Recent Entries
A Book A Week
BFL 2005
Blogroll Cruise
Book Reviews
Church and State
Current Events
Everything Else
Feast Days and Holy Days
Intolerant Tolerance
Mark Study
Movie Metaphysics
Music Mondays
Music Reviews
New Media
Nicholas Kristof
Seven Councils
The Chronicles of Andreius, the Paladin
This Week in Church History
Webcomics Wrapup
King James Onlies at the SBC??
The John 3:16 Conference
Burleson Resigns
Dirty Laundry, Family Squables, and TBN
Charismatic Takeover???
No Surprise
An Exit Strategy That Just Might Work
The Mistake
A Few Good Resolutions
Thoughts on Day One of the Convention

June 10, 2008

King James Onlies at the SBC??

I'm not at the Convention this year (just like last year, and the year before, and ...), but now I really wish I was. I'm enjoying the live and semi-live coverage I'm getting from bloggers (and Ed Stetzer live-Twittering the event), and it really makes me wish I was there.

Especially when I read of a proposed resolution like this one (hat tip to Wes Kenney at SBC Today): "A motion to forbid the use of the Holman Christian Standard Bible on the platform of the convention, as it asserts that the Bible contains verses that should not be there."

I have questions about this resolution (and I'm not sure if the actual resolution is available anywhere online, since it wasn't proposed beforehand). Are they saying that the HCSB has extra verses, or are they saying that the HCSB is saying that some verses in the Bible shouldn't be there? If the latter, is this aproblem with the footnotes? My NKJV often says that "Older manuscripts do not include this verse" or something similar in the footnotes -- is the NKJV out as well??

I DO, however, like the resolution to charge online students the same as residence students at SBC seminaries.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2008

The John 3:16 Conference

This November at FBC Woodstock (a huge, iconic church in the SBC, and very influential nationally), they're having the John 3:16 Conference - a non-Calvinist's response to the Building Bridges Conference. I'm not going to criticize FBC Woodstock, or Jerry Vines Ministries -- I've been blessed by the ministries of both, and know people whose lives were changed by both. I want to look at both these conferences, though. There are some telltale differences between the two, and I think it's important to note them.

One of the things I noticed about the Building Bridges conference is that the speakers represented a broad range of opinions, and not all of them were Calvinists or favorable to Calvinism. Non-Calvinists presented on reasons that they were concerned with the increase in Calvinism in the SBC; Calvinists presented on why they thought that was a good thing. Theology was discussed, alternate viewpoints were presented, and a healthy debate was encouraged. Above all, cooperation was emphasized -- the last two sessions were on "Working Together To Make Christ Known." AND each session is available (for free) on the internet, to encourage the discussion to continue.

The John 3:16 Conference looks to be a fisking of the five points of Calvinism. I don't see any Calvinists listed as speakers, just the assertion that "This conference is not going to be a "Let's bash the Calvinists" conference. This conference is going to be a biblical and theological assessment of and response to 5-point Calvinism." It appears pretty one-sided in it's scope. And "There will be no live or archived audio or video of this conference via the Internet."

That is disappointing. It shows me that discussion and debate is not going to be encouraged in this conference - it's going to be a lot of "Here's what we say, you'd better learn it and learn to repeat it, because we're smarter than you are." It reminds me of the problems with the Ascol-White/Caner debate that was scheduled last year, that fell through at the very last minute.

People on both sides of the debate were encouraged by the Patterson/Mohler discussion at the Pastor's Conference at the SBC in Greensboro. There was potential there that both sides could learn to work together, and stop vilifying and misrepresenting each other. It looks to me like the John 3:16 Conference represents a giant step backwards.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:05 PM | Comments (96) | TrackBack

January 30, 2008

Burleson Resigns

Wade Burleson has announced his resignation as trustee of the IMB. I have, in recent days, had questions about his intentions in much of what he wrote, but I have always thought that it was important for trustees to have the ability to air their dissent, publicly if need be. And I still believe that it's a bad idea for Southern Baptist entities to require things of their members and employees that go beyond what the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message says. And if his account of the trustee meeting is accurate, I cannot understand why his apology was not deemed sufficient.

There is a resolution that has been forwarded to the SBC Executive Committee that would call for a vote on Burleson's continued service. That vote promised to be a pretty divisive and potentially rowdy vote, and at least now that controversy will not happen.

I am disappointed that Pastor Burleson's apology was not accepted. Having read the text at his blog, I think that it demonstrates his willingness to work within the system to effect any change he feels is needed. It looks to me like the Executive Committee of the IMB felt that anything short of apologizing for his disagreement with the IMB policies was not a sufficient apology, and that is unfortunate. I also think that this decision has the potential of making Burleson a sort of martyr to many of his supporters in the SBC -- though not as much potential as the resolution that sought to remove him as trustee.

Ironically, I had just told my wife about that resolution, and told her that Indianapolis would be interesting. We're looking forward to getting to go to the convention this year -- it will be our first since Atlanta. Maybe it will be quieter after all.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:58 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

December 17, 2007

Dirty Laundry, Family Squables, and TBN

I weighed in on the whole TBN/SBC/tongues issue in the previous post, but today I found a couple articles that really made me thing more on this subject. Both are in my shared folder in Google Reader -- if I've got you in my contacts list through GMail, you can get it automatically. Otherwise, you can subscribe to the feed in your favorite RSS reader, or just check out this page. You can see the headlines in the graphic on the left sidebar, right under the calendar.

First up is Ed Stetzer's brief post concerning the use of Lifeway's research in the program. Swain Miller makes the statement that "LifeWay… this past summer... did a survey… and they reported that 51% of Southern Baptist pastors believe in speaking in tongues as one of the gifts… The truth is that there are more than half, I believe, of Southern Baptist pastors, anonymously surveyed… said they practice a private prayer language... but they were anonymous about it." If you read Lifeway's research, it doesn't make any assertion of personal practice on the part of anyone who participated. Only the beliefs of the people surveyed are mentioned. I think this is important because while someone may feel that tongues is a valid gift for today, they may or may not speak in tongues themselves. It's a distinction that is missing, I think, from the broadcast.

The second post I noted today is from Tim Rodgers at SBCToday. I think both of his illustrations are important for us to keep in mind -- especially the second, involving a fight between brothers.

Family fights can be very painful. It gets even more painful when the fight is brought out into public, and is even encouraged by people outside the family (who won't ever BE members of the family). And that's what happened on TBN last week. There has been a family squabble in the SBC over private prayer languages and tongues. We're dealing with it as a family. But now some members of the family have brought in folks from outside to try to end the fight -- and end it in their favor. The people they're bringing in aren't Southern Baptists, and don't 'have a dog in the fight.' But, to quote Richard Hogue at the very beginning of the segment, "I love a good controversy, don't you?" The purpose of the entire segment is to feed off controversy.

I have to confess, I enjoy heated debate and discussion. And as I've mentioned before, I have in the past sought out controversy for its own sake. So I can relate to Hogue's perspective on the issue. But one thing that I learned long ago is that when you seek out controversy for its own sake, or for the sake of your own enjoyment of controversy, nothing is resolved -- in fact, resolution is the exact opposite of what you want. You want the controversy, the conflict -- it's an adrenaline rush to be involved in something controversial.

That's why many people blog -- for the controversy. For the rush, the feedback, the attention (measured in trackbacks and comments, of course). But that attitude doesn't solve anything. Hogue's statement at the outset of the program set the tone, and it was clear from the beginning that the controversy would continue.

It was also clear that only one side of the debate would ever be presented. It's TBN, after all -- why would they bring on some cessationists to defend their position? Instead, the SBC is painted as a group that is trying to silence the voice of God in our generation, which is far from the truth. That kind of sentiment doesn't solve the problems that he SBC does have -- it simply sensationalizes a minor divide for others' entertainment and amusement.

It must be pleasant for the folks at TBN to have no controversies or conflicts of their own to deal with, that they have to entertain themselves by capitalizing on the disagreements of other Christians.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 13, 2007

Charismatic Takeover???

For a long time now, there has been a controversy in the SBC over private prayer languages. It all started when the IMB trustees decided to not commission any missionaries who prayed in a "private prayer language," which they felt contradicted traditional Southern Baptist positions. More than a few SBC bloggers felt that the trustees had gone well beyond their role at the IMB, and it led to a LOT of blogging on the subject.

At the time, I was one of the people upset with the trustees. I really had more of a problem with the idea of "alien baptism" than with the prayer language issue -- I wasn't baptized in a Southern Baptist church (it was FAR more conservative than any SBC church I've ever been in, actually), and I really thought that the trustees were trying to pass judgment on the validity of someone's conversion. I didn't view private prayer language as a really serious issue in the SBC, and I really still don't.

I do, however, have a philosophical and theological problem with the modern charismatic movement. Their tendency to place priority on personal experience over Biblical truth concerns me greatly -- there is so much potential for drastic theological error in a system where there is no accountability. How can anyone pass judgment on the validity of someone else's experience if those experiences aren't subject to Scriptural standards? I'm not a hardcore advocate of the Regulatory Principle, but I think that Scripture has to be the norm in our worship and practice. If I'm doing something in worship that is not Scriptural, I expect that my fellow believers will rebuke me and let me know the problem. They can't do that if my experience is the ultimate point of reference for my own spiritual life.

There's a video circulating the blogosphere right now that really bothers me -- and I haven't even watched the whole thing yet. Dwight McKissic, Dwayne Miller, and Scott Camp were on TBN last night discussing this very topic.

What it seems to come down to is that the charismatic folks feel sorry for the SBC because we're not experiencing God fully. Because we don't accept new revelation from God that is outside of (and often contradictory of) Scripture. And the general tone of the folks involved (except for Dwight McKissic) was pretty derogatory toward those who are cessationists.

I tend to be more of a pragmatic cessationist. I've never had it happen to me, I'm not looking for it to happen to me, I recognize I have other spiritual gifts and God has not chosen to give me the gift of tongues. I evaluate occurrences of tongues based on the individual who is speaking -- based on the norms of Scripture.

What I've seen in Pensacola (the Brownsville "Revival", not the Christian College) is outside of the bounds of Scripture, and has served to heap scorn onto Christians because of the outlandish behavior that's being seen there. And that is what they want to bring into the SBC? If this is what the new reformation in the Convention is about, then we need a different kind of Reformation. The kind that's based on Scripture's clear teaching, and not the individual experiences of individuals.

Hat tip on this one goes to SBCToday.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 03, 2007

No Surprise

The Dallas News' Religion blog has a story today on an impending "preach in" (actually homiletics conference) sponsored by the New Baptist Covenant. I thought that what the ABP said was a pretty good indication of why the SBC is (to use the Dallas News' words) "wary" of this new Baptist organization.

James Forbes, pastor emeritus of the Riverside Church in New York, is among those who will preach at the event. Riverside is jointly affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ. It was founded in the 1920s by John Rockefeller as a monument to liberal Protestantism in New York City and has remained prominent in the nation’s theological and political affairs ever since.

The SBC has finally rid itself of liberalism, though there are still some left-leaning moderate elements. Why would we want to revisit all the turmoil and controversy of the past 25 years? The NBF numbers among it's leadership notable Baptists such as former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, both of whom have made clear their position on the SBC as it currently stands. Neither are friends of the resurgence, so why should the SBC be anything but wary of a group they are leading?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

An Exit Strategy That Just Might Work

The SBC has been calling for people to pull their kids out of public schools for years now -- a call that I haven't been very receptive of, so far, and a call I have yet to answer (my daughter started 1st grade at a public school last week).

One of my problems is that in this area, public schools offer the best educational opportunities around. There are a couple church-run Christian schools, but from what I've heard about them, I'm not impressed. Home schooling is not an option yet -- we're trying to get rid of some of our old debt, so we can't home school right now, though that may be an option in the future. We are working with our daughter at home, which we always have done and will continue to do.

My other problem is more nation-wide. There is a lack of good, high-quality, affordable Christian education in many parts of the country. And I've called on the SBC to work on this problem -- we've got a national infrastructure in place for disaster relief, global missions, etc. We can set up something to help our local associations and state conventions to set up Christian schools throughout their area. These schools should be inexpensive, and academically rigorous. We've got the ability to set up a school "system" similar to the Catholic church's parochial school system. We can make a difference, if we try. We owe it to our kids.

Southeastern Seminary is starting something that I hope spreads throughout the SBC. They've had a masters in education administration for 10 years now, though it's probably one of the least popular programs, I'm sure. The rest of our seminaries need to follow suit, and we need to tell people what we're doing, and why. If we are serious about the need to reform education, then we need to step up to the plate.

Parents should never have to make the choice between a Christian education and a quality academic education.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

The Mistake

If you listen to Stacy Harp's podcast, you know I'm a Mark Dever fan. I've been devouring his Message of the Old Testament (which I will review here soon, promise), and the 9Marks site has been a real benefit to me lately. So when I saw a post by him titled "Southern Baptist Mistake," I was more than a little curious.

The post is an indictment of the SBC's contention that we affirm regenerate church membership, and subsequent rejection of a resolution that affirms just that. No matter what the excuses are that we put forward, the bottom line is that we know that if we remove unsaved people from the church rolls, our numbers will drop. And in spite of everything we say, numbers are important to us. We live and die by the numbers.

Dever has this to say about the people who are members of our churches, but whom we never see:

All of them will die, many of them without returning to church. Some of those will be our brothers and sisters in Christ who were in sin. I fear that many of them will not have been our brothers and sisters in Christ, and so they will slip into a Christ-less eternity, face a good and just God while they are still pleading their own merits for salvation, and fall under God's deserved penalty forever. We could have helped them, like the man in I Cor. 5 who was caught in sin (and may have repented II Cor. 2?), or like the man in Gal. 6:1. But we didn't.

Instead, we met their actions of disobedience with continued formal approval. They remained members. We continued to teach them that church membership was their own private business, not the business of the congregation. We continued to meet their absence with our silence.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:08 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 23, 2006

A Few Good Resolutions

Centuri0n has a few great ideas for resolutions at the next SBC convention (next year in San Antonio -- hope I get to go this time!). My favorite one:

Resolved: Baptism is necessary in the life of the believer for the sake of the believer’s spiritual growth; it is a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in the second birth, not a cause. When we make Baptism into anything else – like a measure of the effectiveness of our evangelism, or a repeated ritual from which we derive pleasure or reassurance – we make baptism into a fraud and dishonor God.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2006

Thoughts on Day One of the Convention

And I promise that I'll post something non-SBC related here tomorrow. I NEED to get back to my "This Week in Church History" posting that I've neglected for so long...

Day One saw an historic presidential election. Three men, all conservative, committed to Biblical inerrancy, ran a good race. One man, supported by many outside of the normal "sphere of influence" won over 50% of the votes on the first ballot, which many doubted would happen. Frank Page defeated "establishment" candidate Ronnie Floyd and Jerry Sutton, who many thought was intended to draw votes away from Page. Sutton and Floyd split half the vote, and Page went on to win.

It's refreshing for me as a Southern Baptist to have an election where there is more than one option -- and more than one option that I would have been happy with. The days of "conservaitve candidate vs. moderate candidate" are gone, for now at least. We can fine-tune the direction we want the SBC to go in, and that is a very healthy thing.

One vote that didn't get a lot of blogging attention today was the WMU issue. The Executive Committee, as I understand it, wanted the WMU to become a Southern Baptist entity, similar to Lifeway and Guidestone, rather than an auxiliary as it is now. I'm not sure why that was brought forward -- the WMU is doing wonderful things for the SBC as it is, and there would be no real benefit to it becoming an official entity. It would also have caused some problems internally with the WMU, as they would have had to drastically change the way they operate. I'm not sure that anyone at the convention outside of the Executive Committee was in favor of the motion, and it went down in flames pretty quickly. If anyone understands the rational behind the motion, please leave a comment, or email me (address is on the right sidebar).

This promises to be an exciting year for the SBC. I'm hoping that after Greensboro we can all unite and purpose to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SBC 1st VP is ....

... I know, who really cares about the first VP position, anyway? I've been in the SBC for close to ten years, and I still have no clue what anyone after the president actually does.

But I've been interested in this race, just because one of the candidates is someone who I'd love to have seen run for president, but who chose not to. I really think Mark Dever would have made an outstanding president.

But he's not going to be Veep, either. Dever and pastor Jimmy Jackson advanced to a second ballot, where Jackson edged Dever by just a few votes (1107-1030).

Tip o' the hat to Thoughts and Adventures for the update on this vote. I'll be referencing them a lot during the convention, as they seem to be pretty reliably live-blogging, and their posts are coming through the RSS feed. For some reason, I'm not getting Marty Duren's blog in my RSS reader -- have to check on that one.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SBC President is ...

Dr. Frank Page of South Carolina with 50.48% of the vote. Dr. Ronnie Floyd and Dr. Jerry Sutton split the remaining vote pretty evenly.

Bobby Welch reminded everyone present that Dr. Page is the president of the entire convention, not just his 50.48%, and that we are striving for unity among Southern Baptists even as we celebrate our diversity.

I'll have more about the blogging reaction to Dr. Page's election later this evening. I head out in about twenty minutes and will be out with my pastor on visitation this evening until probably 8 or so.

Congratulations to Dr. Page.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 12, 2006

Pastors Conference Linkblogging

I REALLY wish I could be there.

The one breakout session that has garnered the most blogging attention so far has been (duh!) the Mohler/Patterson "debate" on Calvinism. Agent Tim has a really good outline, as does Scott Lamb. Dr. Mohler participated just one day after emergency surgery on his eyes -- he told us in Systematic Theology that he has an eye disorder that requires him to wear two contacts in each eye, so I'm sure that the surgery was somehow related to that. Word from Ryan DeBarr (who isn't blogging the convention, but called me to fill me in on the Pastor's Conference) is that Dr. Mohler arrived wearing dark sunglasses which the doctors told him he had to wear all the time. He removed them on the platform. Someone needs to tell Dr. Mohler to take care of himself, and listen to the doctors!

Others who are blogging the convention are Wade Burleson (of course), Joe Thorn, Steve Weaver, Marty Duren, and Steve McCoy. As I find others, I'll post 'em here. If you find some I missed, let me know!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

SBC Convention Time

So it's that time of year again. The Southern Baptist Convention is meeting in Greensboro next week -- Pastor's Conference starts on tomorrow evening, and the main convention starts on Tuesday.

And I'm stuck at home.

I'd planned on going this year, because I think that there are going to be some important votes come up. I really wanted to go to the Pastor's Conference this year, because there are some outstanding sessions being held (including the Mohler/Patterson discussion on Calvinism and Arminianism). But finances won't allow me -- we can't afford to miss work to go down, especially with a baby on the way.

There are plenty of Southern Baptist bloggers headed down that way, though not all of them will be blogging the convention. I'll have links to what they have to say, and as I have a chance to watch the streaming video of the convention, I'll have my own comments, too.

I think it's a great reflection on the SBC that we've got three men running for president this year, each supported by some very distinguished SBC members. This year's election will be more than just rubber-stamping a candidate that "everyone knows will win." I think that's one thing that has always bothered me with the SBC elections -- it never seemed like there was a real choice.

The fact is, Southern Baptists are pretty unified in their basic theology. We have disagreements about peripheral issues, but we all start with the basic premise of the inerrancy and infalibility of the Bible, the sovereignty of God, and the sufficiency of Christ's atonement. We agree on (dare I say it?) the "fundamentals." But that doesn't mean we agree on everything. Our biggest problem right now is making sure that we don't make the peripherals into hills on which to stand (or die). We can agree to disagree, and still work together.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2006

Southern Baptist Bloggers on Frappr

Bryan over at Spare Change has set up a SBC Bloggers Frappr map. If you are one, go there and identify yourself!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2006

Useful Information

There will probably be alot of new messengers to the SBC Convention in Greensboro this year. A lot of first-timers who may be wondering what's going on.

There's a valuable resource over at 12 Witnesses (note to self -- get this one added to the aggregator). Just check out the side links (right sidebar) and look at the SBC Primer posts he's got listed.

These posts are also good primers for anyone who is interested or curious. The SBC is a huge "denomination," and it might be a good idea for people to know how things are (and aren't) done.

God willing, I'll be blogging the convention this year. It will be my second national convention (I was at the Atlanta convention in 1999, after being a Southern Baptist for only about a year).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 29, 2006

What Does Public Criticism Mean, Anyway?

The new code of conduict for IMB trustees, according to trustee Mike Smith, is not intended to stifle honest differences between board members. At least, that's the story today from the SBTC Texan.

“We really got started on this two years ago, way before Wade Burleson or anything like that,” Smith told the Southern Baptist TEXAN in a phone interview March 23, referring to the Oklahoma trustee whose board status was in question until the board’s vote March 22 to rescind an earlier action requesting his removal. “We ourselves said we need something (drafted) in a concise way for being accountable when attending meetings and being faithful (as trustees).”
So this has been sitting for two years, and RIGHT NOW, just after the whole controversy, it's passed and implimented immediately -- even though many trustees expressed concern about voting for or against a document that they had only received the night before.

Why the rush? It's obvious to everyone watching what the rush was -- "we have a problem we need to take care of ASAP, before it gets out of hand."

Later in the article, Smith says that "we just do not want continuous open criticism." I think that a measure that effectively turns the trustee board into a group of yes men will certainly ensure that trustees don't criticise. It also means that nobody will pay any attention to what the trustees say publically about a decision ever again. It means that we're going to have to look at things for ourselves.

An new SBC, full of people who take an interest in what is going on at the national convention level? Who are involved and vocal? Who knows what we might be able to accomplish when we ALL are involved in the process. I'm starting to think that the IMB trustees have done us a favor.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2006

Crazy? Like a Fox!

Yesterday, I expressed my disappointment in the IMB trustees' decision to not allow public dissent by trustees. I am still disappointed, but I now have hope, and that hope has come from Wade Burleson.

His 'Ten Terrific Things'has encouraged me, especially this point:

(3). Bloggers other than trustees are now going to do all they can to be at the important meetings of the IMB.

(4). I met 20 young people for the first time who attended the IMB meeting simply to ATTEND. Not to be appointed, not to see family, but to simply ATTEND. When is the last time that many young adults attended the IMB meeting for no official reason but to participate in missions at the grass roots level.

(5). This participation of young adults in the Southern Baptist Convention is exciting. The SBC has long needed involvement from the generation of evanglical, missional minded young peole from our convention.

A message has been sent to the "power brokers" at the IMB: we're watching you. You cruised along below the radar for a long time, but that time is over. You've muzzled Wade Burleson with this new policy, but it doesn't matter. The things he would have talked about on his blog will be talked about anyway, by folks like Marty Duren and many others. The action by the board has sparked action by people who may otherwise have simply cruised along, paying no attention to the politics in the convention.

The light is on. We're watching.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 22, 2006

I Wish

I wish I had never heard about the new policies at the IMB, which effectively closed the door on many missionary candidates for non-essential differences.

I wish I had never heard about the IMB trustees' efforts to silence Wade Burleson, to the point of actually seeking his removal from the board of trustees.

I wish .... but I did hear. And what I found out today grieves me even more.

A proposed new conduct guide for IMB trustees. A proposed manual that would state " ... trustees are to speak in positive and supportive terms as they interpret and report on actions by the Board, regardless of whether they personally support the action."

In other words, the average Southern Baptist shouldn't know that there are people who disagree with "established policy." And the rest of the world shouldn't think that there are Southern Baptists who would actually disagree with said established policy.

Well, guess what? The rest of the world holds a pretty low opinion of Southern Baptists already -- something about us being a bunch of Jesus freaks or something. And the average Southern Baptist needs to know what is going on where their money is being spent. Without Bro. Burleson's dissent, nobody would have known what was going on -- maybe that's the intention. Keep the proles in the dark.

This is a gag order. It's no secret who this is designed to silence, and Wade Burleson is a man of enough integrity that he will abide by the board's decision, to the extent that he won't air his disagreements if the new manual is adopted.

I've seen groups run by 'yes men' before. Growing up in IFB land, I saw men of integrity, but I also saw men who were afraid to condemn the actions of certain "Men of God" when they were wrong. They didn't want to be kicked out of the camp -- one thing you'll find out quickly is that the I in IFB may stand for Independent, but it doesn't always mean independent. There are camps and cliques, and you don't want to be in the wrong one. So you put up a front, and deny that there are any problems -- at least in public.

We need principled dissent. Baptists have historically been the voices of principled dissent. And now we are going to lose that. We are going to stifle that voice so we can shore up a facade of unity that everybody knows isn't there to begin with.

Who are we trying to kid? We are not fooling anybody, not even ourselves. Vacating the Board of Trustees of the IMB now seems like a reasonable solution.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 02, 2006

Blogging Trustees

I promised in another post that I'd link to other IMB trustees' blogs if they started one. And one of them has done just that.

The Most Excellent Way is a blog by IMB trustee Jerry Corbaley. According to Marty Duren, he was the person who sent the trustees into Executive Session shortly before the motion to remove Wade Burleson was made, so he should bring the other side of the story to the blogosphere at last.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 26, 2006

SBC Bloggers Aggregator Update

So there are now 42 bloggers listed on the SBC aggregator. I haven't been promoting it much, but 42 is a pretty important number.

The headlines that used to be at the top of the page aren't working right now. I used to have the five most recent posts up there, but Blogdigger doesn't like me much at all, and it only ever worked on about half the feeds. Mine was one that it didn't like much, for some reason. I've been looking for a better alternative, but nothing so far. I combined all the feeds into one XML file, but it won't validate (too long), so it's not FeedtoJS comliant -- otherwise, there'd be no problem. I even set up a Bloglines account with the entire aggregator in it to see if I could use that somehow, but no dice.

I'd LOVE it if I could find something that would take the Bloglines OPML file and let me take the five or ten top headlines and put it at the top of the page. That way, I could add the new blogs to bloglines and have them added to the rotation right away, and add the individual entry when I get a chance. But I have no clue how to do it. I've even got a Perl book to see if I can learn a nifty script to do it, but I don't even know if that's the best language to use. Any web gurus out there want to help a brother out?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 21, 2006

How Young is Young?

There's going to be a Young Leader's meeting at this year's SBC Convention. Wade Burleson is speaking, and a lot of people who I'd like to meet are going to be there. But I have a question:

How old is too old to be a young leader? Last year on my birthday, I got to use the Monty Python quote "I'm 37 -- I'm not old!" This year, is it "I'm 38 -- I'm not young!"? I may be a pastor by then, so I'd be a leader, but the "young" part is in decided dispute.

Maybe I'll just show up anyway. If nothing else, then they'd call me Caleb.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 15, 2006

Good News from the IMB

The Florida Baptist Witness is reporting that the Executive Committee of the IMB is recommending that the motion to remove Wade Burleson from his trustee position be withdrawn.

Several weeks from now [IMB trustee chairman Thomas] Hatley will release an historical and theological explanation of the board's November decision to assess missionary candidates' use of "private prayer language" and mode of baptism.

Misinformation disseminated through informal weblogs caused confusion in the minds of some Southern Baptists, Hatley said. He said he hopes a detailed accounting of the timeline and rationale for those standards will help separate those issues from the matter of Burleson's personal conduct as a trustee and answer questions that have arisen.

Misinformation? Where? Accusations of misinformation and breach of confidence have flown ever since the trustees decided to ask the covnention to dismiss Burleson, and I've never seen anything more than vague accusations. If misinformation has been disseminated through blogs, it's very easy to show it -- blogs are public documents, and they are archived. Even if posts are edited, you can always head over to the Internet Wayback Machine and pull up the original posts, if you know when they were posted. Show us the misinformation -- and show us where you tried to correct it. Blogs are easy to set up; the IMB trustees would have been advised to have started their own, and made sure their version of things was out there for public perusal.

I'd have even linked to them.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

IMB Event Horizon

In his immortal classic Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, in book 2, Douglas Adams writes of a world whose economy was crushed because of something called "Shoe Event Horizon."

Many years ago this was a thriving, happy planet - people, cities, shops, a normal world. Except that on the high streets of these cities there were slightly more shoe shops than one might have thought necessary. And slowly, insidiously, the number of the shoe shops were increasing. It's a well-known economic phenomenon but tragic to see it in operation, for the more shoe shops there were, the more shoes they had to make and the worse and more unwearable they became. And the worse they were to wear, the more people had to buy to keep themselves shod, and the more the shops proliferated, until the whole economy of the place passed what I believe is termed the Shoe Event Horizon, and it became no longer economically possible to build anything other than shoe shops.

I was looking through my blog stats today, and was kind of surprised by what I saw. Ever since I started blogging about the IMB/Wade Burleson controversy, my hits have increased by about 20% each day. Now, that's not as big an increase as it sounds, but it's still significant. The number of hits I get from searches on the subject, and from other blogs who are talking about it, is fascinating to me.

It got me thinking about the Shoe Event Horizon, and it's application to blogging. There are some events and some subjects that, once people start blogging them, end up taking on a life of their own. Traffic increases, and bloggers, being the attention hounds that we are, write more about that subject. Blogs start up just on that subject. And it continues.

I'm not saying that the topics aren't important -- I think that this current controversy is very important for all Southern Baptists , especially those of us who are going to be in Greensboro this year. It's just an interesting sociological phenomenon. I think that we're close to the IMB Event Horizon, where many of us aren't willing to write on any other subject lest we lose the new audience that we've found. I wonder how many will stick around ...

I wonder if the Internet will ever hit Blog Event Horizon -- where there are so many blogs that it becomes unfeasable for anyone to introduce any 'Net application not geared toward bloggers. Of course, some people think we're already there.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

I Was Afraid of This ...

{And I promise to blog something nonSBC related later today.}

Ryan DeBarr over at xIFBx has a heartbreaking story of a missionary couple who have been asked to resign because of the new policies at the IMB.

Ryan and I come from similar backgrounds in fundamentalist churches; in fact, he attended the church I was baptized in (though he was there after we moved south). And I think we're both getting an uncomfortable feeling of deja vu with a lot of things that are happening right now in the SBC. We're forgetting that there are some things worth fighting for, and some things that we need to simply agree to disagree about.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006


And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?"
(Acts 8:36 ESV)

And Phillip answered and said, "The International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, because you must be baptized in a local church."

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Principles and Integrity

This is a sermon that all of us need to hear. In light of the IMB/Wade Burleson controversy, it is educational for all of us to hear these words from Bro. Burleson. Many things have already been said, here and elsewhere. Much more will be said in the weeks to come, before the annual meeting of the SBC in Greensboro, NC later this year. Motivations will be questioned and accusations will be made. What is said in this message needs to be heard by every Southern Baptist. But it's valuable for all Christians to hear this, as a man stands on his convictions in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

{edit: Note that Burleson STILL does not name names or discuss confidential information. Still no evidence of slander or any wrongdoing on his part, other than disagreeing with the power lobby on the trustee board.}

(Hat tip goes to Ryan at xIFBx)

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2006

Interesting Quote, and some Background

I read an interesting post concerning the whole IMB controversy today at Scott The most interesting was a quote from a current IMB trustee, as published in The Northwest Witness associational paper.

Regarding baptism, Morgan noted there are increasing numbers of newer Southern Baptists who come from different denominational backgrounds and apply to the IMB.

Trustees were concerned that missionary candidates not only identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus by believer’s baptism, but that they fully identify with the doctrinal beliefs of Southern Baptists by their baptism, according to Morgan.

“We had candidates who came through where there were questions about the doctrinal beliefs of those who performed their baptisms,” Morgan said.

Emphasis, of course, is mine.

WHY are we worried about this? Why does it matter what the person who baptized me believes, as long as my baptism was as a believer by immersion? My baptism was performed by someone who is more conservative than anyone in the SBC, but what difference does that make? I don't share some of his beliefs -- some I never have, even when I was baptized.

There was a group, waaaay back in church history, that started questioning the doctrinal integrity of some people, and required anyone who those folks had baptized to be re-baptized. And I know that some Landmarkers consider those Donatists to be Baptist forebears, but they weren't, and we don't need to be following in their example on this issue.

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
That's from the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. There is nothing in that definition that indicates that baptism has to be performed only by someone whose doctrine is correct. I was baptized at the age of 8 -- I had no clue what doctrine I believed, much less what the pastor who baptized me believed. Now we are adding something to the definition of baptism that is accepted by a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, going beyond what the BF&M says we believe. Going, I believe, beyond what the Bible defines as baptism.

We are edging toward a sacramental view of baptism that is foreign to Baptist polity. We need to be careful in condemning people who oppose that change -- they just might be right.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 12, 2006

Nothing Good Can Come of This

So they've done it.

THEY being a majority of the trustees of the IMB of the Southern Baptist Convention.

IT being booting Wade Burleson.

Of course, they can't just end his service as trustee -- that can only be done in Greensboro this year, at the annual Convention, by a majority of messengers. But they've effectively silenced him.

If you're looking for the "official" reports, here are the links: Baptist Press, Associated Baptist Press. If you want Wade's side of things, read his blog. Marty Durden at the SBC Outpost has also been covering this for the blogosphere.

Wade Burleson is under attack because people don't like the message he's sending to the SBC. I've read no slander, no gossip, no breach of confidence in anything he's written. He's mentioned only two names of people who disagree with him, and has presented their views in a very fair manner. When he's noted potential imporprieties, he has never mentioned names. He has never revealed anything that happened in an Executive Session.

We need people who are willing to expose problems. We need Wade Burleson as an IMB trustee.

I'll be in Greensboro for the Convention. I'll be supporting Wade Burleson. When we start censoring those who reveal problems in our organizations, we have a major problem. The last thing we need -- the last thing we should want -- is a trustee board filled with Yes Men who won't dare stand up for what they really believe, for fear of being run out of town on a rail. This is not a good way to deal with dissent.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 11, 2005

What Do We Do With These Swords???

Isaiah 2:4 ESV He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

I appreciate what Wade Burleson wrote today on his blog.
I am glad and I rejoice over the conservative resurgance. I am a conservative. I love my convention.

But sadly, a new war has begun. It is a war initiated by fellow conservatives; conservatives who have forgotten how to put their swords in their respective sheaths. It is a war that technically may not have just begun, but one that simply never ended.

Conservatives who loved the battles of decades past have fallen victim to a crusading mentality of bloodthirst. Since all the liberals are gone, conservative cruasaders are now killing fellow conservatives.

Burleson has plenty of conservative "street cred." He's not some namby-pamby moderate, nor is he a crypto-liberal trying to undermine the resurgence. He's a genuine man with a genuine concern about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention.

We have to ask ourselves the question: What do we do with all these swords? We spent almost an entire generation fighting for the soul of the SBC. We are going in a direction that Southern Baptists thirty years ago could not have envisioned -- a direction that many Southern Baptists despaired that we'd ever go in again. We've won.

So now we've declared war on ourselves. We've gone from fighting the good fight on inerrancy to fighting over fine points of theology. We are majoring on the minors in a way that I haven't seen since I left the Independant Fundamental church I was baptized in. And we cannot let that happen.

Southern Baptists think they've seen fighting. They think they've seen division. I've seen division over music styles. I've seen division over hair styles, and women wearing pants. I've seen division over Bible versions -- even 1611 King James vs. 1769 King James.

Our problem is that we enjoy fighting. There is a rush of adrenaline that you get when you are "contending for the faith." Once that fight is over, you want to experience the rush again. You want to feel that you're one of God's footsoldiers, and you are defending the faith against the apostates. Even if that apostasy is the use of tape tracks in the worship service, or men with sideburns that are too long.

It's time to sheathe the swords. Keep them cleaned, and prepared, but put them away. Stop stabbing our own. Exercise discernment, so that we know what are important issues, and what are not.

If you want to know the outcome of this constant infighting, look to our Independant Baptist brethren. There are so many different camps that you need a scorecard to figure out who is fellowshipping with whom, and which Fellowship has been started because someone disagreed with someone in another Fellowship -- neither of which are even speaking to the folks in the otherFellowship because of who they let preach at the last meeting. And you have to update your scorecards every week, because things change quickly. You never know when you open your mouth who you're going to offend, and which newspaper is going to blast you from the front page.

I've been there. I've done that. I won't do it again. My sword is being reserved for use against those who are teaching false doctrines -- those who deny the deity of Christ, the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice, the exclusivity of the Gospel, and the inerrancy of Scripture -- or who claim the name Baptist but deny the historic Baptist distinctives.

I have a wooden practice sword handy for debates on eschatology, ecclesiology, and hermeneutics -- it may hurt, but it won't kill, and we'll end our discussion as friends. Maybe that wooden sword will serve to quench my own desire for combat.

{hat tip to Steve McCoy}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 08, 2005

Baptism and the IMB Update

An update on this issue -- one of my concerns has been answered.

Marty Duren posted about this a couple days ago -- the vote numbers and the number of trustees present for the votes aren't as bad as I thought they were. From an email Marty received from the Assistant Recording Secretary: "There were 78 trustees present at the Huntsville meeting. The actual votes were not counted except to indicate that the recommendations made by the Personnel Committee were approved by a majority of those voting."

I'm still not quite sure where the numbers came from in the initial report, but that clarifies things (and makes me feel better about the attendance). It doesn't make me much happier about the actual outcome, though.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 02, 2005


From the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons.
Emphasis added in each, of course.

Now, from the IMB

Regarding a candidate’s baptism, trustees voted two to one to establish a guideline that specifies (1) believer’s baptism by immersion; (2) baptism follows salvation; (3) baptism is symbolic, picturing the experience of the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ; (4) baptism does not regenerate; and (5) baptism is a church ordinance.

The guideline establishes that candidates must have been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church of another denomination that practices believer’s baptism by immersion alone. Also, the baptism must not be viewed as sacramental or regenerative, and the church must embrace the doctrine of the security of the believer.

Emphasis, again, added. The IMB has gone beyond what the BF&M says about baptism in defining specific doctrines that a local, autonomous church must adhere to for baptisms to be considered Scriptural.

I believe that baptism is not regenerative. I believe in the doctrine of eternal security. I would have to have the term 'sacrament' defined, but as I think it's being used, I would probably agree with the IMB there as well. My issue is not that I disagree with the doctrines being affirmed -- my problem is that the IMB has taken it upon itself to decide what Southern Baptists consider Scriptural baptism. That is the role of the local church, since baptism is an ordinance of the local church.

Regarding the 'private prayer language' issue, I have to agree with Marty Duren:

It seems that this had less to do with missionary guidelines and more to do with insulting Jerry Rankin. If you truly believe that this is an unbiblical practice, you should have fired him ...
Dr. Rankin let everyone know that he used a private prayer language when he became IMB President. Suddenly, the IMB trustees have created a rule that effectively eliminates their president from consideration for a missionary position. I'm sure that Dr. Rankin is insulted, and I'm disappointed in the trustees who were there that this "guideline" was adopted.

I'm still disturbed that barely half of the trustees actually voted in this election. It's telling that the vote numbers are no longer present in the IMB article about the vote. I think that we, as Southern Baptists, deserve some answers from the trustees concerning this vote.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 30, 2005

IMB and Baptism, Round 2

OK, so in my other post about this, I mentioned my concern with the location of the baptism that the IMB was saying was unscriptural. Reading more about the decision, I have a LOT more concerns.

There is a concern that the IMB is overstepping it's boundaries. It is, in effect, telling churches that baptisms that they have accepted as Biblical and proper are, in fact, neither. The International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has decided to tell churches what constitutes scriptural baptism and what doesn't.

There is a concern that the majority of the trustees of the IMB didn't vote at all on this issue. The meeting conflicted with some state conventions, apparently, which makes me wonder who was responsible for the scheduling in the first place. It does seem that the deck was stacked, to me at least.

There is a concern that this will expand to other areas. What happens when this is extended to other areas of Baptist polity -- ordinations, for example. I may not be ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention. I was baptized in an independent Baptist church, not a Southern Baptist church. My church has determined that my baptism is scriptural. The IMB would disagree, it seems. But that's not their responsibility.

I think that it's great that the SBC is moving away from the liberal influences of its past. I'm thankful for the conservative resurgance. But this is an area that we are wrong on. A missionary board has no business telling churches that the baptism they have declared Scriptural aren't good enough -- especially a mission board that is funded by those churches. If memory serves, the Soutehrn Baptist Convention was formed because of a disagreement about the qualifications of missionaries. Maybe the IMB folks need to read their history books a bit more.

{And I haven't even started about the "private prayer language" thing. Maybe that's one for another post.}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:55 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

On Baptism

A tip of my nonexistent hat to Steve at the Missional Baptist Blog for this one. From the Baptist Press story:

Regarding a candidate's baptism, trustees voted by a 2-1 margin to establish a guideline that specifies (1) believer's baptism by immersion; (2) baptism follows salvation; (3) baptism is symbolic, picturing the experience of the believer's death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ; (4) baptism does not regenerate; and (5) baptism is a church ordinance.

The guideline establishes that candidates must have been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church of another denomination that practices believer's baptism by immersion alone. Also, the baptism must not be viewed as sacramental or regenerative, and the church must embrace the doctrine of the security of the believer.

Well, it's pretty clear to me that the "baptism must be in a Southern Baptist Church" shouldn't refer to physical location -- after all, we baptize people every year at the national convention, and have at many of the state conventions I've been to. It has to do with support. Candidates for baptism must be supported by a local church -- at least that's the way I understand SBC polity.

IF they are saying that a legitimate, Scriptural baptism has to take place INSIDE a church, then I have a HUGE problem with this language, and someone at the IMB needs to examine Baptist history, because indoor baptisms were not a part of early Baptist practice. Baptisms were public, performed in streams or rivers -- not in churches. Location does not, and should NEVER, matter -- what matters is that the subject of the baptism is a believer, and that he is being baptized under the guidance and authority of a local church. If THAT is what the IMB is trying to affirm, then I don't see any conflicts.

I've been planning on doing a series of posts concerning Baptist "distinctives," which would touch on Baptist polity issues such as church ordinances and offices. I've been holding off until I had a chance to take Dr. Moore's Systematic Theology III class at Southern (because ecclesiology is NOT my strong suit), but I think I feel a rush of independent study coming on. Maybe in a couple weeks.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 14, 2005

What Price for a Soul?

$48, cash or check.

I'm not going to go into a long critique of this method of evangelism. As I reflect on my own life, I can see many times I've done something similar. I can remember the Saturdays that I spent with my youth group, playing kickball and sharing Jesus with kids. And seeing the same kids get saved every single week.

The problem with so many modern evangelism methods is that there is no discipleship. No connect with a local church. No clue what they believe, or why. Then ten years later, they have nothing to do with the church. Did they lose their salvation? No -- you can't lose something that you never had in the first place. We failed them. Our emphasis on numbers has resulted in our missing one important fact -- these are people. They are souls that Christ died for. They will spend eternity somewhere, and we are giving them false hope. Their hope is in a repeated prayer, rather than Christ.

I question any directive that places a greater emphasis on numbers than on discipleship. Quality over quantity. And I am willing to invest whatever I need to -- time, money, tears, whatever.

$48 just seems a little cheap to me.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005

SBC Aggregator Broken!

There's a temporary problem at the SBC Aggregator, caused by a change in one of the tools I used to set it up. I'm working on fixing it, but it may be a while.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005

An Unregenerate Denomination?

I opened up my RSS reader this morning and saw a headline that at first made me mad. Tim Challies wrote about "Southern Baptists - An Unregenerate Denomination" and I admit that I was ready to charge forth.

Then I read what he wrote, and realized that he was right.

Of course, Tim isn't the only one who has noticed this. Jim Elliff has written an article of the same name (which is where Tim started with his piece), and it's been noted by Southern Baptists that we're not doing our job when it comes to committed, regenerate church membership (I'm thinking of Thom Rainer's article in particular, which I've commented on before here.

There's a serious problem among our churches. We are so driven to baptise a million that I worry we're not making sure that the person is a proper candidate for baptism. We preach believers baptism, but do we do everything we can to make sure that the candidate for baptism is, in fact, a believer? There are unsaved people sitting in pews every Sunday morning who think they're going to heaven because they've been dunked, and we need to make sure it stops.

There are also people who are members of our churches who are dead weight -- until something important comes up at a business meeting. THEN they show up, and they ALWAYS have something to say about the way the church should be run. Of course, if they really cared, they'd BE THERE on Sundays and Wednesdays.

We need to purge our membership rolls of the dead weight. We need to make sure that new members aren't coming to simply fill a pew. And we need to make sure our members are, in fact, born again. How can we expect to reach the world for Christ when we can't even reach our own congregations?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 23, 2005

We Are Resolved ...

... to do pretty much what we have been doing all along.

Everyone was so up in arms about the Public Schools Resolution (tm) -- including me, yes I admit it. And THIS is what we finally resolved to do (I'm skipping the whereas stuff -- if you want to read all that, go here and read the whole thing yourself):

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 21-22, 2005, urge parents and churches to research and monitor the entertainment and educational influences on children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge parents and churches to exercise their rights to investigate diligently the curricula, textbooks, and programs in our community schools and to demand discontinuation of offensive material and programs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge our churches to assist and support parents as they investigate community schools and as they train and disciple their own children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend godly teachers and students who feel called by God to take a stand for Christ in secular schools as a light shining in the darkness; and be it further

RESOLVED, That as citizen Christians we commit to hold accountable schools, institutions, and industries for their moral influence on our children; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge Christian parents to fully embrace their responsibility to make prayerful and informed decisions regarding where and how they educate their children, whether they choose public, private, or home schooling, to ensure their physical, moral, emotional, and spiritual well-being, with a goal of raising godly men and women who are thoroughly equipped to live as fully devoted followers of Christ.

To translate: We are resolved that parents should make the decision concerning their kids' education. We are resolved that they should make an informed decision. We are resolved to support their decision, while making alternatives available to them if they want them. We are resolved to pray for our teachers AND all those Christian kids IN the public schools who are out there as missionaries. We are resolved to hold people accountable for the garbage they try to bring into the classroom.

Is any of that new? I HOPE that we were doing all of that anyway. No mention of an exit strategy. No mention of most anything that people were upset about pre-Convention. Sounds like the committee decided to walk the middle road on that one.

THAT'S a resolution I can live with -- it's nothing that Christians shouldn't have been doing already.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

WOW -- Good PR!!!

Three SBC bloggers (two of whom are already in the Aggregator -- guess I need to email Marty Duren!) were featured in a story about live blogging at the SBC. Steve DeVane at the North Carolina Baptists' paper The Biblical Recorder interviewed Steve McCoy, Joe Thorn, and Marty briefly at the beginning of his story about blog coverage of the Convention.

Congrats, guys!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2005

Streaming the SBC

The Southern Baptist Convention is holding it's annual meeting today and tomorrow in Nashville. You can watch the proceedings by clicking here and following the directions to start streaming.

Pastors Conference is actually the best part -- once you are streaming the convention, click on the 'Video Archives' link (right of the screen) and you can see archival footage of the Pastors Conference. It's worth it.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

The REASON For The Public School "Crisis"

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists historically have been strong supporters of public education, and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have been deeply committed to the right of all children to achieve their God-given potential, and

WHEREAS, The American public school system is now facing its most serious crisis in history, due to the complex issues of communicating moral values, financing, family breakdown, discipline, the "back to basics movement," racial desegregation, and church-state problems, and

WHEREAS, Many Baptists occupy administrative and teaching positions in the public school system,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists be urged to pray regularly for those teachers and administrators who work faithfully in the public school system, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That while recognizing the validity of the ministry of church-related private schools, Southern Baptists be urged to become more involved in shaping and supporting public schools, participating responsibly wherever possible in the local school and in the decision-making bodies which determine the course of public education, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we hereby commit ourselves to help achieve quality education for every child in this nation.

That was a Southern Baptist resoultion in 1971. The emphasis I've added shows where the problem is.

We didn't do it. And now it's a mess, and we want to run away from it.

Parents, educate your kids in the manner you see fit. But Christians, involve yourselves in the schools in your area.

We resolved to do this over 30 years ago. We failed. Let's not fail again.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

My "Exit Strategy"

When I was a kid, some of my friends were Roman Catholic. Every week, they would go to their church for what they called "CCD" classes. These have nothing at all to do with camcorders; this was back in the early 70s. CCD stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes. The purpose was to give them instruction in their faith.

The Catholic church didn't expect the public schools to do it for them: they did it themselves. Public education has almost always been hostile to those of the Catholic faith here in the US. My friends went to school with me -- church run schools weren't heard of much then (at least to my recollection; I was elementary-school age when we lived there, but all the kids I knew went to the public schools).

Once upon a time, so I've been told, Southern Baptists had something similar. It was called Baptist Training Union, and the purpose was instructing people concerning the beliefs of the church. The church was the center of spiritual education, and it worked well.

Some churches still do it. Some churches still see the importance of this opportunity. Unfortunately, many churches have stopped doing it.

"People aren't willing to spend more time at church." "People don't have the time." "People don't want to learn this stuff." "People don't care." Those are among the excuses that they use. They don't fly.

My own experience is that people WANT to learn. People are hungering for this kind of knowledge. When I taught a series on the Biblical Jesus last year, we had a bigger turnout than we had planned: had to order more books. And when I ended the series, people wanted to know what topic we were going to cover next. They want to learn, and they are willing to make the time to come learn.

The problem is that we don't have the programs in place. We have teachers -- we can use Sunday School teachers to start with, provided they can teach the material. Material is out there: The Theology Program offered at is an excellent resource, and more are being produced all the time.

My rant here is focused, once again, at the resolution to pull SBC kids out of public schools. Al Mohler and Russell Moore have both come out in favor of the resolution. Dr. Mohler is the first I've seen to advocate an "exit strategy" for parents of public school kids. This far, I can agree: if we as Southern Baptists expect parents to pull their kids out of public schools wholesale, then we have to make sure that there is a viable alternative. Right now, there isn't one in far too many cases. There is no exit strategy, but we're going to tell people to leave anyway. This is irresponsible.

Christian education is seen in far too many circles as substandard. I've seen too many kids who were educated in Christian schools who could not function at the next level of their academic career. My wife could tell you horror stories of haveing to explain simple concepts to a girl in one of her classes who was valedictorian of her Christian school, and at Liberty on a full-ride scholarship. I've had similar experiences, both in undergrad and seminary classes.

There are schools offering quality Christian education -- I don't want to be misunderstood here. I fully support those parents who decide to send their kids to a Chrisitan school, and commend them for the sacrifice that it involves. The problem I see is that in too many areas, for too many parents, the choice becomes "Do I send my kids to the public school where their faith is under attack? Or do I send my kids to the Christian school that doesn't prepare them for college?"

We're expecting parents to sacrifice their kids' academic futures. We're expecting parents to sacrifice to give their kids a substandard education simply because it's a Christian education. The Southern Baptist Convention is large enough, and has enough resources, that we can create a quality Christian educational infrastructure. We can build the schools. We can train the teachers, and pay them. Christian education can be quality education.

But that is going to take time. In the meantime, we need to re-establish the Baptist Training Union. Call it something different if you want to: the point is, we need regular training for Baptists of all ages on doctrine. We need training on what exactly the Baptist Faith and Message says, and why we believe it. We need training for lay people on what the issues are, and what the Biblical response should be, but more, we need to train people to have a consistently Christian worldview so that when they are confronted they can give a reason for the hope that is within them, and they can feel confident in their faith.

Teach kids what they believe, and why it's right. Give them some backing, and when their teachers in public school contradict that teaching, they won't simply accept it and move on. Be involved in their education, so that when the teachers are trying to indoctrinate the kids, you know about it and can fight it. Be aware of kids' rights in public schools, and be willing to fight when those rights are threatened. And help to build the kind of educational system that Southern Baptists have the ability to build, so that if you have to remove your kids from public schools, they'll have someplace to go that won't handicap them intellectually.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2005

Public Education and the SBC, part 2

A quote, taken from a study by the SBC in 2002.

88 percent of Southern Baptist children leave the church and never return after graduating from public school.
Assumably, the culprit is public education. Those darn schools are convincing the kids to leave the church.

I will readily admit that in some cases, this has happened. Especially in studying evolution -- there have been many church kids who have had their faith crushed under the weight of Darwinian thought. Whose fault is that??

Ours. What do youth groups typically do? Wednesday night is a "rap session," a time to talk about thing that concern teenagers. We need to do that -- but that shouldn't be all that is done.

Of course, that isn't all that is done. There are the bowling outings, mini golf, concerts, pizza parties, lockins, etc. And we need that. BUT that shouldn't be all that's done.

Education. Show the kids how to defend themselves. A biology teacher's worst nightmare is a Christian kid who knows the weeknesses of Darwinism. Do you really think that high school biology teachers have extensive post-graduate training in evolutionary biology? Nope -- those who DO have that training aren't making $30,000 a year sitting in a classroom. They're making a LOT more, PLUS getting government grants, PLUS writing books and hitting the lecture circuit. I've been in education long enough to know that the old saying "Those who can't do, teach" is unfortunately very true. There are rare exceptions to this -- and those often do not last very long. It is OUR job as a church and as parents to train our kids so that they know what they believe, and can defend it.

Elementary education is a touchy subject in this respect. How do you prepare the youngest kids to deal with what they are going to face in public schools? This is where parental involvement is essential. On this level, the best thing you can do is to be involved. Let the teachers know that you're there, and you're paying attention. Don't let things you disagree with slide -- this is your kid we're talking about. If the teachers won't listen, THEN I would say look at alternatives.

Remember -- I'm not saying that public education is the best option for everyone. I AM saying that the SBC needs to do a better job at preparing kids to face opposition, whether in the schools or in the real world. And I worry that we're leaving behind people whose kids can't go to Christian schools, or can't be honeschooled. What do we do about special ed kids? What do we do about kids whose parents can't afford alternatives? Leave them behind?

In the study I quoted at the beginning of this post, they don't mention how many of these kids went to Christian schools. Too often, Christian education is just as bad (if not worse) than public education. That's fodder for another post, though -- suffice to say that I know just as many kids who went to Christian schools and rejected their faith later as I do kids who went to public schools. Who do we blame THAT on?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2005

Been There, Done That

Last year, I wrote about a resolution that was sent before the Southern Baptist Convention that advocated the withdrawl of all children of SBC church members from public schools.

This year, they're doing it again.

The Arnold-Scarbrough Resolution: (a) applauds Christians working in the government schools as missionaries, (b) calls on churches to warn their members of the devastating effects of sending their children to a totally secular institution for their education, (c) calls on churches to become aggressive and pro-active in starting Christian schools and in supporting homeschooling.
I still think it's a bad idea.

Yes, we need to instruct our kids about the truth, and prepare them for an educational system that is often hostile to their beliefs. But no, Christian school is not for everyone, much less homeschooling.

I know many homeschoolers, and they have my utmost respect and admiration. The ones I am familiar with are committed to their kids' education and are willing to do whatever they can to make sure that their kids have the best education possible. I wish all parents had attitudes like that. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to homeschool. Not everyone can educate their kids in everything they have to have to function in society.

Christian schools are few and far between. In my area, there is one that I would even consider sending my daughter to -- and their educational standards leave much to be desired. There are great Christian schools out there; unfortunately, there aren't enough, and there aren't enough that are affordable for many people.

The key to making sure that your kids are getting the right education is to be involved. You may have to fight sometimes -- do you seriously believe that you'll only have to do that in public schools? I've got a bridge to sell you if you believe that. If you are committed enough to homeschool, your kid will get a quality education no matter where you send him -- parental involvement is the key.

From the old blog

I am all for Christian schools, and even home schooling -- for the right reasons. If the public schools in your area do a lousy job of preparing your kids for life after graduation, then it's your duty to put your kids somewhere else. But if you are concerned about the moral decay of public schools, think about trying to help solve the problem. If you shelter your kids from what is happening in public schools (and I teach in one -- I know what is happening in them), what is their reaction going to be when they have to function in the real world? Will they be able to deal with people who are ideologically opposed to them, when they have never faced that opposition before?
Back your kids. Give them a firm foundation to stand on. But don't shelter them. They're going to run into it sooner or later -- make sure they're prepared.

Yes, I know that sounds too pragmatic. I'm not a teacher anymore -- unless you count substituting. My wife taught her last class a week ago -- she's out. NOT because of "rampant secular humanism" as some would like to believe, but because of some local issues (and some problems with NCLB, in fact).

There are reasons to withdraw from public education. It's not always the best solution -- gifted kids often are unchallenged,special needs kids often don't get the help they need. The people who are teaching are often NOT the best qualified to teach: how many people with a Masters degree (which is a requirement in Ohio now, after so many years of certification) would work for less than $40,000 a year? There are quality people in education, I know -- I've worked with some awesome teachers. I've also worked with some who were ignorant, often anti-intellectual (how's THAT for an educator!). My point is that the Convention cannot, and should not, make the decision for parents. What the SBC NEEDS to do, is to institute a quality training program for ALL members of ALL churches (anyone remember Training Union? My wife does!) so that we can meet challenges head on, and not scurry back to our Christian ghettos.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:26 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

May 06, 2005

A Resurgence Not Yet Realized ...

Obviously, this is about Thom Rainer's newest report on the status of evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Rainer has found, through interviews with local Southern Baptist churches, that while the conservative resurgence has had great success, especially in changing the course of the SBC's seminaries, the expected evangelistic growth has not happened.

The full article is published in The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology for Spring 2005, and I got my free copy today. Unfortunately, it's not available on Southern's web site yet, so you can't actually go there and read it -- and I'm not sure about copyright restrictions, or I'd offer to send anyone who wants it a copy. It is a rather revealing look at the Southern Baptist Convention -- and not a very flattering one.

Dr. Rainer uses two statistics as indicators of evangelistic effort and growth: the total number of baptisms reported, and the ratio of baptisms to church members. His data shows that Southern Baptists baptized not many more people in 2003 than they did in 1950 -- 376,085 in 1950 vs. 377,357 in 2003. The data also shows that there has no real sustained growth in baptismal rates since 1950 -- throughout the 47 year period, total baptisms never go above 445,725 and never dip below 336,050. We are, if nothing else, consistent.

The ratio of baptisms per church member is an interesting statistic. It purports to show how many people it takes per church to reach one person with the Gospel. Obviously, the fewer members it takes to result in one baptism, the better. Southern Baptist churches averaged 43 church members to 1 baptism, as opposed to 36:1 in 1978 and 19:1 in 1950.

Dr. Rainer then contrasts the SBC statistics with those of the CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship). For those who don't know, the CBF is seen as a sort of anti-SBC: moderate (and some outright liberal) churches who were upset at the conservative turn of the SBC left and formed their own group. The CBF and it's association with the Baptist World Alliance was a factor in the SBC pulling out of the BWA. (Add a few more acronyms to THAT sentence and you have alphabet soup!) The statistics he was able to compile from the CBF shows that they are actually doing worse than the SBC is doing.

Dr. Rainer admits that the data that he collected isn't the best. Data from the CBF is problematic because of the difficulty in getting a full list of CBF member churches. Their web site lists some churches, but clearly says that the list isn't a membership roster. 638 churches affiliated witht he CBF were included in the study: the CBF claims membership of 1,800 churches.

Assuming that the data is accurate, I think that Dr. Rainer's interpretations are correct. The conservative resurgence hasn't had the impact on evangelism that it was expected to have, but without it, things could be much worse -- judging from the CBF data.

Dr. Rainer has several hypotheses concerning why this has happened. I think that the truth lies in a mix of a few of his ideas. The US has become less receptive to evangelistic outreach -- people are more likely to think of faith as "a personal thing". There are unsaved members in our churches -- church membership is still considered a status symbol in some areas, and church membership is seen as something "good people do." Pastors are discouraged from making sure that members are, in fact, Christians because of the numbers game that we play. At the very least, we have many nominal Christians in the pews every Sunday. We need to focus on making sure that our church members are, in fact, Chrisitans -- make them aware that membership in the local church does NOT gaurantee them membership in the body of Christ. Then we need to make them aware of the responsibility they have to the lost -- the duty that we have to tell them of Christ, and the salvation available in Him.

{EDIT} Other places that are covering this story: GetReligion, Emerging SBC Leaders, and Amy Welborn. Click here for the Baptist Press article.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2005

SBC Bloggers UNITE!!

Well, unite as much as Southern Baptists ever do! (that was a joke folks!)

Seriously, in yesterday's Blogroll Cruise, I talked about denominational aggregators and how they can be useful. I've gone ahead and done it -- there is a Southern Baptist Blog Aggregator set up at (I actually set one up at as well, but I think that the blogdigger site is where we're going to be for now). NOW all I need are some SBC bloggers to join.

If you are interested, email me at wkelly42 AT adelphia DOT com. I need to know your URL, your feed address, the title of your blog, and your email address. Pass this along to other SBC bloggers who may not read this blog, so that we can get this running ASAP. And if you have any questions, let me know.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2004

A Day at the Convention

I've only ever been to one Baptist state convention. I spent one day in Warner Robbins, GA at the Georgia convention, and was pretty much bored to tears. The conflict that everyone thought would happen didn't, so I spent most of the day wandering the exhibits and reading pamphlets.

So I wasn't expecting much yesterday when I went to the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Vote for the president, listen to the sermon, hook up with some people I know, that sort of thing.

I walked into controversy. In fact, if I didn't have a very important class this morning, I'd have gone back, and probably would have addressed the convention on one issue this morning.

Yesterday there was a proposal to study "how the KBC should relate to the Baptist World Alliance." A nine-member panel would be appointed to research the issue. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but we just DID that on the national level. The national convention has more money to sink into the study, and more resources, so why can't we simply review the data from their study and base our path on that?

Because a bunch of people in Kentucky don't like what the national study found. And I don't have a problem with disagreements -- unless you're the guy who sat behind me yesterday. He kept heckling people who were peaking against the proposal, yelling out "That's not true!!" -- but NEVER taking the mike and voicing his opinion. Truthfully, everyone's minds were pretty much made up on the issue before the discussion started, and the vote was narrowly opposed to the study. Individual churches who want to support the BWA can still do so -- that's the beauty of the Convention -- but churches who don't want to support them don't have to worry about their money going to the BWA

Another proposal (one that I was amazed even made it to the floor) was that we ammend the constitution of the state convention to allow "up to 25%" of the trustee board of state Baptist colleges to be NON-BAPTISTS. I have NO problem with people who aren't Baptists -- I am friends with good, conservative, theologically sound Presbyterians and Anglicans, with whom I agree to disagree on matters that are not essential to the faith (more on that in another post, maybe later today). But if the school is a Baptist school, shouldn't the people overseeing it be Baptist? The purpose of the proposed ammendment wasn't to give "greater diversity" -- it was to reward community members with large pocketbooks for donating to the school. State Baptist colleges are in bad shape anyway -- they are notorious breeding grounds for any number of heretical notions, from process theology to open theism and beyond. We need strong Baptist trustees who can take charge of our state colleges, and I'm hoping that we'll begin to see that in the next few years, especially in Kentucky. There is a reason that so many Southern Baptists send their kids to Liberty and Cedarville -- because they get a quality education AND orthodox theological training.

And this morning, the convention revisits the "pull our kids out of public schools" issue. By now, the discussion is over. I REALLY wanted to be there, but I know someone who feels the same way that I do -- and is a youth minister, so his words carry more clout than mine would -- and he was planning on being there.

All in all, an interesting experience. And next year should be even more interesting, I think, as both sides marshal their forces for a big showdown.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2004

SBC, Christians, and Public Schools

The resolution is being debated right now.

88% of young people raised in the church leave and never come back. Aparantly, that is totally the fault of public schools. Christian parents can aparantly only have anything to do with their kids' education if their kids are in private schools or homeschools. Funny -- my parents were very involved throughout my public education.

The law cannot keep Christian teachers from answering questions about their faith in school. The law cannot keep kids from praying in school. The law should not prevent kids from sharing their faith in the school -- when it does, we need to fight it. The law can only prevent forced participation in religious activities.

Parents are responsible for teaching their children. Parents need to be involved -- wherever their kids go to school. Many parents do not have the background, the time, or the ability to teach their kids themselves, and many more lack the resources to place their kids in private schools. Parents -- teach your kids. Teach them to share Christ in their schools. Teach them their rights as Christians in public schools. Fight for their rights in public schools. Teach them morality at home.

We talk about kids in high school not understanding or believing the fundamentals of the faith. Whose responsibility is that? The church and the parents. If kids don't understand the basics of Christianity, then I want to know what the youth leader is doing. I want to know what the parents are doing.

Disciple your kids. Train them. But if you want to make a difference in the lives of kids, Christian and non, get involved in public education. Make a difference.

If you are lead to homeschool your kids, I support you -- in fact, I am seriously thinking about doing the same. If you have your kids in private school, I commend you. If your kids are in public schools, I pray for you. I pary that you will have the strength to do as God would have you do, and that you will be involved in your child's education. Actually, I pray that reguardless of where you send your kids -- be involved in their education.

(BTW -- to one of the messengers who spoke: acid does not neutralize salt. Salt neutralizes acid.)

The ammendment failed. The resolution concerning the secularization of our culture passed, but without the 'pull out of public schools' ammendment.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2004

Why Did The SBC Leave the BWA?

Nicene Theology, Neo Theo(b)log, and MSNBC have commented on this so far -- I'll link to others as I find them, and edit this post.

I never thought I'd end up an SBC apologist. Even after I joind a Southern Baptist church, I didn't think I'd ever end up defending them. But I do. I'm one of the "resident SBC experts" on the Fundamentalist Forums. And I'm getting ready to jump into the fray again over the SBC vote to leave the Baptist World Alliance.

The BWA has, the SBC alleges, theological differences which make it necessary for the convention to withdraw fellowship. I have talked about separation before -- this is not the second, third, and fourth degree separation practiced by modern fundamentalists. This is Scriptural separation from organizations or individuals who differ on theological basics. Among the differences are:

  • Questioning the truthfulness of Scripture

  • Not affirming the necessity of a conscious faith in Christ for salvation

Other issues, such as promoting women preachers and the criticism of the SBC's foreign missions board, are minor things for me. The BWA has issued a statement affirming the necessity for Christ alone in salvation, but that is not binding on member groups. Nothing that I was able to find on the BWA web site addressed the concerns about Scripture at all. There is also concern about the membership of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) -- an offshoot of the SBC, made up of former SBC members who are upset with the conservative direction that the convention is taking.

After the SBC has fought for decades to eliminate theological liberals and moderates from the convention, it seems silly to me to expect the Southern Baptists to suddenly embrace fellowship with these same people. The vote to leave the BWA is a signal that the fight is over, and that there is no interest in the leadership of the convention to re-fight these battles in another forum. There is considerable ammounts of ill-will between the SBC and the CBF -- should we expect these two groups to work together?

Neo Theo(b)log quotes Alistair McGrath that "One of the purposes of doctrine is to divide." We need to make sure that the doctrine that we divide over is important. Faith in Christ as the sole means of salvation is such a doctrine. The infalibility of Scripture is such a doctrine. I would argue if ordination of women is sufficient for division, although I do not believe that it is biblical. I know that criticism of missions boards isn't grounds for separation -- it's not a doctrinal difference. But if someone was openly deriding the ministry that you were involved in, one of the most distinctive ministries that you offer, would you want to support them financially? Would you want to be associated with them?

Neither would the Southern Baptist Convention.

{edit} Take a look here for the Baptist Press story about the vote. The convention has been discussing it's differences with the BWA for a year, and hasn't been able to resolve things. This isn't a spur of the moment decision, folks. This is a 100 year association that has ended. That doesn't happen overnight.

For a non-American view of the subject, click here.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

Watch the SBC Online!

Go here to view streaming video of the procedings!

I think this is a great resource not ONLY for Southern Baptists who didn't get to go (like me) but for people who don't know how the convention works and are curious.

I plan on going either next year or the year after. I was able to go to the convention in Atlanta, and it was fascinating to me -- that was my first year of being a Southern Baptist. That was when I learned that a lot I had been told before about the convention was wrong. Of course, I learned that some of what I had been told was right, and found things I didn't like that nobody had told me about.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2004

Christians and Public Education

I've been hearing a lot about this article lately, so I figured I'd throw my two cents out there for everyone to read. You can also go here to read a running debate I've had with someone (I am phoenix, so you know). AND there's a good discussion of the topic here.

First of all, there ARE Christians in public schools -- my wife and I both teach in a public school. In fact, my wife took a LOT of flack over her decision to not teach in a Christian school -- she views it as a mission field, and I know that this year she has had an impact on several students. Christians are fighting for the soul of American public education.

There are also always going to be Christian kids in public schools. Let's ignore the kids who just can't afford the tuition. What about the kids whose parents are not Christians? What are they going to do? These are questions that I'm not sure have been answered -- at least not anywhere I'm reading.

Should we simply abandon public education to the Enemy? That's what we're doing. We're throwing up our hands and saying "There's nothing more we can do". We are doing the same thing that the fundamentalists did in the 70s and 80s when they abandoned the Southern Baptist convention. It's taken almost 20 years for conservatives to win that fight. We don't have 20 years to reclaim public education.

I am all for Christian schools, and even home schooling -- for the right reasons. If the public schools in your area do a lousy job of preparing your kids for life after graduation, then it's your duty to put your kids somewhere else. But if you are concerned about the moral decay of public schools, think about trying to help solve the problem. If you shelter your kids from what is happening in public schools (and I teach in one -- I know what is happening in them), what is their reaction going to be when they have to function in the real world? Will they be able to deal with people who are ideologically opposed to them, when they have never faced that opposition before?

Who is going to train them? Parents. Like Jen says over at blogs4god -- if you have enough time to be able to commit to homeschooling, you have enough time to be involved in your child's public school education. Know the teachers, and make sure they know you. Find out where potential problems may lie. Work out solutions before the problems happen. Make sure your child knows WHY they believe the way they do -- not just what they believe. Make sure they understand what is being thrown at them in school, and why people believe the way they do. Let them know how to interact with people who oppose their beliefs -- so that they can have an impact on their classmates.

And remember that there are Christian teachers out there who are going to be there for your kids -- a support group, if you will. You might not even know who they are -- after all, Ezekiel didn't know there were 10,000 followers of God in the nation; he thought he was the only one.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:01 AM | Comments (0)
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from mindandmedia. Make you own badge here.