Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What are Southern Baptists?

Dr. Russell Moore gave a great lecture on the identity of Southern Baptists entitled, "Confessions of a Fundamissional Dean: Are Southern Baptists Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, or What?" Click here to download the MP3 file from the seminary website.

It's a good look at who Southern Baptists are.

As I'm listening to the lecture now, I appreciate some of Dr. Moore's comments on the emerging church. He used an analogy in which he compared them to bungee jumpers. Bungee jumpers want the rush but without the danger. He said that often emerging church folks will darken the rooms, use candles, etc. in an attempt to be counter-cultural and see themselves as returning back to the ancient church. However, even in the midst of a dark room with candles, they aren't facing the dangers of the ancient church. It's just not the same.

Dr. Moore also pointed out that they strive to be counter-cultural, but you find that most of their views on culture tend to be quite in step with the the culture. Granted, they are counter-cultural to evangelical culture, but they tend to be quite like the world. They desire to distance themselves from the plain folk, like me and my family.

After listening to Dr. Moore's lecture, it made me think a little more about this emerging church business. I must confess that I don't wear Birkenstocks, hang out in coffee shops, or use mild profanities. I don't show video clips during my sermons, and I rarely go to the movies to find engaging quotes for sermons or lessons. I don't refer to myself as a story-teller or elevate narrative. I'm not particularly fond of using props in sermons, and I believe that some types of humor profane the sacred task of expositing God's Word. I don't particularly try to shape myself to fit the mold that the world expects, because, truth to be told, I'd never look cool anyway and would just come across as a phony. I guess the only book I could write is White Like a Cracker.

So, call me simple...I realize that I'm far from emerging, and the emerging folks would say that my "plainness" is keeping me from having more of an impact on the culture. However, when did culture become the starting point for how we live our lives as believers? Food for thought...


jennifer said...

hey Kenny! I noticed that you've been added to the SBTS Metablog list. Yay!

Kenny Wells said...

You and Angela Starnes kept telling me that I should, so I finally gave in. I don't always have much to contribute, but I pray that the Lord may use my thoughts (or resources that I point out) to build up His kingdom.


Paul Helms said...

I must confess.... I wear birkenstocks, and I hang out in coffee shops quite a bit... but I am a really bad storyteller (phew). But I'd like to read a story like Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit to my kids someday, using silly voices and spooky voices and high pitched voices. Well, you have an imagination :).

I myself am not fond of much emerging thought--and really, it's mostly their thoughts that I am concerned with. When it comes to practice, I think that good theology will often guide us into good practice. Sometimes we use a lot of candles for special occasions, like this year's Christmas service. All this is to say: Be careful not to label anyone emergent just because of their dress or cultural baggage. The Spirit unites us through the Word of God, and oh how we try to batter each other with the Word in the power of our flesh sometimes.

I say this because I know that within the fledgling ranks of the emergent church are sincere Christians who happen to see that their cultural peers are not being ministered to because they won't change their appearance and mannerisms for the oft-uninviting churches around them. True, some mannerisms need to change. But I think of a story someone told me where he heard a brand new believer praying using profanity because that had been the substance of his vocabulary until that point. But oh how sweet to hear (even if it is a bit harsh to our ears) "God, this is f'in awesome!" in response to coming to know our Lord Jesus. We can then admonish them alongside the apostle to remove all filthy language from our lips and to live chaste and holy lives before the LORD.

I have many more thoughts, but I hope this would be an encouragement to you this morning. Peace be with you Kenny :)

Kenny Wells said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenny Wells said...


Thanks for your thoughts! It was a good P.S. to what I had written, and I wish I would have thought of that myself. I do appreciate you clarifying what I left unclear. I'm not against stories or candles or birkenstocks, etc. I actually had in mind a new photo-essay found at the Purgatorio blog while I was writing ( That might explain the candle remark. :o)

As to what you're saying, you're right when you say that it is their thoughts that should concern us, and I whole-heartedly agree. I guess where I was coming from was that I've seen where EC folks bash good, hard-working (yet plain & blue collar) evangelicals for being, well, plain and blue collar.

Nevertheless, I accept your rebuke/exhortation, and I apologize if I came across too harshly against the externals of the movement. I appreciate your thoughts much, brother! I'm thankful for your interaction, and I actually agree with all that you said. It seems that I wasn't articulate enough in my first post to flesh things out quite a bit. But, that's what this comments section is for. :o)

Thanks for dropping by...I'm sorry there's not more to see here. I've been quite busy lately, as you can imagine. Anyhow, I'll give you a call sometime soon.


Paul Helms said...


No problem :) I am very concerned with the movement, as its most dire effects are felt through Christian publishing if you ask me. You may not find a lot of emergent 'churches' per se as you will find many young people greatly influenced by emergent thinkers--authors such as Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and others (some careful study of NT Wright may benefit here.. and I confess I've not had the time to read him at all). I know that if I were to bash Rob Bell at our college service I'd have a lot of people stirred up. But God is good, and he knows those who are his.

Blessings :)

Ministry Journeyman said...

Hey Kenny! This is Jason Lowe (we met at Angela's baptism and ate at Cracker Barrell afterwards). I agree with the uneasiness with the Emerging Church. I don't know much about it as I am still very early in my seminary studies, but I have taken the advice of Dr. Mohler and picked up a copy of D.A. Carson's "Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church" which I plan to read over Christmas break.

My first encounter with the Emerging Church was through the recommendation of an acquaintence that I read "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus. After reading that book, I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew that there were all kinds of things wrong with that book. I have since learned more about the EC and now see the remarks made in that book in a new light.

Anyway, thanks for the blog and the thoughts. I'll check in from time to time.

Blessings in Christ!