Friday, May 26, 2006
What caused me to think in this direction was a recent article on Christian education posted by Robert Parham. Mr Parham is the executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. Now I am not necessarily a fan of the Baptist Center for Ethics because I think they are a very liberal organization. But Mr. Parham does seem to give fair coverage to both sides of the Christian/Public education debate issue, so I do occasionally read his articles.
Anyway, in his most recent posting, entitled “Where Do Southern Baptist Leaders Go to School?”, Mr. Parham listed several prominent SBC leaders and their private educational choices. He listed pastors, missionaries, seminary professors, and denominational leaders who either homeschool their children or send them to a private Christian school. And many of these Christian schools are even directly supported as an extension of the ministry of the church where they serve.
Now this article could be taken in a couple of different ways, and I’m not trying to judge Mr. Parham, or his reasoning behind posting this article. But on the surface like anything else, what you take away from this article would depend highly on where you stand on Christian education.
For me as an example, I am a homeschool parent. I am one by conviction. I homeschool because I think this is what God intended, and as I study scripture, I can not justify sending my children to a “Pagan Seminary” as Mr. Bruce Shortt calls it in his book “The Harsh Truth about Public Schools.” So as I read the article, and in light of the controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention regarding the public school systems, I couldn’t help but think how hypocritical these men were for homeschooling their children or for sending their children to a Christian school, yet not having the backbone, as a SBC leader, to take a stand and say “Now is the time to get your children out of public schools!”
However, if I were a supporter of the public education system, and I were to read this article, I might have a different prospective. I might think, “Look at these hypocrites!” They seem to support public education because they do not take a stand against it, but privately they have removed their children from it. What kind of leadership is this?
So either way you look at it you still see: hypocrite, charlatan, impostor, fake, fraud, swindler… anyway, you get the picture! SBC Leaders, It’s time to get off the fence! Pick a side and get on it, publicly and privately! At least then, we’ll know what you stand for.
Here is a link to Mr. Parham’s article on Ethics Daily.com: http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=7406
Soli Deo Gloria!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
You know when I was a kid and someone asked me where I went to church I remember all I had to say was “the Baptist church” and they knew exactly what I was talking about and exactly what I believed. But you know; times have certainly changed. It seems like every other day, I hear about some new term or combination of terms that is used in a different way to help describe who someone is and what they believe. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those who would advocate dropping the name Baptist from my church sign just to get a few more people in the door. I for one think names are very useful. For example, if I wanted to buy a can of lima beans, I definitely wouldn’t go to a store and pick up a silver can with no label! There’d be no telling what might be inside. But I also wouldn’t grab one that said pinto or chili! If I was looking for lima beans, I would grab the one with lima on the label. Now granted there would likely be several name brands to choose from that had lima on the label, but it would still give me a good place to start. But it just seems like these days the we have gone to the extremes!
Well, I’m an independent, fundamental, dispensationalist, Baptist, or I’m a reformed, Calvinistic, amillennial, Baptist, or I’m a add your favorite Baptist buzz-words here Baptist!
Anyway, there are so many different kinds of Baptist beans on the shelf these days, sometimes it a little hard to make it to the cash register.
Here’s a small sample:
- African Baptist Assembly of Malawi, Inc.
- African United Baptist Church
- Alliance of Baptists
- American Baptist Association
- American Baptist Churches USA
- Association of Baptist Churches in Israel
- Association of Baptist Churches of Chad
- Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in the Philippines
- Association of Grace Baptist Churches
- Association of Regular Baptist Churches
- Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America
- Baptist Churches of the Central African Republic
- Baptist Conference of the Philippines
- Baptist Convention of Costa Rica
- Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba
- Baptist Evangelical Association of Madagascar
- Baptist General Convention of Texas
- Baptist Union of Poland
- Baptist Union of Southern Africa
- Bible Baptist
- Brazilian Baptist Convention
- Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists
- Central Baptist Association
- Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.
- Colored Primitive Baptists
- Continental Baptist Churches
- Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches
- Covenanted Baptist Church of Canada
- Evangelical Baptist Mission of South Haiti
- Evangelical Free Baptist Church
- First Baptist Church in America
- Free Will Baptist Church
- Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship
- Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of America
- General Association of Baptists
- General Association of General Baptists
- General Baptist
- General Conference of the Evangelical Baptist Church, Inc.
- General Six-Principle Baptists
- Global Independent Baptist Fellowship
- Grace Baptist Assembly
- Igreja União Baptista de Moçambique
- Independent Baptist
- Independent Baptist Church of America
- Independent Baptist Fellowship International
- Landmark Baptist
- Liberty Baptist Fellowship
- Marianas Association of General Baptists
- National Association of Free Will Baptists
- National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
- National Baptist Convention of Mexico
- National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
- National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Saving Assembly of the U.S.A.
- National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
- National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A.
- New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches
- North Bank Baptist Christian Association
- Northern Baptist Convention
- Norwegian Baptist Union
- Old Baptist Union
- Old Regular Baptist
- Old Time Missionary Baptist
- Original Free Will Baptist Convention
- Primitive Baptist
- Reformed Baptist
- Regular Baptist
- Separate Baptist
- Separate Baptists in Christ
- Seventh Day Baptist
- Southern Baptist Convention
- Southwide Baptist Fellowship
- Sovereign Grace Baptists
- Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada
- Strict Baptist
- Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists
- Union Baptists
- United American Free Will Baptist Church
- United American Free Will Baptist Conference
- United Free Will Baptist
- Unregistered Baptist Fellowship
- World Baptist Fellowship
What kind of Baptist are you?
Soli Deo Gloria,
Monday, May 22, 2006
My friend, this is simply not true! Not only were Southern Baptists historically mission minded, but they were also historically Calvinistic, and their theology did not stifle their missionary efforts, it encouraged them.
So where does this misunderstanding come from? Well first, let me say that, I believe the reason for the majority of these accusations is simply ignorance. The vast majority of our accusers have either forgotten or they have never known where we as Southern Baptists came from. They have no idea that historically, the vast majority of those involved in the modern day missionary movement were Calvinists. For example, Adoniram Judson, Luther Rice, and Andrew Fuller – all Calvinists! They all believed in and taught the Sovereign Grace of God! Even the “father of modern missions,” William Carey, was also a Calvinist. Yet he had a great missionary zeal and wanted to use every means at his disposal to win the lost to Christ. He was part of the “Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen,” and Southern Baptists, are descended from those Particular Baptists, Baptists who believed in and taught the Doctrines of Grace, AKA Calvinism.
OK, I can already here you say: “So these early missionaries, who were also Calvinists’, were the forefathers of Southern Baptists, but how can that be?” Why would you go on a mission trip to proclaim the gospel to the lost, if God has already pre-determined who was going to be saved?
This I believe stems from the second and maybe even more common error; and that is an extremely skewed view of what true Calvinism really teaches. For example, if you were to ask most of those that bring these accusations to define Calvinism, you would likely get something like this; “a Calvinist is someone who denies the responsibility of man and appeals to the sovereignty of God.” In other words, a Calvinist is one who believes that God has made an arbitrary choice to save some, and those that He chose, He will drag, kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of Heaven, whether they want to go or not. The problem with this definition of course, is that it is totally untrue. This is however a pretty good definition of Hyper-Calvinism.
So while a true Calvinist would definitely not deny the sovereignty of God, he would also not deny the responsibility of man. Both are taught in scripture, and both are true! God chose his elect before the foundation of the world, not arbitrarily, and not because of some foreseen merit, but based on His own good will and pleasure. He regenerates them and calls them through the gospel, and they are saved! That is what God does. Man, on the other hand, who in his fallen state, can not and will not repent and believe in God. But once regenerated, he then realizes his state and his need for a savior, and in repentance and faith, turns to God for salvation. That is his responsibility! And if he does this, he will be saved!
So why do we go? The Scripture says in Romans 10, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Because we know that this, going and preaching, is the primary means or instrument by which God uses to save the lost. William Carey knew this full well. He knew that he was one of God’s chosen instruments! He was given the privilege to preach the gospel to the lost. Like Paul, he wanted to be all things to all men so that he might save some. He knew that all wouldn’t accept his message, but he also knew that some would. That’s why he went, because he knew that God had already gone ahead of him and ensured his success, and He will ensure ours as well.
So while many in the SBC may think it's heresy, it's really just history or His Story. Calvinism does not stifle missions, it encourages it, and it guarantees our success!
If you are interested in learning more about Southern Baptist and their history, let me recommend a book by Dr. Tom Nettles, Professor of Historical Theology at Southern Seminary, entitled “By His Grace and For His Glory, a historical, theological, and practical study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life.”
Grace & Peace
Friday, May 12, 2006
This sounds like a great opportunity for teachers, administrators, or even home school parents who wish to further their education and be better equipped to proclaim God's truth!
For more information on this and other educational opportunities available from ICRGS, visit their website at: http://www.icr.edu/
Soli Deo Gloria,
While this may not be a big deal for many, to someone in the Young Earth creationist camp, this is a huge score. Dr. Wise has a fantastic opportunity to help Southern Baptists, and Christians everywhere move closer to a clear biblical interpretation of the book of Genesis.
OK, wait a minute! Isn’t intelligent design and Young Earth creationism basically the same things? Well, I’m glad you asked, and as a matter of fact, they are not.
Intelligent design is basically (in very, very simplified terms) a concept which states that; since the universe and all things living in it are so complex, they must have had a designer. In other words, they could not have evolved by chance. This is, of course, in direct opposition to the most popular “theory” that is taught as fact in the vast majority of our public education system today. This is the theory, or really the religion, of evolution as was popularized by Charles Darwin.
After hearing this definition, many people would assume that this is a good thing, and in many ways it is a good thing. It does at least suggest that there are possibilities other than millions of years of evolution. However, it does not take the concept far enough. It is really much like riding the fence. While ID does suggest that there may be alternatives, it will not actually suggest what that alternative might be. It will not take a dogmatic stand and say that the creator is the Triune God of the Universe whose name is Jehovah!
Young Earth creationists on the other hand, are so called, because of the stand they take on a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis. Specifically a stand they take on a literal interpretation of the first chapter and even more specifically, a stand they take on a literal interpretation of a single word in that chapter, the word “day.” Young Earth creationists boldly declare that the creator of the universe was the Triune God of the Christian Bible, and that He completed this act of creation in six, literal, twenty-four hour, days, exactly as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, and since this was the case, the world can not be billions, or even millions of years old.
You see, if you properly exegete the text, you can NOT come up with a different conclusion. (You see what I mean about Young Earth creationists being dogmatic?)
Let me explain. The word translated as “day” in the first chapter of Geneses is the Hebrew word “yome.” It is basically a word that means “to be hot” as in the warm hours of the day. Sometimes it is used to mean only a part of a day, and sometimes it means all of a day and even sometimes it is used to indicate an undetermined amount of time; like “back in my father’s day” or “in those days.” But there is always a context, or additional qualifiers that are used that help us understand which one of these meanings is the right one. For example; if “yome” is qualified by the word evening, or morning, or if it is associated with a number or with another word like night, then it always refers to a normal 24 hour day.
So how is the word “yome” used in Genesis chapter 1? Well, you will notice that in each occurrence, the word “yome” or “day” is prefixed with evening, morning and a number, and even occasionally it is used in context with words like night or light or darkness. So without a doubt, the correct translation of the word “yome” in Genesis chapter 1 is a normal, 24 hour day. To paraphrase Ken Ham, one of my creationist heroes, it’s almost like God is saying, it’s a normal 24 hour day, and if you’re a little slow, it’s a normal 24 hour day, and if you’re really dumb, it’s a normal 24 hour day! There’s really no other way to translate it.
The great reformer Martin Luther, when faced with a similar situation said: “When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.”
While Luther was faced with men who wished to pervert the word of God to say that God created in a single day, many theologians today are going to the other extreme. They are afraid to take a stand on a correct interpretation of Genesis chapter 1, and are trying to fit millions of years into the Bible. All because science says so! So who do they really believe; these so-called men of science, or the Word of the Living God?
Charles Spurgeon put it like this: “We are invited, brethren, most earnestly to go away from the old-fashioned belief of our forefathers because of the supposed discoveries of science. What is science? The method by which man tries to conceal his ignorance. It should not be so, but so it is. You are not to be dogmatic in theology my brethren, it is wicked; but for scientific men it is the correct thing. You are never to assert anything very strongly; but scientists may boldly assert what they cannot prove, and may demand a faith far more credulous than any we possess. Forsooth, you and I are to take our Bibles and shape and mould our belief according to the ever-shifting teachings of so-called scientific men. What folly is this! Why, the march of science, falsely so-called through the world may be traced by exploded fallacies and abandoned theories. Former explores once adored are now ridiculed; the continual wreckings of false hypothesis is a matter of universal notoriety. You may tell where the learned have encamped by the debris left behind of suppositions and theories as plentiful as broken bottles.”
So why am I dogmatic? Because proper exegesis allows me to be, the text is on my side!
Be in prayer for Dr. Wise and Southern Seminary. They will likely face much opposition in the coming days, not only from evolutionists, but from the Christian community as well.
You can read the news release on Southern Seminary and Dr. Kurt Wise here: http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/5/102006e.asp
Grace & Peace
Saturday, May 06, 2006
In part one, Dr. Mohler pointed out that the word translated as “foolishness” might have better been translated as insanity or madness. Because this is how our message appears to those who are perishing. While this is true, it is still the heart of the message we have been called to proclaim. We do not have the authority to update or change the message of the cross just to make it more appealing to those who think it sounds crazy. But for those who have experienced the “Power of God”, Dr. Mohler points out that over time, we come to an understanding of “just how foolish our previous thoughts really were.” And it is that, very foolish sounding, that has the power to save, and that is well pleasing to God.
In part two, we see how God’s purpose is carried out in this world through this foolish sounding message that we have been called to preach. He says that we, as the church, are really a witness to the power of this foolish gospel message. “For what but the gospel could explain how we got here?” Dr. Mohler concludes with a close look at verse 29. Here he gives us an in-depth look at the original meaning behind the word boast. The original idea not only implies that thought of having bragging rights, but it also implies the idea of trust. Whom should we place our trust in, ourselves or God and His foolish sounding message of the cross that has the power to save?
In the third and final installment, Dr. Mohler looks at verses 30 and 31. He opens with a wonderful statement “Every person will be one kind of fool or the other. We are going to be one variety of fool--the fool who rejects the knowledge of God--or the other kind of fool, who is foolish before the world because of allegiance to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.” What kind of fool are you? Are you foolish enough to think that your flowery words or exciting programs will win converts to Christ? Or do you simply stick with the simple foolish sounding message of the Cross of Christ? Let me encourage you, stick with the text, it speaks for itself!
This was an excellent series, and I would encourage you to read them all.
Part 1: http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-04-24
Part 2: http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-04-26
Part 3: http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-04-28
Grace & Peace!
Monday, May 01, 2006
One additional note, after the tour of Southern, my interest in going back to seminary was renewed. So pray that the Lord will direct us in this decision!
To give you a brief summary of the conference:
The first message was by Mark Dever; "The Pastor’s Understanding of His Own Role". This message contained a lot of helpful information about why we do what we do. It was an expositional message of 1 Cor chap 4. A great example of expository preaching.
The second message was by Lig Duncan; "Preaching from the Old Testament". He started with 2 Tim 3:16-17, but went everywhere. Some very good examples of how to preach the Gospel from the Old Testament. Very encouraging and instructional!
The third was by Dr. Mohler; "Preaching with the Culture in View". This was by far, the most difficult and most abstract of all the topics, but loaded with good info. The most memorable quote was: "if you see a real angel, you'll wet your pants!" You need to hear this!
The forth was by R.C. Sproul; "The Center of Christian Preaching: Justification by Faith". This started out as a historical lecture on the differences between the Roman Catholic doctrine and the Protestant doctrine of justification. Again, lots of good info, very educational!
The fifth was by John Piper; "Why Expositional Preaching Is Particularly Glorifying to God" My notes were not so good on this because I was so captivated by the message. All I could do was listen. You could almost feel the words as John spoke. He expounded 2nd Cor 3:18 - 4:6. A wonderfully encouraging message!
The sixth message was by C.J. Mahaney; "Watch Your Life". This was the first time I had heard him speak. He is a wonderfully warm and funny man. He had me in tears several times during the panel discussions that took place after the messages. This particular message was also a very good one. His text was from 1st Timothy 4:16. Watch your Life, Watch your Doctrine, & Watch God at Work.
The last message was by John MacArthur; "Forty Years of Gospel Ministry". This was not an expository message, but rather an encouragement and an exhortation to pastors to do what God has called us to do. He did share a text; 1 Thes chapter 1 & 2, and drew several inspiring truths from it, but most of the message was simply insight from his many years in the ministry.
Every message was great and filled with instruction and encouragement for the pastor. The Music was also wonderful. It was provided by Bob Kauflin, the Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries. Very inspiring, and very scripturally sound. It was a relief and a blessing to hear theologically sound worship music coming from a choir of 3000+ pastors! I was moved to tears on more than one occasion by the music and the messages.
Another encouraging part of the conference was the panel discussions. These were basically an open discussion between all the speakers of the day. It was refreshing to hear them in this informal setting. I am not sure that these will be available to the public or not. I do think that much of this information will be later available in a book format, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
If you did not get to attend, let me encourage you to purchase the audio of the messages. I am confident that it will encourage and inspire you. Here are a couple of links where you can purchase all the messages from the conference in CD or MP3 format.
CD - More expensive, but you can play them most anywhere:
MP3 - Less expensive and if you're savvy, you could make audio CDs!:
Or go here for other download/purchase options:
Grace & Peace!
Dave Scarbrough ~ firstname.lastname@example.org