Thursday, February 5, 2009

SILENCE PROVES GUILT?

There seems to be this theme that surfaces throughout life, and it is illustrated here (at 3:59PM 2-4), here (at 6:10Pm 2-4) and here (comment #1 implies), that if one is questioned and remains silent and chooses not to answer that question, then they are indeed attributing truth to the question. Depending upon how the question is phrased, the questioneer(I made that word up) may determine that the person is guilty of a crime, knows something and is hiding it or simply is afraid to speak the truth. Indeed, we often ask questions that we really intend not to even give ear to an answer from the one asked. I think the term for those questions is rhetorical but I digress.

Does one's refusal to answer questions indicate anything positive or negative? Well, in Luke 23:9 we read, "Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing." This is the account of Herod "interrogating" Jesus. Now if anybody knows the answer, it would be Jesus. If there was ever anyone who could answer EVERY question asked of Him, Jesus is the one who could do it. And yet, Jesus remained silent. Did Jesus' silence towards Herod prove anything to Herod. Nope. Simply that Jesus did not wish to speak to Herod.

My point?...Silence is simply that...silence. It neither confirms nor denies. To build a case from silence or to argue against someone who remains silenct is a futile endeavor. For in the absence of words, we are only left with speculation and since none of us are God, we do not know really even what to speculate about the silence.

Silence is what it is. And we can contribute nothing to silence since it indeed does not speak.

22 comments:

Byroniac said...

Luke, I don't like it, but I have to reluctantly agree with your point. I think it's a good one. Thanks for the reminder.

I just have to say though, I still think the silence in this particular instance means something is up. What, I have no idea. Silence, I can understand, but when silence becomes inconvenient (at least in appearance) when a well-spoken defense would seem more profitable, is what I do not understand in this particular instance.

(BTW, I'm sorry I lost contact with you. Hope you are doing well. Hopefully I'll have time to browse your blog often.)

Luke said...

Byron,

I too think silence can be inconvenient and can also be used as a crutch, but I also think not revealing your sources of information is just as inconvenient and can be used as a crutch just as easily. You are aware of what I am referring to I am confident. I believe that once someone makes something public, they do need to reveal the source of such information if they expect to be taken as credible. Silence, as well as unverifiable statements, are both quite inconvenient.

As far as losing touch, that is just as much my fault as well. To say I've been busy is an understatement but it is just an excuse since this form of communication takes so little effort. Hope your weekend is great.

Byroniac said...

Luke, I thought I understood what you were saying, but I apparently do not. If the situation exists that Wade asserts, then there is no ethical or moral way to reveal sources who stand to be unjustifiably harmed by that revelation. If the situation is not true, then obviously Wade should not have asserted it in the first place. It is precisely because people in general cannot be trusted, that people in general are not basically good, that so much secrecy, hiding of information, and protection of sources becomes paramount. It is almost like saying to someone, if you have nothing to hide, then by all means, broadcast your SSN, drivers license, birthday, bank account and routing numbers, home address, and ATM pin number to the world. Otherwise, you're hiding something or not being completely honest and open; we just know it!

Luke said...

Last time I read Peter, we were told that when we speak the truth and preach the truth and stand for the truth that we should expect to suffer. In fact, we are not to suffer as evil doers. And so, my point would be, that if the "secret source" is so serious about seeing the truth brought out into the open, then standing with Christ and speaking the truth ought to be enough no matter what the fall out. If a matter is this serious, and I think it is of an important nature, then perhaps we do need names to sort out the truth to make sure we are dealing with the truth. But even then, the president does have the latitude to build the staff he desires and so our way of dealing with such would be to address the trustees and see that men who hold our view are put on those boards to wield such influence. By the way, I would expect Mohler to hire Calvinists and build a calvinistic staff instead of hiring non-Calvinists. But what this is going to do is bring to the front this question, Can Calvinists and Non-Calvinists truly work together, dialogue and consider one another fellow brothers in Christ? I think you and I would believe that it can be done. But I will not put words in your mouth. The next question, does the convention think it can be done?, is the one where the rubber meets the road. Otherwise, we'll end up with two conventions.

Byroniac said...

Then by your reasoning, for example, we should not have missionaries posting anonymously on blogs and hiding their identities. After all, what truth is more important the Gospel truth and all the truth of Scripture? Why hide yourself and not broadcast your message in the center of, let's say, an ultraconservative, fundamentalist mosque during Friday prayers?

Even Peter hid himself from the authorities in Acts 12:17, as he did not tell those disciples where he went and his destination is not recorded in Scripture. And Scripture casts no negative light on this either. There is a time for openness, and I believe it is too idealistic to say that openness is the answer for every situation.

Byroniac said...

Luke, please do not take this the wrong way, but I believe a time is coming (and may have already arrived) that Calvinists and Non-Calvinists will not work together. Note, I said "will not" instead of "cannot." This is just a hunch of mine, but I remember reading about divisions of Baptists in England between General and Particular Baptists. History can repeat itself. And I must admit that I would not participate or cooperate with most Arminian evangelism programs (or them with me) as a matter of conscience for these same reasons. That does not mean I necessarily do not consider them brethren in Christ; I believe Arminians and Calvinists will be found on both sides when the Lord divides sheep from goats. And I hope I take this seriously.

I do agree with you though that Paige Patterson has the right to hire those he wishes, even if I do not approve of them. Firing or retiring them (if such is being done) is a different matter. And, if this issue cannot be resolved without there being two conventions, that is fine and dandy with me. I will leave with the Calvinists and not look back; though I treasure my friendships with many including you, and would not wish to offend friends like you in any way. (But personally, I no longer consider myself SBC or Baptist at this point).

Luke said...

Byron,

You have raised an interesting point. If a missionary has not lied about WHY he is in a foreign country, why would he have to hide behind a veil of secrecy?

The point about Peter not sharing his destination or the Bible saying what it was once again is an argument about silence.

And this is my favorite. For just a moment, where is it that Paul went to preach the Gospel? What was the first building to which he went? That's right! The Synagogue of course. Why is it that we are afraid to go straight to the others and "reason" with them about the Gospel?

Now, these things do not relate to the situation at hand where a person has made an accusation through another individual and will not own it. An accusation of, what shall we call it, a narrowing of the parameters(I don't think anything was charged as being illegal). Byron, you and I both know that a case built like that would not hold up in court. Had the person just made observations that in his opinion, the school was being moved in that direction would have been one thing. To made specific accusations about alleged impropriety however is another. The burden of proof rests not on the defendant but rests on the accuser. If not, we are back to the modus operandi of the Salem Witch Trials.

To be sure, I am not a supporter when either side does it to each other. In my original post here, I made it a point to note that this arguing from silence was something BOTH sides were doing. And when information is withheld, we end up with exactly what we have here. Jesus, on the other hand had not withheld anything. He had OPENLY taught, OPENLY given honor to whom honor was due. His silence, when questioned, was for a whole other reason rather than to protect a secret source afraid of the fall-out of the truth being known.

The burden of proof rests not even with Wade IF he were simply passing on the words of another. The burden of proof rests upon the one making the accusations. And to date, no proof of tangible quality has been publicly offered. We are supposed to accept it as truth because one says he trusts his source. Can't do that Byron. You've got to show me the money.

By the way, I understand that you are bitter right now, at least from the way I have been reading your interactions. That is not uncharacteristic of those who are deep within the heat of the battle BUT, bitterness is a vine that will choke out everything it can. Be careful Byron. You have too much to offer.

Byroniac said...

I will have to give your words some thought before I try to reply to them concerning secrecy and such. You make some excellent points. I do not entirely disagree.

You are very perceptive concerning my bitterness. Of course, though, I suspect it is more obvious to those who are not guilty of it than it is to the one (myself) who is, and perhaps that is so by deliberate choice. I am not in the heat of any kind of battle; this bitterness you have noticed is sin on my part, and there is no use to try to explain it away or soften it. Truthfully, I am bitter. I would love to see the entire SBC crushed and implode on itself, to have every proud boast of 16 million membership and untold baptisms (and "decisions") silenced, to fall apart and leave behind nothing but a political and socio-cultural wreck. Then perhaps God in His mercy and kindness would work in the humility of what remained, if anything (which would not bother me if nothing remained of the SBC, because I know the Lord keeps His own, even those in the SBC, which I feel are many, if not most). I feel this way for lots of reasons, most of which are not legitimate or unbiased. And that is partly the reason I am withdrawing myself from it, because I am unwilling to let go of this anger and bitterness. But the main reason is that I do not feel a part of it any more, that the greater part of it is bogus and has been for a long time.

Luke said...

Byron,

It saddens me that you feel this way but I do trust that the Lord will be faithful to walk you through this trial. It has been the nature of the SBC to quarrel our way through theology if I understand our history. My hope is not that the SBC would be crushed in discipline but rather crushed in obedience. Yield forth its fruit and the juice of its fruit because it is ripe and because it is purposed to do so and NOT because of Divine chastisement. I trust that our Lord is capable of doing such.

I wish you well in your journey.

Luke

Byroniac said...

Luke,

I need to explain something, because I do not mean to be entirely harsh. I believe Christ places each of His workers in the vineyard where He wants them to work. For some, this is the SBC. The key point is not where they work according to men, but are they loyal and dedicated to Christ. I believe that there are many (though I will not lie and say "most") in the SBC, which I believe includes you, who are both called and gifted to serve in the particular vineyard known as the "SBC."

For my part, I am beginning to feel like an alphabet soup of scarlet letters. First, I have the awful scarlet 'S' for single, scarlet 'C' for Calvinist, scarlet 'A' for Amillenial, scarlet 'B' for Baptism (because though I believe in credobaptism-only like Baptists I do not hold that the Lord's Supper and possibly even church membership should require it), scarlet 'G' for spiritual gifts (I am not Charismatic per se but I am non-cessationist), scarlet 'T' for Tithelessness (don't believe in Tithing), and probably a few other scarlet letters I have not found out about yet. There is simply no place for me in the SBC, according to my beliefs. And that's fine. Rather than stir the pot, I'd rather leave and go somewhere I can find more freedom and not feel oppressed or compressed or theologically claustrophobic. Maybe my feelings are wrong, and that might be your opinion as well, but these are my feelings. I want to live outside of the Baptist box, and because I feel that all denominations are man-made inventions along with Baptist membership rolls, it is better for me to go independent.

God Bless you and Labor for Christ,
Byron

P.S. Sorry to go off-topic, as I want to come back and address your last comment on the topic of your blog post.

selahV said...

Byron, all those red letters you share are no different than the ones a person bears like me. I have the N for non-calvie, the Cc for Christian conservative, the SB for SB Southern Baptist (or stupid bigot), the M for married believing in marriage between one man and one woman. We are all labeled something and given our scarlet letters, I'm afraid.

I join Luke in how it saddens me that you've only experienced or harbored the dregs of all that you dislike about Southern Baptists. Truly, there are things we can all be saddened by, but our churches are not made up of all the worst of our faith. Our churches, our missionary endeavors, our seminaries and schools, hospitals, children's homes, Disaster Relief, Hunger Funds, etc. are made up of the best of our faith. For this I am grateful. Very grateful. Whether there is 16 million or 9 million. We are still a body of believers who for the most part strive to serve our Savior as He has called us to serve Him.

I am praying for you that your heart be given new life with the removal of bitterness and loneliness you have. I pray only goodness and peace and joy be yours today and tomorrow. selahV

Luke said...

I'll AMEN that!

Byroniac said...

I don't deserve such good friends. And I'm thankful that the SBC has people like you. I know all good things belong to Christ, so whatever He has in the SBC He will certainly redeem.

On another note, I am disgusted with myself. I realized today that I have been trying to give God the offering of Cain, along with the profane fire of Nadab and Abihu, and then get angry with God when He refuses to honor it, and bitter that "my religion" isn't acceptable. Plus, I've been very immature in the last month or two, I've been mean-spirited, and several times I've opened mouth and swallowed both feet. And I've deserved it. How true it is when I read, "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." (James 1:20).

I've stayed pretty silent in the latest exchange at Peter Lumpkin's blog concerning Mark Driscoll. No surprise, but I agree with his dissenters. But honestly, I can see a little bit from the other side too. But I thought silence would be wiser than speaking (but the main reason I've been silent, truth be told, is because I was busy moving, and now that's done). I do not agree with Peter Lumpkins and the "Baptist Identity" people, but one thing about them I certainly do admire: their determination to glorify Christ and be obedient to the Scriptures at any cost, going against men's opinions as necessary. My opinion on this issue is a bit different than theirs, but I hope I share those same convictions.

Sorry, Luke! I've gone WAAAAAAY off-topic. I meant to come back to your blog post topic, but I do not feel I have anything more to add. I think I disagree with you partially, but I am not really sure how to express it. I don't think we disagree all that much, and it's probably just something I'm not quite getting (wouldn't be the first time!).

Byroniac said...

SelahV, I sincerely hope no one gives you a problem because of your so-called scarlet letters. Sorry, I was whining and playing the "poor me!" game and that's just silly. God bless you and yours (and Luke and his family too!).

selahV said...

Byron, you are a sweeter, dearer person than you will allow yourself to believe. Anyone who can recognize something the Holy Spirit reveals about themselves as easily and quickly as you and then repent publicly as quickly is a man after God's heart. I love you, my friend. selahV

Luke said...

Byron,

What I like about it when you and I disagree is that neither of us question the salvation of the other, at least I do not.:) It is easy to get so caught up in winning an argument that we begin to take it personally instead of just that, debating an issue. I hate when I get so involved like that and I am also not talking about being aloof either. We can be passionate without everything being personal. You and I can disagree without it resorting to name calling. Again, that's what I like about our conversation and that is also why I avoid certain others in blogdom.

On a fresher note, was your move associated with the hurricane or was it just time to find a new pad? I hope the move went well and that you get settled in smoothly.

Wishing you a blessed day!

Byroniac said...

Hi, Luke. Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for not questioning my salvation. I often take that kindness for granted. I think a problem out in the blog sphere, and one I have fallen into as well, as that we can take issues of the Christian faith too personally. We're all at different levels in our walk with Christ, and honestly, I thought I had a little bit more of this figured out than I do. ;)


Thanks for asking about the move. Yes, it was associated with a hurricane, but not Ike, or even Rita. I moved out of my old house on the day Katrina hit Louisiana and never lived in it since (except I did come back on a visit to my aunt when she lived next-door). I lived in Tyler for about a year and a half, and I think I lived in Beaumont for two years. The only hurricane I have experienced is Ike, and if I never see another hurricane it won't bother me a bit. But my old house was too old and had too many problems (why I moved to Beaumont when I came back from Tyler), so I tore it down and had a new house built, and I thank God for His grace to have it.

selahV said...

Byron! how wonderful! A brand new house! I remember having one of those a long time ago. Now I just look forward to one of the rooms in the mansion my Father is getting ready for me. I can hardly wait. selahV

Byroniac said...

Thank you, SelahV.

Luke, will you post any more at All Things SBC? (Don't know what I could possibly add to the discussion since I'm marginally SBC at best, but I'm curious at least). I would be specifically interested in what you find good about the SBC and why you labor in it (I mean that sincerely, not in an accusatory sense at all). If I respond, I'll try to keep it to just the positive that I know about. But I am interested in both what you believe about the SBC and what future it holds. Thanks.

Luke said...

Byron,

I do plan on posting there again. Time is a factor but then again, that makes me no different from anyone else. We all make time for the things we like to do.

I think I'll take the challenge to post on "good" things in the SBC. You might have a good angle there.

I have currently committed myself to another project but I see no reason not to push myself to do it all and do it well. But for the moment, if I am slack getting the other going, it should be because of a prior commitment. That commitment may lead to another but I'll cross that bridge when it is before me. I'll see if I can "impress" ya.

Luke

Byroniac said...

You already have, brother. I know we do not share the same theology in some of the non-essentials, but knowing that you love Christ and are sincere about serving him is the main thing with me. I have been doing a lot of personal reflection, and I think I have some personal issues which do not ascend past the personal level that I need to work out by God's grace. That's why I asked what I did about the SBC, because I'm starting to realize, "Hey, maybe the problem is more with ME than anything else?" I know God isn't tied to a denomination, and Christianity existed long before the SBC ever did, but I can hope that the SBC will shine the light of the glory of Christ for many years yet.

Luke said...

Byron,

I think everyone in SBC blogdom can amen your last statement there. That really is the issue isn't it. Some, it would seem, would like nothing more than to see the SBC fail and if it were to abandon salvation in Jesus Christ I would certainly hope so too. But as the SBC holds forth salvation in Christ, I hope she shines ever the more so brightly that the name of Jesus might be exalted and that sinners may hear the Gospel and repent and believe.

I'll get with you about lunch in the near future.

Luke