J.D. Greear, SBC President

It was somewhat expected by those in the know that J.D. Greear would be elected to serve as SBC President at the annual meeting in Dallas this week. I was still somewhat surprised by the 68% of ballots he received from messengers. While many were pleased with the announcement the reactions ranged from “Thank God” to talk of the downward spiral the SBC has been on for years. While I would make a good 3 1/2 point Calvinist at best I am going out on a limb and saying this choice will not seal our fate. Greear’s election is not the final nor any other nail in the coffin. Continue reading

My Opinion: SBC and the Confederate Flag

Here is an article from The Christian Index on the Convention’s decision to repudiate the Confederate Flag. The Index also posted an editorial by Gerald Harris and my comments to that link on Facebook got a little lengthy. Nearly blog post in length. So, below is my take on the SBC resolution. By all means you are entitled to your opinion; mine is framed on the notion the Gospel is more dear to the heart of Christians than heritage, history, culture or national identity. The end game of all believers should be unity in Christ.

I have lived in Georgia most of my life (and in Kentucky the other years). I have always been a little leary of flying that flag. I understand my heritage, the nation’s history, and the origin story of the SBC. On this issue I land here: If you want to fly the flag on your front porch or on your personal vehicle, this is still a free country and you have every right. Shame on anyone that would desecrate or remove your flag regardless of ideology. But I think it is entirely fitting for our denomination, all our churches together with one voice, to say “WE no longer fly this flag.”

If I display the Confederate flag in support of history and heritage, it may be misunderstand as racism. Indeed some do fly that flag because they are racist, believing if the South would have won we’d have it made, and signifying certain individuals need to “know their place.” At the risk of being misunderstood, I do not fly that flag. In the shadow of the cross, there are no flags, no nations, no skin colors or any other thing that divides or distinguishes. We are covered by the blood. I am disheartened that some will choose the stars and bars of rebellion (it is the rebel flag we are talking about) rather than unity with fellow brothers and sisters, but such is the world we live in.

Small Churches, Bi-Vocational Pastors, and Their Role in the SBC

Screenshot 2014-09-18 at 9.55.55 AMLet me first mention the new look of the Baptist Press website. The new site design rolled out yesterday (Sept 17) and includes a few new features as well.

If you looking at the new BP site anyway, go ahead and read this article about the first meeting of the Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council of the SBC. Continue reading

Has it Been Two Years?

fred luterFred Luther’s two-year term as SBC president will end at the convention meeting in Baltimore. As his term in office comes to an end, the first African-American president of the SBC sits down and talks with Baptist Message, the newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. With Father’s Day quickly approaching, he concludes with a rather timely statement about fathers and their role in the family and church.

Read the full interview here, via Baptist Press and courtesy of the Baptist Message.

Speculation: who will be the next SBC president? Do you know who the front runners are?

There Is No Third Way -Al Mohler

two choice I wrote last Friday that in the changing world we live in ideas about love and hate are being distorted. While I don’t preach about hell in an attempt to scare people saved, never talking about it at all is not the way to show love. If I knew my neighbor were in danger and did nothing, that would be the opposite of love. The Gospel message is that while many people are bound for hell that is not God’s desire; his Son died under condemnation so that no other person need be condemned. Telling others that God desires for relationship and fellowship to be restored is what we as Christians are called to, but ignoring that death, judgement and hell are the consequences of sin is not an option. Continue reading

The SBC Resolution on the Boy Scouts of America

boy scouts The SBC passed a resolution today regarding the BSA and its policy change toward openly gay members. I came down pretty hard earlier this week on the SBC leadership for what I expected the resolution to say, and am pleased to admit that I like the actual resolution that was passed. Perhaps it was much ado about nothing; or perhaps there are many others that feel the same way I do.

Continue reading

Yes I Am Southern Baptist

sbcIn lieu of yesterday’s post I wish to clarify a couple of issues (before anyone asks).

1. I am Southern Baptist. While I did not grow up in the SBC I have been a member of SBC churches since 2000. I was ordained as a deacon in 2002 and as a minister in 2004. My wife and I served full time on the mission field (stateside) for nine years, 2003 to 2012. I graduated from a Baptist college, attended BSU as a student, taught in a private Baptist school, and led BCM for seven years. The Master’s Table is listed in SBC Voices, a directory of Southern Baptist blogs. This very week my wife and I are teaching 5th and 6th graders during Colossal Coaster World and I’m driving the church bus to VBS. While I may not always agree with everything the organization does as a whole, I am certainly still a part of it. The reason I can say so much about the SBC’s response to the Boy Scouts issue is that’s the denomination I know the most about. Continue reading

Fred Luter’s Call for African-American Missionaries

Fred Luter with Tom Elliff

Fred Luter with Tom Elliff

Fred Luter is the first African-American to serve as SBC president.  But of the 4,900 missionaries serving the International Mission Board, only 27 are African-American.  That’s only 1/2 of 1%, despite the fact that 1 million of the SBC’s 16 million members are African-American.  There are far more Hispanic and Asian missionaries in the field, and Luter would like to promote change.

“A lot of our African American churches are in the ‘hood,” said Luter, who pastors Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La. “It’s a daily fight every day. [People ask me], ‘Why do I need to go to Africa, Asia or Europe? We need to get people saved in this community.'”  “It’s a both/and approach,” Luter said. “We need to reach the people in our neighborhoods and get African Americans out on the foreign field.”

Read this article in full at Baptist Press.  

The Read and Share File

When I heard the SBC would appoint their first ever African-American president I thought “well that’s neat.”  When I learned he mangled a new motorcycle at age 21, later walking down the aisle on crutches… now there’s a guy I can respect.  Read more on Fred Luter’s life in ministry here, via Baptist Press.  

Here’s another story coming out of the SBC convention this week – in something of an ongoing conflict, SBC messengers passed on a resolution on the “sinner’s prayer.”  The headline for the article is worded badly, but the report is excellent.  Full text of the resolution is included.

It’s not nearly short enough for Twitter, but here is the message of the Bible in only 221 words.

The Donald Miller blog is going on hiatus and will return new and improved on August 1st.  Here’s the list of what to expect.

Meanwhile, Tall Skinny Kiwi just changed the appearance of his blog, citing the old look as “boring.”  Check it out, I like it.

I always enjoy getting some classic iMonk, and here’s a collection of original Internet Monk selections from 2005.

I don’t regularly read Mark Driscoll, so thanks to Noel Heikkinen for sharing 11 Practical Ways for Men to Lead a Family.

I didn’t even know there was a .church internet domain; meanwhile, LifeChurch.tv wants to own it.

Did the Supreme Court strike down indecency laws regulating t.v. broadcasts?  No it did not, although the Associated Press initially reported so.  The Court ruled a narrow decision on only the two cases, involving FOX and ABC, that were being considered.  The Court did not overturn the existing laws nor consider constitutionality of the existing FCC regulations.  Full story here.

SBC Name Change: Update

Will Southern Baptists change their name?  Last week I said the answer was a little yes, a little no.  Literally.

The SBC task force appointed to study the prospects of changing the name recommends adding a tagline, the descriptor “Great Commission Baptists.”  Micah Fries, a member of that task force, has revealed much of what went into making that recommendation.  Read the post in its entirety; here’s an excerpt:

Changing the name to something that sounded good today, but would lose potency and effectiveness over time had little appeal to me. From my perspective, Great Commission Baptists was a great choice, as it did not preserve some of the baggage that comes with a name like Southern Baptist all the while clearly explaining our desire to unite around the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Task Force came to the unanimous recommendation that ‘Great Commission Baptists’ captures well who we have historically aspired to be and propels us forward to a bright Great Commission focused future.

A discussion of financial considerations is included, as well as a plea to prayerfully consider supporting the recommendation.  Thoughts?  Concerns?  Many feel there are more important issues we could be spending our time and energy on, but that may not happen for a while.