Archive for December, 2012

SBTS and the BFM

On November 29, SBC Today posted Dr. Harwood’s essay titled, “The ETS, the AP, and the BFM.” (Read it here.). Within three days, the essay generated more than 100 online comments, including this one from Rick Warren: “Adam reveals a very important distinction that I had not noticed between BF&M and Abstract.” Also, “This article was helpful, and so are many of the comments afterward.” (http://goo.gl/Xmggg). The following post reveals Dr. Harwood’s further reflections on the subject.

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“Does Southern Seminary have an institutional commitment to a theological position which is not affirmed in the BFM and excludes many Southern Baptists?”

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is comprised of churches with a variety of theological commitments. Among those groups are Calvinists, non-Calvinists, and others who refuse either of those theological monikers. This convention of churches cooperates in Great Commission work. That cooperation involves operating six seminaries. Faculty at these institutions train pastors, missionaries, and other leaders for SBC churches. Also, some seminary faculty publish biblical and theological works for SBC churches. Because Southern Baptists are a theologically diverse group, all the seminaries should allow for theological differences which are permissible within the convention’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM).

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by Brian Robertson, Ph.D.
Pastor,  First Baptist Church Kenton, Tenn.


I attended a Southern Baptist church nine months before I was born. I come from, if you will, a “minister’s family,” as my father is retired from a Southern Baptist entity; my grandfather was a Minister of Education; and my uncle has been an IMB missionary more than 35 years. Both my parents were not only “saved,” but they have lived their lives as true, yet, imperfect, examples of born-again believers.

Through experiences in life, I have had the privilege to observe several thousand churches, listen to numerous pastors, worship in practically every style available, dialog with brothers and sisters in Christ, and read countless books on the church. As a pastor, I have served four churches, three of which were seminary pastorates, and have a Master’s, and Ph.D. from a Southern Baptist seminary in evangelism.

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Inherited Sinful Nature:
A View Permissible as both Biblical and Baptist

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Inherited Sinful Nature:
A View Permissible as both Biblical and Baptist



Adam Harwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Truett-McConnell College
Cleveland, Georgia


The doctrinal formulation known as inherited guilt, or imputed guilt, holds a prominent position within the history of Christianity as well as among Baptists. The claim of this paper is that inherited guilt, the view that every person inherits more than a sinful nature or inclination but also the actual guilt of the first Adam, faces the challenge of maintaining internally-consistent theological assertions when formulating a doctrine of infant salvation. In other words, there may be a better way of understanding what the Bible teaches about our inheritance from Adam and subsequent sin and death which has been answered by God in the gift of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This view, inherited sinful nature, is presented in a basic way through seven biblical statements on the spiritual condition of infants. The paper supports this view by engaging key texts (such as 2 Samuel 12; Psalm 51:5; and Romans 5:12), major theologians (such as Augustine, Calvin, Wayne Grudem and John MacArthur), and our convention’s common doctrinal statement, the BFM 2000.

This paper is offered as a resource to benefit Southern Baptist pastors. While the professors teach students about doctrinal issues such as the nature of our inheritance from Adam or how to formulate a theologically-consistent doctrine of infant salvation, it is pastors who do the hardest work. It is pastors who prepare and deliver funeral sermons for those previous infants and minister to those hurting families in subsequent years. Reared in SBC churches across the country (moved by the military every few years), I heard a wide variety of Southern Baptist pastors and Bible study teachers advocate a view which was sometimes referred to as an age or stage of accountability. This view resonated with many people as faithful to the teachings of Scripture. But there seemed to be little-to-nothing in print which articulated a biblical-theological defense for such a view. This paper is offered as a small contribution to begin filling that theological void. It is my intuition that this view of inherited guilt will be gladly received because it is already widely affirmed throughout the SBC.

The content of this paper was drawn from the work in my 2007 PhD dissertation in Theology completed at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The dissertation was revised and published in 2011 with pastors in mind. Unless a person wants to comb through 400+ footnotes from more than 200+ sources, I recommend simply reading this paper. On a personal note, it is humbling to know that God may desire to encourage and sharpen certain pastors in their high calling through this proposal. If it blesses even one pastor and aids in his ministry, then I will thank the Lord, because it was prepared as an offering to the Him and now I am honored to offer it for consideration to the pastors who serve in His churches throughout the SBC.

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The Greatest Gift

By Walker Moore

Walker Moore founded AweStar Ministries, a missions organization that has put thousands of teens on fields ‘white unto harvest’ around the world.

 

The older my children get, the harder it is for me to buy them Christmas presents. Not only do their ages make my shopping more difficult, but I’m at the place in life where I don’t like fighting the crowds. The three wise men followed a star. But I find myself sitting in my car, waiting for someone to come out of the mall so I can follow them to their parking spot.

When my children were young, almost anything you could purchase at a dollar store would bring them great joy. By the time they were in elementary school, I had to keep up with the latest commercials, the source of their Christmas wish lists. Now that they’re grown, I don’t have a clue what they want. If they need or desire it, they can buy it themselves.

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Jimmy Nettles, Pioneer Evangelist

Soul-Winners who have Influenced Me: Jimmy Nettles, Pioneer Evangelist

by Dan Nelson

For 28 years, Dan Nelson has served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Camarillo, Calif. Pastor Nelson will submit a series of posts to SBCToday about people who influenced him for the sake of evangelism.

 


Jimmy Nettles was as pastor in Texas and Illinois whose churches grew rapidly in evangelism. Jimmy was a tremendous personal witness whom God thrust into evangelism. Before Jimmy entered full-time evangelism he was struck down with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  He was in the hospital for months and the Doctor’s said he would never walk again. He did recover though and entered evangelism with this severe condition he lived with the rest of his life. Each day of his life he had to soak in a bath to relieve the pain. It did not stop him however. He did more than many with no physical difficulties. Those who were around him knew he never complained about his condition.

He and his wife Patsy made a commitment to pioneer missions and conducted only five Revival meetings a year in the Bible belt. The other meetings were in the Northeast, Midwest and primarily in California and Northwest. Jimmy had 3 meetings with the one church I served as Pastor of in Burney and the last two in Camarillo in my present church. We had over 250 professions of faith in all 3 meetings. I learned valuable lessons from Jimmy about soul-winning in all these meetings.

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