Drop Doctrine, Save Souls?
Because of our love for the Scripture we’ve had some differences of opinion, but the problem is that while we are arguing about these topics, lost men, women, boys, and girls are dying and going to hell every single day,” said Luter on the first night of the denomination’s 2013 annual meeting.
While we are arguing about these topics and debating about these topics, America is going to hell every day,” he continued. “Time is running out. We do not have time for debate. We do not have time for arguing. The world needs to know that Jesus saves … for the sake of those who are lost.
Pastor Fred Luter, president of the Southern Baptist Convention
Rev. Luter believes we ought to forgo debating doctrine so that we can devote our energies to saving the lost. But is it the case that doctrinal fidelity may be sacrificed on the alter of evangelism?
Since Rev. Luter believes there are lost souls out there, then he must believe that mankind is fallen and in need of salvation. But what of those who say that because God is a loving god he would never send anyone to hell (i.e., there are no lost souls)? What of those who say that all religions lead to God? Or that people have a Baptism of Desire that is sufficient (hence, they don’t need “to know that Jesus saves”)? Would Rev. Luter’s response be, “Let’s not argue about it and forget the whole ‘lost souls’ thing. Instead, let’s grab a beer and watch Oprah!” (Oh, that’s right: Baptist. Grab a Diet Coke?)
No, that wouldn’t be his, nor those who proclaim this view, response. They would not be willing to lay their “Baptist Road” theology aside. What they really want is for us to drop our principled objections to their theology and instead capitulate to theirs. In other words, this isn’t a plea to save the lost; it’s just plain, old-fashioned demagoguery.
Timothy Hammons, Teaching Elder at Redeemer Christian Fellowship in Roswell, New Mexico, provides more insight into this issue at his blog. Here’s an excerpt:
His comments are supposed to be the ultimate trump card in any argument. The problem is that it shows his hand. Luter doesn’t believe in God’s election, God’s sovereignty, God’s greater purpose of His glory. This shows us that Luter thinks he is the one that will be saving people. He is straight from the Charles G. Finney school of manipulation, which has done more to damage to the church than anything the government could do.
This is the same as the pastor I had a dialog with who recently made the claim:
“I will readily admit, even after graduating from Dallas, that I am a theological novice in many arenas, including John Calvin and Calvinism. I simply love Jesus, desire to be in His presence and am trying to bring as many people as I can one step closer to Him.”
There is no excuse for this kind of laziness in the pastorate. For one, the man is not being honest. He says he wants to bring them closer to Jesus, but how is he to do this if He is not willing to dive deeper in the word and grow in his Christology (a branch of theology that focuses on the person and work of Christ). What does he intend to do, give them fuzzy feelings so that they too have fuzzy feeling about Jesus? The Bible never calls us to such slop. (Calvinism is at the heart of the SBC’s arguing by the way.)
The real problem behind both pastors is that they fostering anti-intellectualism under the guise of loving Jesus. This really is part of Satan’s attack on the church. He doesn’t want us growing in our understanding but resting in our feelings.
You can read the rest of his comments here.