Dr. Tom Nettles was the speaker last week at the 2012 Founders Breakfast (at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the SBC). The title of his message is “The Southern Baptist Convention: Retrospect and Prospect” and I highly recommend it, especially in light of the current discussions about “traditional” theology in the SBC. The first half of Nettles’ provides numerous facts, figures, and direct references to pastors, churches, and institutions who held Reformed doctrine prior to the new traditionalists, while the second half focuses on the chiastic structure of SBC history. It is a fascinating look at the ebb and flow of theological trajectories, and the last nine minutes of the talk gives you Nettles’ direct interaction with the current attempt to marginalize Calvinists in the SBC.
Posted tagged ‘Founders Ministries’
Creeds, Deeds, and the Great Commission: Dr. Danny Akin at the 2009 Founders Breakfast (MP3 & Video)July 2, 2009
On Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Founders Ministries held their annual breakfast at the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, was guest speaker and addressed the 200+ in attendance with a message from 3 John entitled “Creeds, Deeds, and the Great Commission.” Akin concludes his excellent exposition with words of appreciation and caution for future partnership in a Great Commission Resurgence which I encourage all my Calvinist brothers to hear. The breakfast concluded with by Akin answering a few questions, including one from Tom Ascol about working with non-Calvinists for the cause of gospel consensus and reaching the nations.
The audio and video was produced from my hip pocket – literally. I ripped the audio from my Livescribe Pulse pen and the video is from my Kodak Zi6 handheld HD Camcorder. This breakfast was a warm and rewarding time of fellowship, encouragement, instruction, and godly exhortation, and I hope you enjoy it as well.
Here’s the MP3: Founders Breakfast with Danny Akin
Here’s the video:
Note: It is best to play and pause the video until the entire message is buffered for better viewing.
Update 12.05.08 :: 11:30 p.m. Having been away most of the day with family outing and then church planting meeting, I have not been able to follow the comments of this post. Upon reading them, I have become discouraged by the direction of the commentary and chose to dump all existing comments, including my own, into the moderation pool. I will follow up with my thoughts soon, Lord willing.
Whenever controversy arises in the SBC, it is always helpful to understand the agenda on both sides. Regarding the current controversy over Calvinism, it is important to note that the agenda has often changed. Earlier in the debate, the goal was to (1) discredit and debunk the doctrines of Calvinism (take William Estep’s 1997 article Doctrines Lead to Dunghill for example). The most devastating blow to Calvinism would be, of course, to show that it is unbiblical. However, non-Calvinists have not dealt with the biblical texts, and as the John 3:16 Conference reveals, very little exegesis was offered for their rejection of the doctrines of grace.
When it became apparent that Calvinism could not be stopped by proving the doctrines were unbiblical, the next step (2) was to argue from pragmatism. Calvinism, they say, is contrary to the Great Commission and would result in less baptisms and fewer people being saved. LifeWay Research last year proved that this claim to be false much to the behest of Steve Lemke and some SWBTS professors. Ed Stetzer has just posted a response to those challenging and questioning the research methods and approach regarding the Calvinism study by LifeWay/NAMB Research.
Furthermore, when pragmatism couldn’t snuff it out, the next thing on the agenda (3) was to police Calvinism. In other words, if you can’t beat it, try to control it and marginalize it. This was seen in the denominational talking point of the pastor search committee and Calvinists putting all their cards on the table. Calvinists who are (and should be) up front with Calvinism have to plow through the caricatures and misunderstandings that have been perpetuated over the years. With transparency and integrity as guiding principles, they are told that they should not be wearing Calvinism on their sleeve, that their willing admission therefore constitutes one who is “aggressive and militant.” On the other hand, Calvinists who are perhaps “softer” and less outspoken about their soteriology simply preach the Bible and love the people, but should it be known at a later time they are Calvnists, they are deemed “deceptive, dishonest, and disruptive to our churches.” In some state conventions (Florida, Texas, and Missouri to be specific), non-Calvinist literature was purchased and sent to every pastor in their states in an attempt to sway ministers against Calvinism. Denominational platforms from convention speeches to Baptist state papers to academic “white papers”, the policing effort was rather comprehensive.
As I mentioned in my previous post, in 2005, Lemke attempted to make the case for two streams of Calvinists in the SBC – “hard hyper-Calvinists” and a “softer Baptistic Calvinism.” In 2008, those two labels have been replaced and expanded into four streams. Before I interact with Lemke’s labeling, there are some a priori matters to bring up in this regard.
For the most part, labels are not helpful. They are usually generic, over-simplified, and do not factor in the flexibility or fluidity of a movement. For instance, the label “fundamentalist” is one that is used for Mark Driscoll and Bob Jones, and there are a whole lot of differences between the two! Furthermore, labels are often used as a way of speaking from the perspective of an expert. From the information provided by Lemke, one would be led to believe that he is an insider among Baptist Calvinists, that he, more than anyone else, is entitled and privileged to be the one who creates the labels and categorizes people accordingly. But the fact is, Lemke is clearly unfamiliar with the Reformed Resurgence. Simple fact checking reveals that he does not state the title of Founders Ministries correctly (he refers to it as Founder’s Movement) and also wrote that the 2006 Together for the Gospel Conference “was held on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary campus” when in fact it was held at The Galt House in downtown Louisville. The misinformation on such easily verifiable facts lead one to question whether Lemke is qualified to make such classifications about the “four streams” of Calvinism today in the SBC.
But Lemke’s stigmatizing of certain Calvinists is not an unfamiliar practice in the SBC. Consider the similar comments of Jerry Vines, Frank Cox, and Johnny Hunt as I juxtapose them for you (all comments were made in 2008).
The Southern Baptist Founders Conference – Southwest begins today and will continue through the weekend (see schedule). Executive Director Tom Ascol will be speaking four times on topics including “Church Discipline & Church Growth,” “Biblical Church Membership,” “The Emergent Church,” and Ephesians 4:1-16 (others will be speaking as well). The conference is being hosted by Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas.
Andrew Nicewander will be live-blogging the conference, so I encourage you to check out his blog. Also, I see that Tom is being tempted to Twitter his way through the weekend as well. Finally, you may want to check out the live-streaming of the conference via UStream. First session begins 3:30 p.m. CST on Thursday.
In just about two weeks, Founders Ministries will be hosting their national conference focusing on church planting and church revitalization. From all indications, the SBC is in decline. We need fresh perspectives and a renewed passion to plant churches, revitalize dying ones, and bring in a younger generation committed to the local church. Neither conferences or denominational politics can fix the problem; nevertheless, coming together with a shared burden and desire to work for these noble causes is a worthy place to start.
There is still room for those who have not registered for the conference to do so, should you be interested. Conference speakers include Ed Stetzer, Voddie Baucham, Andy Davis, Donald Whitney, and more. For a conference of this scale, it is worthy noting registration is only $80. You can register and/or find out more information by visiting the Founders Conference website. I hope to see you there!
I know, I know. There’s a lot of great conferences out there these days. Probably too many. I will be going to two next week (one I am hosting myself). But I have to say that I do not believe there is one I am more excited about than the 2008 Founders National Conference which will take place on June 24-27, 2008 in Tulsa, OK.
The theme for this year is “Lengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes: Renewing and Planting Local Churches.” The reason I am so excited about this particular conference is not simply because I appreciate the Founders for what they have stood for, but rather my excitement comes especially because of where they are focused (local church) and what they are looking to do in the future (renew and plant local churches).
Here is a brief description about the conference:
A stagnant pond suffocates the life in its waters. Yet movement spurs health and life. The same can be said of the church. A stagnant church stymies health and vitality in its ranks, and consequently, affects the broader community. The infusion of new gimmicks or other non-biblical actions only mask the church’s health. The kind of movement that stirs life strengthens inwardly and stretches outwardly. These twin movements for church vitality are captured by the intertwining themes of church renewal and church planting.
The 2008 National Founders Conference will explore the place, necessity, and some of the God-ordained means for church renewal and church planting under the theme, “Lengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes: Renewing and Planting Local Churches.” The conference theme has arisen out of the many questions conference organizers have fielded regarding local church reformation and planting new churches. These themes go hand-in-hand, revealing the desire for healthy, vibrant, and reproducing churches. Conference speakers bring a wealth of experience and expertise in both the strengthening and lengthening of the church.
Guest speakers include Ed Stetzer (keynote), Andy Davis, Tom Nettles, Voddie Baucham, Donald Whitney, Ted Christman, and Phil Newton. Here is the schedule for the conference:
Tuesday, June 24
3:30 pm – Ted Christman :: An Exposition of Psalm1
6:30 pm – Andy Davis :: Dangers in Reforming a Church
Wednesday, June 25
9:00 am – Tom Nettles :: Biographical Sketch of Daniel Marshall
10:30 am – Voddie Baucham :: Building a Solid Doctrinal Foundation
6:30 pm – Ed Stetzer :: Keynote Address
Thursday, June 26
9:00 am – Don Whitney :: Reforming through Discipline
10:30 am – Ed Stetzer :: Keynote Address
1:30 pm – Leadership Dialogue led by Tom Nettles
6:30 pm – Andy Davis :: The Importance of Filling Your Life With Scripture
Friday, June 27
9:00 am – Phil Newton :: From Planting to Reforming
Whether you are a seminary student looking to connect with church planting efforts within the SBC, a minister desiring to renew and revitalize the church you serve, or simply someone who longs to see the church strengthened and multiplied in the years to come, this conference would one that I pray you give serious consideration. Where else will you find men who love the church like Stetzer, Davis, Nettles, Whitney, Baucham, and others in one place?
Perhaps the most compelling reason to attend this conference is that it is the cheapest conference around. For pastors and students, registration is only $60 (until May 15), and for everyone else it is $80. I hope you consider attending participating in this conference. Perhaps this could be the catalyst for even greater things to come. May the Lord rally us all behind a gripping vision to renew and plant local churches for the glory of His name.