2 Reasons the SBC Resolution on Christians Suing Fellow Christians was Rejected

Below is a follow-up article by Tom Buck, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Lindale, explaining the results of the submission of his SBC resolution on Christians suing fellow Christians.  Last month I submitted a resolution to be considered at the SBC Annual Meeting in Baltimore concerning Christians suing fellow Christians. My motivation for addressing this issue was directly related to multiple lawsuits occurring between members of the SBC. I believed the infighting that was overflowing into the public court system was bringing shame upon the church and was a direct violation of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. This precipitated a considerable …keep reading »



Congregationalism is one of the areas of church government Southern Baptists have debated in recent years. Many arguments over congregationalism tend to reduce to disagreements over being led by a single vs. that of a plurality of pastors. The debate further reduces to pastor/elder-led vs. pastor/elder-ruled. As you might imagine, there is much disagreement in this areas. In my estimation, the arguments are framed in light of the roles of church offices while ignoring the actual functions those offices carry out. For example, some argue for single, pastor-led congregationalism against a congregation led by a plurality of pastors/elders claiming such a church …keep reading »


Why Calvinist Al Mohler Wrote the Preface for Paige Patterson’s Anabaptist Festschrift

Sometime last year was a report that B&H Academic was going to publish a festschrift in honor of Paige Patterson. The festschrift is now available. Edited by Malcolm Yarnell, professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the book is entitled, The Anabaptists and Contemporary Baptists: Restoring New Testament Christianity, Essays in Honor of Paige Patterson. Some may wonder who would endorse such a book given the eternal theological in-fighting among Southern Baptists – I know I did! Well, inside the cover you will find endorsements from Calvinist Michael Haykin to the Calvinstic Daniel Akin and Russell Moore to Mennonites John Rempel and John …keep reading »


Why are Southern Baptist Churches Hemorrhaging?

Guest blogger Jared Moore is the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is the author of 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to be Tipped and The Harry Potter Bible Study. You can stalk find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Why are Southern Baptist churches hemorrhaging? Let’s begin by asking a couple of pertinent questions. Should Southern Baptist churches seek to be entertaining? Should churches add entertainment to their worship services as a form of pragmatism in the name of attracting lost souls? I imagine many Evangelicals would shout an emphatic “yes!” But, from Scripture, there is no evidence that …keep reading »


My Sermons on Philippians

The 2nd VP of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jared Moore, asked me to preach at the church he pastors, New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY, at the end of this past June. I don’t get the opportunity to preach often so I was grateful for the opportunity. (And I hope these sermons don’t give me even less opportunities to preach!) I accepted Jared’s invitation even though time was short. The Lord helped me put these sermons together in about two weeks. The folks at New Salem were wonderful hosts to my wife and I. I pray these sermons are …keep reading »


Baptists, Boy Scouts, & Homosexuality

Many Southern Baptists have decided to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of American since the Boy Scouts have officially welcomed openly homosexual scouts beginning 2014. Cutting ties over homosexuality is understandable, but ignores the larger, overlooked gospel issue of pluralism. Southern Baptists (I am one) passed a resolution in 1992 supporting the Boy Scouts for their “refusal to allow homosexuals as Scout leaders and its commitment to maintain references to God within its oath and literature.” As far as I know, these are still the Boy Scouts’ positions. Of course, they folded on allowing openly gay scouts (not leaders) …keep reading »


Faith-Based FEMA

Check out the short interview below in devastated Oklahoma where the tornado struck. Brian Williams, the reporter, mentions that “there’s FEMA and then there’s the faith-based FEMA.” The man being interviewed explains that we can’t wait on the government to help in this situation, but the Baptist men are going to “get it done tomorrow.” If you’d like to donate to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to help those affected in Oklahoma City click here to donate online or call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262).

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Covenant of Grace (foedus gratiae) by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.3 Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called The Covenant of Grace: whereby He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe. (italics mine).[1] The Covenant of …keep reading »


Covenant of Works (foedus operum) by Andy Hynes

Guest blogger Andy Hynes is a PhD candidate at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him @ABHYNES on Twitter. Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.1, 2 The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath pleased to express by way of covenant. The first covenant made with man, was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon …keep reading »


Farewell Tim Tebow?

A few days ago I wrote about some who called on Tim Tebow to cancel his upcoming appearance at First Baptist Dallas. The post was – In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges. Not once did I think Tebow would give in to the critics. Apparently, I was wrong. Tebow shared his reasons for canceling in four tweets. Hat tip to Denny Burk for putting those tweets together. While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas …keep reading »


In Light of Tim Tebow Invitation Baptist Church Answers Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Charges

Todd Starnes at Fox News documents anti-Christian attitudes against First Baptist Dallas in light of Tim Tebow’s upcoming appearance in his article Southern Baptists Defend Church Smeared by NBC. Starnes gives details about First Baptist Dallas being labeled as anti-gay and anti-Semitic. Because of these improper anti labels some have called on Tebow to cancel his appearance. Starnes also published the church’s response which I’ve quoted below. Recent media reports regarding an appearance by New York Jets’ Quarterback Tim Tebow at First Baptist Church of Dallas have grossly misrepresented past comments made by First Baptist’s pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically …keep reading »


What if You Say the Sinner’s Prayer and Mean It?

There is a lot of disagreement among Christians over the use of the sinner’s prayer. Some are quick to point out abuse of the sinner’s prayer and all together dismiss it. Others seem quick to overlook its abuse and to point out its usefulness. Personally, I have witnessed its abuse. Yet, I often wonder if we will ever find a common ground on the sinner’s prayer. But yesterday’s ethics post about the sinner’s prayer raised a question in my mind. What if someone says the sinner’s prayer and means it? Of course, then questions about the question begin. People will …keep reading »


Westboro’s Phelps Family: America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis

Louis Theroux of the BBC does a video expose of Westboro Baptist’s Phelps family. I hate calling them a church and hate calling them Baptists though I know those are empty labels. Also, see the previous article about Westboro on this site: Westboro Baptist Revealed: Evangelized, Interviewed, Reviewed. – Remember as you watch – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to …keep reading »


Video: Baptist History Rap

HT: Nathan Finn. This is one of Dr. Finn’s students, Ashley Unzicker.


Word of Faith Vs. Reformed Baptist: A Theological Dialogue

Reformed Pastor Saiko Woods and Word of Faith Pastor Fred Price, Jr. enter the theological ring with the gloves off. Woods and Price candidly discussion their theological differences both turning to Scripture to defend their theology. This discussion is a breath of fresh air given the way theological disagreements are often carried out. I wish more face to face discussion like this could take place. I mean – I’d love to see James White sit down with T.D. Jakes to discussion the Trinity. I have not had time to note some of my thoughts on the following Woods-Price discussion, but …keep reading »


Matt Chandler Responds to Criticism of ‘David, Goliath and the Gospel’

In the video below Matt Chandler attempts to explain how the gospel runs through the David and Goliath story in a mere 3.5 minutes. Dr. Eric Hankins raised concerns about Chandler’s interpretive approach in the video in his recent critique of ‘Christ-centered homiletics’.1 However, back in January Mike Riccardi, using Chandler’s explanation in the video as an example, wrote a very thorough and gracious explanation of the problems with such an interpretation.2 Chandler was contacted for a response to Riccardi’s article and he replied. “Thanks for your encouragement and email.  I read Mike’s critique and agree with most of it.  The …keep reading »


How the Southern Baptist Convention Works

Check out the slideshow from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary explaining how the Southern Baptist Convention works. Find a few more files at the NOBTS website.


Will the Southern Baptist Convention Dissipate in the Smoke of Reformed Theology?

“Shall the Southern Baptist Convention which was born in the fires of evangelism dissipate in the smoke of Reformed Theology?” Southern Baptist Pastor Steve Brumbelow asks.1 This question was stated in an letter sent to discourage Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) trustees from approving presidential candidate Dr. Jason Allen. However, Brumbelow’s assuming question is historically inaccurate. Union University president David Dockery notes the strong presence of Calvinistic (Reformed) theology at the birth of the Southern Baptist Convention. At the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in May 1845, it would have been difficult to find leaders who were not Calvinistic in their …keep reading »


Why Every Head Bowed, Every Eye Closed?

Why, when and on what biblical basis did preachers begin altar calls with ‘every head bowed, every eye closed’? Whenever I have heard an altar call being with ‘every head bowed, every eye closed’ I always wonder why? I wonder what purpose it serves to ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. Is the preacher trying not to embarrass someone who may respond to the gospel? Would not the person who just believed the gospel be over joyed with their new life in Christ that they would have no shame so that bowed heads and closed eyes …keep reading »


Does Dr. Jason Allen Meet Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Presidential Profile?

The Baptist Press reported that Dr. Jason K. Allen was chosen as the nominee to be Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s next president,1 but does he meet their ‘Presidential Profile’? While questions have been raised about Allen’s qualifications, questions have also been raised about Allen’s theology and the Midwestern Trustees’ silence on their vetting process. Below I will briefly comment on the Presidential Profile, trustee silence and Allen’s theology. The Presidential Profile Midwestern’s website lists the “Key Responsibilities of the Next President” with the following major points which conclude with their ‘Desired Qualifications’.2 Spiritual Leadership Institutional Leadership Fundraising/Enrollment Leadership Academic and …keep reading »


SBC Plodder Featured in Forbes on Clergy Housing Allowance

Forbes contributor Peter J. Reilly enlists the writings of retired Southern Baptist pastor and blogger William Thornton, a.k.a. SBC Plodder, in his article Southern Baptists Against Clergy Tax Abuse. Reilly begins: Southern Baptists Against Clergy Tax Abuse (SBACTA)  is not a real organization.  I just made it up.  There is no question, though, that if it did exist who its spokesman would be.  The Reverend William Thornton who blogs on Southern Baptist Convention issues under the title SBC Plodder is the man.  I have been following his blog for sometime now.  He has gotten me hooked on the conflict in the …keep reading »


Ralph Reed: Republicans Don’t Need Southern Baptists

Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, had a chat with Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Political Insider, blogger Jim Galloway. Reed spoke about bigotry against Mormons coming from the left. When chatting about “anti-Mormon prejudice” Southern Baptists came up. It’s okay – Southern Baptists don’t matter much anyway. Galloway noted Reed’s position that, “Not that Southern Baptists have changed their mind, Reed said. But politically, they don’t matter as much:” ”Remember, if you’ve got a grandma sitting in the third row of an independent Baptist , white sideboard church who can’t bring herself to vote for a Mormon because …keep reading »


Wisdom from Francis Schaeffer for Baptist Infighting

Some Southern Baptists are heavy weight champs at theological infighting. Maybe it’s time for Baptists to step outside the ring and consider another way to disagree. A quote from Francis Schaeffer below offers wisdom on how Baptists might better engage each other. In 1845, at the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention, most leaders were Calvinistic while the laity were less so.1 Today, most Southern Baptists are not Calvinists though there is a rise in Calvinistic theology in leadership and laity. Southern Baptists have worked together with Calvinist leaders and with non-Calvinist leaders. If Calvinistic Baptists were instrumental in forming …keep reading »


Decline in SBC Baptisms: Three Critical Invitation Factors?

One of the books assigned to read for one of my classes is Pastor’s Handbook by John R. Bisagno which offers a lot of practical advice. The advice is mostly pragmatic seemingly from a consequentialist perspective. That is, Bisagno writes from experience with little Scriptural support for his advice. Bisagno’s advice is not intrinsically good or bad, right or wrong, but at times questions arise when experience seems to be his authority. Previously, I commented on Bisagno’s perspective on extending the gospel invitation during corporate worship.1 Below I will comment on the three reasons he offers a partially contributing to …keep reading »


Are SBC Resolutions Only Valid for One Year?

While citing the Southern Baptist Convention website on resolutions for yesterday’s applied ethics post1 I noticed a interesting statement about resolutions. Note the following from the SBC website [emphasis added]. 21. How do I find out the official SBC stance on various issues? The Southern Baptist Convention makes official statements regarding specific issues by means of resolutions passed at our annual gatherings each June.  Southern Baptist polity views these resolutions as expressions of opinions or concern which are representative of the messengers attending the meeting, but are not binding upon any individual church or successive Convention.  Generally speaking, resolutions are …keep reading »


Fred Luter on Race Relations in America

Pastor Fred Luter, who will probably be the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke to PBS recently on race relations in America. Below is an excerpt of the interview. Watch Rev. Fred Luter on Race in America on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. I have not heard the whole interview, but will offer some thoughts on the above excerpt. I agree with brother Luter that America still has a long way to go in race relations. However, he has couched his insight into the need for racial reconciliation based on the way President Obama …keep reading »


Subjectivity in Modern Preaching

I was recently listening to a pastor preach on the importance of prayer in pastoral ministry. Prayer is certainly important in the life of a pastor (or any Christian). The context was that this pastor was teaching future pastors. Giving his time to such teaching is a great service. However, the text he used to make his point was Acts 1:13-14 and a few things just did not sit right with me. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and …keep reading »


Bisagno On Extending the Gospel Invitation

One of the books assigned to read for one of my classes is Pastor’s Handbook by John R. Bisagno which offers a lot of practical advice. The advice is mostly pragmatic seemingly from a consequentialist perspective. That is, Bisagno writes from experience with little Scriptural support for his advice. Bisagno’s advice is not intrinsically good or bad, right or wrong, but at times questions arise when experience seems to be his authority. Bisagno offered an interesting perspective on extending the gospel invitation during corporate worship. I am not convinced the reasoning in the advice given about extending the invitation is …keep reading »


Whither the Baptist Faith and Message?

In recent years, two Southern Baptist Churches in Georgia have been disfellowshipped due to having a female pastor. While some may question disfellowshipping a church over such an issue, having  a female pastor is in direct violation of the statement of faith around which Southern Baptists cooperate in ministry. The action is based on a vote by the convention in November 2000 affirming the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message as the state body’s doctrinal statement. The document includes the phrase, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men …keep reading »


The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part II

The following is part II of a reply to Gerald Harris recently published the article “The Calvinists are here.” The article was published in The Christian Index, the Georgia Southern Baptist newspaper, of which Harris is the editor. If you have not read part I, follow this link to do so: The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part I. Part II begins below by interacting with Harris’ article where part I ended. The average Baptist who sits in a Sunday School class or a small Bible study group has depended on LifeWay to provide Bible study materials that are …keep reading »


The Calvinists: a Reply to Gerald Harris Part I

Gerald Harris, editor of the The Christian Index, the Georgia Southern Baptist newspaper, recently published the article “The Calvinists are here.”1 There have been two immediate responses to Harris’ piece including one by former Calvinist William Birch2 and an article in the Baptist Press in which some of the people mentioned by Harris answered his concerns.3 Harris’ article seems to be pieced together without a thesis. The article seems strung together by insinuations built upon a connect-the-dots type of guilt by association. In short, there is a lot to untangle in Harris’ article. In the following response, which has been …keep reading »


Does “Southern” Give Southern Baptists a Bad Image?

The above wordle was created in 2009 by Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. The wordle is composed of the 140 character replies to Rainer’s twitter question – “What do you think when you hear ‘Southern Baptist’?” Thom Rainer’s son, Sam, categorized the unscientific twitter results stating, “About 60% of the respondents gave a negative association. Another 30% were positive, and 10% were neutral or unclear.”1 Some thoughts were shared on this site too.2 Fast forward to today where SBC President Bryant Wright has assigned a task force to investigate changing the the name of the Southern Baptist …keep reading »


Why Bryant Wright Will Succeed in Changing the SBC Brand

The following is a guest post by Nathan Creitz. Nathan is originally from the South but now lives with his wife and two children as a missionary in New England. Nathan makes disciples and teaches New England churches and ministries how to fulfill the Great Commission in their town. He blogs about making disciples in a post-Christian context at Bryant Wright is making a bold move in his second term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. According to the Baptist Press, Wright announced yesterday that he has formed a task force to study a name change for the …keep reading »


Southern Baptists: Racial Relations and Spiritual Worth

Victor Irvine Masters, D.D. (1867-1954) while Superintendent of Publicity of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention was asked to write a mission study book at the 1914 Southern Baptist Covention. The Home Mission Board published the book in 1915. I recently shared Masters’ perspective from this publication in two areas: 1) Southern Baptist doctrinal conditions1 and 2) Calvinistic Methodist influence on early American Baptists.2 In chapter 12, “The Past and the Future” Masters offers some harsh words for the way some Southern Baptists have treated black people. Sadly, it was not until June 1995, 80 years after …keep reading »


Calvinistic Methodist Influence on Early American Baptists

I recently shared an excerpt on Southern Baptist doctrinal conditions from a book by Victor Irvine Masters, D.D. (1867-1954).1 Masters was a past Superintendent of Publicity of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the last sentence of the section on doctrinal conditions Masters states, “The Baptists of 1815 in the South, barring certain minor sects, were everywhere Regular Baptists.” He then directs the reader “See Appendix A.” What follows is Appendix A where Masters points out some of the theological differences among early American Baptists including praise for two Calvinistic Methodists. One of those Methodists is …keep reading »


A 1915 Perspective on Southern Baptist Doctrinal Conditions

Victor Irvine Masters, D.D.  (1867-1954) was the Superintendent of Publicity of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1914 at the Southern Baptist Convention, Masters was asked by the Corresponding Secretaries of the State Boards to write a mission study book.1 He offered an interesting observation about Southern Baptists and their history in the foreword of his study book. It is often asserted that Southern Baptists will not read their own history, that they have been too busy making history to read it. It would be truer to say that they have been most influentially busy making …keep reading »


Church Sign of the Week: King James Only

This photo was taken in the Smoky Mountains while on vacation. We had just driven onto Cherokee land when we passed this church sign. So we turned the car around and took a picture of it. The church name is included in the original picture, but I cut that part out. For the record, the church is not a Southern Baptist church, but an Independent Missionary Baptist church. Enjoy!


Surry Baptist Association-Flat Rock Baptist Timeline

Flat Rock Baptist Church (FRBC) was recently removed from fellowship in the Surry Baptist Association (SBA) for calling a female to the pastorate. Some have disagreed with the way SBA removed them seemingly so quickly1 while others disagree with the removal at all2. The background of the situation may be found in those posts or a more direct story may be found at the Associated Baptist Press.3 I have been in contact with SBA. I wasn’t sure what or how much to say about the issue after doing some reading. After reading about the issue from Mount Airy pastor Alex …keep reading »


A NASCAR Prayer, Parody or Blasphemy?

Below is a transcript and video of the invocation “prayer” that Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN (near Nashville) recently gave at a NASCAR event. I’m not sure how to respond other than to scratch my head and think of this in light of the state of American Christianity. Of course, he had to be Baptist, but atleast he’s not Southern Baptist as far as I can tell. So was Nelms offering a prayer, a parody or blasphemy? Heavenly Father, we thank you tonight for all your blessings. You said in all things give thanks so …keep reading »


Southern Baptist Church Offices, Elders et al. (Update)

Update below. A simple Google search will yield discussions concerning Southern Baptists and the subject of having a plurality of elders/pastors in place in the local church. It is understandable that there are biblical interpretive disagreements on how a church ought to fill its offices, on congregational involvement, etc. Hopefully, all local congregations seek to be biblical in setting up a church government. Various denominations have various guidelines stemming from their theological convictions. What about Southern Baptists? The official website of the Southern Baptist Convention has some faqs under the ‘About Us’ section. Question 14 asks,” What is the SBC’s …keep reading »


Wisdom of Solomon, Obama and Abortion

Obama and Solomon1 There has been much past discussion about Obama concerning his stance on abortion.  This discussion is not going to end anytime soon and rightly so.  I’ve made the point and so have two other bloggers recently that as Christians we must pray that Obama seeks God’s direction and changes his position on abortion.  The wisdom Obama has shown thus far is what he said at a Planned Parenthood event earlier this year. “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (source) I don’t see any wisdom in that statement.  For more …keep reading »


Angels and Demons A Novel Idea

The folks at Westminster Seminary have shined some light for truth.  They’ve put together a great new site responding to the movie “Angels and Demons” based on Dan Brown’s novel.  The site is The Truth About Angels & Demons.

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Behind the Pulpit

Last night I had the opportunity to lead my church in a devotion for our evening service.  (A devotion is like a mini-sermon and mine was about 14 minutes.)  It’s been several years since I’ve preached at all.  I’ve taught classes and done a few presentations, but no sermon-like activities.  I was very honored when my pastor called me to ask if I would be willing to give a devotion.  My date ended up being April 5th, Palm Sunday.  As excited as I was to do this as the time drew near I wasn’t so sure.  I will share some …keep reading »


Spiritual Warfare Sunday School

This past Sunday I got to substitute teach in Sunday School.  I was jumping in the middle of teaching on spiritual warfare.  The topic I was to cover was spiritual warfare and church leaders.  I was asked if I would share my notes here so I will.  I wasn’t sure at first, but someone may find something helpful. Approach Given the time constraints I decided to do an overview will the intention of spurring conversation. Since we’ve all ready covered the general aspects of spiritual warfare from the Christian perspective I wanted to look at the same issues considering pastors/leaders.  …keep reading »


Christless Christianity Q and A With Michael Horton

On October 31 Michael Horton appeared live on’s Viewpoint.  Horton was answering questions about his new book Christless Christianity that was released on November 1.  The book has been doing well selling over 7,000 copies and the live chat at Viewpoint was the best so far.  This is great news!  It would be nice if a book like this would have some impact in the same way Warren’s Purpose Driven Life.  For some reason though, I just don’t think I will be driving by various churches with Christless Christianty Study displayed on their signs. If you’re unsure about getting …keep reading »


Spurgeon: Liberal or Landmarker?

Does who you serve the Lord’s Supper with make you either a Landmarker or a liberal?  I suppose it depends on who you ask.  Maybe the answer would be more along the lines that one might lean one way or the other without actually being either.  In other words, if, as a Southern Baptist, you have no trouble serving communion to a Presbyterian you have liberal leanings.  Or, if you think that only those baptized by immersion should be served communion you have Landmark leanings.  If we use the slippery slope argument then we should probably abandon both practices.  Of …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference, Together for the Gospel and Poor Arguments

One of the concerns raised by Steve Lemke at the John 3:16 Conference (J316C) is the current trend of baptists organizing conferences with Presbyterians.  As I lived blogged, Dr. Lemke mentioned that when baptists team up with Presbyterians is causes confusion.  As Lemke explained in an email to Ed Stetzer one aim of this conference was to respond to the Building BRidges conference and the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference.  My understanding is that the remark about baptists and Presbyterians working together and causing confusion is a reference to T4G.  Lemke’s remark about confusion over who is baptist vs. …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference 60 minute Q&A

John 3:16 Conference live blogging links in order Welcome Part 1 Part 2 (T) Part 3 (U) Part 4 (L) Part 5 (I) Part 6 (P) Part 7 And the downloadable handout from Dr. Allen with updated cleaner charts thanks to Tony Byrne. UPDATE: James White and Phil Johnson have answered David Allen concerning the charge that James White is a hyper-Calvinist according to Phil Johnson’s definition. —————————————————————————- Paige Patterson had to leave early so Malcom Yarnell is sitting in for him on the panel. The format is one question for TULIP from a Calvinist and a non-Calvinist. 1. Total …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Charles Stanley – John 3:16 to the World

Dr. Stanley starts telling that he grew up in a pentecostal holiness church.  He wasn’t raised with the belief that we can have assurance of salvation.  He then came to understand in the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. Stanley doesn’t like this new move of talking about raising up “leaders” and such.  Instead we need to grow godly men.  He tells the story of his salvation and that he just loved Jesus.  He didn’t have a theological description.  He asks, how can you be saved and be lost?  Referencing those who don’t believe in eternal security. The world is looking for …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Ken Keathley – Perseverance of the Saints

Quote from I.H Marshall – 2 Tim. 1:12 – Two components – One is presently saved – you can know that you are saved – One who in a state of grace will remain in the state of grace –>This is the perseverance What is the basis for assurance? Asahel Nettleton says “I think it possible I may get to heaven.” – Quotes D.A. Carson WTJ. 54. 21. – “Arminianism and Calvinism meet in strange and sad ways.” Three views on knowing if we are genuinely saved? Roman Catholic: Assurance is not possible; Canon 15 at the Council of Trent; …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Steve Lemke – Irresistible Grace

Desires to go forward in unity. Those these discussions are appropriate. References Dordt and it being a response to the Remonstrance. Reads some long quotes of God’s grace that man has not saving grace within himself, etc. that we can’t do anything that is good. All good deeds must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ.  Then, tells everyone that this was the Remonstrance and what the Calvinists were reacting against. We should not confuse hyper-Calvinists and Calvinists just as we should not call Arminians pelagian.  We should all do better with these labels. SBCer’s are not Pelagians …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference David Allen – Limited Atonement

Dr. Allen starts with John 3:16.  He plans on quoting only Calvinsts to prove his case against limited atonement.  Calvinists are going to be “shocked.” What two things to these men have in common – Calvin, Bunyan, Bullinger, Watts, Brainerd, Hodge, Edwards, Shedd, Barnes, Strong, etc. etc.? (I couldn’t get them all)  Dr. Allen wants to be firm but fair.  Answering the questions of must a Calvinist hold to the L, did they all hold to it and does Scripture teach it. He mentions Tony Byrne at  who is a four-point Calvinist.  Dr. Allen gave a six page hand-out.  …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Richard Land-Unconditional Election

Dr. Vines starts the morning explaining that disagreeing is not a bad thing. He has many Calvinist friends with whom he disagrees. He claims man can still make a choice and that though depraved not so much to as to say our capacity to chose is ruined. He does not mention God’s grace and how He acts in our “choice” in salvation.  (He mentions that Ergun Caner might be here.) Dr. Land Congruent Election: Understanding Salvation from An Eternal Now Perspective We believe in an infallible word of God that does not contradict itself. We must seek knowledge and insight …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Paige Patterson-Total Depravity

The most hated doctrine in the world today is the exclusivity of Christ.  The second is total depravity. He says thank God that our Calvinistic brethren for preaching the word of God. We have so much total depravity in our churches today because the word of God is neglected in preaching today. Dr. Patterson starts with reading Romans 1 through 3:26.  He says you won’t hear this preached in this post-modern world. What does depravity mean? There is not a single human being on the face of the earth that is right with God.  None, not one regardless of religion …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Jerry Vines-John 3:16

Dr. Vines, as far as I can tell, is preaching the same message on John 3:16 that he preached at SBTS chapel earlier this year.  You can listen here: “The Inexhaustible Love of God” (John 3:16).  Since you can go and listen I may not say too much on this.  We’ll see.  From what I remember there is nothing contrary to what a Calvinist would believe in Dr. Vines sermon. God’s love is global.  If you’ve not heard this sermon Vines goes through the greek and some historical understandings of love, world, God, etc. He does mention that some hyper-Calvinists …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Welcome Message by Johnny Hunt

As I blog through the John 3:16 Conference I will try to follow the schedule. Jerry Vines introduces the conference and Johnny Hunt.  He says this conference is designed to be a biblical and theological response to five point Calvinism. Johnny Hunt gets a show of hands and about 90% of the attendance are pastors and the rest lay people.  He starts with reading Psalm 119:33-40.  He emphasizes the “teach me” and “make me” in the verses.  We come to hear and obey the word of God.  Not intellectually, but to learn and apply it.  God grants the content and …keep reading »


John 3:16 Conference Questions

As many of you know (or maybe not) I will be attending the John 3:16 Conference this week.  The very last item on the schedule is a 60 minute Q&A. So… I’d love to hear from blogdom out there as to what questions you’d like answered.  Maybe, just maybe I could get to ask or submit some of them for you.  I don’t know the set-up for everything yet so we’ll see. I may also get the chance to live blog the conference. Hopefully, this conference will build rather than tear down. Mark p.s. I recently reviewed a sermon from …keep reading »


Roman Catholic Baptist?

Peter Smith of the courier-journal out of Louisville gives us an interesting story morning Married, ex-Baptist minister to become Catholic priest.  Sad, but interesting story about former baptist pastor David Harris converting to Catholicism.  So why the question “Roman Catholic Baptist?”  Smith’s story begins. David Harris never considered his conversion to Catholicism six years ago to be a rejection of the Baptist faith that nourished him from childhood in Eastern Kentucky. How does a man with an M. Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary  come to this conclusion?  I understand that there are areas in our seminaries that need improvement, but …keep reading »


Georgia Baptist Blogging Resolution

Last week in Augusta, GA I was a messenger to the Georgia Baptist Convention. Two resolutions passed one on appreciation and another on blogging. Fellow Georgia Baptist blogger Roger Ferrell recently commented on this resolution over at sbc IMPACT! I pretty much agree with his observations. I also appreciate that Timmy Brister has chimed in as well. The resolution on blogging is below. Resolution on Blogging Submitted by Rev. Wayne Bray and Rev. William Harrell Beulah Baptist Church, Douglasville, GA WHEREAS, the American people have the distinct privilege of freedom of speech as provided by our United States Constitution, and …keep reading »


Muslim-led Interfaith Service Unwelcome

Fox News reports. A Muslim-led interfaith Thanksgiving service in Austin, Texas, was forced to move to another location at the last minute after a Baptist church objected to non-Christians worshipping on its property. Apparently Hyde Park Baptist Church didn’t realize that “interfaith” meant different religions rather than different Christian denominations. When the leadership realized they essentially said “no” and definitely didn’t want non-Christian prayers promoted on their facilities. I thought “good for them” and I still do. It’s their right to make that decision. But then I thought…what if the pastors asked for their own time to share the Gospel …keep reading »


John MacArthur’s Truth War

I picked up The Truth War by John MacArthur on CD. So far I’ve only gotten through the first of three CDs. For the folks who think MacArthur is somehow mean and unloving maybe listening to him read his book will change your mind. For that matter, just listening to his sermons should help understand his demeanor. I think sometimes when people write things we don’t like or agree with that we develop a certain tone in how we read to ourselves in these instances. My understanding is that John MacArthur is not writing out of hate with a tone …keep reading »


MO Southern Baptists: Towards an Unbiblical Position

The annual Missouri Baptist Convention just wrapped up.  Tim Townsend of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that there was talk and debate about the topic of, what else, alcohol.  Now I don’t know if alcohol was taking over the Missouri Baptists, but apparently, Rodney Albert of Hallsville Baptist Church has a great quote that made the article. “2007 was the year Missouri Baptists became soft on alcohol abstention,” he thundered to loud applause. “We must fight the alcohol fight and keep it out of the convention.” Boy, that’ll preach!  It sounds good and probably got the emotions flowing, but is …keep reading »


Seeker-obsessed Willow Creek Repents?

Recently, the net was buzzing about the article Willow Creek Repents? with mixed feelings. I was happy at first and then unsure. Now, BlogOManiac PyroManiac, Phil Johnson, has responded to a criticism of the style of his criticism towards Willow Creek. I, like others, think Willow Creek is just going to replace their old programs with new ones. Aside, that is, from telling or training the more mature believers to be “self-feeders” which doesn’t seem to be biblically warranted. Of course, this has been the complaint all along that all the “programs” and ministry haven’t been biblically warranted. So did …keep reading »


Southern Baptists, Investing and Morality

The ChristianNewsWire has an interesting story Investments In and Profits from Abortion and Pornography Loom Large for Protestants/Catholics Alike that reveals investments in companies that are somehow involved in immorality. The world’s two largest “ultra-conservative” denominations currently invest hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars in companies that profit from and/or promote what their own doctrines describe as two major sins – abortion and pornography. As Southern Baptists, should we be concerned? Take a look at GuideStone’s portfolio holdings and sort through them if you wish. You will find companies like Johnson & Johnson that are named in the …keep reading »

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Southern Baptists and the Weight of Gluttony

As the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting draws near a resolution on gluttony may be proposed and I hope it is.  This resolution is written in the spirit of and response to last years Resolution 5 on alcohol.  There have been various responses around the blogging world and then some which you can easily search and find. If it is appropriate to go beyond Scripture and bind the conscience of people by prohibiting even a glass of alcohol then sure we can address the real problem of gluttony and obesity in the Convention.  Our missionaries must meet certain body mass …keep reading »


Rick Warren Vs. John Piper on the Gospel

First, I think Godtube is cool and I hope WordPress will allow their videos to be posted. I went there to see Dr. White’s videos he posted. And I also wanted to see the site after hearing about it in a news report today. I got to browse around a little. Then, I read centuri0n’s post on Rick Warren. He got the material from Adrian Warnock who also posted on Warren. Which brings me back to browsing around Godtube and this comparison. In this video, John Piper talks about the Gospel for about six minutes. In this video, Rick Warren …keep reading »


An Idol Called Evangelism booklet now out

Last year I learned of a sermon from James White’s blog called An Idol Called Evangelism.  This sermon is by Pastor Roy Hargrave of Riverbend Church.  A few folks blogged about it including Jeff Fuller and friend Howard Fisher. Well, now the  talked about booklet is out and can be ordered online.  Here is the description of the book. Dr. Hargrave contends that many current evangelism methods have become manipulative, man-centered, and are rapidly producing false converts.  In fact, these unbiblical, modern-day evangelism methods have seemingly become more important than the gospel itself.  They have become more important than the …keep reading »

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Church Fundraising: How?

I have given a few passing thoughts lately to church fundraising. I know there are times when churches need money just to meet their normal budget since the congregation doesn’t normally give well. However, I am speaking more of raising money for extra projects like new building additions, rennovations or a new multi-million dollar sanctuary with two escalators. Okay, maybe the escalator comment is too much…maybe not if it’s true.  Okay, I’m not telling any church how they should spend their money.  I am just making a few observations.  It seems that there are some modern day Tetzel’s selling new …keep reading »

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Jesse Mercer’s Eternal Concerns of a Slave

In Nathan Finn’s recent post 19th Century Baptists, Slavery, and Christian Civility: Some Lessons from the Past in he tells of a new book he is about to publish entitled Domestic Slavery Considered as a Scriptural Institution.  Read his post for more information.  It’s looks to be an interesting read and will shed some light on two opposing positions from the past.  I agree with Nathan that such a form of slavery in the early U.S. was sinful, much like the kind that continues today in places like Sudan. Upon reading Nathan’s post I thought about a book I recently …keep reading »


Being More Holy: Forward to the Altar Steps

Is there something more spiritual about going forward, kneeling down and praying on the steps around the pulpit (sometimes called the altar)?  It sure seems like there is.  My wife and I recently experienced this call.  After a very sharp appeal to the emotions in reference to serving God and prayer there was a strong persuading for all to come forward, kneel and pray.   Now my wife, having grown up in Baptist churches, was very familiar this type of appeal.  Her observation was that visiting evangelists do this type of thing so that people remember him.  It can later be …keep reading »


Deal and sermon of the week

Deal of the Week Tom Ascol over at Founders Ministries has blogged that James P. Boyce’s Abstract of Systematic Theology is back in print.  Not only that, but for a limited time it’s available for only $12.50 plus $3.50 for postage and handling which will be priced at $29.95 once this deal expires.  You can get 534 pages worth of historic Southern Baptist theology delivered to your door for a mere $16.00.  If anyone can spare the cash maybe one can be sent to your pastor, church leaders, Ergun & Emir Caner, Jerry Falwell, Paige Patterson or even our new …keep reading »


Spurgeon for Today

Controversy is never a very happy element for the child of God: he would far rather be in communion with his Lord than be engaged in defending the faith, or in attacking error. But the soldier of Christ knows no choice in his Master’s commands. He may feel it to be better for him to lie upon the bed of rest than to stand covered with the sweat and dust of battle; but, as a soldier, he has learned to obey, and the rule of his obedience is not his personal comfort, but his Lord’s absolute command. The servant of …keep reading »

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Southern Baptists the coffins are here and Voddie’s got the hammer!

Do you want to here the straight truth about what’s going on in the SBC? Inflated baptismal numbers? Unregenerate members? Actually preaching the Gospel? Church discipline? Want to hear about “the dance”? You can hear about all of these things and more at this years Eastern Evangelism Conference in Hampton Voddie Baucham brings it. My buddy Frank turned me onto Voddie’s sermon on The Centrality of the Home which is also excellent. To make it easy here is the link to Voddie’s sermon. Not only does Voddie drive the final nail in the coffin, but he drives it in with …keep reading »


Blog bites: Warrenism Splits Church

Yes, that’s Warrenism named after Rick Warren. I wondered if anyone had used that term before so just Google it and see. When I say Warrenism splits church I am referring to a story by Suzanne Sataline in the Wall Street Journal entitled A Popular Strategy For Church Growth Splits Congregants. It was only a matter of time that the seeker driven methods get critiqued in the media, but I would not have guess that it would make the Wall Street Journal. I don’t even know if the evil theology of Calvinism has made it that big. My favorite quote …keep reading »


A little help for AOMin if you can, please

It wasn’t a good night for James White and Rich Pierce over at Alpha & Omega Ministries. They were robbed of a laptop, PalmPilot and iPod. Here is the story. It’s very sad and very untimely given Dr. White’s current schedule. Of course, burglaries are never timely. If you can and would like to donate to help out, go to their support page and please do so. I’m sure above and beyond any monetary donations that all of our prayers would be most appreciated. Let’s pray that God is glorified in all of this. Soli Deo Gloria, Mark Ps. I …keep reading »

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Lord’s Day Reflection

Last week I bought John Piper’s DVD set Blazing Grace. We’ve been watching it as a family and he really breaks down God’s glory and sovereignty in a way that my teen daughter or anyone else for that matter can understand. I mentioned it to the youth minister and he wants to borrow it when we’re finished watching it. It would be great if he ended up using it for the kids. In the first lesson Piper is telling the youth about God declaring His glory throughout creation. And how God is God centered which he touches on more in …keep reading »

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James White to debate Caner brothers…possibly

Yes, it’s true that the brothers Caner, Emir and Ergun, may be debating James White and (someone else). Can’t say who that someone is yet, but I hope the time can be “found” by him. There are two potential locations for the debate. Though I may not be at liberty to say as everyone may not be on the same paige. Yeah, I am using the current blog debates to get a few blog hits since I’ve fallen so far behind. Don’t blame me blame centuri0n. I always do. I certainly hope this debate takes place and is a very …keep reading »