I just got out of the conference a few minutes ago and thought I'd do a few emails and such. What did I find? Hundreds of page views coming from Founders. I knew Founders had put up a post linking me in their latest crusade. I did not expect that many page reads, however. Thank you Dr. Ascol! Who knows, maybe I'll gain a few new regulars.
I'll have to be brief. Ascol writes:
"...broadly speaking, there are 2 opposing agendas at work to shape what the SBC will become in the near future...On the one hand are those who are energized by being identified as Baptist--particularly Southern Baptist...This group takes the Word and the gospel seriously but finds their identity as Baptists closely bound up to such commitment, often to the extent that they question the spiritual health or even the salvation of other believers who are not baptistic..." (emphasis mine).
First, Ascol is correct about competing visions for the future of the SBC. Ascol is incorrect in the number, for, assuming the two he mentioned, there are at least three, and possibly more. Which is the third? Let's add Ascol's own potatoes to the pot:
"Founders Ministries is a ministry of teaching and encouragement promoting both doctrine and devotion expressed in the Doctrines of Grace and their experiential application to the local church, particularly in the areas of worship and witness...We desire to encourage the return to and promulgation of the biblical gospel that our Southern Baptist forefathers held dear" (link/ emphasis mine)
As one can easily ascertain, Ascol's vision for the SBC is to promote the 5Points of Calvinism, which, according to Ascol & Founders, returns us to the biblical gospel of our forefathers. For me, I do not see how such does not qualify for a "competing" vision. When Founders speaks of "returning to...the biblical gospel," they are very clear what they define as "the biblical" gospel: the gospel expressed in the Doctrines of Grace (5 Points).
Secondly, I'll give Ascol a shiny new nickel for every time he can quote me on my site where I've questioned the salvation of other believers who are not baptistic. Heck, I'll give him a nickel if he can show me a statement I've written on any blog anywhere implying such screwed up non-sense. The fact is, he cannot. That was one of those "Oopsies" all writers hope no one notices when we overstate our case. Sorry, Dr. Ascol. I specialize in footnotes. Thus, when you make accusations, it would be better to have some evidence to substantiate them.
"On the other hand are those who are energized by being Christ-followers..."
Let's see: "BI" are Christians who apparently identify more with "Baptist" than they do with the gospel while Dr. Ascol's company is "energized by being Christ-followers." Now, I just wonder which company do you think most would likely side with--the "BI" who is wed to "Baptist" or a "Christ-follower," wed to the gospel? So much for reaching one's hand out in fairness and bridge-building while caricaturing the other side quite nicely, I'd say.
Finally, the last quote and then I'll answer my posed question in the title.
"The BI vision for the future of the SBC has little or no room for cooperating with gospel-centered evangelicals who are "not us." For evidence of this see how they have recenty [sic] tried to chastise Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in general and Danny Akin, Alvin Reid and Nathan Finn in particular for their unwillingness to throw Mark Driscoll under the bus (here, here & here" (emphasis mine).
Admittedly, this quote draws mixed emotions from me--anger, laughter, sadness, giddiness, pity, yawns, etc. etc. First, I'd really like to know exactly who Dr. Ascol had in mind when he wrote "For evidence of this see how they have..." Who are the "they" Dr. Ascol imagines? All three posts he linked are mine! I wrote those. Does Dr. Ascol think my posts are ghost written? Does he think I have a team of redactors to put my posts on the net? That I've conspired with all the mean-old-BI-Guys to forge a position? I can guarantee this: I am on no one's payroll and am no puppet on anyone's string. If I have an agenda, it is mine and no one else's.
Secondly, I raised a legitimate question I consider moral at its core. Ascol disagrees. O.K. fine with me. However, why such would be considered either "chastising" on the one hand or "throwing under the bus" on the other passes right by me.
And, if Ascol wants to defend Driscoll's hedonistic type of sexual "teaching" he should quit lollygagging around and go on record and say so. At least, that's how I see it. Furthermore, it needs pointing out, by and large, most of the ones logging on to all three posts I wrote to which Ascol linked were Calvinists themselves, who, by the way, are decidedly split on Driscollism. Thus, once again framing this into an alleged "BI" issue remains completely confusing, not to mention unconvincing.
Now to answer the question: is Founders naive, ignorant, or out-of-touch? Personally, I cannot believe Founders is naive. They've been around much too long and have played denominational politics long enough to escape being accused of naivete.
Nor do I at all think Dr. Ascol in particular or Founders generally is ignorant. So that's not really an option from my perspective.
What Ascol's post does demonstrate--at least to me--is Founders' complete, out-of-touch relationship with grassroots Southern Baptists. To remotely imply that those millions of Southern Baptists--Southern Baptists who love their heritage, gratefully acknowledge God's blessing upon them, and are totally taken back by the turned heads of Founders (and those like them) when it's pointed out that a young Calvinist minister they celebrate encourages sexual hedonism--to subtly imply those Southern Baptists are more in love with "being Baptist" than being a "Christ-follower," may indicate the most out-of-touch frame of reference I've encountered in a long time. Indicative also is a profound misjudgment about who Southern Baptists are.
And, that is really, really sad.
With that, I am...