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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Thursday, March 15, 2007

An Open Letter to SWBTS Trustees by Marty Duren

If you are a Texas Baptist, Southern Baptist, concerned with Baptists, and/or alumni of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary you should read the open letter pastor Marty Duren has posted at his blogsite, SBC Outpost.

Get the word out to your friends and colleagues in Baptist life in ministry, in leadership, and foward them this letter or link to it. It is an important call to right several wrongs and hold accountable our leaders in the Convention.

I am a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and I have a connection there still with Professors. I just long for our leaders to be held accountable for their actions but also for them be held accountable when their leadership becomes divisive and dismissive on issues of preference and conscience. There are plenty of clearly defined doctrines and distinctives in Scripture that are related to salvation and ethics. Where doctrine and practice are less clear, or where Scripture is all together silent, I choose to let the Holy Spirit guide men's conscience.

On this topic here are some other blogs that I go to for a balanced, respectful, truthful, and thoughtful approach to Southern Baptist life.

Steve McCoy the Reformissionary and most recently his post strongly titled "Reasons Why I Hate Us."

Joe Thorn

Wade Burleson

And here are my concerns with the direction of the SBC right now:

1. inerrancy of scripture vs. sufficiency of scripture (alcohol)

2. complementarians vs. egalitarians (Klouda)

3. cessationists vs. non-cessationists (McKissic IMB/NAMB appointments)

4. the debate over ‘proper’ baptism leaning towards Landmarkism (IMB/NAMB)

5. the debate over Calvinism (While I was at Southwestern one professor
regrettably wrote in the Baptist Standard that “the God of Calvinism
resembled Allah more than the God of the Bible.”)

I wonder if it is only a matter of time before some try to force a particular eschatology, political party, sandwich meat, Bible translation, or whatever on us as the Convention standard. It used to not be so wearisome to be a Southern Baptist. It used to be a blessing, while it still is, more and more days it is feeling like a burden.

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5 comments:

Rev. said...

Mike:
I must say that I'm concerned with the over-all direction of the SBC. IMO, the conservative resurgence took the pendulum of the denomination from the left (yes, it was to the left at one point) and taken it to the far right (too far to the right). If you are a closed-closet-door Charismatic (PPL) or a Calvinist, you are anathema. If you think Jesus turned the water into wine (actual wine), you are anathema. If you don't vote a straight Republican ticket and think George Bush is the best president since Ronald Reagan, you are anathema. If you aren't Dispensational/Pre-Mill, you're anathema. Not sure about the sandwich meat, but I'm pretty sure it has to be some form of chicken ("the Baptist Bird"). Unfortunately, I really like roast beef. Even if I get a green light on the roast beef, I'm anathema on all other points.

The Missional Position said...

James,

Hey so you are also a 5 point Anathema-ist.

Charismatical Baptist
ROSESist Calvinista
Alcohol Moderationist
Political Swashbuckler
Reformed Amillenialist

So in other words you are in the CRAPR* when its all said in done, no SBC appointments or presidencies in your future. (or me)

As far as lunch meat I prefer ham, but that really only leaves me out with the Jews. But I think the whole Jesus thing already did that.

*sorry its all i could come up with on short notice. (after all i am just a youth pastor) I leave the acrostics to the 'real' pastors.

I do admire me some Ronald Reagan though! He was president? i just like him for that movie with the monkey.

[r]weaver said...

I like smoked turkey breast.

tom cottar said...

I'm a PB&J person...and, therefore, anathema on all above accounts.

;)

Cross Man said...

There's never been a shortage of people at SWBTS (or in the convention) that were totally focused on orthodoxy/orthopraxy to the n-th degree.

I took my M.Div in the early 1980s and many of these same issues were raging then. They are mind candy for preacher boys. They think they have to nail down every detail of every issue or they won't be good ministers.

You could spend your entire life carefully working out all these details. And all the while there will be lost people passing by unnoticed. And many graduates of SWBTS do just that.

But not all. When I was at SWBTS, we started prayer meetings in the basement preaching chapel (is that even there anymore?) during the big chapel upstairs.

We prayed for revival. We prayed for our brothers and sisters. We prayed for ourselves. And we prayed for healing. The physical "God heal this withered leg" kind of healing. We went after the devil and gates of hell. Directly. Deliberately. And we expected, and saw, first century results.

We also worked with homeless people and took strangers into our homes. Pretty weird, and sometimes dangerous stuff.

These things were anathama then too. Word got out and we were whispered about. Some people would actually turn and walk the other way when they saw one of us coming down the hall.

But what are you gonna do, ya know? Small price to pay for reaching those that would never set foot in any church.

So do what you have to do. Follow Christ, and let the theology police do their thing.

So how did it work out? Well, I'll never be President of the SBC. But I call bikers, hookers, winos, the homeless, and other societal 'lepers' my friends. And when they have a need, or a question, or a crisis, they can get help without strings.

Anyway, stick to your guns. Follow Christ. Be open to the unknown. And as you go preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.l