1996 Southern Baptist Founders YOUTH Conference
The dates for the 1996 Founders YOUTH Conference have been changed to Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21. The venue is once again Panama City Beach. Pastors Bill and Tom Ascol will speak on the theme, “The Holy War.” For more information call (318) 798-7088.
Mission 150 Report
Over 59,000 copies of the special SBC sesquicentennial issue of the Founders Journal have been distributed. Baptist Press articles have been written about it, letters to various state papers have discussed it, and it has even been cited in various national and international publications. Churches have ordered extra copies for leadership and members (one Georgia church ordered 100 copies exclusively for the adult Sunday School leadership). Several hundred letters and phone calls have been generated by the journal. Subscriptions have jumped to over 1000. The tremendous response reflects a growing renewal of the doctrinal heritage of Southern Baptists. Pray that God will continue to fan these flames into a widespread reformation and revival within the SBC.
Midwestern Baptist Seminary Gets New Personnel
Mark Coppenger began his duties as President of Midwestern Baptists Theological Seminary in Kansas City, KS on August 1. He is the third new Southern Baptist seminary president to be elected in the last 2 years (the other two are Al Mohler at Southern and Ken Hemphill at Southwestern). This truly marks a new day for Southern Baptist theological education in general and for Midwestern in particular. In addition to Dr. Coppenger, Don Whitney has just recently been elected to the faculty as professor of spiritual formations. This move greatly strengthens an already strong theology faculty. All Bible believing Southern Baptists will rejoice over the new direction and bright prospects which these moves bring to the seminary in Kansas City. The trustees are to be commended for their foresight.
Historic Southern Baptist Church Planted in Pensacola
With a strong commitment to the doctrines of grace, a small group of Southern Baptists have recently begun a new work in Pensacola, Florida. “Those of us who desire to see the recovery of biblical truth among Southern Baptists should really give more emphasis to planting new churches,” says Bill Lollar, the founding pastor of Grace Heritage Baptist Mission. The church started this past April with eleven persons (two families) and is now reaching twenty-five persons (eight families). What began as a house church has developed into a group whose size is now more easily accommodated by a local motel conference facility.
Grace Heritage Baptist Mission is operating under the official sponsorship of a local SBC church whose pastor shares their doctrinal distinctives. The mission is not currently receiving regular financial support from its sponsoring church or the Florida Baptist Convention. As a bivocational pastor, Pastor Lollar must struggle to divide his time between a 50-hour secular work week, sermon preparation, pastoral ministry, and family life. He also serves as the Graphic Design Editor for the Founders Journal.
Pray for Pastor Lollar and this congregation as they move forward in planting a church for God’s Glory in Pensacola. You may contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (904) 455-1969. The church mailing address is: P. O. Box 6264, Pensacola, FL 32503.
1995 Founders Conference Report
The 1995 Founders Conference was held in Birmingham during the last week of July. Under the theme, A Heritage for the Future–The SBC, 1845-1995, attention was given to the sesquicentennial of the convention. An unusually large number of historical addresses were presented, highlighted by Dr. Al Mohler’s “Theological Biography of the SBC.” The young President of The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY described the four generations that have shaped Southern Baptist life. His masterful analysis provided a clear call to return to the theological vitality of the denomination’s founders. Dr. Mohler also spoke on “James Boyce and Theological Education in the SBC.” May Boyce’s vision be revived in our day!
Dr. Mark Coppenger, newly elected President of Midwestern Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, KS, presented a revealing study of the history of Southern Baptist preaching. His title tells the story in a nutshell: “The Ascent of Man in Southern Baptist Preaching.” Through the use of confessions and potent sermon excerpts, Dr. Coppenger portrayed the death of the Augustinian and rise of Pelagian views of man in Southern Baptist life. The resulting portrait was not a pretty sight! If anyone doubts the inroads which humanism has made into Southern Baptist theology, he should listen to the tape of this message.
Bill Ascol, pastor of the Heritage Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA, described the theological convictions of several of the early SBC presidents. It is most telling to see the kind of men which early Southern Baptists chose to lead them during the first 50 years of their existence. As Pastor Ascol demonstrated, these men were evangelical Calvinists whose views shaped the early life of the convention.
The conference welcomed back after ten years Mark Dever. Dr Dever recently became pastor of the Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC. after spending several years ministering and earning a Ph.D. at Cambridge. He spoke on “Justification by Faith” and on “The Value of the Puritans.” Both subjects were presented in an engaging style that was full of application.
Though all of the messages were of a consistently high caliber, two others deserve special mention. Dr. Don Whitney, former pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, IL and newly elected professor of spiritual formations at Midwestern Seminary, preached a searching sermon on “The Fields Are White Unto Harvest” (the first time he has ever been asked to speak on only a portion of a verse!) in which he challenged the “not now” mentality that so easily creeps into a church. Today is the day for evangelism.
Tom Nettles followed up on that theme in his message on the “Universality of the Gospel.” Drawing on Acts 17, Dr. Nettles, chairman of the history department at Trinity Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, exploded all doubts about the need to preach the gospel to all people. Never has a more powerful sermon been preached on this subject at the conference. The history professor is first and foremost a preacher!
Other speakers include Drs. Timothy George, Walter Johnson, Fred Malone and Tom Ascol. In the opinion of several long-time participants, this year’s conference, despite its heavy emphasis on history, was the “best ever.” Over 270 registered-including over half who attended for the first time. A large percentage of these were young pastors and ministerial students, a fact which holds great promise for the future.
Next year’s conference is scheduled for July 23-26. Geoff Thomas, the Baptist pastor from Aberystwyth, Wales, will be the featured speaker and the topic will be “The Doctrines of Grace” (DV). For more information contact the Founders Conference Secretary at the address in this journal.