The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is hosting an upcoming event called the Stand Firm Apologetics Conference, and the individual they’ve chosen to take the “Christian” side in the conference debate is not a Christian…at least not by Southern Baptist or Protestant standards.
Taking place March 3-4 at the SWBTS campus in Ft. Worth, the debate will ask the questions “Is Faith Reasonable” and “Is Faith Good” and will be between Greek Orthodox scholar, John Mark Reynolds, and atheist, Michael Shermer. Notice that the SWBTS website refers to this event as a “Christian/Athiest dialogue.”
Reynolds is the president of the St. Constantine School in Houston, and according to his bio, is active in his church, St. Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox Church where he is a member of the Parish council.
In case you were unaware, the Greek Orthodox Church – which split from the Roman Church in 1054 in what is called The Great Schism. Foundational doctrines of the Greek Orthodox include:
- Denial of Sola Fide (link)
- The perpetual virginity and sinless perfection (and veneration) of Mary (link)
- A veneration of “icons” (link)
- Praying for the dead, whose estates can be improved in the afterlife (link)
- The necessity of having oil (chrism) poured on someone so they might receive the Holy Spirit (link).
- Baptismal regeneration, performed upon infants (link)
Please note, all of the above links are provided from the website of St. Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox Church. Additionally, the Greek Orthodox deny justification by faith alone, putting them outside the bounds of Biblical Christianity. They also deny penal substitionary atonement, again putting the Greek Orthodox squarely outside Christianity, as it is understood by Southern Baptists and Protestants (those links are provided by the Antiochian Jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church).
While having a debate on whether or not faith is reasonable, the affirmative chosen for the SWBTS doesn’t believe that faith alone justifies. In short, the Christian-Atheist debate hosted by this Southern Baptist Seminary doesn’t have a Christian in it, if the theology of the Southern Baptist Seminary amounts for anything.
Also, while the seminary hopes to undergird theism, they have undermined the religion of Christianity and the Gospel itself.
This conference will precede another conference hosted by Texas Baptists in which SWBTS Dean of Theology, David Allen, will speak along side a Universalist and defender of Purgatory in order to combat Calvinism.
God help the SBC.
[Editor’s Note: The North American Mission Board lists the Greek Orthodox as an aberrant group in need of evangelism, and you can read more about their beliefs here]