Recently Dr. Johnny Hunt sat down for an interview answering questions related to the recent Great Commission Resurgence document.
The questions asked include:
1. Who authored this document?
2. What is the purpose of this document?
3. Has the document been altered in any way since it was publicly released on the Great Commission Resurgence website on April 27, 2009?
4. How can Southern Baptists make sure that our programs and initiatives remain tethered to the gospel?
5. As you know two of our seminaries – the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary – both require that the professors who teach there to adhere to the Abstract of Principles, a confession first written in 1858. Is it appropriate for these seminaries to use two different confessions, or should the BFM 2000 be the only confessional standard used at any of our SBC boards, agencies, and commissions?
6. Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of Southern Seminary articulated the concept of “theological triage” at a Baptist Identity Conference at Union University in 2004 where he presented first, second, and third order issues of theology. Do you agree that theological doctrines can and should be ordered (or triaged) into tiers of understanding where fellowship is contingent on certain doctrines being embraced in order for intentional levels of cooperation to be experienced?
7. The document articulates in detail key doctrinal statements which make for a distinctive Baptist identity. They are “the Baptist distinctives of a regenerate church membership, believer’s baptism by immersion, the priesthood of all believers, congregational church polity, local church autonomy, and liberty of conscience for all people.” Are these first-tier theological doctrines? Are those who do not hold to these doctrines to be regarded by Baptists as un-Christian?
8. Dr. Mohler stated, “Without the discipline of theological triage, we are constantly at risk of confusing third-order issues for first-order issues – the original besetting sin of fundamentalism. At the same time, we are also at risk of mistaking first-order issues for third-order ones – the besetting sin of liberalism. Keeping our equilibrium requires that our triage be clear and self-conscious, articulated and accountable.” Is this a present reality in Southern Baptist life? If so, would you please name a third-order issue Southern Baptists have raised to a first-order issue?
And much more…check out this link to hear the podcast!
It is often times easy to take “swings” at the SBC and in many cases rightly so. A convention of imperfect churches will always be imperfect. Yes, we have many warts, and this causes many to focus attention on the blemishes. Sadly, those imperfections often blind us to the really good things that Southern Baptists are doing. Not only are these negatives leading to criticism, they are also leading many to question whether or not they should remain (or ever become in the first place) Southern Baptist. The logic is that “I have one life to live for Jesus, and I need to make the most of my time in ministering for him, so I’d rather go somewhere that is flourishing and less ‘politically embattled.’” This logic is not without wisdom. We do indeed have one life (a short one) to minister in the tasks assigned by the King. So, the question that we need to ask ourselves is, “Why am I a Southern Baptist (or why should I become a Southern Baptist)?”
Honestly, we became Southern Baptists by birth (not that we were members at birth!). Many generations of Akins have been Southern Baptist, and we were born into the home of a Southern Baptist minister. While this is NOT the main reason that we remain Southern Baptist, it should not be overlooked because it is significant. Obviously the answer to the posed question should never be, “I am Southern Baptist because my momma and daddy were.” BUT, the faithful lives and effective service of believing moms, dads, and grandparents should play a role. The younger generation is quick to dismiss tradition (and many times rightfully so!). But, there is a trail of blood, sweat, and tears of faithful men and women (including especially faithful, lay family members) that led up to where we are. In our past, men and women have taken great pains to get the Gospel to us. There were people faithfully witnessing, discipling, educating, raising families to know Jesus, etc. before we were born. They were trying to be “missional” in culture before we (or they) ever heard that word (not that there were not times of withdrawal and fundamentalist sectarianism). This is significant because we are connected to something. More than that we are connected to “someones,” a people! Why we are Southern Baptist now will be answered differently than the question, “How did you become a Southern Baptist?” But, the answer to the latter question drives the answer to the first. As far as we can trace it back, we became Southern Baptist because our Southern Baptist minister dad led us to faith in Jesus when we started asking questions about the Bible. We started asking questions about the Bible because we were attending a Southern Baptist church where a Southern Baptist Pastor, raised in a Southern Baptist Church by Southern Baptist parents and trained in a Southern Baptist school, preached the Gospel to us. We were at that church because our dad was reared by Southern Baptist parents who led him to Jesus, and our mom was reared and saved in a Baptist Children’s Home because of the faithful giving of Southern Baptist men and women. Before that, we had Southern Baptist grandparents who faithfully shared Jesus with their children because their Southern Baptist parents had done the same with them. That’s why we became Southern Baptist. Tradition may not be everything, but we have been saved by Jesus because we are connected with a people.
We remain committed Baptists because we think that Baptist distinctives above any other denomination’s theological distinctives, are the most biblically faithful. This is a conviction based on reading and studying the New Testament. We are strong advocates of Regenerate Church Membership, which John Hammett, a professor of theology at SEBTS (and others) calls “The” Baptist Mark of the Church. This mark then flows into all the others such as Believer’s Baptism, Congregational Government, Local Church Autonomy, and the Priesthood of the Believers. So we choose to be Baptist because we think Baptist distinctives are the most biblical (and we will point to this in our vision series).
But why do we choose to be Southern Baptist? Given that we believe Baptist distinctives most accurately reflect the New Testament Church we believe the following reasons warrant, with all of the imperfections of the SBC and need for reform, being Southern Baptist. Not only do we think being SBC is warranted, we believe it is the best place to cooperate together to do ALL that King Jesus commands in the world! So, “Why are we and why do we think you should be a part of the SBC?”
a second part to this blog will be posted in the coming days…
Jon and Nathan Akin
Baptist21 is grateful and honored to make three announcements about the upcoming b21 panel:
1. Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church has agreed to be part of the b21 panel at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville.
2. Albert Mohler has also agreed to be part of the b21 panel.
3. In addition, we are excited to announce that there will be books from some of the panel members given away to all attendees of this event.
Leading up to the event, Baptist21 has sent around to those participating on the panel a questionnaire that will highlight some of the topics to be discussed at this event. Below are Dever’s answers as well as information about the event.
Interview with Pastor Mark Dever
1. What is the best thing about being a part of the SBC? International Mission Board
2. Why do you think young, cross-centered ministers who accept baptist theology might not want to be a part of the SBC? Perhaps because of me. Also, perhaps because of the nominalism, the pride, and the cultural conservatism that distorts too many people’s understanding of God’s inerrant Word.
3. How and why did you come to the SBC? I was born into it. I reaffirmed it in seminary due to its baptistic and reformed roots. I’ve come to appreciate its emphasis on missions. I love the way it unlocks the resources of thousands of churches and helps our congregation to fulfill the Great Commission.
4. How can we honor our heritage while continuing to move forward? Preach the Gospel.
5. What are the three most important things that need to change, for the SBC to grow in our gospel mission? How would you do them, if it were up to you? There are so many things. We need to re-center our pastoring around expositional preaching. We need a renewed understanding of God’s sovereignty and of our utter dependence on Him and on His work in Christ. And we need to be crystal clear on the Gospel and on the church (including membership and discipline).
All of these must be pursued with great patience, perseverance, and much prayer.
My simplest answer to this would be, “By God’s ordinary means of grace.” That is, by the right preaching of the Word of God and the right administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The most important, relevant, provocative, and evangelistic things about us and our congregation’s life are never those things which are unique to our context and congregation, but are always those things which we have in common with every true church around the world, from Jesus’ time till our own.
For more information about IX marks check out their facebook page.
Information about the b21 panel @ the SBC
When is the b21 panel? June 23rd 11:45am-1:45pm (during a break at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville). This will be shortly after the President’s address to the convention. We highly encourage you to attend Pastor Hunt’s address which promises to address some of the topics to be discussed by the panel.
Note about the event: There will be a $5 cover charge at the door; this $5 dollars will include a meal and books from some of the panel members. Sign up ASAP so that we can begin to prepare adequate arrangements and please blog about this event to stir up interest.
Where is the b21 panel to be held? Sojourn Community Church, 930 Mary St. Louisville, KY 40204 (about 5 minutes from where the convention will be held)
What is the b21 panel? It is a forum discussion about the present and future of the SBC. Each panel member will briefly address a key issue in SBC life, and this will be immediately followed by Question/Answer time.
What will the b21 panel discuss? The benefits of cooperation, the great things the SBC is doing, changes the SBC needs, how we can involve younger leaders, how we can move forward, and others.
Who will be part of the b21 panel? Daniel Akin from SEBTS, R. Albert Mohler from SBTS, Mark Dever from Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Ed Stetzer from Lifeway (see his promo for the event here), and Daniel Montgomery from Sojourn Community Church. The Baptist 21 guys will be moderating the event.
Why have this event? Many in the SBC see a great need for a directional change, but are also very excited about the things that the SBC does well. This event will celebrate what we are doing well and discuss possible areas of change.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and we certainly pray that you will make an effort to be a part of the b21 panel at this year’s convention.
When (information has changed): June 23rd 11:45am-1:45pm (during a break at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville).
Why the time change: The time has been moved back because Baptist21 has been informed that the “SBC Presidential Address” will run until nearly 11:30am. Initially, the schedule we were provided by the Executive Committee for this year’s convention schedule had the morning session ending at 11am. We apologize for the wrong information provided in our previous blog and want to make you aware that the “b21 Panel” will start at approximately 11:45am so that those that will attend can also hear Pastor Johnny Hunt deliver his presidential address. We, at b21, hope you will make it a priority to attend Pastor Hunt’s address. Pastor Hunt has been a wonderful encouragement so far as president. So, we want to show our support to our president, who has made it a point during his presidency to reach out to younger pastors and to address many of the topics of concern. His address will likely be no different.
Note: There will be a $5 cover charge at the door; this $5 dollars will include a meal and possibly a book from some of the panel members. Sign up ASAP so that we can begin to prepare adequate arrangements and please blog about this event to stir up interest.
Where: Sojourn Community Church, 930 Mary St. Louisville, KY 40204 (about 5 minutes from where the convention will be held)
What: “b21 Panel” – A forum discussion about the present and future of the SBC. Each panel member will briefly address a key issue in SBC life, and this will be immediately followed by Question/Answer time.
Topics will include: the benefits of cooperation, the great things the SBC is doing, changes the SBC needs, how we involve younger leaders, how we can move forward, and others.
Who: We have invited several key leaders to form the panel. Those who have officially accepted the invitation so far are: Ed Stetzer from Lifeway (see his promo for the event here), Daniel Akin from SEBTS, and Daniel Montgomery of Sojourn, and there are more names to come. Baptist 21 guys will be moderating the event.
Why: Many in the SBC see a great need for a directional change, but are also very excited about the things that the SBC does well. This event will celebrate what we are doing well and discuss possible areas of change.
We certainly pray that you will make an effort to be a part of the b21 panel at this year’s convention.
The following blog is published in full with the permission of Trevin Wax. Trevin authors a very fine blog entitled “Kingdom People.” It is worth taking a look at. The following blog was released today and is a great word of warning for the SBC, including us at Baptist21. We have asked his permission to post this because we think it fits so well with our purpose and hopes/concerns for the future of the SBC. We would love to hear your thoughts on this piece, especially areas you think the devil seeks to make us ineffective. Also, how can we be on our guard against him?
Here is “Screwtape on the Southern Baptist Convention” from Kingdom People:
My dearest Wormwood,
Though it gives me no pleasure to do so, I must tip my hat to you for the wonderful developments you have initiated in regards to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Surely you need no reminder of the perilous situation we were facing in the not-too-distant past. I had nearly come to the conclusion that all hope was lost. But alas, you surprise me, dear nephew! You have done it again. (It is obvious that I have taught you well.) I do hope you will keep up the bad work.
Still, there is much work to be done.
Remember that arrogance and pride is your greatest inroad into the Convention.
Due to your negligence (I will say no more… you were younger and inexperienced at the time), we lost the battle over the Enemy’s book some years ago. I worried that the entire Convention would be lost. For years, I feared an unprecedented advance of the Enemy’s mission to seek out those in our own territory. With the institutions reclaiming their fidelity to the Book… well… it seemed our cause was lost.
But you were right to comfort me during those days of anxiety. Yes, you were right to focus your efforts on perpetuating the arrogant attitude that comes easily for some who pursue higher education. You must continue to foster a sense of disdain among the seminary students and professors towards the people in the pews and their uneducated pastors.
It is no secret that because of your blundering, we lost the liberal theologians who looked down their noses on the “know-nothings” in the local churches. There is nothing we can do about that yet (though I have some ideas).
But we can still use the seminaries to our advantage. Promote the points of Calvinism or the methods of Revivalism or the principles of Church Growth… whatever you decide to focus on, it matters little to me. Just make sure that whatever theology or methodology you use, the next generation looks down on their uneducated and unenlightened parishioners. Use arrogance to keep the Enemy from doing his work.
And by all means, make sure that the pastors and church leaders are more in love with their techniques, methods, theology or their name and fame than they are with the Enemy or the people under his care.
Related to this, I encourage you to increase the foment between the generations. The bigger the generation gap, the better. Stir up the young people to gossip about the old leaders as legalistic and out-of-touch. Cause the older leaders to resent the young people as libertine and disrespectful.
I must congratulate you on the excellent job you have done in using the internet to our advantage. From the websites devoted to shaming and scorning the mega-church pastors to the blogsites that keep young and old alike distracted with secondary issues… your work here has been amazing. Keep stirring the pot, Wormwood.
At the local church level, I am convinced that the more you blind the people to their hypocrisy, the better off we will be in the long run. Make sure their temperaments run towards judgmentalism and not repentance. You can do this by keeping them focused on the sins of the increasingly decadent culture (by the way, aren’t the new developments delightful?). As long as the Baptists focus on the actions of those in our territory, they are less apt to repent of the actions of those in their pews and pulpits.
I am upset that you have not yet eased the consciences of those up in arms regarding the recent trends of baptism. Surely you can thwart their attempts to refocus on that cursed Commission.
You are foolish to celebrate the public nature of their decline! As long as their numbers are shrinking, they know something is wrong. Wormwood, you must cause their numbers to grow again. Just make sure effective discipleship is not the way it happens.
You can get their numbers up by attracting people from other churches and denominations who already agree with their critique of society. That way, they can begin growing again numerically as their influence continues to shrink. Stroke their ego so that they feel superior to the other denominations.
It might be good for you to add a touch of nostalgia to the situation. You will recall the work I have done in the past in this regard. I like to distract these wretches from the future the Enemy has planned for them. Let them focus on some other ”glory”.
For some, you can work the SBC model of the 1950’s-1970’s. Let them remember fondly the heyday of the SBC institutions and cultural Christianity.
For others, you can work the Revival eras of the ”Great Awakenings.” Take them back to the methods of the sawdust trail and the revival meetings.
For others, take them back to the Reformation. Have them envision a Puritan paradise.
Whatever you do, make sure they do not look ahead to the new heavens and earth that the Enemy has in store for them. Such hope might cause them to be bolder in their missions and evangelism. If you can distract them with the false “golden ages” (and not the Age to Come), you will be doing well.
By all means, keep them busy. I hear that some are harping about prayer. Shut them up quickly. Discourage them. Help them to see prayer as a needless exercise that does not deliver results.
Of course, the most important work you can do is keep them from the gospel. I shudder to think of its power. It has proved to be unstoppable in so many cases that I hate to even mention it. You must keep them from reflecting on the gospel, proclaiming the gospel, and living according to the gospel.
The fact that we lost the battle over the Book almost caused me to lose hope. But we still have a chance. The gospel and the cursed Commission are the tools the Enemy has used against us all these years. You will do well to make sure that these Baptists focus on everything else.
I fear what lies in store for us. The Enemy will not give up on these people. So neither should we.
Your affectionate Uncle…
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