Author Archive

The Top Blog Posts of the Week

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 admin@sbctoday.com.

About the SBC

BIFF:  Baptists in Full Fellowship,” by David Miller at the SBC Voices blog, with a proposal for a group to unite the divided factions within the SBC.
http://sbcvoices.com/biff-baptists-in-full-fellowship

2 Major Challenges Southern Baptists Face in Getting Churches to Engage the Unreached,” by Justin Long at The Long View blog, with a substantive conversation about the challenges Southern Baptists face in their current missions strategy.
http://www.justinlong.org/2011/06/2-major-challenges-southern-baptists-face-in-getting-churches-to-engage-the-unreached

Response to Long’s Piece on ‘2 Major Challenges Southern Baptists Face in Getting Churches to Engage the Unreached,” by Almost an M at his blog at Apostle Farm, with commentary about Justin Long’s ideas about Southern Baptist missions strategy.
http://almostm.com/2011/06/response_to_longs_piece

The 2011 SBC Annual Meeting:  Monday, June 13,” by Brad Whitt at his blog, with his reflections on the SBC Pastor’s Conference in Phoenix.
http://bradwhitt.com/2011/06/the-2011-sbc-annual-meeting-monday-june-13/#more-2428

Analysis of SBC Statistics,” by Ed Stetzer on his blog, with his take on the disappointing baptism and other metrics evaluating the effectiveness of SBC churches.
http://www.edstetzer.com/2011/06/analysis-of-sbc-statistics.html

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LEARNING CURVES:
Preparing Yourself to Become an Agent of Change

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LEARNING CURVES:
Preparing Yourself to Become an Agent of Change

By Tobey Pitman, Community Ministries Missionary, Northshore Baptist Association in Louisiana

1. DEFINE SUCCESS AND KNOW WHERE IT IS FOUND

Success may be defined in many ways depending upon your profession and point of view. However, anyone who serves a ministry call can have no misgiving about success. In ministry, true success is defined by God alone. His marker is simple! He calls us into a service of faithfulness- both as personal disciples and as servants to His specific call upon our lives. See Hebrews 11 if clarification is needed.

Complications may come if one experiences difficulty understanding or obeying His call. One must constantly and critically seek clarity regarding nuances and adjustments needed to faithful followship.

Additional distractions often come our way as other methods of measurement may be suggested. Employers and supervisors may define success by certain goals or attainables. This is a reality of life and may create some inner conflict and turmoil. But scripture reminds us that we are subject to the authority of others. Make any conflict a matter of open, honest discussion with your superiors whoever they may be. Conflict can be incorrectly perceived. Supervisors desire nothing more than your ministry success. Your success (or failure) will reflect upon them. They want you to succeed! Frank discussions remind all parties of your intention to serve well with commitment and faithfulness.

Always make success a matter of prayer. Render your heart and service in accordance with God’s call upon your life. You will not be successful if you cling to your own plans and wisdom. We must offer a prayer like that offered by Abraham’s servant (GEN24:12) “grant me success today.” Ministry success is found in Him alone.

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The Top Blog Posts of the Week

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 admin@sbctoday.com.

About the SBC

Countdown to Phoenix:  What to Expect,” by Howell Scott at the From Law to Grace blog, with an overview of things to anticipate at the SBC convention at Phoenix.
http://fromlaw2grace.com/2011/06/07/countdown-to-sbc-phoenix-what-to-expect/

Acts 29, Alcohol, and the Southern Baptist Convention,” by David Brumbelow at the Gulf Coast Pastor blog, expressing concerns about the funding Southern Baptist church plants with different theology and practice from most Southern Baptist churches.
http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/

Acts 29 and Anti-Congregationalism,” by Peter Lumpkins at SBC Tomorrow, with concerns about the elder-governed  and non-congregational church polity affirmed by Acts 29 churches. http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2011/06/acts-29-and-anti-congregationalism-by-peter-lumpkins.html

2025 and the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1 and Part 2,” by Tim Rogers at the Southern Baptist in North Carolina blog, with his projections about what the SBC could look like in 2025 if it continues in its present trajectory.
http://rebekah1.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/2025-and-the-southern-baptist-convention
http://rebekah1.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/2025-and-the-southern-baptist-convention-conclusion

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Southern Baptists, Racial Reconciliation, and Diversity:
A Response to Aaron Weaver

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Southern Baptists, Racial Reconciliation, and Diversity:
A Response to Aaron Weaver

By Dr. Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, occupying the McFarland Chair of Theology, Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry, and Editor of the Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

In a recent post on his “The Big Daddy Weave” blog site, Aaron Weaver questioned the nomination by SEBTS President Danny Akin of Fred Luter to First Vice President of the SBC this year, and the affirmation by SBTS Dean of Theology Russ Moore that Luter should be elected President of the SBC next year at the convention meeting in New Orleans.  Furthermore, Weaver discounted the set of recommendations coming from the SBC Executive Committee to the Phoenix convention to make “the convention’s leadership positions more reflective of the growing ethnic diversity in its churches” as an attempt at what Weaver labeled “Affirmative Action.” Weaver’s apparent rejection of these initiatives in the SBC to engage a broader ethnic/racial diversity in the SBC cause me concern at several levels. Let me respectfully voice several of these concerns, starting with some that are less important and moving toward the more important. My primary purpose is to endorse the candidacy of Fred Luter for significant positions of leadership in the SBC, and to affirm the recommendations about greater racial diversity being brought forward at this year’s SBC convention in Phoenix.

The Elder Brother?

To be clear, Weaver is not questioning these moves because he is opposed to greater racial diversity.  It doesn’t take long perusing his website (the pictures of Jimmy Carter, Walter Rauschenbusch, and Barbara Jordan among his heroes on the banner to the website might be a clue) that Weaver advocates essentially a liberal Democrat agenda.  It does appear clear, however, that his raising the Affirmative Action issue is something of a smokescreen or red herring to bash SBC leadership. Weaver has hosted the website for years, but through these hundreds of posts he does not have a single prior post specifically defending or addressing Affirmative Action.  There are, however, dozens of articles critical of SBC leadership. So let’s just be honest and acknowledge that the issue is not Affirmative Action in the first place, but Weaver using it as a pretense to demean SBC leaders.  At best, Weaver exemplifies the attitude of the elder brother when the prodigal came back home.  If the SBC has been slow to address adequately this issue of greater racial diversity, and Weaver has been further ahead on this issue, at the very least he “has an attitude” about us prodigals coming to ourselves, rather than entering into the joy of the Father for this step of progress.

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Thursday is for Theological Terminology:
The Study of Specialized Words relating to Theology

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Thursday is for Theological Terminology:
The Study of Specialized Words relating to Theology

By Ron F. Hale, Minister of Missions, West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson, TN

“Ordinance”

With the voice of experience and the education of a scholar, Dr. W. A. Criswell shares the following definition:

The word ordinance, as we use the term in the church, refers to a religious rite ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Upon his authority and institution, and following the practice of the apostles, we receive the ordinances of the church from his and their gracious hands.  The word ordinance in the Old Testament represents something prescribed, enacted, and usually refers to a matter of ritual.  For example, according to Exodus 12:14, the Passover was “an ordinance forever”; that is, a permanent institution.  The word ordinance in the New Testament is a translation of four different Greek words.  Although not technically referring to just the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, I like the translation of the Greek word paradoseis in I Corinthians 11:2.  “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”  That is what we are to do, faithfully and scripturally and perpetually.

–W.A. Criswell, Criswell’s Guidebook for Pastors (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1980), 199.

Dr. William W. Stevens differs with Dr. Criswell and writes that the word paradoseis should be translated “traditions” instead of ordinance (William W. Stevens. Doctrines of the Christian Religion. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1967, 324).

Southern Baptists have historically observed two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Primitive Baptists and a few other groups recognize footwashing as a third ordinance by means of a literal interpretation of John 13:12-17.

Although the word is not mentioned, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 define the two practices that we teach as ordinances:

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

Southern Baptists have steered clear of the term sacraments in reference to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The word “sacrament” implies a magical or mystical supposition stemming from a “transfer-of-grace” premise.  Seven sacraments make up the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches, and they include baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders, and extreme unction.

Southern Baptists totally reject sacramentalism through which the church dispenses grace.  Dr. Roy T. Edgemon teaches us that grace is conferred directly from Christ to the believer.  There is no intermediary of any kind, whether priest or substance (Roy T. Edgemon. The Doctrines Baptists Believe. Nashville, TN: Convention Press, 1988, 117).

With an understanding that the ordinances are symbolic, we should never minimize the importance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Although they are not essential for salvation, they are necessary for our spiritual growth and obedience because we are asked to do them by our Lord and Savior.