Semester Retrospective Spring 2007 - Your Opinion Needed

We're all frantic about finishing the papers and preparing for finals. Here's your chance to slow down and reflect on what God has been doing this semester in your life.

Said at Southern is taking open nomination for our first ever “Semester Retrospective." Please leave your nominations in the comments. Multiple nominations are ok. We'll need everyone's help to get a decent run of comments on this - I'm even granting a temporary indulgence of the weird blogger word verification, so comments will be easier!

  1. Professor: Who was your favorite professor this semester? Only nominate professors you actually had this Semester.

  2. Chapel: What was your favorite SBTS chapel message this semester?

  3. Buzz: What created the loudest buzz this semester? This can be a theological topic or an event.

  4. Epiphany: What was your biggest “ah-ha” moment this semester? Did you learn something that will change your life or impact forever change your ministry?

  5. Classes: What was your most demanding & least demanding classes this semester?

  6. Books: What was your favorite book(s) you read this semester?

  7. In Sum: How would you characterize this semester for future students. Complete the sentence, “That was the semester that _____________________________.” I’m looking for campus wide significance here.
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Comments are open. But first be sure to review our User Expectations.

- posted by Tony Kummer

T4G Registration Opening Tuesday, May 1st

Mark Dever wrote:

We have moved the event a few blocks down in order to double the number of people we can accommodate. A word to the wise, register soon AND book your hotel rooms or make other arrangements to stay soon. . . The conference otherwise should be very similar to last time--bare but packed schedule, larger book store, heartfelt singing, lots of speaking and panel discussions, no break out sessions.

One new thing--Thabiti Anyabwile agreeing to speak.
Read Dever's whole letter here.
- posted by Tony Kummer

Power In Pulpit Now Free Online

Steve Weaver (SBTS alumni) has pointed out that the latest Power In The Pulpit conference is now available. Free downloads - thank you Dr. Mohler, Dr. Shaddix, Dr. York.

Steve writes:

The audio from this year’s “Power in the Pulpit” conference held at SBTS is now available online for MP3 download. I attended this conference along with three preachers from our church and we were all greatly blessed. Each session is excellent. Preachers, download and listen to them all!

The audio of conferences from previous years can be obtained by clicking here.

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- posted by Tony Kummer

SBTS Alumni named as New President of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College

The KBC is reporting that Donnie Fox has been elected as the new president of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College in Pineville, Ky. According to the story, "He also holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville."

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- posted by Tony Kummer

7 Posts For the Weekend

Here are my top seven posts from 4/20/2007 - 4/26/2007. If I've missed your favorite post - just let me know in the comments. These are in no particular order. You can see all my "Well Said . . . " picks here.

  1. "Laden With the Power to Devalue Human Life" -- The... from Albert Mohler's Blog. Dr. Mohler addresses the Supreme Court decision on partial birth abortion.
  2. An Open Letter to Morris Chapman on Biblical Eldership
    from Provocations & Pantings. Another well written 'provocation' by Timmy reminds us of the historic baptist understanding of elders.
  3. MUSIC AND THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD In the modern e... from Ron's Blog. How does the music ministry of your church relate to God's Word? Here is an important issue that is often a casualty of the worship wars.
  4. The Authority of the King: Jesus and Divorce (Exposition... from Pastor Steve Weaver's Blog. Steve's sermon is a great example of how SBTS alumni don't shrink from unpopular texts when preaching.
  5. Reading Books Instead of Blogs from consumed. Owen reminds us we give us when we read too many blogs.
  6. Mockingbird: The Postlogue from Off The Wire. Matt finishes his Derek Webb review. If you're interested in doing cultural analysis on music check out his whole series on Mockingbird.
  7. “Should the Water Divide Us? Baptism, Church Membership, and the Glory of Christ” notes on a lecture by Dr. Greg Wills,... from Strange BaptistFire. Andrew provided another excellent live blog from Southern Seminary.
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- posted by Tony Kummer

Said At Southern User Expectations

The Said At Southern team has written this list of expectations to define how our blog works.

You can think of this as a user agreement or blogger covenant. Either way - we want to clarify how our blog works, who gets linked, how we moderate comments and how you can participate in this project.

Said At Southern User Expectations

  1. We insist that all participants maintain their personal blogs in a way that honors Christ. We want to only write in a way that is appropriate for Christian witnesses. "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 ESV
  2. We insist that all participants clearly identify their real name on comments and on their personal blogs. We want you to avoid anonymous opinions. We do not encourage bloggers to have an autonomous virtual identity. For example I use "Tony Kummer" or "T. Kummer." It is not acceptable to use initials only or an assumed nickname "Super Seminary Smarty" unless your blogger profile or personal blog clearly states your real identity.
  3. We insist that all participants be willing to receive and give correction when these expectations are not met. As believers in Christ we are responsible to confront one anther when our blogs do not honor Christ.
  4. We insist that all participants avoid useless conversations. There are many topics and opinions that are out of bounds for Christians. “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” 2 Timothy 2:23 ESV
  5. We invite all participants to fully support and contribute to Said at Southern. We have structured our blog to allow multiple levels of participation
    • Open Comments: We encourage humble, relevant and thoughtful comments by anyone who reads this blog. This extends beyond the SBTS blogging community. We want to interact with readers from diverse backgrounds.
    • Linked Bloggers: This is the entry level of participation. These blogs get linked from the aggregator boxes. We request that all linked bloggers reciprocate by linking us on their blogs.
    • Contributing Bloggers: In addition to linking Said At Southern, these bloggers contribute via comments and backlinked posts. On our sidebar we will display the last several posts from our contributing bloggers. They are invited to submit guest posts for Said At Southern.
    • Featured Bloggers: At its core Said At Southern is an echo-chamber for what SBTS bloggers are saying. On our sidebar we will display the last several posts from our featured bloggers. Our design is to give better exposure to better content. This group of students, faculty and alumni are increasingly important voices in the blogosphere. Inclusion in the "Featured Bloggers" category is by the discretion of the Said At Southern team.
If you have suggestions on how we can improve these expectations please contribute them to the comment section.

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- posted by Tony Kummer

The Blog in Our Eyes

Nathan Busenitz over at the Pulpit Live blog as started a series entitled "The Blog in Our Eyes" in which he addresses how Christians should approach blogging. I found this appropriate to highlight which is also consonant with what Tony had posted earlier. Let's pray that our blogs and our lives reflect the character of God, edify one another, and ultimately brings glory to Jesus, by whom and for whom are all things.

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Comments are open.

- posted by Timmy Brister, April 25, 2007

Watch 2008 T4G Video

In case you haven't seen it, the guys behind Together for the Gospel who recently were on campus have provided an hour long video (!) of a recent conversation about their reflections on the '06 conference and the messages in particular. To watch the video, click here.

By the way, any of you planning on going to the 2008 Conference? Registration is suppose to open soon . . .

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- posted by Timmy Brister, April 24, 2007

Is Tom Nettles Leaving Southern?

Tom Ascol is reporting on the Founder's Ministry blog that SBTS professor Tom Nettles may be moving to Florida to serve as his associate pastor. He writes:

Dr. Tom Nettles, Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky will visit Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral on May 4-6 in view of a call to become the Associate Pastor. While this news may come as a shock to many people, those who know Tom well will not be surprised. He represents what is best in our seminaries and has consistently carried out his classroom responsibilities with a sense that he is a servant of the local church.
For anyone who has not had Dr. Nettles for a class - this will be hard news. You can read the full story at the Founder's blog.

Here is Dr. Nettles bio from the Seminary website:

Thomas Nettles - Professor of Historical Theology


  • B.A., Mississippi College
  • M.Div., Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Bio: Dr. Nettles is widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historians in America. He came to Southern Seminary from the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. He previously taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author or editor of nine books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory and Baptists and the Bible, the highly influential volume which he co-authored with Dr. Russ Bush; and Why I Am a Baptist, co-edited with Russell D. Moore.

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- posted by Tony Kummer, April 23, 2007

Letting a Gift Be a Gift: Seminarians and Pregnancy

This blog touches on a topic that is quite relevant to a seminary community stuffed full of young married couples possessing a robust theology of the family. It is important that we possess such theology, for we live in an anti-child age, in which couples forestall marriage, swear off pregnancy, and ultimately produce far fewer children than in generations past. This is a troubling change, and it is right that we deliver the Word to those who will not deliver from the womb.

But I wonder whether we young folks who are able to make a theoretical case for marriage sometimes falter in putting such a case into practice. In the busyness of seminary life, and the assumption of financial debt that often comes with marriage, and the various and weighty pressures incumbent upon young couples (church, school, work), I wonder if our approach toward children slowly, quietly shifts such that children become a weight rather than a gift. The Bible's perspective on this matter could not be clearer: children are a gift (Psalm 127:3). The issue is settled with one solitary sentence. Children are always a gift. They are a gift whether you've been married for a week, a month, a year, or ten years. They are a gift whether you're indebted, doing fine, doing swimmingly, or nothing's doing. They are a gift whether you expected them, planned them, adopted them, or had no idea they were coming. In all situations, and to all couples, the Bible's word is this: "the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Ps. 127:3). We should thus receive every child as a miraculous present, one whose blessings take a lifetime to fully appear.

With my point clearly stated, I should point out a few things I'm expressly not saying. I'm not advocating the Catholic view that every marital act must potentially produce children; I'm not saying that certain forms of birth control are not acceptable; I'm not saying that couples should not make tentative plans regarding children. I'm also not saying that unplanned pregnancies are not challenging and do not necessitate some time for adjustment. I am saying, however, that the Bible's simple but unmistakably clear word on children should stamp our familial theology and direct our attitude toward children--whenever (and, importantly, if) God chooses to give them to us. When all is said and done, we future pastors will display love for the Word not simply by preaching it, but by receiving every child the Lord gives us as a living embodiment of His kindness.

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- posted by Owen Strachan, April 23, 2007

Baptism Forum Available Online

The Baptism Forum held this past week at here at Southern is now available to download. I shared my thoughts here and would be interested in discussing this. Said At Southern covered the event here. Be sure to check out Dr. Nettles’ explanation of 1 Peter 3:21. Also, you might want to be looking into a future presentation by Dr. Greg Wills on “Should the Water Divide Us? Baptism, Church Membership, and the Glory of Christ.”

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- posted by Timmy Brister, April 22, 2007

How Old Are Most Southern Baptist Pastors?

Here is an interesting chart from LifeWay Research showing the average age of Southern Baptist Pastors. I was surprised to see that over half of all SBC senior pastors are 50+.

It seems that the guys being trained now won't be the real majority of senior pastors for several more years.

Do these numbers surprise you?

What significance does this have on the churches?

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- posted by Tony Kummer, April 21, 2007

Former SBTS Professor Expanding His Leadership

Joe Thorn is reporting that Ed Stetzer (a former SBTS professor) has been selelcted to head a new LifeWay, NAMB And IMB collaborative research effort. Marty Duren at SBC Outpost praises this as a sign that Rainer understands how SBC entities can work together.

Read about it here from LifeWay.

There seems to be a trend of SBTS talent making its way to LifeWay. Thom Rainer, Brad Waggoner, Tom Hellams are all former SBTS guys. This is a good thing for our convention.

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- posted by Tony Kummer, April 20, 2007

Top 10 Posts For The Weekend - plus 7 extra

What a week. I'm featuring 17 posts with the sincere promise that I will be more discerning next week. But as I reviewed my "Well Said . . ." file I realized this was a special week.

The blogosphere exploded with stories and comments about the Virginia Tech shootings. We're still seeing and feeling the magnitude of this event. I am so pleased that the God-centered bloggers were prepared to give an answer for their hope. I tracked 31 posts dealing with VT. You can browse them with my google reader if you like. Here are the highlights:

Top 5 posts about the VT tragedy

  1. Virginia Tech - Our Home for Six Years from Power of Change

  2. Virginia Tech: A Biblical Response from The Silent Holocron

  3. Therapy or Theology? Responding to the Massacre. from Denny Burk

  4. On Faith -- Facing the Reality of Evil from Albert Mohler's Blog

  5. Living in an Unseen Storm: Christians and the Disturbed from consumed
That news rightly dominated the first half of the week. But Wednesday blogging was returning to normal. Here are a few more posts we linked that deserve your attention. If I've left out your greatest blogging achievement - leave a message in the comments.

12 More Posts For The Weekend
These are in no set order. If we've left out a post that changed your life just leave a comment to that effect.

New backlinks to Said at Southern found at Technorati this week:
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Comments are open. We still need a catchy phrase for our blogspotting.

- posted by Tony Kummer, April 20, 2007

Quite the Contrary: SBTS and a God-centered Ministry

From The Towers:

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has reached an all-time high in enrollment and is continuing to draw scores of ministers desiring to prepare for ministry in the local church, President R. Albert Mohler Jr. told trustees at the annual spring meeting Tuesday.

Seminary enrollment this semester grew to more than 4,200 students, Mohler said, the vast majority of whom are preparing to serve as pastors of local Southern Baptist churches. Enrollment has doubled since 1995.

Mohler said the increased enrollment has come by God’s grace because the school has sought to attract students during a time when theological institutions in America are turning out “professional ministers” and not pastor-theologians. Many eminaries are going away from training pastors in the classical theological disciplines and, instead, are preparing them to meet the felt needs of a therapeutic culture, he said.

Read the whole thing. Praise God for what he is doing here at Southern.

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- posted by Timmy Brister, April 19, 2007

Broadus on Jesus

John A. Broadus was one of the most eminent Southern Baptists of the nineteenth century. He was also the first professor of preaching here at Southern as one of the original four founders of this great institution. While doing a little research today, I came across a great piece by Broadus entitled "Jesus of Nazareth" provided by fellow blogger and friend Don Elbourne. Here is how the preface begins:

These lectures were delivered in March, 1890, at the instance of Eugene Levering, Esq., of Baltimore, in the Hall which he has recently erected and given to the Johns Hopkins University, for the use of the Young Men's Christian Association of that institution; and the President of the Y. M. C. A. specially requested their publication. They were not designed as class-room lectures, since many not connected with the University were invited to attend.

The subject treated seems to possess an ever deepening interest at the present time. The personal character of Jesus is now widely perceived to be an important guarantee of his teachings and works. This character is presented by the first lecture in a way that to some may appear lacking in devout warmth; but the object was to gain the concurrence of every person who will calmly survey the historical facts, and thus to lay a foundation for what would follow. It is hoped that the second lecture will tend to rectify certain erroneous but quite prevalent views of the Saviour's teaching; and that the third lecture may be found to have some argumentative force in regard to his mission and claims. The little volume is the fruit of life-time studies, and has been prepared with the author's best exertions, and a great desire to promote "the knowledge of Jesus, the most excellent of the sciences."

J. A. B.

May, 1890.

Check out this hidden treasure from one whose life and legacy should not only be fresh on our minds but also modeled in the lives we live.

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Comments are open.

- posted by Timmy Brister, April 19, 2007

Coordinated Hands of God and Men: Providence in the Reformed Tradition by Dr. Bruce Ware

The final session of Resurence's Spring Conference is now available on line. Here are the notes for Dr. Ware's message, "Coordinated Hands of God and Men: Providence in the Reformed Tradition." You can download the message by clicking here (also download the MP4 and watch here). Also, the Q&A with Dr. Ware can also be downloaded by clicking here.

Now that these messages and outlines are up, do you have any thoughts of Dr. Ware's presentation? Have you given much time in your studies of God's providence? What think ye of compatibilist middle knowledge?

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- posted by Timmy Brister, April 18, 2007

Baptism: A Panel Discussion – triple live blog from Said At Southern

We're pleased to three angles on the same event by SBTS students. The occasion was Baptism: A Panel Discussion at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. First you will find my notes from the event. Below that you will find Andrew Lindsey's excellent notes on the same panel discussion. These were originally posted on Strange Baptist Fire and he has graciously allowed us to carry them here too. Third, we are displaying several photos taken by Said at Southern's own photo journalist Timmy Brister. Be sure to visit his Flickr page to see his 2,200+ photo portfolio. His photo blogs consistently excellent and this event was no different.

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Live Blogging By Tony Kummer

It is APRIL 18, 2007. Said at Southern is live in HERITAGE HALL at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Today we are covering a panel discussion by Drs. Moore, Nettles, Wellum, and Wills on the topic of Baptism. The Boyce Society is sponsoring this event, audio from previous Boyce Society events is available. The J. P. Boyce society is an official student organization. Here is their description from the SBTS student handbook:

J. P. Boyce Society - Members are committed to the study of Baptist and heritage, and traditional Southern Baptist beliefs. The society is also dedicated to the propagation of the Abstract of Principles, the oldest confession of faith within the Southern Baptist Convention.
The notes below are a summary of the conversation. Very little word-for-word quoting was possible. If you were at the conference and can offer any corrections please leave them in a comment.

9:50 I’ve arrived in Heritage Hall and found a seat in the second row in the far right wing of the seats. To my left is my pastor and to my right is Timmy.

9:59 The 200 chairs set up in heritage hall are completely filled, mostly by students. Several more are filling the back of the room.

10:03 The panelists are taking their seats

10:05 A short word of introduction and a prayer is offered.

10:09 Discussion begins. Dr. Moore is asked about Wayne Grudem’s definition of baptism and the tendency of some evangelical leaders to downplay of essential nature of baptism as a major doctrine.

Dr. Moore responds: We must ask, “What is baptism?” We don’t have the freedom to redefine or baptism. Those who broaden the definition of baptism are disagreeing with many years of church history. We don’t have that freedom. Many churches have treated baptism as a peripheral issue. We don’t teach the necessity, meaning or gravity of baptism. It will take time for churches to correct this via patient teaching.

Dr. Wills is asked how soon after giving evidence of conversion should a person be baptized?

Dr. Wills responds: The scriptures give us the measure of the evidence of conversion. What constitutes credible evidence? 1) Conviction of sin. 2) The person’s testimony that God has forgiven them. The whole congregation is responsible to insist on this evidence. Membership committees and pastoral interviews can be helpful in this matter. But we must not allow any undue delay. The New Testament does not allow for delay.

What about children coming for baptism? We should not insist on any definite age lines. The same credible evidence must be present. Be aware that parents may be pressuring their children. Faithfulness in such cases will take courage. Affirm their desire to follow Christ but put them off until credible evidence. Basil Manly tells gives an illustration of an older man who said, “I can’t speak for Christ but I can die for him.” We don’t want to give children or anyone else a false confidence that they have peace with God when they don’t. In such we would put ourselves and them in great peril.

Dr. Nettles: This question process assumes this person has been under the doctrinal teaching of the church. When the Gospel was preached what did you believe? Knowing the context of the church is helpful.

Dr. Wills: In 18th century churches the whole congregation would often publicly question candidates for baptism.

Moore: There cannot be an institutionalization of this process. Rather the congregation must have an assurance that this person is converted. This may depend on context and the person’s maturity. No arbitrary rules should be set. In the book of Acts it was much easier to assume those who came for baptism were genuine convert because of the context of persecution, the fear of the Lord and the community dynamic.

10:22 Dr. Nettles is asked about 1 Peter 3:21. “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Nettles responds: The salvation language of the Bible is used in three ways. 1) Some issues of salvation directly affect the moral nature of man. They are the effectual operation of salvation. 2) Another is the means that change of our perceptions of God. For example passages that say “the Word of God saves you.” Hearing of the Gospel would also fit this category. 3) A final category of language refers to things that symbolize salvation. In teaching us they are positive ceremonies, they are not effectually connected with the change that occurs in our relation ship with God. For example, In Leviticus “the priest shall make an atonement and he shall be forgiven” speaks of a reality that transcends this. This is the way we should take baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The cup is not his blood but such a powerful symbol that it Jesus can say, “this is my blood.” The issue in 1 Peter 3:21 is a pledge of a good conscience toward God. It is given by God as a powerful convincing symbol of our union with God and Christ’s victory over sin.

Dr. Moore is asked if baptism is simply symbolic or is there other benefits?

Dr. Moore responds: Nothing is merely symbolic in that it does not offer spiritual help. Its effect is in speaking truth and pressing on our conscience those things Christ has done. So Baptism operates in the same way that the Word does. It is a continual calling to mind our utter dependence on Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. This is the sanctifying effect of the truth remembered.

There is a connection here with positive church discipline. Baptism is a part of marking out the boundaries of the church. We are proclaiming this person has been united with Christ. Can churches err? Yes, but when the church gathers under the Word it has this authority to proclaim this union with Christ. This is a great benefit to the church, the individual and the world.

10: 34 Dr. Wellum is asked about the relationship between the Old and New covenants.

Dr. Wellum responds: Obviously this is a huge question. Baptism is a test case in how one understands how the whole bible relates together. At the heart of the pedo-baptism view is this strong Covental argument.

It is crucial that we place the covenants in their own context. We need to look at the context then relate each covenant to Christ. For example the structure of the covenant is no longer mediated, we now have a regenerate community, and baptism signifies the reality of a faith unity with Christ. The Abrahamic covenant has a national and physical component. The true seed is Christ. pedo-Baptists are not covenantal enough. They do not preserve the differences in the covenants. If you understand Old Testament it already anticipates what the New Testament presents.

Dr. Nettles: This is the way New Covenant is presented in the New Testament. Circumcision is fulfilled in regeneration. Philippians 3 says we are the true circumcision and spells out all the things that accompany regeneration. This is a direct apostolic statement about how the Old Testament types are fulfillment.

10:44 Dr. Wellum: There are many functions of circumcision in the OT. Much of the significance is the way it anticipates Christ.

10:45 Q&A Time
Q: What are your convictions on women baptizing women, especially in great commission contexts such as the mission field?

Dr. Wills responds: (Nettles brushed brow in relief and all present laugh at his gesture.) The administration of ordnances relates to the teaching offices of the local church. Ordnances express in symbolic form the essential truths of the Gospel. Since the office of elders is restricted to men. It would be a grave disorder for a female non-elder to baptize someone.

Dr. Moore: I agree. Baptism is not my individual’s proclamation, but the authority of the church is expressed in this ordinance. This case is a symptom of a larger problem of not seeing baptism as an ordinance of the church.

Q: Can a person be baptized as a follower of Christ but does not want membership in the local church?

Dr. Nettles responds: This gets to the same issue, is baptism an ordinance of the church? Does it speak to the unity, witness, and interdependent nature of the church?

Q: The Abstract of Principles spells these issues out clearly. How can we move toward this theology in our practice?

Dr. Wills responds: The bigger problem is that we are inviting unsaved people to the Lord’s Table. We have a promiscuous table. We don’t warn anyone that they are not invited. I have to assume these pastors have not read the discussion on the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians. We’ve got to cut that out. We need to make it very clear for whom it is prepared, who Jesus has invited, and fully warned those who are not to come.

Q: Is Baptism a prerequisite to the Lord’s Table?

Dr. Moore responds: The Lord’s Table is part of the disciple of the church. This marks out the visible community of the people of God.

Q: Should communion be open to believers of who hold other doctrines about Baptism or eternal security?

Dr. Nettles responds: Much of the church’s purity is depends on what is going on in the church from week to week. If the people don’t understand the evidence of regeneration then they are hardly ready for the positive church discipline that comes from the Lord’s Table. We should ask:
1. Is the Lord’s Supper connected specifically and only to the discipline of a local congregation? Then other Baptists should be excluded because they are not members of our fellowship.
2. Is the Lord’s Supper connected to a disciplined church? Then we can extend our table to those who are in the discipline of another church.

Dr. Moore: We don’t have many disciplined churches. We are living in a day when that has been confused.

Q: What about alien emersion, from a church that teaches the benefits of baptism can be lost?

Dr. Wills responds: The administrator does matter. That informs what that baptism means. It is more than getting wet.

Dr. Nettles: It depends on the witness of the church. For example, if a church practices both pedo and believers baptism then anyone baptized there has not been baptized in a scriptural way. Although I would like all churches to affirm the 2nd London Baptist Confession - I cannot support that all of those doctrines are required of a church.

We should ask, “What is baptism as relates to eternal security? Does this church see baptism as a repeatable act?” The most interesting issue: the whole issue is about whether baptism is a church ordinance at all. Differing views of baptism are not baptism

Dr. Moore: Some say this is Landmarkism? This is not such in a historic sense. But we say that this is what we believe Jesus commands. Quoting Dr. Wills from chapel, “The whole issue of the mode of immersion is as irrelevant as the mode of circumcision.” Any other mode is not Baptism.

Dr. Wills: These are practical maters that pastors can not defer their opinion like eschatology.

Dr. Nettles jokes: Maybe this is the Tribulation? This is the 7-year seminary experience? Is anyone on the 7-year plan?

The event is now concluded and the participants have been dismissed.

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Comments are open.
- posted by Tony Kummer, April 18, 2007

---------- End Live Blog 1 -------------

---------- Begin Live Blog 2 -------------

Below that you will find Andrew Lindsey's excellent notes. These were originally posted on Strange Baptist Fire and he has graciously allowed us to carry them here too.

Liveblogging the Baptism Panel Discussion at SBTS

Today I attended a panel discussion concerning baptism here at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The panelists for the discussion were: Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology; Dr. Tom Nettles, Professor of Historical Theology; Dr. Stephen Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology; and Dr. Greg Wills, Professor of Church History. The panelists were asked a series of questions by both the moderator and the audience. Below is my summary of the questions and the panelists’ responses. Unless something is in quotation marks, it should not be taken as a direct quote. I’ve tried to give as accurate a representation of the questions and answers as possible given my limited typing speed, but this is, at best, a ‘thumbnail sketch’ of the discussion. Rather than promoting an examination of what each panelist believes concerning the questions, this post is meant to be a discussion starter on these issues for readers of SBF.

(Question concerning Baptist churches allowing members of paedo-baptist communions w/o baptism.)

M: If baptism is immersion, then we have no right to change the Great Commission [go and make disciples, baptizing, etc.]. Baptists need more positive teaching about what baptism is and means.

(Question concerning how quickly a person should be baptized after a profession of faith.)

Wi: The Lord holds the entire congregation accountable in this area. Members must give credible evidence of faith, but baptism should also be administered without undue delay. Scripture gives no age as minimum for baptism, and we still must await credible evidence, realizing different children will have greater understanding at different ages. One thing we don’t want to do is give false peace. There can be no response if there is no understanding of the Gospel. We should not be afraid of questioning a person’s testimony.

M: We should have no artificial time delay, such as a “baptism class” automatically followed by baptism. Some people may need more counseling than such a class before they are baptized, others may give credible evidence before such a class and be ready for baptism before they understand the ordinance as well as they will.

(Question regarding the biblical salvific language associated with baptism.)

N: Baptism symbolizes salvation and is thus intricately connected with what salvation is, but such symbols can be changed, as seen in the OT sacrificial system. These symbols do not directly effectuate salvation as does God’s mercy and His work of regeneration, as we read about in Titus 3. Baptism is a “powerful, convincing symbol of our union with Christ.” Baptism is spoken of as “saving us” in an analogous way to how the animal sacrifices were spoken of as bringing forgiveness.

M: Baptism is part of the discipline of the church, marking off who belongs in the Church, although in an imperfect manner, especially if discipline is done unbiblically.

(Question: How does baptism relate to the New Covenant and the Old Covenant?)

We: Even though the covenant theme is a crucial bridge between the Old and New Testaments, classical [paedo-baptist] covenant theology tends to “flatten out” the covenants, not recognizing the difference between the Old and New Covenants. The nature of the Old Covenant community as mixed between believers and unbelievers should not be carried into the New Covenant community. “My criticism [of paedo-baptist covenant theologians] is that they’re not covenantal enough.”

N: This is the way that the New Covenant’s specifically dealt with in the New Testament. Circumcision, biblically speaking, is fulfilled in regeneration.

We: Circumcision serves multiple functions in the Old Covenant as well. Circumcision points forward specifically to New Covenant realities in such a way that it cannot simply be imported and into the New Covenant and baptism substituted for it.

(Question: What do you think of women baptizing women in regards to the Great Commission- that we should all be making disciples, baptizing, etc.- especially in mission field situations.)

Wi: Baptism is a corollary to the teaching office, symbolizing the word taught, so elders should perform baptism.

M: We should not individualize, to an unbiblical extent, the ordinance of baptism– baptism brings people into the church, so an officer of the church should perform baptisms.

(Question: Can we baptize someone without them becoming a minister of the local church?)

N: Baptism as an ordinance of Christ is meant to achieve unity for the body, not only as a personal expression of the faith.

(Question: What is the relationship between baptism and the Lord’s Supper?)

Wi: Baptism is a prerequisite of the Lord’s Supper.

M: This is the model we find in Acts and is necessary for church discipline. This doesn’t mean that we need policemen at every pew, but the pastor or whoever administers the Lord’s Supper should make this view explicit.

(Question regarding closed vs. close communion- i.e., should only members of the local congregation be encouraged to partake in the Lord’s Supper, or should it be open to members of all congregations of ‘like faith and practice’.)

N: The Lord’s Table must be prefaced by teaching on what the Lord’s Supper means and how it should be conducted. The only question is whether this should be conducted only with members of a local congregation or with other baptized members of disciplined congregations.

M: This is especially an issue where churches accept letters of recommendation just as paperwork, and do not understand the ordinances.

(Question regarding “alien baptism”- i.e., should Baptists accept baptisms performed by other denominations.)

Wi: Historically Baptists have rejected alien baptism.

N: It depends on the witness of the church. What is the church witnessing to in baptism? If it was taken to be equivalent to circumcision it would be invalid, but if it is a testimony to the work of Christ on our behalf it would be valid.

M: It would also depend on whether a congregation believed baptism to be salvific. (Quoting Dr. Wills): The question of mode in baptism is as irrelevant as the mode of circumcision in the Old Covenant.

---------- End Live Blog 2 -------------

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Handwriting On The Wall – Do declining Baptisms signal the doom of the SBC?

"We must be honest and realistic – we are not waiting on God, God is waiting on us.” - Bobby WelchThe numbers are in.
Despite the bus tours, prayer meetings and impassioned pleas - our Southern Baptist Churches continued to decline in the all important baptism statistic.

Baptist Press is careful to balance this disappointment with a positive spin. Current SBC president Frank Page reflected positively on the "Everyone Can" initiative. But our former convention president Bobby Welch was pulling no punches. In his own words:
This year's report of a decline in baptisms in the face of an all-out effort by so many sounds the most urgent cry Southern Baptists will ever hear, and it comes from the handwriting that is now on our wall -– and it is this: BACK TO THE FIELDS!
What is causing this decline? I have my own theories but I would like to hear from you. How should we as pastors and future church leaders respond to these trends?

Be sure to read the whole article Handwriting On The Wall by Bobby Welch at Baptist Press. There are several more quotes worthy of discussion. He remains certain that Southern Baptist can turn things around. But he warns us:
“Any and all distractions that take us off this course now are forcing the SBC beyond the point from which there is no return. Someone said to me, "I shudder to think where we would be this year in baptisms if we had not had such an all-out 'sounding of the alarm' as the 'Everyone Can' initiative over the last year did." While that initiative did encourage a lot of people to do their best, it was still only an alarm. There must be a unified acceleration for Great Commission evangelism-discipleship convention-wide. We must be honest and realistic -– we are not waiting on God, God is waiting on us.”
This paragraph is certain to cause some discussion among more theologically oriented Southern Baptists. What do you think? How should we be ‘sounding the alarm’ in our churches?

Comments are open.

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- posted by Tony Kummer, April 17, 2007

Responding to the Virginia Tech Tragedy - A Call To Prayer

4/17/07 8:23 Update: What happened yesterday continues to come to light. I'm constantly updating the list of S@S posts that address the issue. Don't miss Dr. Mohler's second radio show dealing with the tragedy and his commentary on Facing the Reality of Evil.

The VT chapter of Campus Crusade has been posting photos of prayer vigils.

The VT New Life Christian Fellowship is posting prayers and encouragement.

When I got home from class tonight I began to hear about the shootings at Virginian Tech. I want to call all of our readers to spend significant time praying about this tragedy. The news media has labeled it the Massacre at Virginia Tech.

Take a break now and pray for everyone affected by this tragedy.

Below I've compiled what some Said At Southern bloggers have been saying. Don't miss Dr. Mohler's response on his Monday radio program. I thank God for giving Dr. Mohler the discernment to speak biblically and compassionately in times like this.

Desiring God has also posted What to Say About Virginia Tech.

Here is a listing of on campus ministries at Virginia Tech. Pray that they God might use them to offer hope in this tragedy. Pray that the Christian response will point people to Christ. HT:Flowers Family

Reformed University Fellowship at Virginia Tech

Campus Crusade for Christ at VT

Canterbury (Episcopal) Fellowship

Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Virginia Tech

Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship

Christ’s Church at Virginia Tech

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Lutheran Student Movement

The Navigators

New Life Campus Fellowship

Presbyterian Campus Ministry at VT

Wesley Foundation at Virginia Tech

- posted by Tony Kummer - April 16, 2007

5 Ways We Can Help Your Blog

Blogging isn't fair.

SBTS bloggers are engaging culture like few others can: from a Bible-saturated, God-glorifying, Truth-defending, Church-serving, Christ-exalting worldview.

These are the best blogs that NO ONE READS. How will your voice be heard above the noise of the blogosphere?

We can help.

We’re building this blog to serve you. Our site is an open door to all that is being Said At Southern. We only started last month but the response had been strong. View our traffic and links. That said, here are 5 ways we can help your blog:
  1. Growing Traffic
    Our site is designed to drive traffic to your site. The aggregator boxes, the RSS feed displays, the weakly reviews, the top secret features we’re developing – all of this is will send readers your way.

  2. Our Network
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  3. Comment Threads
    Add relevant, thoughtful and humble comments to all our posts. Readers will want more. This is old news if you watch your traffic. Regular comments here will payback with comments on your blog. Because we're building a conversation, the S@S team replies to comments several times per day.

  4. Guest Blogging Opportunities
    We're seeking guest content for Said At Southern. Your content can be a regular part of what we publish. This is open to alumni, students and faculty. Just email

  5. Expectations
    This week we will post our “Said At Southern Blogger Expectations.” This document will bring accountability and quality control to our growing network. How does a Christian blog? What scriptures should restrain and compel us in what we write? Our user agreement will help you glorify God when you blog.
All this begs the question, "How can I help Said At Southern?" We'll have to get to that in another post. For now subscribe to our feed in a reader or Get Said At Southern via Email.

Comments are open. Where would you like to see this Said At Southern? What new features would you suggest?

- posted by Tony Kummer, April 16, 2007

Seminary and the Local Church: What's the Difference?

I don't know how many of you aware of the current controversy and lawsuit filed by Dr. Sheri Klouda against SWBTS, but the latest news is that SWBTS has made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the following grounds (emphasis mine):

"The seminary's relationship with its professors has been held by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to be the same relationship as a church has with its ministers. Any decision the seminary may make regarding the employment of one of its professors is an ecclesiastical decision, which this court is bound to accept out of deference for the free exercise of religion, protected by the First Amendment."
[It goes without saying that the situation is serious and sad, as you read this, consider praying for our sister seminary that the truth would be told and righteousness reign during these difficult days.]

When I first read this, I was struck by the grounds for dismissal being that the seminary treats its professors the same way a church treats its ministers. What do you think about this? Are decisions made at a higher educational institution to be considered "ecclesiastical" decisions? What is the discontinuity of being a student at a seminary versus a member of a local church?

To be clear, I am not speaking about this from a seminary-professor standpoint but from a seminary-student standpoint. With that said, similarities can be found that both seminary and church have a covenant, confessional statement, worship services, and community. So what's the difference between the seminary and the local church?

Feel free to discuss this in the comments section below.

- posted by Timmy Brister, April 12, 2007

True Church Conference and the Miracle of Conversion

In less than a month, I will have the privilege of live-blogging a great conference in my own neck of the woods. The conference is called "True Church Conference" and is taking place May 3-6, 2007 at First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The theme of the conference is "The Miracle of Conversion." I have included in this post the conference distinctives, bio sketches of the speakers, and the schedule (you will see that Dr. Moore is kicking off the conference Thursday night). If you are interested in registering or in need of directions, I have included the links to those as well at the bottom. You can download this information by going to their online brochure (click here).

:: Conference Distinctives ::

Doctrine Aflame

We desire to focus on the passionate preaching of the great doctrines of Scripture that are being neglected in today's church. I'm convinced no doctrine is more neglected or misunderstood than the doctrine of conversion. Easy believism, decisionism, and manipulative altar calls have replaced the sound preaching of the Gospel calling sinners to repentance and faith. The result is an unregenerate church membership and bloated membership rolls. As Dr. Al Mohler writes, "We are reaping the harvest of doctrinal neglect. The urgency of this task cannot be ignored. Baptists will either recover our denominational heritage and rebuild our doctrinal foundations, or in the next generation there will be no authentic Baptist witness."

Theology and Methodology

The conference will give much attention to how sound doctrine must govern the life of the local church. Today's evangelical church is often driven by man-centered pragmatism, worldly marketing approaches, and entertainment. And all this with a veneer of Christianity! We need the passionate, expository preaching of the truth, accompanied by an unswerving commitment that ALL methodology in the church MUST flow out of sound theology.

Local Church Centered

The conference is being held at the First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The church is located in the northwest part of the state and has about 1,000 active members. Jeff Noblit has been on the pastoral staff for 26 years and has been the Senior Pastor for preaching for 18 years. For the last two decades God has been blessing First Baptist in reforming both its policies and procedures to become more biblically healthy.

Application Intensive

During the conference, time will be set aside to discuss the practical "working out" of sound doctrine in the life of the local church. Plus, materials on baptismal counseling, membership policies and procedures, church discipline, and other matters will be made available to conference participants. There will be a large bookstore featuring trustworthy books and commentaries by both past and contemporary writers.

Evangelism and Missions

Sound doctrine will always promote the preaching and sharing of the Gospel! If a passion to glorify God by winning lost souls is not present, then our doctrine is invalid. A strong emphasis on evangelism and world missions will permeate the conference. All conference attendees are invited on Saturday afternoon to accompany members of First Baptist Church in street preaching and door-to-door visitation. True doctrine never results in cold intellectualism.

Modeling and Mentoring

Our first goal is that God will use the conference to continue the maturation of First Baptist, Muscle Shoals, in the truth. We believe the church should be reformed and always reforming. We also have a strong desire to encourage and help mobilize sister churches who are on the same pilgrimage.

To help serve this goal, each participating church will be assigned a private area for discussion and seeking God concerning the application of sound doctrine into the life of their church. We believe the conference will be used of God to strengthen your church's pilgrimage to a more biblical and healthy church life.

:: Conference Speakers ::

Voddie Baucham is an author, Bible teacher, professor, and pastor. He currently serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas. He is also an adjunct professor at The College of Biblical Studies in Houston and Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. His own post-graduate study focused on Cultural Apologetics. Voddie is the author of The Ever-Loving Truth, a book which helps twenty-first century Christians apply God's Word to contemporary life.

David Miller has been preaching for 42 years. He pastored for five years before serving as Director of Missions for Little Red River Baptist Association (Arkansas), a position he held for 25 years. An itinerant preacher, David has been in full-time evangelism (Line Upon Line Ministries) since 1995. He served on the Board of Trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, for eight years. He currently prefers the title "Country Preacher-at-Large."

Russell Moore serves as Dean of the School of Theology, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration, and Associate Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective and co-editor of Why I Am a Baptist. He has written articles for various publications including Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and SBC Life.

Jeff Noblit is the Senior Pastor-Teacher of First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He has served on the pastoral staff for 26 years, the last 18 as senior pastor. Jeff is the founder of Anchored in Truth Ministries, an expository preaching ministry, and is the author of The Accountability Notebook and the witnessing booklet, The Great Answer to the Great Question. He has written articles for various magazines and journals.

Paul Washer ministered as a missionary to Peru for 10 years, during which time he founded the HeartCry Missionary Society to support Peruvian church planters. HeartCry's work now supports indigenous missionaries in Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. An itinerant preacher, Paul also teaches in the internship program at his home church, First Baptist Muscle Shoals. He is the author of The One True God: A Biblical Study of the Doctrine of God.

:: Conference Schedule ::

Thursday, May 3

1:00 p.m. Registration / Bookstore Open
6:30 p.m. Worship
7:00 p.m. Session 1: The Sovereignty of God & The Miracle of Conversion - Russell Moore
8:00 p.m. Session 2: The Sovereignty of God & The Miracle of Conversion - Russell Moore

Friday, May 4

8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast8:30 a.m. Worship
9:00 a.m. Session 3: The Power of the Holy Spirit & The Miracle of Conversion - Voddie Baucham
10:00 a.m. Session 4: The Power of the Holy Spirit & The Miracle of Conversion - Voddie Baucham
11:00 a.m. Individual Churches Prayer, Discussion, & Lunch
2:30 p.m. Session 5: The Preaching of the Gospel & The Miracle of Conversion- David Miller
3:30 p.m. Session 6: The Preaching of the Gospel & The Miracle of Conversion- David Miller
6:30 p.m. Worship
7:00 p.m. Session 7: Church History & The Miracle of Conversion - Jeff Noblit
8:30 p.m. Q & A
9:30 p.m. Individual Churches Prayer & Discussion

Saturday, May 5

8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast9:00 a.m. Worship
9:30 a.m. Session 8: Evidences of the Miracle of Conversion - Paul Washer
10:30 a.m. Session 9: Evidences of the Miracle of Conversion - Paul Washer
11:30 a.m. Individual Churches Prayer, Discussion, & Lunch
2:00-3:30 p.m. Street Preaching & Door-to-Door Visitation (optional)
4:00-6:30 p.m. Individual churches prayer, discussion, & dinner
7:00 p.m. Session 10: Believer's Baptism & the Miracle of Conversion - Jeff Noblit
8:00 p.m. Q & A

Sunday, May 6

Sunday morning worship at First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals
9:30 a.m. Session 11: Missions & the Miracle of Conversion - Paul Washer
10:30 a.m. Session 12: The Glory of God & the Miracle of Conversion -Jeff Noblit

>> To download or view their online brochure, click here.
>> To register, click here.
>> For directions, click here.

- Posted by Timmy Brister, April 11, 2007

Independent Hands of God and Men: Providence in Classic Arminianism by Dr. Bruce Ware

The outline for session two of the Spring Resurgence Conference entitled "Independent Hands of God and Men: Providence in Classic Arminianism" is now available. To download and listen to Dr. Ware's message, click here.

- posted by Timmy Brister, April 10, 2007