This is a list of 10 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Are We Overemphasizing Church Planting?” by Les Puryear in the SBC View blog, raises the issue of whether NAMB and Southern Baptists are overemphasizing new church plants to the detriment of existing churches.
“How to Frighten a Preacher,” by Joe McKeever on his blog, with some sage advice for young pastors about how to respond to worrisome comments by church members.
“Outreach or Outrageous Gimmicks?” by Tim Rogers in the Southern Baptist in North Carolina blog, about churches giving door prizes and giveaways to get people to come to church.
“John Calvin on Limited Atonement,” by Peter Lumpkins in the SBC Tomorrow blog, on whether or not Calvin himself endorsed the doctrine of limited atonement.
“Book Review: Wheden’s Freedom of the Will,” by “Godismywitness” in the Society of Evangelical Arminians blog, on a recent edition of Daniel Wheden’s Freedom of the Will, a critique of Jonathan Edwards’ Inquiry into the Will. Edwards’ views were not original, but borrowed deeply from the thought of atheistic thinker Thomas Hobbes, against whose arguments Wheden responds.
“Do You Believe in Double Predestination?” by Andrew Wincl in the SBC Impact blog, discusses the virtues and vicissitudes of the Reformed doctrine of double predestination.
“Bibles and Baseball,” by Alan Ogles in the Apostle Farm blog, about reaching young men for Christ through baseball.
“Lead the Way, Even When You’re Wrong,” by Josh Ellis in the SBC Impact blog, about how to be a Christian exemplar when . . . you’re not a Christian exemplar.
“Devotional Thought: The Chiseling of our Stony Soul,” by Brad Whitt on his Brad Whitt blog, with some thoughts about moving toward spiritual maturity through discipline and challenge.
“Reflections on Israel continued,” by Jason Dukes in his As I Live Sent Daily blog, with a video with reflections from the recent NOBTS Israel trip.
Robin Foster, Pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Perkins, OK
In discussing the restoration of integrity in church membership, there has been a great resurgence in the biblical practice of church discipline. Not that many Southern Baptist churches are initiating this biblical practice in their churches (personally I don’t know of any in our association), but there has been a grand discussion and even a resolution on church discipline (http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=1189) offered at the 2008 SBC convention concerning this vital ministry to help a wayward brother or sister find their way back to Christ and full fellowship with the body. I for one applaud this and hope it will take root and continue to grow. But, as a pastor, I believe there is a bigger concern with how we accept members in the first place. In other words, can we take care of any issues before someone becomes a member of the church? It is my contention that many problems in our churches today are the result of poor admission traditions that have been practiced by our churches for at least the last 100 years.
The typical custom for accepting members among Southern Baptist churches is for a candidate to walk forward during the invitation. Of course the normal questions are asked: “Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior and trust Him for the forgiveness of your sins?” and “Where and how were you baptized?” all the while checking the person for a pulse on their wrist. While this parody is a bit of tongue in cheek, unfortunately, this short method of Q & A is often used as the congregation sings several verses of “Just as I Am.” If the candidate correctly responds to both questions, the pastor then turns to those attending that morning (unfortunately, in most cases, some voting are non-members) for a vote on accepting this person as a member in good standing of the church. In a sizable number of cases, the person has no idea of the church doctrines, covenant, order, or responsibilities of church membership. What is most tragic is that the person says yes to these questions as a matter of rote and may not truly understand the gospel or salvation. After all they were baptized as a kid, right? Surely they are saved. Unfortunately, I am finding more and more that people are looking to their baptism as their point of salvation, rather than to their conviction of sin before a Holy and Just God, seeking His mercy and grace through the atoning death of His Son, Jesus.
Tim Rogers, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indian Trail, NC
There is a movement that seems to be sweeping our denomination and it is called Spontaneous Baptisms. I for one believe, if done properly, we should not be concerned with this movement. However, with every movement there comes some who refuse to adhere to the clear teaching of scripture and thus dumbs down the scriptural understanding. Therefore, I call this “Baptism-lite”. This phrase is taken from an article I saw referencing the Church of England and their uprising concerning the prayers being offered over the waters. In the Church of England their Baptism has a salvific meaning to it and as such I would vehemently disagree with their practices and their thought that the Priests prayers does something special to the water.
Steven Furtick, Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC, in a sermon he has prepared on his website concerning how to prepare for a spontaneous baptism service expresses some things that are completely tied to scripture and some things where he abandons the scripture to fuel his own particular beliefs. Concerning the meaning of baptism Furtick says; “Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. The reason we dunk people all the way under the water is that Jesus went all the way into the grave and came back up again.” Amen and Amen!! PREACH IT, PREACHER!!!!! “Great opportunities necessitate immediate obedience.” “Today my mom is choosing it to be her spiritual birthday.” “This has nothing to do with you joining a church.” This is where Furtick leaves the scripture. Baptism has more scriptural evidence with becoming a part of a local body than it does with identifying a spiritual birthday. Thus, the baptisms that are performed at Elevation have nothing to do with church membership because Elevation does not have a membership role. When Elevation baptizes people they view this as baptizing them into the “universal” church and nothing to do with accountability within the local community of baptized believers we refer to as the local church.
This is a list of 10 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). If you have recent blog posts to nominate, please send the link to email@example.com.
and, just this week, a bonus 11th and 12th excellent posts:
Ted W. Wright, Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Monroe, NC; adjunct professor of apologetics at Southern Evangelical Bible College, Matthews, NC.
Among Christians it is common knowledge that humans are made in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). In recent days, however, there have been an increasing number of Christians who are embracing an evolutionary origin of man. One of the leading proponents of this view is Dr. Francis Collins, who is famous for his groundbreaking work mapping the human genome. Collins published his belief in Theism in his 2006 book titled, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. In 2009 Collins started an organization titled BioLogos which explores the relationship between science, faith and the Bible. Collins fully embraces Darwinian evolution as the mechanism for the creation of humans. He now serves as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda Maryland and remains very influential to many Christians and their belief about human origins.
I don’t question at all Dr. Collin’s faith nor do I wish to impugn a fellow Christian brother’s character. However, I do wish to fully and openly disagree with his view on human origins through Theistic evolution. Theistic evolution not only entails a low view of human nature but also does not take into account solid evidence that humans are and have remained unique throughout earth’s history. Our uniqueness stems from the fact that at the very beginning humans were made in God’s image and likeness, with all that it entails. Of course God is a spirit (John 4:23) and His image in humans is a spiritual image. As such, mankind is valuable and greatly loved by God (John 3:16-21). When David served as a shepherd he looked up into the Milky-Way galaxy at night and pondered one of the deepest philosophical questions humans have ever asked, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5).