On November 29, SBC Today posted Dr. Harwood’s essay titled, “The ETS, the AP, and the BFM.” (Read it here.). Within three days, the essay generated more than 100 online comments, including this one from Rick Warren: “Adam reveals a very important distinction that I had not noticed between BF&M and Abstract.” Also, “This article was helpful, and so are many of the comments afterward.” (http://goo.gl/Xmggg). The following post reveals Dr. Harwood’s further reflections on the subject.
“Does Southern Seminary have an institutional commitment to a theological position which is not affirmed in the BFM and excludes many Southern Baptists?”
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is comprised of churches with a variety of theological commitments. Among those groups are Calvinists, non-Calvinists, and others who refuse either of those theological monikers. This convention of churches cooperates in Great Commission work. That cooperation involves operating six seminaries. Faculty at these institutions train pastors, missionaries, and other leaders for SBC churches. Also, some seminary faculty publish biblical and theological works for SBC churches. Because Southern Baptists are a theologically diverse group, all the seminaries should allow for theological differences which are permissible within the convention’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM). Continue reading
The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) met for its annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 14-16, 2012. ETS bills itself as “a professional, academic society of Biblical scholars, teachers, pastors, students, and others involved in evangelical scholarship” (www.etsjets.org). Its membership is currently 4,000 people worldwide. I do not know the breakdown of denominations but it includes a variety of evangelicals, from Lutherans to Presbyterians to Wesleyans to Bible church to interdenominational colleges and seminaries. Their peer-reviewed journal, JETS, is one of the premier conservative, biblical-theological journals in the world.
I have been a member of ETS since 2003, attended some of the meetings, and presented papers at five regional or annual meetings. The annual ETS meeting is a three-day marathon of paper presentations in the areas of biblical studies, biblical archaeology, systematic theology, ethics, and philosophy. In addition to the academic stimulation, it was refreshing to meet some of the people whose writings sit on my shelf in the form of commentaries, biblical studies, and systematic theologies. Like the annual meeting of the SBC, the annual meeting of the ETS is a chance to see old friends, make new friends, and overspend my book budget. Continue reading
By Ron F. Hale,
Minister of Missions,
West Jackson Baptist Church,
My fingers eagerly tore into a package that resulted in a “free” book. The book came to me as I pastored in the Kansas City area in 1989. The title of the book was: Southern Baptists and the Doctrine of Election by Robert B. Selph. Later I learned that Pastor Selph had sent this book to every pastor in the SBC. This was no small endeavor for the pastor of a small church in Prescott, Arizona.
Selph had been inspired by Founders Ministries and their early work called the Boyce Project. Ernest C. Reisinger (the founder of the Founders Ministries) had the goal of republishing the Abstract of Systematic Theology by James Petigru Boyce, the primary founder and first theology teacher of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The second phase of the strategy was to get Boyce’s Abstract to every student graduating from the six official Southern Baptist seminaries and a few more.
In his book, Selph shares the following concerning Election and Evangelism: “If you really want to be invigorated in your faith and renewed in your courage to the task of evangelism, reflect upon how God has used the preaching of the historic doctrines of grace (election, predestination, etc.) to bring many to Himself in salvation!”
History reveals that Selph’s view of election and evangelism caused meager results in reaching his community with the Gospel. Over the last twenty-four years (since the printing of his book), his church has reported only forty people being baptized, that is less than two people per year. The membership has gone from 118 members in 1988 (the year he wrote the book) down to 60 members in 2011.