Contending for the Faith at Southern

I’ve known of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary‘s turn from liberalism to orthodoxy under the leadership of President Al Mohler. However, I’d not heard him describe the convictions and the process which brought about the rescue until I listened to these two messages (part 1, part 2) from Sovereign Grace’s 2003 Leadership Conference. I commend them to you. I marvel at the reversal and envy the courage behind it. Grace.

HT: Andy Naselli

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10 Responses

  1. Fair enough, Mohler did a fine job on that. But how do you reconcile that with this-

    In June 2009 SBTS celebrated its 150th anniversary. Part of the celebration included dedication of a new pavilion to commemorate the event. Mohler honored its seventh president Duke K. McCall, a rank liberal, by announcing the dedication of its new pavilion in his honor.

    LM

  2. News Flash. Lou finds something else that isn’t perfect.

    I mean really man, you can’t for one minute rejoice in a great work that God has done through imperfect people and and just thank God for a moment?

    I reconcile that as follows. It’s OK to honor imperfect people (like McCall) who have done you much good. Rank liberal is a little strong of a word.

    Also, I would judge men like Al Mohler on the trajectory of their lives instead of interpreting the symbolism of this or that dedication.

  3. I have listened to these several times over the last two years and always rejoice at God’s goodness. I highly recommend them.

    As far as Lou’s reconciliation project, please allow me to say that the two things do not need to be reconciled. I think the naming of the building was wrong. I’m overjoyed at what has happened at Southern. Can’t I reject one as unwise (and, I think, unscriptural) and be thankful for the other? I mean, thirty years ago kids went to SBTS and came out denying the Gospel we love. Now they come out preaching the Gospel we love. I think, perhaps, that even the Apostle Paul would rejoice at that. I don’t believe Chris was saying that everyone should follow Mohler or go to Southern, Mohler’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. Lou’s not perfect. Jesus is perfect.

  4. Jon/Shayne:

    I appreciate what each of you are conveying, I really do. It is remarkable that SBTS was delivered from liberalism; but I personally still could not recommend it.

    But just when will anyone who is extolling the virtues of the evangelicals be transparent enough to disclose the serious doctrinal and/or ecumenical compromises without excusing those very things?

    Can either of you find an article on the evangelicals, by an IFB man who is promoting greater cooperation/fellowship with evangelicals, that comprehensively addresses the obvious problems among them (which I won’t enumerate here) and make a serious application of the Scriptures, hold them accountable for violating Scriptural principles, articulate the Scriptural response to those problem areas. I’m not saying it has never been done, but I’ve never seen it and to reiterate those disconcerting issues are typically given cover and excused when they are mentioned. Fair enough?

    LM

  5. Lou,

    People expose the serious doctrinal error among evangelicals all the time. The problem is, evangelicals like Al Mohler aren’t accountable to you, or the IFB or anyone else outside Jesus Christ, his board of directors, personal Christian friends, and the leadership and members of his church. So how is it that you hold them accountable? Or anyone here on the internet?

    It’s one thing to express caution on individuals, and express positives and negatives on their choices. This is a good practice. It exercises our spiritual muscles.

    Lou, the best advice I can give you is to be far more aware of your own faults than others’. There’s this great little book by Puritan author Richard Sibbes called the Bruised Reed. Is about how God uses those who feel bruised, and how everyone is used of God and even our good actions are mixed with a good and bad. It’s a life changing book. Frankly each of when we think of our own sin wants it to be “given cover and excused.” What about your own sin?

    All I’m saying is, with that kind of attitude, it puts the mistakes of a brother like Al Mohler, in a little perspective, and it causes an altogether different attitude.

    Shayne

  6. Lou, you have a blog where you can voice your concerns on these things. Both your comments ignore the point of the post and instead use it to vent about other issues. Do that at your place, please.

    Though it’s against my better judgment, and though I doubt that you’re really interested, I’ll provide a brief response:

    * I don’t need to reconcile the two. I never said I everything Mohler has ever done. I’ve made that clear here. I don’t even agree with everything I’ve ever done.

    * Calling someone a “rank liberal” is serious. I hope you’re basing that on research and documentation and not just throwing out red meat. Yes?

    * Mohler’s naming a pavilion after someone hardly undoes the good he’s done there—which even you reluctantly acknowledge. Making that a counterpoint to the reversal that’s happened at SBTS smells like desperation.

    * Even if I have problems with it (and I tend to agree with Doran on it), if it has any symbolic significance it’s probably that the former regime has been relegated to a glorified garage while the new one has the pulpit and the classroom.

    * The tendency of certain men (and, decreasingly, an entire sector of men) to insist on finding a thread to pull any time someone outside of their immediate circle does something good is disgusting.

    * I hope the difference between defending the faith and slinging mud is clear to readers.

  7. I remember when I heard those messages not long ago, and it was a great joy.

  8. When I was in seminary, at ummm….DBTS I think it was, yeah, yeah, DBTS…we were taught that one should be grateful to God for the progress made by AM, but to be desirous that God would accomplish more and greater things, because there was more to be accomplished in the realm AM inhabits, and to be mindful of our differences. In classrooms, and off-the-cuff conversations, the differences between what AM, et. al. accomplished, and what the Gospel called for, was made clear.

    BTW, I’ve heard that Chris is going to preach to the Teens of FBC Troy up at Camp Cobeac…preach the Word–may God be exalted by moving in the hearts of those young people!

  9. Further note: we do well to consider the men God has used in our recent and longer past. Think of the doctrinal and practical aberrations present in the lives of men upon whose shoulders we stand. When a man finds himself standing essentially alone, the pressures to cave in are incredible. How will our own ministry be evaluated? Will any of us be viewed the way we think we should be? Could any of us withstand the jaundiced, gimlet-eye with which we regard others? Mebbe yes, mebbe no. I’m not saying to back down on our carefulness, but to strive to retain perspective and balance–both of which seem to be lacking in much of our discussions and investigations here and now.

  10. “We were taught that one should be grateful to God for the progress made by ________, but to be desirous that God would accomplish more and greater things, because there was more to be accomplished in the realm _______ inhabits, and to be mindful of our differences. In classrooms, and off-the-cuff conversations, the differences between what _______, et. al. accomplished, and what the Gospel called for, was made clear.”

    I would argue that this is a healthy way to think about a wide variety of men and ministries, including the people who make those statements about AM, and (should God be gracious in producing fruit) myself.

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