Thursday, September 01, 2005

Greetings from Alaska!

Donna and I just returned from seeing the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. It was incredible, and a great reminder of God's power and majesty. The news from New Orleans is so incredibly sad. We have only been able to get partial reports since our internet access has been sketchy at best. I have particularly been praying for Steve Lemke and the others in the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary family. I just heard that our friends, Fred Malone and Joe Nesom, who both live north of Baton Rouge, are safe though without electricity.

The conduct of the many looters in the aftermath of the storm is a stark reminder of our desperate need for reformation and revival in our land. May the Lord send it.

Thanks for your patience as my blogging is hit and miss for the next few days. I look forward to getting home and getting back on a regular schedule.

6 comments:

pastorleap said...

How true indeed are your comments Bro. Tom.

How grateful I am that Founders.org finally has a blog and forum area that is daily readable and "update-able" (is that a word?). Just a few weeks ago, I was here looking for brethren locally, and I did not notice this "blogging" and "response" section. I am glad it is here, it is so wonderful to hear and respond to brethren about contemporary issues of each passing day.

I am so thankful for the info about Dr. Graham and his comments, and so encouraged by the number of well-thought-out, dignified responses. I too, await a public response from Dr. White or another reformed brother who will call Dr. Graham's comments to task.

It is so utterly ridiculous for so many non-calvinistic brethren to assume that they are the only ones who know anything about compassion or evangelism. This is what Dr. Graham implied in "school-children" emotional ploy. As a matter of fact, the doctrine of election has provided for me the greatest source of encouragement and hope for evangelistic efforts, as I believe it did for Paul (Acts 18:8-10). I am passionately evangelistic and lead my church to be so, but not in order that we can mislead those who respond with a false gospel. I recently lead our church youth to attend our county fair for 4 consecutive nights and hand out over 1000 church invitations along with basic gospel information. Soon, we will have Fall Harvest Days, in which we will go out in our community for 5 straight nights inviting folks to a children's block party followed by 4 nights of TRUE gospel presentation.

This does not make me a neo-Arminian, or a less-than-sound Reformed brother, because all of these efforts will be built upon the foundation of an historic, Orthodox, Calvinistic understanding of grace and conversion, complete with the oft neglectled teaching of grace, repentance, and commitment to following Christ. But this is simply the kinds of things I believe the church should be doing in their efforts to be obedient to the commission and to bring the elect to faith in Christ.

I say all of this because I suspect that Dr. Graham and others, invigorated by this year's Arminian-based "challenge" to witness, win, and baptize 1 million, somehow feel threatened by the fact that there is a resurgence of theologically minded young pastors who WANT conversions yes, but NOT at ANY cost. Particularly NOT at the cost of compromising the true nature of conversion. They want to paint Founders and other "Calvinists" (btw...Im a Baptist...not a Calvinist) with the broad brush of "anti-evangelistic" without any such proof that this is true.

I for one have challenged congregations for years with this simple fact. I am theologically "a Calvinist" but most of the folks in our pews are practically "Hyper Calvinists." Why you may ask? Because I have taken the doctrines of grace and allowed them to motivate me to want to see conversions, and I am passionate and diligent in my efforts. Many church members (and perhaps ministers) who claim to believe in "free-will" do nothing but sit, soak, and sour without ever making efforts to share their faith.

So I say to Dr. Graham and others, the proof is in the pudding. Spend time with many of your so-called "blasphemous" brethren and see how passionate and diligent they are about their Father's work. Oh, we may not share the same watered-down, powerless, "choose Jesus!" gospel that they do, but we preach Christ! and HIM crucified! and we preach repentance! and true discipleship that comes with a cost! We may not baptize as many 6-year-olds, but we will, ultimately, be faithful to make true disciples. When they understand that about us brethren, their mouths will be shut.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings! Soli Deo Gloria!

pastorleap

pastorleap said...

How true indeed are your comments Bro. Tom.

How grateful I am that Founders.org finally has a blog and forum area that is daily readable and "update-able" (is that a word?). Just a few weeks ago, I was here looking for brethren locally, and I did not notice this "blogging" and "response" section. I am glad it is here, it is so wonderful to hear and respond to brethren about contemporary issues of each passing day.

I am so thankful for the info about Dr. Graham and his comments, and so encouraged by the number of well-thought-out, dignified responses. I too, await a public response from Dr. White or another reformed brother who will call Dr. Graham's comments to task.

It is so utterly ridiculous for so many non-calvinistic brethren to assume that they are the only ones who know anything about compassion or evangelism. This is what Dr. Graham implied in "school-children" emotional ploy. As a matter of fact, the doctrine of election has provided for me the greatest source of encouragement and hope for evangelistic efforts, as I believe it did for Paul (Acts 18:8-10). I am passionately evangelistic and lead my church to be so, but not in order that we can mislead those who respond with a false gospel. I recently lead our church youth to attend our county fair for 4 consecutive nights and hand out over 1000 church invitations along with basic gospel information. Soon, we will have Fall Harvest Days, in which we will go out in our community for 5 straight nights inviting folks to a children's block party followed by 4 nights of TRUE gospel presentation.

This does not make me a neo-Arminian, or a less-than-sound Reformed brother, because all of these efforts will be built upon the foundation of an historic, Orthodox, Calvinistic understanding of grace and conversion, complete with the oft neglectled teaching of grace, repentance, and commitment to following Christ. But this is simply the kinds of things I believe the church should be doing in their efforts to be obedient to the commission and to bring the elect to faith in Christ.

I say all of this because I suspect that Dr. Graham and others, invigorated by this year's Arminian-based "challenge" to witness, win, and baptize 1 million, somehow feel threatened by the fact that there is a resurgence of theologically minded young pastors who WANT conversions yes, but NOT at ANY cost. Particularly NOT at the cost of compromising the true nature of conversion. They want to paint Founders and other "Calvinists" (btw...Im a Baptist...not a Calvinist) with the broad brush of "anti-evangelistic" without any such proof that this is true.

I for one have challenged congregations for years with this simple fact. I am theologically "a Calvinist" but most of the folks in our pews are practically "Hyper Calvinists." Why you may ask? Because I have taken the doctrines of grace and allowed them to motivate me to want to see conversions, and I am passionate and diligent in my efforts. Many church members (and perhaps ministers) who claim to believe in "free-will" do nothing but sit, soak, and sour without ever making efforts to share their faith.

So I say to Dr. Graham and others, the proof is in the pudding. Spend time with many of your so-called "blasphemous" brethren and see how passionate and diligent they are about their Father's work. Oh, we may not share the same watered-down, powerless, "choose Jesus!" gospel that they do, but we preach Christ! and HIM crucified! and we preach repentance! and true discipleship that comes with a cost! We may not baptize as many 6-year-olds, but we will, ultimately, be faithful to make true disciples. When they understand that about us brethren, their mouths will be shut.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings! Soli Deo Gloria!

pastorleap

11:22 AM

The Monk said...

Does anybody know if anything is being done to help NOBTS students, faculty and staff?

GeneMBridges said...

Monk,

That is a good question. I will contact a friend who teaches @ SEBTS and ask him. When I get an answer, I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, the NC Biblical Recorder did publish my letter to the editor on the Graham/Welch/Lemke and Friends comments. I encourage all of you to do the same. Some people do still pay attention to their state Baptist newspapers.

You can see it @ www.biblicalrecorder.org . Scroll down to the Tar Heel Voices section of the Opinion pages.

David B. Hewitt said...

I'm not sure about specifics. I do know that Chuck Kelley has set up offices in GA. There is an article on the front page of Baptist Press News that talks about it to some extent.

Dave

Brian R. Giaquinto said...

In case you haven't heard yet...For NOBTS information, go to SBC.net. Here's the link: http://sbc.net/nobts/default.asp