Category Archives for Interviews

An Interview with Wade Rials

February 7, 2012

Wade Rials has been the Senior Pastor of Thorington Road Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama since 2008. He earned a bachelor degree from the University of Mobile and his MDiv from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. You also can follow his blog at Wade’s Thoughts.

SBC Today: What do you think are the greatest challenges confronting the SBC?

Wade Rials: As a convention, we are divided, fractured, and splintered. If Calvinism is mentioned, an alarm is sounded and we all stand to attention, pick sides, and take up arms. It is not my responsibility to determine what makes a good “Southern Baptist,” but the issue itself is not going away. It seems that there is a lack of clarity over what defines us. The great question that I see on our horizon is the unequivocal need to articulate clearly who we are.

This articulation will allow us to define expectations. Questions such as, can we (are we willing), as Southern Baptists to unite under an umbrella that includes a wide spectrum of systematic theologies? If so, how big is the umbrella? Is there a percentage expected to be given to the Cooperative Program? What role should the Cooperative Program play? Should denomination leaders pass a “litmus” test in order to serve? This process will bring pain, but currently we are going through the motions carrying on as if all is kosher, holding bitterness and resentment towards others. Rather than deal with our differences openly as gentlemen, we get in theological huddles and thank “God” we are enlightened. The conversations on the convention podium are nice and unifying but they do not correspond to the conversations in the hallways.

Quite honestly, our denominational politics has great similarity to the children’s game musical chairs; everyone wrestling to have a seat and not to be the proverbial last one standing and left out of the loop. Our churches, in many ways, are experiencing a Great Commission Resurgence. Unfortunately, on the denominational level it looks more like a Great Convention Restructuring than any type of resurgence. Now more than ever, we need a denominational statesman to emerge who has extraordinary leadership capacity. He must force us honestly to admit and converse on the issues before us.
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An Interview with Keven Newsome

January 31, 2012

Keven Newsome is a graduate student at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology. He is the author of supernatural thriller Winter, published by Splashdown Darkwater. He also is the founder and administrator of The New Authors’ Fellowship and produces music and video through Newsome Creative.

SBC Today: How did you get into writing Christian fiction?

Keven Newsome: Fifth grade was a pivotal year for me, and looking back I can see how God was shaping me that year. That was the year I began my formal training in music, which is my first degree. It was the year I first put a pencil to paper to write a story. And it was also the year I gave my life to Christ. All the elements of what God had in store for my life came together that year.

Writing itself has been a journey and a process for me. Back in that fifth grade year my first attempt at a story was fantasy fan fiction based off a popular video game . . . complete with King James English, because after all that’s how they spoke in the game. My attention span wouldn’t suffer it. I took to drawing my stories instead. By junior high drawing stories wasn’t enough any more. There was too much to tell. I would tell these stories to my friends, and at some point I decided to write them down.

High school was when I became serious about writing. I wrote several short stories and began an awful fantasy novel full of teen angst and anachronistic dialogue. But something was nagging me. How could I do this for God? I gave up on that novel and went to college, discouraged with the direction of my writing. Thanks to the influence of a growing number of speculative Christian writers, I realized how I could make the stories I wanted to write glorify God. That’s when I began in earnest . . . learning the craft and writing constantly.

SBC Today: Would it be accurate to describe the genre of your writing as dark supernatural/paranormal Christian fiction? If not, how would you describe it?

Keven Newsome: That would certainly describe my style of writing, though the genre varies depending on the project. My style is a very edgy, intense, realistic portrayal of events. I want to write about life in all its grit and emotion. I’ve been called a Christian Horror writer by some, and I’m not opposed to that. I don’t do the slasher/bloody stuff … but life is horror. When life is portrayed properly, it comes out rather dark. Take a look inside the emotional state of most people, and you’ll see quiet despair, secret depression, and some very scary thoughts. The difference between my writing and the writing of secular writers of a similar nature is that I know where the Light is . . . and I make sure the Light pierces the darkness of the lives of my characters. By doing so, I hope to make the Light pierce through the darkness within my readers.
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An Interview with Jerry Vines

January 24, 2012

Dr. Jerry Vines served as Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 23 years, and was previous Pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. He has served as President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and now continues to minister through Jerry Vines Ministries. He is known as one of the best expository preachers in America, and is co-author with Jim Shaddix of Power in the Pulpit: How to Prepare and Deliver Expository Sermons.

SBC Today: What do you think are the greatest challenges confronting the SBC?

Jerry Vines: Theologically, will the issue of Calvinism create further division in the SBC. I have been a SBC preacher over 50 years. I have worked quite well with my Calvinist friends, many of whom I invited to preach for me. I have no desire to run all Calvinists out of the SBC; I think it would be divisive and wrong. But, current attempts to move the SBC to a Calvinistic soteriology are divisive and wrong. As long as groups and individuals seek to force Calvinism upon others in the Convention, there will be problems. There is a form of Calvinism that is militant, hostile and aggressive that I strongly oppose. I have stated before, so it’s not new news, that should the SBC move toward five-point Calvinism it will be a move away from, not toward, the gospel. I agree with Dr. David Allen’s assessments at the end of his chapter on Limited Atonement in the book Whosoever Will.

Methodologically, will the SBC try to be like the world to reach the world, or realize the church has the most influence on the world when it is least like the world. I am just astonished and saddened at the Howard Stern approach I am seeing in some of our churches. Holiness and separation seem to be missing in many of our churches.

Denominationally, will the SBC return to the societal method of supporting its work or continue to work together cooperatively to do together what we cannot do separately.

SBC Today: What do you see as the greatest opportunities open to the SBC?

Jerry Vines: Preparing to reach the nations that are literally coming to our doorstep, utilizing the breathtaking advances in technology that allow us to touch the world with the gospel, and responding to the willingness of thousands of our committed young people who want to go to the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not believe we will fulfill Matthew 24:14 in our age. That will be done during the Great Tribulation. But, we should certainly try to lessen the workload of the 144,000!
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