Rainer’s Plea for Civil Discourse (Amen!)

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay, has issued a clear, humble plea for civility in the way we publicly address issues within the Christian family. He reveals his own heart and holds out a vision to which all who love Christ should aspire when he writes,

My passionate desire is to be a bridge builder in the Southern Baptist Convention. Not to compromise biblically. Not to be soft in my theology. I desire true collaboration with those of uncompromising biblical certitude to reach a lost world with the gospel of our Savior. My prayer is that the conservative resurgence will now grow into a Great Commission resurgence.

I love that spirit! It is not born of weakness or of any desire to avoid dealing with substantive issues (as he states elsewhere in the article). Rather, it grows out of the recognition that the God who instructs us to buy the truth and never sell it (Proverbs 23:23) also tells us to love one another earnestly from a pure heart and to do nothing from rivalry or conceit (1 Peter 1:22), but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 1:3).

It is impossible to commend our Savior with any authenticity when our words and actions so obviously contradict His spirit and teachings.

Dr. Rainer has issued an appropriate call. Let’s work hard to heed it.

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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