Archive for February, 2012

The Top Blog Posts of the Week


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 sbctoday@gmail.com.


About Theology

  • Piper’s ‘Masculine Christianity’ Actually Emasculates,” by Wade Burleson on his blog, criticizing Piper’s male view of God and a misogynist view of women.
  • Divorce, Remarriage, and Ministry: What Did Jesus Say?” by Dave Miller in the SBC Voices blog, the fourth in a series on this subject, which thoughtfully investigates Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament about divorce.
  • Begging the Question,” by Randy Everist in the Possible Worlds blog, explaining the logical fallacy of begging the question – a frequent error in many theological and philosophical arguments.
  • Hardshells and Justification,” by Stephen Garrett in the Old Baptist blog, citing moderate Calvinist theologian A. H. Strong against contemporary neo-Calvinists on the issue of faith preceding salvation/regeneration, “because faith . . . is the medium or instrument by which we receive Christ and are united to Him,” because Scripture does not say we are justified dia pistin = on account of faith, but only dia pisteos = through faith, or ek pisteos, = by faith.
  • Making Every Connection,” by Bob Loyd in the Bob’s Worldview blog, drawing an analogy between an experience in air travel with the security of the believer.

Read more ...

Pastor Search Committee 101
Part 2: The Pastor and Wife are Visiting a New Church: What to Look For

">

Pastor Search Committee 101
Part 2: The Pastor and Wife are Visiting a New Church: What to Look For




By Joe McKeever, Preacher, Cartoonist, Pastor, and retired Director of Missions at the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.




This is the second article of a three part series that deals with pastor’s search committees. See “Part 1: What That Pastor Search Committee is Looking For.


Each denomination has its own approach to pastor-finding. Most Protestant churches will have variations of the way we Southern Baptists go about replacing preachers.

The church selects and commissions a small group of its finest as the Pastor Search Committee. Their job, in brief, is to sift through the résumés and letters of recommendations coming their way in order to find a few good men (in our denomination, pastors are almost always male) and prayerfully whittle the number down to the one they present to the congregation as “God’s man.”

Now, you’re a pastor. You’ve been serving the Middlesize Baptist Church in Smalltown, USA, and mostly loving it. You’ve been there several years, your wife is settled in, your kids are well-established with friends and activities, and the church seems reasonably satisfied with you. You have no reason to want to leave. But something happens.

A phone call informs you that the pastor search team from Bigtown is interested in you as a possible pastor since Doctor Reverend Powers retired. At their request, you send your résumé, they follow up your references, and phone calls are exchanged back and forth. The committee visits your services several times, and last Thursday night, they met with you and your wife.

Today, the phone call from the chairman informs you the committee wishes to invite you to Bigtown. If you agree, one Sunday soon, you are to preach in their pulpit, after which the congregation will vote on you becoming their next shepherd. The salary, which you are just now learning, is only slightly more than what you’re making now. But that’s no matter.

You and the family begin making arrangements to be in Bigtown that weekend. You secure a pulpit replacement for that Sunday, you tell one or two of your leaders what you’re up to (pledging them to silence!), and you get serious about praying.

The decision you and that church are about to make is critical. Since one road leads to another and there’s no returning to this spot to start over, you want to act cautiously and to seek God’s will in every detail.

Read more ...

Breaking News

">

Breaking News

Phil Roberts Resigns as President of Midwestern Seminary.

According to published reports in the Missouri Baptist Pathway and Baptist Press, the trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) Friday accepted the resignation of seminary president R. Philip Roberts effective Feb. 29 during a called meeting at an airport hotel.

Robin Hadaway, associate professor of missions at the seminary, was named acting president, according to trustee Kevin Shrum of Madison, Tenn., interim chairman of the board who acted as the sole spokesman for the meeting. Former chairman Wayne Lee of Southlake, Texas, resigned but remains a board member, Shrum said.

Pastor Search Committee 101
Part 1: What That Pastor Search Committee is Looking For

">

Pastor Search Committee 101
Part 1: What That Pastor Search Committee is Looking For




By Joe McKeever, Preacher, Cartoonist, Pastor, and retired Director of Missions at the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.




This is the first article of a three part series that deals with pastor’s search committees. Parts two and three will be posted soon.


My wife and I were being shown around town by two ladies who were members of their church’s committee assigned to locate and sign-up the next pastor for that congregation. I will never forget something Jane said from the driver’s seat. “I told our committee, ‘I want us to bring in a handsome pastor, someone who will look good behind our pulpit.’“

Had she slapped me, the blow would not have hurt more. That shallow assessment of what they needed in the next pastor turned out to be rather symbolic of where most of the committee stood.

How does that old line go: “Too late smart, too soon dead.”

Most search committees, I want to assert with no evidence at all other than my own convictions, do not take that superficial an approach to their task. Most of them – at least in their own minds and hearts – really do want to find the person God has chosen for their church. Just as long as God’s person is a male, between the ages of 35 and 50, with a doctor’s degree from somewhere official-sounding, and with a beautiful wife by his side who clearly adores him.

Sorry for the little cynicism there. I’m really not disparaging what they do. Most committees, once they find “the” person, even if it’s not what they originally set out for, are willing to change their requirements and go for it. That’s why sometimes a committee will bring in a 27-year-old as pastor and sometimes a 70-year-old. Sometimes they decide this preacher is so fine the absence of a doctorate is not that big a deal. And once in a while, all requirements are jettisoned and they really do go “outside the box.”

All that being said, there is one huge reminder that needs to be passed along to pastors now at the point in their ministry where they are courting search committees.

Read more ...

Review of Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition, by Andrew Purves



Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition
By Andrew Purves.
Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2001. Pp. 152. $14.99.


By Wes Kenney, currently studying at SWBTS.


INTRODUCTION

This little book seeks to address the author’s concern that the practice of pastoral care “is, by and large, uninformed by historical practice” (5). Purves identifies the need for “a profound reappraisal of core working assumptions in pastoral theology” (5), and to this need, seeks to apply wisdom gleaned from five figures in church history: Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, Martin Bucer, and Richard Baxter.

His selection of these five was directed by the fact that they wrote directly about the work of the pastor, rather than addressing specific issues of theological debate.

SUMMARY

After a brief introduction, to which I shall return in my critique, Purves summarizes the contributions of each of these five figures in successive chapters. Each chapter is divided into a brief biographical section, a discussion of common themes in the subject’s theology, and finally an analysis of the pastoral theology of each man. These chapters are headed with the title of the work for which each figure is credited by Purves with having contributed significantly to the development of pastoral theology.

Chapter one, Gregory of Nazianzus ‘In Defense of His Flight to Pontus,’ identifies several recurring themes in Gregory’s theology, such as his belief that the theologian must receive “a special call” (13), and his understanding of the final goal of the Christian life, which he called “deification” (14). Purves also briefly discusses Gregory’s understanding of the Trinity, Christology, and anthropology, before moving to a discussion of his pastoral theology. This section discusses at length Gregory’s view of the pastor as a “physician of souls,” whose goal it is “to contend on behalf of God and thereby to lead people back to God” (19). Other topics addressed include the difficulties of pastoral work, the spiritual requirements for being a pastor, and the life background, call, and obedience to that call of those who aspire to the pastoral office. The chapter concludes with an outline of Gregory’s The Flight to Pontus.

Read more ...