Founders Journal · Fall 2003 · pp. 30-33
Dear brethren at Founders Ministries,
Greetings to you in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We have received your six books and one CD two days back. Thank you very much. I enjoy your spiritual message and articles and some of our brothers (HERMON Reading Room visitors) also appreciated your messages. We praise the Lord for your services. We are praying for your ministry. Please help us in praying for our HERMON Reading Room ministry. If possible, try to kindly send whatever free materials might be useful for our ministry. Once again, we express our exclusive greetings to you. We uphold and remember you in our valuable prayers.
Forgive the long email but you have really blessed me and I wanted to share.
I have been a lifelong Southern Baptist (44 years). I am currently a member in a fairly large Southern Baptist church and my Sunday School class is reading The Purpose Driven Life this summer. Over the past year, I have been studying reformed theology because someone challenged me on my position regarding man’s free will as the determining factor in man’s salvation. After prayerful study, I came to the conclusion that the Bible in fact teaches the doctrines of grace as espoused in reformed theology—God is sovereign in salvation and man is not. Our class study came right on the heels of my personal study and frankly, has been causing me a little bit of despair over my belonging in a Southern Baptist church.
Our class study has led us into the areas of predestination, election and regeneration. I have been quite the “lone ranger” in class and it appears that I am the only person that holds to reformed doctrines of grace. The leader has continually suggested that I should read the latest Baptist Faith and Message to discover what Baptists believe in an effort, I think, to dismiss my views as being at odds with Southern Baptist doctrine. One of the class meeting outlines was entitled, “why Southern Baptist do not make good five point Calvinists.” Yesterday was just as bad when we discussed regeneration. Again, the leader held up the Baptist Faith and Message and encouraged us to get a copy and read it and to know what Baptists believe. I left feeling like I might need to find another Sunday School class because reformed theology was apparently an anathema to most folks in class.
I was really beginning to doubt whether I belonged in the Southern Baptist church at all. But, then it dawned on me that perhaps historical Southern Baptists did adhere to reformed theology and that over the course of time and with the rise in dispensational theology and the ever-increasing stress placed on the autonomy of man to make choices that a shift had occurred in Southern Baptist doctrine. So I did an internet search and found your site with its wealth of information and was so blessed—you absolutely can’t imagine. It was a real blessing to read sermons of the founders of the denomination and to find they clearly embraced reformed theology. (I still need to figure out where this apparent shift towards Arminianism came from and will study it further).
I had to pass along your site to the entire class. I am not a fish out of water! Reformed theology is not at all at odds with Southern Baptist doctrine and maybe class members will take the time to read the sermons and articles contained on your website to discover that Southern Baptists can hold to the great truths of reformed theology that the Bible teaches.
Thank you so much!
Response from the editor:
Thank you for your note. It is encouraging to hear that the Founders website has been a blessing to you. You might actually take a peek at the Baptist Faith and Message for the sake of your Sunday School teacher. Though it is not a great confession of faith, it does have a pretty good heritage. The preface refers to the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, which was written in the nineteenth century. In the BF&M there is an article (#5, I think) entitled, “God’s purpose of Grace.” It has a clear, albeit, not very full, statement on unconditional election. The paragraph on regeneration in the article on salvation also affirms the priority of regeneration to repentance and faith. Since your teacher has such high regard for the BF&M, it might help to show him exactly what it says. There is an excellent article on Article 5 by Tom Nettles It is available on our website—I think a link is on the main page. Tom’s book, By His Grace and For His Glory, is the best treatment on the issue of how Southern Baptists lost their commitment to the doctrines of grace.
Thanks again for writing. May God bless your labors.
I want to thank you for all that you have done through Founders Ministries to provide the opportunity for me to participate this summer in the internship program at Northside Baptist Church. The summer months afforded many wonderful learning experiences. I have greatly benefited through receiving instruction from pastors Hal Wynn and Paul Stith, in regard to my future ambitions and where I feel the Lord is leading me. Not to mention times spent discussing theology, church structure, and various other topics. I have definitely gained a more complete understanding of what it means to be a preacher of God’s Word as I have worked through the online course with D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on “Preachers and Preaching.” I have wrestled with my calling and the task at hand, feeling both inadequate to complete the work and also a great desire to use the gifts that I believe God has given me. This year was my first time attending the Founders Conference, and being in the company of so many godly men, hearing such great expositions both humbled me and encouraged me as I seek to follow God’s call upon my life. I was also fortunate enough to attend the Founders Youth Conference for the first time as a counselor. I had been previously as a youth, but having now grown in my faith and coming to understand God’s Word and the Doctrines of Grace in a much richer way, I was able to realize how very different the camp is in comparison to other youth camps, and appreciate the proper focus on God’s Word during the worship times. I am also very grateful for the financial provision you have made to help support me as I embark along this path of preparation. God has certainly used you to provide for my needs. May God continue to bless Founders Ministries and your church as you seek to stand for the Truth of God’s Word and seek God’s glory in all the earth. Thank you so very much!
In His Faithfulness,
Dear Dr. Thomas K. Ascol,
Greetings in Him whose mercies never fail! I want to thank you for assisting me in the great work of reformation here and especially in the context of my ministry here [Philippines]. Thank you very much for your book the ministry sent me. It is indeed our (my) primary concern to Reclaim the Gospel and Reform Churches. I’m so encouraged to be in the ministry with the help you are providing me especially as we are suffering from perennial currency devaluation, political and economic uncertainties. Life is really difficult here. My passion is to learn and teach and preach God’s Word, and my essential need is really deep and quality books like those that this ministry is publishing. As a pastor-teacher, this is my prayer and longing. I know that the Lord will take care of the rest and I have to do my best.
Your lives and Founders Ministries are impacting my life here.
Reclaimer and Reformer,
Pastor G, Philippines
Dear Founders Ministries,
I would just like to take a minute to thank you for providing the “Preaching and Preachers” course this summer. Never before have I thought so deeply about the office of a preacher and the biblical approach to expositing a text. God has used this course to reaffirm His call on my life to full-time ministry and I know preaching will be involved in this call. If I were to say I know exactly where God is calling me, I would be lying, but I take great comfort in knowing it is all in His hands and I am sure this course will be of great value in the future.
I am taking a homiletics course this semester, as is required for my major. With the knowledge given to me prior to this course through “Preaching and Preachers,” I will be able to use this Homiletics course to fine-tune approaches to exposition rather than focus on mannerisms or alliterations … It is great to know what is truly essential before I am taught the things which are of lesser importance. I pray God will continue to use Founders Ministries to affect the lives of many individuals as He is using it to help me grow in my Christianity.
For His Glory,