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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Reason #1 (Ready for Reformation?)

I am giving ten reasons why every Southern Baptist (especially pastors and denominational leaders) should read Dr. Nettles' Book Ready for Reformation?: Bringing Authentic Reform to Southern Baptist Churches. At the conclusion of these ten reasons will be a brief review/critique of the book. It has been over 25 years since the conservative resurgence of the SBC. Since then, seminaries have undergone significant change, and the debate over inerrancy has been settled. Also during this time, there has been the domination of the church growth movement which has stressed technique over theology. Pastors have been stressed to sharpen their leadership skills and buy every John Maxwell book as soon as it comes out. They have been encouraged to overcome "barriers" by implementing the latest pragmatic lesson to the church (as if the Bride is some "lab experiment"). Sermons have become therapeutic and man-centered where the good news is spiritualized self-help, accentuated with proof texts. Finally, churches have fought political and cultural battles such as Ten Commandments, gambling, alcohol, etc. while neglecting the "weightier matters of the law." In this morass of troubling circumstances, Dr. Tom Nettles has written his book Ready for Reformation?: Bringing Authentic Reform to Southern Baptist Churches. This book is a very necessary corrective to the tangential tendencies of the SBC and serves as a means of reorientation to real reform. We would simply be fooling ourselves if we think that baptizing more people would fix the problem. We would be all the more foolish to think that there is no problem. So the first reason set forth for every SBCer to read this book is to have a proper understanding of the Baptist landscape from a historical, biblical, and theological viewpoint. We must understand where we have come from, where we are, how we got here, where we are going, and why. We should not be shaped by our favorite SBC personalities when they preach their sugar-stick sermons at the convention or any soap box sermonettes intended to polarize and not unify. Nettles, in his genteel temperament and profound understanding of the urgency and importance of the times, has written a descriptive and prescriptive work as a skilled workman and discerning seer. Ministers have been considered as "physicians of the soul." If that be the case, Nettles can be considered a "physician of the convention." To understand and apply the truths in his book is to apply the balm on a broken denomination and recover the heart of a real reformation.


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