White Papers

The Evangelistic Seminary

by Dr. Malcolm B. Yarnell III - June 2014

And he said unto them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
- Matthew 4:19

Christianity is perhaps best described as a twofold following after the Lord Jesus Christ. On the one hand, Jesus' first and foremost rallying cry was, "Come, follow me!" On the other hand, our Lord taught His disciples to extend that call to the world. Likewise, expressing the theme of bot... [read more]

Lessons From the Chair of Fire: L. R. Scarborough’s Legacy of Evangelistic Preaching

by David G. Norman Jr. - June 2013

One would find incredible difficulty overestimating the influence of Lee Rutland Scarborough over Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southern Baptist Convention. He was the first man to occupy the seminary’s Chair of Evangelism, or “Chair of Fire,” – the first of it’s kind in theological education – and the second man to occupy the seminary’s office of the president. In fulfilling his du... [read more]

Why I Buy Electronic Commentaries (and you should, too)

by Dr. James R. Wicker - September 2011

I have spent almost forty years building a personal library that helps me in both teaching and preaching. I live by what Erasmus wrote years ago in a personal letter in 1500 that when he got a little money he would buy Greek books, and with the leftover money he would buy clothes.1  However, several years ago my preference changed from buying paper books to buying electronic books (e-books)—especially with Bible commentar... [read more]

Anchored against the Tide: Female Pastors in the SBC and Contemporary Drifts toward Compromise

by Katie McCoy - January 2011

In 1964, the ordination of Addie Davis marked the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) initial venture into uncharted waters.1 The SBC’s first female pastor was a manifestation of what had become a slow drift away from a clear and faithful interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12.2  Beginning in 1979 and in the next two decades, the historically conservative denomination underwent a massive course correction, rest... [read more]

Neither Calvinists nor Arminians but Baptists

September 2010

Are You Calvinists or Arminians?

There is a question that many professional theologians, pastors and students, as well as theologically-minded Christians in the local churches, are being asked these days: Are you Calvinists or Arminians? More specifically, in our case, are the authors who have contributed to Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism to be identified with Calvinists or Arminians? Becaus... [read more]

Lessons on True and False Prophets (Jeremiah 28)

by Ishwaran Mudliar - April 2010

Jeremiah the prophet encountered many trials during his ministry. Trials came from false prophets and priests, and from evil kings and the common people. Jeremiah 28 is one example. This trial relates to a false prophet named Hananiah who declared a message contrary to Jeremiah’s. Jeremiah’s message was from the Lord; Hananiah claimed that his message was from the Lord. After examining the passage, we will draw some lessons on true... [read more]

Should Baptist Churches Adopt Open Membership?

by Dr. James Leo Garrett Jr. - April 2010

Baptists have not always agreed among themselves on doctrinal or ethical issues, but they have had some common beliefs that they have defended and on which they have been united. When one of these is challenged or rejected, the Baptist community is likely to be in a crisis as to how to respond.

Currently, a movement has been launched to convince Baptist churches to adopt open membership. That means that Baptist churches should no lon... [read more]

A Reply to Tom Nettles’ Review of William A. Dembski’s The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World

by Dr. David L. Allen - February 2010


The recent review by Tom Nettles of a monograph on theodicy by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s professor, Bill Dembski, presents unique opportunities for interaction among scholars, for careful oversight of seminary administrators, and for creative thought and evangelistic appeal to a scientific community, which too often dismisses the claims of the Bible as irrelevant. As president of Southwestern, I sei... [read more]

Defending the Defenseless: A Radical Return to an Honest Portrayal of Anabaptism

by Dr. Emir Caner - January 2010

Now It Can be Told—Now It Must be Told

January 21, 1525, should be seared in the conscience of all Christians who hold dear the concept of a free church in a free age. On that day, as it has been well documented, a small group of young men gathered in the home of Felix Manz and, without ever knowing it, changed the course of Christianity, perhaps the course of all history. Here, George Blaurock (1491–1529) demanded his ... [read more]

With What Shall We Come Before the Lord? Biblical Perspectives on Diversity and Division in Church Music

by Matthew W. Ward - December 2009

Consider the recent Labor Day lineup of musical events in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex: a classical concert for five pianos, the music of Guys and Dolls, a tribute to Johnny Cash, a Czech festival, a Jazz festival, a Blues festival, a Country Rock festival, and concerts featuring the musical styles of Scottish pop, Texas folk, post-punk rock, classic rock, Tejano, hip-hop, Country and Western, and alternative metal.2 What a count... [read more]

Shifting to the First Person: On Being Missional

by Dr. Keith E. Eitel - March 2009

Recently I spoke with a graduating college student who finished an intensive humanities degree based on the great books. I knew him to be a diligent student, keenly able to analyze the history of ideas. Curiously, I asked him, “What was the most difficult thing you encountered in your degree?” I expected a challenging concept he had wrestled with, but surprisingly he simply said, “Shifting to the third person.”

<... [read more]

Is There a Church within Your Church?

by Dr. Gary Ledbetter - March 2009

The February meeting of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) included five hours of subcommittee and workgroup discussions of a motion to disfellowship Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth. You can read more about the specific case elsewhere. I was drawn aside by the answers church representatives gave about their membership. Broadway’s examination was occasioned by the reported behavior of some of its member... [read more]

First Things First: Being a Pastor in the Home

by Adam Groza and Steven James - February 2009

We believe that a pastor in the church must first be a pastor in the home. This requires more than a subjective sense of “calling.” A pastor is not perfect, but the one who aspires to be a pastor must consistently demonstrate a general godliness in the home in addition to other areas of his life. This qualification is not trivial and should never be overlooked... [read more]

Swallowed Up in God: The Impact of Samuel Pearce on Modern Missions

by Adam Covington - January 2009

Andrew Fuller once wrote, “It is good to read the lives of holy men; and the more holy they have been the better. Some readers, it is true, are not satisfied unless they discover in others the same low, groveling, half-hearted kind of life which they find in themselves. But satisfaction of this sort is better missed than found. It is good to be reproved, and stirred up to labour after greater degrees of spirituality than any which we have hithert... [read more]

Hell: The Great Recession

by Dr. David Mills - December 2008

Our economy suffers now from significant downturn. In fact, Citigroup laid off 53,000 employees the other day.This qualifies as one of the largest layoffs in American economic history. The U.S. automakers are experiencing difficulties. If they go bankrupt, some estimate the unemployment rate will surpass 10%. Last week the stock market experienced a 900-point trade swing. It was down more than 400 points and up by 500 points in one day. That repr... [read more]

Calvinism: A Review

by Dr. David L. Allen - November 2008

It was an idea whose time had come: in the fall of 2007, a bi-partisan conference aptly named “Building Bridges” brought together ten scholars, including one college president, eight professors and one pastor, to present papers on the subject of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention. These ten were paired in groups of two to address the following five subjects from a Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic perspective: the Historical Record, Gener... [read more]

Neanderthals Chasing Bigfoot? The State of the Gender Debate in the Southern Baptist Convention

by Jason Duesing and Dr. Thomas White - May 2008

At the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) in November 1999, messengers overwhelmingly supported a motion to affirm the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message. This effort was in opposition to the recently amended 1998 version of the same document by the national Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The 1998 SBC revision contained a new article entitled “The Family” and advocated among other things that “a wife is to submit her... [read more]

The Gospel Remedies Pastoral Malpractice

by Dr. Thomas S. Rainer - May 2008

I would consider pastoral malpractice among the greatest treasons a minister can commit against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it is practiced weekly without inhibition. What do I mean by pastoral malpractice? I mean ministers who stand and preach a gospel other than God’s rightful need for punitive justice against our sin and His wrath being appeased by pouring out upon Christ judgment intended for us. He in turn sets us in right leg... [read more]

Of Grinches, Goblins, Gremlins and Ghosts

by Dr. Paige Patterson - May 2008

There are a good many things about which most of us maintain a healthy skepticism. Some of those are listed in the title of this essay. However skeptical you may be, there are two categories of humans for whom at least one of the above is very real—the terrified and those who love to tell ghost stories to keep the fearful tied in a knot. While statistics and their interpretation are not unimportant (3,000 saved on the Day of Pentecost), they ofte... [read more]

Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches

by Dr. Thomas White - May 2008

As many in our nation contemplate the daily revelations coming from the world of professional sports regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs, I am reminded that any short-cut one takes to attain growth may compromise integrity. The local church faces a similar dilemma. A local church can grow by using any number of enhancements: for instance, by appealing to consumerism, creating a “trendy” atmosphere, reaching out to felt needs, not ... [read more]

Shall We "Build Bridges" or "Pull Down Stongholds"?

by Dr. Malcolm B. Yarnell III - March 2008

It is quite common today to read this particular passage, first, as an apology for natural theology, then second, as a paradigm for cross-cultural encounter. First, because Paul cites a pagan poet or two, it is assumed that Paul is thereby inviting Christians to look for general revelation within the philosophical and religious speculations of other religions and cultures. Second, because Paul engages with the philosophers of Athens, it is assume... [read more]

I Wait Upon My God: The Contribution of Michael Sattler to Our Baptist Heritage

by Ched Spellman - December 2007

Though his career as an Anabaptist was abruptly cut short, Michael Sattler was the most memorable and influential Anabaptist of the Swiss Brethren. The testimony of his life and death proved instrumental in holding together the diverse Anabaptist movement at a critical time. He served as the “bridge” between the precarious beginnings of the movement and its structured consolidation years later. In studying Sattler, one cannot escape the interplay... [read more]

On the Writing of Book Reviews

by Dr. James Hamilton - October 2007

Book reviews are for others. Everything we do is for the glory of God. Those of us who have received the faith once for all entrusted to the saints and are called to Christian ministry have an obligation to shepherd the flock of God. This means that we read and write for the glory of God in the strength that he supplies, taking every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ, subjecting everything to the searchlight of Scripture, wherein God has... [read more]

Commentary on the LifeWay Research Division Study on Private Prayer Language

by Dr. Malcolm B. Yarnell, III - June 2007

Private prayer languages are a controversial issue among some Southern Baptists at this point in our history. The International Mission Board of Trustees and the Trustees of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have made it clear that private prayer languages are not to be countenanced among new employees of those institutions. Yet, a leading administrator of the IMB has publicly affirmed private prayer languages and a prominent trustee ... [read more]

Why Southern Baptists Need the Trustee System

by Dr. C. Bart Barber - April 2007

Its widespread popularity notwithstanding, the trustee system has faced periodic criticism from various individual Christians and Christian groups. The Southern Baptist Convention, an especially large and diverse organization structured according to the trustee system, has been among the more popular targets of criticisms in this vein. This paper will survey these criticisms, offer a response, and demonstrate the winsome attributes of the trustee... [read more]

Were it So? An Appeal to the Christian Nobility of the Southern Baptist Convention

by Dr. Malcolm B. Yarnell, III - March 2007

When the faith of his people was at stake, Martin Luther wrote controversial little books on white paper. His first major Reformation treatise, An Appeal to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520), called people back to the Bible. In dangerous days, when theological error masquerades itself with authority, the people of God must be called back to the book from which they first drew life. We are now in a time of danger: Baptists, who ma... [read more]

Learning Humility through Church History

by Jason G. Duesing - March 2006

In Daniel it is Nebuchadnezzar who says of God that, “those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Dan. 4:37). This is a telling statement coming from a man who only recently traversed the behavioral line between man and beast. This statement is also remarkable as it contains, in the words of my former pastor, both a warning and a promise of hope... [read more]

Should Women Serve as Pastors?

by Dorothy Kelley Patterson - October 2006

The hierarchy within the Godhead does not pertain to worth—to being more or less God—but rather addresses function within the divine plan. The same is true of role assignments for men and women. Just as Persons within the Tri-unity have separate and distinct functions, God gave different responsibilities to men and women. In God’s plan, the man was given authority over the woman... [read more]

Southern Baptists, Tongues, and Historical Policy

by Dr. Emir Caner - October 2006

The situation seems all too familiar now. Trustees of a mission board, empowered to enact policies they believe best represent Southern Baptist doctrine and practice, pass a new policy which stipulates that any missionary candidate who speaks in a private prayer language has disqualified himself from consideration....Subsequently, one trustee speaks out against the new directive questioning the definition of glossolalia (Gr., “speaking in tongues... [read more]

"Power in the Seminary" 20th Century Pneumatological Distinctives at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

by Jason G. Duesing - October 2006

From its inception in 1908 until the end of the twentieth century, Southwestern has maintained a consistent pneumatological emphasis among what will be defined as its primary “writing theologians” that have served to equip students with the knowledge of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.The purpose of this essay is to explicate the key pneumatological distinctives among theologians B.H. Carroll, W.T. Conner, and James Leo Garrett to provide ... [read more]

On Alcohol Use

by Dr. Richard Land and Dr. Barrett Duke - October 2006

Southern Baptists have been known historically as total abstainers. Not all Southern Baptists have adhered to this commitment, but if one were to examine the constitution of most Southern Baptist churches, certainly most of those constituted prior to 1960, one would probably find a clause in which the congregation pledged itself to refrain from the use and sale of alcoholic beverages... [read more]

Baptism as a Prerequisite to the Lord's Supper Baptism as a Prerequisite to the Lord's Supper

by Nathan Finn - September 2006

As the two ordinances of the New Testament, it should not be surprising that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are related to each other, both in meaning and in practice. In fact, you cannot separate the ordinances from each other without significantly altering their meaning. This paper will show the interrelationship between the two ordinances, both theologically and practically. It is my fervent hope that this paper will help Southern Baptist pasto... [read more]

Speaking of "Tongues" What Does the Bible Teach?

by Dr. Malcolm B. Yarnell, III - September 2006

This essay is written in an effort to set out what this Southern Baptist believes is the orthodox doctrine of Scripture regarding glossolalia, or speaking in tongues. The author recognizes that a number of close Christian friends will disagree; however, he begs those friends to consider the text and correct his interpretation according to the witness of that text. Let us not allow the Corinthian corruption of glossolalia bring division; may Love ... [read more]

What Makes Baptism Valid?

by Dr. Thomas White - July 2006

Practically every church in the world requires their members to be baptized. Thus, a large portion of the world’s population believes they have experienced proper baptism; however, Baptist churches do not accept all of these baptisms. In fact, much confusion exists over what constitutes valid baptism. Some believe in the validity of infant baptism while others accept only believer’s baptism. Some practice baptism by sprinkling or pouring while ot... [read more]

Will the Last Baptist Please Turn Off the Water Heater on the Way Out? Baptism, the Church, and the Glory of Christ

by Dr. Russell Moore - July 2006

There are some people, when they hear claims that Baptists have always made from the Scriptures throughout the centuries, claims that baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, who will act as though that is bigoted....This is because for so long we have neglected who we are when it comes to this issue of baptism. We consider it to be something that is in our past, and that if we don’t talk about it, and if we don’t speak of it, then it is... [read more]

From Circumcision to Baptism

by Dr. Greg Welty - June 2006

Calvin’s argument for infant baptism (which has become the standard justification for the practice in Reformed paedobaptist churches) applies to the church God’s command that Abraham circumcise his household, and appeals to the New Testament analogy between circumcision and baptism as a strong confirmation of this application. In this paper I argue that Calvin... [read more]

The Believers' Church The Believers' Church

by Jason G. Duesing - March 2006

Gathering together in May must have seemed a bit peculiar to America’s nobility. Rarely before had the Governors of each state convened at the White House at the request of the President. Never before had they met to discuss the topic at hand. The air in the East Room surely stirred when the President, full of energy and vision, stood and explained through his trademark clenched teeth... [read more]

The Proper Subject of Baptism

by Dr. Thomas White - March 2006

In a recent correspondence, a Presbyterian acquaintance questioned why Baptists could not better demonstrate the spirit of the Lord’s prayer in John 17:11 (NASB). “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.” This acquaintance asked if it did not bother me that Augustine, Calvin, Luther, and other historically influential theologians could not join a Baptist church... [read more]

The Heart of a Baptist

by Dr. Malcolm B. Yarnell, III - December 2005

This sermon comes from a heart breaking for Baptists, for we have begun to lose our way.... Today, we must examine Scripture for the heart of the Baptist and clearly and carefully identify those internal agents which would cause it harm. There are three things to be considered: the biblical center of the Baptist movement; the heart of a Baptist; and, the traumas which threaten the integrity of that heart... [read more]

Faith and Freedom

by Dr. Jason K. Lee - October 2005

(Hammer and board for sound effect) What does this sound remind you of? Some might say work, others a new house, others progress, for some a new chapel. But to a group of German peasants and merchants in the 16th century who were suffering from the oppressive abuses of the Roman Catholic system of sacraments, it sounded like freedom..... [read more]