* Well, unless the sin is, like, really really big and the fight might actually cost you something.
Ideas have consequences.
Imagine, if you will, that I’as a husband and a father’believe that things will continue to get worse and worse in my home. I have continually taught my wife and children that their behavior will continue to get worse and worse until Jesus returns to rapture me out of the home. If I truly believed that every aspect of our home life would get worse and worse, wouldn’t it then follow that I would become comfortable with the idea of surrendering certain areas of our home life? Should I’since I firmly believe that it is inevitable that our home will just get worse and worse that I should surrender our, say, television over to the enemy? Or maybe I should just surrender our family worship and give that up entirely, figuring that things are just going to get worse and worse anyway?
Would you call me a wise, loving and’dare I say’Christlike husband and father if I just decided one day that the sin is going to continue to dominate my home life to the extent that I just need to go ahead and surrender to the enemy certain areas of our home? Should I declare that the war is over when it comes to the purity of my marriage and the souls of my children.?
The answer ought to be an emphatic NO.
Imagine, if you will, that I’as an employee at my place of work’believe that things will continue to get worse and worse at my workplace. Maybe business is down, or maybe business is up, or maybe business has remained stable; the point is that no matter how business is currently performing, I still believe that conditions at my workplace will continue to get worse and worse. Should I begin surrendering certain aspect of my job? Should I simply throw up my hands’since I believe my workplace is going down the proverbial toilet’and simply give up doing certain tasks that I have been performing faithfully over my years of employment?
Would you call me a good employee if I began acting out on my pessimistic presuppositions and just pulled out of certain tasks entirely as I prepare for the end of my workplace? Should I simply declare that the war is over when it comes to the quality of my work performance and maintaining my integrity at the workplace.?
The answer, once again, ought to be an emphatic NO.
With these illustrations in mind, I give you this quote from Southern Baptist Pastor Jimmy Scroggins when he addressed an audience of Southern Baptist Pastors at a pastoral gathering at the SBC headquarters in Nashville, TN last month:
We’re all in agreement that the culture war is over when it comes to homosexuality, especially when it comes to gay marriage.
So now, it seems, that many pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention are not merely toying the idea with complete surrender, they have embraced it fully. Should, though, any of us who have followed the Southern Baptist Convention for decades really be surprised?
Dispensational premillennialism has been the eschatological system that has prevailed in Southern Baptist life for most of the denomination’s existence. Simply based upon my personal experience, I have heard it taught countless times that our culture will continue to get worse and worse until’as demanded by this eschatological system’the Church is raptured out and the great tribulation begins. Given the presuppositions of this system, is a widespread surrender on cultural issues really that much of a surprise? After all, to fight all the harder against sin in our home, sin in our churches, sin in our workplaces, and’yes’sin in our culture, would be to work against the inevitable tide that will bring about nothing less than the second coming of Jesus Christ Himself.
But wait. What Christian’regardless of his/her eschatological presuppositions’would say that surrendering the war against personal sin, or surrendering the war against sin in our churches, or surrendering the war against sin in our workplaces is something that should be embraced? Going back to my illustration, what would Pastor Scroggins say to me if I told him my wife and I are in agreement that the family war is over when it comes to sin, especially when it comes to pornography. Would he remember what he stated about the culture war against homosexuality and say it’s okay, brother. I’m with you on that.
I’m unsure as to why many Southern Baptist pastors seem to be softening their stand against homosexual marriage. Perhaps some of these pastors have apostatized from the faith. Perhaps some of these pastors are steeped in compromise. Perhaps some of these pastors honestly think that’since that dreaded monster called Worse and Worse has popped his ugly head out once again’they really just need to lay down their arms and let the enemy have this one.
Let me make my stand as clear as I know how.
By the grace of God, I will not surrender in the battle for the purity of my marriage and for the souls of my children.
By the grace of God, I will not surrender in the fight to perform my professional duties in a way that honors God and exalts Christ (and that is a daily battle, I can assure you).
By the grace of God, I will not surrender in the fight to keep my local church a church that loves our community and honors Christ through joyful obedience to His word.
And by the grace of God, I will not surrender the culture war when it comes to homosexuality, and especially when it comes to gay marriage.
Sin has broken us as a people. Sin has gotten into every area of our lives and into every facet of our thinking. Sin has broken us sexually.
Adultery. Fornication. Pornography. Homosexuality. These are symptoms of our sexual brokenness. Jesus Christ has come to make all things new. He has come to make broken sinners new. He has come to make broken families new. He has come to make sinful cultures new.
If your eschatology forces you to make the conclusion that Pastor Scroggins has made, don’t raise the white flag in the face of the enemy. Don’t walk away from the culture, hunker down in your church, and wait for the rapture to come. Don’t look at the scourge of homosexual marriage in our nation and think the tides of social change are entirely too big for Christians to overcome.
Instead, rethink your eschatology. Read your Bible. Believe that the Great Commission isn’t just about saving souls from hell, nor is it just about fighting sin in your home, your work, or your church. The Great Commission is about discipling nations.
Discipled nations look different than non-discipled nations. Nations that are being discipled will eventually do away with the perversion of marriage.
Don’t join Pastor Scroggins in his surrender. Pick up your Bible, get on your knees, and fight the good fight of faith.
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Could you please post the link or other reference to the quote from Jimmy Scoggins? I would like to read the context of the discussion you reference. Thanks!
Shane, your article made me think about my beliefs and examine them. Perhaps you could explain how the pre-mil-dispensationalist view itself leads to the conclusion that things will get worse and worse. I frankly don't understand dispensationalism, though I tend to be pre-mil with an open mind. I serve in a church where the the pastor is an amil Calvinist, as careful an exegete of God's word as you'll find in any pulpit. From what I understand, he also has no illusions that the world is getting better, even with his belief that the millennium is already here, Christ is ruling, and Satan is bound. He is also evangelical as you would expect any serious pastor to be who takes the Great Commission as the word of God. He has stated he believes the pro-gay movement is gaining strength and the outcome in our society is clearly evident, absent some miraculous work of the Holy Spirit to ignite a new Awakening. We agree that it is entirely within God's power to do so. And we agree that it does not look like that is his will.
Will things continue to get worse? Assuming God does not change many hearts, yes. And this may be evidence that it is his divine plan. I've heard no one argue that America deserves any better fate, not to diminish the coming tragic end.
The implied view (granted implications are tricky) I get from your article is that the pessimistic things-getting-worse position is not correct, regardless of the escatological underpinnings. So let me put it not too subtly - do you think things are actually getting better? Is that informed from your eschatology? And if so, what evidence can you cite to support the more optimistic view?
Before I leave, let me say unequivocally that I believe God's will is being fulfilled, as always. His kingdom will come, he is truly sovereign in all things. The problem here seems to be that we can't see the full revelation of the path to his fulfilled will. It may be that it is getting darker as the dawn approaches. Our only hope is in God's saving work through his Son, manifested in us through the Holy Spirit. So I trust we are on the same side, just looking at things from a different angle. I thank you and may God continue to bless you.
Brother you are a great evangelist and you are a great Christian family man, and a solid Christian brother.But with all due respect Shane, you need to check your facts for consistency, or at the very least, read the closing quote from the news article you are referring to, before you jump to any hasty conclusions: "If the only thing you're saying is let's not be so harsh," Townes says, "then the attitude that's still behind it — of judging and unacceptance and damnation — will still come out and people will feel it and respond to it." That’s not acquiescence, in reference to your article’s title “Never Give Up! Never Surrender!” In addition, the title to the news article you referenced was not "Southern Baptist pastors are softening their stand against homosexual marriage", but "Southern Baptist Leaders Seek Softer Approach To Homosexuality". Do you see the difference?
Furthermore, in the SBC, there is an ever increasing number of Calvinists. So yes, that wasn't the case for the denomination’s past, but that is not how it is today, and Lord willing, definitely not for its future. For which you can thank the likes of Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, along with many others, who said in a story about the “New Calvinism” April 3 on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on PBS: “I think it’s a fantastic thing. When you imagine that mainline Protestant denominations have largely been arguing over things like same-sex marriage and any number of other things, and trying to figure out how in the world to engender some kind of genuinely theological discussion, I think we should see this is as a tremendous achievement of the Southern Baptist Convention. The question is now how we steward that, and I hope we steward it in a very healthy direction.” The issue right now in the SBC, is not homosexuality, but Calvinism, ask Bob Hadley, Pastor, Westside Baptist Church Daytona Beach, Florida, who posted in his "SBC and Calvinism, Calvinism is a SBC ISSUE that MUST be addressed" blog: "the future of the SBC is clearly at hand for the entities as well as the seminaries “'are the incubators of the church’s future. The teaching imparted to seminarians will shortly be inflicted upon congregations, where the result will be either fruitfulness or barrenness, vitality or lethargy, advance or decline, spiritual life, or spiritual death.'” In fact, tensions have escalated between Calvinist and non-Calvinist Southern Baptists so much, that a committee had to be formed, the Calvinism Advisory Committee. Where Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page said the “goal is to develop a strategy whereby people of various theological persuasions can purposely work together in missions and evangelism.” Which is also, the main reason that many Churches, like the one I am a member of, are in friendly cooperation with the SBC, for missions and evangelism purposes.And finally, in regards to evangelism and homosexuals, this SBC member, Lord willing will be taking the Gospel to the homosexuals at the Washington DC Capitol Pride Parade in June, your prayers would be greatly appreciated, and more laborers are still need if you can make it to DC. I will not be there with a bunch of signs saying homo this and homo that, in fact experience shows that we do not even have to bring up the subject, they will. So you could call that the not so harsh or softer approach, but we will be proclaiming repentance of sin and faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ, for salvation for guilty sinners. Never Give Up! Never Surrender!
Pastor Scroggins and your misunderstanding of the theology is the primary problem. There is no place in dispensational premillenialism where apathy toward sin or your perceived attitude of giving up is allowable or condoned.
If your depiction of the view was accurate, I'd agree with your conclusions.
Your analogies misrepresent the view you are tearing down. This is a classic fallacy, Shane. One fact is that no Christian dispensationalist believes that the preaching of God's Word will have no effect.
I will AGREE and I wrote about this almost exactly 4 years ago that there are MANY dispensationalists who MISAPPLY their theology. This is inexcusble and sinful and should be condemned. My point is that poor application of theology doesn't imply "bad theology." Lots of people have done bad things in the name of good ideas.
Maybe interacting with the theology would be a better use of your time. Try studying it and understanding it and all its implications, then write an article about what is so wrong about it.
You are like the arminian who tells the calvinist open air preacher, "calvinists don't evangelize."
Ummmm, yeah they do. So when you claim that the "things will get worse theology" drives me to a decision I must, in fact, make - which I must not, in fact, make, it's really just sorta....a nuisance.
No one has agreed to surrender a war against personal sin. And no one has said to soften their stand against sin is the result of knowing that sinners will wax worse.
I don't mean to be offensive, but when you write about dispy stuff, it mostly reads like someone who read a few cliff's notes and watched a dispy on TBN a few times.
Love you brother, looking forward to laboring together with you sometime.
@wpuymac Thanks for your kind response, Michael.
"Pastor Scroggins and your misunderstanding of the theology is the primary problem. There is no place in dispensational premillenialism where apathy toward sin or your perceived attitude of giving up is allowable or condoned."
I'm sure Pastor Scroggins would reject the notion that he is somehow "apathetic toward sin." I used to be a dispensational premillennialist, and I was convinced that things "getting worse and worse" was inevtiable and was--actually--ordained by God (2 Tim 3:1-7 being the prooftext of choice).
The point is not that this man--or any dispy--is apathetic toward sin. The point is what I began my article with...that "ideas have consequences" and that this idea of a steadily declining worldwide morality until "the end" could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. At the very least, we have dispensational Christians who carry out the Great Commission while believing that it won't ultimately be carried out (the nations are to be discipled, but this discipleship will result in worse worldwide conditions).
"One fact is that no Christian dispensationalist believes that the preaching of God's Word will have no effect."
I agree. I'm not saying that no Christian dispensationalist believes that preaching is ineffective. I'm saying that Christian dispensationalists believe that the preaching of God's word is effective, but that belief is inconsistent with their view of a Christian being raptured out of an increasingly hostile world.
"Maybe interacting with the theology would be a better use of your time. Try studying it and understanding it and all its implications, then write an article about what is so wrong about it. "
Maybe it would, but not for the purposes of my article. I was a dispensationalist for about 10 years and that's pretty much the background I bring to any discussion of it. I try to keep my articles interesting pithy and readable, and while I'm not ruling out a lengthy interaction with dispsensationalism, that wasn't what I was trying to accomplish here.
My challenge to dispensationalists--at least those who come to read my article--is to consider how their implications of their eschatology work out in everyday Christian living.
If I failed, then I may God grant me grace to do better next time.
Thanks for your helpful criticisms.