Archive for May, 2010

Baptists and Scripture

I come from the Baptist tradition.  I was born again, baptized, and discipled under the ministry of a Baptist church which the Lord used to bring me to Himself back in 1974.  Every church I have belonged to has been a Baptist church.  Over the years I have preached in many non-Baptist churches and have had many students who were not technically Baptists.  I have read a ton of good literature in biblical studies and ministry pursuits by those who would not call themselves Baptists.  From the earliest days of my Christian experience, I have prayed with believers who did not share my Baptist convictions.  I have never been the kind of Baptist who looked down on other Bible-believing Christians from other traditions.  However, the opposite has not been true.  There have been many other believers who have expressed a measure of disdain for my Baptist heritage.  I have sometimes wondered why this is so.  Sometimes individual Baptist churches and individuals have acted in such a way to deserve this backlash.  However, on the whole I have trouble having a negative attitude about Baptists due to my positive experience in the Baptist churches I have been part of (not perfect but positive). Read the rest of this entry »

Ice, Malphurs, and Kaiser for Barndollar Lectures

I am thankful that the Barndollar Lectures at Baptist Bible Seminary are set for the next three years:

Sept 20-23, 2010 Dr. Tommy Ice
Sept 19-22, 2011 Dr. Aubrey Malphurs
Sept 10-13, 2012 Dr. Walt Kaiser

Dr. Ice will speak this coming September on “The History of the Doctrine of the Rapture.” We are grateful that we have quality scholars and individuals who can impact our student body in this forum.

BBS Seminary Student Wins Book of the Year Award

Bruce Baker, a Ph.D. student at Baptist Bible Seminary, has recently won the 2010 Book of the Year Award in the category of Christian Living for the Christian Small Publishers Association.  His work is Spiritual Maturity: The Road to Wonderland published by Grace Acres Press.  Bruce’s book came out of course work in the Ph.D. program at BBS.  However, he writes for the Church and not just for academics.  Bruce creatively and powerfully uses the images of Alice in Wonderland from Lewis Caroll’s classic nineteenth-century works to illustrate a clear exposition of mostly Pauline texts concerning how Christians are to grow in their walk with Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.  I predict that this work will become a standard tool for study in our churches.  I would like to think that Bruce’s work shows that one can work in the doctoral program at BBS without losing his zeal for the local church and the spiritual growth of individuals in our churches.

The New Atheism and Morality

I have begun to read the popular book Morality Without God by philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong of Dartmouth. It is a full-blown attempt to establish  a view of morality in the world without religion or any appeal to God.  He believes that the religious basis for morality is a failed project and that atheism actually gives a surer foundation for developing a better grounding for ethics.  He separates his view somewhat from other atheists such as Christopher Hitchens at particular points largely because of Hitchens’ tone and stridency (see p. 153-54).  The author also cites the need for courage on the part of religious people to distance themselves from those religionists who are also extremists.  Unfortunately, his examples are (1) President Jimmy Carter who separated from Southern Baptists when the convention started emphasizing basic Bible teaching about male leadership in the home and church, and (2) Oral Roberts University grad Carlton Pearson, who, as pastor of a mega-church, moved to a position of universalism thereby giving up the foolish doctrine of eternal hell (see p. 152-53).  The author does not emphasize the atheistic bigotry of science departments at universities who fire scientifically qualified teachers who give up believing in the unprovable doctrine of evolution.  I hope to make further posts as I do more thinking about this atheistic attempt to construct a moral society.

Ernie Harwell, Sports & Evangelicals

I was deeply saddened this morning when I heard that Ernie Harwell, the long-time broadcaster of Detroit Tigers baseball games on the radio (1960 to 2002), had passed away at the age of 92.  He had once said a thank you to all those young boys who had hidden their transistor radios under their pillows so they could listen to the radio games after they had gone to bed.  I was one of those boys during the 1960s although I lived in the state of Alabama! WJR Detroit would come in really strong especially on cloudy days.  I well remember Ernie announce the homeruns of my childhood hero, Al Kaline.

However, something else attracted me to this man Ernie Harwell after I became a born-again Christian in 1974.  Early on I learned that he too had come to Christ.  His testimony was that he had come to Him as the result of the ministry of Billy Graham.  As I have said under “My Story” I too came to the Lord largely through Dr. Graham’s messages which caused me to search out a local church where I could follow-up and really understand.  The secular sports media’s accolades which have poured forth this day in tribute to Harwell show that it is possible to be a good testimony for Christ in the sports industry and make a difference in people’s lives.

My thinking about the relationship of evangelicals to sports started in earnest years ago when I read a book entitled God in the Stadium: Sports and Religion in America by Robert J. Higgs, a book for which I wrote a review in The Journal of Ministry and Theology.  Right now I am reading a book by Tom Krattenmaker entitled Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits and Players into Preachers.  Krattenmaker appears to be a left-wing secularist/pluralist although to be fair I have to reserve final judgment since I have only read two chapters.  He notes his desire that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes should have been a broader organization something along the lines of Fellowship of Religious Athletes instead.  I plan on doing a paper on evangelicalism and sports to be delivered at the Seminary this coming Fall.  Apparently, there are several criticisms of evangelicals in sports that are coming out right now (it may be fashionable critique against evangelicalism in general).

There is no doubt in my mind that our culture overdoses on sports.  Yet athletic competition seems to be built into the fabric of how human beings, especially men, think and play.  This appears to be true in the first century as it is today.  This is another relationship that needs to be thought about deeply.