Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Used to be Thinkers

One of the things that continues to attract me to the Baptist fundamentals is the fact that our tradition is one of earnest contemplation. We are a people of the Book. We don't take anyone's word for it. We want to see it, read it, hear it & examine it for ourselves. Challenge us to think & we will. We are Bereans.

Or rather we were.

Thomas Helwys turned to the Scripture to thumb his nose at the king. As Fisher Humphries said:

Concerning these three issues–believer’s baptism, sectarianism, and religious freedom–the first Baptists were in conflict with groups outside themselves, so that we might say that their theology was apologetic in character, and much of their energy in the seventeenth century was devoted to defending these three ideas.

My fear is something has happened to us. We no longer search the Scripture to challenge our faith but we blindly accept a Catholic view whereby a few leaders tell us what to believe & what the Scripture says based on Tradition.

Have we examined what the leaders are saying? Have we at least compared their words to the totality of the text? Are we searching what they said 25 years ago to hold them to a consistent ethic? Are we letting our political views determine what the Bible says instead of the other way around? When these religious leaders all seem to be playing the same political game, don't we have an obligation to make sure we are not being played for their political purposes?

If it comes out of a Christian bookstore, it must be true.

So we buy their books. Write letters they tell us to write. Make the phone calls. Send them money to be used for the Vital Issue of the Week. And wear a Christian T-shirt while listening to a Christian music CD as we give our money to the Christian leader with our check that has a bold-lettered Bible verse.

Instead of accepting the challenge to see if what we are being told is true, we just follow along. It is easier, after all. No one questions since the leader takes the heat --- all challenges of Satan, mind you, because he is God's man just standing for the truth. Oh, really? How do we know? Have we bothered to verify it?

So the leader counts on us blindly following along. Never questioning. Never checking it out for ourselves. But ever sending the money, doing what we're told & delivering the voting bloc.

When God is on your side, it is easy to justify any action.

In the eyes of the leaders it is fine to manipulate. God is on their side. In order to win for Jesus, we have to play with the same rules the Secularists do; if we don't, we'll lose. God's Way is too important to let the Humanists win. At all costs God must win. Since He gave all for us, we are justified in doing it all for Him.

So they lie a bit, e.g., David Barton & his "Christian Nation" garbage. They fudge on Scripture somewhat, e.g., "the Bible teaches us to use our vote to bring about a Godly Nation." They twist the facts a great deal. e.g., "the public schools are out to steal the minds of your kids & make them secularists." They manipulate us at all times, e.g., "if you don't vote according to these 'values' you're not obeying God." Then they really turn on the guilt trip, e.g., "God is weeping over our nation turning its back on Him & only your action to get God back in the schools & evolution out will please Him."

All it takes is for someone to actually examine history to know David Barton is lying through his teeth. Sells a lot of books though. Get's him a lot of publicity. Still a lie.

Anyone can see the claims of people like Al Mohler & his call for all Christian parents to abandon public schools is based on a fabricated premise.

When Paul wrote his letters, it was in response to something. It was a challenge. It was instruction. What we need Christians now to do more than ever is to start thinking again. Look at the evidence.

You'll be surprised how much you're being played. Paul commended the Bereans for examining the evidence. Today, we're content to wallow in our ignorance.

3 comments:

foxofbama said...

Ryan:

Here is a thinker for you baptistlife.com; Jonathan with a reference to the Memphis Declaration.
I think I will link your blog of the 27th there.
I am trying to email you about Atlanta.
Sfox

The proper allegory for C.R.
by Jonathan on Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:42 am

is Charlie Wilson's war.

Read the book haven't finished the movie yet. But do you know that part toward the end where the CIA op is finally getting around to that parable of the Zen master, the little boy, and the horse? That's what is going on in my beloved SBC.

We all have blind spots and love the idea of a final victory but that's just the flesh seducing us to sleep while the war marches on. So we were able to elect conservative SBC presidents from 1979 on. Now what? We were able elect conservative trustees to every agency. Now what? We were able to bring all agencies into a single owner agreement with the Executive Committee. Now what? We were able to correct the loopholes in the BFM63. Now what? We were able to get that pesky 1% of IMB missionaries to sign the BFM2k or leave. Now what? Now that the seminaries are free of the corrupting influence of advocates of liberal theology, we have seminary students and pastors who have lived their entire lives in a conservative SBC. Like every generation, they ask questions. Since the left has moved on, the questions have concerned things like "what does this inerrant Scripture say about God's glory, God's sovereignty, women in areas of ministry other than the senior pastorate, elder rule, baptism, and so on?" When they fail to find support for some of the positions of their mentors groups like Memphis spring up but then groups like Joshua rise in response. Allegances go to biblical theology rather than to persons and some of the young cry "traitor!". And folks who are placed in positions of responsibility like Wade Burleson are told to sit down and shut up when they see doctrinal boundaries being imposed without the expressed direction of the messengers. No matter that their own theology (and the theology that they advocate) is within the bounds of the BFM2k.

I still love my SBC and am grateful to those who work and sacrificed to rescue it from the direction it was heading in the 60s and 70s. But there are higher authorities than earthly heroes.

Anonymous said...
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tsalagiman1 said...

There are a couple of things at work in our society today that have caused this lack of thinking things through and researching for oneself. First has been the lowering of public school standards over the past few decades. Curriculums are nowhere near as challenging as they once were and what was common knowledge is no longer, such as Alaska and Hawaii being part of the U.S. Yes, I have mentioned this in passing conversations with teens and believe it or not they did not know Alaska & Hawaii were states. There are many other things that are simply no longer taught. Many teens working cash registers can't count back change. Try paying with odd cents or even bills and a nickel to get even change back, and you'll see what I mean. If the machine doesn't tell them, many simply can't do it. These are young people getting ready to go out in the real world and can't do basic math. But there is one more important aspect besides just having basic skills. The main thing school used to teach was how to bring together a set of facts and deduce a logical conclusion. How many people under about age 30 can do this well? That's one problem, many do not have the ability to think things through to a conclusion when they have the facts in front of them. Prime candidates for being played, to borrow from you. The second thing is that we live in an "instant" society. People want things and they want it right now. No willingness to wait. No willingness to work towards something to achieve a goal. This even shows up in people's driving habits. Americans are no longer willing to have gratification delayed. They would rather be spoonfed information than to seek it themselves. Another chief ingredient to be led around by the nose. People will tend to believe what is handed to them on a silver platter by "names", the liberal news media, politicians, whatever. The Bible still says in II Timothy 2:15 to "study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Key words "study" and "workman". We need to know what the Word of God says and should never have our eyes on any person. No matter how good a person they are, sooner or later, being an imperfect human being, they will disappoint you. We need to keep our eyes on God, and don't just take people's word for things. Compare what ministers and Bible teachers with the Word. If there's a conflict, guess which is always right? Same principle applies to secular things. Never just take someone's word for something, study it out for yourself. No matter how sincere or well-intentioned, Christian or not, being human, they can be wrong.

By the way, I love the "Pedestrian Walking" sign!!

Dirk
http://journals.aol.com/tsalagiman1/the-first-amendment-not-politi/