January 25, 2008

Celebrating Next Week

Next week is the exciting and historic Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta. The event is starting to get more media attention as it nears, most of which is helping to highlight why such a gathering is desperately needed for Baptists in North America. Here are a few pieces that have come out this week, each of which is worth reading:

The Religion News Service had a good story entitled "Baptists to Push Unity, Fresh Face in Atlanta." The piece pointed out the Celebration's goal of bringing Baptists together for ministry and to focus on what we are for instead of what we are against.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had two good articles about the upcoming Celebration. The first piece offered background on the meeting and issues in Baptist life. The second article was an interview with former President Jimmy Carter about the meeting.

The Associated Baptist Press had a good column by David Gushee that is entitled "My Baptist journey to the New Baptist Covenant." This personal reflection centered on the Luke 4 focus of the Celebration.

Finally, Ethics Daily has had a couple of good columns this week on the Celebration. Mark Johnson had a good column entitled "What I Hope in the New Baptist Covenant" that offered some thoughts on what the meeting will hopefully be like. Robert Parham had a column entitled "New Baptist Covenant Is Already a Success." He made several great points about the good that has already come from the Celebration as Baptists have started to work together more and explore how we can better come together for ministry, fellowship, and worship.

I am looking forward to the Celebration and will offer updates and thoughts as the meeting goes on next week. Please be in prayer for this important gathering.

6 comments:

  1. Chuck2:34 PM

    Brian,

    Carter's position as the central figure associated with the mention of New Baptist Covenant is solidified from the newspaper interview you cite.

    You hear nothing to compare of the BWA or NABF, which you and others had tried to say were bigger players.

    The unrefuted reports of Carter's 2007 pluralist-sounding comments regarding Mormonism and Judaism render him, at best, questionable as a leader of an authentic Baptist movement.

    Carter's cloudy soteriology--not his or anyone's politics--are what will keep me from being associated with the event.

    Does Parham's article on the NBC's already being a success hint of a less-than-hoped for attendance?

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  2. Chuck: For crying out loud, give it a rest. Your old and inaccurate attacks are getting quite pathetic. Yes, Carter is the most famous person involved so naturally the secular media gravitates toward him. But this gathering was created as part of the NABF. Do you always trust the media's framing of events or would you rather know the truth?

    The junk claims you have made about Carter are ridiculous and that has been shown to you. I have repeatedly refuted your claims even though you have no credible evidence (a point you once accepted before flip-flopping). You either need to learn how to evaluate credibility and evidence or put aside your ideological bias that is clouding your judgment. If my freshman college students made as pathetic and weak arguments as you, they would get really bad grades on their speeches and papers. His soteriology is clear to anyone who is willing to be intellectually honest and open to the facts.

    As for your question about Parham's column, your attempts to turn everything about the Celebration into a negative are getting quite sad. No, there is no hint of low attendance (frankly no one knows what it will be since there are no messenger counts or required registration). Instead his piece shows that the Celebration has already been successful and positive. God is doing something great. I wish you would quick trying to get in the way of His work.

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  3. Brian,

    Please be accurate in characterizing my caution concerning the New Baptist Covenant. I've objected to no one's politics, and only one person's theology/doctrine. I've simply said that Jimmy Carter, because of his reported pluralist-sounding comments, is not a suitable leader of an authentic Baptist movement.

    I'm going to let you--quoting you verbatim from this, your, blog in September 2007--speak for me:

    "At least my comments are based on printed statements and not pure conjecture. Additionally, if Oldham was misquoted or misled why has he not spoken out about it yet? If he is going to be the Convention's spokesperson on this issue then he needs to be clear enough . . ."

    Brian, I say again, borrowing your rationale, ". . . if President Carter was misquoted or misled (by Newsweek or Rabbi Lerner) why has he not spoken out about it yet? If he is going to be the New Baptist Covenant's convener and keynote spokesperson on this issue of a 'new prophetic voice' and 'authentic Baptist witness,' then he needs to be clearly Baptist in his soteriology."

    In the classroom entrusted to you, I trust that you would never teach your students that a third party's (you) opinion refuting what a second party (Newsweek and Lerner) reported in print as a first party (Carter) having said would hold any weight when the first party (Carter) himself remained silent about the reports and reporters. That would contradict absolutely the principle of your quote I referenced above.

    My argument is neither pathetic nor weak. Your ignoring your own principles indicates that you're the one being driven by your bias. You nor anyone associated with the NBC would even ask Carter to speak for himself and refute the reports and reporters--which would have shut me up.

    You're either not concerned enough with "traditional Baptist values" to ask, or you don't want to hear what you're afraid would be his response.

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  4. Chuck: I know what your complaint is and it is not accurate. Carter has been very clear in his soteriology--read his books or his Sunday School lessons and you would learn that.

    We've dealt with your other argument before, but you must be a slow learner or too stubborn to accept the facts. As I've said before, I would prefer Carter speak out but he gets attacked so much by much more noteworthy individuals that I can understand why he has not taken time to deal with you. When you don't get a response, you must weigh the available evidence. In the case of Oldham, I was looking at someone with very few comments on that specific issue. With Carter, however, there is a long track record.

    And if you want to quote people, quote yourself when you agreed that the charge against Carter on Judaism was unreliable and then promised not to use it again (did you lie to me?). The vast majority of the evidence shows that Cater has a very biblical and orthodox view of salvation. And the rare couple of exceptions are second or third-hand claims that are unclear or even completely unreliable. The only way someone would make the claims you do with such lousy evidence is if they are biased against Carter for some other reason. As I have said, your arguments would never make it in court and would not even be acceptable for an entry-level college speech or paper.

    Chuck, I am sick and tired of your pathetic attempt to discredit the Celebration with lousy evidence. Please either accept the facts, get some evidence that is actually credible, or just give it up. Otherwise, you are dangerous close to bearing false witness against your brother in Christ. I usually enjoy your comments here but this is getting ridiculous.

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  5. Brian,

    Thanks for allowing and responding to my comments. This is more than can be said for some other NBC proponents who have blogs.

    I'll overlook your unkind personal words--"slow learner," etc. I understand you're emotional and taking this personally rather than principled.

    I agree, and have said that someone "much more noteworthy" than me--you, since I've made you aware of it--should ask Carter to clarify the reports of Newsweek--a credible source--and Rabbi Lerner--a questionable source, yet nonetheless referenced online by reputable sources such as The Baptist Standard.

    These sources reference comments Carter reportedly made subsequent to his calling for this coming week's Celebration in Atlanta--making them more current than the Carter SS lessons and books your reference.

    The fact that you're sick and tired of my objections may be because nothing has changed during all these months of our acquaintance. No refutation from Carter, no attempt by NBC leaders (that we know of, at least) to act responsibly by asking that the originator and keynote speaker confirm that he holds the traditional Baptist and Christian view of the exclusivity of Christ to save.

    I think that exclusivity is an important "traditional Baptist value," is essential to an "authentic Baptist witness," and must not be muffled in any "new prophetic voice." The unrefuted reports suggest Carter's not a leader in that regard, but you seem willing to follow without hesitation or question. There are scriptural warnings against allowing or following false teachers/leaders.

    I'm just one--not very noteworthy as you point out--Baptist believer who doesn't care to be mis-indentified with a movement using the name Baptist whose key and very public figure reportedly believes there are legitimate paths to God other than Jesus Christ.

    To answer your question--which I've done previously--my further dialogue with Lerner subsequent to my private email to you, combined with the wise conditions you placed on Oldham, led me to reconsider the Rabbi's report. Carter needs to speak for himself if he's going to lead.

    As for bearing false witness against Carter, I remind you, in your words, "At least my comments are based on printed statements and not pure conjecture." How or whether Carter does or doesn't respond is up to him.

    Finally, Brian, you can and should ask Carter about his reported comments, but you can't speak interpretively for him. That's "pathetic" and "lousy."

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  6. Chuck: Watch Carter's speech and you will see how wrong you were. He made it very clear that he believes that salvation comes only from Jesus. This confirms that I was correct in pointing out what the most credible evidence was by far. I hope you will not drop your inaccurate attacks against Carter.

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