Sovereign Grace Ministers ? ? ?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by DeadMan, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. DeadMan

    DeadMan
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    I'm not a minister nor a seminary student, but simply someone with a question.

    Being of a "reformed" viewpoint, I'm wondering if there are more students graduating from our seminaries with views more along my thinking?
     
  2. NateT

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    I suppose it depends on which seminaries you are talking about. From Southern Baptist Theological in Louisville, then absolutely. Perhaps from SEBTS as well. Midwestern, I get the impression that it's not so much. And from what I've heard, from Mid-America, it sounds as if that would be rather unlikely.

    However, there does seem to be an uptick in general, but it's possible that, while growing, they are still by far in the minority.
     
  3. Trapper

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    War Eagle Brother........
    At NOBTS about 2 out of 10 might be reformers.
    However, of the 3 Theology Profs at NOBTS two are stauchly reformed while the other is not.
    This was in 2000, things might have changed some.
    Best
    Trapper
     
  4. Trapper

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    One more thing Deadman
    There's a lot of John Mac study bibles in students hands
     
  5. Rhetorician

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    dead man,

    I am sovereign grace mostly. I just graduated 2 1/2 yrs ago with my doctorate and now teach @ a Baptist College. I have two degress from SBC seminaries, one from Mid America and one from the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville. (I know some will argue MABTS is NOT an SBC seminary but please grant this for the present discussion).

    I was a layman and went into the ministry late, age 30. I have always leaned towards the sovereignty of God in salvation. This is quite remarkable in itself having been reared under, baptized by, married by, and ordained by a "Bob Jones man" pastor.

    I came to some of the first Founder's Conferences in Memphis when I was a @ Mid America. This experience helped to focus and solidify my faith system about the doctrines of soteriology or salvation. If you do not know, the Founders Ministries was organized to bring church reform and the "Doctrines of Grace" back into the churches of the SBC. But that is a whole other story.

    When I did graduate/professional work @ Southern Seminary in Louisville, it was done under Al Mohler. Southern has taken a definitive turn towards the Doctrines of Grace. I would say, as an alum, that it holds to the doctrines similarly that Andrew Fuller might; trying to hold in tension a "warm heart" for missions and evangelism with that of a Calvinistic Soteriology. By-the-by, we see no incongruity b/t the two.

    There are many men young and old as well as ministers who are reading Boyce, Broadus, Mercer, JL Dagg, JB Johnson, William Williams, Bunyan, Spurgeon, and the great works of the Puritans. There is definitvely a "resurgence of the Doctirnes of Grace" in the wake of the so-called "Conservative Resurgence" of the SBC.

    Who knows how prevalent it is, who can tell? But, I know this one thing: when Southern Baptist men read the 19th century founders of the Convention, they are made to think about their heritage and legacy in a different light!

    I hope this adds to the discussion!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  6. Broadus

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    It seems there is an ever-growing number of students graduating from SBC seminaries who are theologically Reformed, in the historic Particular Baptist way.

    While SBTS may take the lead in this, many such students are graduating from our other seminaries. I think a contributing factor is the almost radical pragmatism and a shallow understanding of conversion being evidenced in our larger churches.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  7. Rhetorician

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    Broadus,

    AMEN!!!!!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  8. Major B

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    The problem is going to be, and for many young preachers is, that there are not nearly so many "founder's friendly" churches as there are "reformed" theology pastors.

    Achieving change in a Southern Baptist, dipped and dyed, Lottie Moon, Conservative but Cooperative, semi-landmark, send-the-kids-to-Ridgecrest, deacons-all-wear-a-suit-and-tie, all-the-kids-better-profess-Christ-by-12, don't-throw-your-boxes-away-pastor, kind of church, is nearly impossible. An acquaintance who studied this for his D.Min. showed me figures of around 10% success rate, convention wide.
     
  9. Rhetorician

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    Major B,

    I don't whether to say "AMEN" or "oh me!"

    sdg!

    rd
     
  10. Broadus

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    Your assessment is, unfortunately, akin to what I've seen. I'm not sure about the 10%, but I won't quibble. Still, young ministers must be taught and must learn to exhibit a characteristic that I've failed to exhibit too often---patience. Even then, the going is tough.

    And yet, we must practice what we preach: a deeply held conviction in the sovereignty of God. He will turn churches as he will, but we must remain faithful.

    There are some great stories of God's working in the hearts of churches to turn them completely around. While at the Ligonier Pastor's Conference this past October, I had supper with a senior pastor of a county-seat FBC in rural Georgia. He was called to that church after completing a PhD in NT at SBTS in the latter 1980s. He was a staunch liberal and the church made it clear they wanted a liberal pastor. After several years, the Lord so worked in him that he stood before his congregation and proclaimed that the Bible was the infallible, inerrant Word of God. He then told his congregation he was no longer the pastor they had initially called, and if they wanted his resignation, he would deliver it.

    The congregation did not ask him to resign, though several members left for the liberal Episcopalian congregation in town. Now the pastor began to preach expositional sermons. People were converted and the church was changing.

    A few years later he became convinced about Reformed soteriology and began to preach and teach God's sovereignty in salvation. Recently, after an extended period of teaching his people, the church affirmed a change to an elder-led congregational church government.

    I recognize that for every "success" story there are many heart-breaking stories. Still, either God is sovereign or he is not, and many churches will have to account for how they responded to truth. We must remain faithful.

    Bill
     
  11. Hardsheller

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    I am encouraged by the contacts I received when we posted our Mid Missouri Founders Fraternal info on the Founders Ministries web site.

    While we are still in the minority in all places of the SBC - our tribe is growing and I'm encouraged by all the young men who have come to believe in the Doctrines of Grace at an early stage in their ministries.

    My advice is that Young SBC Pastors with a "reformed" heart need to start more new churches. We have one such church plant in a city close to me.

    Some of us older Calvinistic SBC Pastors who are struggling to change some of these older churches could undergird these guys with prayer and financial support.
     
  12. Major B

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    Broadus,

    I personally know of a few turnarounds that were successful; all of them were in pastorates that were so long as to be a life's work in one church. From my personal experience, I would have said that 10% success was a high figure.

    The fellow that I talked to had done some pretty extensive research as a part of his D.Min., and he was in the middle of his own turnaround, which he, at that point, thought would be successful. I was also in the middle of what I thought was a successful turnaround. His research was more true that either of us wanted to know, because we both got canned.
     
  13. Hardsheller

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    Major B.,

    Can you reveal the name of that person and the school where he did his D.Min and the name of the study?

    If not publicly then privately?

    I'd really like to see it.
     
  14. Major B

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    So would I, but his address and the letters we exchanged did not survive the move from the pastor's office when I was canned in 2000. I remember that he pastored in Owen County (I think), KY, and that he was doing his D.Min. at SBTS in Louisville.

    I will try to see if I have his stuff around the house someplace.
     
  15. Broadus

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    Major,

    IMO, the difficulty in turning churches is exacerbated, if indeed not caused by, the large number of unregenerate church members in most SBC churches. Hence, the difficulty in turning churches is extremely difficult.

    Having said that, longer pastorates are absolutely necessary. One must not go into a church thinking that much change is going to take place soon. The only change will be in the person occupying the pulpit! One must take several years faithfully preaching and teaching and caring for the souls of the people in order to gain their trust. Even then, if there are a large number of unregenerate members, the teaching of the Word will create a hostile environment, without the word "election" ever being articulated.

    I couldn't agree more---the state of our SBC churches is so wretched that pastors faithful to the Word will find great hostility and conflict. In some areas, a new church may be the answer.

    Bill
     
  16. Major B

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    Bill,

    I am sure that our county is typical. This is dipped and dyed conservative SBC country. We have around 33,000 people in the county, and somewhere around 14,000 are on the rolls of SBC churches in this county--48 churches in all, mostly tiny, feuding, and futile. There are a few medium sized churches with some sign of health, and one church that is really getting the job done, and a couple of startups trying to pull some folks into the 20th century at least, if not clean up to the present.

    However, of those 14,000 members, you will only find 3,000-4,000 there in Sunday school, and many never darken the door of any church except at Christmas and Easter, if then.

    I could go on, but you get the picture.
     
  17. Hardsheller

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    And yet the SBC Leaders will publish that "We Southern Baptists are 16 Million Strong!!!" - The largest Non-Catholic Denomination in America"
     
  18. Major B

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    From the puritan Richard Steele, "How empty would our congregations be sometimes, if no more bodies were present than there are souls?""
     
  19. Broadus

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    One wag said that "We Southern Baptists are 16 million weak!"

    We have a lot of machinery, a program to keep everyone busy, and more self-congratulatory hot air than a balloon race, but we have only a negligible impact upon our culture.

    Bill
     
  20. All about Grace

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    Just my .02 on a couple of these issues ...

    Calvinism is now "hip" among young seminarians (and students outside the seminaries). Guys like Piper are the rage among many college students. Many of these fledgling founders guys have no clue what the doctrines fully entail and/its weaknesses. But being a Calvinist is cool so armed with a limited knowledge of the doctrines of grace these callow Calvinists leave seminary and split churches or create unnecessary division in good churches. I have witnessed this event on more than one occasion (the other extreme also happens -- people lashing out at Calvinism who do not even know what it teaches).

    While visiting my in-laws one Christmas break, their insurance man stopped by for an annual evaluation. He found out I was a student at SBTS and proceeded to tell me how they had sent some students to Southern who jumped on the Founders band wagon and then proceeded to come home and split the church over Calvinism. I have talked to RAM on more than one occasion about this issue. It is a serious one that has caused Mohler to pull away from the Founders movement (in my opinion).

    A second thought I have on this issue is how most Reformed guys claim to be theologically grounded and evangelistically fervent. Yet as someone who is very solid theologically and very God-centered in my beliefs, I am also the constant recipient of unwarranted criticisms from reformed-types regarding my methodologies and evangelistic zeal. I admit that I am a bit of an anomaly in the fact that I am academically trained to the highest level (PhD) and yet extremely flexible in my methods. Most of the Founders guys simply don't know what to do with my type (who continue to grow in phenominal numbers - mostly outside the SBC).

    I reached a point a few years ago where I realized that our problem is not a theological one. I use "our" and "we" here because I still consider myself a part of the SBC (in a limited capacity). Our problem is missional. We are training students to understand the basics of theology, launguages, theories, etc. but we are not training them to be missional. We are afraid of missional thinking that teaches students to be solid theologically but to also be a student of their culture in order to take God's unchanging message into a changing culture. We have failed to teach them to think like missionaries in whatever culture they are involved.

    To begin to think this way would cause us to have to re-evaluate some of those things we teach are essentials -- things like expository preaching and several other issues we have elevated to the same level as the gospel itself.

    Just some thoughts from a rebel ...
     

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