Monday, March 9, 2009

The Wisdom That Leads to Salvation

Paul's words in 2 Timothy 3 are important ones. We can aptly summarize the period in Southern Baptist life from 1979 through 2000 as a wrangling with the truth of 2 Timothy 3:16. All Scripture is indeed inspired by God and consequently is inerrant. Our convention is healthier for having affirmed that truth, which is still under attack from elements within the SBC.

As important as verse 16 is, verse 15 is also very important. Therein Paul reminds Timothy of how the young Christian first came into the faith—through the operation of the Bible in his life. The Scriptures, Paul flatly states, "are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation." This powerful truth does not only pertain to Westerners or those who grow up in a "Bible" culture; it is true for all people. The wisdom that leads to salvation does not come from the Qur'an, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Tao Te Ching; it comes from the Bible. Nor does the Bible require the help of any other writing to lead people to salvation.

A cogent illustration of this truth comes in the story of Christianity in the Korean Peninsula. The latest post on the ACB blog tells the amazing story of Christ's work in Korea. The history of that movement has been of interest to me for several years. Journey over to the ACB blog and enjoy Mike Morris's excellent paper (OK, the length restrictions over there make it something of a paper-ette).

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your statement that Baptist churches were not planted in Korea is in error. As a former missionary to Korea and as one associated with the Korean Baptist Convention, I learned some history about Korean Baptist churches. The beginning of the Korean Baptist churches started with a Canadian missionary, Malcolm Fenwick, in 1889. Two Korean Baptist churches were established at Kang Gyeong and Gond Joo in 1900. That was the beginning and from there it spread.
Blessings,
Pastor George Mayo

Baptist Theologue said...

I did not have the space to get into a discussion about Malcolm Fenwick in the paper referenced by Bart. Interestingly, one of the Korean-Americans on our team in South Korea (Martha Chun) was the granddaughter of the first Korean man to lead Fenwick's group of churches, Jong-deok Lee. My wife has written a book about Martha and Jong-deok Lee. He was martyred during the Korean War. The group of churches decided to call themselves "Baptist" in 1949 after their leaders met with Baker James Cauthen at their annual meeting in Kangkyung in September, 1949. Before that time, the group of churches was called the "East Asia Christian Church" and the "Korea Christian Church." I stated in the paper that Southern Baptist resident missionaries (John Abernathy and wife) did not arrive until 1950. Fenwick is indeed considered to be the first Baptist missionary in Korea, but he of course was not Southern Baptist. He first arrived in Korea in 1889 and at that time was not Baptist. He returned to America in 1893 and stayed for three years. From dissertation by Max Willocks (former SBC missionary in Korea, "Christian Missions in Korea, with Special Reference to the Work of Southern Baptists," Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, June 1962): "He [Fenwick] . . . attended a revival meeting in Chicago, in which A. J. Gordon was the evangelist. During the services Fenwick came under great conviction that the Baptist churches were the true churches, and he decided to project his work in Korea along Baptist lines. Sometime later he visited the Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston where A. J. Gordon was pastor. There he aroused more than a little interest in the cause of missions in Korea. A deacon in the church by the name of S. B. Thing was greatly impressed with the need for missionary work in Korea and established a memorial to his daughter, the Ella Thing Mission, in 1895. Mr. E. C. Pauling, having sailed in 1895, was the first to go to the field under the Ella Thing Mission. . . . Upon Steadman's inability to return to Korea, Mr. Fenwick was requested to take over the supervision of the Thing Memorial Mission project begun in the Kongju area."

Baptist Theologue said...

George,

We haven't found a publisher for my wife's book yet. I'll be glad to send you a copy as an email attachment if you want to read it. My email address is baptist_theologue@yahoo.com . Send me an email if you would like to read the book.

Bart Barber said...

Pastor Mayo,

I've very thankful for your helping me to learn something today. I don't recall where I first heard what I repeated here on my blog today, but I will now try to remember where I first heard otherwise!

Bart Barber said...

BTW, I changed the original post to remove my erroneous statements. And when we are wrong and make alterations to original posts to correct errors, we ought to admit it and leave a record of it in our comments. If some are too prideful to do so, I will not be.

Baptist Theologue said...

Some interesting trivia about A. J. Gordon, who was so influential in Fenwick's life: Gordon Christian College started as a missionary school in the basement of the Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston. When the Gordon Divinity School merged with the Conwell School of Theology in 1969, Gordon-Conwell Seminary came into existence.

volfan007 said...

Mike,

Your statement..."During the services Fenwick came under great conviction that the Baptist churches were the true churches, and he decided to project his work in Korea along Baptist lines," was a great statement. My, my, my what some people would do with that statement.

:)

David

volfan007 said...

BTW, Mike and Bart, and others, I used to Methodist. When I was a teenage boy, my family left the Methodist Church due to the liberalism that took it over. We went and joined a small, little Church in Memphis that had a new, young preacher. That Church was Bellevue Baptist, and that preacher was Dr. Adrian Rogers.

So, Mike, my family did the same thing. We left one denomination to join with what we became convinced was a Church that believed and preached the Word of God.

David

Baptist Theologue said...

David,

Yes, some folks would not like that statement at all.

Baptist Theologue said...

The expository preaching by Dr. Rogers was a breath of fresh air. My impression was that most preachers were not expository preachers in the early 70s.

volfan007 said...

Mike,

You are correct. Most of the preaching in the 70's and before, especially in country Churches, was either hellfire and brimstone sermons; or coming down on some sinners, like sermons against the homosexuals and the drunkards and the hippies, etc.; or salvation sermons. In fact, most sermons back then would have been evangelistic, get saved sermons.

So, yes, you're correct, Dr. Rogers expository preaching was a breath of fresh air. Of course, I grew up listening to the radio... listening to a preacher named Dr. J. Vernon McGee. My mother listened to him every day that she could, so, of course, I listened to. I had no other choice. Thank God, I had to listen.

David

volfan007 said...

Another thing, Mike. One time, when my family was still Methodists, we had an old time, Bible preaching, hellfire and brimstone evangelist come to our Church. I dont know how that happened, because our Pastor was a liberal...bad liberal, and he probably hated every minute of it. But anyways, I will never forget him coming to our home one night after the service for coffee and dessert. I can still see him sitting in our living room, weeping over the condition of the Methodist Church. I mean, weeping! It really spoke to me. God used that in my life. To see that old man crying over the liberalism and lostness of the Methodist Church, and what it had become. My family just sat there awestruck as he shared about his concerns, and he talked to us about Jesus. When he left, my mother said, "There goes a real man of God."

Bart, I'm sorry if I'm rambling and getting this post off track. But, I just wanted to share this.

David