Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What's Ahead for the SBC Annual Meeting

Through a link at the Founders Blog I was led to an article by Don Hinkle on the upcoming SBC Annual Meeting in Greensboro that gives a good overview of the upcoming meeting and if you do not know what is going on this is a place to start to prepare you: SBC Annual Meeting Promises to be Spirited.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Accomodation and 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Tom Ascol gives a good overview of “accommodation” based on 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 at the Founders blog. All too often the idea of “accommodation” is either ignored or is defined by the worlds standards of “accommodating”. We need to seek after God’s standard of “accommodation” and not that of men. If we are to claim God’s word as our standard then God’s word needs to dictate how we relate to other believers and to the world. I know I need to constantly be aware of when I need to be more “accommodating” and when to stand firm and it is not easy to do if one has not come to an understanding of the whole issue before one is faced with a circumstance that may or may not necessitate “accommodation”.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dr. Page Answers Questions

Dr. Frank Page has answered the questions that were given to Dr. Floyd at Total Truth.

It is good to see that some one is not afraid to answer questions in the blogging world. However while it is encouraging it also shows the issues with this whole process. This does not speak to Dr. Page but to the process. When questions are answered they invariably raise more questions so that things can be clarified. But here we are just weeks away from the convention and we truly do not have a nominee and know little about either man put forth so far except for endorsements, press releases and some short answers to some probing questions. All this to say much more would be nice but probably is not ging to happen this year.

So we nee to rely on prayer and to realize that the sovereign God of this universes is also in control of the SBC. I would hope that the issues raised by the process this year will be answered in the future so that when it comes time to seek the next president we can truly know who they are and what they stand for.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Da Vinci Code: The Movie zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Well, I just saw the Da Vinci Code and was not all that impressed. I agree with another reviewer that it does appear that the studio tuned down the movie. By this I mean that Langdon and Teabing in the movie discuss, with Langdon even questioning, some of Teabing’s assertions while in the book they are portrayed as basically being in agreement. The movie definitely takes a more subtle, but still blatant, approach to the idea of Mary Magdalene being the Holy Grail and she being married to Jesus. One of the ways that the movie does make its point about the many spurious contentions of the book is by showing flash backs to what is being said. This would seem to be used to convey truth to the story. But does anyone ask the question: So what if they found the bones of Mary Magdalene and the DNA matched Sophie that only proves they are related and what does than mean.

I would have to say that the book is more overt and more directed at making a statement than the movie. The movie, however, in the end comes to the same conclusions even if there is definitely a bent in the movie to offend people less.

As far as movies go it was quite slow and was not up to the par that I may expected from Ron Howard Company. At times I saw the movie as a lot slower version of Indiana Jones, a lot slower. It was not terrible, as films go, but it was also not all that compelling either.

I would not suggest a believer, or for that matter anyone, go for entertainment. Not because it was not all that good a movie, but because it does blaspheme Christ as being merely a man. This said there are many movies that should be avoided since more often than not the only Christian content of most films is that Christ’s and God’s names are used often, but not in honoring ways.

Is this the witnessing opportunity many claim it to be, NO. But that said it does create a point to start conversations, which I have had a few with people at work. When will the church stop looking for extraneous sources of opportunity when if we simply spoke and lived the truth, we need to do both, the witnessing will happen.

What I think the book has done is show the shortcoming of the church in not teaching it’s people the truth of scripture and history. When I had heard all that was in the book I just laughed because it is basically debunked by simple history. The fact that there are people, and there are, that are confused by the book says that we have not prepared our people well and we need to learn from this that we need to stop with the psychobabble that comes from so many pulpits and teach God’s word and all that surrounds it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

God is the End, Not the Means to an End

I was listening to the panel discussion MP3s from the Together for the Gospel and was caught by a statement that was attributed to John Piper. The statement was something like this: Men seek after God as a means to an end rather than the end itself that is God I think this epitomizes the nature of most preaching and ministries today. I am not saying that we are not supposed to help others and have ministries to do so but all too often the message people hear is something like: “come to Jesus and get this.” Is it not enough to come to Jesus and see God?

All of the issues with gimmicks and such used to keep people entertained are a necessary out come of a Gospel that sees God as a means to some end rather than being the “END.” If we feel that those that we preach and teach to need more than God’s word then in many ways we use God’s word to lead them to whatever it is we see as more important. Now I am sure that many will not proclaim this is so many words but as with most things actions speak pretty loud.

Over at the Founders there was a link to an article on Video services, Godcasting (notice the source of the article). The idea is that there can be satellite services where the Pastor does not have to even be in the country but instead his likeness is beamed to the various locations and the message is given. Now some may say the word is preached but the bigger message to me is that it is not the message that is important but the messenger. So as with any other gimmick the church is so afraid that the message is not enough that more has to be done. I firmly believe that many preach in a manner that is boring and impassionate and thus do disservice to God’s word but even if this is so it is not a reason to, in the name of being relevant, stoop to methods that put the focus on the medium rather than the message. Is not the goal of preaching God’s word to deliver it in such a way that people do not see the messenger but the Holy and Sovereign God that is the message?

Why is it that the church has to endlessly look to a lost world for direction? Maybe it is a lack of understanding of the condition of man. If the church truly understood the condition of man we would not seek after its advice. Why ask a sinner, who by the way loves sin, what it would take for them to enjoy church, the answer is “sin.” That may sound harsh but it is true since the best the unbeliever can do is sin what they would see as beneficial comes from a sinful desire.

I pray that we could all see that God is the ends we are to seek and not simply a means to some other end, no matter how spiritual that end seems to be. That we are to look to God and His word for direction and not to a world that enjoys sin.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

McLaren on the Da Vinci Code

Thought I would take a break from the SBC Presidential Stuff:

Here is a short interview with Brian McLaren on the up coming movie the Da Vinci Code: Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code

When asked about the popularity of the book here was part of his response:

“I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion.”

Mr. McLaren should really tell us how he feels about the church.

He then says:

“We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church.”

The answer is in the Bible that I tend to think he does not take as the ACTUAL word of God or he would take it more seriously and not say the things he does.

Here are some reasons people like Dan Brown over the church: 2 Tim 4:3-4 - For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Here is another one: John 8:47 - Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.

We really should not expect more from the world without the word of God changing their hearts and minds so they can see who the real Jesus is and not the one constructed by Dan Brown or even Brian McLaren for that matter

Here is another excerpt that says much:

“Ultimately, The Da Vinci Code is telling us important things about the image of Jesus that is being portrayed by the dominant Christian voices. [Readers] don't find that satisfactory, genuine, or authentic, so they're looking for something that seems more real and authentic. “

What exactly are those important things that Dan Brown tells us since the book is fiction? It would seem that Mr. McLaren may believe more of what Dan Brown says than the church as he has more negative comments on the church than the Da Vinci Code.
Why do people continue to read McLaren and interview him as an Evangelical?

I would like to thank Kenny Oliver at Thinkerup for the link to the interview

Friday, May 12, 2006

Answers from a Possible Nominee for SBC President

Wade Burleson posted over at Grace and Truth to You, A New Nomination for SBC President, his answers to Tad’s questions at Total Truth. I haven’t had a chance to read them yet but will do so this weekend. Based on what I read here he may be the another nominee for SBC President so it was good to see him step up and answer some good questions. I hope any others that are nominees will do the same. At least then we can have more grounds on which to vote for someone, other than name recognition, baptisms, time as a Southern Baptist or any number of less than stellar reasons to vote for someone.

Doctrines of Grace Cheat sheet

Those of you interested in the numerous verses supporting the Doctrines of Grace can go to this site to see what they call a: Calvinism Cheat Sheet

Thanks to Strange BaptistFire for leading me to this.

I made a word document out of this so I could keep it handy but I renamed it the Doctrines of Grace Cheat Sheet, not sure I like the word “cheat” how about “help”. I am not trying to avoid the Calvinism debate but would rather not start with the issues that deal with Calvin and want to instead deal with the Bible since I do not follow Calvin but God.

The SBC President and CP Giving

The question has been raised concerning whether the home church of the President of the SBC should be giving a set percent of it’s undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program (CP). My first thought is that this sure sounds legalistic if a particular number is given. But, this does not negate the fact that if one is to be the leader of an organization that finances its ministries via the CP then that president should be a supporter of it or make one of his stated goals to change things. The other issue that makes this an issue is that I have read through the blog world, I am trusting what I have read is true, that the SBC executive committee is going to recommend (this is from the Florida Baptist Witness):

…..encouraging tithing by church members, Cooperative Program support and “that we encourage the election of state and national convention officers whose churches give at least 10 percent of their undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program.”

It would then only seem reasonable that the president support this recommendation by word and deed. I do not know if I agree with the 10% but the new president should be in agreement with proposals given by the people he leads.

I understand the many reasons for not giving to the CP. A church may not agree with how the money is being used or disagree with how it is distributed it. They may even see that funds are better used in foreign and national missions by giving directly to the particular organization (IMB, NAMB). The bottom line is we are called to be stewards of what God has given and if the CP is not the way a church feels it is being a good stewardship then it needs to be the steward they are called to. As this relates to the next president if they do not give a reasonable, whatever that means, percentage to the CP they need to answer why and what needs to be changed for them to raise their percentage of giving.

The article from the Florida Baptist Witness is not to single out Ronnie Floyd but since he is the only stated nominee it is an issue that he needs to answer, as well as anyone else running for the office of president. I pray that the various questions on the internet that have been asked will be answered before the convention but even if they are this does not leave time to interact with the answers. Maybe Dr. Floyd’s answer for such a low level of giving to CP would spur changes, if that is what he sees as being required. I do not think a president has to agree with all that is done at the leadership level as that is how change is brought about but it needs to be known what they see needing to be changed, why it is needed and how it is to be done.

Back to what started this, the next president either needs to fully support the programs of the SBC, such as the CP, through more than words or they need to as one of their goals state the changes needed to allow them to fully support the programs.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More info on the current nominee for SBC President, Dr. Ronnie Floyd

Check out the Total Truth blog, entry 1 and entry 2, for more info on the nomination of Ronnie Floyd for SBC President. I would say the questions asked would be fair questions for any nominee. This is not singling our Dr. Floyd but as I know of no other nominee, a major fault with the process, this is simply getting what information there is out to the public. In this day and age of the blog more information can be gathered but the flaw is that it is not all accurate or unbiased. However as there seems to be no other means to let the members of the SBC know of who they will be voting for all one can do is pray, search out the info they can find and pray some more. It would be nice if there was another candidate already out there so that at least those attending the convention could have some idea of what will be before them. Unity around one nominee is not truly unity as it does not allow for discussion and an effort to find the right man for the position.

We should all pray for the direction of the SBC at this convention as it could be a very important one, if the issues are dealt with. If however the issues are avoided, for the sake of unity or some other such justification, then business (not the word that we should like to see in the Christian realm) will be as usual.

Just added:
I thought I best add a link to further comments from Tad at Total Truth as he shows good judgment in his reaction to the questions he posed not being answered. The fact people want answers and are looking at the ministry of a nominee for the next SBC President is so that we can truly see what to expect for the vision for the SBC in the up coming years.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ronnie Floyd statement on his nomination for SBC President

Ronnie Floyd has posted a statement with regards to his nomination for President of the SBC.

Relating to the whole nomination process I have heard it said that regardless of who is nominated that a person should be nominated much earlier than about a month before the convention. How is anyone supposed to be able to look into who they would vote for. Another issue in the process seems to be how is one to know who is nominated unless they get on the internet. If the nominations were earlier then the SBC could send out profiles and allow people to pray and investigate who they should vote for. Most importantly they can pray consistently over this issue rather than show up that weekend and find out who is running and then have short obligatory prayer and then vote.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What is wrong with God's Word?

With I heard the announcement of Ronnie Floyd being nominated by Jonny Hunt for the position of President of the SBC it was interesting to read the blog byTom Ascol, Of Fire Engine Baptisteries and Blasphemy , that referred to a church that had a fire engine in the baptistery and was fired when a child was baptized, what about the adults. I remember reading about this and listening to a conversation between video (it is on the page that is linked here), thanks to Tim Challies for the link..

When will this stop, my guess is not too soon as the mantra, whatever it takes to get the message across…. , seems to really mean whatever and not for the good. Do we please God by saying His word is not enough to change man’s heart? If one is to speak out they are called irrelevant and such. I am not saying to go back to flannel-graphs as mentioned in the video but for the faithful exposition of the word of God, yes even for children, that is delivered in a vibrant and understandable manner. The call to rely on God’s word is not a call to be irrelevant or to take God’s word lightly but to instead see it as the source of change and not our ingenuity.

Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo on Hell, what's next?

Well at least Brian McLaren has said something we can put a finger on, yet he still does not back his assertions up with anything but conjecture from his own reasoning and he does still seem to leave himself enough wiggle room to claim he is not a heretic. There was a couple posts over at Christianity Today: Post 1, Post2 with regards to Tony Campolo and Brian Mclaren’s views on hell and trying to form a third view. McLaren actually admits to be closer to the idea of universalism than he does to those that believe in exclusivism. But once again McLaren seems to set up a dichotomy that instead of dealing with theological truth we just need to feed the hungry, care for the poor and so on. The problem is that we are to do both and not either/or. Simply because he sees the church doing a poor job dealing with social issues does not mean that the church is wrong on theological issues or should ignore them.

Tony Campolo in Part 1 shows that simply using scripture is not enough as scripture needs to be rightly divided. He uses two passages Ephesians 4:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:19 to conclude that there is a good chance that there is a second chance to go to heaven once one dies. He seems to ignore much of other scripture for passages that in his words “can be interpreted” to back up his assertion.

It is interesting that those that have aligned themselves with the so called Emerging Church side of things so often do exactly what they claim they are against. I hear that the church has become to consumer and individual oriented, and I agree with this, but their answers seem to simply cater to a different consumer a, I guess, more compassionate consumer. So in doing this they simply create theology that includes all so all can be included in what they see God calls them to do. This in the end leads to a lot of busy and compassionate people heading towards hell, a hell that does exist regardless of the machinations these two men try.

By the way it is not only men like McLaren and Campolo that desire to deal with hell in a less than biblical manner. I remember reading a quote by John Stott, I wish I could remember where so this is just from memory so check it out yourself, on hell. In the quote he admits to his view of annihilationism as not being founded so much on scriptures teaching on hell but on his views of God. I hear he may have restated this in some manner but now simply says he is not sure (If any one has a link to where this was done it would be great to have that).

Bottom line is that the doctrine of hell is discomforting to the world and it is meant to be that way. If we water it down or deny it we are not telling the truth to people and more importantly we are denying what God’s word actually says.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Website: Strange Baptist Fire

Well the new Strange Baptist Fire site is up and it will be a good place to go to see responses written with regard to the articles on the Baptist Fire site. I had not really read the articles on the Baptist Fire site until I followed a link there but when I did I simply saw the same incorrect teaching (if you can call it that) on the Doctrines of Grace that I have seen elsewhere else but their page just condenses the misinformation. It always amazes me that people can write what they write and not be held accountable for it, well until now.