Thursday, October 26, 2006

Core Value # 1: Biblical Authority

A desire to properly understand the message of God's Word and submit to its authority in my daily life.

Inherent in this statement, are several key concepts. My submission to the Word of God is my practical application of the Lordship of Christ in my life, which, as a Christian, is my bottom-line loyalty and first core value. At the recent Spanish Baptist Convention, in one of the messages given from the platform, it was mentioned that in all of the Baptist Confessions of Faith up until the New Hampshire Confession of 1833 the article on the authority of the Bible did not come first in the list, but somewhere further down the line, after articles on the Person of God, the authority of Christ, etc. It was stated that this was a reflection of "landmarkist" tendencies among Baptists in the States at that time. If my memory of history doesn’t fail me, the "landmarkist" movement didn’t really gain steam until several years after this. I can see, however, how this placement may have been a reflection of growing concern over theological liberalism, which was blossoming in several circles of Europe at this time. (Perhaps some of you "church history buffs" can help me out here.)

From my understanding, it is impossible to divorce the authority of God from that of His Word. It is true that in Jesus, and the New Testament, we have the key for properly understanding and applying the message of the Old Testament in our lives today. But, when I place as the first core value my submission to the authority of the Word of God, I believe this is nothing more than the manner in which I submit to that of its Author, and show my love and allegiance to Him.

Also, if the authority of the Word of God is so important for me, I want to do everything I can to understand properly its message. It is not good enough to give "lip-service" to the Word of God, and then, by means of shoddy hermeneutics, do blatant violence to what it is meant to say to us. At the same time, I realize my understanding of God’s Word will never be infallible, this side of heaven. I therefore, must be somewhat flexible in my demands for conformity on matters on which others, who have the same love for the Word of God, and the same desire to take seriously its message, come to different conclusions.

I believe that the Baptist Faith & Message does a good job of summarizing key doctrinal issues originally communicated to us in the Bible. Although the BFM is not infallible, my study of the Bible, up to this point, has led me to adopt personal beliefs in line with all of those stated in the BFM, with the exception (as previously stated on this blog) of what I believe to be a misguided affirmation of "closed communion." As long as Southern Baptists are willing to accept my convictions on this matter, though, I personally don’t see this particular wording of the BFM as a big enough issue on which to part ways.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, who is committed to understanding and obeying His Word, I, at this time, feel at home in the Southern Baptist Convention. In the eventuality my sincere understanding of the teachings of God’s Word were ever to begin to conflict unreconcilably with standards imposed by the SBC, the logical response, in my mind, would be to search for a "spiritual family" (within the larger context of the Body of Christ around the world) more compatible with my convictions. I remain hopeful that day will not come anytime soon.

11 comments:

Debbie said...

I hope not either David. SBC needs people such as yourself. I believe we need to put the very thing that we claim we believe without reservations. The Holy Bible.

Kevin Bussey said...

David,

You may not want to answer this and I understand if you can't...

What would your dad say about all of this? I always had great respect for him but I really wonder what he would think. Thanks in advance.

David Rogers said...

Kevin,

In general, I think if you listen carefully to what my Mom said at the Pastors Conference in Greensboro you will get a pretty good idea of what my Dad would have said.

At the same time, I realize I need to be careful to avoid giving the false impression that my views on individual issues of theological interpretation are always going to be 100% in agreement with those of my Dad. For example, while my Dad taught what would probably best be classified as an "Open but Cautious" view of the practice of miraculous gifts in today's church, my personal view is a little more in between the "Open but Cautious" and "Third Wave" view. At the same time, my Dad was very open to ministry on an interdenominational level, and cooperated in several projects with what would be considered to be more charismatic-oriented ministries. Regarding some other views for which I have expressed support, such as "modified open communion," and receiving as local church members those who had been the recipients of what some would consider "alien immersion," I am not completely sure of my Dad's exact views. I do know that in practice, he was more open on these issues than what many in the Baptist blogosphere are advocating lately.

In any case, the important thing, in regards to your question, is he was willing to make room within the SBC for those who differed from him on matters of secondary importance. The authority of the Word of God, and its inerrancy, evidently, were not, in my Dad's opinion, matters of secondary importance. And they are not for me either.

Kevin Bussey said...

Thanks David,

I agree about the authority of God's Word. That is not secondary at all to me either!

Anonymous said...

David,

"Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense" Proverbs 15:2 (The Message)

I find a lot of blogging to be dripping nonsense. However your blogs are thoughtful, knowledgeable and refreshing.

You mentioned in a recent blog:

"Out of Spain’s 8,022 cities and towns, approximately 7,450 have no on-going evangelical witness."

Those stats might be depressing to many but on the other hand that is something a real-live, apostolic, cross-cultural communicator of the Gospel could get excited about!

If we truly tried to understand God's Word and submit to it on a daily basis then many SBC trivialities would seem very, very unimportant.

Colleague

antonio said...

david, a little off subject but do you have any specific prayer requests for your area that need prayed. when i go stateside, which is any day now to several weeks (visa issues) I will be passing on this list.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother David,

In your response to Brother Kevin, I would like to ask a question.

While you would know more of your Dad and his theology and how he worked that out in his ministry better than I, would it be fair to say that your Dad would not allow CP funds to be used to promote his projects with more charismatic-oriented ministries? Isn't that where we are in the debate any way? Wasn't Dr. Rogers in leadership positions when NAMB placed its policy on Tongues? I am not trying to be antagonistic, but just saying that there seems to be some friction between what your mom said at the convention and what happened in 1989 with the then HMB.

Blessings,
Tim

Ken Sorrell said...

David,

Just wanted to say thanks for another great post and hello. I have been covered up with travel and training over the last month and a half and my blogging time has been completely taken away because of this. I'm still catching a post or two from time to time as I can and yours is high on the list to catch. Thanks for your insights and courage to challenge all of us to carefully think through what we say we believe.

David Rogers said...

Antonio,

Thanks for the offer to get out prayer requests! Here are a few that come to mind right now:

1. Pray for the Spanish Baptist Home Mission workers who recently received training in Pioneer Evangelism. Many of them seemed excited to take what they learned and put into practice in their place of service. Pray for faithfuless and wisdom as each one of them look to build their team who they can begin to train in the days ahead.

2. Pray for me as I will be leading a "Contagious Christianity" seminar in Toledo sometime in the next couple of weeks. I believe the balanced model of evangelism training offered in this course is a "good fit" for the Spanish context, and hope to see this training begin to be used in other groups and churches throughout Spain.

3. Pray for us as IMB workers in Spain that the Lord would help us to know what our role should be in Spain, in relation to working with our national partners and other GCCs.

I also recommend the links at Pray for Spain and Pray for Extremadura (the region where my wife and I served for 10 years, up to 2004).

David Rogers said...

Tim,

I think it would be fair to say that my Dad would not allow CP funds to be used to promote his projects with charismatic-oriented ministries, non-charismatic-oriented ministries, and even SBC-oriented ministries, provided they didn't directly come under the umbrella of approved projects for CP funding.

And, yes, I read Dr. Caner's reference to my father in his recent "White Paper" on tongues. In relation to this, I think it is important to keep in mind several things:

1. The big issue in the SBC at the time of the 1988 convention in San Antonio was still inerrancy. It was not in the interest of the "conservative cause," at this time, to divert this focus to side issues.

2. While the president of the SBC has a platform to address key questions in the convention, I would think it is generally beyond the scope of that platform to use it in order to critique decisions taken by Boards of Trustees, and other duly elected/appointed committees. Thus, the fact my father took no public stand at that time does not, in my opinion, preclude any private view he may have had.

3. This line of reasoning cuts both ways. If you follow Dr. Caner's implication out to its logical consequences, I think you would also have to ask if other SBC presidents voiced any public concern over the former IMB guidelines that permitted PPL.

Paul Burleson said...

David,

I've been out of pocket and away from my PC at home but not away from the Throne room. You've been prayed for consistently over the past several weeks albeit without contact from me as to that fact. Keep up the great work of ministry and writing which you do extremely well.

Grace,

Paul B.