Prayer language issue (cont'd)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Oct 21 15:10:07 UTC 2006

 Pastor to stay on trustee board despite prayer language issue

By Tammi Reed Ledbetter
Oct 20, 2006

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--The lone opponent of a statement clarifying how
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminarys trustees expect faculty to
approach the practice of a private prayer language found a silver lining
to the cloud he sees over Texas school following the Oct. 17 vote. Dwight
McKissic said he is grateful for the honesty and straightforwardness with
which the view of private prayer language was set forth, believing it will
help prospective students and interested churches that hold to the
practice evaluate whether theyre welcome at the nearly century-old school.

Now students know the school has shifted from the openness of the era of
Hemphill, Garrett and MacGorman, McKissic told the Southern Baptist TEXAN
newsjournal, referring to the former seminary president and two faculty
members whose views he described as contradictory to the trustees new
statement. Southwestern Seminary does not believe in the legitimacy of
private prayer language, McKissic stated, adding that the philosophical
shift causes him to question the schools belief about biblical inerrancy.
McKissics accusation is based on the Apostle Pauls instruction that the
exercise of the spiritual gift of tongues should not be forbidden. Im just
surprised when the Bible says do not forbid that this institution is going
on record clearly disobeying what the Word of God says on this. It clearly
excludes anybody who endorses a private prayer life, McKissic continued,
placing Billy Graham, Jack Taylor and SBC President Frank Page in that

Baptist Press was in the process Oct. 20 of attempting to independently
check McKissics claims regarding the various views he attributes to those
he mentions. I know a lot of people who go before God with a groan, a
moan, a sound you cannot translate into English. [The seminary] has said
to all those people youre not welcome here. If theres anything I feel good
about, it is that it brought this to a point of going on the record. Had
he known the seminary would draft such a statement, McKissic said he would
not have accepted the assignment as a trustee. I dont need any more
meetings, he said.

While discouraged to the point of sometimes considering resigning as a
trustee after his first meeting, McKissic said, Im not gonna let my flesh
do that. Its not about what I want. He found encouragement from the many
Southern Baptists who called or e-mailed praising his stand. For those
people I will continue to act. McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist
Church in Arlington, Texas, said he believes Page was placed in office for
such a time as this in SBC life, describing the author of The Trouble with
TULIP as allowing for a private prayer language in spite of not practicing
such a devotion himself. He wouldnt be qualified to be a professor in
light of the statement, McKissic contended. The fact that hes open on this
question is the principal reason that I remain.

McKissic found it ironic that Southwestern Seminary is the place where he
first spoke in tongues in private. The policy speaks loud and clear to me
that such a person would not be welcome. I feel like Martin Luther when he
stood alone against the Catholic Church. Having called on Page and the SBC
Executive Committee to consider revisiting the 2000 Baptist Faith and
Message doctrinal statement to clarify the view toward private prayer
language, McKissic will await their decision. I pray the SBC makes a
decision that continualists, semi-cessationists and cessationists can
coexist in SBC life and through all our agencies. That will determine my
future in Southern Baptist life.

After preaching a chapel sermon Aug. 29 in which he criticized a new
International Mission Board policy refusing missionary candidates who
practice a private prayer language, McKissic apologized for failing to get
the memo that forbids criticism of a sister entity. The memo came out

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