Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Winner of the Best Definition for a Christ-Honoring, Theologically Conservative Evangelical

The Entry That Made Us Laugh -- Kelly Reed

"A Christ-Honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" is obviously defined as anyone who agrees with me. If you don't agree with me, you're a liberal.

The Winning Entry --- Tim Sweatman

Being a "Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" means that Jesus is truly our Lord as well as our Savior. Not only are we trusting in His atoning death to pay the penalty for our sins, but we are also following Him in every area of our lives. We show our love for Him by obeying His commands, and we pattern our lives after His example of loving God and loving others.

Being a "Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" means that we believe the Bible is the Word of God. As God's Word the Bible is true in everything it says. As God's Word the Bible is authoritative in our lives and in our churches. As God's Word the Bible is sufficient to guide and govern us in matters of doctrine and practice; it trumps human tradition, history, culture, and reason in these matters. Where the Bible speaks clearly we do not compromise, but where the Bible does not speak clearly we allow for differing interpretations, NOT because the Bible means whatever we think it means but because in some areas God has chosen not to reveal the clear meaning to us.

Being a "Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical" means that we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, both through our words and through our actions. We affirm that faith in Christ is the only way that anyone can be saved, and we affirm that through faith in Christ anyone can be saved. We are not called to give people religion, make them live moral lives, or make them members of a church. We are called to tell others about Jesus, support our claims about Him through how we live, and allow God to do His work of regeneration, conversion, justification, and sanctification in their lives.

Other Outstanding Entries Too Numerous To Name

But everyone one of you caused us to think long and hard about our understanding of ourselves, and others, as Christ-honoring, theologically conservative evangelicals.

Thanks, and have a wonderful Lord's Day.

In His Grace,



Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Great job Tim. Waita put tha ol' hamma on tha nail.

irreverend fox said...

I got ripped off again.

Mine was by FAR the most Christ honoring!

LivingDust said...


Congratulations on your excellent definition.

Now that you've been named a winner on a Wade Burleson blog contest, you'll be persecuted far and wide.

Have a nice day.

Stephen Pruett said...

Tim, you really nailed it. I especially like the defintion of conservative. The idea that some passages are open to more than one interpretation and that one does not have to be a relativist or a liberal to think so is right on target. It seems an uphill battle though, because many Baptists are so certain that they have correctly figured out scripture on so many issues that they will always suspect you and I of being liberal if we suggest that sometimes other interpretations are possible. I would really love to see them actually address legitimate questions that can be raised about some of their dearest interpretations rather than simply asserting them more aggressively. The fact that they generally cannot or will not suggests to me that they are not objectively interpreting scripture. I would love to see Southern Baptists try to win liberals to Christ instead of treating them like mortal enemies. Granted there would be some risks associated with this. However, if our theological positions are all carefully thought out and defensible, we should be able to persuade them. I think they are with regard to the essentials, but we run into all sorts of problems that ruin our credibility when it comes to non-essentials. Please understand that I am not saying we should place intellect above scripture. However, I would suggest that if scripture seems to conflict with intellect, we should be very very careful about the interpretation. God who wrote the scriptures also created our intellect, and it is not within His character of absolute integrity to design conflicting answers into them.

Dori said...

We know that Tim has a good grasp on the definition ... so what did he win? SBC President 2010?

Bro. Robin said...

Bro. Wade

Thanks for the contest. Might I be one dissenting voice in the comments thus far. Before I begin, from what I have read on his blog, I like Tim. He challenges me and others to see different perspectives in the Christian world of ideas. I believe he has a heart of integrity and I hope the Lord will soon lead him to another pastorate.

Now for the dissenting voice. I don't agree with theological labels. I did offer a small understanding of what you were asking for, but I realized that if I tried I would muddy the waters even further. In Bro. Tim's definition, I believe he did also. He states, "Where the Bible speaks clearly we do not compromise, but where the Bible does not speak clearly we allow for differing interpretations, NOT because the Bible means whatever we think it means but because in some areas God has chosen not to reveal the clear meaning to us." Initially, I believe this is flawed in two ways.

First, who is to say that the Bible does not speak clearly on some issues but clearly on others? Who decides what issues are or are not essential. I believe you stated that you did not agree with women fulfilling the role of pastor, but you were against its inclusion in the BFM 2000 because it wasn't essential. But apparently there are some who thought it was essential to add it to the confession. Who is right? Is there something deeper than just women serving as pastors? It may go to hermeneutics and how we interpret scripture. I have friends who hold to allowing women serve as pastors, even though I disagree with them. I still consider them conservative even though they might have a moderate view point on this issue. Others don't. Who is right. I would say the Bible speaks clearly on this, but if their is disagreement on this issue does that say that the Bible does not speak clearly on it? How many dissenting voices does it take to say the Bible does not speak clearly on anything? Deciding on the clarity of issues as presented in the Bible does not clear up who is theologically conservative.

Second, who is to say that God has chosen not to "reveal" the truth about some issues. It may be that God has and we have decided to keep a closed mind. James 1:5 "clearly" states that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God and he will give to us generously the wisdom we seek.

I realize that people will disagree on my assessment of Bro. Tim's definition, but I hope that we will all see that the issues we face go deeper than a definition that will clarify who or what doctrine is considered Christ honoring, theologically conservative evangelical.

With many blessings to you and Bro. Tim

Bro. Robin

Charlie Mac said...

I have a blog up so can comment again. Are you really sure that as a Christ honoring theological conservative evangelical that "where the Bible speaks clearly we do not compromise"? The exact same passage that forbids women from teaching or having authority over men also clearly forbids their wearing gold, pearls, expensive dresses and braided hair (the most popular style at that time period?) Take a look at the woman next to you the next time you start driving to church services. Does she have on any gold or pearls? Does she have on her most expensive dress? Does she have her hair all done up as pretty as you can afford? Now please tell me again the part about not compromising where the Bible speaks clearly.
Charles McFatter

RKSOKC66 said...


Congratulations! You definition was excellent.

I've only been to your town -- Bowling Green, KY -- once. I went to go to the Corvette Museum and also a tour of the Corvette plant. However, when I got there I found out that the plant tours were cancelled due to 9/11. I understand that they have now resumed the tours in the Corvette plant.

I wish you the best as the Lord leads you to a new area of service.

Kelly Reed said...

I am truly honored that mine was selected in what was overall a serious and great discussion. Do I get to give an acceptance speech?

To prove my point, I submit the following humerous illustration--and no, neither character is me!

Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life,

Kelly Reed

I was in San Fransisco once, walking along the Golden Gate Bridge, and I saw this guy on the bridge about to jump. So I thought I'd try to stall and detain him, long enough for me to put the film in. I said, "Don't jump!" and he turns...

He said, "Nobody loves me."

I said, "God loves you, you silly ninny."...

He said, "I do believe in God."

I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"

He said, "A Christian."

I said, "Me too. Protestant or Catholic?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me too! What franchise?"

He says, "Baptist."

I said, "Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

He says, "Northern Baptist."

I said, "Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He says, "Northern Conservative Baptist."

I say, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist or Northern Conservative Reform Baptist?"

He says, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist."

I say, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern Region?"

He says, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region."

I say, "Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"

He says, "Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912."

I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

Kiki Cherry said...


My first question would have been "Sooner or Longhorn?"

It would have saved you a lot of time. : )

Kelly Reed said...


I wouldn't have to ask that question--only a Sooner would be contemplating jumping off! :-)


Cally said...

I doubt if Jesus would have been considered a "theologically conservative evangelical." Look at his interpretations of the Scriptures for his day.

irreverend fox said...

dr. danny,

that only depends on what you mean by the word conservative.

Tim Sweatman said...

If the prize for winning is a nomination for SBC President, then I will have to go back and delete my comment! I love the SBC too much to do THAT to the convention.

Seriously, I am honored to be able to contribute to this much needed discussion within the SBC. We are going to have to learn to agree to disagree on some issues if we are to remain viable as a convention. While Kelly's definition made me laugh, it would be an even more funny statement if it did not describe so many people in the SBC.

James said...

After this discussion, I saw this article on Christianity Today.

No matter where you stand, there's always someone on your right and your left.