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Building Bridges #2–Dockery and Nettles

David Dockery identified himself as the “lead off hitter for the Akin-Amyrauldian-quasi-Arminian team” as he began his talk on the historical record of Baptists and Calvinism. Using 1 Thesalonians 5:21 (Test all things; hold fast what is good) as his guide, he led us through a very helpful birds-eye-view of history, from Calvin to Baptist beginnings to Southern Baptist origins to the recent conservative resurgence.

David’s presentation was marked by his characteristically irenic spirit and careful treatment of the material. I would take exception to a couple of his historical assessments (such as describing Shubal Stearns as a kind of Arminian) but could not help but be encouraged by his winsome treatment of the subject. His talk would make a very good introduction for anyone intersted in knowing about the Calvinistic influence on Baptist life.

Tom Nettles approached his subject differently by noting the conserving power of Calvinism on the essential doctrines of the faith. Using Baptist leaders from our history he argued that Calvinism inherently encourages and maintains orthodox views of Scripture, Trinity, substitutionary atonement, regenerate church members, Christ-centered preaching, religious liberty, missions and evangelism and one other that I am too tired to recall.

It was a very creative way to demonstrate that where you have a Baptist Calvinist, you have an strong ally for biblical Christianity. The quotes–especially the ones from Basil Manly–are worth having.

These two presentations very helpfully complemented each other.

Voddie Baucham called me tonight from his sickbed in Houston where he is battling the flu. Pray for him and for Don Whitney, who will preach in his place tomorrow night. Be sure to check out Ed Stetzer’s blog for more consistent updates. I doubt that I will be able to give another until after the conference.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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