Month: June 2007

Southwestern’s Concentration in HomeMaking Discussed on “Crosstalk”

This morning I listened to a broadcast discussing Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s concentration in Homemaking. I encourage you to let it play in the background while you are working today. With many in our culture making fun of women who desire to focus on the home, this program was a breath of fresh air. You can access the program here.

The concentration at Southwestern combines a classical education in the history of ideas with training in how to keep a proper home. The biblical basis for the concentration is Titus 2

Titus 2:1-8 itus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

The following information came from the Seminary’s website.

The College at Southwestern
Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with a concentration in homemaking

The College at Southwestern endeavors to prepare women to model the characteristics of the godly woman as outlined in Scripture. This is accomplished through instruction in homemaking skills, developing insights into home and family while continuing to equip women to understand and engage the culture of today.

The BA in Humanities with a concentration in homemaking provides a solid foundation for life. The woman who completes this degree and concentration will be:

  • Prepared spiritually — Through significant study of Scripture and theology, each woman will be prepared to be an evangelist and apologist focused upon reaching women, children and families for Christ.
  • Challenged intellectually — Intensive instruction in the history of Western ideas will challenge each woman to be familiar with the influential people of our past and to give a response from a biblical worldview.
  • Equipped practically—With four areas of focus, the homemaking concentration student will be equipped 
  • To nurture and care for the family.
  • In the area of nutrition and food preparation.
  • By developing a skill in clothing and textile design.
  • Through practical experiences for skill development for the most important job a woman may have: the nurture and care of the family.

Ten Things I Believe: Number 10: Adoption

korea-gotcha-day-037.jpgI believe in the adoption of unwanted children. I recently read an article on CNN.com titled “Gay Adoption: A New Take on the American Family.” My heart broke as I realized two truths. First, the gay community may be more active in adoption than the Baptist community. The story says that 65,000 adopted children are being raised by same-sex parents in America. In addition, “more than 14,100 foster children were living with one or more gay or lesbian foster parent.” I believe that Baptists should continue to encourage women not to abort babies, but as a necessary corollary, we must willingly adopt children resulting from unwanted pregnancy. I believe Baptists must willingly provide foster homes for children who need them. 

I also realized that we will soon have a generation who does not understand family in the same way I do. The idea of one mother and one father demonstrating proper roles in a godly home seems to be vanishing. We must recognize that modeling, teaching, and preaching on the proper home life will be increasingly important as the fabric of the godly family continues to unravel. I pray for those children reared in homes where the Bible is never read, where prayer only occurs at the dinner table (if even then), and where mommy or daddy is absent. I pray for those children who never experience the joy of family devotions; those children who never sing “This Little Light of Mine” or the “B-I-B-L-E.” I pray for our churches and our nation as the increasing practices of abortion and homosexuality affect the ministry to the next generation. Although individually we cannot cure the ills of our society, a commitment to adoption by the Baptist community would help show the light of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying generation. I also believe a commitment to adoption is biblical.

The theological principle of adoption became clearer to me the day the adoption of my daughter was finalized. (You can read the story of how God provided here.)The judge made sure I understood one point. He asked me, “Do you realize that after today she is yours until she turns 18?” “Do you realize that you cannot give her up? This is final.” My response was, “Yes, isn’t that the idea of adoption?” He responded that he just wanted to make sure I understood. This experience has given me a clearer understanding of what it means to be adopted by God through Jesus Christ. When I look at my little girl and feel the love rush through my heart, I can’t help but be broken at how much God loves you and me. 

When I think of how God sent Jesus Christ to die for my sin while I was yet a sinner so that I might be adopted as a son by the creator of the universe, I can’t help but be for adoption. I hope you too will consider adoption or providing a foster home for unwanted children.

My First Series: Ten Things I Believe

One of the Devil’s sneakiest traps in life is to encourage us to criticize one another and to speak negatively more than we speak positively. I recognize this impulse in the depravity of my own heart. When individuals speak badly of another person a twisted emotion arises within me that enjoys hearing of the demise followed by a sense of pride that I can do better than that. My sinfulness demonstrates that “Misery loves Company” and anyone worse off than me makes me feel better about myself.  I also find it easier to be against something than to be for something. As I try not to fall into that trap, I plan to begin a series on “Ten Things I Believe.” I believe these ten items are important, and I would be willing to stand for them. I hope that this encourages you to contemplate your own list of ten things.

One Sacred Effort and the Executive Committee

 one-sacred-effort.jpg

I have already taught one class this summer, and I am preparing for two more classes this coming fall. During my preparation for classes which includes updating my notes, I rewrite my syllabi, read new books on the subject, and review some books that I have previously read. Usually reviewing these books amounts to going back through the highlights and marked sections. One such book that I recently went through for a review is worthy of reading by every Southern Baptist. The title of the book is One Sacred Effort. The book was published in 2005 and is written by Chad Brand and David Hankins with a forward by Morris Chapman.

While there are many interesting portions of this book, one of the most interesting in my opinion is the discussion of the formation of the Executive Committee. Although many do not realize it, the convention almost went with a strong executive board. However, the Southern Baptist Convention decided against it. Here is an excerpt from the book on page 147.

In 1916, one year after the Efficiency commission’s recommendations, a constitutional amendment was proposed that would create “one strong Executive Board which shall direct all the work and enterprises fostered by this Convention.” A “Consolidation Committee” was named which reported to the 1917 Southern Baptist Convention. The report did not recommend the original idea to consolidate all boards (although a substitute motion to that effect was offered, hotly debated, and, then, defeated). What it did recommend was a compromise between those who believed “consolidation” was best for the Convention and those who wanted to maintain “separate and distinct boards.”  

After being initially started with pastoral and lay leaders in 1917, the Executive Committee was incorporated with paid staff in 1927. It’s hard to imagine that from 1845 until 1927 the Southern Baptist Convention operated with no Executive Committee.  One page over, 148, the book discusses the name “Executive Committee.”

The Executive Committee’s name has some significance. When it was organized, the concerns about centralized power caused the Convention to call it a committee and not a board. Many Baptist state conventions have an executive board that has broad centralized authority. The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention is much more limited in its authority. Therefore, though they are legally the “trustees” of the Executive Committee, a Tennessee not-for-profit corporation, Executive Committee trustees are called “members” because the Executive Committee is a committee and not a board. The Executive Committee is always careful to recognize the limitations of its authority in the SBC structure.

There you have it. The name, purpose, and limitations of the Executive Committee have all been discussed in our history. I continue to be fascinated by the discussions contained in the pages of history and the wisdom of our Baptist forefathers in setting up a Committee and not a Board preventing centralized power and relying on the wisdom and desires of our local churches for guiding our convention.    

Private Talks with God lead Priest to go Muslim but Remain Christian

Read the entire story here 

Part of the story says, “She can’t explain why that led her to become a Muslim, but says “when God gives you an invitation, you don’t turn it down.” She read up on Islam and made her profession of faith — the shahada — in March 2006, testifying there is only one god, Allah, and that Mohammad is his messenger. The Muslim requirement of praying five times daily has given her the deep connection to God she yearned for, she says. When she prays on other occasions, her prayers are neither uniquely Islamic nor Christian but private talks with Allah or God, names she uses interchangeably. “It’s the same person, praying to the same God,” she contends.”

This story should remind us that syncretism does exist in our society. We must at all times be on guard against views which lead to a total loss of the Gospel message. One of these would be to confuse Allah (the god of the Muslim faith) with the God of Christianity.  

The Name and Purpose

The name of this site is taken from one of the great Southern Baptists of years gone by. Robert Boyte Crawford Howell. Howell lived from 1801 to 1868. He was elected as one of the Vice Presidents at the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in Georgia in absentia. His influence in the state of Tennessee cannot be under-estimated. He fought several controversies including one against J.R. Graves. In this battle against Graves he used a paper titled The Baptist. Howell stands as a statesman and a gentleman who served Southern Baptist well including service as president for several years. In addition, one of my best friends wrote his dissertation on Howell. Howell is one of my favorite theologians including his famous book The Evils of Infant Baptism. Thus, the title of this site comes from a man who dedicated himself to the local church and served Baptists well.

The byline of this site is “desiring to know the whole truth: daring to make it known.” While some may take this statement to be a political statement due to the fact that certain bloggers seem to be experts at half truths directed to gain their own political agenda, the title is nothing of the sort. This line came from the byline of the newspaper called the Tennessee Baptist. This paper was edited by J.R. Graves, J.M. Pendleton and others. My admiration for this paper comes from the topics that they address. They dealt with theological issues and dealt with local church issues–exactly the topics that I plan to address on this site. My heart beats for the local church. My PhD is in Systematic Theology where I focused on Baptist Theology attempting to specialize in ecclesiology. I wrote my dissertation on J.M. Pendleton. A man I greatly admire. The man wrote over 700 articles, a dozen books, served as professor of theology at Union University, served as pastor for most of his life, and wrote one of the most successful church manuals ever. He typified the pastor/theologian and our convention could use many more men like him.

I understand that my association with Pendleton will lead many to label me a Landmarker or Landmarkist depending on where you studied. This accusation is not true although I am not offended by it. I do not agree with the basic tenet of Landmarkism. I have read the original sources and understand what Landmarkism means. At its most basic level it is the denial of Pedobaptist churches as Gospel churches and the denial of Pedobaptist ministers as Gospel ministers. I do not agree with this position. While I believe Baptist churches are the closest to the New Testament pattern, I place the ordinances “rightly administered” in the “well being” of the church and not the “being” of a church. Thus, I differ with Pendleton on this issue. Most do not know that Pendleton did acknowledge the universal church as I do. In fact, Pendleton’s writings were essential to making this change in the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message (long after Pendleton’s death). I also do not believe in a literal “trail of blood” that goes back to John the Baptist. I will elaborate on this later as I also do not believe that Baptist began with the English Separatists but for now, I must stay on topic.  

What I do admire about Pendleton was his commitment to the local church, his love of the Gospel, and his ability to stand for what was right no matter the personal cost to him. I will be writing more about his stands in the future. For now, it is enough to say that this site contains my own personal views. I do not speak for anyone else. I am not a Landmarker, but I do admire their concern for the local church. I will be commenting on the local church and things that affect it. I do after all consider myself a third generation Southern Baptist preacher who happens to work at the world’s greatest seminary…teaching among other things ecclesiology. 

The Southern Baptist Convention

I am greatly encouraged after my second Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio, Texas. I was here many years ago as a much younger boy. My father is a Southern Baptist Preacher who brought me to the convention with him. He taught me the importance of the Conservative Resurgence and standing on the inerrancy of Scripture. The logical corollary to inerrancy is of course the sufficiency of Scripture. I have often remembered those lessons and the battle fought in San Antonio among other locations. I thought of these days again when reading one theologian reminding us to always be vigilant in watching those who wish to move our convention to the left theologically or widen the tent too far. This theologian encouraged us to remember the Alamo. Wise words.

There is much that I could say about this year’s convention. I could speak of the election of Jim Richards. I could speak of the great job Paige Patterson did during the Southwestern Seminary report. I could speak of the strong stand Al Mohler took during this year’s convention. However, I simply want to say thank you to the many men I met who are committed to biblical inerrancy and sound theology. I met many Southern Baptists with hearts for evangelism and the willingness to be vigilant against any who wish to sidetrack us on our goal of fulfilling the great commission. I am greatly encouraged with those I have met.  I look forward to working with them for years to come. Thanks to all of you who have given me another reason to remember the Alamo.

Coming in a future commentary…an explanation of the name of this site and my intentions here. For now, I am going to spend some time with my family and catch up on email.    

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