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Monday, June 30, 2008

The Anti-Calvinist!

Pastor John Sneed of Davenport, Iowa, writes on the clear and present danger of the Anti-Calvinist in our midst...

You really should read this article!

Grace Always,
Greg Alford

Sunday, June 29, 2008

SBC "One Size Fits All"

“One Size Fits All”: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone!

The last 25 years of commercial DBMS development can be summed up in a single phrase: “One size fits all”. This phrase refers to the fact that the traditional DBMS architecture (originally designed and optimized for business data processing) has been used to support many data-centric applications with widely varying characteristics and requirements.

In this paper, we argue that this concept is no longer applicable to the database market, and that the commercial world will fracture into a collection of independent database engines, some of which may be unified by a common front-end parser. We use examples from the stream-processing market and the datawarehouse market to bolster our claims. We also briefly discuss other markets for which the traditional architecture is a poor fit and argue for a critical rethinking of the current factoring of systems services into products.

Unless you are a Database Manager and a Software Application Developer like me (Yea... I'm a Computer Nerd in my other life) then the above paragraphs probably mean absolutely nothing to you.

But as I read this paper by Michael Stonebraker it occurred to me that much of what Michael was saying about the database market is also true about the SBC... “One Size Fits All” is an Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone!

Like it or not Southern Baptist are a diverse group of believers... and as someone recently said concerning the diverse group gathered at the 2008 Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana “We are all Conservatives”. Being a Southern Baptist Conservative does not mean that we all agree on everything but as Dr Danny Akin recently commented at this Convention “there will be no retreat from or compromise of the great theological truths and Baptist distinctives that unite us.”

A call for diversity and unity within the SBC is not a call for the inclusion of Liberals who reject the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Scriptures (that battle has long been won)... it is however a call for the full inclusion of other Conservatives who differ (sometimes passionately) on third tier issues like alcohol, baptism, and church polity.

A “One Size Fits All” ideology is nothing less than an attempt by some in the SBC to Lord-it over their fellow Southern Baptist Believers. A “One Size Fits All” ideology says I am in charge and I am going to impose my will and my convictions upon all Southern Baptist. A “One Size Fits All” ideology is a dangerously delusion that leads to the narrowing of the parameters of cooperation. And history shows us that a “One Size Fits All” ideology has destroyed many denominations in the past.

If the Spirit of Cooperation among Conservative Southern Baptist is not regained, and the “One Size Fits All” attitude of the Fundamentalist that has been quietly gaining ground in the SBC is allowed to spread and prevail in our institutions (IMB, Florida Baptist Convention) then history will look back on the SBC and wag their tongs... the SBC will become a byword for arrogance and what might have been... but now is lost.

For the SBC “One Size Fits All”: is an Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone!

Grace Always,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Anti-Great-Commission Policy?

A Conversation with Dr. Paul Foltz:

Dr. Paul Foltz recently commented on my blog “it's time for all Calvinist to band together and form a new convention.”

Which lead to the following responce that I am now posting...

Dr. Folts, I think you express the “Unspoken” desire of many, many, Calvinist in the State of Florida... I actually think that having only one Baptist Convention in any state is a bad idea... it would be like saying that we can only have one Baptist Church in any City/Town/Community.

How do you think all those who are apposed to the idea of a new convention in the state of Florida would feel if they were suddenly told, Ok we are only going to recognize The First Baptist Church of each City and all you other churches are going to have join First Baptist Church in order to remain in the SBC.

The current business model of allowing, for the most part, only one convention per state is just as restrictive to future growth as allowing only one Baptist Church per city... and of course the only reason for such a policy is control.

Which brings me to my next point... is it not this desire for control that is actually restricting the growth of the convention and according to the latest statistics actually shrinking the convention? And in this case is this not actually an Anti-Great-Commission Policy?

A few years ago the Alabama Baptist Convention had a slogan; “Start Something New!”... It was intended to encourage growth by encouraging individuals and congregations to start new churches. Why would the Alabama Baptist Convention wish to start new churches? Because everyone knows that new churches grow much faster than existing churches. Therefore “Start Something New!” is a Great Commission slogan... and those who oppose the starting of new state conventions are actually guilty of hindering the Great Commission in order to maintain control over their own turf.

So by now it should be clear to everyone that I firmly believe the starting of new state conventions would greatly impact the SBC in it's efforts to fulfill the Great Commission... and restore a measure of ballance to the SBC as no one group would be in absolute control over any state. It would give Baptist a choice... which in my opinion is a good thing for growth.

I would love to see this happen in every state, but in Florida very soon! But where to start? How does one actually go about starting a new State Convention? I am ready... but I am probably not the one who can rally the troops for such a great undertaking as this... Will God raise up men in the State of Florida and throughout the SBC to meet this challenge?

I honestly do not know... “nevertheless Father thy will be done”.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Anti-Calvinist Elected SBC President!

One of the most vocal Anti-Calvinist the SBC has to offer has been elected President with 52% of the vote on the first ballot…

Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., who nominated Johnny Hunt, says “Hunt will unite the convention and forge a hopeful future”… What world has Ted Traylor been living in?

If by “uniting the convention” Traylor means that the election of a full blown Anti-Calvinist and further alienating the Young Reformed Generation that is abandoning the SBC in droves those who are left will be more united, then he is probably right.

I will hold off commenting more on this until I have time to digest fully what this will mean for the Reformed movement in the SBC… But this I know “It is a very dark day in the SBC for the Reformed Movement!”… as I seriously doubt a single Calvinist will be nominated to serve on any BOT by Johnny Hunt over the next two years.

Grace Always,

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's Time to Change

Southern Baptist Committed to Reversing the Recent IMB Guideline Changes.

Please read and consider signing

Grace Always,
Greg Alford

Enemy of the State

(I made the following as a comment on my Blog but have decided it needed to be a full post concerning the dangerous direction of the Florida Baptist Convention – Greg Alford)

When John Sullivan had the audacity to tell the Florida Baptist Convention that he was going to impose a ban on anyone serving in the convention who did not hold to a total abstinence from alcohol conviction and that he “was not taking a poll” on the issue... a new day had dawned in the Florida Baptist Convention.

The Neo-Fundamentalist of Jacksonville (especially John Sullivan), like the Church of Roman in times past, have shown themselves the enemy of our Historic Baptist Principles of Church Autonomy, Cooperation, and Religious Liberty as expressed in articles VI, XIV, and XVII of our Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

VI. The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel...

XIV. Cooperation
Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner...

XVII. Religious Liberty
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it...

If the Pope had issued this decree concerning the Catholic Church I might not find it so utterly absurd... But it was not issued by the Pope of Rome, it was issued by a Baptist who, by the Florida Churches submission to his decree, has been given the unfettered authority of a Baptist Bishop... When it comes down to it there is not much difference in a Catholic Pope and a Baptist Bishop.

I for one will not kiss the ring of either...

Grace Always,
Greg Alford

Monday, June 02, 2008

Why Were Our Reformers Burned?

Taken From "Light from Old Times" by J.C. Ryle

There are certain facts in history which the world tries hard to forget and ignore. These facts get in the way of some of the world's favorite theories and are highly inconvenient. The consequence is that the world shuts its eyes against them. They are either cut dead as vulgar intruders, or passed by as tiresome bores. Little by little they sink out of sight of the students of history, like ships in a distant horizon, or are left behind like a luggage train in a siding. Of such facts the subject of this paper is a vivid example: “The Burning of our English Reformers; and the Reason why they were Burned.”

It is fashionable in some quarters to deny that there is any such thing as certainty about religious truth, or any opinions for which it is worth while to be burned. Yet, 300 years ago, there were men who were certain they had found out truth, and were content to die for their opinions. It is fashionable in other quarters to leave out all the unpleasant things in history and to paint everything with a rose-colored hue. A very popular history of our English Queens hardly mentions the martyrdoms of Queen Mary's days! Yet Mary was not called “Bloody Mary” without reason, and scores of Protestants were burned in her reign. Last but not least, it is thought very bad taste in many quarters to say anything which throws discredit on the Church of Rome.

Yet it is as certain that the Romish church burned our English Reformers as it is that William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings. These difficulties meet me face to face as I walk up to the subject which I wish to unfold in this paper. I know their magnitude, and I cannot evade them. I only ask my readers to give me a patient and indulgent hearing. After all, I have great confidence in the honesty of Englishmen's minds. Truth is truth, however long it may be neglected. Facts are facts, however long they may lie buried. I only want to dig up some old facts which the sands of time have covered over, to bring to the light of day some old English monuments which have been long neglected, to unstop some old wells which the prince of this world has been diligently filling with earth. I ask my readers to give me their attention for a few minutes, and I trust to be able to show them that it is good to examine the question, “Why were our Reformers burned?”

Let me say up front that no one to my knowledge is calling for the burning of our Baptist Reformers in the SBC today... and the persecution that many in the Reformed movement have faced over the last 20 years in the SBC pales in comparison to that faced by our forefathers. And yet there are similarities between the two that cannot be denied.

When Ryle says “There are certain facts in history which the world tires hard to forget and ignore. These facts get in the way of some of the world's favorite theories and are highly inconvenient. The consequence is that the world shuts its eyes against them.” he could just have easily been describing all those anti-Calvinist in the SBC today who try hard to forget and ignore the fact that the SBC was founded by “Convinced and Committed Calvinist”.

When Ryle says “It is fashionable in some quarters to deny that there is any such thing as certainty about religious truth, or any opinions for which it is worth while to be burned. Yet, 300 years ago, there were men who were certain they had found out truth, and were content to die for their opinions." he is summing up the convictions of the modern day Reformed movement in the SBC that are certain they have found out truth and are content to suffer the loss of prestige and position in the convention for those convictions.

When Ryle says “It is fashionable in other quarters to leave out all the unpleasant things in history and to paint everything with a rose-colored hue... (and) it is thought very bad taste in many quarters to say anything which throws discredit on the Church of Rome.” he is accurately describing the attitude of many in the SBC today (like the leadership of the Florida Baptist Convention, and the BOT of the IMB) that think any and all criticism must be silenced and all opposition to their personal convictions and will for the convention must be squashed.

Those who will not learn from history are destine to repeat it... be it Fundamentalist in the SBC or the Bloody Marys of the Church of Rome; blatant disrespect for the religious opinions and convictions of others has always been the fuel that burns the fires of persecution and the narrowing of the parameters of cooperation. (more soon)

Grace Always,
Greg Alford