The document linked to here is a joint effort by Dr. Malcolm Yarnell and me to help clarify and lead others to a proper understanding of the Lordship of Christ as it pertains to matters which have been discussed via blogs over the last three years. Below are some excerpts from the paper. I would encourage all the readers of SBC Today to download the document for further reading.
The desire to discover the lowest possible standard before sin happens is not the way Christ expects us to live. Indeed, seeking the lowest denominator may be indicative of an improper attitude about temptation. Instead of seeing how far we may travel away from Christ’s will before we have gone over the edge, one who professes Jesus as Lord should be seeking eagerly for closeness to His will. If He is Lord, He must be Lord of the Christian’s life in truth. This applies equally in the spheres of doctrine and ethics. The Christian should adopt the attitude that asks, “How may I fulfill the standard that Jesus Christ reveals in His Word?” Likewise, the Christian must avoid the opposite attitude, which asks, “How far may I get away from Christ’s commands before it is wrong?”
When the method of theological triage was issued, it was accompanied by a call for theological maturity. We agree and echo this desire for growth, which we believe involves a growth into faithfulness to the Lord. Much of the current crisis in Baptist life circles around the relationship between gospel and faithfulness to Christ. On the one hand, the responsible Christian preacher, like Paul, will be careful to preach the gospel clearly. And he will be careful never to confuse the gospel with legalistic righteousness. Paul’s harsh words about the false teachers troubling the Galatians come to mind: “You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ: you have fallen from grace!” (Gal. 5:4). There is no room for legalism in preaching justification as the declaration of righteousness through faith in the Righteous One.
On the other hand, Paul never treated justification by grace through faith as an excuse for immaturity. The responsible Christian preacher, like Paul in Philippians 3, will not stop with the basics of the faith but will issue a call to forsake immaturity and pursue maturity.
The secondary issues include, according to the offered form of theological discrimination, those doctrines that make us Baptist. One may consider here such important Baptist distinctives as believers-only baptism by immersion, New Testament communion, democratic congregationalism, and regenerate church membership (cf. Baptist Faith and Message, articles 6-8). To term such doctrines “secondary” in the sense of “insignificant” or “unnecessary” or “indifferent” is not only a misuse of theological triage; it may be more egregiously a subtle but significant downgrading of Christ’s Lordship over His church. Indeed, we would argue-building upon an earlier metaphor-that a misuse of the bowie knife of theological triage may end with the consignment of some Christians to the spiritual emergency room. For the church planting enterprise in which Great Commission Christians engage, these second-order doctrines may not be ignored; if they are ignored, chaos and confusion of the Corinthian magnitude will ensue.
What we can and must do for those Christians that are not Baptists is to encourage them to submit even more to the Lord’s will. And when they will no longer listen, we will resort solely to the illimitable power of prayer. With Paul, we humbly pray that those Christians with whom we disagree regarding our Lord’s commands will no longer “think differently” but that “God will reveal this to you also.” Likewise, we would hope that non-Baptists would share the grace of God’s revelation with us where they deem we have not properly interpreted God’s Word.
I would personally like to thank Dr. Yarnell for allowing me to participate in this paper. When we started earlier this week, I had no idea I would learn so much in organizing and presenting a paper. Again, to view the entire document, click here.
One year ago yesterday, we posted an interview with Southwestern Seminary president Dr. Paige Patterson, as Tim Rogers talked with Dr. Patterson in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, we present another.
Dr. Patterson was in Hugo, Oklahoma for the Frisco Baptist Association‘s annual evangelism conference, and I was able to talk to him briefly after the conference had ended. We talked about issues ranging from ecclesiology to ecumenism, the characteristic passion for missions that has always defined Southwestern, to the future legacy of the seminary as envisioned by the school’s eighth president. We even talked a little about some of the silly rumors generated by recent tabloid blogging.
You can listen to the interview right here in the post, or you can pack it onto your iPod for later use. Just click on the iTunes button in the sidebar under “Podcast.”
Because of the recent tabloid blogging that has occurred at this site here and here, we at SBC Today have been busy answering questions on when we would respond to what one Calvinistic professor called, “lies and slander” of the aforementioned postings. At first, we were not going to respond. After all, what logical and rational thinking person would think that Dr. Patterson was out to get rid of the Calvinists at SWBTS knowing that he brought on Calvinists to the faculty while he was president of both Southeastern and Southwestern and that a 5 point Calvinist from SWBTS called these accusations “lies and slander.” But alas, it seems that logic is being thrown out the window concerning these posts.
Therefore, we will provide something of more substance on this subject before Friday, but until then may we direct you to Bart Barber’s thoughts regarding this matter.