…So I've been reading the blogs of some of my Baptist friends and others in the know lately (just follow some of the links to the right). I didn't realize that there were so many things going on in the SBC! I guess I've been out of the loop for a while. The church that my wife and I are going to right now is not an SBC church (it's a "Strategic Partnership" of Northpoint Church), so I don't hear anything about the SBC there. From what I've read there are two main issues going around the Convention right now: (1) The SBC presidency will likely be contested this year; and (2) discord within the IMB has caused anger, hurt, and disillusionment. I read an article that suggested that Johnny Hunt (the first nominee for President) would not seek the office. This is not particularly surprising to me. What is surprising to me is how many times I have read the word "universalist" (or some variant) associated with Hunt or with some of what he has said. You do not have to listen to him very much or read very much of what he has written to see that any such moniker is unfounded. Does he ignore some passages of Scripture where God's sovereignty is concerned? It would seem so. Does he emphasize the accessibility we have to the throne of grace to the neglect of the work of the Spirit as the Initiator of change in the heart of an individual? Again, it would seem so. To suggest that Hunt advocates the idea that everyone has been-or will be-made acceptable in God's sight, however, is neither wise nor substantiated. More now than ever we as reformed Baptists need to point out error where we see it, but we need to nevertheless be careful in how we characterize it.
Now, one thing that I like is that Mark Dever has been suggested as a possible nominee for President. There's a couple of things I like about this. First, Dever has not started a program at his church that Lifeway is likely to mass-produce, shrink-wrap, and force on everybody as the method for…well, you know where I'm going with that, so let's just move on... Second-and more importantly-his vision for moving Capitol Hill Baptist Church to an elder-led structure is one that needs to be shared with other churches in the Convention (and you will not have to shell out $350/head to…okay, I'm over it!). Seriously, though, Dever is-in my opinion-an ideal choice for SBC leadership because he clearly understands the need for change in certain aspects of congregational life (leadership, cultural awareness) while recognizing the necessity of renewing interest in other areas-namely, discipleship, biblical and doctrinal preaching and teaching (among the leadership), and biblical and doctrinal literacy (among the leadership and membership).
The IMB issue is one that I am not as "caught up" on. I think that there is Scriptural evidence to suggest that since the gift of tongues was given for the edification of believers that it is still in use today, particularly in areas where congregations are under persecution. One thing that I'm not a sure about is the idea of a private prayer language. Honestly, I was not aware that this was a commonly accepted practice among SBC missionaries. It is an area that I need to study up on, and I need your help! Have you read anything that explains it and/or defends or refutes it? Obviously I know that the use of a private prayer language is not the real issue, but this has really got me thinking. Your comments, rants, arguments, and contentions are hereby welcomed and solicited.
Your servant and His,