After reading various blogs by Southern Baptists and trying to follow the stances of various others it is clear, I believe, that we are about to lose our stand on the truths of Mormonism. As a matter of full disclosure I want to begin this article by saying two things. First, I voted for Mitt Romney in our Presidential Elections. This is a matter of personal preference not a stance as the pastor of the church I serve. Second, one of my uncles, after his first wife died, married a woman who was a Mormon. Thus, I have been exposed to their doctrine on a personal level as well as on a theological level in my studies and research.
With that disclosed I want to pass on to you the various articles I have followed and find the arguments interesting. Peter Lumpkins was one that caught my attention on this matter. It was interesting to see Brother Peter agreeing with Dr. Ed Stetzer’s argument which disagreed with Dr. Bart Barber‘s argument which was in agreement with Dr. Dwight McKissic’s position.
After following these exchanges I began to contemplate the position that we should take as a convention. I believe Brother Peter along with Dr. Stetzer gave us truth concerning the direction we need to be moving but I believe they concede too much. Brother Peter concedes the use of the term cult because of the nuanced language that is being used. Dr. Stetzer concedes using the term for what seems to be pragmatic reasons. However, elements from both Lumpkins and Stetzer should be taken into consideration as we move forward in this debate and ultimately as a convention. Dr. Stetzer presents us with foundational truths that are theologically pragmatic in his blog article. While Dr. Barber would agree with Stetzer concerning winning people to Christ and he would also caution against a softer, kinder, gentler language with dealing with false doctrine.
Having said that I spoke with Dr. Dwight McKissic concerning the 2013 convention in Houston. It seems that a resolution would be the appropriate response to this in the convention. Certainly no one would say that Mormonism and the Branch Davidians are the same. However, they are still a cult. Thus, we need to clearly be on record expressing the heretical views of the Mormons but without lumping them in with the Cultist leaders of David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson.
In a recent double video posted at Praisegod Barebones Dr. David Platt is seen at the latest Verge conference speaking negatively of using the Sinner’s Prayer. Dr. Steve Gaines is seen, speaking from his pulpit, in the other video responding to the use of the Sinner’s prayer. Dr. Platt called our use of the Sinner’s prayer a “superstitious” practice and said that is was “damning” people to Hell. He also said the Bible never once uses the term of asking Jesus into your heart. Dr. Platt even went to describe discipleship in a way that one could term “osmosis” due to his aversion to anything resembling works on the part of humans. Dr. Gaines eloquently responded with a clear Biblical position in the exposition of the word “received” and how it is used in the Scripture.
Dr. Bart Barber, in his post, explains the sinner’s prayer from the perspective of the wedding vows. Dave Miller, at SBC Voices, responded in his usual way by posting his “two cents” which in turn reveals nothing but riding the fence between the two positions. Peter Lumpkins picked up these two videos and responded using the very words of Dr. Platt and Dr. Gaines. Trevin Wax tries to calm the waters with a post about this controversy. However, his post really is no more than Dave Miller’s expounded into a more articulate fence straddling position. Dr. JD Greerar has now posted on his blog the position he takes as he has written a book and deals with this very issue in a not yet released manuscript. Dr. Greear positions himself with Dr. Platt, but uses less abrasive words to do so. However, Dr. Greear tries to position himself with Dr. Gaines and Dr. Platt in his position but really devolves to a position of fence straddling also.
With these various positions of others one has to ask a very simple question; Why the controversy? For me the answer lies, not in what is being said, but in what people are not saying. While these mentioned above are articulating their positions on the subject, they are not really speaking to the issue of the controversy.
The issue is we have a leading pastor that is promoted within the SBC Leadership by heading up prime conferences throughout the SBC that said the Sinner’s Prayer is a superstitious recitation. The problem is not being dealt with at all. The reason this controversy is continuing is the mere reason that this leading pastor is being defended by people that will not take a position in support of his position. Instead Wax, Miller, Greear, and others who are talking about this issue are not in support of Dr. Platt’s position. Instead they are trying to tell us what Dr. Platt means by the words he uses. NEWS FLASH–When someone uses words then they either own them or explain them. Dr. Platt has preached the message and no one has heard anything from him. He has not so much as belched since he made this statement.
What step(s) should be made to bridge this divide? There is only one. Dr. Platt needs to speak clearly what he means when he called the Sinner’s prayer a “superstitious” prayer used to fool people into thinking they were saved and that it was being used in “damning” people instead of bringing them into a right relationship with God.
Posted by Tim Rogers on April 29, 2011
Posted in Evangelism • Outreach | 17 Comments
We will do a Car Show here at Ebenezer on May 21, 2011. We are using this event as a way to help fund an upcoming mission trip and also to identify possible prospects. We register those bringing vehicles to the car show, but we will also register everyone that walks on the property. In order to register people we are providing door prizes so people will understand that we are not just trying to get a name and an address. There is something in it for them to register.
With this in mind, I ran across this video that has caused me some concern. It is about a church and how they are inviting people to their Easter services.
Is this Outreach? Is this just an Outrageous Gimmick in order to get people in the doors to count the numbers? What do you think?
As this series continues I want to remind our readers of the prompting that brought this about. It is based on scripture but also a life lesson found in the song of the 1978 Country Music hit by Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”.
“You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.”
In the last post I lamented how the current leadership is not what was envisioned when I first started coming to conventions back in 1990. Of course by 1990 the entity leaders in the convention were beginning a downhill journey as SEBTS and others were now enjoying a majority of conservative trustees. I began at SEBTS in the fall of 1989. We still had many of the old moderate professors teaching at the seminary and much of the administration was abandoning ship. As a matter of fact the Admissions Director walked me personally through my interviews with the professors along with Dr. Lewis Drummond and then after telling me I was accepted into the Associate of Divinity program immediately told me he was leaving to go to Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, the moderate seminary that was just getting started. Which brings me to my next point in this series.
Second, the standards that I was taught when I was in seminary. Read more
The question of this post is spoken of in the following video featuring Justin Taylor, Colin Hansen, and Owen Strachan. I must admit that I am impressed with their analysis. I also am in disagreement with some of their positions, especially relating to how a plurality of elders will maintain a church for a long period of time. I must remind them that what they define as a plurality of elders the Bible calls deacons. However, there is one quote by Justin Taylor that brings out a huge truth it seems many are overlooking today.
“The future of the kingdom [of God] on earth is in the local church. It’s not about [the next celebrity] but rather the ordinary work—which is extraordinary work, really—of pastors, most of them in small churches.”
Watch the video, it run about 10 minutes. Let’s interact afterward.
Posted by Tim Rogers on November 29, 2010
Posted in Contextualization • Evangelism • Syncretism | 3 Comments
Merriam-Webster defines syncretism as follows:
- the combination of different forms of belief or practice
- the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms
In the definition of syncretism we see that opposing thoughts are combined making one appear to be something that their form of thought does not represent. For example how many times can a pastor count of the funerals he has done where everyone began speaking about God but the person being buried never had anything to do with God? This comes from the perspective that a person is a Christian just because he talks about God. One can think any way and rationalize anything then place “God” in the sentence and everyone listening will presume a Christian has spoken. Because of this, contextualization should be very carefully practiced or it becomes syncretism.
Posted by Tim Rogers on March 7, 2008
Posted in Dr. Bailey Smith • Evangelism | 3 Comments
I plan to make the Thursday event of the Real Evangelism Conference at First Baptist Indian Trail. I need my preaching pump primed and have experienced this conference in the past to do just that. There is something about this conference that I have always felt was a hinderance. They begin on Wednesday evening. Not only that but Dr. Bailey Smith usually speaks on Wednesday. This year he also has Dr. Ron Lynch scheduled to speak. Dr. Lynch spoke at the NC Pastors conference when he was a pastor here and the person preaching in front of him preached his sermon. Not only that it was the sermon Dr. Lynch had planned on preaching at the conference. Talk about recovery, Dr. Lynch, at the drop of a hat, put together an outline sitting there in the pew and preached it. Dr. Bailey Smith is only scheduled to preach on Wednesday evening. I love to hear that man preach. His message on the Wheat and Tares is one that God used in my wife’s life to get her to examine her heart. Gail, as a Pastor’s wife, realized her need for Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior after she an I watched the video. I will never forget how she had to purchase that video. She could not wait until the end of the conference when Dr. Smith puts everything on sale. She purchased it at the beginning and paid full price for the video. :>) But after we got home and viewed the video, God’s Spirit convicted her and she accepted the fact that just walking down an isle did not make her saved. You see, that is what she was depending on, her trip down the isle and her crying so hard she could not speak to the preacher. The preacher assumed she was there for salvation and presented her to the church. Dr. Bailey Smith, it could be said, is the greatest thing that happened in my marriage. :>)
I will be there on Thursday to hear my President, Dr. Danny Akin, who is President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Then I will hear the Dean of some rinky-dink seminary out in some cow town in Texas named Dr. David Allen. (I will probably have to repent at the judgment seat for that statement) Of course you can get a taste of his preaching skills here and here. Then that afternoon I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Jr. Hill and Dr. Bill Stafford. I am about to bust just thinking about that afternoon session. Dr. Hill will be his usual self proclaiming God’s word in humor, humility, and with tears as he tells us of times God has touched his life. Dr. Stafford will be his Wild Bill self. It has been some years since I have heard Dr. Stafford and the last time I heard him he was everywhere. I pray he just cleans himself off a spot and has a spell. That evening will end with one of Southern Baptist best testimonies for Sunday evening worship. Dr. Johnny Hunt will preach that evening and if you do not know this you need to. Dr. Hunt got saved on a snowy day at a Sunday evening worship service. Praise God for preachers that will not allow snow to keep them from having Sunday evening Worship.
I certainly want to get back for Friday but my schedule will not allow it at this time. I am trying to re-arrange some things to see if I can get back. Dr. Anthony George is preaching that morning and I want to hear him preach. Also Dr. Danny Forshee will preach after Dr. George and what a treat it is to once again hear him. That afternoon Dr. Bob Pitman will mount the pulpit and if you have never heard him preach, I would encourage you to make plans to hear him. Dr. Jaimey Ragel and Dr. Herb Reavis will close out that evening. You now see why I hate that Friday may not be in my schedule to be there.
I am working on getting everything that I can in place to be available to attend.