Bruce Ashford series on the alt-right

Bruce Ashford has written an incredibly helpful 4-part series on the alt-right movement and how evangelicals should respond to it. Not only is this worth your time for reading and your own understanding, but many church members will likely have questions about Resolution 10 and what the SBC meant when it passed a resolution condemning the alt-right movement. This is don’t-miss material.

The Anti-Gospel of the Alt-Right

Overview: An Evangelical Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right
Part 1: An Introduction to Alt-Right Ideology
Part 2: A Profile of 5 Alt-Right Leaders
Part 3: A Response to FAQs about the Alt-Right
Part 4: An Evaluation of the Alt-Right

I mainly post this here to make you aware of this excellent resource. I plan on making it available to our church members when we give a #SBC17 overview to our church.

H. B. Charles Lays Out Vision for 2018 Pastors’ Conference

Last week the news broke that H. B. Charles would be nominated for President of the 2018 SBC Pastors’ Conference. It was big news and widely welcomed in news and social media. Brad Graves, who had previously been announced as a nominee withdrew his name from consideration in support of Charles’ nomination, which made a noteworthy announcement even more significant.

Today H. B. Charles posted at his blog an article titled “My Nomination for SBC Pastors’ Conference President” where he gives some personal reflections about his nomination. The post is well worth reading for several reasons – two of which I want to highlight here that I find hugely encouraging.

First is that Charles lays out his vision for what the 2018 Pastors’ Conference will look like. Here are his words:

If elected, I will give my best effort to plan a conference that will encourage pastors, model biblical preaching, and promote the Great Commission.

We know that H. B. Charles is highly regarded for his biblical preaching – and that’s exactly what we want to see at the 2018 Pastors’ Conference. You might remember the 2017 PC President got the ball rolling on his nomination by asking the question “Why Not Focus on Biblical Preaching at the Pastors Conference?” This is a theme that resonates deeply with me and with the team who has been involved with the 2017 PC. We would love to see it become an expectation that future SBC Pastors’ Conferences will feature expository, text-driven preaching as the norm.

Second, it is hugely encouraging to see Charles’ consideration of what Dave Miller has brought to the Pastors’ Conference. Again, his words:

As I contemplate this opportunity, I cast my eyes toward the work for this year’s conference. Before coming to Jacksonville eight years ago, it was my joy to serve a smaller congregation in Los Angeles for almost eighteen years. I pray this year’s conference will be uplifting for one and all. And I pray the Lord will grant me wisdom to consider the spirit of this year’s conference, as he leads me regarding next year’s theme, program, and speakers.

When Dave set out to implement his vision for 2017, we planned that it would be a one-time event. None of our group is interested in running or being as involved as we have been this year. It’s a lot of time and work. We’ve loved doing it, but at this point it feels like we’re nearing the end of a marathon – the finish line is ahead and it means what its title implies. We didn’t expect another conference to be exclusively preachers from average-sized churches. We didn’t expect that every PC in the future would preach through a book (though we hope this years’ will show the value and possibility and that we will see the approach again).

But we did hope that some of the themes that we’ve desired and promoted would be given heavy consideration in the future. Dave’s vision resonated with enough people in St. Louis to win that election, which surprised many at the time. But it showed there is a desire for a Pastors’ Conference that aims for biblical expository preaching and values SBC churches of all sizes. So it’s a joy for H. B. Charles to say he plans to “consider the spirit” of the 2017 PC as he plans for Dallas.

It’s not customary for the current Pastors’ Conference to comment on an upcoming nomination and probably isn’t appropriate for it  to do so. So I don’t speak for the Pastors’ Conference or leadership team in any official capacity. But personally, I’m glad to tell you I plan to enthusiastically support H. B. Charles for Pastors’ Conference President. I’d be glad for you to join me and many others who are already planning to do the same.

SBCPC Scholarship Recipients (Round 2)

We’re glad today to announce the second and final round of recipients for the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference Scholarship. Round two includes 30 pastors and church planters who will, along with 30 in the first round, receive $1,000 for travel and other expenses to attend all sessions of the SBC Pastors’ Conference and SBC Annual Meeting. As before, these recipients pastor average-sized SBC churches and wouldn’t be able to attend without these scholarship funds.  About 30% of our applicants are church planters. Close to half of this list are from outside traditional SBC states. We love having this opportunity to bless small church pastors.

We’re also glad to recognize the following scholarship sponsors who have come on board since the first round were announced:

Shades Mountain Church (Birmingham, AL), John & Myra Prince (via North Carolina Baptist Foundation), Idlewild Baptist Church (Lutz, FL)Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church (Haskell, TX), and The North Carolina Biblical Recorder (state Baptist newspaper).

Along with early donors we announced during the first round: Cross Church (Springdale, AR), Hickory Grove Baptist Church (Charlotte, NC), Johnson Ferry Baptist Church (Marietta, GA), Roger K. Simpson (individual donor, member of First Southern Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK, where SBCPC speaker Shane Hall pastors), First Baptist Church (Woodstock, GA), Liberty Baptist Church (Hampton, VA), Broadmoor Baptist Church (Madison, MS), Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church (Haskell, TX), and the SBC of Virginia (state convention).

If you would still like to contribute to the scholarship fund, please feel free to do so (instructions here). The Pastors’ Conference is funding all scholarships not covered by donors. We’ve received, at this point $17,000 from our donors to greatly increase the number of scholarships we have been able to offer. Thank you all for working together with us to make this vision a reality. Now, without further ado…

 

Scholarship Recipient List

Randy Alston
Redeemer Church
Fort Myers, FL

Gregory Scott Bittle
First Baptist Church
Zeigler, IL

James Briggs
First Baptist Church
Fayette, MO

Kevin Bruinsma
Narrow Path Church
Saint Clair Shores, MI

Bill Carter
Antioch Baptist Church
Royal, AR

Peter Choi
New Life New Vision Church
Tustin, CA

Cody Dean
Epiphany Baptist
Springfield, TN

James Dettman
Hills of Grace Fellowship
Rapid City, SD

Jimmie Evans
Pine Hill Baptist Church
Leesville, LA

James Forbis
FBC Willow Springs
Willow Springs, MO

Mark Fugitt
Mountain Grove Family Church
Mountain Grove, MO

Chris Harris
Greater Things Baptist Church
Burns, TN

Kevin James
New Creation Bible Fellowship
Tracy, CA

Donghyeok Kim
Dreamers Church of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH

Jin Kwon
Hattiesburg Korean Baptist Church
Hattiesburg,MS

Joseph Lee
Wells Chapel Baptist Church
Wallace, NC

Samuel Louis
Grace Church of Cape Cod
Sandwich, MA

James W. Luders
Lincoln Street Baptist Church
Mt. Pleasant, IA

Sean McKale
iGnite Church on Fire
Yelm, WA

Von Paxton
Grace Baptist Church
Quinlan, TX

Cheston Pickard
First Baptist Church of Delassus
Farmington, MO

Joon Roh
Church of the Wonderful Light
Clarksville, MD

Felix Sermon
Grace International Christian Church
Alexandria, VA

Mark Slattery
First Southern Baptist Church
Larned, KS

Josh Smith
First Baptist Church
Alpaugh, CA

Michael C. Smith
Island Baptist Church
Chincoteague, VA

William Stack
Haven Baptist Church
New Bedford, MA

Ryan Strother
Central Baptist Church
Marion, OH

Ritch Wilhelmi
Memorial Baptist Church
Hot Springs, AR

Jeff Wright
Midway Baptist Church
Cookeville, TN

BP Reports Prestonwood to Continue CP Giving

This afternoon Baptist Press reported that Prestonwood Baptist Church would resume their Cooperative Program giving. The article specifies their giving will be without designation, meaning there will be no redirection of funds away from any specific entities. This is a welcome resolution to an issue that had gone mostly quiet since Russell Moore and ERLC trustees released their ‘Seeking Unity’ statement more than a month ago.

“After a time of prayerful evaluation, Prestonwood is renewing our commitment to Southern Baptist missions by giving to the Cooperative Program without designation,” Prestonwood executive pastor Mike Buster told Baptist Press in a statement.

The BP article mentions the Executive Committee studies that are currently underway, but it’s too early to give any updates on what effect this news will on their work. I remember it being implied somewhere along the way that if the Prestonwood issue were resolved, then the need for the study committees would greatly diminish since Prestonwood seemed “representative” of those churches who had expressed concerns. (I wish I could remember the source, was it Rummage on the SBC This Week podcast who said that? If someone remembers, please jump in the comments.)

While I’m glad to see Prestonwood restore their previous funding for CP missions causes, I remain firm in my view that this whole episode was unhealthy and unnecessarily divisive in the life of the SBC. I’m concerned about this tactic being used in the future, regardless of the “side” or cause that chooses to employ it. We shouldn’t use missions funding as a bargaining tool. Every church has a responsibility to steward their missions giving in a way that supports the causes they desire – you won’t see me criticize a church for directing funds toward this or away from that entity. But when demands are being made (We’re not giving to the IMB until this action is taken… or We’re stopping CP giving until our concerns are addressed…), whether spoken or implied, that ought to be treated as out-of-bounds by all of us.

Disagreements about their tactics aside, I want to thank and express appreciation for Prestonwood for their past and future missions giving, along with many other large churches who give huge sums of money to support our missions work, seminaries, and other cooperative efforts. We’re not a perfect convention, and we have our disagreements, but we do a lot of good things as we work together for the Kingdom of Christ.