Nathan A. Finn

Historian, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher

Monthly Archive: July 2010



July 2010



Westboro Baptist Church and Religious Freedom

Written by , Posted in Culture, History, Theology

I think the rhetoric of Westboro Baptist Church is often hateful and always offensive. I think the hyper-Calvinism of Westboro Baptist Church is anti-gospel. I think the military funeral protests of Westboro Baptist Church are tasteless. But I think they should have the full freedom to embrace beliefs and advocate ideas that are hateful, offensive, anti-gospel, and tasteless. Apparently, so do many others, both secular and religious. And if I was a betting man, I’d wager that none of them agree with Westboro Baptist Church’s beliefs, words, or conduct either.

Baptists were advocating full religious freedom for all people long before the Founding Fathers’ great grandparents were born. And we should do so today, even when we are defending the rights of religious people to say and do stupid things. As Issac Backus said in his An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty (1773),

Religious matters are to be separated from the jurisdiction of the state, not because they are beneath the interests of the state but, quite to the contrary, because they are too high and holy and thus are beyond the competence of the state.

This was the Baptist way long before it was the American way, and Baptists should do their part to make sure it remains the American way. So even though Westboro Baptist Church is an embarrassment to everyone who names Christ’s name (and especially Baptists), I will continue to defend their right to be sub-Christian and repugnant. Make no mistake about it–if some governmental body or court of law can silence Westboro Baptist Church’s bile, then they can silence every true gospel church’s announcement of all that God has done on behalf of sinners through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.



July 2010



Man on a Global Mission

Written by , Posted in Ministry, Missions, SBC, Theology

Over the past several years, Southeastern Seminary President Danny Akin has been a tireless advocate for reaching the nations with the gospel. Since 2004, he has led SEBTS to deepen her already considerable commitment to coupling orthodox theological education with a passion for the Great Commission. He has also been one of the most vocal proponents of Southern Baptists as a whole building upon the theological foundation laid by the Conservative Resurgence and embracing a Great Commission Resurgence in our churches and denominational ministries.

Yonat Shimron has written a short article for the Raleigh News and Observer titled “Man On a Global Mission.” She focuses on President Akin’s personal zeal for the Great Commission, but she also provides an outsider’s perspective on the Great Commission Resurgence. I think its a pretty good piece, particularly for a secular periodical. If you are interested in knowing more about Dr. Akin’s burden and the heartbeat of Southeastern Seminary, I’d encourage you to read Shimron’s article.



July 2010



Conference Announcement: 9 Marks at Southeastern

Written by , Posted in Conferences, Ministry, SBC, Theology

9 Marks at Southeastern

September 10-11, 2010

A healthy church is a church marked by sound doctrine. As Paul instructs Titus, a pastor must “hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).

Yesterday’s challenges to sound doctrine may seem obvious to us today. But that doesn’t mean today’s challenges are as transparent as we may think.

The second 9Marks at Southeastern conference will consider why biblical theology is essential for the church, where it’s unexpectedly challenged, and how pastors can lead churches to exhibit the faithfulness Paul requires of Timothy.

All conference attendees will receive free downloads of two books by Mark Dever, The Deliberate Church and What Does God Want of Us Anwyay? (confirmation code to redeem will be sent via e-mail after registration). Both titles are being offered courtesy of

Plenary Speakers

Daniel L. Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a gifted expositor, and an unflagging advocate of Great Commission ministry. His preaching and teaching ministry takes him around the world. He has written a number of books, including two commentaries. He lives in Wake Forest, N.C., with his wife Charlotte. They have four sons, three daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Thabiti Anyabwile is the full-time husband to a loving wife, Kristie, and father to three adorable children – Afiya, Eden and Titus. He now serves as the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.  He worked previously as an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.  Thabiti holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in psychology from North Carolina State University. A former high school basketball coach and bookstore owner, Thabiti loves reading, sports, and watching sci-fi films.

Mark Dever serves as the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. A Duke graduate, Dr. Dever holds a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History from Cambridge University. He is the president of 9Marks and has taught at a number of seminaries.  Dr. Dever has also authored several books and articles. He and his wife Connie live and minister on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Matt Chandler serves as Lead Pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, TX. He describes his six-year tenure at The Village as a re-planting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to over 6,000 including satellite campuses in Dallas and Denton. Alongside his current role as lead pastor, Matt is involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and various strategic partnerships. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being a dad to their three children, Audrey, Reid and Norah.

David Platt serves as the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. His passion in ministry – disciple-making – leads him to model the teaching of God’s word, mentoring others and sharing his faith. He has traveled extensively to teach the Bible and church leaders throughout the United States and around the world. Platt is married to Heather, his bride of seven years, and they have two sons.

Breakout Sessions

All breakout sessions will be held on Friday from 4-5:30.

Breakout 1
Speaker: David Black, Professor of New Testament & Greek
Topic: World Missions As the Purpose of a Biblical /Theological Education
Place: Adams Hall 215

Breakout 2
Speaker: Andy Davis, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Durham, NC
Topic: Preaching Christ from the Old Testament
Place: Jacumin-Simpson Missions Center, Eitel Auditorium

Breakout 3
Speaker: John Hammett, Professor of Systematic Theology
Topic: A Biblical Theology of Work
Place: Adams Hall 118

Breakout 4
Speaker: Greg Heisler, Associate Professor of Preaching & Speech
Topic: Ten Ways Biblical Theology Makes Preaching Better
Place: Adams Hall 211

Breakout 5
Speaker: David Hogg, Associate Professor of Theology & Medieval Studies
Topic: The Old Testament Background to the Passion Narratives
Place: Binkley Chapel 102

Breakout 6
Speaker: Ken Keathley, Professor of Theology & Dean of the Faculty
Topic: Some Thoughts on Preaching the Trinity
Place: Adams Hall 218

Breakout 7
Speaker: Steve McKinion, Associate Professor of Theology & Patristic Studies
Topic: The Gospel as the Grand Narrative of All Scripture
Place: Binkley Chapel 101

You can register for 9 Marks at Southeastern at the SEBTS website.



July 2010



The Essential Edwards Collection for Half Off

Written by , Posted in Books, History, Ministry, Missions, Theology

From Owen Strachan:

Some of you out there may remember the Essential Edwards Collection (Moody, 2010).  Doug Sweeney and I wrote it for Moody Books in order to make Jonathan Edwards and his treasure trove of theology and godly living accessible to a wide audience.

Nobody wants to read the blog of the guy who flogs his books, but I wanted to let interested folks know that Westminster Books is right now selling all five volumes for a 50% discount from the cover price ($44.95).  From today, Tuesday July 27th, through Monday, August 2nd, they will sell the books for $22.50, the equivalent of one free book relative to the current Amazon price.  We are thrilled at this feature and the opportunity it presents for folks to get the books on the cheap.  In fact, I’m so stirred, I’m thinking of writing a blog essay entitled “Jonathan Edwards on Free Books and Discount Opportunities.”

I include some basic info about the books below, including a couple of just-now-published videos that Sweeney and I shot to promote the books.


The promotion:

–WTS Books is featuring the set online for a week starting Tuesday, July 27th, through August 2nd, a Monday

–They are selling it at 50% discount (!) ($22.50)

The videos: Sweeney and Strachan discuss the EEC Sweeney and Strachan discuss the EEC (revelry ensues)

Some feedback

-the Resurgence, the Blog That Rocks, just featured three posts on the series

-Collin Hansen listed them in his summer reading list

-David Dockery included them on his own reading list

-a USA Today columnist mentioned them following Collin’s piece

World magazine just mentioned them as well (July 3, 2010)



July 2010



Baptists Studying Anabaptists: Some Recommendations

Written by , Posted in Books, History, Theology

Many Baptists are interested in studying the Anabaptists and other radical reformers, myself included. Many readers know there is a longstanding debate among scholars about the degree of influence, if any, that Continental Anabaptists had on some of the early English Baptists. And even those Baptists who argue for zero or minimal Anabaptist influence recognize a “family resemblance” in many ecclesiological practices between orthodox Anabaptists and the Baptists.

One of  the best resources available is the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, or GAMEO. This online encyclopedia is the collaborative effort of several Anabaptist and Mennonite colleges, universities, seminaries, and other ministries. According to its website, 

The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online provides reliable, freely-available English-language information on Anabaptist-related congregations, denominations, conferences, institutions and significant individuals, as well as historical and theological topics. Secular subject articles from an Anabaptist perspective and full-text source documents are also included.

If you are interested in learning about Anabaptist leaders and theology, or reading Anabaptist primary source documents (including confessions of faith), GAMEO is a great place to start.

If you want to do some further study, I’d recommend beginning with accessible introductions like William Estep’s The Anabaptist Story: An Introduction to Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism, 3rd ed. (Eerdmans, 1996) and Cornelius Dyck’s An Introduction to Mennonite History: A Popular History of the Anabaptists and Mennonites, 3rd ed. (Herald Press, 1993). Then you can move on to groundbreaking studies like Leonard Verduin’s The Reformers and Their Stepchildren (Eerdmans, 1964; Reprint, Baptist Standard Bearer, 2001) and Claus Peter Clasen’s Anabaptism: A Social History, 1525-1618 (Cornell University Press, 1972). For the truly brave, you can take a stab at George Huntston Williams’ magnum opus The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed. (Truman State University Press, 2000). An excellent refereed scholarly journal related to Anabaptist history and theology is The Mennonite Quarterly Review.

Readers interested in the possibility of appropriating elements of Anabaptist theology and practice in a Southern Baptist context, see Paige Patterson’s essay “Learning from the Anabaptists” in Southern Baptist Identity: An Evangelical Denomination Faces the Future, ed. David S. Dockery (Crossway, 2009) and chapter three of Malcolm Yarnell’s The Formation of Christian Doctrine (B&H Academic, 2007). For similar arguments from a more progressive, postmodern perspective, see Curtis Freeman’s review essay of James Wm. McClendon’s three volume systematic theology, titled “A Theology for Brethren, Radical Believers, and Other Baptists.” 

For those interested in reading about how Anabaptist thought (among other influences) may have factored into early Baptist theology and practice, see the first chapter of James Leo Garrett’s Baptist Theology: A Four Century Study (Mercer University Press, 2009) and the introduction to Baptist Roots: A Reader in the Theology of a Christian People (Judson Press, 1999), edited by Curtis Freeman, James Wm. McClendon, and C. Rosalee Velloso Da Silva. For my own view of the relationship between Anabaptists and Baptists, which is sympathetic to the proposals of Garrett and Freeman et al, see my two-part “Toward a Convergent View of Baptist Origins” (part one and part two) and “Why I Don’t Freak Out about the Anabaptists,” all of which were published at Between the Times.