Friday, December 05, 2008

Ed Stetzer responds to David Allen

In my earlier critique of David Allen's review of Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue, I did not mention his criticism of the research presented by Ed Stetzer on the growth of evangelical Calvinism within the SBC. Dr. Allen cites many problems with the research and the interpretations that were given to it.

Yesterday, Dr. Stetzer responded to Dr. Allen with a lengthy explanation about the research methodology and why the results should not be dismissed out of hand. Dr. Stetzer writes,
Over the years, we have learned a few things about research in SBC life. Research tends to get people in our denomination excited. Many people quote it, most like it, and some despise it. People will quote and misquote statistics regularly to prove or disprove whatever matters to them. Simply put, we are an enthusiastic, passionate, and often imprecise people when it comes to church research.

As such, when we do research, it gets a lot of debate and discussion. We do not mind at all--and sometimes we read a comment and think, "Good point!" or "We should have thought of that." As such, we very infrequently respond to inappropriate uses or criticisms of our research.

However, I do see a pattern developing. It appears that when one of the faculty members at one of our seminaries disagrees with the results of our research, they write a rebuttal or a criticism. We actually don't mind a (good) rebuttal and questioning the wording of questions is normal and expected. However, it does seem that the faculty at Southwestern is making a habit of taking time away from their important tasks to critique our research. I thought it would be wise for me to take this opportunity to respond in what I hope is a gracious way.
Dr. Stetzer's response is indeed gracious...and convincing. Read it here.


C. M. said...

I'm sure that Dr. Patterson is none too thrilled with his School of Theology Dean. This reflects poorly on him and the SWBTS. I can see Dr. Patterson putting this to a swift end, either by silencing Dr. Allen or worse.

DoGLover said...

Two of the numbers that interested me most in LifeWay's research were the baptism & attendance rates. I'd love for LifeWay to research both reformed & non-reformed SBC pastors' views of baptism & church membership with an effort to understand how those views affect who pastors consider to be a proper baptism candidate & church member. That may shed some light on the perception that Calvinists are less evangelistic.
By grace,

chadwick said...


My wife's parents used to raise attack dogs (German Shepherds). Here is what she told me about attack dogs:

An 'attack dog' only attacks at the command of its master! ;)


Larry said...

Think of Dr. Patterson as a Sith Lord in Star Wars. There is always a master and apprentice. First, Dr. P was the apprentice of his old boss. Now he is the master.

Lucas Defalco said...

A synergistic conference at an SBC megachurch in the buckle of the Bible belt, you would think they would pack the house. The most generous attendance estimates I've read have it at about 800. Yet the T4G conferences in Louisville regularly attract thousands (I think 5,000+) in a location outside of the Bible belt. Several observations can be made from this fact alone, but there is not doubt in my mind that the Lifeway and NAMB studies may have UNDERESTIMATED the growth of reformed soteriology in the SBC.