[This article was first published here at SBC Today on April 7, 2011. It highlighted the groundbreaking “shot heard ’round the SBC” when Dr. Brad Whitt wrote an article expressing how marginalized and irrelevant many Traditionalists feel in today’s Calvinist-led Southern Baptist Convention. Six years later, not much has changed.]
In the first part of this article, I reflected on Brad Whitt’s article “Young, Southern Baptist, . . . and Irrelevant?,” which was published in the South Carolina state Baptist Courier, on his own blog, and in six additional Baptist state papers. Responses to Whitt’s article, pro and con, have weighed in all over the country in Baptist papers, various blogs, and Facebook discussions. Whitt’s response to these many comments has now been posted on his blog, which he entitled, “The Challenge for Contributing, Committed Southern Baptists.”
I observed, for those who might have missed it, that the title of Whitt’s article appeared to be an allusion to an oft-referenced article in the 2006 issue of Christianity Today, entitled “Young, Restless, and Reformed: Calvinism is Making a Comeback and Shaking Up the Church,” by Collin Hansen, which he later expanded into a book by a similar title, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists. I also noted that many of the “new Calvinists” or “neoCalvinists” about whom Hansen wrote seem to fit the description of what Mark Driscoll and Ed Stetzer call “Reformed Relevants.” Whitt retained “young,” since he is a younger pastor, and substituted “Southern Baptist . . . Irrelevant?” instead of “Restless and Reformed” or “Reformed Relevants.” Obviously, Whitt thinks that his purported irrelevance has been greatly exaggerated.
[This article was first published here at SBC Today on April 5, 2011. It highlighted the groundbreaking “shot heard ’round the SBC” when Dr. Brad Whitt wrote an article expressing how marginalized and irrelevant many Traditionalists feel in today’s Calvinist-led Southern Baptist Convention. Six years later, not much has changed.]
Brad Whitt fired the shot heard ‘round the SBC about a month ago when he published his article “Young, Southern Baptist, . . . and Irrelevant?” in the South Carolina state Baptist Courier and on his own blog. In essence, Whitt expressed the concern that traditional Southern Baptist churches like his own were feeling marginalized and trivialized as “irrelevant” in many forums in Southern Baptist life. It created quite a furor, with some thanking Whitt for voicing “how I’ve felt for years,” while others criticizing him or saying that the concerns he voiced were unfounded.
Six additional state Baptist papers published the article, and discussions in blogs and Facebook from all over the country weighed in on the validity of Whitt’s concerns. Whitt, a graduate of Union University, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves as Pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina, and has been the President of the South Carolina Baptist Pastor’s Conference. He has now posted his response to these many comments on his blog in an article entitled, “The Challenge for Contributing, Committed Southern Baptists.”
Rev. Ron Hale
Senior Adult Pastor
West Jackson Baptist Church
[Editor’s Note: This essay is the reprint of an article from 2013 tracing the significant role Anabaptist martyrs played in restoring biblical believer’s baptism during the 16th Century. We are indebted to these heroes for their recovery of sound baptism doctrine.]
In his renowned work on 16th Century Anabaptists, Dr. William R. Estep says, “If the most obvious demarcation between the Reformers and the Roman Catholics was biblical authority, that between the Reformers and the Anabaptists was believer’s baptism. Believer’s baptism was for the Anabaptists the logical implementation of the Reformation principle of sola Scriptura.” Believers’ baptism, by its very nature, eliminates any possibility of infant baptism. “If you can show me a single instance of infant baptism in the Bible, I am defeated,” was the repeated challenge by one Anabaptist leader whom I will mention in a moment.
Southern Baptists need to understand the theological tributaries that have pointed us to deep pools and simple truths through the years. As Baptists, we were dunked down under. We were not sprinkled or poured upon. “A little dab’ll do ya” was not the sentiment of the Baptist pastor that laid me back into a watery grave (Rom. 6:4) and raised me up to walk in newness of life at the age of 23. I went under, realizing that Jesus had already forgiven me of my sins through the shedding of His blood and the water baptism was my first step of obedience in following Him.