The Future of the Southern Baptist Convention (Pt. 2)

Southern Baptists have a hopeful future if they continually make clear their commitment to the inerrant and infallible Word of God, affirming it’s sufficiency in all matters. (Matt 5:17-18; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

Southern Baptists won the “battle for the Bible” that began in 1979. Men of God like Jimmy Draper, Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler, Adrian Rogers, and Jerry Vines put it all on the line because they saw what the poison of liberalism was doing to our Convention and its institutions. These men are heroes of the faith and what they did must be honored and never forgotten. We must keep on reminding a new generation of what happened when they were small or not yet born. It is easy for young Southern Baptists “to forget Joseph,” to forget the sacrifices of their fathers.

However, the “war for the Bible” is not over and it will never end until Jesus returns. The war over the truthfulness of God’s word was launched in the Garden of Eden when Satan asked, “has God said?” The Word of God will continue to be under assault, and we must ever be on guard and ready to answer those who question its veracity and accuracy (1 Peter 3:15). A younger generation of Southern Baptists will face this challenge, and they must be warned not to squander away precious theological ground that is absolutely essential to a healthy and hopeful future for this convention of churches.

Dr. Russ Bush who is now with our Lord was absolutely correct. I heard him say in a seminary classroom in the early 1980’s, “the question of biblical inspiration is ultimately a question of Christological identity.” Why? Because Jesus believed the Holy Scriptures to be the completely true and trustworthy Word of God! Even Rudolf Bultmann said this about our Lord, he just believes Jesus got it wrong! To deny inerrancy is to say that Jesus was wrong or that He willfully deceived. That is both heresy and blasphemy. It is spiritually suicidal!

Do you doubt or deny the full truthfulness of the Bible? My counsel is go and join another denomination. We will love you and pray for you, but we do not want you infecting our people with a spiritual disease that is always fatal to the Church of the Lord Jesus. Inerrancy and the sufficiency of the Bible in all matters of faith and practice must never be up for debate in the Southern Baptist Convention.

On Disciplined Reading

Of making many books there is no end.” (Ecc 12:12)

There are three types of people in our country. There are, first of all, those who do not read. An AP-Ipsos poll recently revealed that 25% of Americans do not read books, while other polls have put the number higher, at around 50%. It is not that these Americans cannot read or that they do not accumulate knowledge. (No country’s citizens-and I mean none-bring more depth and import to subjects such as celebrity clothes, hair and makeup, and the intricacies of the Pitt-Jolie marriage than the citizens of the USA.) It is just that their knowledge is not gained from books. Second, there are those who read but do so aimlessly, choosing on a whim what to read and when to do so. Third, there are those who plan to read and who read with a plan.

This series of posts is meant to encourage college and seminary students to discover the joys and benefits of disciplined reading. Upon entering seminary fourteen years ago, I was a “serial reader” but not a particularly judicious or disciplined reader. By “serial reader,” I mean that I read lots of books. But I gave no serious thought to which books I ought to read, and I read plenty of books that were not worth the time spent. That first year of seminary, our president challenged us to acquire a 1,500 book library before having graduated from seminary. Uh huh. If my income had tripled during those two years I would not have been able to afford 1,500 books. But the challenge stuck with me. I wanted a 1,500 book library! Another professor, Dr. L. Russ Bush, challenged us to read the right books. If a book is deficient in content, analysis, and style, it just possibly is not worth the read, he argued.

Yet another professor pointed out the importance of words for the Christian faith. The Triune God is himself a model of accomplished communication. God created the universe through his Word (Heb 11:3). Jesus Christ is the living Word (Jn 1:1). The Spirit inspired the written Word and brings enlightens us as we read and meditate upon it. God has given us, his image-bearers, the unique ability to communicate through the written word, and has chosen to speak to us through it. To read is to image forth the Creator. In fact, as Danny Akin’s booklet, Building a Theological Library, points out, “as the apostle Paul faced his impending death, he still remained a student, requesting of Timothy that he bring the books when he came to visit him in prison (2 Tim 4:13).

In the following posts, I will seek to give brief answers to three questions: (1) What should I read? (2) How should I read? (3) What benefits are accrued from disciplined reading? Just for fun, I might include a few lists of “favorite books” in various categories.

Remembering Dr. Russ Bush: A Tribute to a Mentor, Friend and Man of God

Remembering Dr. Russ Bush: A Tribute to a Mentor, Friend and Man of God

By Daniel L. Akin

It was one year ago that my colleague and friend Russ Bush left this world and stepped into the presence of his Lord and King. The date was January 22. Though time has lessened the pain of his absence, he still is greatly missed by those who knew him, studied under him and worked beside him. Fortunately the “L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture” will perpetuate his memory and legacy. I consider myself to have been greatly blessed in that: 1) he was my teacher (1981), 2) my dean (1992-1996), and 3) my trusted fellow administrator (2004-2008). Let me take a moment and reflect on each of these areas where he impacted my life as I seek to pay tribute to a wonderful man of God.

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