Saturday, February 28, 2009

Observations on Brister


The following is by Brother Ian Elsasser. His observation about the floundering of the Flounders (as I prefer to call "Founders Ministries") is the way many are probably viewing things.

Timmy Brister's remarks do seem to be at odds with Founders Ministries, especially when one considers his words to Bart Barber on Praise God Barebones blog.

Of note, Brister says "Calvinism is not a first-tier issue" and "definite atonement would be second (third?) tier."

This seems plainly inconsistent with emphasis of Ernest Reisinger, the one who founded and shaped the vision and purpose of Founders Ministries.

Reisinger said the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC fell short of ideal and needed to choose "the deep-rooted, God-centered theology of evangelical Calvinism," clearly entailing "the doctrines of grace," as over against "the man-centered, unstable theology of the other perspectives present in the convention."

Reisinger: "Make no mistake about it. Southern Baptists are at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. The choice is between the deep-rooted, God-centered theology of evangelical Calvinism and the man-centered, unstable theology of the other perspectives present in the convention. As for us, we adhere to the doctrines of grace because we seek nothing more than to glorify God and enjoy him forever through true doctrine and true devotion and true worship and true witness. The way we see it, to be a Calvinist is to hold to a God-magnifying faith, proclaiming that salvation is granted by grace, received by faith, grounded in Christ and reflective of the glory of God. To be a Calvinist is to be comforted by these truths, trusting that the God of the Bible, who is infinitely holy and righteous and loving, will not only save us but also keep us until the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Calvinism is a biblical faith which lives and breathes Scripture as God's infallible, inspired, inerrant Word, living and active, powerful, and sufficient for all of life. It is a stable faith, firmly entrenched within the historic orthodox tradition, flowing from Jesus and Paul through Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Owen, Bunyan, Edwards and Whitefield. It is a conserving faith, heartily resistant to the errors that plague other evangelical viewpoints" (Introduction to A Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle Of Beginnings Of Reformation in The Southern Baptist Convention by Ernest Reisinger & D. Matthew Allen).

How should we understand Reisinger's view? Does it portray Calvinism as a "second tier" or even "third tier" issue?

If the view of the Founders has changed from that formulated and established by Reisinger, should not Founders Ministries confirm this through the updating of their website purpose and announce that they have erred in the past by making Reformed theology and the doctrines of grace a main focus of their ministry activity toward the SBC?

But has its emphasis really changed?

Brister outlines the three main characteristics of a church he would plant ("confessionally Reformed, distinctively Baptist, and missionally driven")\ -- characteristics he voiced previously on his blog, Headed to Southeastern Seminary. Brister places "confessionally Reformed" in the first position. While it may be argued he does not run Founders Ministries, he is an associate pastor of the church where Founders Ministries Director, Tom Ascol, is pastor and which church [allegedly] is planning to plant a church.

Either come clean and admit that the original vision and purpose has not changed or admit it has changed -- and change by announcement and revision of the website and practices.



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