by Ken Hamrick
This will be a series of informal posts chronicling my quest to understand and engage Jonathan Edwards on the ideas of necessity and certainty, and to establish where Andrew Fuller departed from Edwards’ view. In this, I’m seeking to expand the argument made in the paper, “Fuller & Inability: A Centrist Response to Tom Nettles.”
Edwards defines necessity in the following way:
Philosophical Necessity is really nothing else than the FULL AND FIXED CONNECTION BETWEEN THE THINGS SIGNIFIED BY THE SUBJECT AND PREDICATE OF A PROPOSITION, which affirms something to be true. When there is such a connection, then the thing affirmed in the proposition is necessary, in a philosophical sense; whether any opposition or contrary effort be supposed, or no. When the subject and predicate of the proposition, which affirms the existence of any thing, either substance, quality, act, or circumstance, have a full and CERTAIN CONNECTION, then the existence or being of that thing is said to be necessary in a metaphysical sense. 
He treats necessity and certainty as the same thing Continue reading
As we near the coming of the Lord, we should be more focused than ever before. As our 50,000 plus churches and congregations partner together in gospel causes, the time is now for us to rise up like never before.
I want to ask you to consider these four things with me in 2015.
1. Personally, collectively, and cooperatively, we need to own the Great Commission.
As Southern Baptists, our missional vision is to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations. There is not one of us that can escape this vision, not because it our vision as Southern Baptists, but because it is the vision of Jesus Christ for each of us as His disciples.
When I challenge us to own the Great Commission, I mean we must own this responsibility personally. Continue reading →
SOUTH ASIA (BP) — A group of Southern Baptist pastors squeezed their way into a small area with crowds of Hindu faithful to watch the ritual slaughter of goats at the Kali temple in Kolkata, India. Those with cameras were swatted with batons by temple security guards adamant the group not capture images of the beheadings.
That scene, combined with earlier scenes of idol worship and ritualistic cleansing in other South Asian cities, was a clear reminder of why these pastors — which included Fred Luter, who was Southern Baptist Convention president at the time — had journeyed there. The Old Testament was played out right in front of them, real and tangible, even brutal. But they had come to tell South Asians that the fulfillment of the Gospel in Jesus changed everything — for all. Continue reading →
by Ken Hamrick
The theology of Andrew Fuller, as set out in his greatest work, The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, is centrally located between those Calvinists who see sinners as walking corpses—no more able to believe than a dead body is able to raise itself from the dead—and those of the other side who see sinners as fully enabled by God’s grace to choose (their will being the determining factor). To Fuller, men are able to believe, but will nonetheless remain unwilling until God does a supernatural work of grace to reverse their unwillingness. Regeneration only causes a man to do what he otherwise could have and should have done but refused. This puts the feet of the universal gospel offer on much more Biblical ground, and removes much of the repugnance of the Calvinist doctrine. The gospel is to be preached to all men because all men do have the ability—and the warrant—to embrace it; and that gospel would save any who do—even the unelect if they would but be willing. Continue reading
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — The phrase “Whatever it takes” is one of the North American Mission Board’s operating values. Staff members are reminded that the mission agency exists to serve Southern Baptists and Southern Baptist churches. Giving back to the community in service was a tangible demonstration of this value as staff participated Dec. 12 in the annual NAMB Day of Service.
Staff from the NAMB’s Alpharetta, Ga., office joined local ministries in a variety of service activities at Peace Baptist Church of Decatur, Clarkston International Bible Church in Clarkston and No Longer Bound of Cumming. Continue reading →
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — Southern Baptist pastor Terry Turner has a newspaper clipping from the early 1900s telling of a family member taken from jail by a mob of southern whites and lynched, never tried or convicted of a crime.
Turner’s memory of growing up as an African American under Jim Crow segregation laws in Guthrie, Okla., partly fuels his support of Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd’s racial reconciliation initiative launched today (Dec. 15), calling for Southern Baptists to repent of racism and unite in love. Twenty other Southern Baptist pastors signed the appeal, including leaders from the white, black, Asian, Native American and Latino communities. Continue reading →
Under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit that I must do something as a Christian, a pastor, and as the current President of the Southern Baptist Convention, this past Wednesday, I conducted a conference call with four of our SBC African American pastors and two Anglo pastors. We talked openly and honestly about the growing racial tension in our nation.
The conversation we had on this conference call led to this article. When I shared with these men my desire to write on this subject, they immediately joined in and said, “Let us help, sign our names, and enlist a few others to come alongside of speaking to the issues of racism and injustice.” Various representatives of ethnicities, who have signed below, are joining us in releasing this article to the pastors, churches, leaders, and laypeople of our Southern Baptist Convention. Continue reading →
The pastor is pulled in a thousand directions all the time, but especially during the Christmas season. Through the seasons of leadership I have experienced over twenty-eight years of ministry here, there have been some very challenging years. However, I have always really tried to insure that my family received my love, support, and focus. Looking back through the years, I believe I have been able to do this in a satisfactory and fulfilling way.
What Threatens Time With the Family
Any pastor can state the intention not to sacrifice his family during the Christmas season. Yet, in order to make this a reality, he needs to know what can threaten his time with his family.
What are some of these possible threats? Continue reading →
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (BP) — Voters in a Northwest Arkansas city have overturned a pro-homosexual/transgender ordinance that many claimed posed a threat to religious liberty.
A sign in Fayetteville, Ark., urges voters to repeal an ordinance passed by the city council that many claimed posed a threat to religious liberty. On Dec. 9, voters did repeal the measure by a narrow margin.
In a special election Tuesday (Dec. 9), residents of Fayetteville — home of the University of Arkansas — approved repeal of the measure by fewer than 500 votes, with 52 percent (7,523) of voters in favor of repeal and 48 percent (7,040) opposed. The result rescinded a law passed by the city council in a 6-2 vote in August. Opponents of the ordinance collected enough signatures within a month to place its repeal on a special election ballot.
The Civil Rights Administration ordinance included protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
Local and national Southern Baptist leaders opposed the ordinance largely because of concerns it would infringe upon the freedoms of religion and conscience for individuals, churches and businesses.
The ordinance’s repeal “represents a victory for religious freedom,” Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious liberty Commission, said. Continue reading →
*This article was originally posted at Kevin’s website http://www.kevinstilley.com and was used [at SBC Today] by permission.
Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Commission tweeted the following comment shortly after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict a New York police offer in the death of Eric Garner.
And then the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a press release in which Moore wrote:
“I’m stunned speechless by this news. We hear a lot about the rule of law—and rightly so. But a government that can choke a man to death on video for selling cigarettes is not a government living up to a biblical definition of justice or any recognizable definition of justice. We may not agree in this country on every particular case and situation, but it’s high time we start listening to our African American brothers and sisters in this country when they tell us they are experiencing a problem.”
I thought these communications to be ill advised and tweeted this response, Continue reading →
God’s Word is clear: “…For My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7) Jesus declared it this way: “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13)
Announcements and promotions within the church sometimes gain a higher priority in planning and follow through than prayer. This is why the church of America sleeps. Spiritual lukewarmness is plaguing the church, resulting in infrequency of church attendance, declining churches, lagging evangelism, sagging giving, and generational disconnectedness.
Is your church a house of prayer or something else? Continue reading →
Dr. Randy White | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Katy, TX
**This article was previously posted by Dr. Randy White on his website http://www.randywhiteministries.org and is used by permission.
Ferguson, MO has erupted in barbaric violence that should cause all law-abiding citizens to demand the restoration of the rule-of-law, but the Evangelical world is preaching kum-ba-ya sermons about race-relations.
I’ve gotta say, I just don’t get it.
Am I a racist because I’m a white Christian male? Am I a racist because I believe that the people who burn down buildings after they’ve looted the businesses within them should be arrested on the spot and placed before a jury trial to receive a fair and just penalty for their crime? Am I a racist because I think a Grand Jury indictment is necessary before judging a man guilty (whether that man is white, black, or purple)? I don’t think I’m a racist at all. I think I’m a responsible citizen with a Biblical worldview. But when I see what the ever-more-left-leaning Evangelicals (like my fellow Southern Baptists) are preaching about the Ferguson fiasco, I am made to feel like I’m a racist. Continue reading →
Battle lines are being drawn among evangelicals regarding how to properly interpret and consequently communicate the happenings at Ferguson, within the context of a biblical-kingdom worldview. One side sees the problems of Ferguson as rooted in history; particularly the history of racial and economic injustice in America. I will address this side later.
The other side is articulated by JD Hall and Randy White.
1. The JD Hall/Randy White “Evangelical Worldview of Ferguson”
The JD Hall/Randy White “Evangelical worldview of Ferguson is an isolated incident between a “criminal” running from a store robbery” and “an officer with an exemplary record and quality personal character was in fear that his life was in jeopardy from someone who, by all reasonable accounts, has a lengthy criminal record and troubled personal character, and the officer exercised necessary force to eliminate that threat.”
Those who simply view this as an isolated fight between a “criminal” with a “troubled personal character” and an officer with an “exemplary record and quality personal character” would then view the protestors in the streets of Ferguson and around the country and world as a “mob”, “not a hurting community”, a group with a “lack of values” and “questionably sincere outrage”. Continue reading →
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has released a motivational tool book to help pastors and churches across the SBC engage in concerted prayer for the next great awakening in advance of the 2015 annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
Floyd announced the release of his ebook in a press conference call Wednesday (Nov. 19), joined by Southern Baptist editors, writers and state convention leaders. The announcement also marked the release of the annual meeting theme, “Great Awakening: Clear Agreement, Visible Union, Extraordinary Prayer,” based on Romans 13:11, for the June 16-17 gathering.
During the conference call, Floyd highlighted several recommendations from his ebook: Continue reading →
Who We Are
We are a ministry fellowship celebrating the Hobbs-Rogers tradition in Southern Baptist life. That’s a fancy way of saying that we believe in the kind of salvation doctrine one might hear at a Billy Graham Crusade. God loves you. He has a wonderful plan for your life. He sincerely wants you to be saved. Jesus died for your sins and the sins of the whole wide world. If you are willing, then you are certainly able to respond to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the gospel. Jesus has already said, “yes” to you. You can say “yes” or “no” to Him.
Connect 316 strives to strike the proper tone as we distinguish ourselves from brothers and sisters in Christ who hold opposing views. Although we disagree on certain issues with our Calvinist friends on the one hand, and our Arminian friends on the other, we truly love, respect and appreciate them as part of God’s family. Our situation can be compared to the arrangement of churches in the small town where I serve. The Baptist Church is located midway between the Methodists and the Presbyterians. Theologically, this is where we find ourselves as well—and we are committed to maintaining this stance, especially as the pressures of New Calvinism inch us ever closer to the Presbyterians. Continue reading →
My church has a benevolence fund, and it is my great joy as pastor to be the one who delivers checks to those in need. We’ve been able to give and give generously to those in the church family who lose a job or have some other family hardship. That is a pastor’s joy.
It is not quite so much fun when one of the Siouxland “regulars” calls the church asking for a handout. Continue reading →
VATICAN CITY (BP) — Southern Baptists’ lead ethicist has affirmed “a strong statement” by Pope Francis on traditional marriage during the pontiff’s opening address at the Vatican colloquium on “the complementarity of man and woman in marriage.”
“Pope Francis made clear that male/female complementarity is essential to marriage, and that this cannot be redefined by ideology or by the state,” Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told Baptist Press in written comments from the Vatican. “I am glad to hear such a strong statement on this, and on how an eclipse of marriage hurts the poor and the vulnerable.” Continue reading →
I think every church in the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond would want their people to engage in preparing weekly for the worship services of their church. Just imagine the power that would be upon God’s preachers and the power that would come upon worship services around the world if the church consistently prepared for these moments spiritually. It would be God-sized!
Consider letting the sunset on Saturdays or the sunrises on Sundays serve as a reminder that it is time to pray for your church for 3 minutes or 180 seconds, as referenced in Pleading With Southern Baptists. There is nothing holy or biblical about three minutes of concentrated prayer, but it is an attainable goal for every Christ-follower I know. It does not matter where you are or whom you may be with. 3 minutes to slip away and pray for your church should be possible most weeks, if not all. You could set a 3-minute timer on your cell phone, and pray until the alarm goes off. This will help increase your focus in prayer. Continue reading →
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Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry. The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusively Calvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.
While Calvinists have been present in Southern Baptist life from its earliest days and have made very important contributions to our history and theology, the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism. Even the minority of Southern Baptists who have identified themselves as Calvinists generally modify its teachings in order to mitigate certain unacceptable conclusions (e.g., anti-missionism, hyper-Calvinism, double predestination, limited atonement, etc.). The very fact that there is a plurality of views on Calvinism designed to deal with these weaknesses (variously described as “3-point,” “4-point,” “moderate,” etc.) would seem to call for circumspection and humility with respect to the system and to those who disagree with it. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON (BP) — Southern Baptist representation in Congress dropped as a result of the Nov. 4 election.
The House of Representatives will include 30 Southern Baptists when the next Congress convenes in January. That will be four fewer than in the current House. The Senate will remain the same at six Southern Baptists, with one Southern Baptist replacing another.
Rep. James Lankford, who has served four years in the House, easily gained election to the Senate seat from Oklahoma vacated by a fellow Southern Baptist, Sen. Tom Coburn. Coburn announced in January he would step down at the end of the year, leaving two years remaining in his term.
Lankford, a Republican, outpolled Democrat Connie Johnson in the special election with 556,382 to 237,531 votes or 68 to 29 percent. Continue reading →