24 September 2009

Books and Stuff

by Frank Turk



I have a Facebook friend named Jim Belcher, and let me be honest: I have no idea how Jim became a Facebook friend to me. Yet, to my utter astonishment, there he is.


Jim has written a book, Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional, which he was kind enough to send me for the sake of promotion and review.

I haven't finished reading Jim's book yet, but I linked it, above, because you ought to read it. Particularly, you need to spend a lot of time in Chapter 4, which is titled "Deep Truth", and Chapter 8, "Deep Preaching".

I have taken copious notes in this book. It makes me angry about every third page, but angry in the right way. Angry enough to do something about what he's saying.

This is not a review of Jim's book: this is a recommendation for you to get it and read it before I review it -- because unless you read that book, any comments you will make about this book will, frankly, be pretty useless. I don't agree with everything he says (he's a presbyterian, after all); most of you won't agree with most of what he says. But his book is an insightful look into the question of whether there ought to be a church which emerges from what exists today, and what that church ought to look like.

While I'm recommending books here, it's with a very heavy heart that I find myself about to take a vacation from being a Southern Baptist. I'm not going to walk you through the ecclesiologically-sordid details, but suffice it to say that I love the convention, I honor the men who have taught me to love Christ and his Gospel who were, all in all, products of the SBC, and I am proud of the direction that body is taking to yet again reform itself. In spite of some of the hyjinx you will find in local SBC churches, the future is bright in the SBC because it takes the charge to be renewed and not conformed to the world seriously and sets an example for other associations and denominations to follow.


And I say that to recommend another book which anyone who wants to figure out something about the best tendencies of the SBC and the men who defend that place: Southern Baptist Identity, By David S. Dockery. It's an anthology of essays from what amounts to the elder statesmen of the convention talking about what unites the churches of the SBC, and what ought to guide the SBC into the future. A great book from Crossway for people who read Jim Belcher's book and would frame his critiques of traditionalism toward the SBC -- and which would stand, I think, as a counter-apologetic to their high-sounding criticisms of "traditional" churches as products of "foundationalism".

I'd like to conduct a blog seminar on Jim's book in two weeks, so go ahead and buy one or rent it from the library or download it to your Kindle, and take good notes. I expect that you'll have plenty to say when you're done, and I know I will have plenty to say to incentivize your comments.

Carry on.








43 comments:

David said...

I've been a Southern Baptist since 1972 and have pastored in several churches. Six months ago, I decided to return to seminary and finish my degree and guess what? It wasn't a SBC seminary but a presbyterian. Now I'm not buying into paedo baptistm and covenant theology, but it is not being pushed on me either. The important thing for me, is the commitment to study the Word of God and worship coming from the understanding that we have no part in our salvation. The people here are the finest I have every been around. They accept that I hold to Calvinism while being a dispensationalist. But boy, if you preach anything Calvinist in an SBC church anymore, woe be to you.

DJP said...

Frank, very interesting.

If you want to do it, I for one would be very interested to hear why you're leaving the SBC, especially after all those laudatory comments. Even more, I'd be interested to know what the "something better" is into which you're heading. I'm sure it's not an "us-Turks-plus-three-of-our-closest-friends" house church.

Though my specifics aren't the same as yours, I'm needing to find a church/denomination where my membership won't necessarily include an asterisk by my name because I embrace the Biblical teachings of the doctrines of grace, credo-baptism, and dispensationalism.

donsands said...

I will be getting this book.

"But this book is helpful and to me almost a great wrap up of the past 10 years and a hopeful way of looking to the future." -Dan Kimball, about the book, 'Deep Church'. He said it's a great book.

http://www.dankimball.com/vintage_faith/2009/09/deep-church-the-best-and-hopefully-last-book-studying-the-emerging-church.html#more

witness said...

Frank can I be Jim's friend too so I can get a book? Just asking.

JackW said...

Deep Church not available on Kindle. :(

... how many copies are you giving away? ;)

TBE said...

unless you read that book, any comments you will make about this book will, frankly, be pretty useless.

whoa, whoa, whoa...you want us to have an INFORMED opinion all of a sudden???

Let's not get CRAZY here, Cent!!!!

olan strickland said...

Frank, I am very interested in reading Deep Church and will probably order a copy in a few minutes. However I have to be honest - my real interest is to see if the ecclesiology presented in it is Biblical or just a mixture of traditional and emergent ecclesiologies. After all, two wrongs don't make a _____.

David, I pastor a Southern Baptist church. I preach and teach the Bible which issues in reformed theology. But I also preach against dispensational soteriology (antinomianism) that has fostered so much of the "easy-believism" in our Southern Baptist churches. Very difficult indeed!

DJP said...

dispensational soteriology (antinomianism)

This isn't the place to debate it, but I note that that is a slander, and untrue on several levels.

olan strickland said...

Dan, it is slander only if it is untrue.

But I should have qualified it by stating the obvious truth that not all dispensationalists are antinomians - just the majority! And, this is a major problem in Southern Baptist churches (the majority not all).

DJP said...

Please cite the study that proves that dispensationalism has a distinctive soteriology (it doesn't), and the poll that proves that "the majority" of dispensationalists hold the damnable heresy of antinomianism.

For my part, I am an anti-antinomian for the same reason I am a dispensationalist, which is the same reason I am a Calvinist, which actually is the same reason I am a Christian.

Frank Turk said...

Olan:

I don't want to give too much away, but Jim is an PCA pastor. His ecclesiology is really traditional conservative presbyterian. It is one of my complaints about the book.

Chris Brauns said...

I have read Belcher's book with great interest and look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Frank Turk said...

All --

Let's lay off dispensationalism, please. It's the one topic which is not on the menu here, and it is way off-topic for this post.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
olan strickland said...

Frank, sorry for the derail - I have ordered my copy so tell Jim that you want your commission.

Dan, I would never put an asterisk by your name.

DJP said...

LOL, that calls for a group hug.

Where's Chantry?

(c:

Jon said...

For another book on church which recommends a third way, can I highly recommend 'Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community' by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis?

http://www.amazon.com/Total-Church-Radical-Reshaping-Community/dp/1433502089

Here is a quote:

"Christian practice must be (1) gospel-centered in the sense of being word-centered, (2) gospel-centered in the sense of being mission-centered, and (3) community-centered." (p. 16)

JWeaver said...

To Dan Phillips and all the rest of us looking for the church that "embraces the Biblical teachings of the doctrines of grace, credo-baptism, and dispensationalism."

http://www.dentonbible.org/index.php?pfile=distinctives&mfile=aboutdbclm&dir=aboutdbc

I've followed Tommy Nelson and this church from Maryland and often flirt with the idea of moving to Texas or asking for a long-distance church plant in Baltimore...

Frank Turk said...

Jon --

I am also a big fan of Timmis and Chester's book, but I am also someone who would challenge their "community centered hermeneutic" which is anabaptist and in some ways anti-reformational.

So yes: great book. Recommend it. I'd also make sure one is reading it with eyes wide open.

Jon said...

Frank: glad you are a fan of 'Total Church' too - there is so much in the book that is rightly and biblically challenging. Like you, I wouldn't take the 'community-centered hermeneutic' quite as far as the authors do...but it is a great book to read with eyes, heart and Scripture wide open.

Tom Chantry said...

For the last time, Dan, I'm not hugging you, even if you become an amillennialist!

Johnny Dialectic said...

If he becomes Arminian, I'll kiss him.

donsands said...

A holy kiss is good.

And don't ever forget the proper way to hug a man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUdWApwbudQ

Rachael Starke said...

Beer, er, iced tea summit!

Stefan said...

So that's how to bring Chantry out of the woodwork!

stratagem said...

"(I'm needing to find a church/denomination where my membership won't necessarily include an asterisk by my name because I embrace the Biblical teachings of the doctrines of grace, credo-baptism, and dispensationalism."

How does this manifest itself? I don't understand this at all.

DJP said...

Simple. I could go to a Presby church where my Calvinism is at home, but the asterisk (necessarily) goes up due to the other two factors. A Baptist church, cool with credo, probably OK with dispensationalism, fair-odds to despise Calvinism. A Reformed Baptist church would be cool with the credo-, cool with the Calvinism, but....

Can you hear me now?

stratagem said...

Ah, ok, thank you friend. I also have yet to find a church that agrees with me on all points of doctrine. I have gotten a lot better than I once was, about ignoring the differences unless they fall into the realm of heresy.
I am actually kind of surprised you would expect a Baptist church to despise Calvinism - where I live (Ohio), so-called "free will" Baptist churches are very much the exception from the rule.

Tom Chantry said...

Oh Dan. We wouldn't put an asterisk next to your name. A frowny-face, maybe, but never an asterisk. And I would delegate some sensitive, hip deacon to give you a hug every week.

Paula said...

"(I'm needing to find a church/denomination where my membership won't necessarily include an asterisk by my name because I embrace the Biblical teachings of the doctrines of grace, credo-baptism, and dispensationalism."

Come on over to the GARBC! It fits all your requirements. We stumbled upon ours a year ago (from a big box seeker-sensitive model) and couldn't be more blessed by the solid expository preaching and avoidance of trendiness and fads of every kind. Our pastor just started a Weds. night series on Dispensationalism that is A+++. And you don't know what it means, as a parent, to have the youth pastor say, without hesitation, that he's a fundamentalist.

witness said...

Paula the problem with GARBC is they care more that you agree to a pre-trib rapture than the total depravity of man.

olan strickland said...

*Dan, two out of three ain't bad!

I would still hug you even if Chantry won't :)...

...unless of course you become an amillenialist - then the deal is off :)

Historic Premillenialism or bust!

P.S. CBD has already shipped my book!

Paula said...

Witness, that hasn't been our experience at all, but we've only been in one GARBC church. YMMV.

Frank Turk said...

I have two feelings today:

[1] That I have obviously been a heavy influencer in the discipleship of many people, as witnessed to by the complete and utter derailment the comments here are falling into. Thanks for being just like me, y'all.

[2] That I owe DJP and Phil an apology for the kind of people I have shepherded here. Sorry, ya'll.

stratagem said...

Q: Who said:

"...unless you read that book, any comments you will make about this book will, frankly, be pretty useless.

??

James David Beebe, Jr. said...

Belcher interview today at:

http://www.pilgrimradio.com/Home.php

the "his people" segment of their programming.

last run is 9pm Pacific, and they don't have archives

FireBreathingChristian said...

Righteous anger is a good thing, of course, and there's much about the emergent movement to inspire just that.

I have just stumbled upon your site today and am happy to have found such well written, biblically sound material to digest. This is a beautiful thing!

I heard the author of this book interviewed on "The Way of the Master", I believe, and I look forward to checking out his work soon.

I've just jumped into the blogosphere myself in recent weeks, launching http://FireBreathingChristian.com , where the most recent post is entitled "Candy Christianity: The Counterfeit Gospel of the American Church", so these are subjects that have been on my mind.

It is always encouraging to connect with like-minded Christians and I thank you again for all of the work that you do here at this site.

Soli Deo gloria!

Scott

R. D. Bailey said...

thought you were talkin' bout a book, cent.

rob

Stefan said...

Frank:

Dan started it by threatening to hug Tom.

Tom Chantry said...

He speaks truth. It was very threatening.

Ron Suarez said...

I rather stumbled into the SBC from a Bible Church when I was just a kid in Jr. High. I have attended Okla Bapt U and am finishing up at Midwestern Sem. After all that I will probably be leaving the SBC for a Reformed Bible church. No lie, 5 pointer Bible Church! Choices are limited here even though I live in Jerusalem, Oklahoma, USA; I have the pick of any number of "Something Good is Going to Happen" churches. Leaving the SBC after attending a SBC seminary is not a rarity. I know a couple other SW grads now outside of SBC life. Neither they, or I, were disingenuous. I think we all love the CP. I just can’t find a church that isn’t slipping towards ‘me’ centeredness. I would go back if I found a church that was commited to God centeredness.

puritanicoal said...

Dan, come to my church!!! It's an independent presbyterian church. They reject paedo-baptism, subscribe to the doctrines of grace and dispensationalism - with a master's sem grad in the pulpit to boot.

DJP said...

Sounds really good... except I think the drive from Sacramento every Sunday would kill us.

(c;