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

About the SBC

What Makes Us ‘Southern Baptist’?” by Brad Whitt on his blog, identifying three major cornerstones of what he deems to be essential to a Southern Baptist identity.

A Rose by Any Other Name:  It’s Time to Drop the Name ‘Southern” from the SBC Name,” by Dave Miller in the SBC Impact blog, with Miller’s arguments for changing the name of the SBC.

The One World Missions Ministry: IMB and NAMB Officially Joined in Marriage or Just Engaged?” by Peter Lumpkins in the SBC Tomorrow blog, expressing concerns about rewording the IMB and NAMB mission statements such that both are assigned to missions in North America.

Minor Adjustments Leading to Major Changes?” by Tim Rogers in A Southern Baptist in North Carolina blog, expressing concerns about the possibility of an IMB/NAMB merger, particularly in light of “Myth #8” from the GCR presentation.

The New NAMB:  Bad Precedents and Unanswered Questions,” by Howell Scott in the From Law to Grace blog, expressing concerns about the trajectory of NAMB and about whether these changes will diminish financial support for NAMB from churches.

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


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

Heilsgeschichte (Holy History)

My seminary class was just after lunch and I was already suffering from sleep deprivation due to late nights of study and long days of labor.  As my professor articulated this German theological term my eyes and mind awakened to the realization this was probably the first time in history that anyone in my line of descent had ever heard such an utterance.

I immediately underlined the word in my textbook entitled Introduction to the New Testament, written by Dr. Everett F. Harrison, Senior Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. After 28 years, I have remembered the term and have uttered it in a few conversations wishing more to impress than impart wisdom.

Dr. Harrison’s use of the word goes as follows:

The theme of salvation gives ample scope for the development of Heilsgeschichte (history of salvation, or the sweep of the divine purpose down through the ages as set forth in Scripture).”

Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1971, rev.ed.), 312.

He mentions this term while writing about the book of Romans and how the Apostle Paul deals with creation (chapter 1) and other unfolding events in God’s salvation history.

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A Model for Theological Dialogue

By Steve Lemke, Provost of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

What does constructive theological dialogue look like?  Unfortunately, there are fewer
models today than might have been the case.  On the one hand, the Balkanization of the SBC has led to many speaking to each other within in-groups but not really addressing the larger SBC fellowship.  These discussions tend to produce a sense that everyone agrees that this perspective is right and everyone else is wrong. On the other hand, when other perspectives do interact with others, many blog and Facebook posts regarding theological issues are guilty of “flaming,” reducing to ad hominem insults, reducio ad absurdum stereotypes, and “straw man” arguments.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I have shared below (with permission from the participants) a discussion which took place on my Facebook page (in which it is not unusual to have discussions with 50 or more posts on some issue). I cite this discussion thread for two reasons: (a) it expresses the diversity of views even within the Calvinist, Arminian, and Baptist perspectives, and (b) it models theologians from different theological perspectives discussing an important belief by expressing real differences of belief with substantive content in a respectful spirit.  To do so within the innate space limits of Facebook is quite an achievement!

The principal participants are Gary Shultz, Jr. (author of the book review, pastor of First Baptist Church in Fulton, Missouri, whom I described as a “Calvinist” and he later qualified himself as a “moderate Calvinist”), Tony Byrne (a four point Calvinist who is a graduate of Criswell College and writes in the Theological Meditations blog), and James Leonard (a Cambridge scholar doing research at the Center for New Testament Textual Study at NOBTS, and a member of the Society of Evangelical Arminians).

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Lessons on Control

Dr. Charles Ray III, Pastor, Grace Memorial Baptist Church, Gulfport, MS (Charlie and his wife Lisa have served as foster care parents for several children).


I like to think I’m in control, but God has been teaching me more than ever how little control I have. And I’m learning what a good thing that is. We think we can control most anything these days, from how many kids we have to what day they are born. I even thought that in fostering, I could control how many kids came in our home and what ages they were. But from the moment four kids sat on our coach instead of two, I have been learning lessons in loss of control.

I have much less control over what our house looks like than I did before, and I feel some loss of control over my schedule and how I spend my time. But I still feel mostly in control. We can control what the kids are exposed to while they are with us; and we can make sure that nothing bad happens to them while they are in our care. But looming over the whole foster process is that day when they return home, and we lose all say in their lives. Period.

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Worship: Going About It in the Wrong Way

Joe McKeever, retired Pastor and Director of Missions, Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans

This article was originally published in McKeever’s blog, , and is reprinted by permission of the author.

Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name. (Psalm 29:2)
It’s Sunday around noonish. As the congregation files out of the sanctuary heading toward the parking lot, listen closely and you will hear it.

It’s a common refrain voiced near the exit doors of churches all across this land.

“I didn’t get anything out of that today.” “I didn’t get anything out of the sermon.” “I didn’t get anything out of that service.” “I guess her song was all right, but I didn’t get anything out of it.”

Sound familiar? Not only have I heard it countless times over these near-fifty years in the ministry, I probably have said it a few times myself.

This is like dry rot in a congregation. Like a termite infestation in the building. Like an epidemic afflicting the people of the Lord, one which we seem helpless to stop.

But let’s try. Let’s see if we can make a little difference where you and I live, in the churches where we serve and worship. We might not be able to help all of them, but if we bless one or two, it will have been time well spent.

1. You are not supposed to ‘get anything out of the service.’

Worship is not about you and me. Not about “getting our needs met.” Not about a performance from the pastor and singer and choir and musicians. Not in the least.

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