Posted tagged ‘Baptist Identity’

Nathan Finn on “The Gospel and Baptist Identity”

August 26, 2011

Dr. Nathan Finn has recently completed an excellent blog series entitled “The Gospel and Baptist Identity.”  I for one am glad to see the two merged together as it is my hope that the identity of Baptists would fundamentally be characterized by the functional centrality of the gospel.

Be sure to check out the blogposts in this series, listed below:

01: Introduction
02: What Is the Gospel?
03: Pondering Baptist Identity
04: Four Categories of Baptist Beliefs
05: Covenanted Gospel Membership
06: Confessor Baptism by Immersion
07: Christocentric Congregationalism
08: Cooperative Autonomy
09: Free Churches in a Free State

The Backstory to the Great Commission Resurgence

June 17, 2009

Three months ago, I took the time to collect the digital paper trail regarding the development of a Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) that has dominated denominational news in Southern Baptist life.  For many Southern Baptists, the talk of GCR has just hit their ears, and yet the impetus for the GCR began nearly five years ago.  Let me explain.

I. Dr. Thom Rainer (May 2005)

In 2004, Dr. Thom Rainer, then Dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Missions & Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, conducted a study to examine the evangelistic effectiveness of Southern Baptists since the Conservative Resurgence.  The results revealed that although evangelism would have been much worse without the CR, Southern Baptists since 1979 were failing in evangelism.  The analysis of Dr. Rainer was eventually published in the Spring 2005 edition of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology in an article entitled “A Resurgence Not Yet Realized: Evangelistic Effectiveness in the Southern Baptist Convention since 1979.”  It was in this article that Dr. Rainer argued,

“When we are passionately obedient about Christ’s commission to share the Gospel in all that we do, then the resurgence will have taken its full course.”

Through the sober realization and honest analysis of our current state, the battle cry for a Great Commission Resurgence sounded forth from a leading voice in the SBC.  For more background info, check out the following articles:

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Baptist Identity and Theological Triage

March 4, 2009

Last week, Tom Ascol expressed his concerns about the vision of Baptist Identity and in particular, their rejection of theological triage using a chapel message delivered by Dr. Malcolm Yarnell on October 30, 2008 at SWBTS chapel.  The message Dr. Yarnell preached was entitled “The Essentials of Christianity” (MP3) wherein he argued that a commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ renders theological triage untenable because every doctrine pertaining to the Lordship of Jesus is inherently essential.

Within hours of the publishing of Ascol’s post, the Baptist Identity bloggers were in an uproar, calling Ascol names and demanding a retraction and apology.  Additionally, within 24 hours after his post, Dr. Yarnell teamed up with Robin Foster of SBCToday to write a six-page response (PDF) spinning the same language of “theological maturity” and verses Ascol used in his post (Philippians 3)–a paper Foster claims to have started “earlier this week.”  With both the serious and sophomoric responses received, it is important to consider the substance of what is at hand in this matter.

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The Gospel: Our Greatest Common Denominator

February 24, 2009

Two weeks ago, I shared my thoughts about Baptist Press throwing Mark Driscoll under the bus. One particular point that has been written about is the two competing visions for the future of the SBC.  Here is what I wrote:

There are two competing visions for the SBC going on right now: the Great Commission Resurgence under the direction of Danny Akin and David Dockery headquartered at SEBTS, and the Baptist Identity Movement under the direction of Paige Patterson and Malcolm Yarnell headquartered at Southwestern Seminary.  Prior to the Annual Meeting in Indy last year, the Baptist Identity boys were blazing the Internet with series of blogposts talking about Baptist distinctives and in particular “ecumenical compromise.”  From the Annual Meeting forward, however, the Great Commission Resurgence has won the day, leaving the Baptist Identity crowd in the wake full of a separatistic, landmarkist agenda.   Having Driscoll (and Mahaney) who do not share the same ecclesiology and distinctives lead Patterson and his camp to consider the actions of Akin and SEBTS as Baptist compromisers.   The BP article on Driscoll is an indication, in my mind, of an attempt to discredit the leadership of Akin and undermine the Great Commission Resurgence movement in the SBC.  Fortunately, most Southern Baptists are not buying it.

Last week, Tom Ascol explained these competing visions with further detail.  During this time, the Baptist Identity group have sought to capitalize on what they see as a major fault of the Great Commission Resurgence camp by having Mark Driscoll speak at SEBTS’ chapel and collegiate conference. This was, in their opinion, a perfect example of the “ecumenical compromise” reflecting a lack of commitment to Baptist identity.  The talking point quickly became the “lowest common denominator” implying that the cooperation they enjoy comes at the expense of upholding Baptist distinctives.

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Tom Ascol on the Future of the SBC

February 20, 2009

Last week, I shared my take on Baptist Press throwing Mark Driscoll under the bus, including the underlying factors that come into play.  One of the main factors was the competing visions of the SBC.  On point five, I wrote the following:

There are two competing visions for the SBC going on right now: the Great Commission Resurgence under the direction of Danny Akin and David Dockery headquartered at SEBTS, and the Baptist Identity Movement under the direction of Paige Patterson and Malcolm Yarnell headquartered at Southwestern Seminary.  Prior to the Annual Meeting in Indy last year, the Baptist Identity boys were blazing the Internet with series of blogposts talking about Baptist distinctives and in particular “ecumenical compromise.”  From the Annual Meeting forward, however, the Great Commission Resurgence has won the day, leaving the Baptist Identity crowd in the wake full of a separatistic, landmarkist agenda.   Having Driscoll (and Mahaney) who do not share the same ecclesiology and distinctives lead Patterson and his camp to consider the actions of Akin and SEBTS as Baptist compromisers.   The BP article on Driscoll is an indication, in my mind, of an attempt to discredit the leadership of Akin and undermine the Great Commission Resurgence movement in the SBC.  Fortunately, most Southern Baptists are not buying it.

Last night, Tom Ascol wrote a very important article about the future of the SBC in relation to these two competing visions.  In it, Ascol explains the DNA and direction of each group and why he has firmly place both feet with the Great Commission Resurgence (as have I).  Towards the conclusion of his article, Ascol writes:

As a reformed, Southern Baptist pastor, my feet are firmly planted in the GCR camp. I believe that it is time for Southern Baptists to come together on the basis of our commitment to the gospel. I believe that where this solid, authentic commitment exists, we can find ground for cooperation and fellowship that will enable us to serve the purposes of God better than if we hold each other at arm’s length because of suspicion, fear or disdain.

I invite both my Calvinist and non-Calvinist brothers and sisters to join me in encouraging and working for this kind of future in the SBC. Let’s work together to come to deeper understandings and applications of the gospel. We may disagree at points, but such disagreements, if handled with gospel grace, can work to strengthen our grasp of divine truth rather than to further divide us. That is my hope, and that is my prayer.

Whether you are a Calvinist or not, we can and should all heartily say “Amen” or “right on” or “Boom” (depending on whatever generation you are in).  Let us get on with the glory of the Gospel–living it out in our lives, our churches, and in our world.

Founders Podcast: Tom Nettles on Baptist Identity

September 15, 2008

The topic of “Baptist Identity” has been hotly debated among Southern Baptists in recent years, and there is no one more competent to bring historical acumen with contemporary application than Dr. Tom Nettles (see his three volume series Baptists (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3) for instance).  Tom Ascol, director of Founders Ministries, recently sat down with Dr. Nettles for a lengthy conversation about Baptist Identity, and the audio has now been made available via the Founders Podcast.

Interview with Tom Nettles Part 1 (MP3)
– Inerrancy Controversy, Baptists and the Bible, personal account

Interview with Tom Nettles Part 2 (MP3)
– History of Landmarkism, Baptists vs. Presbyterians

Interview with Tom Nettles Part 3 (MP3)
– Examples of Keatch, Booth, outline for defining Baptist Identity

You can catch more audio from the Founders Podcast by subscribing (iTunes :: RSS).  Previous audio includes interviews of Tom Ascol, Donald Whitney, Andy Davis, and Voddie Baucham.