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 Information and Inspiration on Issues of Importance to Baptists
Baptist2Baptist
Deciphering Theological Turnspeak
Theologians of the Baptist Tradition
Baptists Adrift in Doctrinal Confusion
This Boat Won't Float
Sola Scriptura
What is a Baptist?
Counter-Reformation, Observations from the CBF ...
SBC and Women Pastors, Comprehensive Report Does..
Lengthen the Cords, Strengthen the Stakes
Toward a True Baptist Zion
A Godly Heritage: The History of the CP
True Reformation: A Review of the Baptist ...
What Kind of God, What Kind of Salvation?
Postmodernizing Paul: When Man Redefines Truth
The Cooperative Program: Keep It Going!
The Operative Word is Co
Husbands, Wives, Headship, and Submission
Fighting the Good Fight: The Struggle for a ...
The 'Camelot' Years
The Abraham Principle, Watching the CP Grow...
The Family Article: Bearing Fruit
Christ-Centered Marriages: Husbands and Wives ...
Women Pastors: What Does the Bible Teach
Christian Colleges Accountable, Not Autonomous
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Selected Quote

"There should be an 'Abstract of Principles', or careful statement of theological belief, which every professor in such an institution must sign when inaugurated, so as to guard against the rise of erroneous and injurious instruction in such a seat of sacred learning."

James P. Boyce
from "Three Changes in
Theological Institutions"
- summarized by John Broadus, 1856


Deciphering Theological Turnspeak
December 2001
Like many Southern Baptists attending the Convention in New Orleans last summer I was deeply concerned about the demonstrations, misinformation, and "political turnspeak" hurled at us by the homosexual community. They accused Southern Baptists of "killing the children of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender" citizens. First, I couldn't understand how gays and lesbians could have children, unless they are referring to adoption. Second, I can't imagine how they believe Southern Baptists, the most pro-life denomination in America, are killing anyone's children. [Read More]

Theologians of the Baptist Tradition
October 2001
Baptist Theologians! That must be a misprint. Aren't Baptists the ones who don't do theology? Aren't they the ones who say, "Hey, you believe your way and I'll believe my way. Live and let live, I say. Evangelism and missions unify but theology divides, right?" [Read More]

Baptists Adrift in Doctrinal Confusion
October 2001
Only 43 percent of Baptists believe that works don't earn salvation and 66 percent believe Satan isn't a real being, according to a new study released by the Barna Research Group and reported by the Florida Baptist Witness. [Read More]

This Boat Won't Float
October 2001
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship seems to see their organization as a kind of modern-day Noah's Ark of disgruntled Baptists. The creatures on the boat come in all doctrinal stripes and shapes. The CBF General Assembly in Atlanta this summer reveals just what a challenge it must be to keep this boat afloat. [Read More]

Sola Scriptura
October 2000
I am indebted to Timothy George, my colleague (and boss) for much that I understand about the Reformation. I have listened to his lectures and read his books to my great profit. Dr. George reminds me that all of us are the legacy of some very brave men and women who surfaced in the sixteenth century. Martin Luther was one of those who set the church of the middle ages on a course back toward the book of Acts. Sola Scriptura was to be one of his challenges to call us all back to the Bible. He didn't actually nail his ninety-five theses to the door until Halloween 1517, but as early as 1515 he had written: [Read More]

What is a Baptist?
October 2000
Baptists are people of a remarkable history, a resilient spirit, and a responsible commitment. Many things have been written and spoken in recent years about these people called Baptists. But what is a Baptist? What essentials define the individual and the corporate body of Baptists? Let me suggest some characteristics of a Baptist in today's world that are consistent with what a Baptist has been historically. [Read More]

Counter-Reformation, Observations from the CBF General Assembly
October 2000
During the SBC's Orlando meeting, CBF ethicist Robert Parham penned a column in the local newspaper warning Floridians that two very different kinds of Baptists would be converging on their city that month. After having been at the Orange County Convention Center for the SBC meeting in early June, I returned to the same meeting hall two weeks later, not as a church-sent messenger, but a Baptist Press correspondent covering the annual meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. [Read More]

SBC and Women Pastors, Comprehensive Report Does Not Sustain Inflated Statistics
October 2000
Fewer than one-tenth of one percent of the 41,099 Southern Baptist churches have a woman serving as senior pastor, according to a study by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Messengers to this year's convention in Orlando revised the denomination's statement of beliefs to specify a conviction that the office of pastor is to be held by a male. In reality, that is the practice of 99.92 percent of the local congregations. [Read More]

Lengthen the Cords, Strengthen the Stakes - The SBC President's Address to The Executive Committee
September 2000
As our Southern Baptist Convention embarks on a journey into a new millennium, I can say with absolute certainty that our future is as bright as the promises of God. Yes, there are some storm clouds on the horizon, but no storm cloud yet has ever overpowered the sun neither the "sun" we see by sight nor the "Son" we see by faith. [Read More]

Toward a True Baptist Zion
September 2000
"For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure."

These words of Emerson from a not-too-distant century ring true for the Southern Baptist Convention as we enter a new millennium under the hostile gaze of an increasingly secular society. Public policy analyst Francis Fukuyama recently wrote that a number of cultural forces including moral relativism, radical individualism, and the loss of trust in institutional authority have lead to what he refers to as "The Great Disruption" in society. He further notes that the resultant cultural vacuum cries out for the reconstitution of a new social order. It is incumbent upon us as a Bible believing denomination to seize this opportunity, as the early Christians did, to be primary shapers of the new state of affairs in the midst of our contemporary cultured despisers. [Read More]

A Godly Heritage: The History of the Cooperative Program
June 2000
It was muggy day in Memphis, Tennessee and that made conditions a bit unbearable inside the city's brand new convention hall-packed with 5,600 messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

And the oppressive humidity added to an SBC meeting already rife with debate. The issue of the day was evolution and Baptists had brought the national fight with them to the Convention. And while the debate was subdued, a few messengers were edgy and short-tempered about it. [Read More]

True Reformation: A Review of the Baptist Reformation:
The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention

June 2000
True reformation, one that can sharpen cultural debate and reverse erosion of a denomination's biblical foundation, has been rare in recent generations.

In the sixteenth century, German theologian and religious reformer Martin Luther (1843-1546) initiated a movement that became known as the Protestant Reformation, a historical event that even today impacts Protestant denominations. [Read More]

What Kind of God, What Kind of Salvation?
February 2000
At a national meeting of evangelical theologians and biblical scholars with the theme of eschatology, one might expect familiar intramural debates on the timing of the rapture or the nature of the millennium.

Instead, the fifty-first annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society also included controversy over such questions as whether God knows the future and whether faith in Christ is necessary for salvation. Two Baptist theologians, Bruce Ware and Clark Pinnock, stood on opposing sides of the ever-widening chasm among evangelicals on what many believe were once considered unassailable Christian doctrines of God and the gospel. [Read More]

Postmodernizing Paul: When Man Redefines Truth
October 1999
Few of us would regard a shark-attack movie as a catalyst for theological reflection. For instance, this summer's horror flick, Deep Blue Sea , told of sharks accidentally altered in genetic experiments resulting in genius predators who invent their own ways to capture their human prey. Not much theologizing there. [Read More]

The Cooperative Program: Keep It Going!
June 1999
As you are aware, the Executive Committee is working with SBC entities, state conventions, and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, to challenge Southern Baptist churches to reach a goal of $750 million for Southern Baptist causes during the year, October 1, 2000, to September 30, 2001. The Convention will be celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Cooperative Program, a unified plan of giving adopted by Southern Baptists in 1925, the same year the Convention adopted the Baptist Faith and Message. [Read More]

The Operative Word is Co
April 1999
As a young pastor, I heard older colleagues refer to the "co (long o) - operative" program, pronouncing "cooperative" as if it were really two words. For someone who always said "kwopertive," this sounded strange. I concluded that it must be a colloquialism. The answer, however, is that "Co-Operative Program" was its original name. The report that created the Cooperative Program in 1925 read in part: "Your Committee would further recommend that from the adoption of this report by the Convention our co-operative work be known as 'The Co-Operative Program of Southern Baptists.'" (SBC Annual, 1925, p. 31). [Read More]

Husbands, Wives, Headship, and Submission
April 1999
The amendment to The Baptist Faith and Message on the family continues to draw fire both from the secular world and many within the Southern Baptist Convention. The controversy stems from the statement's reference to the husband's leadership role and the wife's submission to him. This part of the Amendment states:

A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. [Read More]

Fighting the Good Fight: The Struggle for a Baptist Identity
April 1999
Southern Baptists in recent days have received an unusual amount of public attention. The adoption of the new family amendment to the Baptist Faith and Message created quite a stir. New state conventions have been born in protest over actions adopted by existing state conventions. A November 1998 edition of Newsweek sought to interpret President Bill Clinton's sex scandal in light of his Baptist beliefs. For good or bad, the beliefs and struggles of Southern Baptists have at times been the center of media attention. [Read More]

The 'Camelot' Years
February 1999
A moderate Baptist theological journal has published a jarring article which portrays the "old" Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, when it was under the control of Baptist moderates, as simultaneously a feminist-friendly "Camelot" of theological liberalism and an oppressive "bar culture" in which women students were subjected to lewd innuendoes and forced kisses from male graduate students and professors. [Read More]

The Abraham Principle, Watching the CP Grow in West Virginia
November 1998
What motivates a small state convention to dramatically increase the percentage of Cooperative Program funds they send to the Southern Baptist Convention? Executive Director Jere Phillips has reported that West Virginia, a pioneer mission field, has boosted the SBC percentage of its CP receipts from 29.5 percent in 1996 to 35 percent in 1997 and has already recommended further increases to 36 percent for 1999 with more to come! [Read More]

The Family Article: Bearing Fruit
November 1998
George and JoAnn Carson started attending Calvary Baptist Church as a direct result of the Southern Baptist Convention's adoption of a statement on the family in June in Salt Lake City. They have since joined the Woodstock, Ill., church, grateful to Southern Baptists for standing up "for what God wants them to do," George Carson said. [Read More]

Christ-Centered Marriages: Husbands and Wives Complementing One Another
September 1998
At our Convention in Salt Lake City, Southern Baptists declared as a body that we agree with Paul's words to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33. Southern Baptists? Agreeing with the Bible? That might not sound very startling at first, but there are Baptists who think Paul's words in this chapter are a bit outdated. Some even reject his teaching on marriage outright, and have said as much in response to the Family Amendment to the Baptist Faith and Message. [Read More]

Women Pastors: What Does the Bible Teach
May 1998
The debate about whether a woman is permitted to be a pastor continues to intensify. Although there is scant historical precedent for it, many today claim that either men or women may be pastors. Throughout the centuries, Christian theologians have reflected on this issue, and the preponderance of them have concluded that the pastoral role is exclusively assigned to men. This has been the position of the Southern Baptist Convention since its earliest days, though a few Southern Baptist churches have disagreed and installed women pastors. In the current discussions of gender roles, there is a need for clear thinking about what the Bible says. [Read More]

Christian Colleges Accountable, Not Autonomous
The less accountable a Christian college is to the church and the less willing the church is to hold its schools accountable the more the trend over time is away from that church's confessional position. There is good historical research to support this claim in James Burtchaell's work The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from Their Christian Churches.1 His study shows how nearly every Christian college in America that breaks away from accountability to the church eventually drifts away from biblical authority and has either left or is on its way to leaving Christianity itself. [Read More]

 
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