by the Contributing Editors of SBC Today
This is a list of recent blog posts which we found interesting. That we found them interesting doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with or endorse the ideas presented in the posts, but that we found them to be intriguing and thought-provoking. (They are listed in no particular order of interest). Please post your comments to discuss any article that strikes your interest. If you have recent blog posts to nominate, please send the link to email@example.com.
- “Calvinism’s ‘Deep, Dark, Dirty Little Secret’,” by Peter Lumpkins in SBC Tomorrow, citing Ken Keathley from his book Salvation and Sovereignty. The “deep, dark, dirty little secret” of Reformed theology is that God does not want the unregenerate to be saved. For an explanation, see the article.
- “Arminian Scholarship,” by Billy Birth on the Arminian blog, with a resource list of Arminians on a number of topics, if one is interested in discerning the actual position advocated by Arminians on a variety of issues, as opposed to the stereotypical parodies which sometimes appear in print.
- “Divine Grace, Human Responsibility, and Bernard of Clairvaux,” by Matthew Bracey in the Helwys Society Forum, with a thoughtful reflection on how Bernard of Clairvaux corrects the imbalance between divine grace and human responsibility exemplified in Augustine.
- “Mediate or Immediate?” by Stephen Garrett on the Old Baptist blog, explaining that the historic Baptist position on regeneration (as being bound up with repentance and conversion, not prior to them) is a via media correcting the imbalance in either the Campbellite “Word alone” view and the Reformed/Hardshell Baptist “Spirit alone” view.
- “Theological Meditations: S. Lewis Johnson on the Universal Offer and God’s Desire for the Salvation of All Men,” by Tony Byrne on the Theological Meditations blog, with a citation from S. Lewis Johnson, a high Calvinist, who still strongly affirmed God’s universal saving desire for all men in the revealed will.
- “Response to 2012 Prophecies,” by Hugh Ross in the Reasons to Believe blog, with reflections on some predictions that the world will end in 2012 based upon some Mayan inscriptions.
Controversies: Geisler-Licona, and Mark Driscoll
- “Flawed Methodology Always Leads to Flawed Interpretation,” by Tim Rogers on the Southern Baptist in North Carolina blog, citing SES scholar Thomas Howe’s concern with Michael Licona’s methodology.
- “Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage: Two Helpful Reviews,” by Nathan Finn on the Christian Thought and Tradition blog, with links to balanced reviews by Denny Burk and Tim Challies about Mark Driscoll’s new book about marriage (co-edited with his wife), Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.
- “Mark Driscoll – Real Marriage: The Marriage Bed is NOT to be Honored,” by Tim Rogers in the Southern Baptist in North Carolina blog, expressing greater concern about the sexual practices advocated by the Driscolls in the book.
About the SBC, the Church, and Christian Ministry
- “Southern Baptists Go Swimming in Lake Geneva,” by Peter Berger in his Religion and Other Curiosities blog in The American Interest, with his sociological analysis of the rise of Neo Calvinism in the SBC. His takeway line: “If Calvinism is to make further inroads among Southern Baptists or among any other segments of American Evangelicals, it will be in its Arminian form.”
- “Is the Cooperative Program Worthy of Sacrifice?” by Nathan Finn and Micah Fries on the Between the Times blog, with a strong affirmation of the need for greater support from churches for the Cooperative Program.
- “Ten Simple Ways to Be Missional in Your Neighborhood,” by Jason Dukes in the Cultivating Daily blog, citing a post by Tim Chester on the Verge blog about ten ways to practice missional living in your own neighborhood.
- “Don’t Be Too Cool for Sunday School,” by Ed Stetzer on this blog, with links to a 9 Marks Journal focused on affirming and improving Sunday School type Bible study in churches.
- “Are Some SBC Leaders Distracting Southern Baptists from Kingdom Work by Ineffectively Refocusing on ‘Rebranding’ Our Name?” by Peter Lumpkins in the SBC Tomorrow blog, expressing concern that utilizing secularistic marketing techniques like “branding” is not consistent with churchly purposes.
- “Meeting the Horizon: Issues Churches Need to Face in the Next Decade,” by Ed Stetzer, with a list of priorities for churches to address as they move forward.
- “The Myth of Multitasking,” by Ed Steele on the Worship HeartCries blog, with an encouragement to avoid the divided mind inherent in multitasking.
- “Ten Ways Pastors Fail their People,” by Joe McKeever on his blog, with a list of ten ways (you guessed it) that pastors can fail their congregation.
- “Helps for Talking to Someone with Depression,” by Tobey Pitman in the Church Breaking Out blog, with suggestions on how to deal with persons who are depressed.
- “Ten Pitfalls of the Foolish Apologist,” by Brian Auten at the Apologetics 315 blog, with ten guidelines for Christian Apologists to avoid if they are to be effective and positive ambassadors for Christ.
About the Personal Devotional Life and Society
- “Are You a Gulf War or World War II Christian?” by Dave Miller in the SBC Voices blog, with a challenge not unlike the old question of the difference between the contribution of the chicken and hog to a ham and egg breakfast – one requires a contribution, the other requires a sacrifice. Miller calls Christians to the sort of sacrificial commitment that the World War II generation gave to their country.
- “What Are You Dreaming About?” by Jeff Powell on the Pastor’s Thoughts blog, with a devotional thought as we begin the new year, based in Ezekiel 11:19.
- “Shaping the Culture of Your Home,” by Trevin Wax on the Kingdom People blog, with ideas about how to attempt to shape the culture of your own home in a positive way.
- “Having a Lick of Sense,” by Lynn Jones on the First Baptist Booneville blog, with an encouragement to pursue the gift and practice of wisdom.
- “The Potomac and the Tiber,” by Andrew Doran in the First Things blog, with reflections on Newt Gingrich’s conversion to Catholicism.
- “Book Review: Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge,” by Nate on the Apologetics 315 blog, with reflections on this book by Dallas Willard on having confidence in spiritual knowledge.
- “Are Christians Against Science?” by Robin Schumacher on the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry blog, with a discussion of how Christians can relate positively to science without compromising doctrine.
Top SBC Today Blog Posts of the Year
2011 has been a good year at SBC Today. We began the year as an inactive blog, but after we were revitalized in the early Spring, we have come to average about 10,000 visitors a month and between 15,000 and 20,000 page views a month. For the year, SBC totaled over 33,000 unique visitors making 73,000 visits, for a total of over 127,000 page views. SBC Today is consistently listed among the Top 100 religion blogs in the English-speaking world (as rated in Technorati and Google rankings). Dave Miller in SBC Voices even listed the reemergence of SBC Today as one of the Top 10 phenomena in SBC blogging in 2011. We appreciate our readers helping make these achievements possible.
We notice many blogs listing their most popular blog posts of the year, so we thought we would do so as well. Listed are the top nine articles, all of which have thus far had more than a thousand page views each by our readers. We’ll also list some “honorable mention” articles that we think were valuable, even if they didn’t rank as high on the list.
Just one reflection on the list: what it demonstrates is that hot button issues draw readers. Five of the top seven articles (by page views) had to do with Reformed theology in the SBC. Each week, SBC Today routinely publishes edifying articles on ministry, Scriptural expositions, book reviews, and devotional thoughts (such as a series on the Fruit of the Spirit). Unfortunately, they usually do not attract as many readers as those on “hot button” issues. They have their own steady readership and we will continue to offer them each week, but it may not say good things about us that we Baptist blogger types that our passion for hot button issues sometimes exceeds our passion for edification. Nonetheless, the old adage of journalism is that dog bites man is not interesting but man bites dog is, and the same phenomenon seems to be true of the Baptist blogger world. However, we will continue to blend the more edifying articles with some articles on the hot button issues.
Here are the top nine articles from last year, each of them attracting more than a thousand page views each:
The Top Nine Articles (1,000 or More Page Views)
1. “Hold the Hearse: I Have an Idea!” by Jerry Nash (May 9th, 1,898 page views) – This article expressing frank criticism of the hot button issue of the Reformed movement within the SBC unleashed a furor and backlash in the SBC blogosphere. One prominent SBC blogger listed it among the top ten phenomena in SBC blogging this year. While many questioned the wisdom of posting the article, it did place in public discussion a view that is often voiced behind the scenes, so perhaps facilitating that dialogue in a positive thing at the end of the day.
2. “The Geisler-Licona Controvery: What Is This All About?” by Steve Lemke (December 1st, 1,715 page views) – Another hot button issue toward the end of the year was the allegation by Norman Geliser that Michael Licona’s book on the resurrection was inconsistent at points with the doctrine of inerrancy. This article sought to describe both sides of the controversy for those who were not aware of it. A follow-up article expressing Dr. Lemke’s perspective on the controversy was promised but not yet delivered.
3. “Breaking News: SBC President Proposes Name Change for the SBC,” by the editors of SBC Today (September 20th, 1,357 page views) – Since Steve Lemke was at the SBC Executive Committee meeting, he was able to post the information before it became available in some other news outlets. Dr. Lemke provided a perspective article a few days later entitled “The SBC Name Change: Why and Why Not,” which also ranked in the Top 25 articles.
4. “Thoughts on the Davies-McLean Baptist Association Decision about Pleasant Valley Community Church, Part 1: Attempting to Analyze What Happened” by Steve Lemke (November 2nd, 1,200 page views) – This article sought to be descriptive of the decision of this Kentucky association not to allow PVCC into its membership. A follow-up article expressing Dr. Lemke’s perspective on the situation, “Thoughts on the Davies-McLean Baptist Association Decision about Pleasant Valley Community Church, Part 2: Reflections on the Significance of What Happened,” also ranked in the Top 25.
5. “”A Need for a New Identity: Conversionism, Transformed Theology, and a New Tulip, Part 1: Total Lostness,” by Bob Hadley (December 8th, 1,186 page views) – Bob Hadley began a series recasting the traditional TULIP acronym of Reformed theology with a different wording in light of a Conversionist theology. The second and third articles in this series (Part 2: Unconditional Love, and Part 3: Limiting Atonement) also ranked in the Top 25. Articles 4 and 5 in the series are forthcoming soon.
6. “Theological Terminology Thursday: The Study of Specialized Words Relating to Theology,” by Ron Hale, with “Hyper-Calvinism” (September 8th, 1,156 page views), and 7. “Election,” (November 17th, 1,144 pageviews), again dealing with the hot button issue of Calvinism. Other articles in this series also ranked in the Top 25, including “The Free Offer of the Gospel” by Ron Hale, and “Libertarian Free Will” by Manning Garrett.
8. “An Interview with Frank S. Page,” by the editors of SBC Today (October 18th, 1,138 page views) – This interview of our new President and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee was informative and honest. His comments about Calvinism within the SBC were highlighted in an article in Associated Baptist Press, which probably added to its readership. Other higher ranking interviews in this series included the interviews with Clint Pressley, Bart Barber, and Brad Whitt.
9. “The Middle Way,” by Steve Lemke (June 7th, 1,010 page views) – In this article Dr. Lemke defended his position that majoritarian Baptists are neither Baptists nor Arminians by listing twelve points of disagreement that Baptists have the beliefs of various forms of Arminianism.
Closely behind these articles that attracted the most readers, we want to single out some other articles for honorable mention:
- “The Shot Heard Round the World,” by Steve Lemke, a four part series (Part A, Part B, Part C, and the concluding Part D, linked on the right side of the SBC Today pages) published between April 5th and April 9th, drew a strong readership. The series was synopsized into a Baptist Press article, and received commendation from Dave Miller of SBC Voices as a worthy series.
- “Distinctive Baptist Beliefs: Nine Marks that Separate Baptists from Presbyterians”(this is the ninth article; the earlier articles are linked in that article), a nine-part series by Dr. Lemke, also ranked high in readership, especially Article 2 of the series, addressing the age of accountability, was just barely short of 1,000 page views
- “Keys to Benefitting from a Revival Meeting,” by Jake Roudkovski, with suggestions about how to have more effective revival meetings, which in addition to its publication in SBC Today was later republished in Baptist Press.
- A honorable mention for all our regular columnists – Franklin Kiirksey, Joe McKeever, Thomas Douglas, Ron Hale, Tim Rogers, Wes Kenney, Lynn Jones, Tobey Pitman, Dan Nelson, Bob Williford, David Crosby, and others who contributed occasional articles, as well as all our interviewees. Each of these had a strong and steady readership, and we believe each of you made a contribution to the life of the church through these articles.
- We want to give an honorable mention to our readers as well, who participate in discussion threads after each of the articles. We can only count the comments on the SBC Today pages, although comment threads often continue in other places such as Dr. Lemke’s Facebook page and other blogs. But in SBC Today itself, five articles drew more than 100 comments — Bob Hadley’s article on “Total Lostness” evoked 148 comments, Ron Hale’s “Hyper-Calvinism” had 137 comments, Hadley’s “Limiting Atonement” drew 127 comments, Manning Garrett’s article on “Libertarian Free Will” drew 110 comments, and Ron Hale’s “Election” had 106 comments. Your comments play an important role in forming and framing the content of SBC Today, and for that we express our appreciation to you.