The Elephant Room is an event that clearly focuses on where we are headed as a convention. This upcoming event is not only being simulcast by an established SBC church that was the hub of the Conservative Resurgence, but it is also being simulcast by a NAMB funded church plant. Add to that the program personality of Dr. Jack Graham and one has a recipe that produces a full blown case of Evangelical Ecumenicism. Thus, in the following OP I want to reveal a simple formula that leads to this ecumenicism.
THE ELEPHANT ROOM I
The Elephant Room has been assessed and presented by various people within the SBC while having SBC pastors participate. While every pastor is free to participate with whomever one feels led by God, there is always a fine line of ecumenicism that most pastors have refused to cross. In Elephant Room I there were four Pastors that are affiliated with the SBC in a loose status at best. Dr. David Platt, Rev. Stephen Furtick, Rev. Perry Noble, and Rev. Matt Chandler are those that are affiliated with the SBC. If we are honest Dr. David Platt would be one that is the most connected but he is very loosely connected in his affiliation and support of the SBC.
THE ELEPHANT ROOM II
In my previous two posts I dealt with the false perception that discrimination was a valid reason to change the name. I also presented an argument that church planters do not go door to door expressing inviting people to come to their ‘Southern Baptist Church’. This final post will be a two-part post to deal with separating from our past. It seems that is another reason that we are hearing from those advocating a name change–our past is objectionable to some in leadership today.
While some are not as bold as to say we need to separate from our past they will speak about the “rich heritage” we have in the SBC. Whenever they speak about this “rich heritage” they will use only the names of those they admire. For example one writer expressed his admiration of our “rich heritage” but never once mentioned the names of Dr. Hershel Hobbs, Dr. Cecil Sherman, Dr. Olin T. Binkley, or Dr. L.R. Scarborough. Granted the writer was only mentioning names and I will give that benefit of the doubt. However, we cannot separate ourselves from the facts of our theological differences and how we work through those differences are the jewels of our “rich heritage”.
Who are the “Baptists”? Read more
Dr. Mike Licona
In Dr. Geisler’s first letter he clearly expresses his disagreement with Dr. Licona’s position. Dr. Licona presents the position that Matthew 27:52-53 is not a historical event but a “legend” or a “poetic” story told by Matthew. You can read Dr. Geisler’s full letter here. According to Dr. Geisler, Dr. Licona asks the right question but arrives at a very troubling answer.
“If some or all of the phenomena reported at Jesus’ death are poetic devices, we may rightly ask whether Jesus’ resurrection is not more of the same” (553, emphasis added)
“First, you say that “There is no indication that the early Christian interpreted Jesus’ resurrection in a metaphorical or poetic sense to the exclusion of it being a literal event that had occurred to his corpse” (553). But neither is there any indication in the text that a historical understanding of the resurrection of the saints should be excluded from this text.Your second reason is even less convincing. You argue that Jesus’ resurrection must have been literal (and the resurrection of these saints was not) since “no known Christian opponent criticized the early Christians or their opponents for misunderstanding poetry as history” (553) But this is a well-known fallacy of an argument from silence .”
“Finally, the same mistake seems to be occurring in your interpretation of this text as is made by many current liberal scholars in dehistoricizing other biblical texts, namely, using extra biblical sources as determinative for understanding a biblical text.”
Thus, Dr. Geisler’s disagreement is not limited to methodology, he disagrees with Dr. Licona’s outcome. Read more
I understand that spending cuts at NAMB in order to channel available funds to its church-planting program included an elimination of support to the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE).
The comment above was third in the comment stream for a post here at Southern Baptist in NC. The post was one where I analyzed the recent NAMB mission statement that was approved at the convention in June. Brother Max commented concerning the COSBE cuts made by NAMB and certainly we have many full-time itinerant Evangelists concerned over their relationship with the entity that was created in order to evangelize North America.
My concerns about this new mission statement covered four areas and not one of these areas had anything to do with COSBE. In all four areas my concern was the appearance of eliminating any kind of partnership with the local association. When Brother Max brought to my attention the concern of elimination of COSBE I remembered how church planting here in NC, at one time, was not producing churches that were known for baptizing people. To my recollection there was a time in NC that we did not see a significant increase in baptisms among our church plants. That concern was voiced throughout the pastors of NC and within the halls of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) offices in Cary. Thus, I responded to Max with the following comment.
I believe you are correct. That is what I understand. What you will find if you check with state conventions is they are eliminating Evangelism Director and even entire evangelism departments. Many are going with just church planting.
Here in NC, our Evangelism Director had a come to Jesus meeting [Emphasis were not in original comment] with our Executive Director/Treasurer concerning church planting boot camp without training the church planter in evangelism training. The results of that meeting was an implementation of evangelism training in the church planting boot camp and that resulted in church plants growing.
We seem to have gone to a new evangelism of just planting churches. Read the Church Planting report of our recent BSC Board of Directors meeting. We are seeing many churches planted and many baptisms. Thus, it seems all one has to do is plant a church if one wants to see baptisms increase.
Many times comments garner me emails and sometimes a phone call or two. Some emails and phone calls are very cordial and encouraging while others are not so encouraging or cordial. I have come to understand that you take the good with the bad. Well, this comment did more than garner me a phone call, it brought about a follow-up visit from Brother Don McCutcheon, Executive Director of our Evangelization Department.
Dr. Kevin Ezell, NAMB President
In the famous prime-time soap opera one will remember a year when the season ending finale was the main character JR Ewing getting shot. For the entire off-season viewers wanted to know the person that shot him. Well, there seems to be another “mystery” unfolding and it is now within SBC life. Who was Dr. Kevin Ezell speaking of when he referenced a particular blogger in his interview with Dr. Ed Stetzer when he said;
“[he] had particularly harsh things to say about me”
Dr. Ed Stetzer has an interesting interview with Kevin Ezell posted on his blog. One particular query Stetzer pitched at Ezell involved the comment Ezell made about those who raised questions concerning his church’s giving record. Ezell told his church, “”…there are people…[who] …try to get their name in the paper. Typically those are bloggers who live with their mother and wear a housecoat during the day.”
Dr. Ed Stetzer, President of Lifeway Research, Vice-President of Research and Church Ministries
Stetzer raised Ezell’s use of these words in a light-hearted way:
Q: You poked some at bloggers at Highview– I had to throw away my housecoat. Time Magazine acknowledged the influence of SBC bloggers saying (of Frank Page) that “the bloggers elected a President.” Any thoughts on how the blogosphere will influence SBC life?