Friday, February 16, 2007

Notes on the Baptist Identity Conference, pt. 3

I have been exposed for the amateur blogger that I am by sitting next to Timmy Brister, Steve McKoy, Joe Thorn, Tim Ellsworth, Art Rogers and Steve Weaver the last two days. In the time that it takes me to figure out how to get blogger to load properly and prepare for a new post, they have already posted and responded to comments on their blogs. Check them out for good summaries and reflections on the conference.

Today, Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary spoke on "What Contemporary Baptists Can Learn from Anabaptsts." It was very good. He listed 6 things:

1. A redeemed disciplined church
Contemporary Baptists, he said, fail at 2 levels:
1. Lack of care with new converts
2. Lack of church discipline
He acknowledged our miserable statistics and problem with unregenerate church members and called for working to find a way "to make church membership meaningful."

2. The witness of baptism as a profession of faith
The one being baptized has yielded himself to the authority of Christ and submitted himself to the church. Baptism is not only into Christ but also into His body.

3. The Bible as the source of authority
Experience seems to have more authority in many churches today than Scripture

4. The church looks different from the world
Worldliness has so crept into our churches that there is not much difference between them and society at large.

5. The Lord's supper as a fellowship trust
Contemporary Southern Baptists have failed to grasp this importance of the LS as the fellowship of the Lord's body.

6. Courage of conviction
We must recover the anabaptist vision of suffering in following Christ.

I was greatly encouraged by this talk. Dr. Patterson said things that Founders Ministries has been promoting for years.

Russ Moore, Dean of Theology and VP of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke on T. T. Eaton." Dr. Moore was very engaging. Dr. Moore made some far-ranging applications of Eaton's role in the Whitsitt controversy at Southern Seminary to the controversies plaguing contemporary SBC life.

David Dockery, President of Union University spoke on, "The Southern Baptist Convention since 1979." Dr. Dockery gave a very helpful overview of Southern Baptist history before outlining his analysis of what has happened the last 28 years. It was very insightful and, as always, spoken with a great, irenic spirit. He made a point that we must be willing to focus on primary issues--Gospel issues--and not try to demand uniformity on tertiary issues.

Greg Thornbury, Dean of the Chrstian Studies Department at Union spoke on, "The Angry Young Men of the SBC." Dr. Thornbury wins the prize for most creative title. He explained how it originated and put several quotes from the comment sections of various Southern Baptist blogs. They were not identified, but I recognized two of them from this blog, including an excerpt from Ergun Caner's famous contributions here exactly one year ago.

I will post my reflections later. Overall, I have been greatly encouraged by this meeting and think that Union University has done Southern Baptists a great service by hosting it.


scripturesearcher said...

Many of us anxiously await your candid REFLECTIONS on the addresses you heard at
the conference, especially the final session.

scripturesearcher said...

The slowness which you have mentioned may be due more to your AGE than your being a novice at blogging...LOL

Proverb 17:22

Persevere! Practice makes perfect but I doubt that it applies to some things such as computers.

Tom Bryant said...

With such glowing praise, Dr. Patterson may revise his message. :) :)

Glad to hear that he's talking that way also.

GUNNY said...

Dr. Patterson gave us some really good exhortation/encouragement a year ago at our homiletics faculty meeting.

I also REALLY enjoyed the interview he did with Mark Dever that the Founders Journal published a while back.

We talked about some of these same issues at a recent meeting of the Lone Star Founders Fraternal and specifically interacted with the above mentioned interview.

It's nice to know that there are others out there who may not share our soteriology, but do share some of our same concerns, particularly in the area of ecclesiology.

Definitely some encouraging observations, Tom. Thanks for posting them and we look forward to more commentary and insight.

wayner said...

The rest of the conference audio is available at

Holly said...

brad andrews here [holly's husband]...

wondering if you heard any of shaddix’s comments and wondered what your thoughts were?

is it just me or is this a prime example of what greg was talking about or the exact opposite of what stetzer was talking about? broad generalizations and narrow-mindednjavascript:void(0)
Publish Your Commentess?

here are some of Shaddix’s quotes:

“The emerging churches and alternative venues are not as appealing to the unchurched as the marginally churched in our camps.”

This is interesting to me. If by ‘in our camps’ he means Baptists, I might agree that in more rural areas, smaller stand-alone metropolitan areas , and outlying suburbs of large metropolitan areas, but not in large metro areas like Denver, where Riverside is. This is a guess, but I’m sure there is a plethora of emerging churches in metro Denver attended by disenfranchised Baptists [among others] and primarily under the age of 35. Where is Shaddix’s context?

“Did you know that the organ is played more in a professional baseball game than in our churches today?”

Eh? Isn’t this another example of one exalting a cultural expression of the 50’s & 60’s as THE way worship should be done. In a way, it an elitist view. Those that do start down the road have to answer the question: How far back do we go? Why stop at organs?

“Have you noticed that our young people listen to David Letterman and Jay Leno who wear suits and ties?”

This is more of a slam on seeker churches [and rightfully so] than on most of the emerging churches I know, especially in the Acts 29 network. Broad generalization…btw, there is nothing wrong with a little humor

“Postmodernism and its child, the emerging church, is faddish.”

Wow. Postmodernism isn’t a fad it is an age. And though we may be in its, as Robert Webber says, ‘first breath,’ it is a legitimate era. How can the age after modernism be called a fad when it is reality?

“The more recent the movement and mindset, the shorter it will be, the shorter the shelf life.”

Then how have any movements sustained? Weren’t all movements ’short’ at one point before they grew to a more sustained movement? Again, I am growing tired of what comes off as an elitist viewpoint about ‘movements’ from those who seem to have a narrow viewpoint…

“Every church grabbing towards the latest trend and fad are looking for methodolody, not theology.”

Eh? What a horrible generalization? Has this guy heard Stetzer?

Curious about your thoughts Tom...

JesusFreak said...

In reference to the comment about
"He acknowledged our miserable statistics and problem with unregenerate church members and called for working to find a way 'to make church membership meaningful.'", this is not new and has been this way for some time. This is going to take a major shift to accomplish.

I can help but think that we leave the new convert on their own to start the journey. With the newness in the change in their life they are uncertain on the proper paths to take. Yes, the church provides programs and classes for the person to attend on their own. Maybe we need to have more of a mentor to come along side of this new converts to help encourage them. As the wise King Solomon states in Eccl 4:9-12 that we need the cord of three to strengthen each other. This is not going to happen with a volunteer leading the church. The saints need to be encouraging the new converts, to help mentor them in their growth.

Tom said...


I did not hear Pastor Shaddix's talk. If I have time, I may try to listen to it next week. Thanks for your comments.

GUNNY said...

"“Have you noticed that our young people listen to David Letterman and Jay Leno who wear suits and ties?”"

Perhaps I'm old school, but I require my preaching students to wear a suit & tie when the preach in class.

I'm convinced they can pull off grunge, but I want to be certain they can pull off GQ.

We all know the style of dress is not the issue, but I have found it interesting how many of the students, who see themselves as more seeker and/or reaching out to a casual generation, resent the idea of having to dress in a certain way to gain more credibility with the audience of Aggie Baptist Church, for example.

Hey, that organ is GREAT at the baseball game, though kept there for nostalgic purposes. There's nothing more holy about it as an instrument than a set of drums.

Greg B said...

I was very glad to hear your observations on Dr. Pattersons' observations on Anabaptist contributions to American Baptist life. I was a Southeasterner from 96-00 and developed a mixed respect for him. On the whole a great deal of admiration and affection. He dealt with me very candidly on a policy decision he made that I sent him a note on. Called me in and explained his position, listened to me and we left understanding each other and my opposition ceased.
With what he said, he should become the Soveriegn Gracers best friend. The honesty in recording resolution, and movements for more Biblical polity and practice in the local church. As I have stated before when non-Founders have visited and said that the Biblical church practice we seek to return to Baptist life are mean, I always truthfully say that I learned them from Dr. P before I was open to learn Reformed Theology.
Greg in Powhatan

Greg B said...

Ditto. There was a time that a great problem was the older folks not allowing less formal wear or more modern music in worship, thereby alienating or not appealing to the youth on non-church folks. Now I most older church members willing to peacefully go with out the things they are familiar with, but the younger members, pre-members (non-regenerate visitors etc) and those who champion some church growth methods will not adapt at all for the older saints.
John Hammett (Theology Guy at Southeastern)once spent 5-10 minutes berating us and our lack of respect for the older saints. "We need to train youth to be Christians not self-centered. If there are some old songs they don't understand but the older saints like, the kids should get over it, it isn't about them! You and they need to honor and learn from them!!!"
We had all read The Purpose Driven Church 3 or 4 times by the time we graduated.
Being all things to all people goes both ways.