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Gospel is focus of SBC unity, Ascol says

It is so refreshing to hear finally that the discussions in the SBC are turning toward theology. I appreciate Tom Ascol’s remarks at the founders conference this year. He points to center our lives around the Gospel. Good Theology always drives us to the Gospel and helps us define, document, defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A fully biblical Gospel, with all its related doctrines, must again be proclaimed in churches and in evangelism. Here is a quote that convicted me to become more theolgically and gospel minded:

“I believe we are living in an early era of ‘re-theologizing’ of the SBC,” Ascol said. “Just listen to some of the things that are being said; theology is becoming a point of controversy, a point of dialogue. Even theological statements that are being made that are not helpful are being spoken with passion, they are being made with a real sense of concern. That is a good thing; the fact that ‘they’ are talking about theology is good.”

Ascol underscored his belief that Reformed theology was important historically in the SBC. He shared his perspective in the form of a brief historical overview of the SBC that showed the denomination, for its first 75 years of existence, wed its view of the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture to the core doctrines of the Protestant Reformation.

The SBC drifted toward pragmatism and neo-orthodoxy, he said, beginning around 1919 — around the time of the “75 Million Campaign,” an effort to raise $75 million for education, missions and benevolence. He said that in the ensuing 50 years, the SBC gradually drifted from orthodox doctrine and a commitment to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture.

The SBC’s Conservative Resurgence, which commenced in 1979, recovered the crucial doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture, a reality for which Ascol said “all Southern Baptists should thank the grace of God.”

Ascol said with the “formal principle” of inerrancy established, Southern Baptists must now recover the “material principle.”


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