SBC LIFE - Journal of the Southern Baptist Convention
Pre-Convention 2018
“In the Lord we have protection,” Gaines tells Executive Committee
Welcome to DFW, SBC
What Kind of Witness Will We Leave in Dallas?
2018 SBC Annual Meeting Program
2018 SBC Annual Meeting Event Schedules
Cooperative Program Stage
2018 SBC App
Associations Address Ministry Needs, Plan for Future
In-state Associational Partnership Benefits Both
Warren Association: Reversing the Trend in Baptisms
Evangelists Meet for Summit 2018
Executive Committee to Recommend National Day of Prayer on SBC Events Calendar
What to Expect for Crossover Dallas
Gift of Building Sparks Growth of Kentucky Church Plant
Entering the Second Century of Service
New Orleans Seminary Celebrates One Hundred Years
Creating a Stewardship Culture in Your Congregation
For the Pastor’s Wife: The Power of One


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SBC LIFE (ISSN 1081-8189), Volume 26, Number 2, © 2018 Southern Baptist Convention, Executive Committee


The Authority of the Bible • The ultimate concern in a discussion of the Bible is its authority. This article will treat the authority of the Bible and its rightful role to command obedience. The Bible's authority in contemporary challenges, as well as in ethics and decision making, will be noted. The importance of personal and corporate application will conclude the discussion. ~ by David S. Dockery

The Bible — Sufficient! • Southern Baptists have long been strong advocates of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. And while there may be little debate in our churches over the Bible's authority, on a practical level we may be subtly tempted to overlook the sufficiency of Scripture — as it is effectively taught and applied — when it comes to equipping our members for service and life. There are so many competing resources, trends, and strategies available today that we can be tempted to rely upon man's devices, rather than God's Word, for the training of God's people. However, a review of Paul's instruction to Timothy reminds us that His Word truly is sufficient in this regard. ~ by Kenneth S. Hemphill

The Bible — Effective! • Years ago, I was sitting by a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention listening to a major convention address. The speaker moved the crowd with his stories, illustrations, and vocabulary. All in all, it was a better than average message from a capable leader. As the message drew to a close, the former president turned to me and said: "It cost us so much to recover the authority of the Bible. When are we going to use it?" ~ Richard R. Melick, Jr.

God—Personal Reflections on the Person of God • Our Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) is divided into eighteen articles, reflecting the common and helpful practice of systematizing our theology. The BF&M describes God this way: "There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being." ~ by Morris H. Chapman

God — The Father • Nineteenth-century Protestant liberal theologian Adolf von Harnack described the Christian faith as "the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man." But today even this liberal theologian would be accused of using sexist language and pressed to revise his statement to something like "the motherhood/parenthood of God and the family of humanity." ~ by Terry L. Wilder

God The Father — All Powerful, Knowing, Loving, and Wise • In the Baptist Faith and Message (Article II.A.), Southern Baptists confess that God is all of these things: "all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise." We believe these attributes properly describe the character of God, because that is how the inspired Bible presents Him. Unfortunately, some people have downplayed or denied one or more of these attributes of God. They have difficulty reconciling the Bible's presentation of God with their own limited and uninspired observations. ~ by Malcolm B. Yarnell III

God The Father, History — His Story • My three-year-old son was sitting on my lap as I told him a story — the story of how his mother and I met. He looked up at me with a curious expression as I told him of how my cousin kept telling me about her friend, and how she wished I would give her a call. I told him how I hadn't been interested in tracking down a "blind date" with some unknown high school senior (I was a sophomore in college). My cousin had stopped nagging me about it, until one day sitting in biology class I just decided to scratch out a note asking my cousin to set up a time for me to meet this girl. I stamped the letter and took it to a curbside post office box. I hesitated at first, and almost pulled back the letter, before letting it fall into the mailbox. It was too late. I couldn't retrieve it. And my whole life was changed. ~ by Russell D. Moore

God The Son: Jesus Christ The Eternal Son Who is Fully God • The Person and work of Jesus Christ is continually belittled in this post-postmodern age. Cults and sects would reduce Him to a created being, and an increasingly secular society dismisses Him altogether. But the identity of Jesus Christ is absolutely essential for a genuine Christian Gospel. To preach or believe in any other than the biblical Jesus is eternally fatal. ~ by Steven A. McKinion

God's Son Born of a Woman • In every generation, the virgin birth of Jesus comes under attack, both from those within and those without the church. At the dawn of the 19th century (1799), Friedrich Schleiermacher, trying to make Christianity palatable to its "cultured despisers," placed belief in the virgin birth and the resurrection on the same level, holding that one need not believe either to still have "faith." A century later, in 1892, German Lutheran pastor Christopher Schrempf refused to use the Apostle's Creed in baptism because of his disbelief in the virgin birth. When a group of his followers consulted with Adolf Harnack, Harnack affirmed Schrempf's discrediting of the Apostle's Creed by attacking its historicity. ~ by Roger S. (Sing) Oldham

God the Son His Humanity • Recently, a church member approached me hesitantly. He looked half afraid that I would accuse him of heresy once I heard what he was about to utter. Then he said, "I love God the Father. Don't get me wrong. But I really feel close to Jesus. What do you think of that?" ~ by David Roach

God the Son ~ His Redeeming Work on the Cross • There are some aspects of our belief that leave no wiggle room. What a person believes about Jesus and His work on the cross is one of those; that belief makes all the difference in the world now and for all eternity. ~ by Jerry Garrard

God the Son ~ His Victorious Resurrection • The resurrection can bring to mind so many associative memories: from decorating Easter eggs with PAAS dye and wax crayons, to poignant and precious moments with family, to particular Easter services that moved hearts and changed lives. And of course there is the music: Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Low in the Grave He Lay, as well as less formal favorites as When We All Get to Heaven and I'll Fly Away. ~ by Mark Coppenger

God the Holy Spirit ~ His Deity and Personhood • The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity who actualizes in believers what God the Father promised for His children in God the Son. The profound reality is that since the Holy Spirit dwells in followers of Christ, they can personally encounter the transcendent God in a very intimate manner. However, by failing to recognise the progressive nature of revelation and the Holy Spirit's humble role of glorifying the Father and the Son but not Himself, many have developed unbiblical beliefs regarding the deity and personhood of the Holy Spirit — throughout history, and even today. ~ by Dongsun Cho

God the Holy Spirit ~ His Role in Salvation • In 1961, John W. Peterson wrote Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul, a Gospel song that was to become wildly popular among Baptists and other evangelical Christians. It ultimately made its way into the 1975 Baptist Hymnal. Part of its appeal was a blending of what some older Baptists called "experimental religion" with sound biblical doctrine. ~ by Roger S. (Sing) Oldham

God the Holy Spirit ~ Fruit, Gifts, Sanctification • "You can have a personal relationship with God." We like to pull this amazing declaration out of our evangelism toolboxes, to focus on the fact that a relationship with God is actually possible for human beings. This fact is at the wondrous heart of biblical, evangelical Christianity. ~ by Earl Waggoner

Man ~ Made in the Image of God • The Palmist asks, What is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him? (Psalm 8:4). Today's culture does not take a high view of man, and answers to the question "What is man?" would vary, depending on whom you ask. But the biblical answer to this question is that men and women are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Thus, to truly comprehend what it means to be human, we must understand imago Dei, the image of God in man. ~ by Norm Evans

Male and Female ~ Made in the Image of God • Confusion over issues of gender runs rampant among churches across America today. The current confusion necessitates a continual reexamination and strong restatement of the biblical position, for Scripture is absolutely clear on gender distinctions in both home and church. Whenever families and churches act contrary to biblical teaching, they do themselves great harm and risk doing damage to the cause of Christ. Let's take a look at Scripture's presentation of men and women, equal in the image of God, but different in role and function. ~ by Randy Stinson

Sinners ~ In Desperate Need of a Savior • The topics of "sin" and "sinners" are not particularly popular in most settings or seasons, but especially not at Christmas. My wife and I have the incredible privilege of leading a weekly, home discipling group of about thirty teenagers and college students. Two weeks before Christmas we considered the topic "Out of Place Ornaments." Using the illustration of how each family's Christmas tree may have ornaments that don't seem to fit, I referred to the family tree of Christ as presented in Matthew. I pointed out that the genealogy of Christ includes four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (Matthew 1:3-6). Then I explained that for Matthew to include women in the genealogy of royalty would have been unusual in itself, but even more bizarre was the fact that each of those women would have stood out in the genealogy because of negative connotations. Two of the four were linked to specific accounts of sordid sinful activity, another came from a background of prostitution, and three of the four were from outside the covenant family entirely. Each one had a dark cloud over her because of personal background, or heritage, or both. How odd and out of place — or so it would seem. Women some might have deemed as "out of place" in the Lord's family tree, God used specifically and wondrously to prepare the way for His Son's birth through a particular young virgin. ~ by John Revell

Sinners ~ In Desperate Need of Salvation • God continually delights me with His timing. Recently, I arrived home late from a trip. I was tired from a long day of speaking followed by an even longer day of travel. On the way, home I stopped at the fitness center to get a quick workout. Serendipitously I encountered a man I had not previously met. As we discussed current events, he indicated that he had always viewed man as being fundamentally "good." He admitted that life experiences had caused him to doubt his original conclusion. He had reluctantly concluded that man has a fatal flaw and a sinful nature. ~ by Kenneth S. Hemphill

Election ~ God's Gracious Purpose • Southern Baptists are a diverse people. Nowhere is this diversity more apparent than on the subject of election. The Preamble of the Baptist Faith and Message, which is, itself, an integral and important part of the confession of faith, sets forth several parameters for what the Baptist Faith and Message seeks to accomplish. Specifically, it identifies "certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified." ~ by Roger S. (Sing) Oldham

Calvinism ~ Southern Baptist Perspectives • It is no secret that, over the last thirty years, the presence and influence of Calvinism has grown within the Southern Baptist Convention. While there are those who are concerned over the theological stance and the trend of its growing presence and popularity, some enthusiastically welcome it. ~ by John Revell

The Church ~ A Display of God's Glory • The doctrine of the church is of the utmost importance. A theology for the church would be incomplete without a theology of the church. It is the most visible part of Christian theology, and it is vitally connected with every other part. Serious departures from the Bible's teaching about the church normally signify other, more central misunderstandings about the Christian faith. ~ by Mark Dever & John Revell

The Church ~ A Bride, A Building, A Body • It is common to describe relationships, such as that between two lovers, through similes and metaphors. For instance, one may say to a beloved, "I miss you like the flower misses the rain." Or, "Our love is forever in bloom." In referring to a flower, the speaker does not literally mean the two lovers have petals, anthers, and stamens. The point in the first statement, a simile, is that the lover longs for the beloved; the point in the second, a metaphor, is that their love is constantly experiencing new life. Such images are not intended for scientific detail. Rather, they evoke profound truths individual words are unable to convey on their own. ~ by Malcolm B. Yarnell, III

SBC LIFE is published by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention • 901 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, 615-244-2355, E-mail:

Dr. Frank S. Page, President and Chief Executive Officer
Roger S. (Sing) Oldham, Executive Editor
Andy Beachum, Art Director/Designer

SBC LIFE, published by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, is the journal of the Southern Baptist Convention. Launched in 1993 by the SBC Executive Committee as the successor to The Baptist Program, and supported with Cooperative Program funds, SBC LIFE features articles and updates on topics and issues related to Southern Baptist missions and ministries, churches, and the culture. It provides information, encouragement, and inspiration, and majors on telling the good news of what God is doing through the Southern Baptist Convention and its people.

SBC LIFE is sent free-of-charge to Southern Baptist pastors, pastoral staff, full-time denominational workers, chaplains, and vocational evangelists five times yearly. Individual and bulk subscriptions are also available. For SBC LIFE subscriptions, call (615) 782-8668.

SBC LIFE is published by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention 901 Commerce St., Nashville, Tennessee 37203, 615-244-2355,

All scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible unless noted otherwise.

SBC LIFE (ISSN 1081-8189), © 2018 Southern Baptist Convention, Executive Committee