Seth Dunn’s SBC Presidential Platform

Below you will find a series of short videos detailing what can be described as a “Simple SBC” plan for my potential Southern Baptist Convention presidency.  In short, I want to streamline our convention by eliminating the ERLC, LifeWay, & NAMB, increase support for international missions, review our educational needs, and reexamine cooperative giving methods.  I hope you’ll take the time to watch these short videos.  I don’t have a video studio, media staff, or celebrity friends to cameo like some of the other candidates but I hope you find my ideas sound and reasonable.  I welcome you to utilize the comment section to provide feedback.  Please vote #Dunn2016 at the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis.  Please pray that God would grant me the wisdom to lead and speak to these issues with grace, humility, and love.

It’s Not “My Turn” – Going Outside the Oligarchy

I’m Not Here to “Vision-Cast”

An Independent and Objective Southern Baptist

Respect for Baptist Ecclesiology 

“Thinking about formulas, what we’ve done. I’m 71 today, y’all know that? 71…and in the 50 years, I’ve been in the ministry…I’ve watched formulas, formulas of man’s opinion of how to do church. If you do this, this, this, this and this, you’re going to be big, big, and bigger…and I’m telling you, it’s like a virus! And it’s everywhere! And you know what, it sells. Publishers are grabbing these things and they’re heralding these mega-churches wherever they are and they’re heralding mega-preachers who’ve become gods and their selling their stuff and here’s the problem…people are buying it like you wouldn’t believe. They’re sucked right into a message that says, ‘You can build God’s church!’ when Jesus himself said, ‘I will build my church.’ Man’s creativity, God does not need. He’s needs man’s willingness to surrender to him.” Wayne Barber, preaching to the congregation of Woodland Park Baptist Church July 27th, 2014

Eliminating the ERLC

LifeWay Needs to Go

The True Home Mission Board is the Local Church

Reviewing Educational Needs

For my in-depth analysis of the wisdom of the Cooperative Program, please see my short treatment entitled The Cooperative Program and the Road to Serfdom (a 2nd Edition is currently in the works).

To see how my viewpoints match up with those of the other candidate, please review my candidate Q&A.

See my responses to “queries worth consideration” here.

For more about who I am and my take on the issues, see my initial SBC Presidential Candidate statement.

Please consider helping fund my travel costs from Georgia to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.  As a layman from a small church, I do not have any budget for travel to the Southern Baptist Convention.

For those of you seeking revival, please consider listening to the sermon below.  It gives a somber reminder that our convention, while strong, is not all that it should be.

I have a passion for Christian apologetics. While you are at my website, please browse around and review the work I’ve done in this area.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

PreSchool

An Open Letter to the Members and Preschool Ministry of Tabernacle Baptist Church

Dear TBC,

In short, I want to say, “Thank you.”

Some months ago, our pediatrician referred one of our twin daughters, Naomi, to the State of Georgia’s Babies Can’t Wait Program.  This program is intended to improve the developmental potential of very young children who display signs of developmental delay.  As part of the program, the state sent an Occupational Therapist (yes, apparently they have those for babies) to our house to work with Naomi.  The purpose of this therapy was to improve Naomi’s social interactions and fine motor skills (she has been diagnosed with a mild form autism).  The therapy was helpful; however, it was only one day a week.  The therapist recommended that we enroll Naomi in a Pre-K program.  Out of our twins, Naomi’s sister is the dominant and talkative one.  The therapist thought that Naomi would benefit from being in a group of peers, separate from her sister.  This was a good suggestion.  Unfortunately, it was an expensive one.  My wife is a stay at home mom of three and we rely on my income alone to support our family.  Outside childcare expenses are not in our budget…especially not for both of our twins.  (Imagine the disastrous proposition of dropping one toddler twin off at preschool but not the other.)  Regardless of financial constraints, our daughter needed developmental help.

My wife started shopping for different Pre-K options around town.  A mother just doesn’t want to leave her children with any old place.  As a Christian father, I wanted my children to be taught in a Christian environment.  In today’s society “Christian” can have a very broad gate meaning, even among churches.  Therefore, certain “church” daycares in Cartersville were not an option for us.  No matter what our problems are, the solution for them does not exist outside of God’s will.  My wife contacted Tabernacle Baptist Church which we know to be a bible-believing church.  Their preschool program was out of our price range, however, upon learning Naomi’s condition, the church granted a discounted “scholarship” rate.  We were able to send both of our daughters to Pre-K at Tabernacle.

We are not members or prospective members of Tabernacle (I am, in fact, a former member).  Nor are we are not donors.  My family has absolutely nothing to offer that local body of believers.  All we had was a need that we couldn’t meet.  The church met it.  After 9 months at Tabernacle preschool, Naomi’s social skills have improved markedly.  She is remarkably more outgoing that she was before she attended.  The opportunity for her to attend preschool has greater improved her development opportunities.  Even better, both of our girls have heard bible stories and learned to sing songs about the blessings of God.

On behalf of my wife, I would like to express our deep gratitude to Pastor Don Hattaway, Preschool Director Rose Mayo, Mrs. Jill, Mrs. Amanda, the preschool ministry staff, and each and every member of Tabernacle Baptist Church.  The help you gave our daughter will never show up on a baptism report or balance sheet but it is very real and was much needed.  Thank you so much.  It is not my place to authoritatively say “Well done, good and faithful servant” to any particular Christian or local body but from the bottom of my heart well done…well done.  Thank you very much.

May God continue to bless the children who benefit from the Preschool Ministry of Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Sincerely,

G. Seth Dunn

 

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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40 Harmful Effects of Christianity – #24

 

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.” Exodus 21:2

This post is the twenty-fourth in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #25: Slavery condoned by religious texts.

Although the author(s) of the list does not give an example of one, there are indeed (Christian) religious texts that condone slavery.  However, it cannot be granted that the existence of such texts constitute a “harmful effect of Christianity.”  It simply cannot be granted that such texts condone slavery in a way that is consistent a biblical Christian ethic.  This is because chattel slavery and the “slavery” which was regulated under the Old Testament civil law are two different institutions.  The author(s) of this list, then, relies on drawing a false equivalence to make his point.  Furthermore, he ignores that liberating nature of Christianity presented in the New Testament.

In the modern western world, slavery is most often understood along the lines of 19th century American chattel slavery.  Under that system, human beings who were involuntarily pressed into or born into slavery could be bought and sold like cattle.  Slaves had little, if any, rights.  Furthermore, eligibility for slavery was race-based and limited to those (blacks) who were members of races deemed racially inferior by the prevailing (and faulty) anthropological science of the day.  This kind of slavery can be differentiated by the system of slavery presented in the Old Testament.  The latter system more closely resembled a form of indentured servitude.  “Slaves,” in the Old Testament sense, were people who could voluntarily sell their labor to members of their own race in exchange for room and board.  This form of slavery did not take on a form of involuntary permanence but rather with limited to six years.  Those slaves wishing to remain in the service of their master for a longer term chose to do so of their own volition.  It’s true that there have been certain errant theologians who have tried to justify chattel slavery by referring to the existence of slavery in the Old Testament, however, these theologians, in drawing a false equivalence, defied rather than proclaimed a biblical Christian ethic.  To the contrary, historic activists such as William Wilberforce sought to abolish slavery in accordance with their Christian convictions.  Christianity does not condone chattel slavery; it actually repudiates it.  At the same time, Christianity values honest work and giving a leg up to the less fortunate.  The indentured servitude “slavery” system of the Old Testament is representative of these values.  Furthermore, Christianity transcends the race, class, and gender limitations of a pagan society.  Writing to Christians who lived in the ancient Roman Empire, a society in which chattel slavery was condoned and practiced, the Apostle Paul proclaimed, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

If you haven’t found freedom in Christ from sin and worldly suffering, you should place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ today; in doing so you will be reconciled to God and free from the bonds of sin and death.

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #26: Terminal patients in constant agony who would end their lives if they didn’t believe it would result in eternal torture.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

 

israel and the church

Perspectives of Israel and the Church: 4 Views – A Review

Chad O. Brand is the editor of Perspectives of Israel and the Church: 4 Views (the book).  Brand is a former associate dean of biblical and theological studies and professor of Christian Theology at Boyce College.  As the book’s title indicates, it presents four views of the biblical concepts of Israel and the Church: the Covenantal View, the Traditional Dispensational View, the Progressive Dispensational View, and the Progressive Dispensational View.  In addition to Brand there are four contributors to the book.  Robert Reymond, now deceased, was a professor of Theology emeritus at Knox College; Reymond presents and defends the Covenantal View.  Robert L. Thomas is a professor of New Testament Emeritus at the Masters Seminary; Thomas presented and defended the Traditional Dispensational View.  Robert L. Saucy, now deceased, was a distinguished professor of Systematic Theology at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University; he presented and defended the Progressive Dispensational View.  Brand, along with Tom Pratt Jr., presented and defended the Progressive Covenantal View. Pratt has no bona fide theological credentials of which to speak but attended Denver Seminary for a time and is (along with Brand) a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Faith, World, & Economics.  All of these men are evangelical Christian scholars and write from the perspective that the Bible is accurate and authoritative.

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary provost, Steve Lemke, has quite rightly said (as printed on the book’s back cover), “The issue of the relation of Israel and the Church is crucial in New Testament interpretation for soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology.”  In the book, the various authors attempted to present their individual conclusions about this relation.  Brand began the book with an introduction that presents a historical survey of Christian views on the subject matter.  After that, a chapter was dedicated to each view, with each author presenting his view and responding to the objections of that view from the book’s other contributors.

The first view presented in the book was Reymond’s Covenantal View.  This view is the predominant view of Presbyterianism.  According to this view, God has one covenant people which includes in its members all who have faith in Him.  Thus, there is no current distinction between Israel and the Church.  The “Israel” of God is not limited to or inclusive of all ethnic Jews.  Rather, Israel includes all those who are heirs according to God’s covenant promises.  Under this view, infant baptism replaces circumcision as a covenant sign for New Testament-Era people.  The role of infant baptism in Christian life was heavily critiqued by the other contributors; it is the weakest point of Reymond’s case.

The second view presented in the book was Thomas’ Traditional Dispensational view.  This view was popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 1990s and remains very popular with non-reformed Baptists and Pentecostals (Thomas, notably, is a professor emeritus at a reformed Baptist Seminary).  Dispensational views posit that ethnic Jews represent a separate people from gentile Christians.  In other words, Israel and the Church are not the same.  The soundness of this view is dependent on the continuing applicability of God’s land promises to the Jewish people – that the Promised Land is the rightful property of ethnic Jews.  Given that covenantal views reject the continuing applicability of these land promises, Thomas spent significant time in his chapter arguing that the land promises do in fact still apply.  To do so, he utilized several arguments from silence which refered to times when Jesus could have “cancelled” these promises but didn’t.  His method of argumentation provided a weak case which did not stand up to the rebuttal of Reymond who cited the parable of the wicked tenants as definitive scriptural evidence that ethnic Jews no longer hold rights to the land of Canaan.  The Progressive Dispensational View of Saucy was presented after the Traditional Dispensational View.  Save for some differences in hermeneutical method, the Progressive Dispensational and Traditional Dispensational Views are not discernibly different.

The final view presented in the book was the Progressive Covenantal View of Brand and Pratt.  This view is effectively the Baptist version of the Covenantal View given that it does not dependent on infant baptism as a replacement for circumcision as a covenantal sign.  “Replacement” is, in fact, a term which Brand and Pratt made a point of disassociating with their view.   According to the Progressive Covenantal View, rather than replacing Israel, the church has always been Israel and Israel has always been the church – the oneness of God logically demands one people of God who have always been His in accordance with divine election.  As its editor, Brand had the advantage of placing his view at the end of the book.  The other contributors did the heavy lifting, as it were, of battering one another’s views while making the best points of Brand’s.  In a sense, Brand had the same advantage that William of Normandy had over the beleaguered Harold Godwinson at the battle of Hastings – his opponents were already worn down from pervious battle.

Overall, the book is a very informative and fair one.  The scholars chosen to present each view are experts in their theological fields; there are no jobbers in the bunch.  Each man, with the exception of Thomas, held his own.  Christians who want to better understand the relationship between Israel and the Church would do well to read the book and engage in their own follow-up studies.  There are many potentially helpful sources referenced by the book’s contributors.  The ecclesiological and even political outlook of an individual Christian can hinge upon this issue.  That alone is enough to justify further study of the subject matter.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

**As a matter of disclosure, I received a free copy of the book in exchange for the promise to review it.

Other reviews of the book can be found here, here, and here.

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True Like Jazz – Postmodernism, The Ingles Parking Lot, and the Church Bible Study

“Count the errors therein.” Doug Groothuis

In January of 2014, I attended an apologetics conference at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary entitled “Defend the Faith.”  One of the more impressive speakers, in my opinion, was Dr. Douglas Groothuis of The Denver Theological Seminary. He gave a great lecture on “The Structure of Apologetic Reasoning.” During this lecture (which can be viewed here)[1] he lamented over the postmodern thought that passed for Christian reasoning in some circles.  Of particular concern was the book Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller which is a recipient of an Evangelical Christian Publishing Association Platinum Award.  I can’t remember Groothuis’s exact words (they are on video if you want to find them) but according to him, Blue Like Jazz contained “one of the dumbest passages ever written in the English language”[2] on page 103.

Blue Like Jazz

A Screenshot from page 103 of Blue Like Jazz

Groothuis has written that this passage “is remarkable for its illogic and glibness…a marvel of confusion, contradiction, and distortion…”  Groothuis is both a Christian Philosopher and a jazz aficionado, so his particular derision for this passage is understandable.  Since attending that lecture, I’ve very much enjoyed the writing of Douglas Groothuis and thought almost nothing about Blue Like Jazz…until today.

After church, I went to the Ingles on West Avenue in Cartersville to buy some BBQ sauce.[3]  After making my purchase, I walked out to my car to return home.  I noticed through the back windshield of the Honda Accord Hybrid parked next to me a worn-looking copy of Blue Like Jazz.  Groothuis’ commentary flooded into my mind.  I looked into the car at the two women sitting therein.  “Should I talk to them?” I wondered to myself.  I wanted to but I was already late getting home because the preacher at the church I visited today gave three invitations in between stanzas of Softly and Tenderly.[4]  Furthermore, I’ve never actually read Blue Like Jazz.  What would I tell them, “Groothuis says this is postmodern nonsense”?  I’ve met zero persons here in Cartersville who know who Doug Groothuis is.  So, in the West Avenue Ingles parking lot, he carries about as much influence as some guy wearing slacks and a blazer holding a plastic sack filled with Kraft Honey BBQ Sauce.  Additionally, there was a very real possibility of scaring the two women in the car half to death by tapping on their window.  They pulled out while I was thinking the matter over so I left, too.  Having failed to engage them in conversation, I prayed to the Lord that He’d guide them.  These are the worries of a Christian apologist, that a church-goer might be a postmodern.

As providence would have it, I found myself right behind them on the way home; the Honda Accord pulled into my neighborhood.  I resolved to follow them home.  I told myself I’d note where they lived and plan a future conversation.  I hoped they wouldn’t notice and think me a creeper.  However, they did not go to their house, they pulled into the parking lot of the Tennis Courts and Swimming pool.  I pulled in alongside, parking next to them.  I motioned for them to roll down their window.  In a somewhat awkward introduction to conversation, I asked why they had Blue Like Jazz in their car.  (They were understandably uneasy as I explained that I noticed it back at Ingles.)  As it turns out, the driver’s husband was using the book in a study at First Baptist Church of Cartersville.  I informed them about Groothuis’ commentary about the book.  For the life of me, I couldn’t remember on what page the problematic statement was printed.

Ironically, the pastor of their church graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, the very institution at which I learned that Blue Like Jazz was a piece of postmodern nonsense.   Now, I’m almost certain that Pastor Morton isn’t sitting in his office at FBC Cartersville plotting to turn his flock into postmodern.  At a church of that size, the pastor doesn’t always read the various books being studied by groups in the church.  He may not know anything about Blue Like Jazz and it’s entirely likely that some well-meaning study leader decided on his own to study that particular book.

I suppose I should read Blue Like Jazz for myself so that the next time I find myself in such a situation I can have a more meaningful conversation about the book with those who may be under its sway.  At the very least I know this – just because a church, even a Southern Baptist one, picks an award-winning evangelical book for a study doesn’t mean that the book is useful for edifying Christian consumption.

“There is little “realness” in Miller, except pertaining to his precious subjectivity. We need an objective and true Word from God, and less biography; more of God, less of self; more of the Kingdom, less of the psyche; more theology, less narcissism; more Bible, less drivel.” Doug Groothuis

Be careful out there, the Christian Bookstore or the church Bible study might be the most dangerous place you walk into this month…and be on the lookout for those socially awkward know-it-all Christian apologists out there; they mean well.  Maybe listen to what they have to say every once in a while.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

[1] I’m pretty sure this is the lecture in question.  The talk is an hour long and I’m not up to watching it over to find the exact statement.

[2] My paraphrase

[3] Baptists often each chicken on Sunday after church.

[4] I’m not exaggerating, he really gave three invitations.  No one walked the aisle and he finally let us go home.

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40 Harmful Effects of Christianity – #23

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:4

This post is the twenty-third in a series that addresses a list of “40 harmful effects of Christianity” that originated on the American Atheists Facebook page and has since made its way around the internet. In this post, I examine the following “harmful effect” from the list:

Harmful Effect #23: The destruction of great works of art considered to be pornographic/blasphemous, and the persecution of the artists.

As is the case with the previous “harmful effect” addressed in this series, this particular harmful effect is not limited to Christianity.  History provides notable examples of the destruction of art by fascist (ex: Nazis), communist, and Muslim groups.  Certainly, communists wouldn’t destroy art because it was “blasphemous” given that communists are inherently atheistic.  However, communist China has outlawed what it deems to be pornography since 1945.  So, even by narrowing down the destruction of art to reasons of pornography and blasphemy, the atheist author(s) of this list can’t limit the destruction of art for particular reasons to Christianity.  Once again, he has merely pointed out a tendency of humanity that is not unique to Christianity and would in all likelihood exist without it.

Furthermore, his claim is feeble by its very nature.  Beauty, it is often said, is in the eye of the beholder.  What is a “great” work of art in the opinion of one may terribly lacking in the eye of another.   At best, the author can lament “the destruction of works of art that some people think if great by other people who don’t think it’s so great.”  In other words, “Somebody else did something I don’t like to something that I did.”  To this harmful effect, the Christian critic can curtly respond, “boo-hoo.”

Christians can, along with all others, recognize that aesthetic judgments about art are ultimately subjective.  However, ultimate moral judgment is grounded in the nature of God.  There are things, such as blasphemy, that God has expressly forbidden.  The destruction of blasphemous and pornographic works of art is a God-honoring action, despite the objections of those who don’t fear the Lord.  At the same time, the art produced by Christians can be aesthetically pleasing, even to those outside of the faith, while objectively respectful God’s moral demands.

In my next post in this series, I’ll address the following:

Harmful Effect #24: Slavery condoned by religious texts.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

 

Dunn 2016: SBC Presidential Candiate Q&A

As many of you know, I am interested in becoming the next SBC President. I don’t have any major movers and shakers to nominate me but I am in discussion with brothers about how it might be done. No doubt, big-time mega preacher nominees like JD Greear and Steve Gaines will get interviews in the Baptist Press or other big-money outlets. I’ll just have to get my own word out with the help of my friends and supporters. Recently, JD Greear was given an interview in SBC Voices, a Southern Baptist Interest blog. I won’t wait on them to call me. I don’t have to. I have my own blog outlets that are somewhat well-read in SBC circles. Below, I’ve taken the questions that SBC Voices asked JD Greear and answered them myself.

1. Why do you want to be SBC president? What do you hope to bring to the SBC over your tenure?

My absolute favorite band in the world is Pearl Jam. They sing a song called The Fixer that goes “When something’s broke, I wanna put a bit of fixin’ on it…When something’s lost, I wanna fight to get it back again.” That song makes me think of the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s broken and I want to fix it. It’s lost its way and I want to fight to get it back on the right path again. The convention has been broken before. We’ve been slaveholders and we’ve been theological moderates. We’ve corrected those errors. Now, it’s broken again. I think I can help fix it.

The convention is run by bureaucrats and megapreachers who seem totally detached from the concerns and lives of the every day Baptists. These men remind me of the Scottish nobles in the movie Braveheart. There’s a poignant scene in that movie where the nobles are squabbling over who should be in charge. William Wallace won’t have it. He rebukes them, saying, “There is a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.” If there’s one thing I’d like to bring to the SBC over my tenure as President its concern for the collective mission of our individual churches. I’m not looking to be a star on the speaking circuit or sell my leadership books. I don’t have any to sell. It just want to be represent the every day baptists who support our convention. I want to see well-trained and well-grounded missionaries put on the mission field to share the gospel. I want to promote boots on the ground and not schemes and stratgies. I want to have a tenure that no one remembers for anything but good stewardship and the wise appointment of trustees, not press conferences and stunts.

2. What do you want to see change in the SBC? What do you hope stays the same?

I want to see the eventual elimination of LifeWay and the Ethic and Religious Liberty Commission. These entities are an embarrassment to the convention and a reproach to the body of Christ, in my opinion. They are run by celebrity Christians like Russell Moore, Thom Rainer, and Ed Stezer who seem more like PR men and booksellers than anything. Does Christ’s church really need PR men? The Bible says the world is going to hate us. Okay, I accept that. Now, let’s go win all the lost souls we can. Let’s do it as efficiently as we can, too. To me, North America seems as lost as anywhere else. I think we should combine NAMB and IMB into once missions board with one headquarters and one support staff. We have too much bloat and bureaucracy in the SBC, both of which are expensive.

What I want to stay the same is the commitment to the innerrancy of scripture. I want our seminaries to continue to teach from this commitment. They do now and I think it’s great. I also want us to sit back and think about the sufficiency of scripture. We don’t need a bunch of modern day prophets saying “God told me” unless they can pick up a Bible and show everyone else what he told them.

3. What can you bring from your life experience, particularly in the area of missions, to the rest of the SBC?

I’m not a professional pastor. Like almost all other Southern Baptists, I’m a pew sitter. In my life, I’ve been helped most when the Bible has been faithfully and accurately proclaimed from the pulpit. I want every Southern Baptist to be a faithful proclaimer of God’s word. Sadly, our church buildings may be our most immediate mission field. Years of easy believism and aisle-walking have to led a visible church that’s much bigger than the true church. If this weren’t the case, I think we’d see more pew-sitters proclaiming the gospel at home, work, and on the streets…not just doing that but making disciples. Instead, we’ve created professional preacher and missionary classes to do this stuff for us. I think the Southern Baptist Convention is in danger of seeing itself as a service provider. “Hand us your money and will hire missionaries and lobbyists. You can just sit back and play fantasy football.” This isn’t how it should be. I want us all to be mission minded. I don’t want someone’s money if they themselves aren’t missions-minded.

Of course, I’m not at all advocating for a reduction in our professional missions staff. If there is any organization on God’s green earth that takes the gospel to the nations better than the IMB, I’d like to hear about it! I want missions to be well-funded; I think if we trim the fat in a few places, we can do that.

4. One of the most important things that an SBC President does is make appointments. What will be the primary considerations in that process for you? What role will Baptist Confessionalism play regarding the BFM2000?

I wouldn’t appoint anyone who did not assent to the BFM 2000. Furthermore, I wouldn’t appoint anyone whose church polity didn’t reflect such an assent. Article VI of the BFM 2000 states “A New Testament Church of Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers.” The current SBC President, Ronnie Floyd, has a church with satellite campuses. So, too, do current candidates JD Greear and Steve Gaines. It’s a mess. I’d look for the sort of appointee who wouldn’t be afraid to kick churches like that out of the convention, no matter how much money those churches brought in to the SBC. If a church had a woman preacher, we’d kick it out. If a church “married” gays, we’d kick it out. Yet, when a church sets up a satellite campus empire, we seem to encourage it. We elect the pastors of these churches to be presidents of the convention amidst their humble-brags of how much money their churches give to the Cooperative Program. I can only conclude that the main concerns of the the current SBC regime are money, numbers, and influence.

John Wesley very notably said, “Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they are clergy or layman, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.” Those are the type of men I’d appoint. I know it’s ironic to quote Wesley here, since his church polity didn’t match the BMF either but his statement is dead-on. I would look to appoint trustees just like Wesley described. Level-jumpers and influence peddlers need not apply.

5. What is your perspective on the ongoing Calvinist/Non-Calvinist debate in SBC life? Will that affect your thought process in making appointments?

This debate, quite frankly, reminds me of Star Wars Episode I, The Phantom Menace. In that movie, the a Sith Lord incites two sides to fight against each other to create an unstable situation. He uses that unstable situation to rise to power. I think Anti-Calvinist people in the convention create a Calvinist boogeyman. Then, they offer their own services as heroes to come in a save the convention from the Calvinists. They create enemies so they can be a hero, that’s terrible. There’s a movie called Dragonheart that I saw when I was a little kid. In the movie, Dennis Quaid plays a knight who makes his living hunting dragons. Eventually, he conspires with a dragon played by Sean Connery to work together to fleece villages. The dragon would attack a village and the knight would come in a pretend to kill the dragon, for a fee. Then he and his partner would move on to the next village. It was all a scam.

There used to be a very real boogeyman in the convention, theological liberalism. It’s gone. That dragon is slayed. Let’s not try and create a new one that isn’t a serious threat. I’ll be clear, I am a three-point Calvinists: TUP. If you’re four or five it doesn’t bother me. If you don’t share the gospel, you don’t belong in the SBC. If you think you can convince someone to get saved outside of the power of the Holy Spirit to convict a lost person of his sins, then you don’t belong either. Everything else seems like a technicality. I wouldn’t appoint anyone who was a hyper-calvinist (I’m yet to meet on the SBC). I also wouldn’t appoint anyone who was an “I see that hand” type of emotional manipulator (sadly, I think we’re not short of these types).

We’ll find out who was right about Calvinism when Christ returns. Until them, we have the same gospel and the same Baptist beliefs. Let’s press on together and not let unnecessary divisions get in the way.

7. With the recent downsizing of the IMB overseas missions force, what can local churches do to engage in mission themselves and help strengthen our collective work through the IMB?

I think local churches need to decide if they need giant buildings, Disneyesque children’s areas, and fog machines more than the world needs missionaries. Where should the money go? Let me be clear that local churches don’t owe the convention or the IMB any money. SBC cooperation is voluntary cooperation. Local churches need to decide if the IMB shares their mission. If it does, then they can get together and help the IMB. If not, they don’t have to participate. I understand that local church leaders are probably wary of donating to the IMB right. It hasn’t modeled good stewardship. If it does, I think local churches will be more than happy to partner with it.

8. What role do you think the Cooperative Program and denominational giving should play in SBC life and our work together?

None. I actually have written a book but it’s not for sale at LifeWay. It’s an e-book an it’s available for free to whoever wants to Google it and find it. The name of the book is The Cooperative Program and the Road to Serfdom. In that book I describe how the Cooperative Program is a product of 1920s era progressivism It’s terrible inefficiency and fund a big bureaucracy. It amazes me that local churches who don’t show up to vote at the annual convention still send in precious funds to the convention through the Cooperative Program. Giving to the Cooperative Program seems like some of the worst stewardship I can imagine. Other candidates for SBC Presidents run on how much money they give to the Cooperative Program. I’m running on the fact that I don’t give any.

9. The vast majority of SBC churches have under 200 people in attendance. What role do they play in SBC life? How can you help increase the involvement of smaller churches and their pastors in denominational leadership?

Exactly what is “SBC life”? The SBC technically exists once a year. Local churches exist every day. We don’t need to get together and get involved in “SBC Life,” whatever that is. Is it conference tours and books sales? Seriously, what is it?

The SBC should, in my opinion, do two main things: finance full-time missionaries and baptist education. I think we can do this efficiently by, like I said, trimming the fat. Furthermore, we shouldn’t need stellar leadership to do this. We just need some common sense people, I don’t care how big their church is or what color they are, to manage SBC causes in humility and out of care for others.

10. When you talk to young people and particularly young church planters, how would you encourage them to participate in the SBC?

I tell people, young and old, to not give one red penny to the Cooperative Program. I encourage them to identify seminaries and missions organizations that impress them and practice good stewardship and give to those institutions. Quite frankly, the world doesn’t need the SBC. It just needs the local church. The moment the SBC becomes more concerned with pulling in young people or being more “diverse” just so it can perpetuate itself if the moment it loses relevance. The church did fine without the SBC for 1815 years. God doesn’t need the SBC. The SBC needs God. He’ll deliver the people he sees fit to deliver.

11. What do you think of the Fake Seth Dunn Twitter account? Inquiring minds want to know. Who is behind this Twiter account?

I think it’s great. It’s actually run by me and the account description says as much. It’s a parody of me. I don’t really Tweet from it that much. Twitter can be a cesspool and I don’t interact their as much as I do in other social media outlets. People who operate anonymous Twitter accounts are anathema to me. People need to man up and put their names behind what they say. I think there are a lot of people who will agree with what I have to say here and my campaign platform, but they won’t tweet it out for fear of man. I’m not interested in building a big convention mega career. I don’t want in with the SBC establishment. I’m going to say what I think. I hope those who agree with me won’t be afraid to take on the establishment with me.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.