SBC

Plundering Egypt: A Conversation on the Passing of Rachel Held Evans

Just two days after Stan Grenz died, David Dockery began his concluding paragraph warning Baptists, specifically Southern Baptists, that Grenz might lead his readers into orthodox inconsistency.

Unfortunately, his pietism didn’t translate into evangelical coherene or orthodox consistency.

That was fourteen year ago.

Reading some of the responses to the death of Rachel Held Evans reminded me of that incident. In fact, to demonstrate how this works, the same thing happened after the death of Jerry Falwell. No matter your theological convictions you may be sure someone will take advantage of the news of your death to point out all the error of your ways. It makes us feel better about our chosen perspective on the spectrum.

Among we Southern Baptists it appears that orthodoxy is now tied to how one interprets the Scriptures regarding women in ministry – preaching or pastoring. But, one of the oldest creeds of the Christian faith does not make that issue a matter of Christian orthodoxy. What’s more, it now appears that after claiming to be a confessional denomination, Southern Baptists indeed have a Magisterium that weighs theological positions in the balance. Welcome to the new SBC. Entity heads take your bow.

Could we benefit from splitting the hair between Christian Orthodoxy and doctrinalism? I think so. Take this simple test. If Stan Grenz, Jerry Falwell and Rachel Held Evans all would affirm the Nicene Creed, then they would be considered within the bounds of Christan orthodoxy. But, given their doctrinal differences, they would likely not share a home in the same denomination. That is the difference between orthodoxy and doctrinalism.

When Grenz and Evans moved beyond the doctrinalism of Evangelicalism that did not mean they were now unorthodox. What’s more, if Grenz identified as a Pietist with a PhD then, he is echoing what my friend Bill Borror recently described on a podcast. Bill used the imagery of Isreal leaving Egypt for his own move out of Evangelicalism and into a different Christian stream most would consider Mainline. He noted that he felt like he had left Egypt carrying with him some plunder.

Listening to Rachel Held Evans and reading her books reveals much the same. While she left her Baptist, Evangelical roots, she maintained the fervor of an Evangelical even if she found her home in the Episcopalian branch of the Christian tree. Think the late Robert Weber who followed the Canterbury Trail later in his life.

Tommie Marshell joins me on this podcast episode. We talk about her response to Rachel, public responses on social media and in major publications. We work to distinguish between orthodoxy and doctrinalism. Take a listen and leave your thoughts in the comments. Be nice.

Featured Image

If you find the podcast helpful, share it with your friends. Share it with your pastor friends as well as folks you know involved in leadership that touches on the pastoral. Also, consider heading over to iTunes, login, search for patheological and give us a five-star rating and a kind review.

A Quiverful of Lessons on Sex and Gender in the SBC and Beyond

Emily Hunter McGowin agrees with me. Then she calls upon her experience and education to list several ways where a much more dangerous ideology affect “American evangelical culture and the SBC in partiular.” Read More

The Old SBC, the Age of Fear and the End of an Era?

Who knew there was another Littleton somewhere in the United States concerned about the current condition of the Southern Baptist Convention and its future? I didn’t. To say that we see things differently would not be distinctive enough. Read More

Only Everyone Else (In the SBC) Should Turn the Other Cheek

Not once when watching a cartoon bullfight did the animators expose the truth of the event. It wasn’t a fair fight. At least it wasn’t when I went to my first and only bullfight in Madrid in about 2003.  Read More

In the SBC Is There Nothing New Under the Sun?

What a contrast between the vision cast on the platform of the SBC Annual meeting and the upcoming Symposium at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. If Ronnie Floyd worked hard to present the ethnic diversity within the Southern Baptist Convention, President Allen’s line up of speakers takes us back to when the SBC leadership reflected no diversity, except maybe based on what state a speaker was from.

Read More