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 ‘Tom Nettles’
Joe Thorn has started an excellent new series on pastor-theologians, and this week, he has interviewed Dr. Tom Nettles. The journey Joe describes in his love of God and truth is one that I can imagine many have traveled down, and to see him doing a series on combining head, heart, and hands is going to be really helpful.
Nettles says experiential theology, or experimental Calvinism “pursues the purposeful application of every doctrine to some area of life that needs further conformity to Christ’s perfect humanity.” Nettles commentary is exemplary of light and heat, and here are some excerpts I pulled from the interview:
Without a justification-driven, christocentric foundation all examination results either in self-righteousness or despair, legalism or antinomianism.
A clear and forceful integration of the biblical doctrines of the Trinitarian existence of God, the intrinsic glory of the Godhead, Christ’s infinite condescension, humanity’s fall and consequent just condemnation and punitive corruption, divine sovereignty in election, reconciliation and redemption, calling, resurrection, and eternal occupation—all of these and others constitute the pastoral task from the very beginning of establishing a worshipping congregation.
The biblical responsibility of the pastor consistently to place the believers in the context of this picture is at once both experimental and theological, practical and doctrinal. What we do and how we feel and how we respond to life’s details flows out of who we believe we are in God’s relentless push toward subduing all things to Christ, that in all things he might have the preeminence.
I will be chewing on these words by Nettles this week, and I encourage you to do the same. Great stuff!
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
Due to the fact that there were some technical issues with the live-stream and my inability to keep up with Dr. Nettles in the presentation of biographical sketch of Daniel Marshall, I have asked Dr. Nettles to allow me to post a PDF version of his notes, to which he graciously agreed. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Nettles for making his lecture available to us as I believe we have much to learn from men like Daniel Marshall.
>> Download: Biographical Sketch of Daniel Marshall by Dr. Tom Nettles (PDF)
Also, some have asked about the book that Dr. Nettles mentioned at the beginning of his message regarding the life of Daniel Marshall. Here is the bibliographic information for those interested:
Thomas Ray, Daniel and Abraham Marshall: Pioneer Baptist Evangelists to the South (Springfield, MO: Particular Baptist Press), 2006.
About Tom Nettles:
Dr. Nettles is widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historians in America. He came to Southern Seminary from the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. He previously taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author or editor of nine books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory; Baptists and the Bible, the highly influential volume which he co-authored with L. Russ Bush; and Why I am a Baptist, co-edited with Russell D. Moore.
Text: 2 Corinthians 3 (click)
It is a tremendously powerful concept to say that “You are our letter . . .”. This passage speaks of the ministry of Daniel Marshall. We are looking at Daniel Marshall because we are here talking about church planting. The history of Baptist life is a series of church plants.
Daniel Marshall (1706-1784)
Ninth of eleven children. Became a believer in 1726. A man of “ardent temper” very zealous for Christ. For 20 years, he lived in prosperous circumstances. Marshall was speaking of the necessity of the new birth and was arguing for a regenerate church membership. In 1744, he heard Whitfield preach and saw many conversions. He came to believe that the time of the millennial glory was near. The confession stance of his church and his hope of success was in the historical stance of Calvinism. Marshall had the conviction that he should dispose of all his earthly goods for the sake of the conversion of the heathen. The nearest opportunity for the conversion of the heathen was the Mohawk Indians in 1751. Many of the Indians were impressed by the concerns of the gospel, and several were converted.
In Winchester, Marshall attended a church within the Philadephia Association and concluded that they were biblically sound. He was licensed to preach the gospel and the unrestrained exercise of his gifts. His gifts were “not above the level of mediocrity.”
** At this moment, I realized that I in no wise will be able to keep up with Dr. Nettles in his paper on Daniel Marshall. I will see if I can get a PDF copy of it up for download. In the meantime, another article by Dr. Nettles related to Daniel Marshall is “Shubal Stearns and the Separate Baptist Tradition.”
Biblical Principles that can be gleaned . . .
1. True success and preaching comes not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit.
2. God gives the increase. Marshall gives flesh to reality that God does not depend on the legs of men, but on His own determination to build His own church and uses whatever instrument He desires.
3. The great value of personal courage bolstered by the fact that God will own His cause. Paul–“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
4. Marshall served as a great encouragement to young ministers. He attended his preaching with great urgency and fervency. He knew how to encourage one to stir up the gift of God in them, to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord.
5. The irreplaceable value of zeal. The prominent feature of Marshall’s character was the burning zeal for the conversion of the heathen. Love to Christ, love for the souls of men, constituted his ruling passion.
6. The indivisible nature of doctrine and gospel ministry. Each church plant began with a robust doctrinal statement. A firm doctrinal basis from the beginning can protect the sheep from the wolves as well as a witness to truth once for all delivered to the saints for generations to come.