Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the official "said at southern" logo

a truer truth has never been drawn!!!

[said at southern is a website that
"...helps...connect with other theologically minded Christians. We track over 150 blogs from students, faculty and alumni of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary."
feel free to chek them out at ]

(this plank in my eye itches!!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

an open letter to my fellow seminary students...

as i sat down to read today in the small commons area on campus, i struggled to find a place to sit my coffee and newspaper on the table in front of me.
because the person across from me had his feet propped up on the table meant to be shared by the four chairs surrounding it.
another person joined the two of us with arms full of books, laptop, etc., and after several seconds of awkwardly waiting for the 1st person to move his feet, sat down bewildered. he eventually left still looking bewildered..

unfortunately, this is not uncommon behavior at a school that "equips pastors" and other ministers. i have been in seminary for four years, and these are a few of what i thought were "common sense" courtesy issues that are embarrassingly ignored on a regular basis.

  • men, anytime you are going through a doorway, always look behind you to see if their is a lady or older person that you may hold the door for.
  • anyone, if someone holds the door for you, "thank you" is the appropriate response.
  • if you are strolling down the hallway or sidewalk with friends, it is impolite to not give way to someone walking the opposite direction and force them into the wall or mud because of your "offensive line" (see what i did there??)
  • in the hallways and at the top and bottom of stairwells, particularly between classes, recognize that with so many students and so little space, that you may need to move your conversation from standing in the middle of the hallway to against the wall or somewhere else out of the way of the hundreds of people trying to get around you.
  • in the classroom, once the professor steps up to the lectern, please stop talking.
  • during the lecture... stop talking at a normal volume to your neighbor when you agree/disagree/have another thought about the topic. students are paying a lot of money and spending a lot of time expecting to be able to hear a professor without being distracted or unable to hear the lecture.
  • before you ask a question in class, ask yourself "am i wanting to ask this question so everyone will see how much i know. or because i truly need clarification?"
  • along those same lines, if you do have a legitimate question, but it is beginning to take up a large amount of classroom time, be considerate of the professor who has a syllabus to get through and the students who are paying to learn the information prepared for them by the professor and ask if the conversation can be continued after class sometime.
    (obviously, class discussion is part of the learning experience and the professor can discern if it is beneficial to continue the discussion during class or not)
  • propping your feet up on the chair in front of you or on the partition is disrespectful to the professor/lecturer and to the custodial staff who has to clean up after you.
  • guys, it is in the campus handbook... no hats in the classroom. if you didn't know that, now you do. if you did know that and you still do it, then you are not saying much for your integrity.
  • ladies - take a look at this link and give your wardrobe a run down. i have seen many ladies on campus whose dress is a model of dignity and class. but unfortunately i have seen many who, intentionally or not, seem oblivious to the fact that their low cut and/or tight fitting tops and their tight and/or low cut pants/skirts that show or outline their undergarments are at best distasteful and at worse a stumbling block.
i started seminary in january of 2004. i am a lot different now than i was when i got here.
needless to say, we all go through changes. we mature. time moves on and for the most part... so do we. one thing anyone learns from living in an environment that includes so many different people from so many different backgrounds and cultures is that people are different. and different is not always bad! people are raised with different values and norms. i am not saying that we lose our personality and give up our freedoms to a bunch of "rules" or even preferences.

but if we are in seminary to be trained as ministers and servants, we might as well practice some door holding and ettiquitte while we are here. who knows... we may just have to use some of that in ministry.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"be open minded so i can keep mine closed"

in another display of the double standard that perfectly illustrates our cultures incessant misuse of the concept of "tolerance" i refer you to this story....

When a same-sex couple asked Christian photographer
Elaine Huguenin to photograph their commitment ceremony,
Huguenin declined, citing conflicts with her personal beliefs.
The couple took action, however, filing a
complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Division.
Now Huguenin’s studio Elane Photography is being tried
under state anti-discrimination laws for sexual orientation

to recap, a couple asked if a photographer would photograph their wedding.the photographer (who is not obligated to accept any offer from anyone) says no because the content of the photo shoot conflicted with her "personal beliefs".

so now the couple is filing an injunction that would prohibit this photographer from ever refusing her services to same sex couples.

so the personal beliefs of the photographer in how she runs her own business are less important than the couple's values who were never promised service in the first place?

lets look at what has happened in finer detail.

a same sex couple were denied services of a photographer, because the photographer disagrees with their lifestyle. the photographer did not try to keep them from their having their 'commitment ceremony'. she simply turned down their offer to pay her money to photograph this event.

notice this... the event will take place anyway. the couple did not lose the ability to have their ceremony photographed. they were not forced to not have their ceremony because the photographer did not agree with their lifestyle. they can simply move on and ask someone else to take pictures. their "right to have pictures taken" at their same sex ceremony was not taken away.

but what about the photographer. if the plantiffs have their way, she will be forced to act against her conscience. her right to disagree with and not contribute to same sex unions would be overruled. she faces loss of income, fines, or worse if she refuses to live in a way that she believes is contrary to her value system.

this goes beyond issues of homosexuality. change the "social situation" to whatever you want.
if a muslim photographer were asked to photograph a christian baptism, he would be well within his rights to refuse his services. can you imagine the outcry if he was forced by law to photograph this ceremony that was contrary to his faith?

it is becoming more and more acceptable in the court of public opinion for one party's belief system to be violated so that another's can have their ***wants***.

it seems everyone's "rights" to not have their "rights" to be denied applies to everyone except those who disagree with you!

as john mellencamp put it"...this is ouuuuur country!!"

Friday, February 08, 2008

foundations of sbc churches..

following my last post on the "baptist" (by name) meetings held in atlanta recently, i have read and had some discussions on what it is that southern baptists believe.

over 150 years have passed since the SBC formed, but we can take a look at what the churches who started the convention believed.

church historian timothy george writes:

By the nineteenth century, Baptists had produced
many [confessions such as]... the Philadelphia Confession
of Faith, a document printed for the Philadelphia Baptist
Association by Benjamin Franklin in 1742.
By the 1830s it exerted a magisterial influence
among Baptists North and South. At the founding meeting
of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845, each of the 293
"delegates," as they were then called, who gathered in Augusta,
Georgia, belonged to churches that embraced this confessional standard.

[full article in its entireity is found here]
-Copyright (c) 1999 First Things 93 (May 1999): 17-24.

to read the confession of faith that represented the churches who formed the southern baptist convention, click here:

ht: tom ascol

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

baptist by name; relativist by belief

in my "history of the baptists" class today, my professor, dr. tom nettles shared excerpts from this news story concerning the new covenant baptist celebration assembly of baptists in atlanta last week led by former president jimmy carter.

here are some excerpts:

Baptists must stop trying to convert everyone to faith in Jesus Christ
and realize that there are multiple "good" interpretations of Bible
passages that appear to exalt Jesus as the only way of salvation,
panelists said Jan. 31 at a session called "Can We All Get Along?
Finding Common Ground with Other Faiths."

In dialogue with people of other faiths, Christians must appreciate
diversity and recognize that trying to bring all people to faith in
Jesus ruins what Gerald Durley, pastor of Providence Missionary
Baptist Church in Atlanta, described as the beautiful mixture of
religions in the world. He compared the religions of the world
to a vegetable soup in which diversity enhances the flavor.

while we should not persecute or hate anyone because of their religious beliefs, it is outrageous that a self-professed christian would say that religions of false gods whose practioners are headed for an eternal torment are "flavor enhancing.

i am dumbfounded when, at a baptist gathering, the idea that there are other valid interpretations of the scriptures that "appear" to claim jesus is the only way of salvation is uttered as an acceptable way of thinking.

All Christian witnessing must be based on personal experience
rather than dogmatic appeal to absolute truths, [david]Currie said.

"It is never appropriate to be dogmatic in one's convictions," he said.
"God is truth. I don't know all truth. So what I bear witness to is what
I have experienced in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and
that's as far as I can take it."

my question to mr. currie would be:
"if christian witnessing should be based on personal experience rather than a 'dogmatic appeal" to absolute truth', how can you be certain that your personal experience is valid? what if someone else claims to have salvation based off of their faith in islam? how can you know that your assurance that you are saved is worth anything? how do you know that your "experience" was valid? what is your personal relationship with jesus based on? how do you know what is pleasing to jesus? how do you know what disobedience is?"

When audience members asked about evangelism, Currie said Jesus
did not tell people what to do with their lives until they asked. He said
the most effective evangelistic technique is to remain silent until an
unbeliever specifically asks about the Gospel.

"For the most part ... the most effective evangelism slogan I know is
'love people and shut up.' That is good evangelism. And when you love
them, ultimately they'll ask you why and then you can tell them.
But if you start telling them before they ask, they're not going to
hear you."

ummm... "jesus did not tell people what to do with their lives until they asked"?
have you *read* the new testament?
sure there are instances where non-believers are searching and when they know they are around a believer they may ask some questions- but what we see in the new testament is the believing community being intentional about sharing the gospel, not waiting for someone to ask.
yes we should love people unconditionally, but part of loving them is being concerned for their soul. i have loved and cared for many people who were lost who never asked about the gospel except to tell me they dont want to hear it.

i wasn't sure what to expect from this gathering. i had my guesses, but i certainly had no idea that this type of post-modern, relativistic conversation would take place. not only is this kind of talk not baptist, it isn't even christian.

people do not have to be southern baptist to be christian. but they must at least affirm the exclusivity of the gospel.

for more on this meeting go here:

Monday, February 04, 2008

the "hard" questions -rape and abortion...

one of the more common objections to a pro-life stance is

"what about cases such as rape, incest, etc.?"

these are questions that do not have easy answers, but they have answers none the less.
rape and incest are horrible tragedies and ones we should never take lightly. for a woman to be violated in any way is a horrible and terrible thing. so we should never respond to these questions coldly or callously, as if the integrity and person hood of a woman who was raped is less important than an unborn child.

one response ,among others, is that rape and incest are horrible evils, but the answer is not to commit a second evil by killing a human life.

along these lines, there is more helpful information found here. i hope this article and its parent site can prove helpful to you as you engage in this delicate and often passionate discussion. is critical to remember that the vast majority of abortions
do not happen as a result of any of these [rape, incest, fetal
In fact, according to a study in Family Planning
Perspectives (published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute,
which is the research arm of Planned Parenthood), less
than 6% of all abortions done in the United States are done for
all of these reasons combined.

If the woman does become pregnant, a rare but possible occurrence,
she may be made to feel twice as tainted when society is not prepared
to cope with the circumstances of this child's conception. Counselors
and abortion providers encourage abortion as the perfect "solution."
Irrationally, society expects her to kill her unborn child, not for
something the child has done, but for the crime of his/her father.
Once again the mother is pitted against her child.

Subjecting her to an abortion only compounds the initial violence
of the rape. Only in this second tragedy, the woman becomes the
aggressor against her own child.

Although research in this area is limited, at least two studies done
with women who've become pregnant following a rape have clearly
shown that women who aborted their children feel twice victimized
and angry about the abortion (Mahkom, "Pregnancy and Sexual
Assault," Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University Publishers
of America [1979], pp. 53-72

Women in one study who carried their babies to term,
although frightened at first, felt they had done the more
positive thing by giving their children life; they felt they
had turned something awful into something good
(Mahkom and Dolan, "Sexual Assault and Pregnancy,
" New Perspectives on Human Abortion, University
Publishers of America [1981], pp. 182-199