Tomorrow, my wife and I head south on I-65 for a nice week of vacation at the beach.  I will not have my laptop with me and will not be checking my email.  I just thought I’d give you all a heads up on that, just in case you think I might be rude in not responding to you.  When I return, I will have only a couple of days before I head West where I will be live-blogging the Founders National Conference in Owasso, Oklahoma.  If you have plans on attending the Founders Conference, let me know!   

There are a couple of things I want to try to accomplish in this post: one, to briefly mention the highlights and lowlights of recent weeks in the SBC, and two, to share some things I am hoping to do in the future with my blog.  Before I begin, let me encourage you to check out Tom Ascol’s reflections on San Antonio, especially what he had to say about the rejection of his resolution. 

Looking Back – Highlights:

Drs. David S. Dockery and Timothy George’s booklet Building Bridges being given to all messengers at San Antonio: The transcripts of their messages at the Baptist ID Conference are something every Southern Baptist needs to read.  If we don’t start building bridges, the SBC’s future looks grim.

Lottie Moon Record Giving: This is huge, and I am excited to see how our missionaries will be able to reach those who have never heard of Jesus!

Voddie Baucham’s message at Founder’s Breakfast: Voddie’s passionate heart and precision in thinking is just great.

President Frank Page’s Convention Address: I thought his call for confession and repentance was apropos and needed.  Though I disagree with Dr. Page on soteriology, I share his passion to have a Christ-like disposition and posture of humility and grace.

Ed Stetzer’s Convention Challenge: While I have heard most of what Stetzer said, it was great to see Stetzer get such a platform to share the important of communicating the gospel through our churches to our world through a missional lifestyle.

Criswell Debates on Calvinism and Tongues: I thought these debates were handled well and provided great theological discussion.  We need to find creative ways to show Southern Baptists that theology matters.

Dr. Danny Akin’s Report: Focusing on SEBTS, Dr. Akin gave a great seminary report, and answered the questions with courage and clarity.  My respect and appreciation for Dr. Akin is growing every day.

The Announcement of the Upcoming Conference, “Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Calvinism” which will be co-sponsored by SEBTS and Founders Ministries: With all the policing of Calvinists the SBC leaders have done in recent years, it’s refreshing to see a focus on building bridges and having conversations on how we can work together for the gospel while strengthening the local church.

Looking Back – The Lowlights:

The “Integrity in Church Membership” being rejected: This is THE biggest issue confronting SBC churches, and we aren’t willing to face it.  This reveals how serious and grave the situation we are in.  If we don’t recover regenerate church membership, there’s no hope for SBC churches in the future.

James Merritt Advocating Pastoral Plagiarism: I think this was the most shocking sixty seconds of San Antonio.  I just couldn’t believe what my ears were hearing.

Patterson/Mohler Seminary Reports: The time allotted to report on the seminaries should be devoted to talking about seminaries.  I was really disappointed to see how this time was handled and what it was attempting to accomplish.

Richard Land’s Criticism of Dockery/George and Their Booklet: Did I mention somewhere that not everyone was about building bridges in the SBC? Correction: Go here for more info.  Thanks Nathan.

Patterson’s Call to Kick out the “Liberals”: I have no idea who he is actually referring to.  Perhaps the “conservative ecumenicists” who are floating downstream with everyone else who is not exclusively Southern Baptist.

A Divided SBC: From the top down, the SBC conservatives have split, and about all things, the Baptist Faith and Message.  Chapman vs. Mohler.  Patterson/Yarnell vs. Dockery/George.  And I am being told that the Conservative Resurgence has not gone far enough.

Moving Forward:

My last and perhaps most important article related to the SBC is next, and after that, I am happily looking forward to blogging on several different series during the remainder of the summer.  I thought I’d share with you some of the projects and research I am personally wading through. 

On P&P, here are some stuff that I am trying to develop and write about in the future:

I am hoping to share more of my research on Carl F.H. Henry and plan on discussing more about evangelical social responsibility.  I also plan to include various evangelical statements addressing this, beginning with the Berlin Statement of 1966 and ending with the Gospel Coalition Statement of 2007.  Look for that series to be kicked off with a post entitled, “The Forgotten Henry.” 

Also, I have a series entitled “To Be a Pillar of Truth” where I hope to share some practical ways church leaders and lay people can incorporate theological education in the local church.  About a month ago, I wrote about the relationship and differences of seminary and the local church which spawned the idea and goal to see theological education move from the academic to ecclesiological context (where it should be).  Right now, I have about 30-35 short posts planned to offer simple, yet I hope practical ways to embrace your church as “a pillar and buttress of truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). 

I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but I have been looking at the three gospel-centered confessions in recent years, namely “The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration” (1999), the “Together for the Gospel Statement” (2006), and the “Gospel Coalition Confession” (2007).  I hope to juxtapose these three statements and examine their doctrinal strengths and weaknesses, discussing how we can use them both individually and corporately in the local church. 

Another series I am working on is an interaction with some of the Emergent leaders, especially in the recent compilation An Emergent Manifesto of Hope.  I have in particular about 5-7 chapters in mind that I have read and analyzed that I think would be good discussion. 

Furthermore, I am continuing my studies on matters pertaining to religious pluralism and have scheduled some posts on first-order issues such as: John Stackhouse’s inclusivism, Spencer Burke’s universalism, and Hitchen’s atheism.  Included in this section I think I am going to post on explicit saving faith in the gospel of John as well as in Acts, along with a rather technical argument for a trinitarian foundation for explicit saving faith from my exegetical work in John 10. 

With the upcoming Andrew Fuller Conference in August being held here at Southern, I have planed to share some excerpts from Fuller’s writing, including stuff like principles of dissent, necessity of seeking things of first importance, the perfections of God, and of course the gospel worthy of all acceptation. 

Those of you who have been reading P&P for a while know that I often do “book alerts” where I highlight an upcoming release which I think would interest my readers.  Having discussed this with Tim Challies, I have agreed to convert these alerts into “book previews” and will be posting them on the new Discerning Reader.  So expect to see more of those in the future.  Another new item I am planning is a “journal alerts” where I hope to spotlight current journal articles in scholarly publications that I find worth calling your attention to.  Given that there are a considerable number of you who have access or are interested in current theological discussion, these journal alerts might assist you in your reading of current scholarship.

Finally, I plan to share just some thoughts on the gospel from my personal studies.  One of the things occupying my thoughts in recent months is what I call “iconic discipleship” and hope to share some of that with you.  Included in this section would also be some experiences and things God has been teaching me regarding my pursuit to live a gospel-centered life.

On Said at Southern, there are two main series I hope to write.  The first is a series entitled “Sins of a Seminarian” where I hope to focus on the pursuit of holiness in the seminary context, addressing issues like spiritual pride, envy and jealousy, marital neglect (when applicable), and other issues for the goal of encouraging myself and others to live biblical and balanced lives.  The second series I hope will be a joint effort of other SBTS bloggers to blog through the Abstract of Principles, our school’s confession of faith.  I think this would be a great exercise as well as relevant, since Baptist confessionalism has become such a hot topic with this years motion of the Baptist Faith & Message. 

I know that sounds a lot, and to accomplish all these projects may require a year or more, not counting any interruptions or changes along the way.  However, I thought it would be worthwhile to share with you some of the writing projects I have for blog purposes, that maybe you would like to join me in studying these issues as well.  Whatever comes of future blogging here at P&P, I certainly hope that you find it worth your time and encouraging you to love God with all your mind (provocations) and all your heart (pantings).  Thank you for reading, may we all live coram deo. 

SDG