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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.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

More Drama Over the Next SBC President

***Update: *** Dr. Ronnie Floyd has recently blogged about his reception of the nomination. You can go to it by clicking here. Also Tad Thompson shares that he will be interviewing Floyd later this week.

Last week, it was announced that Johnny Hunt is turning down the nomination to be the next SBC president. No specific reason was given, although some have speculated that it was over FBCW’s giving to the Cooperative Program. One can’t help but wonder if the blogpost over at Founders had anything to do with it as well. I guess we will never know.

But what we do know is that Johnny Hunt has nominated Ronnie Floyd to replace him as the leading nomination. Hunt drafted a press release sharing his convictions why Floyd should be the next president. While the press release is quite an impressive resume, there are some concerns which I have with Floyd’s nomination.

First and foremost, no matter how large a pastor’s church may be or how many books he has written, or how many degrees he may have, I want to know what kind of gospel he preaches. Regarding Dr. Floyd, I see his presentation of the gospel (i.e. “winners”) disconcerting to put it mildly. You can hear it by going here and clicking on “Become a Winner.” Parenthetical note: "He who loses his life will save it . . ." Maybe it would better to call it "Become a Loser," but then again, it wouldn't sell, would it?

Secondly, in the press release, Hunt writes:

Dr. Floyd called me last Wednesday and informed me that he will humbly accept this nomination due to God speaking to him dramatically through Acts 16:6-10. He never sought it one moment, but was drafted supernaturally to let me nominate him to be our next President. (italics mine)

While I think I understand what Floyd is trying to say, this statement reminds me of what many preachers on TBN are saying. As a matter of fact, part of Floyd’s resume reveals that indeed, Floyd has spoken on TBN (which in and of itself is very telling).

Finally, and apparently most troublesome, is the fire engine baptistry and children’s ministry of First Baptist Springdale (where Floyd is the pastor). Christianity Today wrote about this in a June 8, 2000 article which explains some of the inventions:

First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas hired a well-known former Disney World designer of children's amusement rides to design two "high tech sets" for elementary age worship areas: Toon Town for first-through third-graders, and Planet 45 for fourth- and fifth-graders. The fully animated cartoon town has 26-foot-tall buildings. The rationale behind the $270,000 project is summed up by the church's children's minister: "Putting a talking head in front of kids for an hour doesn't work ….This is a visual generation. We need to use technology to the max." That includes a special baptistry which is built around a fire engine. When a child is baptized, the sirens sound and confetti is fired out of cannons.
As I perused the church’s website, I came across an addition to the children’s ministry called The Kids Theater where it adds the following description:

Wacky World is here getting the building ready right now. When finished we will have a super game room filled with the latest in fun technology and a fun place just to hang out. The Theater will feature a new slime machine and a two-story stage with a slide. We are looking forward to major amounts of fun while we learn about God’s love.

An interesting exchange occurred with this Disneyland-approach to the evangelization of children between Mark Dever and Paige Patterson. While the full exchange can be found here, Tom Ascol has shared the part which deals specifically with this practice:

Dever: I heard about one church recently, and I don't know if you know about churches like this or not, in order to encourage baptisms among children the baptistry is shaped like a fire truck and they've got confetti cannons that go off whenever a kid is baptized. Do you know about any of this? Patterson: This is my first time to hear this. This is blasphemous! Dever: Anyway, it's a church in America. It's an evangelical church and they mean to preach the gospel so I want to be real quick to say their intentions are good. That's going to get kids of course, because they want to come forward, get in the fire truck and make the confetti cannons go off. Patterson: I do not view [positively] the huge number of child baptisms that Baptists are now guilty of--Baptists are some of the worst paedo-baptizers there are.

I wonder if Patterson knew that the church which he was referring to was where Floyd was the pastor that he would still call it blasphemous? Should such “blasphemous” practice be overlooked by the now-nominated president of the SBC?

I don’t want to put too much stock in the next president of the SBC as I really do not think a president can accomplish much. If, however, an incoming president places the emphasis on the local church (i.e. regenerate church membership, integrity in reporting, and church discipline), then I think a great deal of positive reform can be done. But as long as we tout our mega-millions and ask for a million more while embracing pragmatism as our means for building the church, we will find ourselves with the handwriting on the wall.

I guess we will have to wait and see what comes of all this. Personally, I respect the various ministries (and especially missionary work) which has been undertaken by FBC Springdale; however, I do not think confetti, sirens, and cannons contribute to the cause of the gospel whatsoever. While America is the Disneyland of the world, we need to get Disneyland out of the church, and that not just from the children’s baptistry, but also from the pulpit and the pews. ********************** To read more, check out:

Ronnie Floyd’s Blog (Between Sunday’s) Ronnie Floyd’s Key Information First Baptist Springdale’s Website What We Believe (not much here)

4 Comments:

Blogger Josh Buice said...

Bro. Timmy,

It is a sad day in which we live and minister. The gospel of Christ being preached according to the plan of God is being replaced by flashing lights, concerts, toon town, and ---- fire trucks of all things!

Don't get me wrong - I grew up loving fire trucks. My Dad has been a fireman for 30 years, and I think that firefighters are wonderful, fire trucks are great - but we need to keep the focus on the cross of Jesus Christ from the pulpit - not a fire-engine-baptistery!

1 Corinthians 1:21
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

For God's Glory

Josh Buice
Practical Theology Discussions
http://www.joshbuice.blogspot.com

5/09/2006 11:37:00 AM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

Josh,

Thanks for your comments. It appears that Blogger is having problems again (arrggghhh!). The formatting is all off, and the comments template has been changed. I apologize to you guys for this problem.

. . . This might just be the tippin' point to say farewell to blogger.

5/09/2006 03:51:00 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Hey, what is up with all the bolding going on over at Floyd's site? Yikes, he bolds every first sentence of every paragraph and a little more! And I am not sure I would call it a true blog -- he doesn't allow any comments and he bolds every other sentence (did I mention that?)!

5/09/2006 10:39:00 PM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

Daniel,

I think he actually did allow comments . . . that is until yesterday. I looked back on previous posts and found comments made by other folks, but it may be that he changed his policy due to the exposure his blog has received.

I did find it interesting that he had a blog and that he was interested in connecting with the younger crop of SBCers. I wouldn't call myself a part of the young SBC leadership because I don't consider myself a leader nor do I know what qualifies for being young. Regardless, I think Dr. Floyd could make a very bold and courageous move if he would engage and interact with those of us blogging and are in the SBC (which is a large group of folks) and find ways to see genuine reform and change take place in the SBC. That may sound a bit too optimistic, but hey, the blogosphere needs a good dose of optimism these days!

5/10/2006 08:07:00 AM

 

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