From Dave Black’s blog:
7:54 PM A reader sent along this query:
I saw on your blog that SEBTS was accused at the SBC annual meeting of having a “Calvinistic Agenda.” I also saw you provided a link to Dr. Akin’s response. Unfortunately the video won’t work for me. I was wondering if a transcript or news story existed of his response. I’d love to know what he said.
In essence, Danny said that Southeastern Seminary has one agenda. It is the Great Commission. If anyone has a different agenda, it is the wrong agenda. At SEBTS, “J.C.” does not stand for John Calvin. It stands for Jesus Christ. If, he said, a faculty member should push another agenda at SEBTS, he would gently try to persuade him that his agenda is the wrong one. If he could win his brother, all would be fine and good. If not, that person would need to seek employment elsewhere.
Danny is absolutely correct. His answer leaves no stone unturned. And it does one more thing. It points out precisely what is wrong with anyone who is an apologist for something other than the Great Commission: misplaced priorities. It is just here where I feel some bloggers have made a wrong turn. I should know: I have made many such wrong turns in my own life. At one time I was, for example, an apologist for homeschooling. Ditto for the agrarian lifestyle. And elder-led congregationalism? It’s the only way, of course. I am gradually learning to repent of my misplaced priorities. Note: I did not say that I have changed my views in any of these areas. It’s just that I am no longer an apologist for any of them.
If we were to adopt this perspective, think of the possible consequences. Rather than publicly criticizing the church across town that is wasting its money on the frivolous (something our church would never do, of course), by putting the Gospel first perhaps we could find a way to work with them to reach our city for Christ. Perhaps we could even serve in the city’s food pantry together, or wash cars together for Christ, or support an inner-city evangelist together. Surely this is far better than ignoring the clear teaching of 1 Corinthians 14:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
I am deeply humbled to be teaching in an academic institution that has its priorities aligned according to the Gospel. You do not know how rare this is. You do not know how delightful and enjoyable it is to experience deep fellowship around the Gospel with my faculty colleagues. You do not know how great a blessing it is to be around students who are not pushing their Calvinism (or their Arminianism for that matter) down the throats of their peers. I cannot tell you how often I have put my nose on the carpet and thanked the Lord God for the privilege of joining Him in the greatest work on earth. I do not deserve this blessing. I am, indeed, ashamed of wasting so many years of my life pursuing lesser goals. So I would simply ask you: What are you an apologist for? When I go to your blog or your website, what stands out? The question is more than rhetorical.
Let me close this post by saying how much I appreciate all of my readers who seek to live the truth in love. No one has tried harder to do this, with less success, than I. Let us all work harder than ever before to receive the truth of God’s Word into our lives submissively — defiantly, I dare say — saying to ourselves, I have not yet arrived.
I could’t agree more. There should be no agenda other than Jesus Christ and him crucified. Even for us Pentecostals. Our agenda shouldn’t be to see every Christian seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues or some other Pentecostal doctrine. There should only be one agenda, be it AG, or Baptist, or Presbyterian, Lutheran, or non-denominational, or other, and that is the resolve to know nothing among us but Christ and him crucified, and in that light, to proclaim the gospel to all creation.
Let’s encourage each other to be sure our congregations, seminaries, colleges, families keep our priorities in order. 🙂