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Follow-Up Post 1: Perceived Weaknesses of "Older" Fundamentalism - Preaching Concerns

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In my last post (my review of Nathan Crockett's presentation at a recent BJU Pastors/Wives Fellowship), I mentioned five things that Nathan listed as perceived weaknesses of the older generation of Fundamentalist by some of those in the younger generation of Fundamentalism.

Those five perceived weaknesses were:

1. Lack of mentoring
2. The rut of tradition
3. Unfair evaluation of certain evangelical ministries
4. Preaching concerns
* issue-oriented (rather than theologically-driven) preaching
* lack of expositional preaching
5. Unnecessary divisions

I appreciate the comments of Don Johnson and Andy Efting on that post and I am hoping that we can generate some continued discussion about all five of these areas.

I was originally going to take them in the order they were presented, but with Don's comments (which addressed all five) and with Andy's comments, which focused on the fourth point, I think I will start there and work my way to the other points.

The younger fundies apparently believe that one of the weaknesses of the older fundies is in the preaching of the older generation.

As is the case of most of these things, I believe that there are definitely some for whom the shoe fits and some for whom this accusation is very unfair.

As I would like to do with each one of these points, I wish to consider two things - 1) is the criticism legitimate and 2) what can/should be done in response.

Is this criticism legitimate?

As with most of these criticisms, the reality is that in many cases, the criticism are both true and false. And no, I am not being some type of post-modernist who believes in a lack of absolute truths. What I mean by this is that for some older fundamentalists, surely this is a legitimate criticism - and for some older fundamentalists, this is far from a legitimate criticism.

Have I heard some bad examples of preaching among Fundamentalists? Yes. Even at chapel at BJU - gasp, did I say that? However, I have also heard some pretty bad (even worse) examples of preaching from without the camp, so to speak. Have I heard some very good examples of preaching from Fundamentalists? Yes - and not just in Greenville at some "leading light" churches like Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. I had the privilege of serving at Hardingville Bible Church in New Jersey with one of the men who I feel is one of the best expositors in the country (I have repeatedly tried to encourage him or some folks around him to put his series on 2 Peter into print somewhere.) Are there good examples of preaching from non-Fundamentalists? Yes.

Here are a few things that strike me about this criticism, however.

1. It seems to me that an unfair comparison is being made in this regard between your "average" Fundamentalist pastor and the "leading lights" of the "Contemporary Evangelicalism" movement.

Is Big Mac a better preacher than little ole Frank Sansone? I am sure that he probably is. However, while I don't think we ought to necessarily be picking teams and making comparisons on things like this, I would say that I would put Minnick's series on Philippians up against even Mac's series on the same passage. Or Franklin's series on 2 Peter or Doran's message on 1 Corinthians 15 at the National Leadership Conference a couple of year's ago. It is an unwise and unfair comparison that pits the best of the one side verses the average or (even worse) a bad example of the other side.

I would contend that, on the whole, there is stronger preaching in fundamentalist churches than in non-fundamentalist churches. (Defining fundamentalism as "mainstream" fundamentalism, not IFBx types.)

***IMPORTANT: Having said that does not mean that 1. I think that we don't need to continually work on improving in this area or 2. I think the poor examples of preaching within Fundamentalism are somehow okay because a person is a Fundamentalist or because others do a poor job as well.

2. It seems that much of this criticism are centered in a unbalanced focus on expository preaching.

I will admit it is hard for me to write those words, because I am very partial to expository preaching. In fact, I was recently told by another pastor in town (who I have still not met personally, but hope to do so soon and who I don't believe would consider himself a Fundamentalist) who was at T4G recently that while he was talking to some guys at T4G he made the comment "I (meaning him) must be the only expository preacher in Salisbury" to which one of the persons he was talking to and who has heard me preach on a number of occasions, said, "No. Frank Sansone is down there as well."

I believe that a steady diet of expositional preaching is best for the believer (and the preacher). I would (in general) agree with the comments that Andy made on the previous thread that:

I think one of the most important things that pastoral ministry should do is to help their people think like God. There is no better way to do that, imo, than to work through the logic and progression of a passage within the context of a whole book. Not only do you get the point of the passage, but you get how God thinks about the whole thing and why and how things should fit together in our minds. God doesn't just give us bare lists of things to believe and do – He gives them in the context of logical thought.

And, as Nathan Crockett quoted one of his friends,
It concerns me because people in the pew learn to read and interpret their Bibles by how their preachers preach.

So, as I said, I believe that a steady diet of expositional preaching is best for the believer (and the preacher). However, even among those who agree with that statement, there are differences as to what that actually entails. Some seem to use the term "expository" to simply mean the preaching is faithful to the text and argue that therefore all preaching should be expository. To those, I say "Amen" on the conclusion, but I believe you are misusing the term expository and have simply exchanged "expository" for "Biblical" without really understanding that "expository" preaching is actually a sub-set of Biblical preaching.

Expository preaching is not just preaching that is faithful to the text, but is rather something very specific.

John A. Broadus (whose book On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons used to be the standard textbook for homiletics classes in a number of fundamental and conservative schools - including being used as our textbook for "Pulpit Speech" when I was a Bob Jones University) says this about expository sermons.

An expository sermon is one which is occupied mainly with the exposition of Scripture.

The expository sermon may be defined as a sermon that draws its divisions and the exploration of those divisions from the text.

It seems today that we have seen the pendulum in regards to preaching swing towards expository preaching - and, in doing so, it has (at least in some cases) swung too far. In an attempt to rightfully distance ourselves from a style of preaching that focuses on man's opinions in the name of topical preaching, younger fundamentalists have often embraced a mind-set that expository preaching is the ONLY Biblical preaching.

In doing so, however, they reject much preaching that is both Biblical and, at times, necessary. For instance, while I believe in a steady diet of expository preaching, the best way to faithfully handle most doctrinal matters is in a TOPICAL manner - gasp. For instance, to properly teach on the Trinity would seem to require a topical sermon. The same could be said with the hypostatic union. The reality is that to get a full Biblical picture on almost any topic would seem to require a topical sermon. (Hmm. Maybe there is a reason for the terminology :) )

3. It seems that much of this criticism is often used as an excuse.

Now, younger guys, please don't jump too hard on me because of saying this. However, I have noticed that the crowd who often decries the lack of expository preaching amongst older Fundamentalists usually reveres Charles Spurgeon. Now, I like Spurgeon a lot. One of my most valued possessions is a set of Spurgeon's sermons that I received from my wife's grandfather before he died. (Don Marken was a former church planter and missionary in Ohio with the American Sunday School Union for years.) However, it would not be unfair to say that many (most?) of the sermons from the "Prince of Preachers" would not qualify as expository sermons. In fact, I agree with some comments Nathan Crockett made in this area in his presentation - if an older pastor were to memorize one of Spurgeon's sermons and preach it as his own, many of these critics would likely criticize the sermon - until they found out it was one of Spurgeon's sermons.

I am not finished with my thoughts on this, but this is at least some initial thoughts on this matter and I thought I would at least get these up since I indicated in the comments of the last post that I would be responding today.

Just my (unfinished) thoughts,


Certain Truths in Uncertain Times - A Review of Nathan Crockett's Presentation at the BJU Pastors/Wives Fellowship

Monday, April 26, 2010

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently had the privilege of attending a Pastors/Wives Fellowship in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania sponsored by BJU. In my first post on the conference, I made some general comments and introduced the speakers and topics. In my second post on the conference, I reviewed and commented on the first session by Dr. Bob Jones, III.

In today's post, I will review and comment on the second presentation of the day, "Certain Truths in Uncertain Times: Timothys and Pauls working together for the cause of the Gospel" by Nathan Crockett.

I don't believe I have ever heard or met Nathan before, but I believe one of his brothers came to our church (Fellowship Baptist Church of Salisbury) a couple of years ago as the leader of a BJU Ministry Team. I also had the privilege of hearing his father, Dr. Leigh Crockett of Grace Baptist Church of Anderson, Indiana, many years ago when I was a ministerial student at BJU. Some of you may remember Dr. Crockett was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer a few years ago and was cured in such a way that it puzzled the doctors and he was interviewed on Good Morning America at the time - one news story on the situation can be found here.

I appreciated Nathan's workshop very much. His task, it seems, was to basically approach the Paul and Timothy scenario from that of a Timothy. (He is a fairly young man - I would guess no more than 30 at this point.) While he made some introductory comments about Understanding the Times in which we are living, the focus of the session was on the Paul and Timothy relationship.

Nathan was kind enough to send a copy of his entire notes - including the quotes he used and all the references, but I want to take most of my comments here from the notes that I took that day on the handout that was given.

As he began the initial part in regards to Understanding the Times, he made a comment that "Scripture gives examples of changing a method without changing the message" and he used the examples of Paul at Mars Hill and Jesus' approach to different people - Nicodemus (John 3) and the Samaritan woman (John 4).

In the area of Understanding the Times, he discussed understanding the world around us and dealt with a number of the characteristics of the day in which we live (such as Technology- driven, Consumed with the present, Pluralistic, Sensual, Fast-paced, etc.) and understanding the church today - including a consumer mentality in which the "church is full of window shoppers and church hoppers." He discussed some of the errors of the day in the church (both old and new errors) and how that we are seeing the same errors spilling over into Fundamental churches.

He then offered some "Biblical Solutions" towards the situation in the world and in the church - nothing ground-breaking, but true, nevertheless. The five things specifically mentioned were as follows:

1. Expect the world to be worldly
2. Offer people something distinctively different
3. Value eternal souls
4. Speak the truth in love
5. Trust God

After dealing with the times, he dealt with Pauls Understanding Timothys and then Timothys Understanding Pauls.

In the Pauls Understanding Timothys, he commented that he asked some of his other young friends training for ministry what they perceived to be the strengths and weakeness of the previous generations. He mentioned appreciation for many things (such as witnessing zeal, faithfulness, strong convictions, etc.) but focused on the perceived weaknesses - of which he listed the following.

1. Lack of mentoring
2. The rut of tradition
3. Unfair evaluation of certain evangelical ministries
4. Preaching concerns
* issue-oriented (rather than theologically-driven) preaching
* lack of expositional preaching
5. Unnecessary divisions

In addressing the Timothys understanding of Pauls, he encouraged the Timothys to understand five things.

1. The need for loyalty
2. The need for humility
3. The need for dialogue
4. A respect for tradition
5. A respect for age.

As I listened to Nathan, I was encouraged to hear his heart in this area and I think that he overall has gotten a lot of things right in his presentation. The nature of a presentation like this limits the ability to have lengthy discussions about each of these areas, however, I do believe that many of these things are worthy of a longer discussion - and the nature of blogging is that we can have that longer discussion - assuming that some of you folks would like to participate in the discussion.

Before anyone jumps on me (or Nathan) about the list of weaknesses, I would like to note three things. 1. This list is given as "perceived" weaknesses. Whether we would agree that these are truly weaknesses of the older generation, we can at least agree that many young men perceive these things in the older generation of Fundamentalism (no matter where we personally fall in that dynamic of old or young). 2. These are necessarily broad-brushed statements. Surely even those who brought them up to Nathan and Nathan would acknowledge that these things are not true of every one in the previous generation. When you paint with a broad-brush, you usually paint a lot of areas that should not be painted. 3. These are the observations of a number of young men - young men Nathan describes as "cream of the crop" type young guys committed to Fundamentalism - and not Nathan's observations alone. (In fact, some of these areas were not on Nathan's radar - for instance, he had the privilege of being mentored by his father, who was also his pastor and feels that he has received a lot of mentoring.)

While I have some quibbles with some of the things in Nathan's presentations (which I plan on bringing out in the follow-up posts), I appreciate Nathan's tack in this area much better than the bombastic and often bloated sounding criticism of the "older generation" of Fundamentalism offered by some of its critics - including some who still claim to love at least the "idea" of Fundamentalism.

Just my thoughts,


Surely THIS is one of those Sacred Sandwich type of sites

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Unfortunately, I don't believe it is.


HT: Scott Aniol

Is this a compliment or an insult?

Over at Biblical Christianity, Dan Phillips (blogger extraordinaire of Pyromaniacs and Biblical Christianity fame), gives a very nice recommendation to Gospel Meditations for Women a new book out by my friend, Pastor Chris Anderson of Tri-County Bible Church in Ohio. In fact, Dan wrote one of the "blurbs" for the back of the book.

His blurb reads in part:

Gospel Meditations for Women is richly Biblical, richly Christ-entranced, and richly Gospel-centered. ...I’m glad to commend it, without reservation, to sisters in Christ—and I’d suggest their husbands sneak a peek whenever they can, too!

However, in Dan's Biblical Christianity post recommending the book, he makes the following comment that I thought was kind of funny:

It's surprisingly deep, thought-provoking, doctrinal and devotional. (emphasis added)

Not sure how I'd take that if I was Chris :).

Just my thoughts,


An Amazing Picture of Lightning and Ash over the Icelandic Volcano

Monday, April 19, 2010

I saw this picture linked from Pastor Gordon Dickson's Facebook. It is breathtaking.

Make sure you visit the Astronomy Picture of the Day site to see it in fuller size. Wow.


Just my speechless thoughts,


Don't Give Too Much For That Whistle

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Don't Give Too Much for that Whistle!

In the writings of the American statesman Benjamin Franklin, there is a little article entitled "The Whistle." In this article, Dr. Franklin tells the story of an incident from his childhood and a lesson that he has learned from it.

"When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children, and being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My, brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.

This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle."

It is a very easy thing to pay too much for a whistle. Many men devote their entire lives seeking the whistles that this world seems to offer.

Some men give their lives in order to try to gain the whistle of prosperity - ever more searching for wealth and the things that wealth might buy. Many men have violated Scriptural principles in such a search. Many have sacrificed their families and their walk with God to pursue the "almighty dollar." Only to find themselves in the end of their lives hearing the words of Luke 12:20 "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"

Other men give their lives in an effort to attain the whistle of power - lusting for the sense of being in control of others. Politicians and business leaders have often ran over the "little guy" in an effort to "look out for number one." Yet, in reality, the whistle of power is a fleeting toy, for man does not even have power over himself, let alone power over others. Jesus asked in Matthew 6:27 "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?"

Some men give their lives in an effort to gain the whistle of popularity and fame. It is not uncommon for people today to subject themselves to absurdity in order to get a few moments of fleeting fame. People go on reality TV shows and talk shows and make a total fool of themselves because they want to be popular or famous. Many times this whistle of popularity is not sought on a broad scale, but on a small scale, people selling their principles down the river in order to not come across as odd or different among their peers. Teens often sacrifice a right relationship with their parents because they want the whistle of popularity among their friends. Guys and girls often sacrifice their purity or at least their modesty because they want the whistle of popularity with the opposite gender. Rather than fear what men think of us, we need to remember that "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe." (Proverbs 29:25)

What is the whistle that you are pursuing? Is it a whistle that is really worth all the effort? It is a whistle that is really worth sacrificing that principle or taking that wrong stand?

Perhaps there are some who may read this who are pursuing these whistles of prosperity or power or popularity or something else and think that these pursuits are worth while. If so, you are like the young Benjamin Franklin looking at the whistles and not even realizing the true worth of those items.

Jesus said it best: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)

Just my thoughts,


(Note: This is a re-run, it was originally posted in July 2007)

BJU Pastors/Wives Fellowship - Dr. Bob Jones, III Session

Thursday, April 15, 2010

As I mentioned last week, I recently had the privilege of attending a Pastors/Wives Fellowship in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania sponsored by Bob Jones University. I introduced the speakers and made general comments in my last post.

The first session of the day was by Dr. Bob Jones, III, Chancellor of BJU. Dr. Bob spoke on "Turbulence in the Air; Chaos in the Cabin; Confusion in the Cockpit: What a Time to be Flying!"

The text was from 2 Timothy 3 and Dr. Bob used the analogy of an airplane flight throughout - as if you could not have guessed that by the title :) .

In regards to the Turbulence in the Air, he spoke about the "dangerous times" v. 1 and the reality that the prince of the power of the air continues to stir things up and cause many problems.

In regards to the Chaos in the Cabin, he spoke about the fact that church has tares among the wheat and that in these dangerous times there would be persecution from without and corruption from within.

The character of men in general (the world at large) is described (with lovers of self and lovers of pleasure being the bookends of the description given in 2 Timothy 3:2-5) and the reality is that this description is often mirrored within the church.

The description of ministry men is also discussed in this passage with a description given in 2 Timothy 3:6-9 and 2 Timothy 3:13 - reminding us that there are folks in the ministry that sneak into houses, they deceive, and wax worse and worse.

In regards to the Confusion in the Cockpit he dealt with the confusion that sometimes occurs among the older and younger men in ministry and the need for "Pauls" and "Timothys" to work together. In doing so, he focused on 2 Timothy 3:10-17 where Paul writes that Timothy has fully known his doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, etc.

The emphasis was on the relationship between the older and younger men in ministry.

Among other things mentioned, there was a challenge to the older men to admonish the younger as Paul did with Timothy (2 Timothy 2:7, 2:8, 2:14, 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:6, 4:11), there was a challenge to the older men to instruct the Timothys, and an encouragement that God was not looking for another Paul when he chose Timothy and that one day the Timothys will replace the Pauls.

He also encouraged the older men to "train the Timothys, don't try to clone yourself" and "Don't fault them because of questions. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. They need to have freedom to come to Bible convictions themselves. We can't dictate the Timothys conclusions."

To the Timothys he commented on the need to not blame the guy in the pilot's seat for all the turbulence and to have a learning disposition and to recognize that both Pauls and Timothys are needed.

He also commented on a discussion he had with some folks who were from far different theological perspectives (one was Episcopal, I believe) and the concerns that they had going on within their groups. After discussing this conversation, he also made a comment (not as an excuse, but as an observation), that every group (including Fundamentalism) has "foolishness, failures, and fogeys."

In the discussion time, he also commented to the effect that there are people who call themselves Fundamentalists that he would not want to have anything to do with - which led to a private conversation later that will remain private.

I don't know where I am in the Paul/Timothy scale anymore. I tend to think of myself as young still, but now that I am 40, perhaps some would dispute that.

I do know that I have greatly appreciated some of the Pauls in my life.

As a teenager, God brought Pastor Ron Hamilton (no, not THAT Ron Hamilton) into my life as a Youth Pastor at my home church in Phoenix, Arizona and I had the privilege of later serving with him at Heritage Baptist Church in Mt. Laurel, NJ when I was the Youth Pastor and he was (and still is) the Administrator of the Christian school. It was neat being able to work with Pastor Ron and I appreciated the privilege of even having some of his children in my youth group while I was there (as I had been in his youth group when I was younger). Pastor Ron helped me prepare my first "real" sermon, demonstrated for me a steadfastness in his walk with Christ that never seemed to waver even in the midst of difficult times, and showed me how to uncompromisingly stand for the right with a right disposition.

In college, I had a number of godly men that surrounded me - from my society chaplain, Eric Chapman (now a missionary to Lithuania), to teachers, pastors, and work supervisors.

As I got older, I was privileged to serve under Pastor Mark Franklin at Hardingville Bible Church in Monroeville, New Jersey. In Pastor Franklin, I was able to observe up close the kind of Pauline leadership that Dr. Bob was espousing as we had three young men go through the HBC Pastoral Internship program while I was there before I also went through a modified version of the Pastoral Internship program in preparation for my current ministry as "Senior" Pastor.

On the Timothy side of things, I appreciate the fact that God has given me the opportunity to work with a number of young people over the years who are now faithful in serving Christ - including some who are faithful as Godly laymen and deacons, as well as those in ministry as Pastor, Youth Pastor, and Christian School Teachers.

As I thought about the illustration/analogy that Dr. Bob used, I was reminded of a recent plane flight that I was on in which I experienced more turbulence than I have ever experienced before as a passenger. While I would love to do some piloting myself one of these days, I have never actually been a calm passenger (on the inside). I am grateful that the pilot who was flying was experienced with dealing with the turbulence. I appreciated his warning that it was coming and the calm demeanor he projected as he spoke of the upcoming turbulence. I also appreciated the reassuring comment that we were just about through the worst part of the turbulence. A hand of experience at the helm in the midst of turbulence can be a very good thing. Having been through it before will help to avoid the errors of inexperience - whether that is failing to realize how serious it is or overcompensating and making changes so quickly that the cabin is even more chaotic than it was at the beginning.

Anyway, just my thoughts on his thoughts,


Truisms about Men and Women

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I don't do this very often, but ...

A friend sent me this via email. I am not sure of the original source.

TRUISMS about MEN AND WOMEN and our differences to ponder:

A man has six items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, comb, shaving cream,
razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Holiday Inn.
The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man
would not be able to identify most of these items.

Women love cats.
Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he wants.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't want.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change but she does.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people
remembering the same thing.

Just someone else's thoughts,


An Atheist Goes Undercover

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time magazine has a very interesting article in which they interview a lady named Gina Welch who claims to be an atheist who attended Thomas Road Baptist Church (Jerry Falwell's church) for two years "undercover."

Often when you read articles like this, they tend to be very critical of the Christians, but this article actually seems to be pretty balanced.

It was definitely not what I was expecting when I saw the headline linked from Nathan Bingham's blog.

One question I would like to ask is what is the membership requirements for Thomas Road (Terry, are you reading this?). It would seem that if she really "joined" TRBC, then either TRBC's requirements of membership are not what you would expect for a Baptist church - e.g. regenerate, baptized membership or she was willing to lie about her conversion and be falsely baptized for this "experiment." Which puts her actions well beyond what is acceptable.

However, if they are using the term "join" in a more loose manner to indicate merely that she started attending and became part of the church, then this is interesting. (It still leads to some questions, however, as the article indicates that she even went on a mission trip with the church.)

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting read if you have a few moments.

Just my thoughts,


Thoughts on a recent BJU Pastors and Wives Fellowship

Monday, April 05, 2010

Last Monday, my wife and I had the opportunity to attend a BJU Pastors/Wives Fellowship Day in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Over the years, we have been able to attend a couple of these, although I am pretty sure this is the first one we have been to since we have been down here in Salisbury. (When I was at Hardingville Bible Church, all of the Pastoral staff - and most of the wives -would often go as a group.)

We had a really enjoyable time at the Fellowship. The sessions were good, although not ground-breaking, there was a decent discussion time in connection with each of the Pastor's sessions, and there was a chance to fellowship with some other Pastors during the lunch time meal.

Added to our enjoyment was the fact that an awesome family in our church (THANK YOU, Bob & Diane) was willing to watch our children overnight and make sure they made it to and from school on Monday. This allowed Missy and I to be able to go up on Sunday after our second service and spend the night at a hotel in the area before going to the Pastors/Wives Fellowship in the morning.

We really enjoyed our time up there for the day. It was great to get to fellowship with some pastor friends and their wives that we don't get to see very often as well as to be able to meet some others that we haven't met before.

In addition to the sessions and the fellowship, I was also able to pick up a few books while I was there - including a couple of Stewart Custer's commentaries that I did not yet have and a book by Will Senn (longtime Pastor of University Baptist Church in Clemson before moving to Colorado a few years ago) on college ministry that I hope may give me some insight in how to make an impact in the colleges in our area - specifically Salisbury University, Wor-Wic Community College, and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. (Below is the shameless plugs for those books from my Amazon Associates account:))

The sessions for the day were divided, with the ladies hearing from Mrs. Benneth Jones on "Recognizing the Dangers of Our Times", "Reclaiming God's Territory", and "Rebuilding for God's Glory" as well as a seminar from Mr. Marvin Reem, (Chief Information Officer for Bob Jones University) on the topic of "Casting Down Every Idol - The Case for Controlled Technology." I did not get to any of the ladies sessions (obviously), so unless Missy decides she is interested in being a guest-blogger, I doubt there will be any reports on A Thinking Man's Thoughts in regards to the ladies sessions.

As men, we had three presentations and a time for questions after each. As I have done with a number of other conferences over the years, I would like to do a little review of the conference - not only for my readers, but also so that I have taken the time to adequately reflect on what I have heard.

The Men's Agenda for the Day was "Knowing the Time" and the three speakers were Dr. Bob Jones, III, Chancellor of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, Nathan Crockett, who teaches some undergraduate Bible classes at BJU and serves as a youth pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Landrum, SC, and Mr. Marvin Reem, Chief Information Officer for BJU - he is in charge of maintaining the technology infrastructure of the campus.

When I originally wrote this post, I had included the above comments and my review of and comments on the session by Dr. Bob Jones, III in this one post. However, after looking at how long that post would have been, I have decided to just mention the conference first and then to add my reviews and comments in subsequent posts.

So, since I cut the whole review out of this post, I will say that I appreciate the administration of BJU putting on these Fellowship Days. I have found them to be encouraging, enjoyable, and (at times) challenging over the years. I look forward to trying to attend the next one (which will probably be in about two years) and urge Pastors out there to take the day to attend one if/when they have them in your area (see upcoming schedule).

Just my thoughts,


A Couple of Sports Thoughts

Sunday, April 04, 2010

First of all, we have reached the championship game of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. This has definitely been a unique tournament and the set-up for the National Championship Game continues to add a little bit of intrique as we get the proverbial "David vs. Goliath" match-up of the perinniel powerhouse Duke Blue Devils vs. the upstart small-school mid-major Butler Bulldogs.

Many people will be playing up the comparison to the movie "Hoosiers" and the 1954 Milan High School basketball team upon which it was (very loosely) based. The connections are definitely interesting and will make for some great copy for those who wish to pursue them. (For instance, the movie's final scene where tiny Hickory High won the championship was filmed at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse, the real person upon whom the movie's basketball star "Jimmy Chitwood" is based upon was a young man named Bobby Plump, who followed his career at Milan by playing at ... you guessed it - Butler University. The coach of the 1954 Milan team was a graduate of ... Butler University.)

The story line of little Butler vs. mighty Duke will get lots of play this week, although the story is actually a little bit of a stretch.

For instance, while Butler does not have the storied history of Duke, the reality is that seeing them in the Finals this year should not be much more of a suprise than seeing Duke in the Finals. Back at the beginning of the year, the expectations for both teams were actually quite similar. The pre-season AP poll had Duke ranked 9 and Butler ranked 11. The pre-season ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll had them at 8 and 10 respectively. (You can see the polls here.)

Even the size difference is not really that great. Butler enrolls about 4.000 undergraduate students while Duke enrolls about 6,400 undergraduate students.

However, that should not make it any less fun to watch if the realitively unknown Butler can defeat the mighty Duke Blue Devils.

In regards to our Thinking Man's Tourney Time, the final results are now set since no one picked either of the remaining teams.

So... without further ado, the results of the 2010 Thinking Man's Tourney Time are:

1. Sarah Nething with 36 correct picks and 190 points.
2. Andy Rupert jumped into second place with the Duke win and finished with 37 correct picks and 180 points.
3. Don Johnson finished third with 36 correct picks and 179 points.
4. Ron Bean finished with 37 correct picks and 178 points
5. Jon Knisely - 35 correct picks - 169 points
6. Matt Jury - 35 correct - 160 points
7. Frank Sansone - 32 correct - 145 points
8. Andy Efting - 25 correct - 119 points

Congratulations, Sarah on winning the Tourney. Very impressive.

Way to go, Andy R. and Ron for getting the most picks correct, with 37 each.

Andy E. and I will have to say like the old Brooklyn Dodger fans - "Wait until next year." BTW, Andy's "jinx" finally ended in this last round as he mentioned in the comments of the last basketball post that he wanted Butler and Duke with Butler winning it all.

On an unrelated sports note, the Philadelphia Eagles traded away our "franchise" quarterback, Donovan McNabb, to the Washington Redskins today. While no one should be shocked at the Eagles trading McNabb (it has been talked about for the last couple of weeks), I was a little suprised that the Eagles traded him to a division rival whom they will face at least two times every year.

Eagles fans have long had a kind of "love/hate" relationship with Donovan McNabb. From the "booing" at the Eagles' selection of McNabb as the number 2 pick in the 1999 draft (btw, the "booing" was not directed against McNabb, but against the Eagles management as many Eagles fans wanted the Eagles to draft Ricky Williams - or at least get a lot of picks for not drafting RW).

Donovan McNabb has been a very good player for the Eagles and I agree with Andy Reid that his career will likely be considered a Hall of Fame career when it is over. Over the years it has been my opinion that McNabb and Andy Reid's offense were not a good match - I know, considering McNabb's 73-39 win-loss record as an Eagle, that seems kind of a stretch.) My point has been that while McNabb has a fairly high completion rate, he seems to lack one of the most important skills necessary for success in a "West Coast" type of offense - the ability to consistently "lead" your receivers with your passes. If you have watched many Eagles' games over the year, you will notice that McNabb is notorious for throwing behind the receiver. Even though many of those have been caught, the receiver is seldom able to get many "yards after the catch" in that type of play - and the whole point of the West Coast offense is to set up the receivers to get those very yards after the catch.

I have said over the years that the Eagles either need to switch their offense to an offense more suited to McNabb's skills - perhaps a "run and gun" type of offense, or if Andy Reid is so wed to the West Coast offense that he will not do that, he needs to find a quarterback that can run the offense he wants to run. (BTW, I believe this issue of the "leading" the receivers is why you have had a number of Eagles back-ups do well when they replaced McNabb over the years - Koy Detmer, A. J. Feeley, Jeff Garcia, etc. It is not that they are better overall quarterbacks than McNabb, but that they seemed to have been able to make those lead passes that McNabb could not consistently make.

Anyway, a new Eagles era has begun. I hope Andy Reid knows what he is doing.

Just my sports thoughts,