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    Seeking writers with positive stories, anecdotes, essays, announcements, posts and experiences involving the SBC. WHAT'S GOD UP TO IN YOUR CHURCH? YOUR SCHOOL? YOUR VOCATION? YOUR MISSION FIELD?

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April 14, 2012

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Ryan Abernathy

I'm flattered you would pay me so much attention Selah. :)

The "tending to your own knitting" comment was addressed to any and all SB's who for some reason or another are obsessed with bashing Mark Driscoll, Acts 29, and all things related. My point was not that your church (Lawton East, I think you mentioned) was not baptizing people, but that the SBC as a whole is seeing baptisms drop like never before. That is a fact and a sad one at that.

My point being- why are you and others (like the article written by Pastor Harrell) so wound up about bashing a guy and a ministry that is doing nothing but reaching people (particularly young adults- an increasingly shrinking demographic in the SBC). The answer seems to be either fear (he's not SBC and therefore suspect or he talks frankly about sex and is therefore suspect) or jealousy. I'm leaning toward jealousy, simply because the evangelistic efforts of Mars Hill and Acts29 affiliated churches always go unmentioned and overlooked anytime the church or organization are mentioned. I think that's sad.

Anyhow, I hope you feel better now that you have vented. I'm a nobody. I pastor a small 100 member church that I planted 8 years ago and work a full time job on top of that. I love Jesus and people. I have been immensely blessed by the ministry of Mars Hill over the years, which is probably why I get sick of all the sensationalized bashing of Mark and MH that seems to play out over certain SBC blogs.

Finally, I'm sorry you felt "bashed." However, that's how I and others often feel when we read blog after blog and comment after comment from a minority of Baptist bloggers/commenters who like to paint A29, Driscoll supporters, and Calvinists as people conspiring for a takeover who are trying to "Calvinize the SBC."

Truth is, I've got enough going on and have no interest in taking anything over. I do want to partner with people who want to reach others for Jesus- no matter what part of the TULIP they embrace- or if they like the DAISY instead. :)

Hope this clears some things up Selah and I hope you had a blessed Lord's Day.

David R. Brumbelow

Why are many Sothern Baptists wary of Mark Driscoll and Acts 29?

Few would say jealousy. We have local Southern Baptist Associations that are larger than the entire Acts 29 network. Southern Baptists have been around for 165 years; Acts 29 not so long.

Baptists do not oppose him because, “he talks frankly about sex.” It is because so many Baptists disagree with what he believes about sex and how he handles it.

Driscoll and many in Acts 29 are militant in favor of drinking alcohol. One Acts 29 church says, “Beer is one of our core values. We enjoy it and like to drink it.” Mars Hill features beer-brewing lessons. Is this doing nothing but reaching people?

In stark contrast, Southern Baptists have opposed alcohol for well over 100 years. See the 2006 Southern Baptist Resolution on Alcohol Use in America:
http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2011/04/2006-sbc-resolution-on-alcohol-use-in.html

Acts 29 is strongly Calvinistic (Sovereign Grace, Reformed, Doctrines of Grace). The majority of Southern Baptists are not and these doctrines are not a requirement in the SBC, like they are in Acts 29.

These are just a few reasons many Southern Baptists are cautious.
David R. Brumbelow

selahV-hariette

Well, Hello, Pastor Abernathy:

Welcome to my "knitting" room. I'm grateful you are "flattered" I "would pay" you "so much attention". It is my pleasure. :) It seemed important enough for you to share it at that little SBC website, so I wanted to help more Southern Baptists understand your position on things. Glad you stopped in to clarify further.

I read carefully your response to me here and wrote a rather lengthy reply. Please bear with me (I tend to be rather verbose in discussing stuff I find interesting.) Not so with things I find "uninteresting". So here goes:

I figured since you said that "maybe it was time for" me (and I was one you said needed to go back to my own knitting and clear out the cobwebs from our own baptistries"), brother, I'd come back and tell my friends and family of the SB "tribe" I belong to what you desired of us. I am the "SelahV" among, the "Bill, Bob, Peter, and tribe" you said should get about that business.

Your "point" was quite clear the first time you posted it at SBC Today, and it unquestionably indicated that one of the "baptistries" with "cobwebs" in the SBC was indeed the one in which I see mulitple folks baptized after giving their lives to our Lord and Savior. Just because you did not say "First Baptist East Lawton", does not un-hook your insult and accusation towards my (SelahV's), church and my pastor and the good folks who labor in Christ's name in our "own knitting world".

I understand your comment to the "tending to their own knitting" was "addressed to any and all SB's who for some reason or another are obsessed with bashing Mark Driscoll, Acts 29 and all things related."

I got that, Brother Abernathy, I did. That's also part of why I wrote this post--to help folks see your side of things. We Southern Baptists have lotsa folks who want us to "go back to our own knitting" all the time when we speak out for "inerrancy, sanctity of life, abstinence, sexual purity, women in the church, marriage between one man and one woman, and against the things which destroy families through alcohol, gambling, etc.). We get that all the time. No matter what the subject matter, we are use to being accused of obsessions and bigotry and all kinds of stuff.

Sharing our thoughts with one another via social media, interneting and one-on-one conferences is part of our way of debating issues and connecting one another in dialogue of things which bear watching, Brother Abernathy. Kinda like your website connects to your people to let them know of an upcoming event or anything else that concerns you. For one thing, I am not "obsessed" with bashing anyone--Mark Driscoll, included. However, I am "tending to my own knitting" and so is Dr. Harrell, Bob Hadley, Peter, and our "tribe" when we chat online in our own forums. You see; Southern Baptists ARE our "tribe"; it is the only "tribe" we are addressing when we talk in our own little "knitting world". Although some (a minority) within our "Southern Baptist tribe" do not agree with the rest of the (majority) "So. Bpt. tribe", disagreement makes them no less a part of our "Southern Baptist tribe" than you to the body of Christ, Brother Abernathy. We welcome your thoughts on the matters of the day which concern all Christians, I assure you.

While you may say, here, today, what your "point" was a few days ago is not the same as the point you make now, does not negate what you originally said. And as you say, "That is a fact and a sad one at that."

Your second point, Brother Abernathy, and question to me and others (like the article written by Pastor Harrell), today is:

"why are you and others (like the article written by Pastor Harrell) so wound up about bashing a guy and a ministry that is doing nothing but reaching people (particularly young adults- an increasingly shrinking demographic in the SBC)."

Your original "point" didn't ask a question. Even now, rather than let me and "others" answer your point in question, you assign our "concerns" as pejoratively "bashing" a guy and ministry and just give us your own answer which is:

"The answer seems to be either fear (he's not SBC and therefore suspect or he talks frankly about sex and is therefore suspect) or jealousy. I'm leaning toward jealousy, simply because the evangelistic efforts of Mars Hill and Acts29 affiliated churches always go unmentioned and overlooked anytime the church or organization are mentioned. I think that's sad."

Your "leanings" are incorrect...and could not be farther from any inkling of my thoughts on the matter. I think your speculative answer to a question in point is also sad. You see, my momma use to say that a person whose mind is already closed to any other answers is closed to any possibilities of answers. Could it possibly be that none of your answers are correct? I do not speak for everyone in the Southern Baptist Convention, Brother Abernathy. I can only speak for me, and possibly for my hubby when he gives the okay. Even then, he may word it quite differently. But you assume you already know what our motives and intentions are with whatever you have presumedbly read or "know" about us and our spiritual, mental and emotional state.

As far as your "hope" that I "feel better now that you [I] have vented," I must answer, no. I do not feel better. I never "felt" bad to begin with though. I was simply informing others in my "tribe" to the words you offered for us to consider in light of how happy a person "outside of our tribe" is with Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll, Acts 29 Network and all things related--and those who support him.

As far as you being a "nobody" with a small 100-member church that "you" planted 8 years ago, I have to respectfully disagree. No child of God is a "nobody". We are each made in the image of God. We are wonderfully and fearfully made. We are justified and set apart as righteous through the power of Christ's blood. I am thrilled to hear you have a church with 100 members in Yukon. I pray your church is blessed with greater and greater growth, for the kingdom of God and the glory of Christ. I truly do. I thought of you last night with the tornadoes. You, brother, are precious in His sight. So are all the churches who seek to spread Christ's name and give Him honor and glory for the mighty privilege of doing so. I have no doubt you love "Jesus and people". I have no doubt thousands of ACTS 29 Network members love people and Jesus, too. I am more than happy that you "have been blessed by the ministry of Mars Hill over the years," seriously happy. I have a dear, dear friend who is a member of an Acts29 church. He's completely happy there. However, that does not change how I as a Southern Baptist feel and see the present and future "connection" ACTS-29 Network has with the SBC. Nothing.

And for my part, I see far more valuable things we could do as Southern Baptists with our Cooperative Program monies than supporting someone who writes the things Mark Driscoll does, preaches the things he does, and builds upon the blessings he has received from God with his controversial ideas, unbiblical interpretations and "tell-a-visions".

We do not have to sensationalize anything we say about Mark Driscoll or his ministries, Brother Abernathy. He does that all by himself.

You write: "Finally, I'm sorry you felt "bashed" ...when you and others read blog after blog and comment after comment from a minority of Baptist bloggers/commenters who like to paint A29, Driscoll supporters, and Calvinists as people conspiring for a takeover who are trying to "Calvinize the SBC."

You do not know that it is a minority of Baptists, now do you? Can you prove that assumption?

I'm happy to know you "have no interest in taking anything over". I assure you Southern Baptists also share in your desire to partner with people to reach others for Christ. We've been doing so for hundreds of years. We have worked side by side "people who want to reach others for Jesus--no matter what part of the TULIP they embrace" also. I worked side by side many folks for over 30 years without even knowing the TULIP was anything but a beautiful flower that came up in the Spring. Never knew that 10% of the SBC identified itself with the TULIP until 2006. Never realized that my best friend in all of Christian ministry, who came to our churches and held multiple revivals which helped place many Believers into our baptismal waters), was a hardline 5-point Calvinist. He never mentioned that to me and my husband over gallons upon gallons of coffee we shared during prayer times and fellowships with each others families. "Things That Bear Watching" is a post written by one of our most revered Southern Baptist pastors. When some folks speak, many of us listen.

Meanwhile, I pray you and your family and your church family remain safe in our Oklahoma tornadic activity. selahV

selahV-hariette

David, the alcohol position is another hole in the proverbial dike I have with A29. thanks for that input. when a pastor says that abstinence is sinful, we have some problems with that in my book.

Especially appreciate you pointing out that the "requirements" of the ACTS 29 churches is "reformed beliefs" while not among the majority of SBC churches. I think there is the main reservation the many in the SB have with affiliation with A29--not that they are reformed, but that is ALL they are. Folks who are reformed are totally welcome in all SB churches and often worship side by side though they differ on the "systems" of theology. As CB Scott has said, they worked side by side battling liberal theology during the CR.

But with the introduction of A29, SB churches will, if affiliating with A-29, be "required" to follow their leadership role and structure.

Nothing wrong with an autonomous SBC church being reformed if that is what they choose. But it is not the desire of the convention that I know of, to plant churches which are A29 led. Thus, SB who give money to plant churches (and the majority is non-reformed) are actually supporting the development of churches which they do not agree with in theology. It would in a sense be like me giving my grandson money to go to the movie and him taking my money and going to a bar to party.

There are a lot of things mixed up in all of this besides Mark Driscoll and ACTS-29 as Bill Harrell is addressing--the entities exist for ALL SB, not the minority.

Where is the balance?

SWBTS has both Calvinist and Non-Calvinist professors. In comparison, how are our other seminaries stacked? Is the NAMB just as eager to find non-Calvinists for pastors of church-plants? If not, why not?

As far as the reason some reformed pastors "want" to plant churches is indeed because they are not able to minister the way they seek to minister as reformed pastors in existing non-reformed churches. It's not easy to feed a loaf of rye to a congregation whose dieted on nothing but whole-wheat for a lifetime.

And I can't speak for all reformed seminarians, but I have spoken to a few and they have confided their desire to "plant" rather than minister in an existing church. But the financial burden on their families is monumental as any of us would attest who have worked in smaller churches and tried to support our families on smaller incomes. (I know, that is the kind of church we first pastored in with two middle-school age kids. 109-dollars a week did not go far even in 1981) I don't get around near as much as someone of Bill Harrell's influence. But I know from my tiny speck of the universe that it is "sometimes" true what he says. If someone asks me to "prove it", I would not. Those conversations with dear reformed friends are confidential. I pray for their needs...as they seek to serve the Lord as they are called. I would never divulge those private conversations to prove some point to someone.

I have no beef with reformed folks, in or out of the SBC. I do have a problem with ones who tell me they want to make all our churches into Reformed churches and have no problem strategizing to that end.

For me, A29 affiliation is a big issue on several fronts. Maybe not much of one for others. We shall see as time goes on, I suppose. Praying you had a great day in the Lord, David. selahV

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