Steve Gaines Comments on ERLC/Moore Unity Statement

On Monday the Executive Committee of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and its President Russell Moore released a statement entitled “Seeking Unity in the Southern Baptist Convention.”  Brent Hobbs wrote a post here at SBC Voices extracting some of the most notable quotes from the statement.

Baptist Press has now released an article with quotes from SBC President Steve Gaines in response to the ERLC statement.  I was encouraged by his comments, and wanted to pass them along here.

Quotes from Steve Gaines (emphasis mine):

“I am grateful for the statement from Dr. Russell Moore and the ERLC executive committee. They have been assigned with a very difficult task. Indeed it is impossible to please everyone regarding issues of conviction and conscience. I know Dr. Moore to be a very godly servant of Jesus Christ. He has preached at Bellevue Baptist Church and he did a wonderful job.”

“Regarding his work at the ERLC, I have agreed with most of his statements, especially those regarding the sanctity of human life, the sacredness of heterosexual, monogamous marriage and religious liberty. However, I have disagreed with some of the statements he made during the election and I especially disagreed with the tone with which he made some of those statements. I have discussed all of this privately with him. He has genuinely apologized for his mistakes and that is good enough for me.

“I believe all of us who are recipients of grace and forgiveness should grant him the same forgiveness that we desire from the Lord. It is high time that we put all of this behind us. None of these matters will prevent Bellevue Baptist Church from continuing our support of the Cooperative Program, the ERLC and Dr. Moore. It is time to move ahead and work together to double our efforts to take the Gospel to our nation and the nations.

I particularly appreciate Dr. Gaines’ call for us to put all of this behind us and move forward as we seek to take the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to our nation and the nations.  May we all take up this same position.

SBC PC: Brent Hobbs Answers Some Questions about Jose Abella

Editor’s Note: Each of the speakers for this year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference in Phoenix, AZ was nominated by someone.  I have asked each speaker’s nominator to answer a few questions about the person they nominated.  Jose Abella of Providence Road Church in Miami, FL was nominated by Brent Hobbs.  Below are Brent’s responses to the questions I sent him.

How did you know José and why did you nominate him?

I had never met José Abella before the Pastors’ Conference nomination process. Someone about a year or two ago had mentioned José’s name to me — that he was a pastor in Miami doing a fantastic job down there. But I never met him nor had I listened to him preach. When Dave won the election for this year’s Pastors’ Conference, I thought of José and did a little online research to find out more about him and a few other guys I thought might be good additions to this year’s PC lineup.

The first thing that struck me about José was the preaching page on his church website. He was preaching an expository series through the book of Mark, but the series seemed abnormally long at first glance. When I looked a little closer I noticed there was a reason: there were actually two messages on each passage—one in English and the other in Spanish. So that got my attention in the first place – not only is this guys doing expository preaching like we’re looking for… he’s doing it in two languages every week! I thought about the amount of time it takes me to craft an outline and details of a message in English—and then to think about translating and reworking the message so it works well in a second language. So that had my attention.

One day soon after that I had a drive up to Richmond, about 2 hours away, so I downloaded a few messages to listen to for our PC evaluation and selection process. I had several messages including two of José’s. At that point I had listened to a good number of sermons already for the selection process and (as I’ve said before) had been really impressed with the quality of messages the nominees were preaching. Very few fell anywhere below “above average” in my estimation and there were many who were excellent. When I listened to José preach the messages were engaging and text-centered with insightful, penetrating application. I thought he had an excellent chance of being one of our speakers for the conference.

So next I had to meet him. I send a friend request on Facebook, then messaged him basically saying, “I know you don’t know me but I want to nominate you to preach at the SBC Pastors’ Conference”, sent him a link to the nominations page so he could see I wasn’t making this up and he agreed, graciously and thankfully, to be nominated. I was thrilled to see when the other evaluators listened to José’s messages they seemed to like his preaching just as much as I had. After Dave met with Adam and the other guys in St. Louis to choose the 12 speakers, I was excited to see José’s name on the list.

Why will he serve us well in Phoenix?

High-quality expository preaching first and foremost. I’ve talked to José several times now and met in person during the Preaching Colloquium we did at Southwestern Seminary. He’s proven himself to be gracious and humble throughout this process — honestly surprised he’d been chosen but honored by the selection and determined to do a great job bringing God’s Word to SBC pastors this summer. Our group of preachers is an impressive group — in preaching ability but also with humble hearts to serve the church through this opportunity. This years’ Pastors’ Conference is going to be an amazing event.

Last Week in SBC Tweets

I am testing a new thing here at SBC Voices.  At the beginning of each week, we will publish a post containing some interesting or notable tweets from the previous week.  I tried to find tweets from each of our entities with a few extras added in.  What kind of tweets would you like to see in this space?  Edifying?  Informative?  Other?

What are some of your favorite SBC related tweets from last week?  Are there Twitter accounts that I should be sure to look at each week for this feature?

SBC PC: A Video Interview with John Onwuchekwa

This year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference is June 11-12 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The conference will feature 12 preachers who all come from average-size SBC churches.  They will be preaching through the book of Philippians over the course of the two day conference.

As you know, the speakers for the conference met at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a colloquium back in February.  The speakers gathered to get to know one another and study Philippians with Dr. David Allen and other preaching faculty members from SWBTS and NOBTS.

I had the privilege of attending the colloquium, and one of the things I did while there was interview the speakers for the Pastor’s Conference.

John Onwuchekwa is the Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, GA.  Cornerstone Church is a new church on the southwest side of Downtown Atlanta.  John is an excellent preacher, and we will be blessed to hear from him in June.

Watch this video interview and pray for John as he prepares to proclaim God’s Word to us in June.

John Onwuchekwa PC Interview from SBCPC on Vimeo.

Keep checking SBC Voices over the next several months as we will be posting more content related to the conference.