Monday, February 19, 2007

Thom Rainer on Building Bridges

Thom Ranier is a class act. I have already commented on my appreciation for his message at the recent Baptist Identity Conference. Now he has written a very helpful article on the need to build bridges among Southern Baptists. In it, he says,
I am a part of a denomination that has many tracks but few bridges. And if we don't start building some bridges quickly, God's hand of blessing may move beyond us.
Read the rest of it here.


Sojourner said...

Is this going to affect what we see at the Southern Baptist Convention this year? I'm currently deliberating on going, but I am undecided. Will it be worthwhile?

Tom said...


I think it will be worth attending. There are rumors that some plan to make Calvinism an issue at a personal or institutional level. Who knows if that will happen? But I think that this year we are positioned better than last year to pass a resolution on regenerate church membership.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Tom,

It was a pleasure to meet you at the BIC. Thank you for your insight into moving the church into a better understanding of regenerate church membership rolls. As we discussed at the conference, I stand ready to support a resolution, as you say, with less "barbs".

Looking forward to more dialogue with you.


Arthur Sido said...

I agree with most of what Dr. Rainer had to say, with one glaring exception:

>>But it seems as if we just can’t stop fighting even though the battle for the Bible is over and won.<<

Far from being "over and won", I would say that the battle has just begun. Based on the open hostility of so many in denominational leadership towards the doctrine of grace, we have a long way to go.

Arthur Sido said...

By the way Tom, I am looking forward to hearing you speak at the Toledo Reformed Theological Conference in April. As a Reformed Baptist kind of guy, it is great to see four out of five speakers are Baptists! (My OPC buddy who is coming with me is a bit nervous...)

Joseph Botwinick said...

I understand the sentiment of Thom and others who are merely tired of fighting the battles for decades for the Bible, and would now rather have peace for a time. As the resident extremist, however, I must say that it is hard to find common ground with those who view God and the Bible so differently, and despise the doctrines of grace for a salvation based on personal righteousness.

Joseph Botwinick said...

the previous post should have read "despise the doctrines of grace and instead, cling to a salvation based on personal righteousness.

Chris Bonts said...
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Chris Bonts said...
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Joseph Botwinick said...


I think that would probably come close to my perspective. I personally find it repugnant to hear leaders of the SBC advocate ideas related to Arminianism, in particular, prevenient "grace", free will over-riding the will of the sovereign God, conditional election, etc...

I don't believe the Bible teaches this, and therefore, we have a battle for the Bible still occuring. To me, there is no middle ground between the Biblical doctrines of Grace and the false teachings of Arminianism that leaves the decision for the salvation of mankind in the hands of the enemies of God. Salvation hinged on the free will choice of the totally depraved, spiritually dead sinners.

Debbie said...

Dr. Ranier said: "Please understand that I have no illusion that my words will start a revolution or that many will listen. But I can only be held accountable before God for my own actions.

I choose to build bridges."

I say: Dr. Ranier, I am listening. Not just listening but agreeing.

Chris Bonts said...
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Ron said...

"REFORMED" - I am just curious. How many points of the doctrines of Grace does one have to attest to, to be considered "reformed." All or nothing? Here is what I say about "bridge building." Build a Bridge, and get over it!

C.H. Barkley said...

As far as the battle for the Bible being won, I just don't see it. Our churches still refuse to follow countless Biblical mandates and choose to follow pragmatic philosophies instead. There are far too many ministers refering to the Gospel as a product that needs packaging. Virtually no churches practice Biblical mandates for discipline, either. Can we honestly say that the battle for the Bible has been one when it still hasn't gained a significant amount of authority in the lives of our church members or pastors?

Chris Bonts said...
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scripturesearcher said...

Allow me to highly recommend
Nettles' BY HIS GRACE AND FOR HIS GLORY, recently republished by Founders' Ministries of Florida -- and the latest edition of the FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM
by Steele and Thomas, plus Loraine Boettner's classic REFORMED DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION.

Also, I highly recommend the Bible which is the Book
upon which the above mentioned three books are firmly based as is the briefer classic by James

J.D. Rector said...

Thanks Tom for the link to Dr. Rainer's article! Amen, amen and amen for his excellent article! My desire would be for Frank Page to have a similar emphasis during his president's address this June in San Antonio. Anyone else agree with my desire?

Hopeful for Real Revival,
J.D. Rector

sparrowhawk said...

It is not the Calvinists that have consistently mined and sabotaged the bridges.

Though Dr. Rainer is a good man, my suspicion remains. I'll rejoice when I see widespread reform in LifeWay stores and zero plugs for secular business principles (Blue Oceans - BP story from last year..) that seem to undergird his personal philosophy in both his leadership at LifeWay and his books on Church Growth.

Tom Bryant said...

I'm glad to hear that from Dr. Rainer. Certainly not the end but maybe it's a beginning.

Jeff Richard Young said...


We interrupt our usual programming to issue this emergency alert.

S.O.S.! Help!

I'm slugging it out single-handedly over the Lord's Day and the Ten Commandments over at Wes Kenney's blog (, and I need some reinforcements!



(We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Founders blog.)

kingofbleh said...

sparrowhawk - I agree. Lifeways selection has been lacking any theological significance or relevance for some time now. In looking at some of the people Dr. Rainer has appointed to senior leadership at Lifeway since becoming President, I think we can expect to see some changes for the good in their books selection. It's gonna take time because I think Lifeway has always operated under the philosophy that they are only there to serve the churches, and lots of churches are still buying the junk!

Until then I will have to keep getting what I need from DG, monergism, CMF,, Amazon among others.