Archives For J.D. Greear


J.D. Greear launches podcast
SBC President J.D. Greear has launched a podcast allowing him to engage listener-submitted questions about biblical, ethical, theological, political and practical issues. “Ask Me Anything: Honest Answers, Quick Questions” debuted Oct. 22 with three episodes. Greear is the first SBC president to launch a podcast during his presidential term, LifeWay Christian Resources said.

What voters value: evangelicals choose issues over candidates
The Billy Graham Center Institute and LifeWay Research released a study on how evangelicals voted in 2016. Among the findings, 53% of evangelicals characterized their vote as being for a candidate, while smaller percentages said they cast their vote against Hillary Clinton (18%) or Donald Trump (15%). That only half of evangelical voters said they voted for their candidate in 2016 led researchers to conclude that evangelicals are “more issue-oriented than candidate-focused,” Christianity Today reported.

 Greear: ‘Lie of the enemy’ led to synagogue murder
A shooter opened fire during a baby naming ceremony at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, leaving 11 people dead. The suspect shouted, “All Jews must die,” before opening fire. SBC president J.D. Greear described the crime as “a despicable lie of the enemy which we unequivocally reject.” He also tweeted: “We grieve with the city of Pittsburgh, the Jewish community, and especially the families of the victims.”

AL. Supreme Court calls for end of Roe v. Wade
Alabama’s highest court released a decision recognizing the personhood of unborn babies and includes a concurrent opinion calling for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Justice Tom Parker denounced Roeas a “legal anomaly and logical fallacy” after the Alabama Supreme Court upheld a murder conviction for a man who killed his pregnant wife and their unborn child. Justice Parker then urged the United States Supreme Court to “overrule this increasingly isolated exception to the rights of unborn children.”

New ‘Christian Pixar’ film company to be launched
“I Can Only Imagine” film producers, Andy and Jon Erwin, are creating their own Christian film company similar to Pixar or Marvel. They said the new production company and a series of films is backed by Hollywood. Named “Kingdom,” the company is an Erwin brothers collaboration set to spread the gospel message and “serve the church,” Jon said. 

Sources: Baptist Press (2), Illinois Baptist, Christian Post (2)

‘Tricky’ endorsements

Lisa Misner —  March 22, 2016

The young woman who summarized all of Baptist history in a five-minute rap video in 2013 has returned with a campaign video for J. D. Greear. Ashley Unzicker tells in beat-box rhyme how Southern Baptist Convention presidential candidate Greear would lead the massive SBC, saying “it’s tricky.” The rap is a parody of Run-D.M.C.’s “It’s Tricky” released in 1986.

Several leading SBC figures appear in the video, each repeating the line, “it’s tricky.”

They include the heads of three SBC entities: International Mission Board president David Platt, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore, Southeastern Seminary president Danny Akin and former SBC president Bryant Wright. Their sound bites appear to have been recorded by the entity heads on cell phones.

A disclaimer on the video says the opinions expressed are those of the rap-artist, and not necessarily the opinions of the Southern Baptist Convention, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, Greear or his church. A card at the end requests the viewer “keep all angry comments, blog posts, and e-mails to yourself.” The rapper may mean that to be funny, but it appears she means it.

And no, we won’t.

We don’t expect the heads of SBC entities to endorse candidates for SBC office. The next SBC president will appoint the people who name trustees and board members for denominational entities. Indirectly, they affect the budgets. Appearing in a particular candidate’s video—even a funny one produced by a well-meaning church member—could be interpreted as an endorsement. Is that ethical?

What’s next? Should Frank Page, Paige Patterson, Chuck Kelley, and O.S. Hawkins form a quartet to sing on Steve Gaines’s behalf? For many reasons, let us hope not.

Expressing support for your friends is admirable; but when they could, even indirectly, affect the flow of money in your direction, well, it’s tricky.

–  The Illinois Baptist Editors

pull quote_BUCHANANCOMMENTARY | Joe Buchanan

Robbie was a young man who grew up in the first church I pastored. His name has been changed but his story is true. Robbie came forward to “give his life to Jesus” and be baptized for the first time during a fall revival service when he was 10 years old. At first, he began to show spiritual fruit and experience the joy of his salvation. But within six months, Robbie started to wonder whether he was really saved.

The next spring, Robbie again came forward to “ask Jesus into His heart.” Once again he showed some initial change, but eventually began to doubt his salvation. When he came to me ask me what to do, I did what I had been taught to do since I was a kid: I shared the Gospel with him and asked if he wanted to pray the sinner’s prayer to be saved. Robbie said yes, and the next week we baptized him.

This cycle continued for the 10 years that I was his pastor. Does this sound familiar?

The sad reality is that Robbie was not the only person going through this cycle in our church. In fact, it’s being repeated in churches all across the Southern Baptist Convention, and has become so familiar that we almost think it’s normal and just part of being a believer. But in his new book, “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart,” J.D. Greear writes the problem may actually be the unbiblical language we use in describing how people should respond to the Gospel.

Specifically, Greear notes some ways we couch our response to the Gospel (using phrases like “ask Jesus into your heart,” or “accept Jesus as Lord and Savior,” or “give your heart to Jesus”) are not biblical. He writes, “These phrases may not be wrong in themselves, but the Bible never tells us, specifically, to seek salvation in those ways.  The biblical summation of a saving response towards Christ is ‘repentance’ and ‘belief’ in the Gospel.”

Greear continues, “Repentance and faith are heart postures you take toward the finished work of Christ. You might express the beginning of that posture in a prayer. But don’t make the mistake of equating that prayer with the posture. The sinner’s prayer is not a magic incantation or a recipe you follow to get a salvation cake. The real stuff – that stuff that matters – is the posture of repentance and faith behind the words you speak. The prayer is good only insofar as it verbalizes the posture.”

Make no mistake, Greear is not telling us to stop doing evangelism. In fact, he is inviting us to return to a biblical approach of sharing the Gospel. He reminds us that how we invite people to respond to the Good News of Jesus must be firmly grounded in the Scripture, not in tradition or pragmatism. In doing so, Greear upholds the noblest aspirations of those who hold to the authority and inerrancy of the Bible.

After reading and thinking about this book, it has occurred to me that my presentation of the Gospel is largely at fault for Robbie’s struggles. My intentions were good, but I had inherited an unbiblical and unhelpful method of explaining the response to the Gospel. This is a difficult pill to swallow, but it can go along way toward returning our churches to a healthy method and mindset of evangelism.

If I were to counsel with Robbie today, I would want to make sure that his assurance of salvation is securely grounded in the Scripture. The best way I know to do this would be to take him to some of the Scriptures that demonstrate specific changes that occur as a result of salvation. Does he love the other members of Christ’s family (1 John 2:9 and 3:14-16)? Has he experienced the desire to stop sinful behavior and obey God (1 John 2:29 and 3:6)?

And I would urge him to ask other members of the church if they have witnessed these changes in his life. This combination – Scripture and the people of God – is the best way of helping Robbie and others like him to come to the full assurance of his salvation, or to see the need to repent and believe.

Dr. Joe Buchanan is pastor of First Baptist Church, Metropolis, and author of the upcoming book “Cultivating a Gospel-Shaped Attitude”.