Category Archives for Theology

Pastors Dare Not Become Enablers of Spiritual Milkoholics

January 11, 2018

By Ronnie Rogers, Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church Norman, OK

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able (1 Cor 3:2).

Note the past tense verb, gave milk, referring to times in the past when Paul taught the Corinthians milk because they were not ready for meat and that was okay; but the poignant criticism is indeed, even now, you are not yet able. Even now, still, at this point they were not able, when in reality they should have been much more mature and able to think as spiritual followers, feeding on the meat of the Word.

These words of Paul are not only words of chastisement but also words of hurt. Paul had been involved in seeking to mature the Corinthians for about five years, but to no avail. W. Robertson Nicoll notes, “Paul had attempted to carry his Corinthian converts further, but had failed.”[1] The heart of Paul, or anyone who works to mature others in the faith, is conveyed by the words of the Apostle John who said, “I have no greater joy than this to hear of my children walking in truth” (3 John 4). A.T. Robertson said, “It is one of the tragedies of the minister’s life that he has to keep on speaking to the church members ‘as unto babes in Christ’ . . . who actually glory in their long babyhood.”[2] For Christians to mature, the pastor must be solemnly devoted to maturing the believers in the flock of which God has given him oversight, and the people must also desire to mature (1 Peter 2:2). Continue reading

The Shot Heard ‘Round the SBC (Part D) The Fault Lines in Southern Baptist Life

September 8, 2017


Steve Lemke, Provost Emeritus

Vice President of Institutional Assessment
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

[This article was first published here at SBC Today on April 9, 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 three parts of this article, I have been reflecting on Brad Whitt’s article “Young, Southern Baptist, . . . and Irrelevant?,” which was published and discussed widely in state 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.”

Whitt’s article obviously touched a nerve in Southern Baptist life. I described it as one of the deepest fault lines in the SBC – between what Whitt suggested were those who have a “high Baptist identity” and those who have a “low to moderate Baptist identity.” I tried to flesh out this distinction in the first section of my post (Part A). I then described several other interconnected fault lines, particularly the small church/megachurch fault line, in the second section of this post (Part B). I made the case that these partially overlapping fault lines are disintegrating the “center” of Southern Baptist life, and that splinters or a split within the SBC fellowship seem almost inevitable.

In the third post (Part C), I attempted to describe two possible futures I see for the SBC, which I believe to be the only viable options. In Way One, because of our fallenness “in Adam,” the only way to unity and peace is through division. I also likened it to a Baptist Babel, in that we are being divided into camps speaking different languages. Obviously, I do not regard this as God’s ideal. Today I will propose the second alternative, what I am labeling the “in Christ” option: Unity through Cooperation.

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The Shot Heard ‘Round the SBC (Part C) The Fault Lines in Southern Baptist Life

September 7, 2017


Steve Lemke, Provost Emeritus

Vice President of Institutional Assessment
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

[This article was first published here at SBC Today on April 8, 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 two parts of this article, I have been reflecting on Brad Whitt’s article “Young, Southern Baptist, . . . and Irrelevant?,” which was published and discussed widely in state 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.”

Whitt’s article obviously touched a nerve in Southern Baptist life. I described it as one of the deepest fault lines in the SBC – between what Whitt suggested were those who have a “high Baptist identity” and those who have a “low to moderate Baptist identity.” Attempting to describe this real but somewhat difficult-to-define fault line, which involves a cluster of theological/ecclesiological/methodological issues but may be primarily more a matter of ethos, was the subject of the first section of my post.

I also suggested that the “Baptist identity” fault line is just one fault line in Southern Baptist life. In fact, there is a series of other interconnected, partially overlapping, and partially converging fault lines in the SBC – smaller churches vs. megachurches, anti-GCR vs. pro-GCR, majority Baptist theology vs. Reformed theology, advocates of associations and state convention vs. detractors of associations and state convention, Cooperative Program as a high value vs. Cooperative Program as a tertiary value, etc. An eruption in one of the fault lines sets off shockwaves in each of these other interconnected fault lines. In the second section of this post, I attempted to unpack another of these fault lines in SBC life, and one that is sometimes overlooked – between the smaller churches and the megachurches.

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