Archive for January, 2013

Reply to Jared Moore Regarding Southern Seminary and the BFM, Part 1

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

Sunday morning, Dec. 23, I awoke to find this unexpected present under my Christmas tree: Although thankful for the opportunity to hear from an SBC pastor on a topic of theological and denominational significance, it was difficult to give the post much attention. After all, it was posted on a Sunday morning--on Christmas Eve Eve (as one of my children likes to say). Nevertheless, the post generated a great deal of interest. Within 48 hours, it garnered over 200 comments. If you had contacted me privately, I would have addressed your concerns privately. But you didn’t. Since you posted a public response to my essays, my reply will also be public.

I'll begin with the end of your post. Like you, I desire unity in the SBC. That was the primary motivation behind my two recent essays at SBC Today. My goal is to seek clarification from SBTS regarding their view of our inheritance from Adam. Because Dr. Schreiner’s recent paper and the faculty exposition of the BFM advance a theological position not affirmed in the BFM, I am unclear on their interpretation of the BFM. My queries regarding SBTS are prompted by a desire for unity within the SBC. As I wrote in my Dec. 11 essay: “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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Surprises in seminary point to our purpose

BobRogers2011-400Holy Humor
by Dr. Bob Rogers

When I went to seminary to train to be a pastor, I was met with several surprises.

I think I expected all of the students to look like monks or something. Instead, I saw students who were tall and skinny, and some who were short and fat. I saw guys running around in t-shirts throwing footballs, and I saw egg-heads with wire-rimmed glasses carrying briefcases. Suddenly, it was as if God spoke to me and said, "Bob, I've got a great variety of churches out there, and I have called all of these different people to serve my different churches."

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Practical Applications of Romans 9

johnathan_pritchettBy Johnathan Pritchett

Romans 9 is hardly preached in SBC churches, even in Reformed SBC churches. The problem is that most pastors simply don't know what to do with it other than explain it in light of current debates between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, Traditionalists, and Arminians. Every so often, a Southern Baptist exposition of the chapter will turn up on the internet somewhere, regardless of the theological perspective, but one will always find it taught regarding what it does or doesn't say in contrast to some opposing view of what a theological opponent insists it says, or doesn't say, whatever the case may be.

Yawn...On that note, in the interest of making a personal disclaimer, there are two things I am convinced of regarding this passage. The first is that the mainstream Calvinist interpretations are unconvincing in my opinion. The second is that any non-Calvinist interpretation, many of which I will admit I find more convincing than Calvinist alternatives, does not negate Calvinism. The entire exegetical case made by non-Calvinists regarding this chapter is even accepted by some Calvinists, but the point is made that exegeting this passage as election to service, pertaining to corporate or national interests, etc. does not in and of itself overturn Calvinist theology. I agree with this point as well. Contrary to popular opinion on all sides regarding any text, no school of thought, or system of theology, hangs or falls with one passage of Scripture.

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TULIP Mania Strikes Again:
Of Bulbs, Bubbles and Burgeoning Beliefs

RickPatrickBy Dr. Rick Patrick
Senior Pastor
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Hueytown, Alabama 

Long before the dot-com crisis fifteen years ago and the real estate disaster five years ago, from the Dutch Golden Age of the Seventeenth Century comes the fascinating story of the world’s very first speculative economic bubble. Known as Tulip Mania, the price of tulips in the Netherlands skyrocketed so rapidly that at its peak in 1637 a single tulip bulb sold for more money than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman.

This frenzied excitement stemming from instant fortunes was frowned upon by the stern Calvinists of the day as a denial of the virtues of moderation and diligence. Please take a moment to savor the delicious irony of Calvinists refusing to embrace the tulip.

The bubble burst at an auction in Haarlem, when buyers apparently refused to show up. Only sellers existed, with no buyers at all to purchase the flowers. In just a few weeks, prices fell to one percent of their earlier value. Many wanted to sell the tulip, but nobody was buying it anymore. Everyone who really wanted a tulip already had one. The trend would not continue its skyrocketing trajectory, but was destined for a mighty crash.

In a similar fashion, ministries often confuse short term trends with long term realities. A church growing from 0 to 500 over five years believes it will run 1,000 in ten years, following the logic of a simple straight line progression. One might ask the bankrupt Rev. Robert Schuller about the validity of such projections. Sometimes trends drop off mildly, while other times they crash, which explains the reason investment companies disclaim their funds by stating: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

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