who’s holding hands with someone who’s holding hands with the pope?

    • Ben:

      I believe you are a member of Capital Hill BC; right? According to sources I’ve looked into Dever’s church is not in membership with the DCBC. So, I don’t see a particular problem with lunch. You know, your scenario does prompt a question I’ll direct to you.

      You’re having lunch with Dwight. He notes that you have a number of Anglican churches near your church. Dwight asks you, “Do you believe the Anglican church(s) in your town preach the saving message of the Gospel?”

      What is your reply to Dwight?

      LM

      • Lou, no, I’m not a member there. I can’t speak to whether CHBC is currently a “member” or not. I do know that the last time I saw a copy of DCBC contribution records, CHBC was listed as a “non-contributing member.”

        Funny you should ask that question about Anglicans . . . But if someone were to ask me that, I’d tell them that some Anglican churches believe the gospel and some don’t. Like Presbyterians. Or Baptists, for that matter.

        Now, some people believe that ALL paedobaptists deny the gospel, as if ALL paedobaptists believe in baptismal regeneration. I don’t know whether you believe that or not. I don’t believe that. Neither does Bauder, as he’s said before. And church history doesn’t believe that either.

  5. FWIW, I shared this with LM in a private correspondence, but it is pertinent to his point here (though basically what BB said in the main post):

    I think he makes clear why he does not expound the passage- because it is not a point upon which there would be substantial disagreement on interpretation. Rather, the difference is in the area of application- namely, who is not disobedient?… (E)xpounding on 2 Th 3 is not likely to shed light on what makes (these) issues different in someone’s approach. It isn’t that it isn’t important or relevant- rather, it is that it is not pertinent to the immediate dilemma.

  6. Greg you wrote, “Rather, the difference is in the area of application…

    Which is exactly why Bauder will not go near these passage and make a serious application of them to the conservative evangelicals. One need look no further than their (Mohler, Duncan, et. al.) signing the Manhattan Declaration and their Charismatic theology both of which, the first in particular, necessitate an application of the principles of separatism from them. That is IMO why Bauder will not expound upon or make an application of 2 Thess. 3; Rom. 16:17. It would create a barrier of biblical proportions to embracing and encouraging the next generation to join him in an embrace of the evangelicals.

    When Bauder side-steps any serious infusion or application of the Scriptures, as he has done through his elongated 23 parts series, his message and efforts to align Fundamentalists with Evangelicals is discredited.

    Men, have your fellowship around this new and so-called “pure gospel” paradigm, which is Calvinistic soteriology, no one is stopping you. But please do not redefine the God-given mandates for separatism to lead others down the path you trod.

    I’ll close with an excerpt from Dave Doran’s 1995 article In Defense of Militancy,

    A third indicator that militancy seems to be waning is the subtle, and sometimes open, repudiation of speaking out about separatism. There seems to be a significant loss of voice about this matter among many Fundamentalists…. It seems to me that those who want to rid contemporary Fundamentalism of its alleged belligerence should watch the pathway carefully. The last group of people to take that path found it to be a winding road which ends up in a theological wasteland.”

    And what are we seeing just 15 years after these words were penned, “ open repudiation of speaking out about separatism…significant loss of voice.” Aren’t we?

    LM

  7. Lou,

    On the contrary, Bauder has devoted a great deal of time and effort to apply serious application.I/i> What he hasn’t done (as you have observed earlier) is expound/exegete the specific texts. The fact is you disagree with his application to the CEs (some limited forms of fellowship are possible) because you are unwilling to acknowledge that you differ on what disobedience constitutes responses of “soul liberty” and what constitutes complete separation. and avoidance. I’m not sure why it’s easier to accuse him of ignoring these matters rather than acknowledging your differences and disagreements, other than just discrediting his argument by discrediting the person. I’d like to think you wouldn’t resort to that, though.

  8. Greg:

    1) Bauder needs no outside help in discrediting his argument, he does that all by himself with his refusing to make the obvious application of the biblical principles to the egregious ecumenical compromises of the evangelicals. One of the most disconcerting statements he has made to date was when he suggested Fundamentalists and Evangelicals “Believe, Preach and Defend the [Same] Gospel.”

    That is demonstrably untrue, I addressed this with him in public and in private and still he will not revise or retract that serious misrepresentation. As I say Kevin needs no outside help to discredit his arguments.

    2) In a meeting of academics from our various colleges earlier this year Bauder presented a paper on 2 John. It is a section being contributed to a new book. A friend who was there said he (Bauder) did an admirable job of presenting the teaching of 2 John. However, when asked about how he might apply those principles to the evangelicals he refused to answer.

    Are you seeing a pattern here, teach principles, but selective application.

    3) What is your impression of the Doran quote I provided above with we are seeing in reality today?

    Out of time for today.

    LM

  9. Greg:

    One other question: Could you, with a clear conscience, tell the people under your ministry that there is no sure application of 2 Thess. 3 and/or Rom 16:17 that would constitute separation from and/or avoidance of the evangelicals who signed and have not repented of signing the Manhattan Declaration?

    LM

    • Lou,

      I am completely comfortable telling my people that I place those who fit the description you mention in a similar category to those who would speak at FBC Hammond’s Pastors School or Temple Baptist/Crown College’s Baptist Friends.

    • Therein is the problem.

      My short answer is yes. But I would caveat that by saying that the application I would adopt can not be universally demanded on everyone else. Because the question you asked I would have to ask about many of the men in the FBFI who have no problem speaking at Hyles-Anderson. It cuts both ways.

      • Bob (Greg):

        Thanks for the answer and yes it can cut both ways.

        One additional comment- I’m sure you’d agree that if there is a compromise of a known biblical principle, which signing the MD clearly was, then ALL believers MUST obey what God has written; right? God demands obedience to His Word. We have no right to make any selective interpretation or application of His commands.

        Lou

  10. Lou,

    re: 1) Bauder is not alone in the assessment of sharing the element of the Gospel. But I will not engage in a Lordship discussion with you as better men than I have attempted to do so with little profit for anyone. I will observe that many of our colleagues (including me) would have absolutely no issue with claiming the same gospel as we see evidenced in the teaching of the CE men in question.

    Again, it is not obvious that Bauder is not making application. Rather, it is obvious that your applications are not the same.

    re 2) Hearsay. There is no way any of us in this discussion can respond to what little detail you have provided.

    re 3) It’s a good quote. I would say that we differ in our application of it. 😀

  11. Lou, are you more disturbed with Bauder because he rejects your stance on the gospel, or because he refuses to separate from other people who also reject your stance?

  12. I think the “Say what again?” crowd is very close to the “You wanna run that by me one more time?” crowd. Perhaps we should suggest a merger.

    (Thanks for the great article.)

  13. Greg:

    I do agree that you are essentially correct. The issue is in how the separation verses are applied by one and all. Bauder, Doran, et. al., do apply those Scriptures, just not to the same degree as others. KB has already noted he will apply them toward the apostates and by his own admission is not applying them to the conservative evangelical (CE). IMO this is tantamount to saying that they need not apply because there are no differences between KB and CE. I see this being played out.

    KB and DD are stating by their actions of “fellowship” with the CE crowd that according to Rom. 16:17 there is no doctrine that the CE crowd holds that is contrary to the doctrine that KB or DD hold. While some of us hammer away at citing Romans 16:17 and 2 Thess. 3, and rightly we should, if these men are not “applying” as we see that they should be- then the basis for application of the biblical principle does not exist for them.

    LM

  14. Ben:

    You answered, “But if someone were to ask me that, I’d tell them that some Anglican churches believe the gospel and some don’t

    I want to be sure I am understanding you. Are you saying there are Anglican churches that believe and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? I’m not asking about a Baptist or Presbyterian church.

    Let me say very clearly, you appear to have taken a position that an Anglican church that preaches and practices pedo-baptism, a works salvation, another gospel and Paul says they are accursed, believe and preach the one true gospel grace.

    Is that where you are on Anglican churches?

    LM

    • Lou,

      Not all Anglican Churches are on the smae page. Observe, for example, this organized group in the UK:

      http://www.churchsociety.org/aboutus/index.asp

      http://www.churchsociety.org/aboutus/links.asp

      http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/doctrine/heads/salvation/iss_doctrine_heads_salvation_intro.asp

      Understanding that there would be significant differences on many issues, one can nevertheless allow that the possibility exists that someone can believe and preach the gospel while maintaining a presence in the Church of England. Whether or not that presence if advisable or commendable is not the issue at this point- only that we can allow for the possibility that there are Anglican churches where one might hear the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      • One other point, since Lou raised baptism/works salvation:

        Is baptism necessary?
        Yes, because Jesus commanded it. Also ordinarily baptism is part of the way in which God works to redeem his people. So Jesus taught In Mark
        He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16.16)
        Neither this verse nor the rest of the Bible teaches that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. The thief on the cross (see Luke 23.43) was clearly saved, but there is no reason to think he had been baptized.

        http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/doctrine/heads/iss_doctrine_heads_baptism.asp

    • Really Lou? That’s the argument you want to make? All Anglicans teach works salvation? You want to say that John Owen and William Gurnall and Richard Sibbes and William Perkins and all the other Anglican Puritans and J.C. Ryle and J.I. Packer all preach a false gospel?

      I’m not going to bore you with talk of church history and confessions of faith. I have no illusion that you’re going to be persuaded by facts. I just want people to see where you’re going with this.

      And by the way, no, I don’t believe that an Anglican church that teaches works salvation teaches the gospel of grace. But then you don’t think I, an unqualified Baptist, preach a gospel of grace. So whatever . . .

      • Ben:

        Thanks for the reply. There is no argument here. You’ve stated there are Anglican churches that believe and preach the gospel of grace. Can you name some examples and link us to their doctrinal statement that would verify it embrace the gospel of grace through faith alone and repudiate pado-baptism? I’m not trying to put you in the hot-seat, just want to know if these in fact exist.

        J.I. Packer? Yes! He preaches the false, Lordship Salvation, interpretation of the gospel. Not to mention his partnership with E&CT and the Manhattan Declaration. Ryle, I don’t know, the other names I do not recognize. My history specialty is elsewhere.

        LM

  15. Well, since I’ve been quoted and mentioned rather negatively, perhaps I’ll wade in briefly.

    First, I completely stand by what I wrote in the article which has been quoted. I would think that an honest and objective observer would conclude that I am quite militant with regard to the positions that I’ve taken. Some have even objected to the strength of my militance with terms like brawler. I’ve militantly protested the Manhattan Declaration. I’ve militantly protested the KJVO position. I’ve militantly voiced my opposition to a load of things in between those two. A lack of militancy isn’t the issue.

    Second, Romans 16:17-18 is misused when it is forced to serve as the basis for separating over any and all doctrinal disagreements. Paul is specifically talking about the Faith which was once delivered (to use Jude’s words), that’s why he makes the test case whether the false teaching produces skandala (something which is very serious). I know some are inclined nowadays to apply this to all doctrinal matters, but I believe that is a relatively new position (certainly new for fundamentalists who have marked the difference between the fundamentals and other doctrines). Lou, you are wrong on this text and wrong in the way you’re using it against Kevin and me.

    Third, Lou, if you want to make your particular position on anti-Lordship the new standard for fundamentalism, go for it. But please be honest enought to acknowledge that it is not, then, a matter of fundamentalists vis-a-vis evangelicals, but of those who agree with you vis-a-vis those against whom you object (which includes both fundamentalists and evangelicals). IOW, don’t wrap yourself in the mantle of fundamentalism when you are in fact shifting the discussion away from its historically defined categories.

    Fourth, wrapping a few of these together, I feel quite comfortable in saying that I am more of a militant separatist than you are Lou. E.g., there is no way I’d ignore a defective view of inspiration like you’ve done in order to allow someone to post on my blog. Ditto with regard to some of the folks who you’ve asked to post in order to aid your attacks on MacArthur. Frankly, you seem not to care about separation when you can find an assistant to go after KB or Mac. Yours seems to be a separation of political expediency, not theological conviction.

    Still in defense of militancy,
    DMD

    • Dave:

      You wrote, “I’ve militantly protested the Manhattan Declaration.” Your final protest/word on the Manhattan Declaration, Mohler, Duncan et. al., was this, “It was a wrong decision based on bad judgment.” I think that falls well short of defending militancy.

      Many biblical separatists believe to sign the MD was an egregious ecumenical compromise, not a mere case of “bad judgment.” IMO the Scriptures have a definite answer to, a clear application to the brothers who signed the MD and remain unrepentant. We have no subjective (selective application) decision to make.

      LM

      • “Many biblical separatists” — Not ALL, therefore, you assume it’s possible to be a biblical separatist but not view the MD as an egregious compromise.

        “IMO” – Your opinion, but not dogma.

        Lou, Dave called you out on your duplicity. Most of us can see right through it. You are driven by personal vendetta and have obviously have no better objective than to attach yourself to other people’s blogs and hijack them for your own personal agenda which is neither coherent nor biblically consistent. Dave is far more of a biblical separatist than you are.

        I’m practicing secondary separation at this point. My patience has worn down. I am not going to share a cyber platform with a man who promotes unbiblical drivel on his own platform and embraces false teaching (KJVO) just to score points against another brother. That’s an indecent low and laughably ironic for one who harps incessantly about separation. By sharing my platform I am giving credibility to you and I have been too generous and too long-suffering. You have been barred from a SharperIron — not a New Evangelical site, but a fundamentalist site — and I understand why.

        Until you repent of your divisive and self-aggrandizing ways, I will not let you comment on my blog again.

      • You really need to read and think more carefully. There is a difference between the Declaration itself and the people who signed it and even the act of signing it. To say that it was at the very least bad judgment to sign it is not in any way being sympathetic toward the document itself.

        And this is continually the problem with your posts and comments. You grab bits and pieces that you can throw down as supposed deal closers, but they almost always are faulty arguments because you don’t bother to understand someone’s point before fire.

        We’ve yet to have anything close to a profitable interaction, so it is probably best for it to end here so we can at least feel like we’ve not wasted a lot of time. I’ll leave the last word for you.

  16. (short commercial blurb)

    I read through this thread real quick, and we are talking about Anglicans?

    Well, Anglicans are connected with the KJV issue. 🙂

    In our Baptist church in 2011, I am looking forward to a weekend devoted to the King James Version and Anglicans. Much better than the King James Version and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Carry on, Ben and Lou.

  17. Lou asked to produce Anglican churches- note this:

    Most of the great defenders of protestant Anglicanism in the 19th and 20th centuries were associated with the Society including Bishop Ryle, W.H.Griffith-Thomas, Philip Hughes and Jim Packer.

    Source: http://www.churchsociety.org/aboutus/History/History.asp

    There are other links at the above site one can explore to give a sense of identity to potential Gospel-preaching Anglicans.

  18. Bob,

    You better be careful about banning Lou. He might start a new blog called something like “Pensees is for Pansies” in order to catalog your unjust ways. 🙂

  19. Bob and Dave:

    Wouldn’t it be prudent to simply ignore the rants of some? Do we not give them credence by answering them? Don’t call it banning . . . just ignore them and deny them a soapbox. Let them call it what they want.

    Jeff

  20. Actually, I think it is high time other ” too generous and too long-suffering” blog operators followed suit.

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