Nov 11, 2008

Interesting Thoughts in the Reformed Theology Debate

Excuse the little theological aside for a moment. I have often wondered how much of my blog to devote to my personal ramblings on Red Sox baseball, MSU football (or lack thereof), and my family events; and how much to devote to my thoughts on theology, leadership, and church life. I read an interesting post today from Justin Taylor on his blog "Between Two Worlds". The blog dealt with a his reactions to some statements made at the John 3:16 Conference recently held and put on by Jerry Vines Ministries. Justin's blog are particularly directed at some statements made by Dr. Steve Lemke who is the Provost at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Justin's post can be read here.

While I have spent a lot of time talking and observing friends and colleagues from both sides of the aisle on this debate, this is of particular interest to me. First, I have long admired both Jerry Vines, long-time pastor at FBC Jacksonville, Johnny Hunt, pastor of FBC Woodstock and current president of my beloved Southern Baptist Convention, and Charles Stanley, long-time pastor at FBC Atlanta. All of these men are great expositors of the word and soul-winners. They have done much over the last few years to bring many into the kingdom of God. They deserve and have my utmost affection and respect. They are also representative of a generation of pastors who have helped shaped the SBC for many years. They have always been, first and foremost, men with the heart of pastors and soul-winners and their theology reflects that.

Secondly, Dr. Lemke is one of my professors at NOBTS and one that I have grown to respect, despite some of our theological differences. He is an extremely intelligent man. My first doctoral seminar was "Theological Issues for Ministry in the 21st Century" in which we covered the doctrine of God's providence and it's role in prayer. It was a challenging time. I spent hours in reflection for my paper and Dr. Lemke was very fair in grading my paper even though he disagreed with my conclusions.

Third, I have a huge amount of respect for pastors and leaders on the reformed side of the aisle such as Mark Dever, Al Mohler, John Piper, and C.J. Mahaney. These men have inspired me and given me much to think about regarding this topic. In addition, they have helped me to look deeper to God's Word for my answers and not just to the traditional upbringings of my church life or convention.

I have long said that one day I will post a blog entitled "Why My Calvinists Friends think I am Arminian and Why My Arminian Friends Think I am a Calvinist." That is for another day. I do think you should read Justin's blog and his reaction to Dr. Lemke. (This is mostly for my friends Dave, Jason, Michael, and you other Calvinist homers) Much to think about and much to debate - as long as we keep it civil and within the confines of in-house debates over coffee. One thing we can agree on is that there is a lost world that needs desperately to hear the message of Christ and we musn't get sidetracked from that mission.


Ignite Student Ministry said...

i see your crotch is still firmly planted on the fence.

reformer87 said...

Matt, I will be glad to discuss this just so long as it does not turn out like a certain campout from years ago. Your statement from years ago was something like, "It doesn't matter"... do you still feel that way?

Matt Haines said...

Absolutely I feel that way. That's why I think it's a good debate for camp-outs and coffee houses. I just think it's interesting reading, but I also think that we should carefully delineate between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Debates are helpful but shouldn't turn hostile and show the world a church without unity.

Helms Family said...

Good stuff bro!

Daddy Roach said...

Great link and great post. Been stalking your blog. Thought I'd fess up by posting a comment. I agree that these discussions are healthy amongst believers. I would even go as far as to say they play an important role in the continued growth of a Christian. Thanks for the post.