Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The "apologizing" Hardballers

"Egg on the Face" of
Smyth & Helwys Publishing

I received the following from a Baptist Historian to whom I send my emails:

Hi Bob, you may be interested in knowing that Smyth & Helwys Publishing was founded by the "Moderates" (i.e. Liberals) of the SBC to counter the influence of Broadman & Holman after it passed into the hands of the SBC conservatives. The publishing company was named after John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, who quite a number of our Baptist historians mistakenly credit with forming the first (General) "Baptist" church in England in 1609. The problem is that neither Smyth nor Helwys practiced immersion and neither did their "Baptist" church until the 1640's - years after the deaths of both men.

Bob's comment:

If I'm the financier(s) ("Money Bags") behind Smyth & Helwys Publishing, I'm going to immediately skuttle the Wade Burleson book before its generates further embarrassment, and I'm going to fire those who are in charge of production and editorial; as the ultimate responsible party, I'm not at all pleased with the "egg on my face" as a result of the fiasco created by Wade Burleson's book, for it certainly detracts from my being competitive in influence with Broadman-Holman of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Aside from the fact that Wade Burleson's use of Bob Ross' book has been denounced in no uncertain terms as non-supportive of Wade's ideas about "Landmarkism" in relation to the SBC's International Mission Board's policy on baptism, Wade has smeared "egg on the face" of S&H by alleging on his blog that S&H has "apologized" to Wade for sending free digital copies to a few people.

Wade says on his blog, I confess to be a little perplexed as to why Smyth & Helwys sent to Peter a digital copy of my book without him having to pay for it.
. . . They apologized to me after the fact.
Sat Mar 14, 05:05:00 PM 2009

It is hard to conceive that an intelligent representative of a publishing company would be put into such a predicament as to apologize to a writer, especially a writer who actually should be apologizing to the publisher for the big mess he has made in a book for which the publisher is paying the expenses of publishing and marketing. But that was the predicament of P. K. Gammons, VP of S&H.

"Apologize" to Wade? . . . for sending a few free copies to prospective reviewers of the book?

Well, "Land O' Goshen!"

And on top of that, Wade later tells Bob Ross that S&H did not send a free copy of the book to Bob Ross since Wade wanted Bob to "pay for the privilege" of reviewing the book! "Will Wonders Never Cease!"

This story looks more and more like a 3-Stooges senario, with Wade Burleson, P. K. Gammons, and Smyth & Helwys Publishing Company being "Moe, Larry, and Curly."

Before this is over, we suspect Smyth & Helwys Publishing will need a crowbar to deal with the egg on its face!


My Baptist Historian brother adds:

Bill Leonard (of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) edited a book called, Dictionary of Baptists in America (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994). On pages 251-252, in the article Smyth and Helwys Publishing Company,it reads:

"A publishing house organized by Southern Baptist moderates. The press, named for English Baptist founders John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, was founded in 1991 by Cecil Staton and Scott Nash, professors at Brewton-Parker College in Georgia; James Pitts, chaplain at Furman University; and Ronald D. Jackson. Its founding purpose was 'to offer supplemental and alternative materials for Baptists who have become increasingly concerned about the future direction of the [Southern Baptist] Convention Press and Broadman [Press].' The concern was to publish materials for churches disturbed by the fundamentalist control of the Southern Baptist Convention and provide a vehicle for Baptist authors whose works would probably not be published by SBC related presses. In 1991 Smyth and Helwys Publishing began production of formations, a graded Sunday school curriculum written primarily, but not exclusively, for use in Baptist churches. Also in 1991 the company headquarters moved to Macon, Georgia, with Staton as publisher. Bibliography: C. Staton, The History of Smyth and Helwys Publishing, in Walter B. Shurden, ed., of the The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC (1993)."

Concerning John Smyth ( d. 1612) and Thomas Helwys ( d.ca. 1615), H. Leon McBeth in his book, The Baptist Heritage (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1987), page 37, writes, "The method of Smyth's baptism was almost certainly by affusion or pouring; immersion did not become customary among General Baptists for another generation."

McBeth also tells us that Helwys later returned to Holland, "and joined the Mennonites." (page 39). These two non-immersing Separatists (one of whom turned Mennonite) were who the moderates chose to name their publishing company after! Broadman Press, on the other hand, as I'm sure you know, was named after John A. Broadus and Basil Manly, Jr. - two real (immersing) Baptists.
[End of quote].

It seems that Smyth & Helwys Publishing has been somewhat "off track" from the outset, with even its name being identified paradoxically with non-immersing "Baptists." So it should not surprise us that S&H has become associated with the phantasmagorical Wade Burleson.


  1. Bob:

    One wonders if the ones whom Mr. Burleson recommended to S&H for reviews on March 13, 2009 will have to pay for a review copy since this is two days after you, Bob, were offered a digital copy to review. If they do not, then it appears (1) the determinant factor of a gratis review copy after Mr. Burleson’s discussion with S&H on March 13 is whether one will review ‘favourably’ or ‘critically’, and (2) S&H did not give you the true reason you were not receiving a digital copy for review when they indicated “the offer was good so long as the book was still at the presses.”.

    You seemed to be a good source for a review of the book until you expressed your dissent with the author over Landmarkism; now, following March 13, you must pay because yours would not be a ‘favourable review’.

  2. Reply to Ian:

    Very well put, Ian, and I think it is obvious that the Wade-S&H combo is an example of the very opposite of Wade's facade about "open discussion" of differing points of view, blah, blah, blah.

    Wade appears to be about as "open" as the Campbellites who demanded that I not distribute materials at the debate I mentioned in a former comment.

  3. Bob,

    It might help to lighten up a little. :) There are starving kids around the world, evil terrorists seeking to destroy capitalism and the west, and as Luther would say, a world "with devils filled."

    Our little disagreement about Landmarkis is trivial, and in the scheme of things, quite insignificant.


    Have a great day! I hope you enjoy the book!


  4. Wade Burleson says on today's blog:

    Emmanuel Baptist Church will baptize new converts during each of our five Sunday services on Easter Sunday.

    Since Wade has previously aligned himself with the view that the church has nothing to do with administering baptism, how can these things be?

    Wade has put all the "power" in the administrator to both examine the candidate and to administer baptism -- even overruling the church, if necessary -- so how can he say that "Emmanuel Baptist Church" is baptizing any one?

    Isn't it actually the case that the EBC is not involved at all except to receive the baptized applicants into membership whom Wade has previously decided are qualified for the baptism which he will administer?

    Again, it seems Wade is a "One Man Landmarker" -- according to his view on what constitutes a "Landmarkist."

  5. Reply to Wade:

    Lighten up, Wade?

    Listen . . . I have already been "soft" with you just because you say you like Spurgeon and you honored him awhile back at your former church.

    I always treat Spurgeon-lovers "softer" than I treat most of those who happen to "cross my path" -- such as Peter Ruckman, for example. I do not spare the rod on those types.

    I went over to a "Texas Baptists Committed" meeting at Williams Trace BC several years ago and met several of the kingpins of the BGCT. They had Joel Gregory as a speaker. Joel told me that years ago he bought (in advance) a complete set of Spurgeon's sermons from us when he was still a student at Baylor, and he had "slept with those books ever since."

    That really "touched me," asnd I told Joel that since he was such a great lover of Spurgeon, I would not "write him up" like I had "written up" "Committedite" promoters such as Herb Reynolds, John Baugh, David Currie, etc. -- just because Joel loved Spurgeon. And I never did "write him up."

    In your case, Wade, it's a little different. You have inexplictably tried to get some kind of "aid and comfort" from my book in your obsessive anti-SBC addiction, and though you profess to love Spurgeon, you don't follow his example.

    When Spurgeon fell-out with the Baptist Union in England, he didn't stay in it, but he left it.

    That's what you should consider, Wade, rather than stay in the SBC and burn your mind and abilities in such phantasmagorical efforts to disparage it.

    Let up on the SBC and IMB, Wade . . . there are starving children and terrorists out there . . . etc.

  6. Wade said, “Our little disagreement about Landmarkis is trivial, and in the scheme of things, quite insignificant.”


    It does not seem Mr. Burleson is willing to reassess his understanding of Landmarkism since it is a matter of “disagreement” rather than “correct/incorrect” understanding. One would think he would take to heart your words on the issue since you are apparently the only source he cites in his book on the Landmark allegations. You are expert enough to quote to substantiate his claims – whether or not the claims are correct – but someone to be ignored when you point out flaws in his understanding. Convenient.

  7. "Foot-in-mouth" problem?

    You know, Ian, pride is usually involved in cases. A person puts his foot into his mouth, and instead of withdrawing it, he turns it side-ways and couldn't get it out if he tried.

    Such becomes a psychological entrapment for which a person probably needs objective help to escape his "cornfusion" -- else the person just exasperates his problem further.