Category Archives: News

Commission’s Convention Seminar Explores Transgenderism

 

The Commission for Theological Integrity will hold their annual Theological Integrity seminar on the topic of transgenderism. W. Jackson Watts, a member of the Commission and pastor of Grace Free Will Baptist Church in Arnold, Missouri, will be the presenter. The seminar will take place on Monday afternoon in the Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theater from 2:00-3:30pm. Most Free Will Baptists have been increasingly aware of the influence of transgenderism. The Commission hopes to equip attendees to understand it as a phenomenon, and help them discover how to effectively minister to persons who identify as such or who are confused by the subject as a whole.

Seasons Greetings from the Commission

by Theological Commission

Most of those reading this post do so in the context of the 2016 holiday season. The Commission for Theological Integrity would like to thank all of our readers for their interest in our work. We hope that we are able to provide an even greater degree of service and support to you in your work for the Lord in 2017.

Normal blog posts will resume following the holidays. Until then, we wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Randy Corn

Kevin Hester

Rodney Holloman

Matt Pinson

Jackson Watts

A Note on the Passing of Theologian Thomas Oden

by W. Jackson Watts

I was saddened, along with many others, to learn of the recent passing of Thomas Oden. Oden was arguably the most prolific, conservative Methodist theologian alive at the time of his death this past Thursday. Mark Tooley, a colleague of his, has published a short tribute to Oden at the Gospel Coalition website.

I know other Commission members and readers of this blog have their own experience with the writings of Oden, as do I. Off the top of my head, I remember Dr. Kevin Hester’s substantial review of Oden’s How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society back in 2009 (Vol. 52, No. 1). I also recall many years prior hearing Dr. Pinson mention Oden’s Systematic Theology as well as his contributions to a fuller understanding of Arminianism.

My first encounter with Oden’s work was in a now hard-to-find book entitled No God But God (Moody, 1992), edited by Os Guinness and John Seel. Oden contributed a chapter memorably entitled “On Not Whoring After the Spirit of the Age.” It is still very much worth reading as it narrates the cultural captivity of Christianity, especially as it concerns the intellectual idolatry involved in theological liberalism. He also explains how the spiritual vacuity of liberalism compelled him to move in a different direction, toward what he simply called “Classical Christianity.” This chapter alone nearly led me to Drew University for graduate work, the institution where Oden taught for most of his career.

This argument was essentially the premise of an earlier book of Oden’s, After Modernity….What? Agenda for Theology (Zondervan, 1990). But in my view, the most interesting foray into Oden’s work if one seeks to understand both the man and the guiding force behind all of the work from the middle of his career and onward is to read his memoir, A Change of Heart. I published a review of this book at the Helwys Society Forum in 2015, which can be viewed here. I found it fascinating on so many levels (Most theologians, I think it’s fair to say, never publish memoirs or autobiographies. Rather, people tend to write for them in the form of festschrift). But Oden’s memoir is a real gift to the church, especially for those tempted toward novelty in their search for a theological method in the context of academic life and research.

Another notable contribution that Oden made late in his career is his work as General Editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series. These commentaries mine the riches of the early to early-medieval church fathers for reflection on Genesis to Revelation. This series also paved the way for the Ancient Christian Doctrine series, and the Ancient Christian Texts series. Oden served as a general editor for these also.

As always, we rejoice in the homecoming of one of God’s children. I also rejoice in the fact that Oden has left the church with such a wealth of resources on classical Christian thought, pastoral care, the thought of John Wesley, African Christianity, and more.

Update (12/19): I have seen where Timothy George has penned a very nice overview of Oden at Christianity Today. Check it out here.

More Symposium Content

by Theological Commission

Recently we enjoyed another excellent Theological Symposium. For those who weren’t able to enjoy it in person or online, we have more Symposium content we’d like to make available. For a Digest of Papers, please place your order through emailing fwbtheology@gmail.com. You can also indicate if you’d prefer a PDF downloadable copy. For direct download access, you can click here and order through our new online store.

In the meantime, below is more free audio content from our event. One is the chapel presentation co-presented by Matthew Steven Bracey and W. Jackson Watts, editors of The Promise of Arminian Theology: Essays in Honor of F. Leroy Forlines. The second is a presentation given by Andrew Harrison, a pastoral staff member at the Madison FWB Church in Madison, Alabama. Harrison, a first-time presenter, gave a paper which elicited a great deal of discussion during the Q&A time. We think you’ll enjoy it.

Another Symposium in the Books

by W. Jackson Watts

Last Monday and Tuesday, the Commission for Theological Integrity sponsored their twentieth annual Symposium which explored the theological legacy of F. Leroy Forlines. The event was held on the campus of Welch College and was also live-streamed. We were gratified to have a great turnout (people came from 9 different states), as well as having hundreds of people check into the event online.

The Symposium featured eight presentations given by nine different pastors, scholars, and/or leaders from different walks of life.  We also had a panel discussion to conclude the event in which panelists considered the state of Free Will Baptist theology, and the legacy of Leroy Forlines.

A more extensive write-up of the event can be found at www.thehsf.com. However, the Theological Commission would like to continue to share content from the event with those interested. Hard copies of the Digest of Papers can be attained for the price of $15 (includes S&H). Please send an email to fwbtheology@gmail.com to place your order. Also, in the coming weeks, a digital download/PDF version of the papers will be available for $10. More details to come.

In the meantime, enjoy some of the free audio from the event below. The following is Richard Clark discussing his theological journey to Arminianism through the influence of F. Leroy Forlines.

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