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Oct 06, 2011

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A. Price


"Insolent and disorderly towards their superiors. It is as ill an omen to a people as can be when the rising generation among them are generally untractable, rude, and ungovernable, when the child behaves himself proudly against the ancient, whereas he should rise up before the hoary head and honour the face of the old man, Lev 19:32. When young people are conceited and pert, and behave scornfully toward thier superiors, thier conduct is not only a reproach to themselves. but, of ill consequence to the puplic; it slackens the reins of government and weakens the hands that hold them. It is likewise ill with a people when persons of honour cannot support their authority, but are affronted by the base and beggarly.
Commentary by Matthew Henry!

LMalone

"What’s most difficult for me to understand is not so much what Jonathan Merritt had to say but why he possesses the platform he does. Of course, I’m not referring to his (or any other’s for that matter) right to free speech and speaking to any one who will listen. My question is, why do people listen to men like Merritt to begin with?"

Exactly. I don't get it. Let's hope the next interviewer asks him to name names of these SBC entity influencers he is talking to. They are SBC employees and Cross Pointe sure is not helping to pay them!

LMalone

Oh, and you have pointed out how terribly inconsistent they are being. Everything with Southern in the name associated with the SBC should be on the table. SBTS being the most obvious.

Perhaps it is on the table but that fact is also sealed in the GCTF documents for another day.

Perhaps we should change the "Golden Gate" name because that region is associated with homosexuality as simply another lifestyle. (wink)

And thanks for the history lesson about the Calvinist slave owners we are descended from.

aaron

What percentage would be enough for one to speak on behalf of the SBC or GBC?

peter lumpkins

For purposes here, over a percent would be nice.

With that, I am...
Peter

Dana R

Past president of the SBC. I will be contacting Southern Seminary in the morning to find out how they justify James Merritt being an adjunct professor. We deserve answers ! I understand that he preaches at Southeastern regularly and I want to know if he gets paid. Any SBC organization that uses Mr. Merritt owes the SBC answers as well(Namb,Imb,and state conventions). How is his church considered healthy with these views on homosexuality and this giving record ?

Ron Hale

Peter,

A can of worms has been opened.

Without Jonathan and others repeatedly using the “our racist past” as a huge motivating factor for Southern Baptists to change our name … I would NOT know what I now know.

I came across a book entitled: Antebellum Slavery: An orthodox Christian View by Cary Lee Roper, printed in 2009.

He shares some very important research that points to our Mother seminary and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary founders playing a significant role in defending the institution of slavery.

On p.61-62, he shares … “Historian, author, and college professor Larry E. Tise gives a list of 273 clergymen who wrote on the defense of slavery. Among preachers listed in Proslavery as defenders of the institution are men like:

… James Pettigrew Boyce – first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

… John L. Dagg – president at Mercer University

Richard Furman

… Charles Hodge, president of Princeton Seminary

… Basil Manley, Sr. – owner of 40 slaves

… Basil Manley, Jr. – founding O.T. professor at Southern Seminary

A very interesting note by Roper was a mention of Spurgeon. He said, “Mr. Spurgeon was politically liberal; and his publishers, knowing that conservative literature sold best in the South edited out any criticisms he (Spurgeon) made in his sermons against Southern slavery.”

The book also mentions that Jonathan Edwards wrote a defense of slavery at one point.

History has a funny way of connecting the dots and the tragic trail leads to an institution (SBTS) filled not with sharecroppers, but slave owners and defenders of the institution of slavery.

Does anyone know ... if ... SBTS has addressed this matter in a spiritual and Biblical manner in the last so many years?

Lee

Peter,

As I know it, the most prominent role that Jonathan Merritt has held at Cross Pointe was Directory of College/Student Ministries. He is now “Creative Director”, which duties include the stage sets and music team etc. To my knowledge, he has never held the role of associate Pastor or any other position that has any “weight” whatsoever. Yet, he is the voice of the SBC???

We now find junior at the forefront of another divisive topic. Strange thing is we find Al Mohler, Danny Akin and Bryant Wright on the same side with him. This is #2 for Al, first homosexuality and now name-change with the flavor of racism added for divisiveness.

As you pointed out, Jonathan mentions during his interview with Paul Edwards that he recently spoke with “seminary presidents, seminary professors, agency heads, and influential pastors”. How is that possible? Why would they bother? What could possibly motivate them to meet with such a junior…junior?

Ok, ok, his daddy is former SBC president. That should only get him so far. That should yield the obligatory, “ok executive admin...give junior 30 minutes on my calendar next week. Me and his daddy go way back, but next time he calls, tell’em I’m busy”

So…how does junior continue to meet with these folks? I just can’t see a kid with no experience, and quite frankly one that champions extreme views on homosexuality being able to speak to seminary presidents on a regular basis. Definitely, not on his own. Therefore, what else could it be?

I see the answer in two parts:

1). James Merritt is onboard with all of Jonathan’s positions and is calling in the favors. I think Merritt senior is behind the scenes pulling strings. I think junior pitched his ideology to senior and he bought it. For whatever reason. To stay current…not get passed up…not to get passed by…or not be put out to pasture etc.
A friend of mine and still current CP member told me that Senior announced from the pulpit that, “if anyone had a problem with junior, they had a problem with him”. This was about 4/6 weeks ago. With that said, I can only assume he approves of ALL the writings and positions junior has taken. How could we think otherwise? If Senior disagreed, I don’t think junior would have remained a paid Cross Pointe staff member, would he? Based on the recent decisions senior has made (FHTM), it’s really not that far fetched, is it? I guess, James is not the conservative we grew to know and love.

2.) Why in the world would Al Mohler support this nonsense? Short answer, Al is not the conservative we came to know and love either. I’ve been scratching my head for quite sometime and trying to figure out why Al would move from staunch conservative to liberal. I suppose he bought Junior’s line as well about the whole new emerging movement. Convinced that if he acts quickly, they can capture this whole new bunch of emerging youth at SEBTS.

On a hunch, I started to look for enrollment demographics for SEBTS and SBTS and found an interesting article. Check it out. Looks like SEBTS & SBTS have the biggest admission decline of our seminaries over the past several years.

http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2010/03/seminary-enrollment-do-the-numbers-reveal-decline-by-peter-lumpkins.html

Could capturing the new emerging youth be a way to get the numbers back up? Hmmm….

Cynical maybe, but other explanations seem much worse…

Bonnie

Well...deep breath...I'm not a Southern Baptist. I'm a Christian believer in the Lord God Almighty Who has revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus, the Messiah, Immanuel-God-with-us in human flesh, Who Alone purchased my salvation and eternal relationship with the Eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through His miraculous birth, perfect life, sacrificial death, resurrection and Ascension. Through the years and all the different locations, West, East, North and South in the USA, I have "belonged" to multiple Bible-believing denominations in order to participate in local Body of Believers' assemblies, worship, praise, teaching, missions, and ministries. This is still true here in Middle Tennessee in my late 60's where I am now associated as a Christian with a local Southern Baptist body of believers. My allegiance is not with denominationalism - whatever that is... I see both sides of the argument in the essay, but neither reaches the core me. That "core" belongs to the Lord Jesus and my loyalty is to Him and to His Word - not what denominationalism says, does, or fails to say or do about His Word. Actually, to me it smacks too much of I Corinthians 3. IS there even one denomination in the USA that comes close to the New Testament Church as revealed in the Book of Acts or the Pauline or general epistles? Show me.

LMalone

Well Bonnie, If you are all those things you write above then you should be concerned. Christians who have agreed on governance procedures to cooperate in all things don't ignore them to get their way. They include the brothers and sisters who come to the conventions for this purpose in the process. It is HOW we respect one another and show we are a 'priesthood'.

We are not really a 'denomination" as most people think of it. We are a convention of cooperating churches. Likewise our short term presidents are simply representatives. And our seminary presidents are our employees. (They do seem to forget that)

So, while your comment sounds real Holy...as if a name change is not important...it misses the HUGE GLARING point of HOW this whole thing came about.

The convention has voted quite a few times not to even STUDY a name change. And those messengers have been disrespected by not being allowed to vote on such a thing again.

Max

Bonnie,

Depending on how one defines religious “denomination”, there are several hundred to several thousand Protestant denominations in America. You essentially ask “Which one is packing the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. Who has a corner on the Truth really?” I completely understand what you are saying. When we compare the 21st century “church” with the 1st century “Church”, we can clearly see our short-comings. From my study of church history through the ages, I see much about folks following various teachings and traditions of men to the point of forsaking the commandments of God … and Jesus advised us not to do that. Indeed, authentic Christianity has seldom been tried!

Having said that, I now focus on the matter at hand. I am an American by birth, a Christian by new birth, a Baptist by conviction, and a Southern Baptist by choice. My choice has placed me alongside the Southern Baptist "convention" of believers whose faith and message meet the Baptist convictions I identify with. However, in recent years the identity I joined myself to has been challenged by a new generation of SBC leaders and non-SBC influencers who have caused drifts in theology, methods, and mission outside mainstream SBC belief and practice. The denominational name change and related issues raised in this blog are but symptoms of this shift and reason for concern.

Do Southern Baptists have it completely right … or have we mixed and diluted the truth in recent days? Are we truly contending for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints … or just being contentious with each other? Are we on the correct course to fulfill the Great Commission during our watch … or off course? Answers to those questions will vary, depending on who you ask. But one thing I do know … God commands the blessing to be where there is unity, not through divisive activity or let’s-just-get-along compromise. May the SBC settle these differences soon so that we stand with one voice to a lost world. In the meantime, self-appointed spokesmen should be silenced.

God bless you Bonnie for your loyalty to Jesus and His Word … no matter where you rest in church attendance.

Lee

Bonnie,

I agree with you. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. If not for Him...I would be nothing!

Regarding finding the perfect church, I cannot show you any church, denomination or individual Christian on the planet that comes close to walking the way we have been instructed. Only One has done that!

The concerns expressed above are not about “denominationalism”. Our concerns pertain to our core beliefs. These beliefs are rooted in the infallible Word of God...the Bible. Therefore, we care deeply about the direction in which we find ourselves...our denomination being led.

That’s right, we are apart of a very large denomination. When our leaders/representatives go astray OR we have someone(junior) try to represent “us” with an all together different view of what we believe and hold true...houston we have a problem!

It sounds like you are coming in on the tail-end of the Jonathan Merritt saga. There is a lot of water under the bridge that brought us to this point. I would suggest that you go to Peter’s homepage and type “Jonathan Merritt” into his site search engine.

Take some time and read the myriad of different articles AND the comment streams attached. This will help fill in the gaps.
For extra credit, google “jonathan merritt homosexuality”...

selahV

Peter, in answer to the title question above: "Does Jonathan Merritt Fairly Represent Southern Baptists on Name Change?"

No...he does not. selahV

Ronald Fulton

Peter & Friends:

On August 7, 2000, the Baptist Standard published an article entitled: Increases in giving cited as approval for SBC changes. President James Merritt was quoted several times, in the following article:

“Likewise, newly elected SBC President James Merritt cited record giving to the SBC Cooperative Program as evidence that "the overwhelming majority of Baptists are extremely happy" with the convention's leadership.

Asked in a news conference how the SBC should relate to state conventions that allow churches options in giving that are still considered Cooperative Program giving on the state level, Merritt said he is "a champion of" the SBC Cooperative Program."

"It grieves my heart to see any state convention take any action that could hurt the Cooperative Program," Merritt said. "I would just make a plea to my fellow
Southern Baptists that never has there been a better time to be a Baptist than today, to be proud that you are a Southern Baptist."

Merritt's own church in suburban Atlanta has been increasing its giving to the Cooperative Program in recent years, according to public records of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

First Baptist Church of Snellville, Ga., gave $210,000 to the Cooperative Program through the Georgia convention in 1999. That was 3.6 percent of the $5.91 million in undesignated receipts taken in by the mega-church.

After several years of no giving to the Annie Armstrong or Lottie Moon offerings registered in state convention records, the Snellville church in 1999 gave $15,000 to Lottie Moon and $25,000 to Annie Armstrong.

The 3.6 percent Cooperative Program giving record for 1999 continued a pattern of increase for Merritt's church. In 1998, the church gave $170,385 to the Cooperative Program, 2.9 percent of undesignated receipts. In 1997, the church gave $61,180 to the Cooperative Program, 1.25 percent of undesignated receipts.”

Notice that Dr. Merritt says, “It grieves my heart to see any state convention take any action that could hurt the Cooperative Program.” At the time, FBC Snellville was giving at a rate of 3.6 percent to CP.

Also, his church gave NOTHING to Lottie Moon or Annie Armstrong for a number of years.

And now you share the pitiful giving record of Cross Pointe Church where he has been pastoring since 2002. This is not the great Southern Baptist leader that he has “branded” himself to be through the years.

I remember him standing and speaking so strongly on the convention floor concerning “why” Southern Baptist should vote for and pass our Great Commission Resurgence. He was red-faced and loud. However, his leadership points to hypocrisy.

He tells loyal Southern Baptists to give, give, give … while he doesn’t even give one (1) percent to the Cooperative Program and they gave nothing to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong in 2010.

He has been a hero to so many and it is so sad to see what kind of leader that he truly has turned out to be!

Thank you Peter for sharing these stats!

Ronald Fulton

Peter,

Below is another article in Baptist Press where James Merritt talks in a glowing way about the Cooperative Program, it says:

Posted on Sep 12, 2000 | by Matt Sanders
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Calling the Cooperative Program a spirit and not just a program, Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt said a proposal by a Baptist General Convention of Texas committee to reduce funding to SBC seminaries represents an anti-SBC and uncooperative spirit that will ultimately hurt Texas Baptists.

"What we're seeing is nothing short of the beginnings of the seeds of destruction sown in the relationship, in the historic relationship of 75 years through the Cooperative Program," Merritt said.

"The Cooperative Program is not just a program. It's a spirit. It's an attitude. It's as simple as ABC - All Baptists Cooperate," Merritt said at a press conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 12.

... notice he what he says, but look what he has led his churches to give through the years. He says one thing and does the opposite -- that is hypocrisy!

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