Tuesday, November 21, 2006
“It’s An Anomaly for Us as Well”

It is hard to imagine a more beautiful or more liberal community than Marin County, California.  This is where the “Left Coast” earns its reputation — and where Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is found.

The Marin Independent Journal, the county’s newspaper, recently discovered a subversive and alien force within its environs — an evangelical seminary.  As the paper informed its readers: “It is an anomaly – the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, a conservative, evangelical island in the heart of Marin, one of the country’s most liberal counties.”

Further:  “Situated on 100 acres at the top of a hill with a panoramic view of San Francisco, the Southern Baptist seminary – which trains clergy in the most conservative branch of a conservative church – is flourishing in an area better known for its New Age adherents and liberal politics.”

Strange?  As the paper explained:  “We live with it every day,” said Jeff Org, seminary president, who acknowledges the seminary is a square peg in a roundly holistic-inclined Marin. “It is an anomaly for us as well.”  But it is an anomaly those at the seminary are comfortable with because, they say, they are captivated by the beauty of Marin as well as the multi cultural population of the Bay Area and the cultural attractions of San Francisco.”

The article is worth a look.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Jimmy Draper’s New Book — A Must Read

Dr. Jimmy Draper’s new book, LifeWay Legacy, written with John Perry, is now out and available at bookstores.  The book is rich in terms of denominational history, blending institutional and personal history together.  The first chapters cover the birth pangs of the Baptist Sunday School Board, now LifeWay Christian Resources.  The most interesting chapters deal with Dr. Draper’s personal observations about the theological controversies in the Southern Baptist Convention since the 1960s.  Consider the selections below:

On the Elliott controversy [1963-1965]:

Under the banner of institutional independence and academic freedom, some seminary professors and others in positions of leadership had become separated from the historic core of Southern Baptist doctrine.  Depending on the viewer’s perspective, either the church was drifting toward a modernist, relativistic interpretation of the Bible and away from its traditional beliefs, or it was under attack from closed-minded reactionaries determined to conform everyone to their way of thinking.

On the Genesis commentary controversy [1970-1972]:

Perhaps the best summary of the whole business was an insightful article by Joe T. Odle, editor of the Mississippi Baptist Record, who wrote: “What is being said is far deeper than mere discontent with a commentary.  Southern Baptists are saying that they are determined to stay with the Bible believing conservatism which has characterized the convention since its beginning, and they are not willing to move toward a more liberal position. . . .  We may have seen the last convention where messengers feel compelled to deal with theological issues.” Dr. Draper added, “If only it were so.”

On the conservative resurgence [1979-1990]:

Many of us felt that we had to act to preserve the theological integrity of Southern Baptist seminaries and that the proper way to change things was by using the system that had been in place for many years.  That was what we did.  [Judge Paul] Pressler believed the conflict could have been stopped after Adrian [Rogers] was elected if the seminaries and their moderate supporters had taken two steps to accommodate the views of the conservative majority:  “The first was to add to their faculties professors who personally held a traditional, conservative position and would have taught the traditional Southern Baptist belief that the Bible is completely true.  The other was to halt the ridicule and attacks on students who defended the belief that the Bible was completely true.  However, neither was done.”

LifeWay Legacy is a must-read for all interested in the Southern Baptist Convention — especially the last five decades.  Dr. Draper’s humanity and conviction show through in each chapter.