Denominations

I love the article on what is wrong with the SBC here.

Here is the response I wrote that I think was censored by the site…..

This post seems to exemplify the problem more than provide a solution, in my view. Every one of the six points is sufficiently vague that only those “in the know” and the real Southern baptists will know exaclty what is being discussed.

A Calvinist will read 1-5 and think that they should be telling people how homophobic complementarian positions are founded on sound biblical doctrine and that they should now step up and go out there to let people know that the world is coming apart and we need to get past the basics here. And while they are at it, they should not reminiss about the old days where gays were not allowed and women knew they place without asking.

And the non-Calvinist will feel that it is good that we finally will allow the message of love and acceptance be the norm, and for those who do not show the love we will have to discipline them, somehow, to show that their old fashioned and non-biblically based ideas will not have a place in the SBC of the future.

The only group you chose to ourgroup explicitly was the post moderns who you totally presented a characiture that is not even close to what it means to be a post modern.

This is what is wrong with the SBC.

I live in rural Virginia and was a trustee, finance member, occasional lecturer in service etc of a church that existed (as I later learned) because of the constant fear that the Calvinists would come in and try to take over the church. They were so fearful of that, and continue to be, that they hid the actual founding documents from the members so that no one can come in and force a vote on theology.

Add to all of that the Baptist Banner rag that circulates around the state http://www.baptistbanner.org/

And there you have a culture of ingrouping some, while a subversive element of Calvinists intent on trying to take the denomination over and political publications like the Baptist Banner meant to further consolidate the position with the Republicans.

What’s wrong with the SBC? Sheesh. Open your eyes.

Afterward I also added something like the following, though I did not save the exact text I wrote.

….additionally, the SBC has had a rather public and well documented political battle for control of the the denomination over the past several decades. What makes us think that the battles would not continue? Here is a good summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Baptist_Convention_conservative_resurgence

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Christian Smith and Biblicism

by Dave on August 12, 2011

in Denominations, Theology

Christian Smith’s new book The Bible Made Impossible is an excellent argument for the need to go beyond the typical evangelical propositions concerning the bible.  Before people get too upset about him striking at the core of evangelical Christianity (more on that later), please note that he is also the one who coined the term Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) which is the opposite extreme.  I personally can attest to the problem with MTD since I belonged to a church for quite a few years who could not move past the shallow and selfish and go to the next level by helping others including the poor.  When I started complaining that we don’t need another building or to spend more money and we should start helping the poor they kicked me out.  So much for country club church with me.  Christian Smith nailed it in that one (see the Wikipedia article on MTD) and he has done it again with his latest effort.

As bad as MTD is, I believe Biblicism is even more dangerous.  Per Smith, Biblicism is:

  1. Divine Writing:  The Bible is God’s very own words in human language
  2. Total Representation:  Everything God wants us to know is in the Bible
  3. Complete Coverage:  All issues are represented there.
  4. Democratic Perspicuity: All reasonable people can get the meaning of what is written
  5. Commonsense Hermeneutics:  Read the plain literal meaning of the texts
  6. Solo Scriptura:  The bible needs no outside creed or teaching to interpret any part of the text
  7. Internal Harmony:  There are no inconsistencies
  8. Universal Applicability:  What is taught in the bible is valid for everyone at all times.
  9. Inductive Method:  Everything we need to know can be known by piecing together the bible
  10. Handbook Model:  The bible makes a good handbook for living using its divine knowledge

Does that sound like anyone you know?  It does to me.  I live in rural Virginia and regularly run across people for whom this is the only way to understand the bible.

Smith’s central premise is that there is Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism in Christianity and given that, Biblicism cannot be true.  Further, Biblicism itself contributes to the amount of interpretive pluralism out there in the community.  I certainly agree.  To say it in other words, if the bible is a divine representation of everything God wants to tell us and it is plain what those teachings are then why do so many people have different opinions about the truth the bible is supposed to reveal?  Good question.  The answer is that the Biblicism outlined makes the Bible impossible.  It is not the Bible we have been given.

I feel this biblicism is dangerous because:

Post continued, click here…

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I am just going to write a brief opinion here so you all can see the out of touch people in charge of some of our religions.

There is an old saying that it is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.  Well, Al Mohler, the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has opened his mouth again.  This time he pick the practice (and religious practice) of yoga as his target.

His article, gets down to the core issue of him being concerned about yoga style meditation and exercise being taught in our schools and at some churches.  Obviously Dr. Mohler is not exactly an introspective type of person and does not see the benefit of centering himself, listening and quieting his mind and getting in touch with the Holy Spirit.  If he did, he would be able to make the obvious connection that having a quiet mind can lead one to be better in touch with the message that god has for him.

Instead, his puritanical mind focuses on the fact that Jesus does not say that we should practice yoga in the bible therefore we should not do it.

This guy is a nut and we don’t need him and his teachings in our Christianity.

He says:

You know the big question is the one that we get to when we finally ask can yoga be separated from its roots in Hinduism and the answer to that is a steadfast, non-negotiable, clear as can be-no.

Al is a fearful person who needs someone to tell him what to do at all times.  My favorite part of the article is:

So much of Eastern mysticism, so much of yoga, if not the entirety of the entire yoga movement, of the philosophy that is summarized by yoga and similar practices is about emptying the mind. But if Christianity is about anything, it is not about emptying the mind. Just look at the Bible and see how much is about God speaking and his people hearing, about cognitive transfer of God’s revelation to his creatures.

I think this is hilarious.  Al Mohler is the one who teaches that you should not consider anything outside of what it says in the bible.  In other words, Al Mohler is the master of “leave your brain at the door”.  I guess this sorry person has never tried to meditate.

Well, I need to sit down and clear my mind a bit…so I can try and not have so much ill will towards Al who really give Christianity a bad name.

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Dr. Albert Mohler, the head of the Southern Baptist theological seminary recently made a speech addressing one of the key elements in defending the cult status of the SBC.  A transcript and a video is available.

EDIT:  I want to point out that the subject of the SBC being a cult is not something I came up with.  I am just weighing in on the conversation.  Twice in this presentation Dr. Mohler refers to the accusation that they are a cult.

Here is a quote from the speech:

The controversy concerning Bruce Waltke, who even in recent months became a focus of controversy after making a video where he argued that, unless evangelical Christians come to terms with accepting the theory of evolution, we will be reduced to the status of a theological and intellectual cult. The urgency of this question and the demand for an answer comes over against what is pressed upon us with the definition of the assured results of modern science.

In this speech Dr. Mohler is trying to address the question:

Why does the universe look so old if it was actually made about 6,000 years ago?

For those of you who do not know, the Southern Baptist Convention teaches it’s members that the earth was made about 6,000 years ago in one instant by God.  He actually does not get to answering the question until the very end of his presentation.  Instead he takes a very long time to do his adult imitation of one of those timeless traditions of putting your fingers in your ears and talking loudly so that you won’t hear what other people are saying.

Here is a definition of a cult

cult –noun

  1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
  2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
  3. the object of such devotion.
  4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
  5. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
  6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
  7. the members of such a religion or sect.
  8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
I think the primary definition in this case is number 6 since the issue at hand is that the Southern Baptists continue to teach, unequivocally that the only way to believe and the true way to believe is to have God created the universe out of nothing, fully formed, 6,000 years ago along with a history of many many things that obviously happened more than 6,000 years ago (dinosaurs and other fossils, DNA evidence, light from stars billions of light years away in mid-flight).
I am not going to try and convince people who believe in a young earth that the earth is old.  If you want some good reading on this topic go to the biologos website and there will be more than enough there.  Instead, I want to propose that the Southern Baptist Convention is indeed a cult given their leader’s closed stance and unwillingness to consider that the earth is old in the face of irrefutable evidence.  They continue to hold this position even though they have access to all the available information.
I also want to distinguish between the leadership and the church going people.  The people are being misled intentionally by the leadership so there is no problem with them.  It is not their fault.  But the leadership is now a cult because of their refusal to even consider that the earth may be old and recognize that it is most likely very silly at best and downright deceitful at worst, for them to believe that the divine creator is trying to trick us into thinking the universe is young.  That would mean that God is lying, and that would truly be against everything we as a faith believe.
It should also be noted that Al Mohler is required to uphold this belief in order to maintain his employment.  Perhaps he should have to divulge that while he is telling people that the earth is 6,000 years old.

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Colonial vs Missional Church

by Dave on July 6, 2010

in Denominations, General

I have spent a great deal of time over the past several years working in a church that was purported to be a missional church, but have come to realize that the church I was a part of was more colonial rather than missional(Western Hanover Church).  While it may seem rather obvious to most of us that there is a big difference between the two, in practice the motivations of the people running the church are what make the difference.  I would like to illustrate some of the key elements about the difference in the hope that others do not make the same mistake. Post continued, click here…

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