Upon thinking about today’s post, I thought I would provide some recent examples of first, second, and third level issues across the blogosphere in recent weeks.

First-level Issue: Tony Campolo on Katrina

Tony Campolo, well-known author and public speaker, has written an article called “Katrina: Not God’s Wrath–or His Will.” In it, Campolo denies some of the essential qualities (attributes of God), chiefly God’s omnipotence (all-powerful). As has been commented by other bloggers, Campolo’s comments are the practical outworking of a theological framework called Open Theism in which all the essential attributes (non-communicable) are reformulated or removed while only God’s love remains. Reinventing God is not petty matter, and the Christian community should rise up to denounce this article and call Campolo what he is – a heretic. In this day and age, it is important that we call a spade a spade and quit the “perhaps” and “maybe” jargon. Some have done that already. Here are a few:

Tim Ellsworth
Tim Challies (notice I had the Tim’s first)
A.B. Caneday
Matthew Hall
Eric Schumacher
Brett (Semper Reformanda)
Tony (For His Glory)
Jason Robertson

Second-level Issue: BBC Elders Proposal on Baptism

As many of you know, the elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, MN) proposed a change in the church’s view of baptism and acceptance of church members. As mentioned earlier, the meaning and mode of baptism has divided authentic Christians (i.e. congregations, denominations, organizations, etc.) but nonetheless is fully orthodox in the grounds of fundamental Christianity. To download the 85 page paper presented by the BBC elders, click here. To read John Piper’s explanation, click here. And to read some other takes on this matter, check out the following:

Justin Taylor
Jolly Blogger
Alex Forrest
Shaper Iron
Tim Bayly
Mark Dever (audio address to SBTS 2002)
Phillip Ryken (@ Reformation 21)

Third-level Issue: SBTS and Stance on Alcohol

A couple of weeks ago here at Southern, Dr. Al Mohler and Dr. Russell Moore held a forum on alcohol which has produced some debate on the blogosphere. The issue of Christians and social drinking is probably one of the most talked about issues, and one which some Christians have made it a dividing line (both on first-level and second-level issues). To listen to the audio from the forum, click here (right click and “save as”). For a Baptist Press article, click here. To check up on the debate on the around the sphere, check out the following:

Steve McCoy
Michael Spencer
Joe Thorn
James Thompson
Ryan Debarr
Paradigms Lost
Sweet Tea & Theology

Alright. I think that’s enough research on these issues. But I did all this to make a point: there is a number of issues which receive considerable attention – some which are vitally important, others which simply are “hot-button” issues, albeit socially implied or culturally sensitive. Should we address all these issues? Absolutely! But given the brevity of life and urgency of the day, theological triage is a must if we are going to make headway in our world today. Much is at stake, and we should be Biblical, precise, clear, consistent, and comprehensive to the best of our ability in dealing with these issues. While we should not argue for the sake of arguing, but if we just throw in the towel and pretend that these don’t matter, I suggest that there will be a greater judgment for knowing what to do and not doing it.