Frank Page unplugged…

We do not frequent this website, but we have discovered an excellent interview with SBC President Frank Page. There are two parts, and the money quote follows:

The truth is that the BFM is somewhat like the United States Constitution. It’s interpreted by everyone according to their particular perspective. The resolution is being interpreted according to everyone’s own perspective, which is understandable. I think what happened, and yes, I was very much in favor of that motion – I think what the people were simply saying was this, “We do not need to become a legalistic denomination. We are definitely conservative, inerrantist people.” And the Baptist Faith and Message, that by the way, ten years ago was seen as a fundamentalist document and people were wondering how anybody could sign such a thing, and now it’s almost seen as a Moderate document. It’s amazing at the switch that has occurred.

My point is, I think the Baptists were simply saying, “We’ve gone far enough.” We don’t need to put more strict parameters on everybody. We can’t agree on everything and to constantly amend the Baptist Faith and Message will lead us into an absolute anarchy. If you’re going to put in there something about speaking in tongues, are we also going to clarify whether we are a Calvinist or non-Calvinist denomination? Where does it end? It doesn’t.

At some point we have to say, “these are primary issues.” I think that is what the Southern Baptist Convention said in San Antonio: “This is our guiding document. Please be careful.” I think it was a plea. It was not a requirement. That’s why everybody can interpret it the way they want. Please, let’s not become a legalistic, narrow-minded denomination that expects everybody to agree on every primary, secondary, and tertiary point of doctrine.

For prospective seminary students…

Please be advised of the following. Failure to observe and apply these helpful hints will deprive your seminary experience. We at Baptist Blogger would have enjoyed a more profitable seminary education if we had heard and observed all these rules. There are four or five or ten wherein we failed miserably and frequently.

1. There is no such thing as a tenant of Arminian theology.

2. There is no such thing as a tenet of Armenian theology.

3. When referencing the sixteenth century reformer, Martin Luther, it is not necessary to tell your professor that he “nailed the ninety-five theses to the church door at Wittenburg.” Your professor knows you are not referencing the 20th century Civil Rights leader. The same rule applies to all major figures in church history. Resist the temptation to explore obvious and overused facts in your writing. Write about something that few men know.

4. John MacArthur’s commentaries are great for stealing sermons. They are unacceptable for exegetical research.

5. Never, ever use an exclamation point for any reason whatsoever.

6. The unexpected death of a church member does not absolve you of weeks of procrastination.

7. Learn Turabian early, and review her often. There is no excuse for submitting research papers with homespun formatting. Trust me, you cannot intuit Kate’s ways.

8. Footnotes serve nobler purposes than mere source citations. Use them to demonstrate that you have interacted substantively with a source by elaborating an explanation.

9. The Holy Bible is inerrant, infallible, and inspired. It is not, however, an occasion for bibliographic buttressing.

10. Have someone other than your wife or roommate edit your major term papers. Ask your professor to recommend a student, and pay him for his labors. An excellent grade is worth a modest sum.

11. Learn to search for journal articles outside of JETS. If you don’t know what JETS is, do not try to find out.

12. When choosing between professors, find one that has published at least one significant monograph within the past five years. Too many seminary professors are woefully incapable of rigorous academic research, and if your professor lists a Winter Bible Study or journal article from his own seminary journal on his curriculum vitae, pass on him.

13. Do not presuppose that you will learn what you need to learn from a seminary education. Seminary, if it serves its purpose, will equip you with some of the tools you will need, not all of them.

14. Find a spot in the library away from high traffic areas and live there between classes. Stay away from the coffee shops. Do not waste your energies rutting with the spring bucks.

15. Purchase a copy of Hans Frei’s The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative and read the first 100 pages every semester.

16. Expand your knowledge base of art, literature, and music. Visit at least one museum a year, and spend the day. Attend a symphony. Read Shakespeare.

17. Serve one year as a professor’s grader. There’s nothing like reading stacks of horrible research papers to teach you how not to write.

18. Refuse to purchase every book your professor requires. Many professors think that their academic respectability among their peers is contingent on large reading lists.

19. Every semester, look over the doctoral reading lists. Spend the time you would have spent reading the frivolous assignments in your Master’s level courses to read the stuff of which Ph.D.’s are made.

20. Listen attentively to the names of theologians — Evangelical or otherwise — most often criticized and ridiculed by your professors with flippant, unsophisticated one-liners. Choose these men as the subject of your major research paper for their classes.

21. Find a well-worn copy of Helmut Thielicke’s sermons on the parables. Devour it.

22. Befriend an international student. Listen to him.

23. Skip chapel most of the time for early lunches off campus with friends. Hooky is liberating.

24. Search for nursing homes and retirement communities that will let you preach or teach Bible studies. The single greatest deficiency in most young pastors is the inability to interact with senior adults. Eat their cookies and pies. Take them flowers. Ask them to pray for you.

25. Write at least one unassigned paper during your time at seminary.

26. Tithe.

27. If you are not pastoring, do not attend the church most frequented by seminary students. Find a church 20 miles out of town and join it.

28. Do not huddle near your seminary president at the end of class or chapel. If you can manage to get through seminary without his knowing your name, you have truly accomplished something.

29. Attend associational pastor’s conferences as often as possible. Drink coffee with older pastors. Ask lots of questions.

30. Date your wife. If you’re not married, date as many girls as will go out with you.

31. Offer to babysit for a seminary couple so they can comply with #30 above.

32. Pay close attention in your church administration class. Keep copies of every handout. Compile a notebook of church policy and procedure manuals.

33. Have a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.

34. Smoke a cigar, preferably this one.

35. Peruse every issue of National Geographic, Time Magazine, and Psychology Today. Cull them for sermon illustrations.

36. Ask no more than three questions in class per semester.

37. Completely fill out all professor reviews at the semester’s end. Write substantive comments and honest appraisals of the professor’s performance.

38. Sneak into chapel alone at odd times and preach a sermon to no one.

39. Wear shorts, flipflops, tshirts, and ballcaps to class. There’s plenty of time in ministry to wear suits, ties, and dress shoes.

40. Cultivate the closest relationships with students headed for the mission field.

41. Avoid “accountability groups” of fellow seminarians at all cost.

42. Contact the chaplain’s office of a local hospital. Offer to visit people who have no minister.

43. Sit in a different spot every week.

44. Invert the seminary course plan. Save classes like evangelism, the scripture introductory courses, pastoral care and counseling for the end of your degree.

45. Join the seminary choir for one semester. Learn to read music.

46. Join a protest — at least once — in front of an abortion clinic.

47. Write anonymous notes of encouragement to fellow students. Slip a ten dollar bill in the envelope.

48. Burn at least one textbook in a ceremony of private dissent. Most books on leadership make for good kindling.

49. Dye your hair or shave your head or both. Do something counter-cultural.

50. Pay all your bills on time.

Rules For Blogging…

1. Try to post daily, but not too many times a day. The greater number of posts you put up in a day, the shorter each post must become.

2. Do not expect people to read your blog because you think your ideas are brilliant. If your readership isn’t increasing, it’s probably because you don’t have anything to say regardless of your insistence otherwise.

3. Be personal, but maintain privacy. There are plenty of freaks out there who have no need to know the most intimate details of your life.

4. Be honest. Do not exaggerate or conceal the facts. You will be caught.

5. Under no circumstance should you use emoticons. Ever.

6. Blog for yourself, and not for others. This is the only way to make sure that your blog is truly yours, and not some projection of what others want you to become.

7. Make a point to check your sitemeter only once a day, if at all. Blog statistics are addictive like crack cocaine, but much less socially acceptable.

8. Respond to commenters with infrequency. If you aren’t careful, your blog will become a place where others determine the subject of discussion. If people start coming to your blog for the comments rather than the main post, you may as well delete your blog entirely.

9. Avoid with all due diligence the temptation to employ arbitrary and excessive rhetorical flourishes.

10. Do not seek attention for your blog by posting frivolous comments on other blogs only to generate readership. All such commenters are to be hanged at dusk.

11. Do not send out email updates that you have posted something new. If people want to track your blog, they can use rss feeds.

12. Do not beg for comments. Do not whine for attention. Do not promote your blog. If your blog is worthy, others will pass it along.

13. Some people’s comments should never see the light of day. Idiots are the lepers of the blogosphere. Treat them as such.

14. Realize that many things you find funny are quite unfunny to others. Of course, you must also realize that some people do not have any sense of humor and will cry foul at the faintest hint of sarcasm, wit, or satire. Disregard them.

15. Only on the rarest of occasions should you allow another person an editorial privilege before publishing a post. Own your own words.

16. Blogs are the new porn. Your spouse will feel like there is another woman in your life if you spend too much time reading them.

17. Most bloggers tell more than they know. Be the exception. Always tell less.

18. Do not announce your absences from blogging. It is nobody’s business why you aren’t posting.

19. Do not post your own sermon outlines or notes. Your own congregation can barely get through your sermon without falling asleep. Don’t suppose that your blogging brethren are any more interested than they.

20. If your blog is controversial, embrace it. Do not attempt, however, to make your blog controversial for controversy’s sake. People like watching train wrecks, but will never favor a man who tries to wreck the train.