Does this Baptist pastor sound like a theological liberal?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by John Ellwood Taylor, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. John Ellwood Taylor

    John Ellwood Taylor
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    Just curious for your opinions: Here's the pastor's write-up on the church's website. As well, I've included their doctrinal stance on the Bible for your comments as well, is this a strong enough statement for the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible?

    Thanks:

    Rev. ... was born in ..., NY in 1963. From his earliest memories, he has been in relationship with Jesus Christ. In the process of finding his calling to ministry, he held numerous jobs and pursued undergraduate and graduate education. On November 3, 1997, while working in a factory, a co-worker shared his conviction, by the Holy Spirit, that ... should become a minister. ... has pursued that call to ministry ever since. This led to additional seminary education, as well as education in social work.

    Pastor ...’s message is simple – the Gospel of Jesus Christ is holistic. Although salvation from sin is an essential part of the gospel message, Jesus’ own words remind us that once we are saved, we have an obligation to tend to the physical needs of the poor: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36). The consistent theme of his ministry here has been: "Focus on Jesus, and Serve Others."

    All truth ultimately belongs to God. Therefore Christians need not fear science, psychology or other academic disciplines. As new truths are discovered, God’s work in the world is even further revealed to us.

    Pastor ...’s favorite pastoral duties include preaching, prayer and visitation.
    Pastor ... holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Roberts Wesleyan College, an M.A. in American History from the State University of New York from Brockport, an M.S.W. from the University of Pittsburgh and a M. Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He lives in ... with his wife and two children. Hobbies include reading, cooking, listening to music and attending sporting events.

    THE BIBLE AND ITS USE

    We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The central theme of both the Old and New Testaments is deliverance. In the Old Testament, the central action is the deliverance of God's people from Egypt to the Promised Land, and from Babylonian captivity to the Promised Land. In the New Testament, God brings His deliverance through His only Son, Jesus. Through the Bible, God speaks to man about how to be saved and how to live in His will.
     
  2. Scott J

    Scott J
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    Liberal or whatever- I don't find his testimony biblical so anything he believes after that is suspect... even if it doesn't sound bad on the surface.

    I suppose at some point you will name this person or at least give more clues? I have two guesses if this is a nationally popular figure.
     
  3. Petrel

    Petrel
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    Scott J, Why don't you find the testimony biblical?

    There are a couple of things that make you go "Hmm. . ." The statement about our obligation to help the poor is true. However, a lot of the churches get caught up in the social gospel and attach a lot of other baggage to helping the poor. They often eliminate the personal responsiblity of the poor and paint them as victims of "systems." They tolerate sin when they shouldn't and seem to be more concerned about people's financial condition than spiritual condition.

    Of course, they could be applying Scripture in a purely biblical way. It's hard to tell.

    The other thing is the statement about all truth being God's truth. This is true, but I would expect a statement following this stressing the importance of discernment in discovering whether claims by worldly authorities are indeed true. A lot of psychiatry, especially the current emphasis on good self esteem, is garbage.

    It's hard to say from the statement on the Bible because it's so brief. The catch-phrase among liberals is that the Bible contains the Word of God. This says that the Bible is the Word of God, which is promising.

    I'd say be cautious but take a closer look before making a decision.
     
  4. John Ellwood Taylor

    John Ellwood Taylor
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    No need to try and quess, as it's not a national figure. Met this pastor at the funeral home last evening and after hearing what seminary (liberal) he graduated from I was a little curious and looked up the church's website to find out a little more.

    I am curious as to who(m) you were thinking of.

    Agreed on the 'conversion' testimony. I'll wait for some more feedback and some more free time to offer my thoughts.
     
  5. John Ellwood Taylor

    John Ellwood Taylor
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    Not to answer for Scott J, but here's my take :

    1) Does he have no memories of his life before his 'relationship with Jesus Christ" or was he 'born' a Christian?

    2) Does not speak of a time when convicted of sin and converted in Christ.
    3)) Does not define 'relationship'. To vauge to be declared as "I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ".
     
  6. TexasSky

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    My concern is that he doesn't speak of a calling from God. He speaks of someone else telling him that he should preach.
     
  7. Scott J

    Scott J
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    His testimony doesn't indicate a point in his life when his spiritual nature was changed. "You must be born again"... his testimony doesn't indicate this.
     
  8. Johnv

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    Scott, I think you're assuming that everyone who's born again becomes so at an instant. I've known many people who came to know the Lord over time. Sometimes labor is short, and sometimes it takes a day or even two. Jesus doesn't say how long the "labor" of being born again must take. He only says that we must be born again.

    Now, that being said, is it a requirement that a person's testimony divulge the moment when someone got born again? I can speak for myself, that time in my life was very personal and private. I don't openly share it with people. I will tell people I was born again in high school, but that's pretty much all the detail I give. It's HIGHLY personal and private, and I see no reason why that privacy should be infringed upon by other believers.

    As for the blurb in the OP, it seems to me that this rev is on a scripturally appropriate walk. That's sufficient.
     
  9. Petrel

    Petrel
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    The Baptist emphasis is on a salvation experience, a moment that we can point to and say, "This is when I was saved." Most other denominations don't place such importance on that one defining moment. There are people who have grown up in Christian families in these other denominations that are definitely Christians and definitely saved, but they can't point to that one defining moment.

    The requirements for salvation are to confess one's sins, repent, and accept Jesus' forgiveness. They're not to confess one's sins, repent, accept Jesus' forgiveness, and then recognize one has had a salvation experience. :D
     
  10. Jim1999

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    This minister grew up in the Anglican Church. He never didn't believe. Prior to or during his confirmation, he realized the Christ as his personal Saviour. There were no fireworks and no drama. He went on to several Bible colleges and seminaries, was ordained to the Baptist ministry and served to retirement. Some came to know the Christ under his ministry. Was this minister saved?

    Not everyone has a Damascus Road experience. Sometimes there is a quiet realization of God in his life. When an apple tree bears fruit one knows it is an apple tree.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Scott J

    Scott J
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    I am not really looking for an argument on such a very sensitive subject. However, do you all have a scriptural example or proof that becoming a new creation in Christ is an undiscernable process or event?
     
  12. Scott J

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    I am sincerely not trying to be a smart aleck... but experience or what denominations believe has zero authority on the matter of salvation.

    The Bible is the only legitimate authority on that matter.
     
  13. John Ellwood Taylor

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    Johnv: You stated of your personal testimony you were "born again in high school".
    This man uses no equivalent terminology relating to biblical salvation. "Relationship" is too vague a term and leaves much wiggle room for interpretation.

    Petrel stated "The requirements for salvation are to confess one's sins, repent, and accept Jesus' forgiveness." True.
    Again, this pastor by simply stating a "relationship" fails to proclaim or even imply such experiences.

    I agree that point in time decisionism is not a good basis for determinig the presense of saving faith. Some may have indeed from their earliest recollections been exposed to the Scriptures and the gospel message. I do think those of us who have had our sins forgiven by the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ should be unambiguous in stating so.

    Initially my radar went up when I heard what seminary he attended. Now I'm concerned, this example inparticular, as well, in general, of the tendancy to state convictions (or lack therof) in imprecise, indefinite, and nebulous terms so as to be acceptable by those who fail to discern.

    Sometimes it now what is said that is wrong but what is NOT said that is the problem. Speaking certain acceptable truths while avoiding others (Ex: Proclaiming Jesus loves you and has awonderful plan for your life. Failing to declare that God who is holy, must punish sinners. Eternal hell awaits those who fail to enter through the narrow gate. Or Jesus is the ONLY way, truth, and life.)
     
  14. JamesBell

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    This thread is interesting to me. When asked about my salvation, I always say it was during VBS when I was 7 years old. That is when I made the decision to tell everyone that I had "asked Jesus into my heart." However, I often wonder if I wasn't saved before then. I can't remember a time where I didn't know Jesus was the Lord and that he died for me. (oddly enough many of my early memories of that came from a Bible story book my mom got from some JW people. Luckily, it didn't pervert the Bible other than saying Jesus died on a stake and not a cross.)

    So, I point to a particular moment as my "salvation experience". But, I don't know if I was saved before then or not.
     
  15. Petrel

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    True, he should be less vague. Even though he was raised Anglican, apparently, and they don't stress a salvation experience in those who grow up in the church, as a transplant to the Baptists he ought to be aware that we usually think in those terms. A more detailed explanation of his certainty of salvation and relationship with Jesus would calm such concerns.

    I did not go to seminary so I'm not really familiar with many of them, so I thought I'd leave that analysis to others.

    It's true that more liberal churches are usually fuzzy in their theology. I think it's more because they don't want to exclude people by being "judgmental" than because of a conscious desire to deceive people, although I don't know if that's an improvement!

    So once again I'm not going to conclude that this pastor is liberal in his theology, but the vagueness of the statement on the web page makes it look possible.
     
  16. Kiffen

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    I am no a big fan of his overall statements that were quoted BUT the statement from his earliest memories, he has been in relationship with Jesus Christ. can be interpreted so many ways.

    I have known of Church members who will say they cannot remember a day and time they were not saved. They do not mean they were never lost but many of them are elderly cannot remember back to their conversion experience or even their baptism. Maybe that is what he means. When one was converted is not as important as knowing that one is at present trusting Christ alone for Salvation. [​IMG]
     
  17. TomVols

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    I'm suspicious of this question. What's the point? I don't know if we have enough information.
     
  18. Charles Meadows

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    I agree. This thread is pointless and silly.
     
  19. Petrel

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    Maybe John is thinking about going there but has some reservations and wants our input. I'm not suspicious, I don't think it's silly, and I don't think we have enough information to give a definitive answer.
     
  20. Ed Edwards

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