by Walker Moore, president/founder
Awe Star Ministries
I’m writing this article from a tiny Sunday School room in Primera Iglesia Bautista, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. I don’t make my living as a professional writer. If I quit writing, I’d be ahead financially. I’ve probably given away more books than I’ve sold. I always joke that my books sell for $20, but normally they don’t sell, so I give them away.
I spend most of my time as president of Awe Star Ministries challenging students to lay down their adolescence and step into the adult world. In other words, I call them to become like Jesus. I take them out of their comfort zone and give them the choice either to follow Jesus as an adult or go home.
Below is the conclusion of an essay by Dr. Jeremy Evans – SEBTS professor of philosophy – that is found in Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism.
The block quote* cited is from an essay by Dr. Ken Keathley – SEBTS professor of theology – that is found, here: Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue, (B&H, 2008), 214.
I moved from a Reformed view of the will to a libertarian view during my time as a seminary student. Interestingly, the move occurred not because of my professors; most of my professors were admittedly Calvinists. Instead, I grew to consider libertarianism as the view with the least pressing problems ranging over the most significant areas of inquiry. It was hard enough reconciling determinism with a meaningful account of human freedom and even harder to understand how God, knowing that everyone is in need of a Savior, would not enable everyone to accept the offer of new life in Christ. I felt the intellectual transition away from Geneva was needed to avoid what I considered to be problems bigger than those faced by non-Reformed views of the will. Ken Keathley makes an excellent point here in defense of Molinism (a libertarian view of freedom):
*If Molinists have to appeal to mystery … they do so at a better and more reasonable point. I’d rather have the Molinist difficulty of not being able to explain how God’s omniscience operates than the Calvinist difficulty of explaining how God is not the author of sin. In other words, Molinism’s difficulties are with God’s infinite attributes rather than His holy and righteous character.
Those same sentiments provided the impetus for my journey away from Calvinism.
by Marty Comer, pastor
Sand Ridge Baptist Church,
As a Baptist, I’m not a big fan of the idea of toleration. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the concept of freedom. In America today there is much talk about toleration. I want to propose to you that the focus on toleration is a misguided, and even dangerous, focus.
Those early Baptists who were living out their understanding of the Christian faith in England in the 17th century experienced firsthand the dangers of toleration. They learned that toleration demanded that someone be the one who tolerates while others were the ones who were tolerated. And it is no fun to simply be tolerated when the one who is doing the tolerating can change their mind about tolerating you.
John Smyth and Thomas Helwys led a group of Christians who were worshiping at Gainsborough in England…. King James I had the power to tolerate dissent but chose not to do so. Several members of the group were arrested for not conforming to Anglican beliefs. Thus, Smyth and Helwys led their group into exile in Holland, where they ultimately became what historians consider the first Baptist church….
Well, what does all of this have to do with the Little Sisters of the Poor?
Read the rest, HERE.
by Dr. W. A. Criswell
Text: John 4:35-38
On the radio and on television, you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Harvesting Souls. It is an exposition of a part of the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John. And if you will turn to that fourth gospel, the Gospel of John, and chapter 4, you can easily follow the message of this hour. I shall read verses 31 through verses 38, John 4:31:
“In the mean while His disciples prayed Him saying, Master, eat. But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought Him aught to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold I say unto, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”
Church growth is all the rage. For pastors, the focus is on leadership. For laymen, on “reaching people.” In the church world, church-growth is the standard of success. If a church “reaches people,” and the pastor is a “visionary leader,” then the church will be considered a success. If a church makes it into somebody’s bogus “Fastest Growing Church” list, then the growth frenzy continues with the sheep flocking to check out what innovation has been initiated to reach the masses for Christ.
Personally, I think the Emperor has no clothes.
For at least four reasons, I reject the church-growth and church-health principles taught at almost every pastor’s conference, and expressed in almost every church. Our church will be different, because I reject these principles. Although different will likely mean odd, behind-the-times, and shrinking in size, I go there anyway.
1. I refuse to believe that a “Christian community” will save anyone.
2. I reject all manipulation and aim toward persuasion.
3. I refuse to let my congregation be deceived by good feelings.
4. I reject the church as a program organization over which I am the CEO.