Archive for the ‘Southern Baptist Convention’ Category

This is my last article concerning the question asked of Dr. Al Mohler by Peter Lumpkins.  Unless there are future developments I will, after this article, stop speaking of this matter.  I have presented, what I believe to be, a well reasoned approach that neither takes unfair shots at Dr. Mohler nor allows his statements to go unquestioned.  I do pray that Dr. Mohler will respond to clarify how he sees Southern Baptists practicing a form of homophobia, and to give evidence of past lies concerning the nature of homosexuality.

With all of that said a sad by-line of this matter lies in the coverage, or lack thereof, of our denominational news organization.  When one views the article concerning the seminary reports one will notice something conspicuously missing.  (more…)

It seems that many are coming to the defense of Dr. Al Mohler after he affirmed, at the recent annual gathering of Southern Baptists in Phoenix,  a statement where he called Southern Baptists liars and homophobic.  Dr. Mohler has always been clear about the biblical position concerning homosexuality.  His articles and thoughts have been the ones that Southern Baptists, in particular, and Evangelicals, as a whole, have turned for research to position themselves on the side of scripture.  Thus, a quote in a secular article was the catalyst for the question from Peter Lumpkins.  The article attributes a quote to Dr. Mohler that seems to be in disagreement with Dr. Mohler’s position on homosexuality.  How did Dr. Mohler respond to this article?  He wrote an article expressing, not that he was positioned in agreement with Jay Bakker, but that Jay Bakker was using “clobber scriptures” out of context. How did Dr. Mohler respond to the question?  He adamantly affirmed the words were his and then proceeded to re-establish his position that homosexual behavior is a sin, but was more than a choice by the homosexual.

How others Defend Dr. Mohler

In an article on American Family Association Blog Roll by Elijah Friedman writing from the The Millennial Perspective, Friedman states:

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In Part 1 of the concluding article posted here, I pointed out how we had Strong Theological Speech but Weak Doctrinal Practices.  Many of our leaders give excellent theological analysis and press us on thinking about the way our actions reveal our theology.  However, when it comes to doctrinal practice our leaders seem to have a discrepancy that veers from their talk.  I also expressed a concern that Covenants are Being Treated as Contracts.  In other words, we have people signing papers promising to do something they really do not believe in their hearts.  I want to conclude today with two more practices that need to change if we are going to see sacrificial giving to the Cooperative Program return.  Also, these four practices must cease if we are ever to see the return of some semblance of unity within our ranks.

Directing as Hierarchical Overseer

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This is the first part of a concluding article for a four part series.  The series I presented laments the differences seen in the Southern Baptist Convention since 1990.  In Part 1 I expressed my dismay in the responses I received concerning the alcohol motion I presented at the NC Baptist State Convention. Part 2 reviews my theological journey and how that shaped my convictions throughout my pastoral ministry. In Part 3 I spoke of the leaders I saw taking stands and the way those stands strengthened the convictions that were shaping within my theological system.   In this concluding post I lament three activities that has become standard practices of our leaders that must cease.  Do not misunderstand, our leaders certainly hold solid biblical standards in their personal private lives.  These standards must become more than just words spoken publicly to rally the troops.  Our leaders must insist on those following them to hold these same standards as convictions for them to be convictions lived out in all areas of Southern Baptist entities. If entities do not begin returning to these standards as convictions and not some covenant signed like a contract there will be a continual decline in giving and participation by those sacrificially supporting the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  What is seen within SBC entity leadership that causes these standards to become mere guidelines and will cause those who are sacrificially giving cease their sacrificial gifts?

In this two-part conclusion I want to describe four areas that need our attention as Southern Baptist.  In the first concluding article I will examine the strong theological speech coming from many within our leadership but the less than stellar doctrinal practice.  I will also point out how covenants are being treated as contracts and how that is causing a disconnect within the practices we as Southern Baptist have come to expect.

Strong Theological Speech But Weak Doctrinal Practice

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At Ebenezer Baptist Church, where I serve, various ministry groups visit and we often take up special offerings for them.  Many times we would find out months later that some members continued to send money to that particular ministry, designating it through the church.  But we eventually took a stand and set a policy that the church would only forward funds to outside ministries specifically approved by the whole body and we asked individuals to send contributions to their special interest ministries directly and without the imprimatur of the congregation.

We felt it was inappropriate to tie the church to a ministry without the consensus support of the entire membership.

Now Southern Baptists have learned that the North American Mission Board is not using this same type of discretion in the distribution of church planting funds Southern Baptists have contributed through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

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As our Budget Committee met this past year we had a discussion concerning the investment we give to the Cooperative Program (CP).  In that discussion we spoke about the mission trip we were planning for Honduras this summer.  It was questioned if we could take some of the money we were giving to the CP and use it for our Mission Team this summer.  It was then that I expressed my reasoning for not doing such a thing.  With that in mind I want to share my reasons on the blog because it is, I believe, the same reasons that many SBC churches are not funding the CP and Lottie Moon as they have in the past.

Mission Teams are Short Term

The very understanding of a mission team from a local church is that they are going to be there only on a short term basis.  While some churches adopt an area or people group and go back year after year, they still are only short term teams.  The funding for short term mission trips is something that is very expensive.  Take for example, a trip to Honduras.  It is believed that we should be able to travel from Charlotte, NC to Honduras for the approximate cost of $1000.00.  This trip will cover seven days and the cost covers food, lodging, and air travel.  If we have six people go on this trip we will spend $6,000.00 of church funds.  For those who do not know, $6,000.00 is what we gave as a church to Lottie Moon.  Thus, we have a way to compare the effectiveness of the $’s.

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Merriam-Webster defines nepotism as; “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.”  Some expand that definition to include close friends.  Thus nepotism, for those defining it to include friendship, would certainly be correct and something, if taken to an extreme, that could be harmful to the SBC.  However, for this post I will remain strictly focused on the kinship definition as defined by Merriam-Webster.  One may ask the reason I do not use the “friendship” part of the definition?  That is a fair question.   I do not use that because of the nature of appointments and convention positions within the SBC.  Many appointments and recommendations are made based on relationships made within the process of meeting one another through the educational institutions of the SBC.  Thus recommendations to various pulpits and other convention positions are based on friendship.  I merely would like to point to some positions that seem to be given solely on the fact that someone was kin to someone else.

Lifeway

Dr. Tom Rainer has done a tremendous job at Lifeway.  I do not know of anyone that is disappointed with the progress of that company.  There are some serious concerns with Lifeway’s direction of headlining authors that have questionable theological views at best, but if the bottom line is financial stability and viability, no one can complain about his tenure.  Having said that, there remains some concerns with the nepotism that seems to have embedded itself in that organization.

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