Friday, September 12, 2008

Founders Podcast, Tom Nettles, pt. 3

The the third and final installment of my interview with Dr. Tom Nettles of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In it he addresses the issue of what constitutes genuine baptism. He also discusses the examples of Benjamin Keach and Abraham Booth as well-known Baptists from earlier generations who were baptized in Arminian churches and later moved to Particular Baptist convictions.

Dr. Nettles also provides an outline for defining true Baptist identity and gives his assessment of the last 30 years of Southern Baptist life, including the conservative resurgence and the more recent debates over Calvinism.

The first two parts of this interview have been posted previously (part 1) (part 2).


DoGLover said...

Excellent interview, Tom - better than the O'Reilly/Obama interview. Thanks for posting it.

Dr. Nettles mentioned the models that are coming out now regarding reforming churches. Can you address that in more detail?

Many thanks.

Tom said...

DoG Lover:

Thanks, brother. I think Dr. Nettles had in mind several different developments when he spoke of the kinds of models that are "out there" today. In one sphere you have John Piper and those who have learned to pursue God's glory in their own joy in Christ. Several churches have been planted with that kind of vision over the last 5 years. In another orbit you have the Sovereign Grace movement--though it is charismatic, it is solidly reformed in soteriology and serious about church life (fellowship, discipline, leadership, etc.). Another would be some of the Bible churches that are influenced by John MacArthur. Some of these might be more dispensational than many reformed folks might like, but they are healthy, God-centered and expositional. Beyond that, you have churches influenced by 9 Marks. These cross numerous denominational lines but are serious in their pursuit of biblical essentials in ecclesiology. And I am sure Dr. Nettles had in mind the growing number of churches that are on board with the vision of Founders Ministries to recover the Gospel and re-form local churches.

Off the top of my head I can name dozens of churches that have moved significantly through or are in the midst of moving through biblical reformation. With a little help from our database, I can name hundreds. Beyond that, there are thousands of men who have expressed commitment to this kind of reforming ministry in our day.

Such was not the case 30 years ago. Today, if a young minister or aspiring minister wants to experience church life that is based on the doctrines of grace, committed to regenerate church membership, church discipline, biblical evangelism, elder leadership, authentic worship, theologically informed contextualization, etc. etc., he has many options from which to choose. He can probably drive from anywhere in the USA and reach such a church within a day. That was not true 30 years ago.

These developments have not happened quickly and often have occurred "under the radar." But they are real, and they continue to grow. We should be very encouraged.

DoGLover said...

Thanks, Tom. I learned about the doctrines of grace from a pastor in Austin, TX in the early 80's. When I got to SWBTS in '87, sovereign grace wasn't on anybody's radar.

I guess I'm asking to hear some testimonies. I like to know what other pastors have done to lead their churches to reform, what trials they faced, mistakes they made, & how they overcame obstacles. It's very encouraging to learn from others who've gone down this road.