Ready for Reformation?

Tom Nettles’ latest book is hot off the press from Broadman and Holman publishers. Ready for Reformation? Bringing Authentic Reform to Southern Baptist Churches. You really should get a copy before finishing this blog. It ought to be required reading for the following Southern Baptists:

-Church leaders
-Associational Directors of Missions
-College Presidents
-College Professors
-Seminary Presidents
-Seminary Professors
-Seminary Administrators
-State convention Executive Directors
-Members of the Executive Committee
-Trustees of institutions and agencies
-Convention President

Beyond these, the book should also be read by every Southern Baptist church member who is committed to the inerrancy of Scripture. Dr. Nettles has identified issues that are tragically and harmfully being overlooked by many conservatives in the SBC today.

I will be commenting on this book, giving pertinent quotes over the next few days. It is a labor of love from the author. Not only are we challenged to think biblically and learn lessons from history, but in this book Dr. Nettles also reveals his own heart to us. With the kind of gentleness and precision that we have come to expect from him, Nettles argues pointedly for the need of ongoing reformation in the SBC. In essence he declares that inerrancy is not enough. Having reestablished the “formal principle” of reformation–that the Word of God written in our final authority–we must go on to reestablish the actual teachings of that final authority. In other words we must press forward with doctrinal reformation (the “material principle”).

“The [Protestant] Reformers knew that reformation–deeply theological, intensely personal, and pervasively institutional–was necessary. They also had confidence that they had devoted themselves to the right issues. They never exhibited confidence that they had completed all that needed to be done. They lived under the motivation of the truth that the reformed church must always be reforming–ecclesia reformata semper reformanda” (5).

Southern Baptists are in danger of allowing a triumphalistic spirit to blind us to the need of ongoing, further reformation. The historically informed biblical instruction in Nettles’ book can help rescue us from this danger. Get it quickly and read it carefully. Secure extra copies to give to people in the list above. Then pray that God will awaken many to see the desperate need of ongoing biblical reformation in the Southern Baptist Convention.

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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