JBMW, Fall 2016, Volume XXI, Issue 2

In addition to my roles and responsibilities at Midwestern, I have the privilege of serving and supporting the work of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood both as a Board Member and as Editor of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The Journal is published two times a year and features short-length essays on contemporary topics, full-length scholarly articles, a featured sermon or address, and reviews of books of interest to our readers.

The Fall 2016 issue of JBMW releases this week and this issue begins with three essays:

First, Thomas White, president of Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, and CBMW board member, writes on feelings and the transgender experience;

Sam Storms, lead pastor for preaching and vision at Bridgeway Community Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, kindly shares his thoughts on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and the relationship between men and women in the local church in his “Ten Things You Should Know Series”;

and Adam Kareus, associate pastor of River Valley Community Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas, gives a helpful call to discipleship within families and church families.

This issue also contains two unique studies.

Todd R. Chipman, assistant professor of biblical  studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of The Master’s Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas, provides a scholarly look at the use of military motifs in the prayer songs of women in Scripture.

He is joined by Owen Strachan, director of the Center for Public Theology at Midwestern Seminary and CBMW senior fellow, who examines transgenderism from a moral and theological perspective.

Following the essays and studies, this issue contains a special address from our new CBMW President, Denny Burk entitled, “My Vision for the Future of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.”

The Journal concludes with several significant reviews by Mary Kassian, Candi Finch, J. Alan Branch, William M. Marsh, Sarah Bubar, Katie McCoy, Drew Ham, S. Craig Sanders, and David Young. My thanks is extended to the able assistance and collaboration of assistant editors Candi Finch and Jeremy M. Kimble throughout 2016 and these two issues.

Finally, the Journal recognizes that the end of 2016 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of a significant publication known and appreciated by our readers. First published by Crossway in 1991 and edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood arrived to answer many questions evangelicals and others were asking about the roles of men and women in the church and home. Revised in 2006, this volume continues as a mainstay reference work, and many of the chapters still serve as significant starting places for consulting the topics addressed.

You can download the entire journal as a PDF or each individual article. Subscribe here to receive your print copy of JBMW.

For those planning to attend the The Gospel Coalition national conference in Indianapolis do not miss the CBMW 2017 TGC Luncheon, April 4 featuring CBMW President Denny Burk, Kevin DeYoung, Sam Allberry, and Andrew Walker discussing “Ministry in a Transgender Age.” 


A Supreme Desire to Please Him: A New Book on Adoniram Judson

Evan Burns has just published a significant and thorough work on the spirituality of pioneer American missionary Adoniram Judson. A Supreme Desire to Please Him is a part of Pickwick’s “Monographs in Baptist History Series” and is delightful and inspiring to read. Sometime ago the author asked if I would write the foreword for his book, which I was very glad to do. As a preview of this new volume, I include my foreword below, and be sure to check out A Supreme Desire to Please Him by Evan Burns.

On the occasion of the centennial anniversary of Adoniram Judson’s first arrival in Burma, W. O. Carver, professor of comparative religion and missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article for the seminary’s journal, Review and Expositor, entitled, “The Significance of Adoniram Judson.”[1] Carver set out not to provide a biographical overview of Judson’s life, but rather showed how Judson’s character and piety served as examples for a generation of missionaries and the formal start of modern missions from the United States.

Even though Carver signals the progressive theological drift from which his seminary would take nearly a century to recover, his article on Judson is appreciative and insightful.[2] While written over one hundred years ago, his conclusions regarding Judson’s place in history as well as Judson’s significance for the present, still ring true today.

In sum, Carver observed that Judson’s life had an effect “not only in drawing men into service, but rather more, perhaps, in sustaining men in service.”[3] That the study of Judson’s life could have this kind of encouraging effect on many in the centuries following his death is what makes his life significant and it is also why I am delighted that you hold in your hands a copy of Evan Burns’s A Supreme Desire to Please Him: The Spirituality of Adoniram Judson.

The study of Judson’s life and thought is fraught with difficulty for so much of what he wrote or recorded he also, at a challenging moment in his life, went to great lengths to destroy. Biographers and researchers in the past have only been able to piece together the facts of Judson’s life from those who have gone before but without any single comprehensive or standalone treatment. That changes now with A Supreme Desire to Please Him.

First, this book is the first theological synthesis and comprehensive analysis of all known primary and secondary Judson sources. In other words, Evan Burns has managed to uncover just about every imaginable stone related to Judson and then also rightly classify them.

Second, as W. O. Carver noted, one of the valuable characteristics of Judson’s life was his piety. Here, too, Burns capitalizes on perhaps the best possible avenue through which to pursue research related to Judson. By focusing on Judson’s spirituality, Burns has done something entirely original and, therefore, all the more helpful for readers.

Third, Burns has successfully moved the bar of knowledge and understanding of Judson and his contribution much higher than was previously the case. Further, his analysis of portions of Judson’s life and thought not before considered in depth is key. One example of this includes Burns’s exploring and explaining Judson’s “dark night” of self-denial following the death his wife, daughter, and father in light of the influence of Samuel Hopkins’s teaching on disinterested benevolence.

This study of the spirituality of Adoniram Judson could not come a better time in the history of Christianity. As Burns shows, Judson’s love for God and the Bible, fueled a life marked by self-denial, prayer, joy in Christ, and a desire to see such love and joy proclaimed and multiplied among the nations of the earth.

Thus, in our own day, as W. O. Carver noted, the reading of the work of God in the life of Judson can still serve to draw men and women into Gospel ministry as well as sustain those currently laboring in mission fields around the globe.

Indeed, the life of Judson and this book by Evan Burns may be the very best vehicles to call and sustain many to that end. Indeed, may God see fit to bless the nations once again through the significant life of Adoniram Judson.


A Supreme Desire to Please Him: The Spirituality of Adoniram Judson

Evan Burns
Pickwick Publications, 2016



[1] W. O. Carver, “The Significance of Adoniram Judson,” Baptist Review and Expositor 10 (October 1913): 475-484.

[2] That Carver would focus, too, on Judson’s evangelistic faithfulness is remarkable as Carver represents one of the early professors in Southern Baptist higher education who “who tried to bridge the gap between religious modernity and Southern Baptist traditionalism.” See Andrew C. Smith review of Mark R. Wilson, William Owen Carver’s Controversies in the Baptist South (Mcacon: Mercer University Press, 2010) in The Journal of Southern Religion XII (2010) available from http://jsr.fsu.edu/Volume12/Smith%20on%20Wilson.html. Or, as Gregory A. Wills states in his magisterial institutional biography of the seminary, “The teaching of W. O. Carver was an important source” behind the seminary’s growing reputation as a “liberal school” in the early twentieth century. See Gregory A. Wills, Southern Baptist Seminary, 1859-2009 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 255.

[3] Carver, “The Significance of Adoniram Judson,” 478.

Henry Jessey

Puritan Chaplain, Independent and Baptist Pastor, Millenarian Politician and Prophet

Henry Jessey (1601-1663) rose to prominence as pastor of the “Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey church” in Southwark in the early seventeenth-century London during the time when Baptists in England were undergoing their initial formalization. Jessey never married, wrote extensively, played key roles in the English Civil War, and served the early history of the English Particular Baptist movement, which would grow to shape Baptists around the world.

Yet, until now Jessey has never been the subject of dedicated study despite his mention in almost every text devoted to Baptist history.


Henry Jessey
Jason G. Duesing
BorderStone Press, 2016
426 pages

Available at Amazon.  


What People Are Saying About Henry Jessey

Finally, Henry Jessey gets the scholarly attention he so richly deserves. This very significant figure in the history of England and the beginnings of the Baptist movement has languished in obscurity for too long. In this new book, historian Jason Duesing brings Jessey to life and this book will make a great contribution to the fields of Baptist history, intellectual history, and the history of Britain. This book is solid scholarship matched to good timing. It belongs in every academic library and in the hands of a multitude of grateful readers.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

God’s faithful servants must not be forgotten and assigned to the dustbin of history. Thankfully, that will not happen to Henry Jessey as a result of this superb work by Jason Duesing. Informative, interesting and inspiring, this is a really fine work I gladly recommend.

Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jason Duesing is one of this generation’s leading church historians, and I’m grateful he has brought his acumen to bear in Henry Jessey: Puritan Chaplain, Independent and Baptist Pastor, Millenarian Politician and Prophet. The story of Henry Jessey is worth being told, and told well, and Duesing does just that. Read this volume to
acquaint yourself with a significant figure in Baptist life, and to reacquaint yourself with a significant portion of Baptist history.

Jason K. Allen, President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jason Duesing has given us here a superb treatment of Henry Jessey, a seminal figure in the development of the Baptist cause in seventeenth-century England. Well researched and well written, this book shows us what made Jessey tick as well as what he thought, from ecclesiology to eschatology. Highly recommended!

Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

Jason Duesing’s “Henry Jessey” is a theological biography of no small consequence. .Jessey, the patriarch of the Particular Baptist movement, was a Baptist pastor, millenarian prophet, and politician whose significance Duesing draws out as he views developments in 17th century British ecclesiology and eschatology. Highly recommended for theologians and historians, especially Baptist ones.

Bruce Ashford, Provost and Dean of Faculty, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jason Duesing’s Henry Jessey deserves a prominent place within the theological genre of biography established by such masterpieces as Peter Brown’s Augustine of Hippo, Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand, and Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Thomas Cranmer. This is a valuable text for a worthy life.

–from the foreword by Malcolm B. Yarnell, III, Research Professor of Systematic Theology and Director, Center for Theological Research, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Also by Jason G. Duesing and BorderStone Press:

Counted Worthy: The Life and Work of Henry Jessy
Jason G. Duesing
BorderStone Press, 2012
220 pages

Available at Amazon.  

First Freedom

The Beginning and End of Religious Liberty

Challenges to religious liberty are increasingly common today as historical Christianity comes into conflict with a new, secular orthodoxy.

In this thoroughly revised second edition of First Freedom, leading evangelical scholars present the biblical and historical foundations for religious freedom in America, and address pressing topics such as:

  • Religious freedom and the exclusivity of the gospel
  • The Christian doctrine of religious liberty
  • Religious liberty and the public square
  • Religious freedom and the sexual revolution
  • Baptist contributions to religious freedom, and many more.

Contributors include:

  • Barrett Duke
  • Jason G. Duesing
  • Evan Lenow
  • R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
  • Russell Moore
  • Paige Patterson
  • Andrew T. Walker
  • Thomas White
  • Travis Wussow
  • Malcolm B. Yarnell, III

The contributors equip churches, pastors, and Christian citizens to uphold this “first freedom” given by God and defended by Christians throughout our nation’s history.

First Freedom, Second Edition
Jason G. Duesing, Thomas White, and Malcolm B. Yarnell, III, eds.
B&H Academic, 2016
275 pages

Available at Amazon from B&H Academic. You can read a sample chapter here.


What People Are Saying About First Freedom

It is difficult to exaggerate the historical importance of the Baptist witness to religious liberty. This immensely valuable collection of essays carries that witness forward, addressing new challenges to the rights of conscience presented by early 21st century liberal secularism. The spiritual ancestors of the contributors to the volume would be as proud of them as I am grateful to them for placing their impressive intellectual gifts at the service of our first freedom.

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

Religious liberty in America faces an uncertain and imperiled future.  The great battles for religious liberty in the past continue today in the courtrooms and public square as we contend for the right to live and speak our faith freely.  This book is an excellent resource for believers to be informed about religious liberty so they can take their place in helping to defend it both now and for future generations..

Erik Stanley, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

Historically, Americans have embraced freedom of religion, not merely freedom of worship. The former fosters freedom to practice one’s religion in the church and the culture. The latter restricts the practice of religion to the confines of the church. As religious liberties erode in America, First Freedom is a refreshing resource presenting pertinent information for all to consider regarding this seminal topic.

Steve Gaines, Senior Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee, President of the Southern Baptist Convention

Baptists have always been at the forefront in the fight for religious liberty noting the high stakes involved in the battle. The very able, stable of scholars in this volume continue the fight with biblical fidelity, historical awareness and cultural sensitivity. What they ask for themselves they would ask for all. I hold out hope that their just cry still might be heard.

Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina.

It is rare that a book and a moment perfectly meet, but that is what I believe has happened with the publication of First Freedom: The Beginning and End of Religious Liberty. Historically, Baptists have championed religious liberty for all citizens, believing that religious liberty is not majoritarian right or a gift of government, but an inalienable right for all citizens. Presently in America, religious freedom is increasingly threatened as governmental authorities steadily attempt to compel people of all faiths to compromise their beliefs or face legal consequences. It is past time for the American Christian church in general, and Baptists in particular, to reclaim our theological and historical commitment to religious liberty, in order to face the unique challenges of our day. This excellent collection of essays should be in the hands of every pastor, informed layman, and public servant in our nation.

David E. Prince, Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Pastor of Preaching and Vision,The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching

Nearly every week, the news informs us of new threats to religious liberty at home and abroad. In America, many fear this first freedom is becoming an endangered species as our culture’s idols of sex, money, and power converge increasingly against the free exercise of religion. For this reason, I’m grateful for this new edition of First Freedom. This revised edition includes several timely new essays that strategically update an already helpful book. The result is a “tract for the times” for Baptists and others who champion a free church in a free state and advocate for the religious liberty of Christians and other groups who suffer under foreign regimes that persecute religious outliers. I will be returning to some of the chapters frequently as I think through what it means to defend religious freedom until that day when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Nathan A. Finn, Dean of the School of Theology and Missions, Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition,Union University.

Religious liberty has been a foundational component since the formative years of our country. However, many Christians are ill-informed about the assault upon their freedom as American citizens. This updated edition of First Freedom is a timely work that exposes the areas in which our religious freedoms are being threatened. In it, a number of well-respected Southern Baptist leaders help us better comprehend the biblical foundation and history of religious liberty, identify the current challenges we face, and provide ways to move forward in today’s culture. After reading this book, you will feel confident to stand firm in the face of adversity and defend the religious freedoms our country was founded upon.

Robby Gallaty, Pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church, Author, Growing Up and Rediscovering Discipleship.

For updates and more information follow First Freedom on Twitter at @FirstFreedom16 or take a look at the First Freedom Facebook page.

JBMW, Spring 2016, Volume XXI, Issue 1

In addition to my roles and responsibilities at Midwestern, I have the privilege of serving and supporting the work of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood both as a Board Member and as Editor of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The Journal is published two times a year and features short-length essays on contemporary topics, full-length scholarly articles, a featured sermon, and reviews of books of interest to our readers.

The Spring 2016 issue of JBMW was released this week and has the topic of “Marriage and Family” as its general theme. This issue begins with six essays:

First, Dorothy Kelley Patterson, professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, writes on the contribution of Charles Ryrie (1925-2016) to complementarian studies through his book The Role of Women in the Church;

Jim Hamilton, father of five and professor of Biblical Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, gives counsel to parents “Don’t Play Travel Ball: Stay in the Rec League”;

Candi Finch, assistant professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Seminary, reflects on “David Bowie, Glam Rock, and Gender Rebellion”;

David Schrock, pastor of Preaching and Theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia, offers a helpful study on a biblical theology of gender roles.

David A. Croteau, professor of New Testament and Greek at Columbia International University, in Columbia, South Carolina, looks at Ephesians 5:26 and asks “Are husbands responsible for the spiritual maturation of their wives?”

The final essay by T. Dale Johnson, assistant professor of Biblical Counseling at Southwestern Seminary, provides a timely review of the biblical development of marriage as a portrait of the Gospel.

This issue also contains five in-depth studies largely focused, like many of the essays, on the theme of marriage and family.

Bruce A Ware, professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary, shares a poignant piece, “God as Father, God the Father, and Human Fathers.”

Next, William M. Marsh, assistant professor of Theological Studies at Cedarville University, examines the command to “put on the new self” in Colossians 3 and its implications for husbands and wives.

Matthew C. Millsap, assistant professor of Christian Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, sheds light on the ways advances in technology are used for evil in such a way that outpaces a family’s preparedness to resist and to flee.

Jason S. DeRouchie, associate professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota examines Deutoronomy 22:5 and transgenderism, and

John Delhousaye, associate professor of New Testament at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona takes a closer look at Mark 10:1-12 and the meaning of marriage.

Following the essays and studies, this issue contains a sermon, “Ordered Love: An Exposition of 1 Peter 3:1-7,” by CBMW President, Owen Strachan.

The Journal concludes, finally, with several reviews by Louis Markos, Jeremy M. Kimble, Brian Neil Peterson, Megan Hill, Scott Corbin, and Craig Hurst.

This issue marks a transition point for JBMW as it signals the conclusion of David Schrock’s reliable and industrious tenure as assistant editor. We are thankful for his faithful service and rejoice in his new ministry assignment that while the responsibilities therewith necessitate his stepping down from his formal role with the Journal, we remain thankful this will not remove his involvement entirely as evidenced by his contribution to this issue.

As a testimony to the size of David’s contribution, it is my joy to introduce to readers of the Journal two new assistant editors who have started their time of service with this issue. Jeremy M. Kimble is assistant professor of Theological Studies at Cedarville University serving there after completing the PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary writing on ecclesiology. Candi Finch is assistant professor of theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Seminary where she also completed her PhD writing on feminist theology. Please join me in thanking David and welcoming Jeremy and Candi.

You can download the entire journal as a PDF or each individual article. Subscribe here to receive your print copy of JBMW.

For those planning to attend the Together For the Gospel national confernence next week in Louisville, KY, do not miss the CBMW 2016 T4G Pre-Conference, April 11-12 featuring 28 speakers engaging the topic “The Beauty of Complementarity“.

Seven Summits in Church History

Augustine. Luther. Calvin.

Hubmaier. Edwards. Carey. Henry.

Some of the richest spiritual lessons have come to me by way of great biographies. Jason has chosen seven fascinating, critically important figures and distilled some of their most important contributions to our faith and life. It’s a delight to read. 

–J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church, author of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart and Gospel

In Seven Summits, Jason G. Duesing gives a brief introduction to major figures in the history of Christianity for churches and all readers.

The history of Christianity is like that of a great mountain range, with immense length comprised of peaks and valleys, enduring both stormy and prosperous weather. Certain figures in this history have risen to high peaks and represent significant moments in theological development. These figures are the hinge for major swings in the expansion of Christian thought.

Duesing offers a quick, yet insightful introduction to seven of the highest peaks worth climbing in church history. His biographical summaries include Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Hubmaier, Edwards, Carey, and Henry. By examining the peaks of Christian history in these seven figures, this book engages several key issues without overwhelming the reader.

It is brief but packed with pertinent information any student of history should know.

Seven Summits in Church History
Jason G. Duesing
Rainer Publishing, 2016
132 pages

Available today at Amazon from Rainer Publishing.

What People Are Saying About Seven Summits in Church History

For those intimidated by church history, or for those who want to learn more but don’t know where to start, this little book may be just what you need. Dr. Duesing offers a user-friendly introduction to seven sinners saved by grace who shaped the life of the church in significant ways. Think of those mini theological biographies as enticing appetizers designed to whet your reading appetite for more!

Justin Taylor, Vice President of Book Publishing at Crossway and he blogs at Between Two Worlds—hosted by The Gospel Coalition.

Jason Duesing’s Seven Summits in Church History delivers serious Christian history in a crisp, lively format. I recommend it to anyone wanting a reliable introduction to the history of Christianity, from the perspective of some of its greatest minds, from Augustine to Jonathan Edwards and more.

Thomas S. Kidd, Professor of History, Baylor University

Studying the history of the Church is vital to Christian life but often viewed as a daunting endeavor. With short, concise chapters on seven major figures in the history of the Church, Jason Duesing has produced an incredibly helpful book for the everyday Christian looking to explore Church History.

Kevin Peck, Lead Pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, Texas

Jason Duesing has done it again! He has shown the importance of Christian history by giving us these succinct and accurate vignettes of seven of the most important figures among the people of God—from St. Augustine to Carl F.H. Henry. A great primer in Christian biography.

Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

Every movement needs heroes. Evangelicals stand to gain wisdom and perspective by standing on the mountaintops of church history and looking at our current setting in light of what God has done in the past. In this book, Jason Duesing provides an introductory guide to important figures in church history. This is a book that is both insightful and accessible and will serve to whet your appetite for further study.

Trevin Wax, Managing Editor of The Gospel Project, author of Clear Winter Nights, Gospel-Centered Teaching, and Counterfeit Gospels

If anybody’s looking for a tantalizing appetizer for the big world of church history, this little book on 7 of the heaviest hitters can’t be beat.

Jared C. Wilson, Managing Editor of For the Church, author of Gospel Deeps, Gospel Wakefulness, and The Story of Everything.

This is an excellent tool for the novice to the history of Christianity and also a great reminder for more advanced students that God changes history through people.

Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History, Southern Seminary.

You can purchase Seven Summits here.

For updates and more information follow Seven Summits on Twitter at @7SummitsHistory or take a look at the Seven Summits Facebook page.

Reviews of Seven Summits:

(Feb 2016) Books at a Glance by Cody Glen Barnhart

(Apr 2016) Evangelicals Now by Michael A. G. Haykin

(April 2016) LifeWay Pastors by Mark Dance

(April 2016) Hobbits and Handkercheifs by Joe Garner

(Aug 2016) Themelios 41:2 by Michael A. G. Haykin

(Spring 2016) SWJT 58:2 by W. Madison Grace II

Seven Summits Series Posts:

Now Available: Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, Volume 4

This month, Thomas Nelson publishers released the fourth volume of their Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook edited by O.S. Hawkins, the noted author of The Joshua Code and several other books, pastor, preacher, and president of GuideStone Financial Resources. The Sourcebook aids pastors with their annual sermon planning and provides:

  • Sermons, creative outlines, illustrations, and quotes
  • Worship helps, including hymns, prayers, and Scripture texts
  • Inspirational thoughts and preaching techniques
  • Sermons for special occasions and holidays
  • Disc containing all sermons and sermon starters

This year, the fourth volume contains sermons and sermon ideas from:

In addition, the volume concludes with several articles addressing topics such as preaching and cultural engagement. It was my joy to contribute two chapters to this section and join the following authors:

My two chapters are: “Our Once and Future Theologian: Carl F. H. Henry and Cultural Engagement,” and “Standing Like Steersman in a Storm: Courage to Act Like Men in a Culture That Says Otherwise.”

You can order and learn more about the Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook here.

Upon this Rock: Introduction Now Available

In 2010, B&H Academic published Upon this Rock: A Baptist Understanding of the Church. A volume of many contributors (including coeditors Malcolm Yarnell and Thomas White), Upon this Rock examines Article VI on “The Church” of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Faith and Message statement and related issues of ecclesiology at the local and national level.

Here is Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message:

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; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Recently, B&H Academic has made available for free my introduction to the volume, “The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views?”. You can learn more about the volume here and also read my chapter here.

A Plea for Ambitious Evangelicals: The Union University Pulpit (2013)

In March of this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the campus of Union University, speak in their chapel, and visit with students. Union is known far and wide as one of the “good to great” stories of the Baptist Colleges and Universities over the last two decades thanks to the steady and visionary leadership of David S. Dockery and his capable and well-regarded team.

Perhaps the greatest testimony to this is the quality of students that have graduated during the Dockery tenure. Without question, when I meet a student at Southwestern Seminary and discover they studied at Union, I know I have found a well-informed, academically capable individual who, while able to engage well the intellectual arguments of the day, still has a heart for the Lord and for people around the word. The ability to produce, in such steady droves year after year, students of such caliber is truly remarkable. I can only hope many more Unionites will come and study with us here in Fort Worth.

Yesterday, I received a copy of the most recent Union University Pulpit journal containing sermons from a variety of speakers over the course of this year. A few months back, Joshua Moore, director of church relations, asked if they could include my sermon in this issue, and I was eager to help prepare it for publication.

My sermon is titled “A Plea for Ambitious Evangelicals” from Romans 15:17-21.

In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
(Romans 15:17-21 ESV)

Here is a portion of my introduction and a link to the full transcript follows:

The word ambition in our 21st century, especially American, culture gets thrown around and used in many ways. For those of us who are seeking to follow God and are concerned with godliness and holiness, oftentimes the word ambition gets shuttled aside as a bad thing—a self-seeking thing or a selfish kind of thing. But Paul used the word ambition here in Romans 15 by harnessing it and putting it in its proper context and direction.

I’m 38 years old. Soon I will turn 40 and I do not know if this is the way it is with you but every time I come up on a new decade I think a lot about what did I do in the last decade and ask, “Have I really done anything?” and “What do I want to do in the next decade?” I went through this when I was in my twenties in college. What do I want my twenties to be known for, or my thirties, or my forties? I’ve been thinking a lot about this and ultimately asking myself the question, “If you had to boil it all down, what is the most important thing to me? What am I all about? What is my driving ambition?”

There are really two ways to figure this out, two tests. Test Number One, I can ask others who know me what they think I am all about. Or I can look inwardly, Test Number Two, and ask myself some questions …

If you really want to know me and truly get to people at Southwestern who do know me, aside from the Downton Abbey exterior and the green socks and all these other silly things, I hope that at the core you will see that I am doing what I am doing because I am passionate about seeing people going out to the ends of the earth and knocking on the doors of people who have never heard the gospel or the name of Jesus Christ in their entire lives. They don’t have access to it, they have never seen a Bible, they have never heard its words, and to them we are taking the gospel for the very first time. Whatever it takes to see that accomplished, at the end of the day, is what I am all about.

What is at the core of your heart if you peeled away the layers? Ask those who know you the best. If you ask yourself the why question enough times, what is at the core of your heart?

What I want to show you here in this passage, Romans 15:17-21, is the Apostle Paul’s ambition and that this is not just reserved for Paul, it is an ambition to be shared by all evangelicals, all Christians, all people who love the name of Christ. Whether you ever leave this country and become a missionary or not, this should be the ambition, this should be the core of who we are. So let’s see if Paul’s argument is convincing to us.

Here is a PDF of my full transcript of the March 8, 2013 message, “A Plea for Ambitious Evangelicals.”

The audio recording of my message is available here and video is available here.

To receive a printed copy of the Union University Pulpit 2013 contact the fine folks in the Office of University Ministries at Union.