Issues in the SBC

I was recently interviewed by Scott Oakland at Reformed Cast about my book 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped. I ended up discussing several issues that I see in the SBC:

1. “Entertaining Sermons”: Some preachers pursue entertaining their hearers while preaching since we live in an entertainment-centered culture. Biblically speaking, however, the word of God should keep the attention of God’s people because it’s God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Where the Bible speaks, God speaks.

2. “Anything for Souls”: Several churches bribe their hearers to attend worship so people will hear the gospel, but such practices undercut the value of the gospel. These practices are antithetical to repentance of sin and faith in Christ for reconciliation to God.

3. “Numbers Equal Revival”: There’s a temptation to believe that if our churches are growing then we’re experiencing revival. Yet, I believe the New Testament church was “revived” even when sinners were killing Christians, even when their numbers were decreasing. Faithfulness to God is the goal. If we’re not being obedient to God’s word, we’re not experiencing revival regardless how much our numbers are increasing.

4. “Experience-Centered Worship”: There’s a me-centered aspect in Christian worship today that is reinforced by pastors and worship leaders selling a “worship experience.” Yet, God should be the foundation, point, and goal of worship, not our experience.

5. “Nostalgia”: Christians often worship worship instead of worshiping God. Yet, God is worthy of worship when we feel like worshiping Him and when we don’t. We should come together and proclaim the truth and teach one another by singing together in corporate worship when we feel like it and when we don’t. God is always worthy of worship.

6. “Relevant Sermons”: There’s an emphasis today on pastors “making the Bible relevant.” Yet, if the Bible is God-breathed, God’s revelation of Himself to mankind, then His word is always relevant. The preacher’s job and the teacher’s job is to help his or her hearers see how relevant the Bible is.

7. “Relativistic Interpretation”: In Bible studies in the local church and in small group studies, there is this mentality of acceptance of virtually all interpretations of Scripture. The problem, however, is that if all interpretations are valid, then no interpretation is absolutely true. We must return to telling one another, “I appreciate your thoughts, but you’re wrong, and here’s why.”

8. “An Easy Life”: In children and youth ministries and in Christian parenting, we want children to attend worship, but we don’t care too much about why they want to attend. We basically bribe children with candy, prizes, games, etc. to memorize Scripture and attend worship when we should be presenting God as the goal. Prizes won’t produce multi-generational Christianity, but God will. He is the One we know intimately, and our children actually have the highest privilege of humanity–they can know God intimately as His children through the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ.

9. “Tolerant Love”: One of the most glaring sins in Southern Baptist Churches is the lack of Biblical discipline. We have redefined God’s love and loving one’s neighbor to include “tolerance of unrepentant public sin” in spite of the clear commands of Scripture.

10. “Successful Ministry”: Many pastors are discouraged in the SBC due to arbitrary unbiblical quotas encouraged by others and their own “worldly definition of success.” I want to free pastors to pursue faithfulness to God’s word and to seek to please God as they depend on the blood of Christ alone to justify them.

This interview is about an hour long. You can click “play” below and listen to it here.

Or, you can right click here, and save the mp3 file to your hard drive.

I would love hear your thoughts about this interview.

Comments

  1. says

    With the disclaimer up front that I haven’t listened to the podcast or audio version of the interview and so I might not have the benefit of the full explanation of the points you enumerate, I’d like to make a few observations.

    #2 – Do you have any statistics or evidence other than the very occasional featured story of a church giving away a car or big screen TV in a raffle for attendees that would substantiate the assertion that “several churches” are bribing their hearers to attend worship? I suspect that the number that would do such is abysmally small (thankfully).

    #3 – While your point is well-taken that numbers alone don’t equate to an indicator of genuine revival occurring, is it not also biblically correct to affirm the converse, i.e., that healthy churches will grow? The NT pattern would indicate that faithful proclamation of the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit inevitably led to numerical growth.

    #7 – This point was the one I found most concerning. I would concur that not all interpretations of Scripture are equally valid of course, but the presumption that “our” interpretation is invariably the only absolutely true one and all others are mistaken at a minimum borders on spiritual arrogance. The fundamentalist mindset that refuses to entertain anyone else’s interpretation of a passage because it conflicts with what that person believes limits the possibility of learning and growing in our biblical understanding.

    • says

      Gary, Thanks for the interaction.

      First, I don’t have any stats. If it’s not happening, then praise the Lord. However, I think it is happening in subtle ways, especially in evangelistic outreach. It’s one thing to show the love of Christ by helping people, it’s another thing to bribe people to hear the gospel. I think bribing people undercuts the gospel message, and I think Southern Baptists are bribing people.

      Second, saying, “Healthy churches grow numerically” begs the question, “In what length of time?” Can we place a time-table on this “growth” to determine if our church is healthy or not?

      Third, When Jesus said that He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one gets to the Father but by Him, I think He meant what He said. I don’t think it’s arrogant to debate one another for the purpose of rightly dividing the word of truth. I actually think it’s more arrogant to act like all interpretations are valid. If all interpretations are valid, we cannot access absolute truth. Jesus didn’t think all interpretations were valid. We must be able to tell one another, “I appreciate your thoughts, but I think you’re wrong, and here’s why.”

      • says

        I have no problems whatsoever acknowledging the uniqueness of Christ or that He’s the only way to salvation. I’m not speaking here of the non-negotiable bedrock truths of the gospel. Where we get into trouble is when we elevate our interpretations of other issues (where the Bible is certainly open to differences of opinion among equally committed scholars) to the level of absolute truth that admits no other viewpoints. One simple example of this will suffice. It’s clear from your writings that you share the Reformed or Calvinist perspective regarding soteriology. I don’t happen to agree with that stance, and if you were to assert that your interpretation is the absolute truth and any other interpretation was erroneous, I’d strenuously object to the arrogance that such a position implies.

        • says

          Gary, I affirm a theological triage. Some doctrines are indeed non-negotiable. Others may cause us to join different local churches. And others, shouldn’t separate us at all. But, there is still only one absolute truth. Not all interpretations are valid of even the less important doctrinal issues. We should debate these truths in the local church for the sake of uniting behind what the Bible says.

          • says

            I would share with you the notion of theological triage, but you quickly move to state that not all interpretations of even less important doctrinal issues are valid. The issue of course is to define which issues those are and who gets the final say regarding whose interpretation is correct and whose is erroneous. Debating these issues in the local church as you propose to unite behind what the Bible says presupposes (at least implicitly if not explicitly) the notion that I must prevail in this debate because my interpretations are right or else I wouldn’t be holding them. It’s that lack of a willingness to even entertain the possibility that one’s interpretations are incorrect that typically results in such debates producing a lot more heat than light.

            And just to revisit my first question , I’d note that you preface the list in your introduction with the statement that these are issues that you see in the SBC. Really? You acknowledge that you have no statistics and yet assert that SBC churches are guilty of bribing hearers to attend worship to hear the gospel. I think you’re way off the mark and out of line here.

          • says

            Gary, first, I don’t know where you’ve seen that I’ve argued we shouldn’t entertain other interpretations of Scripture. That’s what Sola Scriptura is. But, the reason why I hold to certain positions is because I believe they’re true.

            Second, I’ve seen bribing in the SBC. It’s anecdotal. If you haven’t seen it, praise the Lord.

          • cb scott says

            “You acknowledge that you have no statistics and yet assert that SBC churches are guilty of bribing hearers to attend worship to hear the gospel.”

            Gary Snowden,

            He probably heard that at some Yuppie, YRR meeting as part of some sermon that decries a sinner praying in repentance and faith to be saved after coming forward during an invitation given by a vocational evangelist.

    • SVMuschany says

      I also wish to raise the issue of “faithful churches = numerical growth”. I have a heart for small rural churches. Towns with 300-400 citizens. They tend to have one Baptist church, one Methodist, one Presbyterian, and here in Missouri, one Church of Christ. That’s 5 churches. Say each has an average attendance of 20. That would mean 100 folks from that town are attending church on sunday morning. That is 25-33%! I’d like to see (sub)urban churches communities match that! There are places where you just CANT get numerical growth, especially in areas where the population is declining. Because of that, I absolutely HATE the idea that “faithful churches = growth”, especially when it is expressed in an absolute form. If you wish to say something like, “in growing or heavily populated areas, faithful churches will tend to grow” I would say YES! But that is the extent that something like that should be said.

      Further I would put forward that the “ideal” size of a church is and should be 200-400 members (in communities that can support that size). Once it gets over 400, the church should seriously consider leading and sponsoring a church plant in an under-reached area of their community where they have several dozen families living in. THAT would be good and biblical. But the idea of “faithful churches = growing” could look at such a church that never goes above 400 as “unfaithful”. You might say, “Well in those cases you have to look at the details”. And I say that is exactly my point! You cannot judge the spiritual faithfulness of a church based on its yearly attendance numbers. I presented 2 cases where that would not work. There are dozens more, many of which have nothing to do with the “health” of the church.

      Further, I would say that churches that are growing are not necessarily healthy. Need I point to the largest church in America, and the heretic that is pastor? Need I point to the many WoF churches that have large and growing congregations? With all these “exceptions” to the rule, one HAS to question the rule itself.

      • cb scott says

        “There are places where you just CANT get numerical growth, especially in areas where the population is declining.”

        Does that mean that declining populations are populations wherein there are no lost people to evangelize?

        • cb scott says

          Here is a sure fire plan for you to have true numerical church growth in your area, SVMuschany.

          Evangelize the members of the Church of Christ. You will get some of them truly converted. Then you can baptize them and your church will have numerical growth.

          • SVMuschany says

            Wow…Church of Christ is not Christian? I suppose you would say Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans need to be “evangelized” and “converted” for their flawed views on baptism as well?

          • cb scott says

            “I suppose you would say Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans need to be “evangelized” and “converted” for their flawed views on baptism as well?”

            No, SVMuschany, I do not say to “evangelize” and “convert” Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans because of their “flawed views on baptism.”

            I say evangelize Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and CoCs, as well as many in Baptist churches, yours included, because many of them are lost.

            Of course, they are “all” wrong on baptism, except the Baptists of course.

          • SVMuschany says

            I suppose I should correct your misguided assumption that I have a church. What I have had is the wonderful opportunity to serve though pulpit supply many churches in farming communities who have seen their populations drop faster than a rock towards a black hole as the “family farm” has disappeared to large corporate farms. Towns that once were 500-600 in the past 20-30 years are now 300. Those 300 are almost entirely looking to leave. I dont know what it is like in the south, but in Northern Missouri it is more akin to ghost towns. To assume that growth is possible in many of these towns, especially when many are already traveling 30-50 miles to the “big” town (of a few thousand) to go to church, is short sited and damaging to these churches. Sometimes, KEEPING and ministering to the members a church has, is a God ordained miracle in-as-of-itself. Especially when such churches can barely afford to pay their pastors 100 bucks a week.

      • cb scott says

        “Further, I would say that churches that are growing are not necessarily healthy. Need I point to the largest church in America, and the heretic that is pastor?”

        That does nothing but illustrate the fact that there are some large gatherings of people who are being led by a heretic.

        The subject here is not false churches and heretic leaders like Joel Osteen.

        The subject here is healthy or unhealthy NT churches.

        SVMuschany, if you are going to comment in this thread, so on the topic. This is not a FOOTBALL post.

        • SVMuschany says

          CB you, Gary, and Richard are all saying “Look there is a church that is not growing, they must not be faithful to the gospel!” I counter with “Look there is a church that is growing that is heretical!” If I can’t make my statement, you cannot make yours!

          • cb scott says

            SVMuschany,

            Churches that never have numerical growth are not healthy.

            A large gathering of people does not necessarily constitute a NT church.

            However, heathy churches have numerical growth, no matter location, no matter socio-economic background, or current size.

          • SVMuschany says

            CB that type of absolutist assumption about church health is just as, if not more destructive to the local church than the actual heretics. It actually leads to the destruction of smaller churches rather than the investment in them.

          • cb scott says

            “It actually leads to the destruction of smaller churches rather than the investment in them.”

            No, SVMuschany, again you are wrong. Such an “absolutist assumption’ will not destroy smaller churches. Actually, quite the opposite, it will grow them and help them to become spiritually healthy.

  2. cb scott says

    Gary Snowden,

    1). You are most probably right regarding #1.

    2). You are completely and beyond a shadow of a doubt, hands down, ten ring at a thousand yards right about #2, especially as it would relate to the Number 2 VP of the SBC and his constant efforts to downplay the fact that numerical growth is a sign of health in a local church.

    3). I don’t think the 2 VP of the SBc is in reference to the “fundamentalist mindset” in #3. Although, I could be wrong in my summation of #3, but I am dead on about #1 and absolutely dead on about #2.

      • cb scott says

        Jared Moore,

        I am not wrong about #1, and especially am I not wrong #2. Anyone who has read your posts on this blog knows that to be true.

          • cb scott says

            Of course you disagree. You always disagree.

            However, you did write this post:
            “An Open Letter to “Failing” Churches and Foolish Southern Baptists”

            So disagree all you want.

          • cb scott says

            No Jared, the post was basically wrong.

            Your position that a local church can have zero baptisms and still be spiritually healthy is wrong.

            Here is what is true. Healthy churches experience new births and baptisms.

          • cb scott says

            I knew that was coming. We have been down that road before.

            Jared, if you are faithful to share the biblical gospel consistently, God will save sinners in His “timeframe.” He will even do so in your presence. He will even do so if you share the gospel with a complete strange, a person with whom you have not “developed a relationship.” God will even use what is known with disgust to many who frequent this blog — “confrontational evangelism.” Yeah, that’s right. God will save people confronted in an airport with a confrontational gospel witness by a complete stranger.

          • cb scott says

            Then get out there and share the gospel! I promise you, your baptisms will increase . . . or begin . . . and you will not have to write any more nutcase posts to justify having not baptized anyone in a year such as:

            “An Open Letter to “Failing” Churches and Foolish Southern Baptists”

          • cb scott says

            “CB, I’m “out there” all the time witnessing to people.”

            Well then, learn how to properly “draw the net” and you shall have a “harvest” of baptisms.

  3. says

    It seems that most people mention I’m the 2nd VP of the SBC when they want to scold me or add weight to their own opinions that I agree with.

    I just want to serve Southern Baptists, Scripturally, confessionally, and based on my own conscience. I’m the same man today that I was when I was elected.

  4. Bill Mac says

    I don’t really know what to make of #1, unless you simply advocate reading scripture without any exposition. We’re real people with real emotions. Some things make us laugh, make us sad, make us angry. A sermon can evoke those range of emotions, and I dare say make it more memorable and impactful than a dry exposition of scripture. Is that entertainment?

    A doctrinally sound sermon can be mind numbingly dull, or thought provoking, or sad, or funny. I prefer all the latter to the first.

    Your number six seems self-refuting. A relevant sermon is one where the preacher shows the congregation how the scriptures are relevant.

  5. Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

    Jarred,

    In my review of your book, 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped, I stated that it was immature in its presentation and totally lacking in supporting documentation to substantiate your broad claims and I see the same pattern in your interview.

    I am reminded of a painter who felt that just because he dipped his brush in the paint bucket and ran it across the wall it was painted. In a similar way you fling out unsubstantiated personal opinions as if they are fact. Those with your circle might be impressed with such baseless swipes, but the majority of us aren’t.

    Let’s consider some of your statements, and for the benefit of the readers, let’s just focus on what you chose to write in the post because some of your statements in the interview are even more ludicrous when evaluated in light of the facts.

    While it may be true that “some” preachers with the SBC circle seek to entertain their listeners, I don’t personally know any and I’ve been ministering in the SBC since before you were born. Having said that, I have heard great men of God like Adrian Rogers, Jerry Vines, R.G. Lee, and W.A. Criswell, to name a few, who have included humor in sermons that served to drive home the Scriptural point they were making. Even Jesus used antidotal, and what some in his audience would have labeled entertaining statements, especially when he was lambasting those pesky Pharisees. To insinuate that this is a problem or an issue that must be addressed within the SBC is to throw out your personal, unsubstantiated opinion hoping it will stick. It unfoundedly has within the narrow confines of Calvinism, but in the broader world of the SBC it falls to the ground with a foul odor.

    You swipe at churches which you feel are doing anything for souls. Couldn’t this apply equally to Jesus? After all, people were drawn to Him because He healed people, He fed people, and, oh, yea, He raised people from the dead.

    Over the past few years I’ve heard your lament about not filing out the SBC Annual Church Profile because it focuses too much on numbers, which you don’t like. God focused on numbers throughout the Bible. We have a book of the Bible titled ‘Numbers’ and in the Book of Acts, God gives the numbers of believers and those converted. Numbers serve to inform us of what God is doing.

    I once stated a church in an overseas community with less than 300 population – somewhat similar to where you now serve. Within 12 months God blessed with more than 800 attending the worship services and men and women professing Christ in every service. During that same period of time I had a pastor acquaintance who accepted a pastorate in a town whose population was less that 150, yet after 6 years and 2 building campaigns, the attendance was in excess of 6,000. In contrast I know a pastor who has served the same congregation for more than 20 years in a large city. During his tenure the attendance has dropped steadily from over 200 to maybe 75 on a good Sunday. The difference between these men is their Biblical view of God’s desire to save anyone and everyone who responds to the Gospel.

    As to relevant sermons, I have to plead guilty as Jesus. My task is to so preach God’s infallible word that even a child can understand it. Again, isn’t this what Jesus did?

    I do have to agree with you that there are indeed some people within my area of ministry who believe as you have stated but I don’t know of any pastors who do.

    Time and space don’t permit a fuller treatment of your post nor the interview. Your broad strokes serve only to smear the window through which the world looks at us. If I were you I would spend more time meeting people face-to-face and sharing the blessed Gospel instead of sitting in your darkened office, hunched over your computer seeking to cast dispersion on fictional windmills within the SBC.

    Finally, and it’s just my opinion, since you apparently feel pastors and churches within the SBC are so corrupted, maybe you should leave and move over to the Presbyterian church where you already seem to be very comfortable; only a fool would continue to cast their pearls before the swine?

    • SVMuschany says

      Your instances of “small town” growth are exceptions to the rule. Simply put, I would wager that the vast majority of your numerical growth were new members “by letter” not through new baptisms. Simply put, you were robing members from other churches in surrounding areas. 800 members in a town of 300? 6000 members in a town of 150? How far were these members going, and how many churches were they passing on the way to get there! It is a demonstrated sociological phenomenon, that individuals tend to “group think” rather than think for themselves. That is, in Christian Contexts, people will tend to go to services where everyone else is going, and avoid places that are small. This is IN-SPITE of the faithfulness of the gospel being preached at either church. Again, the largest church in America is led by a heretic. Numbers are NOT everything.

      • cb scott says

        No, SVMuschany,

        “Small town” church growth is not an exception to the rule. The exception to the rule is small town churches that get on fire for Jesus. All that do, grow numerically.

      • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

        For some reason I haven’t been getting the responses even though the box is checked and I don’t get on the net but once a day and then I don’t always have time to check things out here at SBC Voices.

        Your suppositions are totally wrong in both churches I reference. In the church I founded and pastored had only 4 transfers by letter and that was my family. The rest were people who came to Christ mostly through door-to-door visitation. As for the 2nd church, whose history I know very well, and their growth is documented in numerous sources, grew through personal soul winning too. The church I planted last year has only 6 members who came from other churches and they comprise our core group. Even though I’ve been sidelined for most of ’13 taking care of my wife who has required 24/7 care God has blessed us with 25 adult professions of faith and 8 baptisms with 2 waiting. Out of the remainder I know which church everyone of them is attending with their families.

        I personally don’t care for church hoppers and even when I was pastoring established churches I discouraged people from moving their membership to our church. I was looking for to re-pot believers my emphasis has always been on bringing non-believers to personal faith in Christ and non-church attending believers back into God’s fold.

    • says

      Richard, you’ve read my book in the worst possible light.

      First, Concerning my book being “immature.” I don’t know what was immature about it? Tell me specifically what was immature about it.

      Second, I’m coming against Calvinists in the SBC as much as Non-Calvinists in the SBC in this book. I say so specifically in the interview. No soteriology in the SBC is immune from submitting to pragmatism.

      Third, if “some preachers” in the SBC fit what I’m arguing against, then my book is warranted. Thank you for agreeing.

      Fourth, my book comes against those who seek to entertain. I’m not against passively entertaining our hearers here and there. It’s one thing to use a funny illustration (I’m sure I do here and there); it’s another thing to set out to entertain our hearers. What I’m coming against are those who seek to entertain. Also, please show me where Jesus sought to entertain his hearers.

      Fifth, I believe the gospel is for everyone. I call everyone to repent and believe the good news, as does every other Southern Baptist I know.

      Sixth, the Bible is always relevant. My goal is to expound upon its relevance, not to make it relevant.

      Seventh, you don’t know me or my ministry. If you have time to write comments against my articles and you’re still a faithful pastor, I suppose I have time to write as well and remain a faithful pastor.

      Eighth, your final comment is insulting. I love the SBC. But, we’re not perfect. There are areas that we need to continue repenting of and correcting according to Scripture.

      Ninth, your rhetoric and “assuming the worst” assumptions in your comment are unhelpful. I don’t fit the stereotype with which you’ve pegged me.

      • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

        Jared,

        I’m not on the net every day and not for very long when I am due to personal constraints. I read most of the posts on Voices but don’t respond to most.

        As to your book; technically it is a ‘booklet’ and not a book and as I told you in my unpublished review I found it lacking in substance and filled with broad, unsubstantiated opinions (much the same as I find your posts). As such, I found it immature in content, relevance and presentation. It is something I would not have accepted from my freshmen students when I was teaching college, let alone a doctoral student.

        I did not intend to insult you, I was just stating my opinion, which I believe is substantiated by the following:

        1) Over the last couple of years as I have read your posts they seem to follow the same trend – what I say is right, how I do things is right and anyone who disagrees or is doing it differently is wrong. I have failed to see any love for the SBC in any of your writings. What I see is a self-centered individual struggling for accreditation from others by continuously knocking the SBC by making generalized, unsupported statements.

        2) As a 20 year combat veteran our nation’s military I was taught early on that when you see a problem bring a possible solution to the table. In this post you espouse 10 problems but offer nothing as to solutions other than ‘give God the glory’ statements, as if you are the only one who knows how to give God glory.

        3) As a pastor and evangelist with more ministerial experience in a variety of fields that you are old, one thing I’ve learned is that any time a problem is identified the leader had better have prayerfully crafted a possible solution.

        Jared, if I loved my wife the way you say you love the SBC and only brought to her attention what I felt she was doing wrong, I wouldn’t be married any longer.

        You are right, I don’t know you but I know the area you are pastoring in and there are estimated to be 50 to 60% of the residents within a 15 mile radius without Christ. I knew a church in OK that believed as you espouse. They were focused solely on teaching the believers in the church and they had a biblical knowledge that was second to none. The problem was they didn’t take it out to the lost – God will add as He sees fit was the motto of the church. Today they are no more.

        The Bible clearly teaches that God adds to the church as the church is obedient to His declared will. Having said that, I must also say that in some fields of ministry we have seen aggressive evangelism result in no professions of faith for several years – but these were areas where the people had never heard of Jesus, in more than 45 years of serving Christ I have yet to see this in any area of America.

        When I lived in Turkey for a year, everyone said Muslims would not listen to the message of Christ, but they did. I can give testimonials of Muslims I met and shared Christ with during casual conversations in bus stations, restaurants, and in business meetings who followed me to my hotel afterwards to hear more about Jesus and several prayed receiving Christ.

        My experience with pastors of non-growing churches has been that they all want to claim God wants them to grow the people; they aren’t interested in reaching the lost unchurched around them unless God brings them through the doors. This is not Scriptural!

        I worked with such a pastor and church in the North West several years ago at the behest of the Baptist Sunday School Board. The church was the only Baptist church in a community of 7,000 and was averaging 17 in attendance. The pastor and church were fully funded by the Home Mission Board and 4 large southern churches and had been on the field for more than 5 years. I used an automatic dialing machine conducting an 8 question evangelistic survey and after 3 hours had 19 respondents who left their name, address, phone number and stated they wanted more information about receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior. I could not get the pastor to visit one of them; not one! He had an excuse for everyone!

        I gave their names to the pastor of a church in the neighboring town, about 25 miles away. He and I visited several of them over the next week and more than half of those we visited prayed to receive Christ. He later informed me that he and a deacon had visited all 19 and 15 made professions of faith and he had baptized 12 of them. He further stated that he hadn’t given up on the other 4 and was visiting with them every week or so. As a result of the 12 who professed Christ he told me how their weekly attendance had increase by 40 or 50 as these brought their families to the church and many of them had also received Christ.

        Time is running out, my wife just awoke and needs my attention so I will end here.

        If you need someone to go soul winning, I would entertain the idea.

        • Tarheel says

          “Over the last couple of years as I have read your posts they seem to follow the same trend – what I say is right, how I do things is right and anyone who disagrees or is doing it differently is wrong.”

          Yep, that is an excellent explanation of the posts of CB Scott. I’ve noticed the same tendency from him and others who share his soteriological viewpoint.

          :-)

        • says

          Richard,

          1. My book is my opinion as well. It’s based on things I’ve seen in the SBC. It’s the same as your comments. You have not substantiated your comments on my post with facts. You’ve stated your opinion. That’s what my book is as well. I haven’t claimed otherwise.

          2. The purpose of my book was to get Christians asking the question, “Are the methods we use Biblical?” I don’t think Christians are asking this question much anymore. It’s a quick read for a reason; the purpose was to get the wheels turning. If I can just get Christians to search God’s word to see if their methods are biblical, then I’ve succeeded.

          3. There’s no possible way that within a 15-16 mile radius of my church that there’s 50%-60% of the people that claim to be without Christ. Every person I visit claims to be a Christian, and most of them have been baptized by one of the churches around here.

          4. I do visit in the community; I do share the gospel regularly; I invite people in the community to visit our church as well. I hear, “I believe in Christ; I just don’t go to church like I should.” Everyone I visit claims to be a Christian. It’s extremely frustrating.

          5. I’ve written several articles as well praising the SBC; thanking the SBC; encouraging the SBC. Some of my most-shared articles were those that encouraged pastors.

          6. I’ll go visit anyone: jail, drug-dealers, whoever.

  6. Dave Miller says

    Jared, as is your wont, you put things in black and white that simply are not. For just about every one of these items you mention, there is another side to it, one that counterbalances and even conflicts what you say.

    1) Entertaining Sermons – Dr. Hendricks used to say “It is a sin to bore people with the word of God.” If someone compromises truth to entertain, fine. But is there some kind of spiritual benefit in boring people? Nonsense. A preacher should carefully handle the Word then proclaim it as clearly, vividly and incisively as he can. Humor, stories, all of these are gifts God gives us to accurately communicate his Word in a way that our hearers are more likely to hear.

    There is no honor or virtue in making sermons dull.

    2) “Anything for Souls” – well, shouldn’t we do anything for souls? You assume that someone is going to do something shameful or compromising to the gospel?

    You drop the bomb of “bribing” hearers, but do not define it. Is having an ice cream social a bribe? A Cantata or concert? You seem to be setting yourself up as the judge of others, so perhaps you should define your judgmental dictates more clearly.

    My guess is that most churches are guilty of not doing enough for souls, not too much.

    3) Numbers equal revival – this is seems to be a thing for you, the downplaying of numbers. But Acts does not downplay numbers. Certainly, church can and have put the gospel on sale and that is shameful.

    But any church that is satisfied with plateaued or declining numbers needs to repent and get right with God. Our church is kinda plateaued. That bothers me every day. We’ve been trying to figure out what God would have us do to change that.

    No, numbers are not an absolute sign of God’s favor. But the lack of numbers ought to be a signal to us that something is wrong. God still saves.

    4) Experience-centered worship. Worship SHOULD be an experience of God’s mercy and grace. No balance to this statement. Again, you heap judgment without definition.

    You set up a false dichotomy here. When worship is God-centered, it is also experiential. The two are not in conflict.

    5) Nostalgia – again, one side of a coin is seen here only.

    6) Relevant Sermons. Again, in your eagerness to judge and condemn, you may be seeing only one side of something that is not one-sided. As I preach, I need to take the word of God and then help people to accurately interpret it so that it is relevant to their lives.

    Yes, God’s word is relevant. But it is the role of the preacher to help the congregation see that relevance, not just to provide exegesis and facts. We guide them in both the process of interpretation and application.

    7) Relativistic Interpretations – you are right that we cannot accept that all interpretations are equally valid. But neither must I accept that you are right and I am wrong, just because you say so.

    Your “I am right and you are wrong” approach is arrogant and is not effective in shepherding God’s sheep.

    8) An easy life – I don’t disagree, but there need to be some distinctions and lines drawn here that your “blast them all” approach does not really accomplish.

    9) Tolerant love – again, there is much truth in what you say. But there is an opposite danger here. I’ve seen discipline used as a weapon in churches to punish dissent. Sheep need to be led, even corrected, but not bludgeoned. Too much of the latter is done in the name of discipline.

    10) Successful Ministry – again, there is some truth in what you say, but it is only one side and leaves out a LOT of balancing truth. We should desire great impact and effect. Are we supposed to rejoice in accomplishing nothing, or little?

    While the SBC has often overvalued numbers, megachurches and such, it is equally wrong to devalue them.

    I agree with much of what you say, but it is unbalanced.

    • says

      Dave, I appreciate the interaction. I’ve already answered most of your concerns in the audio of the interview in the original post. But, I’ll respond here as well.

      1) Entertaining Sermons – I say in the interview that we shouldn’t seek to be dull; that’s just diminishing God’s word on the other end of the spectrum… but, we also shouldn’t seek to entertain our hearers either. The goal is to preach the text in an understandable way. It’s one thing to be passively entertaining; it’s another thing to seek to entertain. God’s Word demands to be heard because it’s God-breathed, and any time a preacher, Sunday school teacher, etc. says what the Bible says, God’s people should listen. Where the Bible speaks, God speaks.

      2) “Anything for Souls” – No, we shouldn’t do just “anything for souls.” We should do what glorifies God and points back to Him, and encourages repentance and faith in Christ. I don’t think you believe we should do “anything for souls” either. We both have our limits.

      3) Numbers equal revival – What I want to downplay is the SBC’s emphasis on numbers. I think if the apostle Peter could have reproduced Pentecost numbers every single day (thousands of baptisms), he would have. Emphasizing numbers emphasizes something we have no control over. Instead, we should emphasize faithfulness, getting the gospel outside our walls, loving people, etc. We can do those things, but we cannot guarantee a numerical outcome. And, when the SBC emphasizes numbers, it discourages faithful pastors all across the world who may be faithful in God’s eyes, but lack the numerical fruit. Let’s get on to people with Scripture, not arbitrary quotas. That’s my issue.

      4) Experience-centered worship. Worship is about God and is not contingent on how I feel. That’s my issue. We don’t come seeking an experience, we come seeking God, and He may or may not produce a great experience. Much depends on what we’re experiencing in life. But, if He doesn’t, or if I don’t feel like worshiping Him, He is still worthy. If we emphasize experience, what does that say about those who worship but don’t have the “great experience?” Instead, we should emphasize what the text says concerning God’s worth; He’s always worthy of worship.

      5) Nostalgia – My goal here is just to point to God’s worth. I should be able to go to the Southern Baptist Convention and exalt Christ even if I hate the music because God is worthy, we’re singing truth to Him, and we’re teaching one another as we sing. “Not being like the SBC worship 20 years ago” shouldn’t keep me from exalting the Lord.

      6) Relevant Sermons. I’m not judging and condemning anyone, at least no more than you are. You wrote, “Yes, God’s word is relevant. But it is the role of the preacher to help the congregation see that relevance, not just to provide exegesis and facts.” – In my original post above, I said, “Yet, if the Bible is God-breathed, God’s revelation of Himself to mankind, then His word is always relevant. The preacher’s job and the teacher’s job is to help his or her hearers see how relevant the Bible is.” – We’re saying the same thing.

      7) Relativistic Interpretations – You write, “Your “I am right and you are wrong” approach is arrogant and is not effective in shepherding God’s sheep.” Your whole comment was spent telling me that I’m wrong? It’s not arrogant to tell someone, “I appreciate your thoughts, but you’re wrong, and here’s why.” We need to return to healthy debate over Scripture in the local church. We need to be able to tell one another, “I think your interpretation is wrong; here’s why.” I don’t see how that’s arrogant. I think this is what happened in Acts 15.

      8) An easy life – Just the facts Dave. Please interact with specifics, not make off-handed comments that I’ve “blasted them all.” If my book doesn’t describe you or others, then I’m not talking about you or others. I’m coming against those that I describe, no one else. I don’t name names. My goal is to get people to examine their hearts in this chapter, which is something I cannot do.

      9) Tolerant love – I’m sure there’s abuse of Church Discipline, but this chapter in my book is about administering loving Biblical discipline.

      10) Successful Ministry – We should rejoice over faithfulness, and the fruit that we do see. We must constantly examine our ministries to see where we can be more faithful, but we also shouldn’t place more of a burden on ourselves than Scripture does.

      Keep on keeping on.

  7. cb scott says

    So, are you telling me that church growth is dependent on the ability to pay a pastor and that evangelism and baptisms cannot be practiced in a place where the population is declining?

    Tell that to the folks who pioneered the Church at Colossae.

    SVMuschany, that dog just won’t hunt.

    • SVMuschany says

      Pay is a factor when churches can’t get men to come serve them because of where they are located and how little they can pay. When they do get a man to come serve them, he quickly leaves in 2-3 years after he gets “experience” and moves on to bigger churches with better pay.

      I also think you are falling prey to the assumption that numerical growth within SBC life (and Christianity in general) is entirely (or mostly) due to evangelism, baptism, and new conversions. Rather in reality, most of this “growth” is from people moving churches. That is a reality. These churches you are praising, if you actually look at their numbers, look at their growth, are STEALING members from other churches. Their baptisms are from the children of their own members. They are NOT new converts. The few churches that ARE seeing new convert number growth are almost exclusively inner-city missions churches reaching immigrant communities.

      • cb scott says

        “The few churches that ARE seeing new convert number growth are almost exclusively inner-city missions churches reaching immigrant communities.”

        SVMuschany,

        In what Marvel or DC comic book did you read such a thing?

      • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

        Are you living in a monastery somewhere high in the Himalayas?

        The apostle Paul worked with his hands to provide support for himself and those traveling with him and we find him sharing Christ. I’ve worked as a bi-vocational pastor and evangelist throughout the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa these past 45 years. Not once did I refuse to go to a church because they couldn’t pay me.

        Any preacher who claims he can’t witness to the lost accuse he isn’t being adequately provided for by God hasn’t been called of God, he is nothing more than a hireling!

        I’m not serving an immigrant, inner city population but we’re seeing souls come to Christ on a regular basis. We’re just reaching people nobody else cares to visit – ones who don’t come to their church. Preachers need to shut off the computer, close the books, get down on their knees before God and get out where the people are and share Jesus. The best way I’ve found to find the lost and unchurched is to simply knock on doors. Paul said he visited every home in Ephesus, with tears in his eyes. over a 3 year period. Can we do any less?

  8. cb scott says

    Jared Moore and SVMuschany,

    I shall return and torture you some more for your crazy ideas about church growth, evangelism, baptism, small towns, declining populations, and your distain for all things Baptist later. Right now, I have to go and do a few things because I still believe Baptist ecclesiology is the closest ecclesiology to biblical ecclesiology which is why I am “not” a Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and, thank the Lord, not a member of a Church of Christ.

    • SVMuschany says

      Gee I did not know disagreeing with you CB means I distance all things Baptist.

      Please point to and demonstrate where I EVER stated that a church should not do everything it can to reach out to the community it is in, evangelizing and serving, hoping to bring any lost souls it can to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus? Please tell me where I EVER said that! Rather, if you get your fingers out of your ears and from covering your eyes, you would see and hear that what I have said, what am saying, and what I will go on to say, is that counting numbers IS NOT by itself a reliable means of determining the health of a church.

      I will even go so far as to say that a spiritually healthy will tend to grow. But that growth will look vastly different depending on the location and situation that church is in. I don’t mean to speak for Jared, but I suspect that may be what he is getting at too. Numbers by themselves do NOT tell the whole story.

      • cb scott says

        SVMuschany,

        I did not state, nor even suggest that “counting numbers” is, “by itself, a reliable means of determining the health of a church.”

        I did state, and stated emphatically so, that healthy churches will experience numerical growth.

        There are several signs that a church is spiritually healthy. Numerical growth is one of those signs.

        On the other hand, you, Jared, and now, seemingly the Tarheel, argue that a church can be considered healthy without any numerical growth. You are wrong. A healthy church will experience numerical growth.

  9. William Thornton says

    Jared, how many pages is this book that you so often tout here?

    And, please tell me how your church practices discipline.

    (BTW, those ten points are so good, I can argue both sides of each one at the same time and make a convincing argument.)

    • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

      I was one of the original reviewers. It is technically not a book, it is a booklet of less than 25 pages of undocumented, generalized opinions much like this post.

  10. Tarheel says

    wow…..

    Did I miss the “lets all be mean spirited and rag on Jared Moore” memo?

    Jared has been accused of making things black and white that aren’t….boy y’all need some mirrors.

    I suppose one boasting that “churches that are healthy will have lots of baptisms every year…if you don’t you are not preaching, witnessing, or drawing the net effectively” is not black and white, dogmatic and unbalanced at all, is it?

    I would ask those advocating that lots of baptisms signals a healthier church than ones baptizing fewer

    If a church baptizes 2 people in a given year and 2 years later both of them are still faithful to church, growing in Christ, and serving the Lord in the local body….While that same year, the ‘highly evangelistic’ , “SBC soul winning award wining” church down the road baptizes 125 …and 50% or more of them could not be found by SEAL TEAM 6 today…which church has indications of better actual health (gaged by the great commission – MAKE DISCIPLES)…..I vote the one that baptized the 2.

    It would seem that the “net drawing” and the evangelism in the ‘successful’ high baptizing church sure is capturing a lot of goats who are not sheep.

    Padded numbers do not necessarily a healthy church make.

    • Dave Miller says

      You are arguing against assertions no one made. As fine a straw man as I have seen. When Jared posts something as condemnatory as this post, ought people not respond?

      • Tarheel says

        Of course response is fine….but CB has been quite jerky.

        (I know of no other way to describe it, I’m not trying to call names.)

      • Tarheel says

        Maybe someone should write a post insulting that criticism of Moore is based solely in personal bias and animosity and is therefore not valid….

        Seems to happen quite often on Voices when people dare criticize others words, statements and actions….ehm, cough, cough Ergun Caner….just sayin’

        • cb scott says

          OK, Tarheel.

          I will be dogmatic. I do respect Jared Moore. He owns his own words. When he makes a statement, the whole world knows who stated it. One reason I comment here at Voices is because there can easily be identified a face and persona in reality to most of the people who comment here. For several (at least a few) years now, I have been able to recognize Jared Moore at the SBC and other Southern Baptist functions, along with other guys with whom I disagree on various issues. There is a degree of relationship.

          However, that is impossible with guys like you. You comment here, but you hide behind an anonymous identity. Nonetheless, I, along with others here, are honest and open with you. Yet, you have never truly made one honest comment here. Not one.

          I also notice that it is the constant anonymous poster who spews the greater amount of venom about the new president of BPC. — a gutless lot, all.

          Now, “Tarheel,” how’s that for dogmatic?

          • Tarheel says

            You’re being an absolute jerk, why would I want a relationship with you? You say you respect Jred,..yet you talk about him in the most derogatory of terms….yea, I’d rather not. Thank you.

            You just called me a liar…I’ll just chalk that up to your obvious dubious and intentional blindness and ignorance….attributes that lead you to defend a man, your new boss, (self serving or genuine who knows?) in Caner who refuses to own his blatant lies and fraud….yet you impugn me because I use a sports team for a moniker.

            Whatever!

          • cb scott says

            “You just called me a liar”

            Yep, I did and a gutless one at that. For once your reading comprehension was fairly good.

          • Tarheel says

            You call me a liar without ANY basis in fact or evidence….but look beyond facts to defend your new boss.

            I see you as simply a self serving, rear end kissing, elitest.

          • cb scott says

            Tarheel,

            I have been called worse by real people. So, you calling me that means very little.

            Here’s the deal with anonymous guys like you, Tarheel. You are kinda like flies at a tailgate party. You just swarm around and make a nuisance of yourselves. The real people at the party, due to much experience with flies at tailgate parties, know there are just too many of them to do much about, so they just live with them and enjoy the party anyway.

            That pretty much sums up you anonymous guys who comment on blog threads, ya think there, Tarheel? BTW, I really don’t care what you think.

          • Tarheel says

            Nor do I care what you think. You’ve demonstrated yourself as one that I do not desire to have any kind of relationship with.

            Oh, and acknowledging being called worse by “real people” as if it were some sort of badge of honor…just solidifies my observations.

            I assure you I’m a real person…and your asserting otherwise just further demonstrates your tendency toward the ridiculous.

          • volfan007 says

            Tarheel,

            When you said, “I see you as simply a self serving, rear end kissing, elitest;” you obviously DO NOT know CB Scott. And, at least, CB has the guts to own his words. We know who he is, but who are you?

            David

          • Tarheel says

            He, by his repeated admission, and validated by you, OBVIOUSLY does no know me…yet it’s ok for him to speak to me as he has?

            More elitest hypocrisy.

          • Tarheel says

            I just might. You never know.

            I think I remember that I did offer a while back to meet you at the SBC convention in Baltimore should we both get to go…but that’s something I no longer desire to do.

            I’ll see others who post on here though hopefully, again….just so you know I’m a real person and all. :-)

          • Tarheel says

            Naw, was thinking they’d be a voices meet and greet of some sort at the convention and we’d meet there.

            When I met several other other posters from here last year at a breakfast (and another in the hallway)…I recognized thier names (we all wear name tags, ya know) and introduced myself with my real name as well as my moniker. You think I’m all about “hiding” my identity…you’re wrong. I’m just a bit selective with whom I share it, and that is not dishonest, disengrnious, or gutless….it’s a choice I’m completely entitled to make.

            I couldn’t care less what you think about that choice either.

            “Buzzzzzzzzzz”

    • cb scott says

      Tarheel,

      Had Dave Miller not already have stated, “You are arguing against assertions no one made. As fine a straw man as I have seen. When Jared posts something as condemnatory as this post, ought people not respond?,” I would have responded to your comment by by the following:

      You are arguing against assertions no one made. As fine a straw man as I have seen. When Jared posts something as condemnatory as this post, ought people not respond? -

      • Tarheel says

        Did you not dogmatically assert on this comment stream that “healthy churches show lots of baptisms?”

        Did you not imply that Jared must not be “going out and witnessing”

        Did you not say that he must not spdraw the net well?

        Did you not post. Laundry list apof attacks Ann Jarred’s geological positions…emphatically stating tht he’s wrong?

        Yes.you.did.

        My point was that, mr. Millers little accusation/insinuation that Jared is being overly dogmatic (I’m not sure how else to take “you’re making things black and white that aren’t” comment), ignores his own dogmatic ness and that of CB posted in this comment stream.

        • Tarheel says

          *draw the net well

          *Did you not post a laundry list of Jared’s theological positions…emphatically stating that he’s wrong?

          Sorry. Lol

        • cb scott says

          Tarheel,

          Read my comments. I never used the word “lots” regarding baptisms.

          Tarheel, you have a tendency to put spin on comments to twist their meaning.

          Why do you do that? I hope you do not do so just to be disingenuous. However, it is a fact that you do comment here anonymously.

          And yes, Jared is wrong . . . if you agree with his position, so are you.

          • cb scott says

            OK, Tarheel,

            Then let’s just say, your reading comprehension is greatly lacking. Oh wait, we have already established that as fact a few months ago in the alcohol thread.

            Sorry for the redundancy there, Tarheel.

          • Tarheel says

            I did not twist your words there either….you made weak and stupid arguments…I simply pointed that out.

  11. Tyler says

    Jared, I have seen every single one of these problems numerous times in my life….especially in Southern Baptists. I have heard many of these types of sermons in chapel at the southern baptist seminary I am attending (which I won’t name). Thanks for this man! Be encouraged! Keep doing what you are doing! Finish the race despite ill criticism!

    • cb scott says

      Tyler,

      Why don’t you change seminaries and go to one where you can enjoy the chapel messages? As a Southern Baptist, I hate that I am helping to pay 2/3 of your tuition for you just to be unhappy with what you are hearing in the Southern Baptist seminary you won’t name.

        • cb scott says

          Well Tyler,

          That is a right honest thing for you to do there. I wish you the very best wherever you go.

          • Tarheel says

            Is Tyler one too, since he’s not giving gphis whole name?

            What’s the standard that one must meet to cease being a fly? First name? Initials? Last name? First name and state? What?

          • Tarheel says

            People on here give thier real name…you claim to have relationship…you claim to respect them…but you speak just as harshly and demeaning toward them as you do me…

            So what’s the difference?

          • cb scott says

            Thank you, Tarheel.

            I make a concerted effort to be an equal “demeaner” to real people and anonys alike.

    • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

      Jared,

      I did listen to about 15 minutes of the interview and was interrupted. I didn’t see any need to return and listen to the rest since I was very unimpressed with what I heard and the unsupported opinions offered as fact.

    • volfan007 says

      Jared,

      Asking people to be saved. Encouraging them to put their faith in Christ. inviting them to repent. You know, leading them to repent and put their faith in Jesus. I mean, I’m not CB, but I’d say that he meant actually asking someone to be saved, and then leading them to put their faith in Christ.

      David

      • cb scott says

        Jared Moore,

        Vol has given the same answer I would give you.

        However, I think you already knew. You are again enlisting another of your vain attempts to be coy. Otherwise, how could you have been able to state that such was not a biblical practice in October of 1011, the same day you declared that a “harvest evangelist” was not biblical.?

        • Tarheel says

          Buzzzzz….

          This is how you treat people for whom you claim relationship and respect? Assuming you meant October 201, call up 2 year old quotes (I’m sure out of context) in an effort to play gotcha?

          Do you keep a log or screen shots of posts, for later reference – how does one remember that so vividly with it?

          Buzzzzzz

          • cb scott says

            Doug Hibbard,

            Had I known the records belonged to you, I would have told the fellows to have let them be. Please accept my belated apology.

            Our intent was toward just scorching the earth of Tarheels that year. Obviously, we missed a few.

          • says

            I always felt like the whole event was a little overboard. Rent a different movie, guys, don’t conquer a whole country over it.

            (Where I grew up, Hastings rented these plastic things that held magnetic tape with pictures on it. Had a BetaMax section.)

        • says

          CB, I honestly wanted to know what you meant. You acted like I wasn’t “drawing the net” right because if I was, I would have a “harvest” of baptisms.

          I share the gospel and encourage people to repent and believe in Christ.

          • cb scott says

            Jared Moore,

            You have stated that “harvest evangelism” is not biblical, nor is “drawing the net.” So how can you be drawing the net if you do not even think it to be biblical?

            You have written in the past that the absence of numerical growth was not a sign of an unhealthy church. You chastised those who challenged churches who had zero baptisms in a year.

            It seems that you have a bent toward chastising churches that have numerical growth, especially those that have an abundance of numerical growth.

            Your post here is as Dave Miller stated, one sided. Frankly, some of what is in your post is blown out of proportion. Your post has more holes in than Clyde Barrow at the conclusion of his visit to Texas.

            So don’t be surprised when those of us who see through this stuff call your hand.

          • says

            CB, First, I don’t know what you mean when you say, “Harvest evangelism.” What are you talking about?

            Second, In the past I’ve written that a lack of numerical growth doesn’t necessarily mean a church is unhealthy. Faithfulness to Scripture is the goal, not numerical growth. I can’t produce numerical growth, but I can be faithful; that’s what we need to emphasize. Also, please quote me where I’ve said these things. I don’t think I’ve said what you think I’ve said.

            Third, my issue, and I discuss this in the interview, is unbiblical methodology. We must be faithful to Scripture.

          • cb scott says

            Jared Moore,

            On October 31, 2011, William Thornton wrote and put up a post entitled,Why SBC churches eschew evangelists: NAMB? ”

            In the comment thread, you argued against the concept of drawing the net and harvest evangelism.

            Read your own comments. Glean your own answers.

            For the record, and because your efforts of being coy are so pretentious: I will state the following once again for it is still true:

            “You have stated that “harvest evangelism” is not biblical, nor is “drawing the net.” So how can you be drawing the net if you do not even think it to be biblical?
            You have written in the past that the absence of numerical growth was not a sign of an unhealthy church. You chastised those who challenged churches who had zero baptisms in a year.

            It seems that you have a bent toward chastising churches that have numerical growth, especially those that have an abundance of numerical growth.
            Your post here is as Dave Miller stated, one sided. Frankly, some of what is in your post is blown out of proportion. Your post has more holes in than Clyde Barrow at the conclusion of his visit to Texas.

            So don’t be surprised when those of us who see through this stuff call your hand.”

          • says

            CB, For the final time, I’m not being “Coy.” I’m asking what you mean CB, what you mean. Not what William Thornton meant over 2 years ago; what you mean. I thought I knew what “drawing the net” meant” but then I told you I’m “out there” all the time sharing the gospel, and you told me I needed to learn to draw the net properly to get a harvest. Again, I tell you I’m out there sharing the gospel, and you tell me to learn to “draw the net.” Are you saying that I need to learn to share the gospel properly?

            Once again, the lack of numerical growth is not necessarily a sign of disobedience. Didn’t you just affirm Doug even though he said his church hasn’t shown much numerical growth? I don’t understand you CB.

            Can you try to be objective? Interact with the words I’m writing instead of assuming the worst.

          • cb scott says

            Jared Moore,

            You are being hypocritical. You know it. I know. I don’t care who else knows it or who now comes to your defense.

            You know full well that you have been critical of those who baptize converts while you do not. Am I not correct that you challenged Steve Gaines about the report of his VBS convert numbers? Did you not declare that harvest evangelism is not a biblical concept? Did you not declare that drawing the net is not a biblical concept? Did you not declare that the sinner’s prayer is not a biblical concept? I may be wrong, but did you not make statements refuting the use of an invitation in public worship service? Did you not write this post: “An Open Letter to “Failing” Churches and Foolish Southern Baptists”? Did you not write the very post of which we are now engaged — “The 10 Sacred Cows” post that leans to absurdity to the point of mental exhaustion as to all that is lacking in it and would take a semester’s work to un-package the false and faulty conclusions therein?

          • says

            CB, that was J. D. Hall, not me on 1) Steve Gaines’ VBS convert numbers, 2) “Harvest evangelism,” and 3) Invitations.

            1. I’m against the formula sinner’s prayer, but not against sinners praying in repentance and faith toward Christ. I encourage sinners to pray expressing their repentance and faith in Christ. Also, you complimented me at the SBC after I spoke in response to Dr. Gaines on the Sinner’s Prayer, as did your son.

            2. I’m not against event evangelism necessarily. I’m against poor event evangelism that undercuts the gospel we preach. (I assume by “harvest evangelism,” you mean event evangelism?)

            3. I use an invitation every sermon. I don’t mention the “alter” though. I invite people to publicly respond in repentance and faith in Christ.

            4. I did write the post: “An Open Letter to “Failing” Churches and Foolish Southern Baptists?” Bring the quotes from that post that you think are wrong.

            5. I don’t see any faulty conclusions in this post. I’d be happy to hear your Scriptural reasoning for hating this post so much.

          • cb scott says

            Jared Moore,

            Glad you were not the one who wrote the post on Steve Gaines and VBS baptisms. However, did you agree with Hall’s post? Yes, you did state harvest evangelism is not a biblical concept. You did so in the comment thread of the William Thornton mentioned in this thread.

            I know of few in the SBC who place the value you and others have credited us with regarding a “formula sinner’s prayer. All lost people who become children of God pray a “sinner’s prayer.”

            I think there must be some degree of confusion about my complimenting you in your response to Steve at the SBC. And I am quite positive Stephen (I think Stephen is the only son of mine you have met.) did not compliment you specifically for your response to Steve Gaines. Obviously, if he said anything it was in an effort to be hospitable. He is not really engaged in that dialogue. He is a pharmacy student at Samford. However, I think some of the faculty there might agree with you.

            I am glad to read that you give an invitation. Don’t stop. Don’t let any of your buddies from Geneva convince you to stop. A harvest will come.

            As for 4 and 5, we will not be able to un-package all of the problems with those here.

          • cb scott says

            As to why I think this post is so bad is because you paint with a brush far to wide for the canvas provided by SBC pastors.

  12. Dale Pugh says

    Sorry. Don’t have an hour to give to listening to the interview. Interesting how many times a book or interview is promoted on here……..

    • Tarheel says

      I’m not Jared…but I feel confident he would agree….any preacher who does not call people to repentance and salvation is not following the examples of Jesus and the apostles….and is being derelict in his duty.

      Guys,maybe you are not aware, but even people of a reformed bent call people to repentance.

      • Dale Pugh says

        Sorry, Jared. No offense intended. I just find the self-promotion a little……overdone. It’s my own personal quirk. I can choose to read and listen or not. Keep doing what you think you need to do.
        BTW, I feel the same way about those who hold conferences named for their most recent work, or those who hit the road to promote their latest #1 NYT Best Seller. That’s just……smarmy. I’m not picking on you.

  13. says

    Observations:

    1. Sometimes churches grow spiritually and numerically but not from an ACP perspective. Anecdotal evidence: the church I pastor. Small, farming town (286 in the “town” with another 200 on farms around, closer to us than to any other church but local Methodists). Negative population growth in the entire county.

    We have baptized some, and seen some leave the county due to job changes and such. Over time (4 years), our “net church growth” is basically flat. We are, however, reaching people slowly but surely, and baptizing some beyond the normal biological growth. (For example, beyond two of my own.)

    2. We are small and still dysfunctional in some areas. We have people who have held grudges for decades, and when we gain the spiritual health to move beyond those, we will see numerical growth. But it is a reality that these issues are keeping people in this community from attending this church. And since we’re one of only two churches (us or Methodist, that’s your choice), they’re not going anywhere.

    3. Churches go through seasons. I do not think we are called the “body” of Christ just for a cute illustration. Your body does this, too: sometimes it heals, sometimes it grows. Some of its growth is healthy, some is not.

    The difference being that there are almost always opportunities for healthy growth. If the body is healthy, that is. Some churches shouldn’t grow until they heal–I will stand by that. There are some churches that are just barely truly churches, and they would destroy new believers.

    • cb scott says

      The words of a genuine pastor, one experienced in real world church growth – not a “naysayer” and critic of all things Southern Baptist, yet a realist and recognizer that we have not yet arrived.

      Thank you, Doug Hibbard. Your common sense and understanding of things never ceases to amaze me.

  14. Joel says

    Jarod, I didn’t listen to the interview, and all I know of you is what I’ve seen here on Voices. Sometimes I agree with you, and sometimes I do not, but I’ve never felt you were on some sort of a crusade as people here have implied today. I have to say that I’m apalled at the rhetoric that’s been tossed around towards you, whatever you said in your post (a lot of which I agree with), especially be people who call themselves Christians. As a Christian who myself has received a lot of blogging hatred by other professing Christians over the years, merely because I’m not progressive in my theology, I have to say that I sympathize with your plight after reading this.

    Those of you who have chosen to vilify Jarod in this thread in such an ugly manner, for whatever reason, rest assured that your tone and manner it not befitting of a follower of Christ. You may even have had valid point on which to disagree with him, but the rudeness I’ve encountered in reading through the comments is at all appropriate. I urge you to repent, not of differences of opinion, but of the vitriol you have shown today to a fellow brother in Christ. There are proper ways in which to rebuke or chide someone you feel is in error, but your actions today are not worthy of the Kingdom. We are called to build one another up, and if you felt Jarod is guilty of doing the opposite, then you encourge him in a Godly fashion. We are better than this brothers… repent, and make amends for the sake of the Gospel!

    Joel Hunt

    • Joel says

      Sorry for the obvious grammar errors in my previous post; I’m a firefighter, not a secretary, and I have a bad habit of hitting “submit” before I proof a post. :/

  15. says

    The Gospel is more than just saving souls, it is a witness to the Lordship of Jesus.
    So we are to obey our Lord and put the Gospel out there, to speak it where it can be heard. That is obedience to the Lord.
    But it is the Lord who makes things grow, as He sees fit.
    If we put the Gospel out there, we are doing our duty of love to God.
    We have this promise that when he sends His word into the world it will not return void but will accomplish ALL He intends it to.

    He makes it accomplish all He intends it to.
    So be obedient to the Lord. If the local congregation grows, praise God.
    If you are being faithful to the Lord, and it doesn’t grow, praise God. One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase. So let us sow and water, trusting God, that He will accomplish EXACTLY what He wants.

    For if you fail, or i fail in obeying, God will raise up rocks and stones if need be.

  16. SVMuschany says

    Looking back at my comments and others response to me, I fear I may have been improperly expressing my views. I have been told my line of reasoning in written form is often hard to follow, and combine that with my tunnel vision when it comes to my passion/concern for small rural churches, I may not have been clear.

    I fully agree with the concept that a healthy, biblically led and fed church will grow. Where I have issue is that that growth cannot be a “one-size-fits-all” style of growth. Different churches in different regions and situations will behave differently and that growth may be different in appearance. It is my view then that we must be careful making blanket statements regarding growth, and what growth should look like.

    I believe a good analogy to this discussion is the concept of “good works” as described in James’ epistle. We can say, that a true Christian will do good works. If someone claims to be a Christian, and they are not doing good works, they should be considered suspect, and at the very least not truly seeking to be a servant of Christ Jesus. It also does not mean that doing good works makes one a Christian. I also would contend that “good works” may look differently between two believers, and we cannot make blanket statements based purely on our observations. Many believers are indeed doing good works but in a way that is not apparent to other Christians. Only before God will some people’s true works become apparent.

    Likewise, I believe that basing growth just on numbers may not always be the best indicator of a healthy church. Consider a completely unhealthy church. A new pastor comes in, and spends the first 5 years feeding the existing congregation, getting them healthy, so that they can go out and effectively reach their community. If you were to look “just” at numbers, and use “just” number growth to determine the health of a church, you might say such a church is unhealthy and not properly serving Christ Jesus. And yet that, when you actually look at the church, it is growing healthier and doing the will of God.

    I also do believe that to expect every “healthy” rural church to become churches with numbers in the 2-3-4 hundreds, is unrealistic. However I recognize that my largest opposition to this is not that small rural churches “cannot” grow, but rather that the churches in these situations that do grow often are done at the expense of other churches in the surrounding communities. I oppose in principle the idea of people traveling 20-30+ miles passing other churches of like theological views (i.e. other SBC churches in our context), to attend a “larger” church because that is where “everyone else is going”. You could say I hate large churches, though I do admit in some situations they do provide a good service. But a town of 150 having a church of 6000, in my opinion is wrong. How far are those members traveling? A town of 150 does not have a rural population in the several thousand, and defiantly not within 30-40 miles. Now I obviously lack context. Maybe this town of 150 is a suburb of a larger metropolitan area thus the distance traveled is not that bad. But if this church is in the middle of a rural county, and you have people passing 3-4+ SBC churches to get there, that is wrong in my view, and only hurts those smaller churches. Especially if we grade their growth in comparison to that 6000 member church.

    If there is still disagreement with my views and the views of those who reacted to my statements, so be it. But I hope that this may clear up some confusion about my opinions.

  17. Ron F. Hale says

    Jared,

    I’m thinking of a new book: Ten Bulls that We Need to Take by the Horns in the SBC.

    And, the first Bull is: Evangelism: Stop shooting the Bull and let’s win and baptize more lost people!

    Blessings!

  18. Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

    Jared,

    You reveal your thin skin.

    I once had a wise person tell me that when someone points out a weakness you should listen but when more than one points out the same weakness you had better take action to evaluate and make corrections.

    As for booklets, I have nothing against them as I’ve published over a hundred in my life time, but there is a literary difference between them and books, which I’ve also published.

  19. dr. james willingham says

    This whole blog, as well as the booklet involved, has been, from my perspective, an exercise in superficiality. Some of the folks think Calvinits are not soul-winners, etc., but a relative of mine who is not a Calvinist did a survey of the Calvinists and Traditionalists in his area. He said, while there were some tare hairs among the Calvinists, numerically, they did very well, even better than their opposite numbers. On the other hand, we can go to the career of one Charles Grandison Finney, and I can tell you many good points about him. I can also tell you about his sorry points, too. Without even looking at his theology, we can consider his own admission that his converts on the whole did not turn out very well for the most part (cf. his autobiography). In deed, the area in which he preached came to be known as the “Burnt Over Area or Region) (Western New York and parts of other states), a subject of study by historians.

    That there are points in Calvinist theology, especially of the Reformed today that deserve and require to be question and addressed is beyond doubt. I question quite seriously the contention of some that the elders govern the church, that they indeed are the church as some say. To which I reply “Baloney.” Jesus made it very plain that the church is the primary authority to which one refers issues of displine (Mt.18). In other words, the church is congregational in government. The very word ekklesia is a dead give away to anyone who knows the etymology of the term. I spent six years studying the issue in Baptist Church history, and the facts are plain and clear. I know of a church where the elders governed, and the people did not realize that they no longer had a voice in the government until they wound up with a new pastor without ever getting to vote on him. Interestingly enough, the pastor who had led the church for over 40 years left the church, when the new pastor went off the deep end on some point of doctrine (how does the idea of Jesus sinning strike you?).

    As to the soul winning, my pastor in Arkansas was Calvinist, and when I returned for a revival in the 60s he took for a visit to Bellevue (about 3 hr. drive). He told me that day, that percentage wise (taking into account the population, etc.) he had baptized as many as Dr. Lee had at Bellevue. Both, were Calvinists. I know we shall hear from some who will tell me very pointedly that Dr. Lee was not a Calvinist, but as evidence I adduce the fact that I have studied his sermons and noted his comments and his quotes. I also know that he once ticked all five points of the TULIP outline and then ticked you may not use my name. That was in the appendix to a Master of Arts Thesis at the University of Louisville, Ky., written by the fellow who beat W.A. Criswell in having the highest GPA at Southern, followed by a D.Phil. from Oxford. Moreover, Dr. Lee put it in his will that Dr. Ernest R. Campbell should preach his funeral sermon. While the dear brother had about five preachers, Dr. Campbell use to laugh and say, “But the only one who was legal was me.” Dr. Lee loved Ernest Campbell who had been his Associate for a short period at Bellevue, and he knew Dr. Campbell’s theological position, an extreme one. Dr. Campbell use to declare publicly and person to person, “I am a supralapsarian, a hyper Calvinist.” He was also the most zealous soul winner, I ever knew with the exception of one other person. He is listed in Who’s Who in Religion, 2nd. edn. Chicago: Marquis Pubs., 1977 as the founder of the American Race Track Chaplaincy, which he did while pastoring the FBC of Hialeah, Fla. He also left a legacy of many Baptist preachers during his years of service as a pastor in South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, and Kentucky. I believe a third of the attendees at his funeral were preacher boys. O yes, and he pleaded with a relative of mine to receive Christ until tears ran down the man’s face. If anyone could have reached that man, it was Dr. Campbell.

    Immorality, sensationalism of the bad sort (there is such a thing as good sensationalism, e.g., Dr. Lee’s Pay Day -Someday which led me to develop one called, Pay Day – Today. It never did succeeded like Dr. Lee’s message).

    I also disagree with the idea that folks can afford to be arrogant, thinking that there interpretation is right all the time. Brother Jared is a young man, and perhaps he will be tempered by the experiences in the years that lie ahead. After all, I was so sure I was right at one time. Let me illustrate with a fact that will irritate both sides in this issue. I use to think a woman’s place was only in the home, etc. A fellow student of mine some 54 years ago and I use to sort of urge his mother to give up visiting for her church and stay home. She would just smile sweetly at us and go on her way. She was the person, I was thinking of above who was more of soul winner than Dr. Campbell, my guesstimate, due to her having spoken to 10,000 people as visitor for her church. Anyway at the time of the loss of my family due to murder-suicide, she came to the funeral home and told me that she was reading Pink’s book on the Sovereignty of God. I never saw her again, but, later, I heard she had become a preacher. To make a long story short, she founded a church in a resort area and gave it to Southern Baptists, a good sized church, etc. The folks in that local association told her that it would never be acknowledged that she founded the church, that it would be recognized as having begun on the day Southern Baptists took it over. Wow! Wonder what they would do about Lottie Moon saying, “I was never ordained, but I was foreordained,” when questioned about doing somethings that only ordained ministers were supposed to do.

    Any way I cut my own throat by giving an Address on the subject, “The Genius of Orthodoxy: Eldresses,” an effort to reconstruct the case for women in ministry as the folks of Sandy Creek Assn. and Church originally developed it. But I will leave that for another day.

    As to the issue of converts: there is such a thing as making superficial converts. “Woe to them that healed slightly the hurt of the daughter of my people, saying, Peace, Peace, when there is no peace.” I remember winning a soul once to Christ, who never darkened the door of a church to make a profession of faith and submit to baptism. Talk about feeling bad and wondering what I had done wrong! It was experiences like that which led me to a careful consideration of Regeneration and Conversion and etc.

    O let me add, also, that all of the doctrines of the TULIP acrostic are evangelistic; they are invitations, and our Lord preached them as such (cf. Mt.15:21-28 & Lk.4:16-31; et. al.) The same goes for the truths of predestination and reprobation. Most folks these days know little, if anything bout therapeutic paradoxes. The same could be said for “Shock Therapy,” something clearly demonstrated by our Lord in Jonah’s message to Nineveh. There is more, but I think this will do to address. O wait, there is one thing more and that is the fact that usually doctrines are two-sided and apparently contradictory, that is, they cannot be reconciled by the human mind and are not meant to be. They are meant to be held in tension, a tension which enables one to be balanced, flexible, creative, constant, and magnetic, able to meet a situation which arises in a way appropriate to it without compromising one’s self to death or becoming so rigid as to be brittle and snap at the slightest opposition. What made the First and Second Great Awakenings and the launching of the Great Century of Missions such a creative visitation was these very truths spelled out by the folks like Edweards, Whitefield, Fuller, Carey, etc. It was that same approach that produced the union of Separate and Regular Baptists in 1787 with allowance for differences on a number of issues, and the one spelled out was that of the extent of the atonement, though most of the Baptists then, Separate and Regular, were of the persuasion that Christ died only for the elect, Particular Redemption or Limited Atonement (but every one of you folks preach that last idea. You either limit the atoning work by God’s purpose or you limit by the power of man’s will). Particular Redemption is one of the doctrines along with the others that I have mentioned which shall eventually help us to see the Third Great Awakening, the one which shall win every soul on earth (beginning hopefully in this generation) and continue to do so for a thousand generations and extended to a million billion and/or trillion planets in the next 20,000-900,000 years. After all, as I said, they are invitations to trust Christ, to take Him for what He actually teaches and is in Himself, the Sovereign God of Heaven and Earth.