Paige Patterson Apology

What do you think of the apology from Paige Patterson concerning admitting a Muslim student to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary? See his full convention message and his apology starting at 6 min and 30 sec. Seems to me it's both an apology and a defense, and I'm not sure how it can be both. 

"Dear God, I violated a policy, but I didn't want to stand before you with blood on my hands."

Baptist Press & Les Miserables

Baptist press

Sometimes as Southern Baptists we simply outdo ourselves. The main article in today's Baptist Press release is titled, "Les Miserables finds support, caution in Christian community."

The main support comes from people like SBC President, Bryant Wright and Trevin Wax over at LifeWay. The article does end with more positive notes about the film, so I want to give some credit to Erin Roach/BP for that. But my concern is the space given to the main "caution" for the film. It's from Travis Ragon, a Kansas City counselor and grad of Midwestern, who...wait for it...didn't see the movie. I'll give you a taste.

Travis Ragon (pronounced Reagan)...said he is confused and grieved by Christians' enthusiastic support of the film.

Ragon cites elements of Les Miserables that he views as directly in conflict with foundational Christian values: instances of the Lord's name being used in vain, pervasive sexual innuendo, gratuitous depictions of sexual acts, and a scene that apparently has left some viewers feeling emotionally raped.

"Perhaps more than anything else this movie has become a review of where we as Christians have chosen to walk," Ragon wrote in comments to Baptist Press. "It seems that we have become systematically desensitized to sin. We are [accustomed] to the effect it has on our souls."


Ragon has not seen Les Miserables. "I try to research any movies which I might watch, including ones in my home," he said. "... I enjoy music and a good movie. In being a good steward, I try to be diligent in what I give my time and money to."

Les mis headerSeriously, Baptist Press? Please edit this article and remove the comments from the guy who hasn't seen the movie. You can't allow someone who hasn't seen the movie describe in detail what's actually in the movie! Even if you wanted to share an opinion of someone who wonders if the content is appropriate, to give it this much space is ridiculous.

As a pastor who saw the film with my four kids, I can confidently say Ragon's descriptors are inaccurate. Statements about the film's "pervasive sexual innuendo" and "gratuitous depictions of sexual acts" are way overblown. Inaccurate. Misleading. Why would you publish such a thing? It's no wonder why my neighbors think "Southern Baptists" are about what we are against. We can NOT see a film, give contrary opinions to the SBC President, and still get plenty of shelf space in an article. We need to do better.

Southern Baptists & "Precious Puritans"

Sbc logo

Dear white, Puritan-loving Southern Baptist leaders, 

Important voices are chiming in on Propaganda's "Precious Puritans" -- from Thabiti Anyabwile's post on The Gospel Coalition to David Murray's comment (prof at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary!) to Anthony Bradley's post as well as several comments and tweets, and more. They realize this is a big issue. Where are the voices of our white, Puritan-loving Southern Baptist leaders, and seminary presidents, and deans, and entity leaders, and prominent pastors? 

We need your voices on this.


Kevin Ezell | NAMB Competing With Networks


Is this what we want to hear from the head of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Kevin Ezell? Do we really want to compete with other groups (Acts 29 specifically was mentioned)? 

As a denomination we have admitted that church planting has not been a priority and we are now changing that, but that's why so many have looked for that help elsewhere.

We are in the early stages of building a network, a support group, that will be the first choice of church planters everywhere, not just Southern Baptist. We will and can compete with other groups. (via)

My take: Partnerships, not competition. Playing a role. Being a part. Locking arms. I don't like this quote. It seems to me to be the same old SBC approach where we are the one-stop shop. 

Are you reading this the same way as me? Seriously, would love your thoughts.

Support NYC Mission | VBS Offering

My friend, Freddy Wyatt, leads Gallery Church in New York City. Is your church doing the 2011 Big Apple Adventure Vacation Bible School? You can support this new work in NYC through your VBS Missions Offering. Would love if some of my readers' churches could help out this good brother and good work in the Big Apple! Check out their videos, starting with the one below...

Lots-o-Links 1.15.10


Praying for the people of Haiti. Please comment with your recommendations on where to donate to help, and feel free to include a link. Redeemer lists three ministries.

If you aren't reading Trevin Wax (Twitter) he's doing good blogging. His book, Holy Subversion, comes out soon. Worth checking out.

JD Payne, my church planting professor at SBTS, author, missiologist, is now on Twitter and blogging. I just got his newest book in the mail, Discovering Church Planting and look forward to digging into some sections that might help during our church renewal process.

Memphis is starting to talk about Jonathan McIntosh.

Mark Dever interviews Matt Chandler, pre-cancer diagnosis.

Brent Thomas is no longer the Baptist he never was.

Brief Molly Update: She is doing well, with no major symptoms or issues. Very blessed. 

Lots-o-Links 12.16.08

Brief Molly Update: We are going to Molly's neurologist today. He will hear that the medications are not working so far.  Then we will hear whether Molly's EEG shows us anything worth knowing.  And all of this is contingent upon the weather not being so bad that we can't go since it's in Crystal Lake and a snow storm is coming.

Jonathan Dodson: Four Church Planting Manuals Reviewed

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary now offers a PhD in having a quiet time

David Allen has a new book, Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life

This 9Marks video is kinda funny.  "It's calligraphy. I can't even read it."

Stephen King lists his 10 best movies of the year

Keller and Powlison: Pastor's Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

John Frame: Christ and Culture audio

Trevin Wax wants you to have some good books...for free

Very excited about Jerram Barrs' newest book coming in May of '09: Learning Evangelism from Jesus

10 Things that Happened at the 2008 SBC

Here's a guide to understanding what happened at the 2008 meeting of the SBC in Indianapolis.  I wasn't there, but I didn't need to be to know what happened.  I'm sure there were many great things that happened, including networking and building new relationships as well as renewing old ones.  But here's my list, just for fun, of the 10 things that happened at the SBC because they, to some extent, always happen at the SBC. 

10. Many thousands made "a decision for Christ" during the Indy Crossover evangelism push.  Most of them won't join churches.

9. Someone proposed a stupid resolution that got more discussion than someone who proposed a significant resolution.

8. Some bloggers discovered that blogging influence doesn't amount to much, and shouldn't.

7. Someone blew a shofar, metaphorically at least.

6. Some guys who preached included lines merely to hear the applause of the masses.

5. Mark Dever had 14 disciples following his every move and seeking his advice on bookstore purchases.

4. No less than 7 people had beer with their meal, to the shock of onlooking SBC messengers.

3. They mostly voted on stuff that won't change minds, churches, the convention, or the world.

2. Guys in suits won elections.Johnny_hunt

1. Indianapolis is now officially out of beef and butter.

Lots-o-Links 4.23.08

Check out Ed Stetzer's post about the current decline of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Joe Thorn and I have been blogging on these issues for years, and Ed offers some very good commentary and critique.  I'm very thankful for guys like Stet who are speaking to the convention honestly and directly.  Here's a snippet...

Baptisms are at their lowest levels since 1970 with seven of thelast eight years showing annual declines. Even though some might hope the decline in membership numbers is due to lack of reporting, the inescapable conclusion is that baptisms by individual churches is falling off. (LifeWay Research will provide more analysis in the next month.)

For now, Southern Baptists are a denomination in decline. Some of you were born into an SBC church; others of us chose it of our own accord. Either way, it is dear to us all. Our responsibility before God is, then, to urgently consider how we should respond.

Also worth checking out is the New Evangelism Research.

Bob Hyatt shares a great photo of what a church that packs out a coffee shop looks like.  Love it.

Tony Morgan says that changed lives is what creates buzz about a church (more here).

A Cubs hater (meaning, someone who likes another team) sent me a video filmed from the bleachers of Wrigley Field.  In it two fans, who probably had too much to drink (it's a Cubs game, duh), decided to have a hot dog eating context.  The result is worth watching.  There is at least one word that is not for kids, so please heed the WARNING: Not for kids or judgmental Christians...

Vote for Me! Never more needed!!!

The SBC Voices blog madness game is over on Monday night and I'm losing.  Yes, losing.  Tom Ascol's blog has pulled into a solid lead.  You may know Tom as the guy who leads Founders Ministries.  I know him as a friend, and I would gladly lose to his site without a fight...normally.  But Tom has called me out, made fun of me and my best friend (no one makes fun of Joe's sports ignorance but me!), and it's time to show Tom the door.  GO VOTE NOW!

Here are a few reasons to vote for Reformissionary and not Tom Ascol...

1. Tom Ascol has bad hair, less hair. The Reformissionary has good hair, more hair. The difference
2. The $50 gift certificate to won't help Tom much because I don't think they carry many "Large Print" books for "older" eyes.
3. Tom decided to "reject my shot" through the magic of photoshop.  That was smart since that's the only way he could reject my shot. 
4. This is an ACTUAL PHOTO of my last one-on-one game with Tom.  Consider Tom posterized...

Announcement for SWBTS Students

HelpSome of you remember when I posted about a part-time research position several weeks ago.  I received MANY responses, and passed them on to my buddy, Glenn Lucke, who is helping pastors get some research help.  Glenn emailed about more opportunities, and I told him I would put it out there for you.  Yeah, I'll feed you baby birds.  Glenn writes...

I will be at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on Thursday, March 27, from 10:30am-3pm.

Several Baptist pastors have recently signed on as clients and I’m looking for researchers who can assist them.

Broadly I’m looking for two different categories of researchers to fit these new clients.

Category 1: Acts 29 Network church
 The best candidates for these jobs are current SWBTS PhD and MDiv students who:

- love Jesus
- know the Bible
- consider yourself "missional"
- are Baptist & reformed in theology
- love the lost & enjoy thinking how culture intersects with Scripture
- excellent academic ability and transcript + professor references to prove it
- seminary education a must, first year must be already completed
- swims in popular culture, loves it, knows it, yet resists and critiques aspects of it

Category 2: Ed Young Jr. style church (Fellowship Church of Grapevine)
 The best candidates for these jobs are current SWBTS MDiv students who are gifted storytellers and illustrators, dialed-in to young pop culture, creative, gifted at relating Scriptural concepts to the lives of seekers and new Christians.

- responsible and hardworking, and you can furnish proof of this. No slackers.

Contact Glenn at Mention that you are contacting me because you saw this at Steve McCoy’s blog.

Lots-o-Links 3.21.08

I'm trying to make time to blog on the changes coming in my local church, and especially focus on some evangelism stuff I'm working to begin soon.  Sorry it's taking so long, but it's been a nutty last few weeks.  Maybe I'll blog on the nuttiness as well.  Might be therapeutic for me.

"Alcohol, Acts 29 and the Missouri Baptist Convention" is a bunch of information put out by some Missouri Baptists that has finally proven, without question, that some people will never get it because they spend all their time trying to get worked up over extra-biblical issues.  It's actually a very funny read for those of us who see how ridiculous it all is.

In Timothy Keller news, the Washington Post's Michael Gerson has a review of The Reason for God.  It's a good one.  USA Today quotes Keller, Driscoll and others on "Has the 'Notion of Sin' Been Lost?" (via Stet)

"Parks and squares aren't a luxury, but an essential feature of the urban infrastructure."

Bob Franquiz is looking to only work 4 hours a week.  I've perused the book, and it looks interesting enough.

Speaking of books, how about the 2008 Christianity Today Book Awards.  I picked up the "The Church/Pastoral Leadership" category winner The Call to Joy & Pain by Ajith Fernando at last year's Desiring God Conference.  I like Ajith's writings and the topic was intriguing.  It got buried in a stack of books, but is back on my "to read" shelf.

This looks VERY interesting to me: The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas With Pictures.

The top 80 church websites (because 80 is a nice round number). :)

Oh that more of us would do what they are doing in Austin for city-wide church planting.

It won't be Longfellow until National Poetry Month.  It's my Gioia to blog on poetry every April.  Keats your eyes open for more very soon.

SBC Opportunities in Chicago

HelpI recently received an email (edited for content below) from a Southern Baptist pastor in downtown Chicago about some very cool opportunities to be a strategic leader in SBC work in downtown Chicago...

Last year we basically wiped the slate clean with staff [at the Chicago Metro Baptist Association] and designed three new full-time roles that we think will help our churches BRING GOOD NEWS to Chicago.

Director of Missional Leadership and MobilizationThis position will help to “develop ministers of the gospel” by equipping current and future pastors.

Director of Evangelism and Church GrowthThis position will help to “strengthen local churches” by assisting them in bringing the Good News.

Director of Church PlantingThis position will help to “expand the Kingdom of God” by planting new churches.

We advertised and tried to spread the word and got around 150 applications, but none of them have turned out.  We really believe that these positions are so strategic that we want to make sure we get the right people here and have no false starts.

Chicago is an alpha class, major global city.  Yet as far as a real movement of the gospel goes it’s pretty pathetic here.  I really think these positions could potentially play a huge role in reaching our strategic city.  Exciting stuff is happening in New York and Seattle and other major cities around the world.  Why not Chicago?

I was wondering if you knew anyone for any of these positions that would be good for Chicago and getting a movement started here.  They’re full time positions, partly funded by NAMB.  But we want to take more initiative in going out and finding the right people.  We’re praying like crazy and super excited about the potential.

I know I have some readers out there who would be well equipped for this sort of work.  Chicago is a great city with far too few good churches.  If you are interested and feel you fit as SBC/missional, email  If you feel your blog readers might be interested, please point them to this post.  Thanks.

Lots-o-Links 1.9.08

Sorry for the lack of suburbia links.  I have many to file through and some will be on the way soon.  I'm halfway through The End of Suburbia, which is disturbia-ing.  Ok, not really, but I wanted to try a new word.  It's interesting, to say the least.  Worth watching, no question.

This is why my best friend is better than your honor student.

You need some good business books, via Fast Company.

Brian Hedgeson elder training.

David Fitch: Confessions of a Missional Pastor (Wannabe?)

Carl Trueman: What Can Miserable Christians Sing?

Is Al Mohler the best choice for SBC President this year?  Many think so.  Some don't.  My question is: Should we have the most recognized face and voice of cultural criticism among SBC'rs be the most recognized face and voice of the Convention as a whole?  As much as I love and respect Mohler, I think the answer is clearly no.  What do you think?

2008 is the year of evangelism for me.  It's the year of discipleship for others

"The Tyrannus Effect" is a good example of how to get me thinking on issues of evangelism, discipleship and ecclesiology. 

Speaking of evangelism...
Roger Carswell's site, author of And Some Evangelists - Engage with Culture
Tim Chester PDF: "The Kingdom of God is at Hand: Eschatology and Mission"
(Chester's blog is one of my favorites.)

Evangelism 2008 books I've picked up...
Questioning Evangelism and Corner Conversations

Lots-o-Links 12.20.07

No Funding for SBC/Acts 29 Church Plants in Missouri

Ugh.  What the crap is going on among Missouri Baptist leaders?  The Executive Board of the MBC has voted to block funding for Acts 29 church plants, according to Scott Lamb.  Brilliant.  Anyone who would block funding for a church plant that looked like Darrin Patrick's gospel-centered and biblically-faithful Journey Church in St. Louis isn't biblically-faithful.  It's really that simple. 

By the way, at the Acts 29 Boot Camp for church planters in Chicago next month there are three Southern Baptist speakers: Darrin Patrick, Ed Stetzer, and Mark Dever.

Lots-o-Links 12.7.07

Al Mohler is writing about how more and more hotels are not putting Gideon's Bibles in their drawers (BP picked it up).  While I like the idea of knowing that it's there for those who need it, I think Mohler overstates his case...

...there will be no Bibles available in those hotelrooms when travelers need them, and that is a tragedy by any measure.

A "tragedy?"  9/11 was a tragedy.  Pearl Harbor was a tragedy (the awful event we remember today AND the movie).  Abortion is a tragedy.  The Bears are a tragedy.  Some hotels not carrying Bibles?  Not so much.  Sure it means culture is changing.  Sure it means that some travelers who may have picked it up won't have it readily available.  But where was that ever the main ministry to people staying in hotels anyway?  It was a bonus that a few people are now eliminating.  People are the front line of ministry, not books.

Ben Arment is encouraging us to strip.  He's also continuing to reveal a killer conference line-up for the Whiteboard Sessions.

Dever and Ferguson lectures on preaching.

CNN interview with Gabe Lyons...

Ariel Vanderhorst interviews church planter Hunter Beaumont (dude I met at Reform & Resurge Conference in Seattle).

Publishers Weekly reviews Tim Keller's The Reason for God.

Joe Thorn on Leadership Development, Suburban Evangelism, and his new laptop.

Florida/Texas Baptists Disqualify Jesus

Jesus_beerYep.  Florida and Texas.  Oh, and Florida also basically called Jesus a recreational drug user...

Messengers at the 146th Florida Baptist State Convention annual meeting overwhelmingly approved a bylaw revision requiring all trustee nominees to "agree to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages and using any other recreational drugs."

Thank God they stopped short of the more severe charge of "recreational drug Dealer" evidenced in John 2.