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:

(more…)

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

(more…)

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

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Just when one believes the Calvinist-Arminian Debate is over due to nausea induced arguments, along comes a voice of reason.  In the latest White Paper signed by Dr. Paige Patterson, Dr. David Allen, Dr. Malcolm Yarnell, Dr. Ken Keathley, Dr. Jerry Vines, Dr. Richard Land, and Dr. Steve Lemke, we have a Baptist position expressed by Baptist Theologians.  The point that appeals to this writer centers around the fact of who we are.  Whenever we modify Baptist with either Calvinist or Arminian we just left the central tenant of being a  Baptist-the Bible.  The authors of the White Paper certainly express this truth when they write;

As mission-minded and evangelistic Baptists, we are uncomfortable with moving too far beyond scriptural revelation into speculative theological models.

Dr. Vines referred to “simple biblicism” as the place we should remain with the debate.  With this in mind the White Paper reminds us there is an understanding that we have Calvinist Baptists along with Arminian Baptists within the SBC.  But, as the authors expressed:

We certainly believe that Baptists can be Calvinists and they can be Arminians, but we prefer not to allow ourselves to be defined by either of those great positions, because we see something even greater, something that deserves more attention and requires a higher allegiance. Likewise, theologians open to Molinism, such as Bruce Little and Ken Keathley, do their work with a firm commitment to evangelical Baptist convictions. What we are saying is that our own passion for God’s Word, for Christ and for His Great Commission necessarily places every desire for settling the long-running and seemingly intractable Calvinist-Arminian debate to the side. We recognize this is a debate that will continue to be held and should be held in certain restricted venues. However, the debate itself is trumped by our need to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, to proclaim Scripture, and to obey His Great Commission. Moreover, we believe our position is the mainstream Southern Baptist position, as Richard Land said in his chapter, “the Separate Baptist Sandy Creek Tradition has been the melody for Southern Baptists, with Charleston and other traditions providing harmony” (50).

This article brings us back to the central tenet that is needed in this debate.

Dr. Kevin Ezell, North American Mission Board Presidential Nominee

The announcement of Dr. Kevin Ezell to be nominated as President of the North American Mission Board is one of encouragement and confusion.  I agree with our current president as he stated on August 16 on Twitter:

Dr. Bryant Wright tweeted on August 16 “Please join me in praying 4 the search committees 4 pres. Of NAMB and IMB. No decision 4 future of SBC is more important than these.”

The position of President of NAMB is one of importance and one that calls for a statesman like leader.  With that in mind the Presidential Search Committee appears to have found someone that people could rally around.  According to the tweets from leaders in one area of our convention we certainly have found that person. Notice the following tweets after the announcement.

Dr. Denny Burk tweeted

“Ezell to NAMB: This is the happiest SBC news I’ve heard in a long time. I can’t imagine a better leader for NAMB. ..”

Dr. Al Mohler tweeted back-to-back

“Need some great news? Here is truly great news. Kevin Ezell is nominated as President of the North American Mission Board

I have known Kevin Ezell [ @kevezell ] for over 15 years as pastor, friend, & visionary leader. He is a man of honor, truth, & conviction.”

Dr Danny Akin tweeted

Thrilled about Kevin Ezell going 2 NAMB! This is great news 4 the SBC! A great leader with a great heart and vision! I am pumped!

(more…)

Well, it has been about a week since we voted in Indianapolis for a new president. Dr. Johnny Hunt overwhelmingly was elected our new president. I look forward to seeing how God will use him in the coming two years. It is already rumored that a couple of Florida pastors names are being floated to see how the response is for the next full election cycle. But, who knows, maybe Dr. Hunt will take a page out of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers’ book and only serve one year and allow Dr. Mohler to place his name back in the ring next year in Louisville. I have not heard anything to that effect and I am not trying to start a rumor, but it would be interesting. Would one not agree that Dr. Hunt has seemingly received the mantle of Dr. Rogers? It would appear that if the trustees reverse their policies after Dr. Hunts meeting with them, that the mantle has truly been passed.

On other convention matters, the resolutions that passed were certainly ones that spoke to the needs of the convention. The Charlotte, NC paper picked up a report from Religious News Service. The story found here speaks about the numbers being debated which spoke mainly about the resolution on Regenerate Church Membership. It seems that in that report the reporter made reference to another resolution that was passed on The Equality of Ethnic Representation. This resolution was a joint effort between Dr. Dwight McKissic and myself. I am a little concerned with Roger Oldham’s response in that article. I do not want to pass judgement on his response because I understand that sometimes a misplaced quote is not what a person communicated. However, if the quote is an accurate quote, it would seem that the Executive Committee sees nothing wrong with no minority representation on the Executive Committee staff because minorities are represented in other entities. If this is what they are saying then trustees should take a serious look at this. But, as I have already stated, I want to believe the quote is a misplaced quote.

Brother Bill Sanderson made a motion that called for us to identify Broadway Baptist as not being in friendly cooperation. I am glad to see this take place. One thing I do not understand is why a motion had to come from the floor of the convention to deal with this issue. It is clear from the debates that ensued around that situation in Texas that we certainly have a church that is not in cooperation with the Convention because their actions affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior (SBC Constitution Article III.1). With that in the constitution, it just is not clear why messengers have to make the motion from the floor before the convention can deal with it. One thing noted in the response to this motion was that Broadway Baptist did not send messengers to the convention. If the church is following the lead of the pastor that implemented the ‘openness’ policy there at Broadway, we can expect a request to address the convention next year.

On another matter that I did not understand was the motion for the Executive Committee to revisit our relationship with the Baptist World Alliance. If this motion comes through the EC and a motion is presented to the convention, I will only have one question. What will we do with Dr. Welch? I mean, isn’t that what he is supposed to be doing. I believe he gave a great report of trying to build bridges to Baptist on an international scale. He seems to be covering his position and building the foundation for a world wide network.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the convention. I am excited to be a Southern Baptist and look forward to the future as we cooperatively allow Jesus Christ to reach the world through us.