Many argue do not discount how God is using the contemporary church to impact the age. No doubt! Often, though, the arrogance of those engaged in the contemporary sees revolution when what is at work is disillusion, confusion, and many contusions among the body of Christ. Those who dismiss the church as irrelevant forget their own souls have been forged on the anvil of the very altar they wish to discard. Postmodernism is not the final word. Jesus said he would build the church to a triumphant conclusion. That is why an additional corrective to some strident voices of the contemporary church needs to be offered to all leaders. The church will always be relevant. It is not our task to make the church relevant but to be the church period. We live in a paradox where the ancient words of the Ancient of Days are as living as the day God breathed them forth, and yet those words must be lived out. This is the test of every movement. It is not ultimately about form but function. It is not a pragmatic measurement of what works but of God’s workmanship. The seductive sirens of prepackaged publications offer a new and improved solution for every problem that plagues the programs of our day.
This is part of an article originally published January 1922 in the Southwestern Journal of Theology by Dr. L. R. Scarborough entitled, “Poisoning the Fountains of Truth.” It was republished in the most recent Southwestern Journal of Theology, “Baptists and Unity.” You can find part one here, part two here, and part three here. May a voice of our past speak to us today. Below is part four of a four part series reprinting Dr. Scarborough’s essay:
3. Another way by which the fountains of truth can be poisoned is by a cer-
tain form of inter-denominationalism and unionism. Here lies the great error
in much of the inter-denominationalism and unionism that is broadcast in
the world today. This was the crux of the matter in the heart of Southern
Baptists when they refused to enter into the Inter-Church World Move-
ment, because they believed that it involved a compromise of the truth
that would eventually take the heart out of the fountains of our life in
our churches. When a Baptist preacher seeks to carry his church into the
Inter-Church World Movement, and when he brings into his church an
inter-denominationalism and unionism which violates the ordinances and
the authority of the church, he poisons the fountains of life. This has ap-
peared to me to be one of the weaknesses of some of our brethren in the
North, who are very strong on some of the fundamentals, especially those
in theology, but by their practice of inter-denominationalism commit an
egregious heresy in ecclesiology. A compromise on one phase of the truth
of Jesus Christ will work death in the life of our churches. A spread of this
form of heresy among the churches of our Southern Baptist Convention
would soon bring the same destruction to the witness and power and life
of these churches that it has done in other sections of the world.
This is part of an article originally published January 1922 in the Southwestern Journal of Theology by Dr. L. R. Scarborough entitled, “Poisoning the Fountains of Truth.” It was republished in the most recent Southwestern Journal of Theology, “Baptists and Unity.” You can find part one here. May a voice of our past speak to us today. Below is part two of a four part series reprinting Dr. Scarborough’s essay:
There are a number of ways by which we can cast the poison of erroneous teaching into the very fountains of truth and life among our people. I mention some of them:
1. By allowing the pastor of the church to assume the control and the management of the functions of a church; for instance, when he licenses young preachers or when he appoints unordained men as deacons of the church and allows them to serve without the church ever having elected them or ordained them, or when he or a committee of the church issues letters to members desiring to remove their relations, or when he himself or through a committee dismisses them from the church fellowship, or commits other acts of maladministration contrary to the Word of God. This is an assumption of authority and partakes of the nature of a self-appointed ecclesiascism and this conduct greatly poisons the life of the church.
Reprinted with permission, Southwestern Journal of Theology
All from SBC Today have arrived in Louisville. Let me say that it is great to see all my friends and renew our fellowship with one another. I have also enjoyed seeing many who I interact with in blogville.
Last night I attended the pastors conference. It seems the theme at this year’s pastors conference is the Great Commission Resurgence. The first one up was JD Greear. I heard JD back at Jacksonville at the pastors conference at FBC. After JD preached this sermon a friend of mine who attended Jacksonville made the comment that JD preached the same sermon as he did in Jacksonville (1 Cor. 9), only that he used a different text (Matt 23) to do so this time. I would have to concur with my friend, same message, different text. The one thing that was repeated and that I still have questions about is what are the secondary and tertiary doctrines that we should not divide over? He did mention tongues, but was not specific on other issues.
Next up to bat was Dr. Brunson. I read one blogger’s criticism that Dr. Brunson was yelling loud. Allow me to disagree, I don’t believe Dr. Brunson was yelling, but being passionate about his text in 1 Peter. His message from 1 Peter reflected upon who we should be, a loving and forgiving community seeking unity in Jesus. There were several points I was convicted over in his sermon especially when he talked about retaliation when someone says something against you. Wise words.
One area I did question was when Dr. Brunson seemed to refer to the Great Commission Resurgence and said how can anyone be against the Great Commission. I hope that is not the mantra this year, that if you are critical of the GCR document then you are against the Great Commission. Let me say that all of us at SBC Today are for the Great Commission (Tim Rogers actually did sign the GCR document). While some of us may question some points of the GCR document, we have not wained in our support of Matthew 28:18-20. Even with this, I appreciate Dr. Brunson’s message and passion for preaching God’s Word.
I did not hear much of Chuck Colson’s sermon, but I whole heartily agree with his assessment that the greatest danger we face is the moral vacuum in the church. In my opinion, if morals are to be considered secondary or tertiary and therefore to be left alone, then we will lose our prophetic voice in a dark land. Yes, we need to be a people that supports, loves, and has great unity with one another, but we cannot forgo the commands of Christ in doing so, for that is also part of the gospel message.
I don’t know if I will post again this week, but I look forward to rest of the convention.
Below is an article by Gary Ledbetter, Editor of the Southern Baptist Texan. It was originally printed in the Southern Baptist Texan and is reprinted here with permission.
In November 2008, messengers to the 10th anniversary of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention annual meeting passed a resolution that defines “Great Commission Resurgence” pretty well. Perhaps the document can be a complement to the statement proposed for the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Louisville.
Many will know already that SBC President Johnny Hunt, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin, and others have called for a missionary resurgence as a follow up to the already established Conservative Resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s. The thought being that evangelism and missions have not flourished in the SBC over the past 50 years and this fact indicates a deep problem we should address in some way.
Dr. Akin’s formulation of 10 axioms has become the centerpiece of Johnny Hunt’s presidential agenda. They’ve set up a website and many are speculating on an extensive plan for restructuring the denomination that could grow out of what Hunt hopes will be a groundswell. You’ll find the stories at the bottom of this article.
I believe the SBTC’s resolution is complementary to this emphasis because it has a finer focus. It is more local in its source, was more local in its editorial process, and was adopted by a smaller (compared to the SBC) denominational fellowship. The resolution rose up from the grassroots as an effort to clarify a term that was becoming a buzzword in denominational circles.