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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.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Reason #2 (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.

Chronological snobbery is pervasive in religious life today. This mentality assumes that the doctrinal issues and ecclesiastical concerns are new and “emergent.” There are some who think that the doctrinal issues like election, predestination, synergism, etc. are doctrinal novelties and new "battles" that the SBC must face. What Nettles shows us is that there is “nothing new under the sun” and that great Baptist leaders dealt with the same issues we face today – and in a much better way. To think that this generation can do without the great Baptist history and theologians of yesteryear is of utmost snobbery and superficiality. Evidence of this superficiality is seen in the attempts to persuade individuals to certain theological constructions by personalities and not principle, exaggerations and not exposition, and being inflammatory rather than inquisitory. People are not encouraged to investiage the highly debated matters on our sole authority - the Word of God. Rather, we are to believe that Calvinism is a "dirty" word and election a "cuss" word. Denominational leaders have not sought to provide theological answers motivated by a love for the truth; instead, we only hear woeful caricatures and straw men constructed to validate their opinions and deter people from a sincere study on the central and foundational matter. It does not matter how sincerely or emphatically one might believe in something if it is wrong. Truth does not need hype and does not become more truthful when promoted by our favorite personalities. What Nettles does is take us out of this middle-school mentality to a more mature path to the material principle in the SBC reformation. My question is, "Where are the Boyce's, Broadus', Gill's, Fuller's, Pearce's, Manly's, Hall's, and Spurgeon's of our day?" Why aren't we handling the precious truths of Scripture and God's precious people in the same virtuous manner as these godly men of old? Who in our elder generation of the SBC will be remembered and memorialized with such acclaim as these? When the euphoria of American pragmatism wanes and the mega-church movement loses its popularity, what will our trend-following leaders have as an enduring legacy? What is encouraging and affirming to those of us in seeking true reform in the SBC is that people both in leadership and in the street are getting this. They realize that in getting to the end of their lives, it is not about being at the top for a moment, but being biblical for a lifetime. They do not want to be on the wrong side of history as obstructionists to God-centered change, but catalysts to causing Christ to be seen and savored as the Lord of the Church and Lord of our salvation. It is my hope that others will find Nettles book and discover a bleeding heart from our forefathers and champions of orthodoxy for real reform.

Trackback: Chronological Snobbery and Rootless Christianity Reason #1 (Ready for Reformation My Response to Ready for Reformation Ready for Reformation???

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