Scatter shooting while thinking that Bart Barber is out, standing in his field.
Color me pleased that Bart Barber won the SBC presidency for a second time. He has served us well and deserved a second term. Beyond that, he has proven one need not be a mega-church pastor to handle the demands of the office. That opinion was often voiced in the past.
Color me perplexed that Mike Stone chose to run in 2023. Surely, next year would have been better for him. He was bucking SBC tradition—to give a president a second term—and a popular candidate, also.
I was not surprised that the SBC rejected the appeals by the two ousted churches nor that the SBC approved Mike Law’s amendment to the constitution and by-laws. The SBC’s stance on female pastors has been clear for 30 years. Of course, the actions by the SBC have provoked outcry, protests, and vituperation by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship folks. You can read all about it on Baptist News Global. I can’t believe they were surprised. Perhaps, they hope to make some hay out of this. I know—color me cynical.
My dear wife served as a librarian at the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary for several years. Her supervisor was a leader in the Presbyterian Church in the USA. One day he told her, “You explain away Scripture and explain away Scripture and explain away Scripture, and then you have nothing left to stand on.”
According to Rick Warren, he took four years of NT Greek in college and seminary. When he studied the question of female pastors, he consulted his Greek New Testament, reference books, and 100 commentaries. This intense study convinced him that the SBC’s position, and his former position for 40 years, were wrong. In his many statements and videos, he seems to imply that if you just study as he did, you too will embrace the egalitarian view. Well, it’s good to take Greek in seminary. I did, too, but I would not compare my knowledge of Greek with that of NT professors. Dr. Tommy Lee of SWBT wrote the commentary on 1 Timothy in the New American Commentary. In his excursus on “Women in Ministry,” Dr. Lee concludes, “The position of an authoritative teacher relates most closely to the modern office of the pastor in Protestant churches. Paul’s advice would limit that office to men.”(104) Beyond that, I consider Dr. Tom Schreiner and Dr. Andreas Kostenberger the top NT scholars in the SBC. They jointly wrote a book, Women in the Church, in which they espouse and defend the complementarian view. Now, I’m not a Rick Warren hater. To the contrary, I admire and respect that he’s done in church planting and church growth. I certainly would count him as an expert in those fields, but not in regard to NT interpretation. It seems disingenuous to tell Southern Baptists that spending some time in study, as he did, would lead them to adopt the egalitarian position.
Many private colleges in the USA are struggling for survival. Most of these colleges derive much of their income from the tuition the students pay. The number of high school students is decreasing, so the pool of students from which to enlist new students is shrinking. Beyond that, inflation is driving the cost of a college education beyond the means of middle-class families. So, to enroll more students, the colleges must offer more and bigger scholarships. This means the college is losing money on an increasing number of students. To pay their bills, the colleges draw on their endowment funds, but that can only go on for so long. Recently, I heard the president of John Brown University, my alma mater, state that two evangelical colleges (not Southern Baptist) will close in the next year.
National publications recently have featured stories about the decline in the SBC’s statistics. For example, they point out that thirty years ago we had 16 million members, while this year we are reporting 13 million. I don’t dispute the decline in our SBC numbers; however, I would point out that when we had 16 million members, our counters in Nashville admitted that 7 million were “non-resident members.” In Southern Baptist lingo, “non-resident” means we have this person on our membership roll, but we don’t know where this person is. I believe one aspect of the change in our statistics is that lots of churches have purged their rolls of non-resident members.
Here is a great quote from the late Tim Keller: “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
Here’s another quote from William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. He made this statement in 1912:
“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” (Jim Dennison’s Daily Bulletin)
I read on the internet that on Father’s Day it’s good to celebrate “Dad Jokes.” I’ll close with this one. What do you call a seagull that flies over Galveston Bay? A bagel.