Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some SBC Thoughts

Wow... That is really all I can say about being at the SBC in Louisville this year.

For starters, I forgot what happens when you put 8,000 preachers in a room together. I also got to see a lot of people who have labored and been faithful for more years than I have lived (and then some!). I also got to be part of a movement called the Great Commission Resurgence which I think can really be a catalyst in the SBC. I got to see motions made on the floor by everyday men and women, one of the beautiful things about the SBC. It was encouraging to see what happens when all have equal footing. Laymen and Seminary Presidents were equal in the discussion, praise the Lord!

I was saddened to hear so much slander and attack against Mark Driscoll and the Acts 29 network. While I certainly agree that Driscoll may go too far in some of his discussions, and that he may border on "crude" at times, I really do want to give him grace and applaud him for taking his stand for Biblical Truth and the Gospel of Christ. I do support my brother for asking the SBC to invite Driscoll to address the Convention next year in Orlando, and I hope that does happen. Perhaps when Southern Baptists see they have an ally and a brother instead of a foe and thorn, they will cast their support for his work as a missionary in a pagan culture within our US border. Shooting our own will not help us in the war against Satan, and we must stand united (even with people we disagree with at times) for the cause of Christ.

I was greatly encouraged by the movement known as Baptist 21. Thanks to God for raising up some young men with a passion for the Gospel and a passion for Baptist distinctives and Great Commission ministry. The panel discussion at Sojourn Church was very encouraging, to see men of God linking arms with a younger generation and preparing them to stand in the gap of leadership within the denomination but more importantly within the local church.

I was also encouraged by the unity within the Convention body, that even when there was disagreement it was done with Christian character and the utmost respect. We differ across a wide spectrum of theological differences, and we should not let those divide us. Rather, our similarities and support for Baptist distinctives should be a unifying force. I was grateful to see that played out on microphones and the stage.

I was also blessed in an incredible way by another younger minister who is way beyond me and almost anyone else his age, Dr. David Platt. God is using him to be a voice crying in the wilderness, and a voice for those without a voice in the world. I am deeply humbled after hearing from him.

SBC 2009, success! Wonder what 2010 will hold?

Why am I a Baptist?

This past week I got to go with my wife and her parents to the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention, held in my hometown of Louisville. It was also the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of my alma mater, Southern Seminary.

Many have commented on the graying of the SBC, and the increasing trend of younger ministers to disengage with the Convention because of theological concerns, methodological differences, apathy, or jadedness. So why should a 26 year old recent seminary graduate care about a convention where less than 15% of those who attend are under the age of 40? Simply, I believe in the SBC as a powerful and efficient cooperative fellowship of like-minded churches for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission.

Also, in recent months I have struggled with asking myself "Why am I a Baptist?" And beyond that, why am I a Southern Baptist? Being at the annual SBC meetings was both an eye-opening and intriguing experience into how the machine works and what can happen with 8,000 preachers get together. It was also interesting to talk with older men there, who had struggled through the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC, and to hear about what they had gone through in order for guys my age to study in a confessionally sound seminary. I am proud to stand on their shoulders and am very thankful for all their work for the Kingdom.

Which brings up the original question, in a day when denominations are no longer hip and cool, and younger ministers would rather network at Starbucks or go to conferences hosted by other hip and cool guys with square glasses, why am I a Southern Baptist? I am, for these reasons:

1) Believer's Baptism and Local Autonomy - People joke with me about being a closet Presbyterian, but I always respond to them with "No, a Reformed Baptist." In many ways I am grateful to godly Presbyterian brothers for their contribution to exegetical preaching, to theology, and for the approach to worship. I have to break with them, and side wholeheartedly with Baptists, on two key areas. I believe that only those who have professed saving faith in Christ, evidenced by fruit in their lives, based on their testimony should be baptized (and that baptism should be done by immersion in the midst of a local body of believers). I do not believe in baptizing infants or non-professing people. Saving grace must come before baptism, which is both a public testimony of faith and a private expression of obedience to the Lord. I also believe in local church autonomy. I do not believe Jesus instituted the papacy when He called Simon by his new name. Each church has the authority in itself to make decisions based on the leading of Spirit and Scripture. I believe local churches may join together voluntarily for gospel ministry and fellowship, but reject any notion of hierarchy or superiority.

2) The Cooperative Program - In 1925 Southern Baptists took a great step on faith and established what would become known as the CP. We break from many Independent and non-denominational churches on this by establishing a network of financial resources among like-minded churches. In short, there are local, state, and national levels. A local church designates a portion of its offering for the CP, and then the money is distributed at various levels. While it does not seem like much, thousands of churches partnering together leads to an annual giving total of over $200 million!
The CP goes towards supporting many state ministries (including college BCMs, evangelism training, camps, etc.), providing discounted education for the Big Six, funding the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and lastly NAMB and the IMB (our missions agencies). The CP enables our missionaries to focus on the field, instead of coming home every 2 years to solicit support. God has truly blessed Southern Baptists with the CP, and our cooperative spirit can be used for great Kingdom impact.

3) The IMB - Jesus commanded us to make disciples, that is the mission of the church. It pains me when churches neglect this in their vision statements in order to be creative, clever, or put something else (say, evangelism) as the primary command for the church. Disciple-making invokes all the things we Baptists support (evangelism, worship, fellowship, missions, ministry, etc.) This command is also directed in a location, the ends of the earth. The Gospel is worthy of all acceptation, and no people should think themselves superior to another group and withhold from them the Gospel. The IMB is over 5,500 missionaries strong who are going to the ends of the earth carrying something greater than silver, gold, or Western culture. I can think of few organizations within the SBC so worthy of our money, time, and prayer as the IMB. God is using SBC missionaries in countries we cannot name to overcome the vice-grip of Islam on the people, and God is freeing people from animism and secularism across the world. We cannot forsake the nations in our mission emphasis, we have been called to go. I love the IMB and pray for my friends serving across the world with the IMB, and look forward every Christmas to Lottie Moon Offering to support these brothers and sisters.

I am Baptist in both theology and practice, and I join with thousands before who profess to follow the Baptist lineage dating back to the 17th century (sorry Landmarkers). We are a unique people who seek the glory of God in our churches and lives, who command all men to repent and believe in Christ, who value baptism as an expression of salvation, and who believe in liberty of conscience, priesthood of the believer, and autonomy of the local body. I am proud to be Baptist, and for the reasons above, proud to be a Southern Baptist. I look forward to what God has in store for the SBC, and I am anxious to see the next generation of men and women He has raised up to serve and lead in the Convention.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Massive Power Outages in Memphis! We're still in Paducah after going to sign a ton of papers for our house, talk with the inspector, and get another look at the house with a fine-toothed comb

If anyone knows any details about when power will be back up in the Cordova area, let me know!

Maybe by then my head won't feel like it's underwater all the time! Stupid VBS kids and their stupid germs - just kidding!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

House Hunting

Some time ago, when Westside began talking to us, I began looking around at buying a house in the Murray area. Apartment living is nice, but so is having a place of your own, a yard for a puppy, and the lack of noisy neighbors moving couches all hours of the day and night.

Looking for a house is a lot like going to the store for a shirt. You have a pretty good idea what you're looking for when you go. With a cup of coffee in your hand you scour the ads, the website, and you look for what other people are wearing and how it fits them. Then, when you go to the actual store, you look at 2 or 3 top choices, and some other ones just to be fair since you're already out.

When you realize that you can't afford the one you really like, or when you see it in person it looks hideous, you retreat and sulk for a while and make the statement that you have nothing and will never find anything. Then you buy a loom and start thinking about making your own shirt, until all the headaches associated with that come to mind and you decide to give Old Navy another try.

After some more looking you decide to go for the markdown section. Never being trendy or cool, this is the place you should have looked all along. You dig and dig and find a shirt with a stain on it, another one that looks like it was in a 70's disco movie, and then you find it! How could it be overlooked, you ask.

You begin to wonder what is wrong with it until you realize that somehow or another, it fell to the clearance rack and it is a shirt you can afford and you will like. You frantically run to the front to check out before anyone else starts to negotiate with the manager for the same shirt, and you excitedly tell people about it, put it on Facebook, your blog... um, well... yeah :)

You then wear your shirt proudly, and know that for years it will fit perfect and never go out of style because it can always be washed.

That's pretty much buying a house in a nutshell, except a shirt costs $20 and you don't sign a mountain of paperwork to get the shirt. You know, buying a house is nothing like buying a shirt. What was I thinking! Sorry for wasting your time

PS- Here is the house though, in case you care to see it :)


Came across this from Russell Moore's Twitter page this morning. It is a commentary on a new work by Rob Bell. Many youth ministers are familiar with his NOOMA videos, and his impact on the evangelical subculture has been well noted. Bell is however associated with the "emergent church" movement. I have no problems with differing methodologies, and even different ways about doing church to meet the needs of a post-modern, post-Christian culture. However, the point at which I break (and many others have as well) with them is over a fundamental shift on doctrinal issues.

Many of the historic orthodox positions of the church are up for debate or even exclusion by many in the Emergent movement. I believe a fundamental issue for Christians is the nature of Truth, that it is both Objective and Revealed, and that Truth comes from the person and nature of God Himself. The debate over Truth is considered in the Emergent movement, and so are other views such as substitutionary atonement, men/women and their roles in the church, morality and the definition of sin, and even the character of God. The traditional view of God as Father/Son/Spirit has in many circles been replaced by Creator/Redeemer/Sustainer, in essence losing the gender language.

I submit this link and encourage you to come to grips with the issue at stake. The rise of the feminine God movement is here, and we must have an answer for those who would seek to undermine what has been taught throughout the centuries. We must be able to explain that the Fatherhood of God is part of His goodness, and that while God is Spirit and has no physical form, He has chosen to reveal Himself to us in the masculine, and we are not to redefine how He has revealed Himself. God is all good, and He is both the warrior king and compassionate parent. But to say that He embodies "she" is a reduction of God's own revealed nature to us.

Disagree if you will, but I will challenge you to follow out what a shift in the perception of God means for the church, evangelism, and the nature of theology itself.

Suffice it to say, I never had planned to use anything Bell put out in my own ministry, and I never will. Theological error can never be used when it is "relevant." In that regard, I stand as a dinosaur on Jude 3. People like Mark Driscoll, my friend Rob Turner, and others who stand on theological conviction but seek to reach the culture are men I greatly admire in this time of confusion.

Article -


Well, it's almost over!

Sorry for the long delay in posting, the last few weeks have been very eventful!

For more frequent updates, find me on Twitter: ScottMDouglas

A few weeks ago, Carrie and I announced to our church that we would be leaving to pursue a ministry opportunity in Murray Kentucky at Westside Baptist Church. It is an awesome opportunity for us, to be closer to family, and to be able to invest much more of our time and effort into the ministry of a local body. There are many great things we are looking forward to, and we are very excited about the chance to pour Scripture and time into student's lives in the hopes of seeing Kingdom impact. I personally am very excited about the opportunities to be discipled and mentored by our senior pastor, and for the chances to be part of the pastoral ministry of the church.

We leave Broadmoor with many fond memories and will cherish the friendships that have cultivated since our time there. If you are ever in the Murray area, stop by and say hi!