Saturday, June 8, 2013

All Around the Web - June 8, 2013

Between the Times - Calvinism, Cooperation, and the Southern Baptist Convention |

Triaging Calvinism

In 2005, Al Mohler published an influential essay titled “A Call for Theological Triage and Spiritual Maturity.” In his essay, Mohler uses the imagery of medical triage to demonstrate that different doctrines function at different levels of importance when we cooperate with other believers. First-order or primary doctrines are those beliefs that distinguish Christians from non-Christians. Second-order or secondary doctrines are those beliefs that are distinctive to different denominations and often help determine one’s local church membership. Third-order or tertiary doctrines are those convictions that normally two members of the same church can hold without any serious division. While not all Southern Baptists have resonated with Mohler’s approach, I find it helpful for our present discussion.

This is my argument: within the Southern Baptist Convention, Calvinism needs to function as a third-order or tertiary issue for the sake of cooperation. I understand that for many folks, their view of the “doctrines of grace” is actually a second-order issue. I know many Southern Baptists of various theological stripes who join a local church partly based upon their understanding of issues like election, effectual calling, and the extent of the atonement. I think this is perfectly understandable. Nevertheless, in the context of the wider SBC, these doctrines should be understood as tertiary rather than secondary.

In reality, I believe that one’s perspective on Calvinism is already treated as a tertiary doctrine by the vast majority of engaged Southern Baptists. Most of us recognize that the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is intentionally vague or silent on each of the “five points” except for perseverance of the saints. Most of us aren’t bothered that some of our seminary professors are consistent Calvinists, some are moderate Calvinists, and some are decisively non-Calvinists——on each of our faculties. Most of us aren’t too concerned with what our missionaries and church planters believe about election, so long as they are urgently proclaiming Christ to all people. The fact is, when it comes to the SBC, Calvinism already functions as a third-order doctrine for most of us, and has done so since at least the latter years of the nineteenth century. I’m simply asking us to more intentionally work from this understanding.

Let’s Play Nicely

I know this sort of approach will not please all Southern Baptists, especially some who have been the most vocal participants in the Calvinism debate. Some SBC Calvinists invoke language that at least suggests they believe Calvinism is a primary doctrine: “Calvinism is the gospel.” Yes, Spurgeon said it, and everyone loves Spurgeon. Nevertheless, it’s unhelpful and, frankly, incorrect——at least the way many Southern Baptists use the quote. I trust that most Calvinists in the SBC believe one’s view of the doctrines of grace are at most secondary rather than primary.

Furthermore, the not-so-subtle insinuation that non-Calvinists would become Calvinists if they were smarter, or more biblical, or more theologically savvy is both obnoxious and insulting. So too unqualified claims that non-Calvinists are Arminians, semi-Pelagians, or even full-fledged Pelagians. If a Southern Baptist Calvinist can’t bear for Calvinism to be treated as a third-order doctrine that can be accepted, rejected, or modified (within boundaries) by any Southern Baptist, including SBC leaders and opinion-shapers, then he or she should consider partnering with other Baptist groups that are more uniformly Reformed in their soteriology.

Some SBC non-Calvinists need to tone down their rhetoric as well. The calls for Southern Baptists to “take a stand against” or “smoke out” Calvinists, the argument that unconditional election or (especially) limited atonement is “another gospel,” the equating of Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism, and the argument that Calvinists aren’t evangelistic are hurtful and (in the latter three cases) simply inaccurate. So too the argument that Calvinistic Southern Baptists are “more Presbyterian than Baptist.” Historically and confessionally, the SBC is broad enough to include everyone from five-pointers to one-pointers.

Also troubling is the argument by some that Christ-centered expositional preaching, an emphasis on the glory of God or the sovereignty of God, and Bible Study curricula that focus upon the gospel are somehow inherently Calvinistic (and thus bad). None of these concepts are, by definition, Calvinistic. Indeed, many non-Calvinists are firmly committed to each of these emphases because they are more about basic Christianity than incipient Calvinism. If a Southern Baptist non-Calvinist can’t bear for Calvinists to thrive and sometimes even serve as leaders in the SBC, then he or she should consider partnering with other Baptist groups that are more uniformly non-Calvinist in their view of salvation.


Washington Post - Southern Baptist Richard Land passes baton to Russell Moore

In a generational changing of the guard, Southern Baptists are gaining a new advocate for their values in Washington and around the country as Russell Moore, a media-savvy theologian, takes the helm of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

The ERLC is the public policy arm for the Southern Baptist Convention, and Moore is taking over from Richard Land, who headed the ERLC since 1988 and used it as a platform to rally social conservatives in the nation’s culture wars.

Like Land, Moore is an abortion opponent, a believer in an errorless Bible and a fan of Coke Zero.
But even though both men assumed the ERLC post at age 41, it’s clear that Moore is part of a new era. While Land, 66, has been computer-averse, Moore is a frequent blogger and can tweet more than a dozen times a day. Moore, a Mississippi native, is a fan of country music and Christian hip-hop; Land, a sixth-generation Texan, favors Elvis and the Beatles.


Reformation Theology - Some Quotes to Ponder | Here are the one's I liked:

"The demands of following Christ will cost you everything. But you gain far more than you give up. You give up dirt for diamonds." - Steve Lawson

"Ever heard of anyone executed for distributing copies of Grimm’s fairy tales? Imagine people trying to smuggle copies of Hans Christian Andersen’s works into China? The Bible, which has been called a mere collection of myths has suffered all of these fates: even today, copies of the Bible are banned and burned. There’s something about this ancient book that threatens and frightens those in power." - Eric Metaxas

"The holier a man becomes, the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him." - C. H. Spurgeon

"How dare you say 'Oh, so you are just a homemaker' to the hero of my children." - Sinclair Ferguson


Christian Post - 5 Famous Christians Who Were Homeschooled |

Tim Tebow
Bethany Hamilton 
Lila Rose
Gianna Jessen
Akiane Kramarik


Rolling Stone - The 10 Worst Superhero Movies of the Past 10 Years | This is a good list but I disagree with Wolverine. I liked Superman Returns and thought Fantastic Four was good enough.

Daredevil
Hulk (2003)
Catwoman
Elektra
Fantastic Four (2005)
Superman Returns
Wolverines
The Last Airbender
The Green Hornet
The Green Lantern


Here's the trailer for an upcoming feature film on Rich Mullins. Looks good.




Obamaism

Post a Comment