2008 SBC Resolution On Integrity In Church Membership

Dr. Tom Ascol is planning to re-submit his Resolution on Integrity in Church Membership at this years annual convention.

I hope that it will get passed this year. Keep in mind that resolutions are non-binding things. No SBC church is required to follow any resolution passed at the annual meeting. Having said that, most churches are well served to follow the resolutions.

At my church, we have begun to examine our membership roles and to clean them up. We have over 600 “members” but on any given Sunday morning service we have about 80-85 people in attendance. Sunday evening and Wednesday evening drop to about 40 or so. The pastor has had volunteers call people on our role who are not attending to see if their status can be determined. (For example: Are they attending somewhere else? If not, are they willing to come back or not? Etc.) There were many that the contact information that we have is no longer correct so we can’t find them. From this, we are going to move these non attenders off the active roles and onto an inactive list. We are also planning (at some point) to try reach out to those that might be open to coming back to see if we can bring them back into the church.

What do you all think about this issue? Is it something that we should worry about or is it an issue not worthy of the time and effort?

Chapter 3: God’s Decree

Source: 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

Chapter 3

3.1 God has decreed all things that occur,1 and this he has done in himself, from all eternity, by the perfectly wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably.2

Yet he has done this in such a way that God is neither the author of sin, nor does he share with anyone in sinning,3 nor does this violate the will of the creature, nor is the free working or contingency of second causes taken away but rather established.4

In all this, God’s wisdom is displayed in directing all things, as is his power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.5

(1) Dan 4:34-35; Rom 8:28; 11:36; Eph 1:11
(2) Pro 19:21; Isa 14:24-27; 46:10-11; Psa 115:3; 135:6; Rom 9:19
(3) Gen 18:25; Jas 1:13; 1Jo 1:5
(4) Gen 50:20; 2Sa 24:1; Isa 10:5-7; Mat 17:12; Joh 19:11; Act 2:23; 4:27-28
(5) Num 23:19; Eph 1:3-5

3.2 Although God knows everything which may or can come to pass under all imaginable conditions,1 yet he has not decreed anything because he foresaw it in the future, or because it would come to pass [anyway] under certain conditions.2

(1) 1Sa 23:11-12; Mat 11:21,23; Act 15:18
(2) Isa 40:13-14; Rom 9:11-18; 11:34; 1Co 2:16

3.3 By God’s decree, and for the demonstration of his glory, certain human beings and angels are predestined (or foreordained) to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace.1 Others are left to continue in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.2

(1) Mat 25:34; 1Ti 5:21
(2) Joh 12:37-40; Rom 9:6-24; 1Pe 2:8-10; Jude 1:4

3.4 Those angels and human beings who are predestined and foreordained to eternal life, are specifically and irreversibly designated, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.1

(1) Mat 22:1-14; Joh 13:18; Rom 11:5-6; 1Co 7:20-22; 2Ti 2:19

3.5 God chose those human beings who are predestined to life before the foundation of the world, in accordance with his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will. God chose them in Christ for eternal glory, solely out of his free grace and love,1 without anything in the creature as a condition or cause moving him to choose them.2

(1) Rom 8:30; Eph 1:4-6,9; 2Ti 1:9
(2) Rom 9:11-16; 11:5-6

3.6 As God has appointed the elect to glory, so he has by the eternal and completely free purpose of his will foreordained all the means.1 Therefore those who are elected (being fallen in Adam) are redeemed by Christ,2 effectually called to faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, justified, adopted, sanctified,3 and kept by his power through faith to salvation.4 None but the elect are redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved.5

(1) Eph 1:4; 2:10; 2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2
(2) 1Th 5:9-10; Tit 2:14
(3) Rom 8:30; Eph 1:5; 2Th 2:13
(4) 1Pe 1:5
(5) Joh 6:64-65; 8:47; 10:26; 17:9; Rom 8:28; 1Jo 2:19

3.7 The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,1 so that those who are heeding the will of God revealed in his Word, and who are obeying it, may be assured of their eternal election from the certainty of their effectual calling.2 So shall this doctrine promote the praise, reverence, and admiration of God,3 and encourage humility4 and diligence,5 and bring much comfort6 to all who sincerely obey the Gospel.

(1) Deu 29:29; Rom 9:20; 11:33
(2) 1Th 1:4-5; 2Pe 1:10
(3) Eph 1:6; Rom 11:33
(4) Rom 11:5,6,20; Col 3:12
(5) 2Pe 1:10
(6) Luk 10:20

Chapter 2: God And The Holy Trinity

Source: 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

Chapter 2

2.1 The Lord our God is the one and only living and true God.1

His substance is in and of himself, he is infinite in being and perfection.2 His essence cannot be understood by any but himself.3 He is an absolutely pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts or passions. He alone has immortality, living in light which no one can approach.4 He is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, in every way infinite, perfectly holy, perfectly wise, absolutely free, completely absolute.5 He works all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and entirely righteous will for his own glory.6

He is perfectly loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth; he forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.7 He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him, yet at the same time he is entirely just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and he will by no means clear the guilty.8

(1) Deu 6:4; Jer 10:10; 1Co 8:4,6; 1Th 1:9
(2) Isa 48:12
(3) Exo 3:14; Job 11:7-8; 26:14; Psa 145:3; Rom 11:33-34
(4) Joh 4:24;1Ti 1:17; Deu 4:15-16; Luk 24:39; Act 14:11,15; Jas 5:17
(5) Mal 3:6; Jas 1:17; 1Ki 8:27; Jer 23:23-24; Psa 90:2; 1Ti 1:17; Gen 17:1; Rev 4:8; Isa 6:3; Rom 16:27; Psa 115:3; Ex 3:14
(6) Eph 1:11; Isa 46:10; Pro 16:4; Rom 11:36
(7) Exo 34:6-7; 1Jo 4:8
(8) Heb 11:6; Neh 9:32-33; Psa 5:4-6; Nah 1:2-3; Exo 34:7

2.2 God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness in and of himself; he is unique in being, all-sufficient in and to himself, not standing in need of any creature which he has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but rather demonstrating his own glory in them, through them, to them, and upon them.1

He alone is the source of all being, from whom, through whom, and to whom are all things;

He has absolute sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do through them, for them, or to them whatever he pleases.2

In his sight all things are open and plain, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent of created beings, so for him nothing is contingent or uncertain.3

He is perfectly holy in all his plans, in all his works, and in all his commands.4

Angels and human beings owe him, as creatures to the Creator, worship, service, and obedience, and whatever else he is pleased to require of them.5

(1) Joh 5:26; Act 7:2; Psa 148:13; 119:68; 1Ti 6:15; Job 22:2-3; Act 17:24-25
(2) Rev 4:11; 1Ti 6:15; Rom 11:34-36; Dan 4:25,34-35
(3) Heb 4:13; Rom 11:33-34; Psa 147:5; Act 15:18; Eze 11:5
(4) Psa 145:17; Rom 7:12
(5) Rev 5:12-14

2.3 In this divine and infinite Being there are three persons, the Father, the Son (or the Word) and the Holy Spirit.1 They are one in substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet this essence is undivided.2

The Father is not derived from anyone, he is neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.3 All three are infinite, without beginning, and therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being. Yet they are distinguished by several distinctive characteristics and personal relations.

This doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our fellowship with God, and of the comfort of our dependence on him.

(1) Mat 3:16-17; 28:19; 2Co 13:14
(2) Exo 3:14; Joh 14:11; 1Co 8:4-6
(3) Pro 8:22-31; Joh 1:1-3,14,18; 3:16; 10:36; 15:26; 16:28; Heb 1:2; 1Jo 4:14; Gal 4:4-6

Chapter 1: The Holy Scriptures

Source: 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

Chapter 1

1.1 The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule1 for saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.2

Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence give such clear testimony to the goodness, wisdom and power of God that they leave people without excuse,3 yet they are not sufficient to give the knowledge of God and his will that is necessary for salvation.4 Therefore it pleased the Lord to reveal himself at various times and in different ways, and to declare his will to his church.5 To ensure the preservation and propagation of the truth, and to establish and support the church against human corruption, the malice of Satan, and the world, he committed his complete revelation to writing. The Holy Scriptures are therefore absolutely indispensable,6 for God’s former ways of revealing his will to his people have now ceased.7

(1) Or, standard
(2) Isa 8:20; Luk 16:29; Eph 2:20; 2Ti 3:15-17
(3) Psa 19:1-3; Rom 1:19-21,32; 2:12a,14-15
(4) Psa 19:1-3 with 7-11; Rom 1:19-21; 2:12a,14-15 with 1:16-17 and 3:21
(5) Heb 1:1-2a
(6) Pro 22:19-21; Luk 1:1-4; 2Pe 1:12-15; 3:1; Deu 17:18ff; 31:9ff,19ff; 1Co 15:1; 2Th 2:1-2,15; 3:17; Rom 1:8-15; Gal 4:20; 6:11; 1Ti 3:14ff; Rev 1:9,19; 2:1, etc.; Rom 15:4; 2Pe 1:19-21
(7) Heb 1:1-2a; Act 1:21-22; 1Co 9:1; 15:7-8; Eph 2:20

1.2 The Holy Scriptures, or the Word of God written, consist of all the books of the Old and New Testament. These are:

The Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

The New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation

All of these are given by the inspiration of God to be the rule1 of faith and life.2

(1) Or, standard
(2) 2Ti 3:16 with 1Ti 5:17-18; 2Pe 3:16

1.3 The books commonly called the Apocrypha were not given by divine inspiration, and are not part of the canon or rule of Scripture. Therefore they have no authority in the church of God, nor are they to be accepted or made use of in any way different from other human writings.1

(1) Luk 24:27,44; Rom 3:2

1.4 Holy Scripture demands belief, yet its authority does not depend on the testimony of any person or church,1 but entirely on God its author, who is truth itself. Therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.2

(1) Luk 16:27-31; Gal 1:8-9; Eph 2:20
(2) 2Ti 3:15; Rom 1:2; 3:2; Act 2:16; 4:25; Mat 13:35; Rom 9:17; Gal 3:8; Rom 15:4; 1Co 10:11; Mat 22:32; Luk 16:17; Mat 22:41ff; Joh 10:35; Gal 3:16; Act 1:16; 2:24ff; 13:34-35; Joh 19:34-36; 19:24; Luk 22:37; Mat 26:54; Joh 13:18; 2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:19-21; Mat 5:17-18; 4:1-11

1.5 We may be influenced and persuaded by the testimony of the church of God to hold a high and reverent regard for the Holy Scriptures.1 Moreover the glory of its contents, the efficacy of its doctrine, the majesty of its style, the agreement among all its parts, the expanse of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full revelation it gives of the only way for human salvation, together with many other incomparable characteristics and its complete perfection—all these arguments provide abundant evidence that it is indeed the Word of God.2 Yet, not withstanding this, our full persuasion and assurance of its infallible truth and divine authority comes from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.3

(1) 2Ti 3:14-15
(2) Jer 23:28-29; Luk 16:27-31; Joh 6:63; 1Pe 1:23-25; Heb 4:12-13; Deu 31:11-13; Joh 20:31; Gal 1:8-9; Mar 16:15-16
(3) Mat 16:17; 1Co 2:14ff; Joh 3:3; 1Co 2:4-5; 1Th 1:5-6; 1Jo 2:20-21 with 27

1.6 The whole revelation of God concerning all things essential for his own glory, human salvation, faith and life, is either explicitly set down or implicitly contained in the Holy Scriptures. Nothing is ever to be added, whether by a new revelation of the Spirit, or by human traditions.1 Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the inward enlightenment of the Spirit of God is necessary for the saving understanding of the things revealed in the Word.2 There are also some aspects of the worship of God and of church government common to human activities and organizations which may be determined by the light of nature and Christian common-sense, but in accordance with the general rules of the Word which must always be observed.3

(1) 2Ti 3:15-17; Deu 4:2; Act 20:20,27; Psa 19:7; 119:6,9,104,128
(2) Joh 6:45; 1Co 2:9-14
3) 1Co 14:26,40

1.7 Not all things in Scripture are equally plain in themselves,1 nor equally clear to everyone.2 Yet those things that are essential to be known, believed and obeyed for salvation are so clearly set forth and explained in one place of Scripture or another, that not only the educated but also the uneducated may attain a satisfactory understanding of them by using ordinary means.3

(1) 2Pe 3:16
(2) 2Ti 3:15-17
(3) 2Ti 3:14-17; Psa 19:7-8; 119:105; 2Pe 1:19; Pro 6:22-23; Deu 30:11-14

1.8 The Old Testament in Hebrew (the national language of the people of God of ancient Israel)1 and the New Testament in Greek (the common language of that time) were inspired directly by God, and were kept pure throughout the ages by his particular care and providence. They are therefore authentic,2 so that in all religious controversies the church must appeal to them as final.3 But these original languages are not known to all the people of God, who have a right to and an interest in the Scriptures, and who are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them.4 They are therefore to be translated into the common language of every nation to which they come,5 so that (with the Word of God living richly in all) people may worship God in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.6

(1) Rom 3:2
(2) Mat 5:18
(3) Isa 8:20; Act 15:15; 2Ti 3:16-17; Joh 10:34-36
(4) Deu 17:18-20; Pro 2:1-5; 8:34; Joh 5:39,46
(5) 1Co 14:6,9,11,12,24,28
(6) Rom 15:4; Col 3:16

1.9 The infallible rule for the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any [part of] Scripture (which is not a miscellany, but a unity) it must be understood in the light of other passages that speak more clearly.1

(1) Isa 8:20; Joh 10:34-36; Act 15:15-16

1.10 The supreme judge by which all religious controversies are to be settled, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, human doctrines and individual thinkers are to be examined, can be none other than the Holy Scriptures delivered by the Spirit. In the verdict of Scripture our faith is finally determined.1

(1) Mat 22:29,31-32; Act 28:23-25; Eph 2:20

Nathan Finn Wonders If The SBC Has A Future

I had heard about this post written by Nathan Finn last week but I waited to read it. Truthfully, I was not sure if I wanted to read it. I really don’t want to consider the possibility that the SBC is unhealthy but it is a fact that we can no longer ignore.

If you have not done so already, read Nathan’s post and let me know what you think. Do you agree with his assessment or do you disagree? Why?

Davy Crockett On Congress Spending Of Public Money

“We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” —Davy Crockett

Source:  The Patriot Post

Ronald Reagan On Federalism

“[W]hen we talk about federalism here in Washington, we’re really talking about putting the States more and more in charge. And that means that if what we conservatives believe in, if the principles that we stand for, are to succeed and prevail, we will need more conservatives… in our State legislatures… I can’t help wondering about that old argument for federalism. It used to be said that if we gave the States more power they’d show that they had the maturity to handle as well as Congress handles its power. Talk about faint praise.” —Ronald Reagan

Source:  The Patriot Post

If Election Is True, Why Evangelize?

This is an awesome video I first saw over at Crumbs Which Fall.  It answers one of the main objections that people have when evaluating Calvinism.  It is well worth your time to watch it.

Do Creationists Think That Various Scientific Disciplines Represent A Vast Conspiracy?

Let’s be honest here, shall we? As a young earth creationist, I think it’s fair to assume that you think that geology, biology, and astronomy, among other fields, all represent a vast conspiracy.  (posted by Dan in the comment section of this post)

Dan and I are discussing whether evolution should be classified as a science or a religion.  Dan made the above comment as part of our discussion.  I now come to you…do you think that young earth creationists look at the various fields of scientific study that Dan listed represent a conspiracy against creation and creationists?  I don’t and you will see my response to Dan if you read the all comments.

Basically I told Dan the creationists and evolutionists have the same data and the we just interpret it differently.  This difference arises due to our different presuppositions.  Do you agree with my thoughts here?  If not, how would you answer Dan’s comment?

I am looking forward to your responses as I they will be very enlightening.

How to improve your blogging

Have you ever thought about becomming a better blogger?  For me it is just a hobby but I would like to be competant at it at least.  I was reading this post by Justin Taylor over at Between Two Worlds on how to improve your blogging.  He was summarizing a post written by Abraham Piper.  He gives twelve tips to help you blog better.

Let me know what you think of the tips.