Unexpected, but Welcome Support for Ascol

Things are beginning to look up for Pastor Tom Ascol, his Founders Ministeries in general, and, more particularly, his resolution on integrity in church membership, which is actually a resolution in support of biblical church discipline. Support is beginning to show up in unexpected places. First, there’s this from Danny Akin. It appears that Dr. Danny Akin, president of SEBTS sees things in a similar light. Thanks to Micah Fries for posting this address from Dr. Akin in its entirety. Here is just an excerpt:

I was delighted we approved a resolution on integrity in ministry but
disappointed we [didn’t] do the same for one on regenerate church
membership. Some feared the latter was telling the local church what to
do, but a resolution can never do that. Some may think there was some
political agenda in the works. However, this is a clear biblical and
theological issue all Baptist should be able to affirm. Perhaps the
resolution presented needs to be reworded or adjusted, but an emphasis
on regenerate church membership needs to be recaptured by our churches.
I have personally been saying this for several years now. I will
continue to speak to this in the days ahead.

Here’s a man to have on your team. This past spring semester I began to listen to the chapel podcast from Southeastern, and Dr. Akin was the speaker of a good number of those messages. He is a theologically sound man, a fine preacher, very articulate; I would say about 95-percent Calvinist, although he probably wouldn’t care to be labeled that way. Come to think of it, I’m not that crazy about the moniker, though I believe firmly in the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sorry, Dr. Akin. Back to the point, I believe Dr. Akin is one of the underrated leaders in the SBC. I think he is showing true leadeship by speaking candidly, though probably not popularly among some, on this and other subjects relevant to current SBC life.

And now this from an unexpected corner of Christian blogdom. Michael Spencer has been quite a controversial figure among the more buttoned-down Christian community. I first only heard of this wild, unorthodox iMonk figure, several years back, as I was then mostly reading the more generic Christian blogs. Discussion about him was so scary that I didn’t even dare go and check him out. After all, the blog title Boar’s Head Tavern would evoke all kinds of unsavory images in my head. It was only a few months ago that curiosity pushed me over the edge, and I began listening to his Internet Monk Radio podcast. Although he gives me a couple of areas of concern, I believe he is a sound brother in Christ, in whom I find much common ground, especially in his journey from and back to the SBC. Well, enough of that. Here’s a couple of excerpted paragraphs of what the iMonk had to say about the Founders movement:

The Founders movement in the SBC has emerged as a major player in denominational reformation and rethinking. Despite attempts to blame reformed minded Southern Baptists for problems in evangelism (and that will get worse in the future), the Founders movement has remained pro-SBC, pro-denomination, pro-Cooperative program and pro-missions and evangelism. Good for them and their wise leaders.

The Founders movement has the audacity to suggest that the way forward for the SBC entails a serious look backward at the Baptist past: confessionalism, church discipline, theologically driven preaching, pastoral theologians and Biblical wisdom over pragmatism. As a post-evangelical, I too believe that any evangelical pointing forward in the direction of the megachurches and generic evangelicalism is pointing us over a cliff.

There are good reasons to pray for this old ship. Though I am not a Calvinist and will never be in an innovative church, I can support, encourage and pray for the Founders, the younger leaders, the missionals and those seeking for the SBC to become a movement for the Kingdom. Count on these pages to reflect that positive and hopeful prayer for my denominational home.

A fitting end. There are many good reasons to pray for this old ship called the SBC. Let us just be careful we are not guilty of worshiping the creature “Southern Baptist” rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, amen. The Founders’ calm, steady, Christ-exhalting position has, and will continue to win over serious and dedicated Christians within the SBC. Slow and steady, slow and steady.

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