Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Southern Baptists Then and Now

I remember a noteworthy thing said by Francis Schaeffer in answer to a question of
"what should we do??" One of the answers he gave was : Pray for the Southern Baptists! Well, maybe someone has been praying because look at what is going on in the SBC now. See my review of a recently published book by one of them.


P.S. The word "Southside" below means the counties directly south of Atlanta, which form what it sometimes called The Southern Arc, which includes Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Spalding, Henry, and Clayton Counties. I have lived in Coweta for the past twenty years


Southside Book Reviews
Reviews Of Books Recently Written By Southside Authors
Compiled by: Forrest W. Schultz 770-583-3258

March 31, 2011

Southern Baptists Are Now Self-Critical About Their Local Churches:
SBC Evangelist/Teacher Donald Ledbetter Speaks Out

A review of

Donald Ledbetter Satan, Deception, and Scriptural Misconceptions (Xulon Press, 2010)
                             $25.99   244 pp   ISBN-10: 1609579674   ISBN-13: 978-1609579678

Donald Ledbetter Deacon Relationships Through The Body of Christ (Xulon Press, 2009)
                            $15.99   232 pp   ISBN-10: 1607917106   ISBN-13: 978-1607917106

Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz

     It was not too long ago that a self-critical Southern Baptist was a rarity. Back then SBC missionary magazines not only contained no self-criticism but they also acted as though no one else was even doing any missions! In recent years this smugness has been replaced with some of the most creative thinking in missiology, which has led to several SBC missiologists having articles published in the prestigious Mission Frontiers magazine. During the past several decades Southern Baptists have also devoted a great deal of attention to their various theological deficiences, which are now being remedied -- so much so that they have installed into the presidency of one of their major theological seminaries Dr. Albert Mohler, whose high calibre has been recognized nationwide by such organizations as Crossway Books and the Institute for Creation Research.

    There is still much to be done at the top but the major need is for reform at the grass roots level in the SBC's local congregations. And here also there has been a good deal of self-criticism. This examination states that most SBC local churches are in serious trouble. The two books under review are a good example of this SBC self-examination at the local level. The author, Dr. Donald Ledbetter is very well qualified to speak to this issue and to perform the necessary SBC self-criticism at the local level. He served as a pastor in several SBC churches at the beginning of his ministry, and since 1984 he has traveled to over 700 SBC churches ministering to them either as an evangelist or as a speaker on various crucial topics.

     The deficiencies in the local SBC churches are not new nor are criticisms of these deficiencies new. What is new -- or fairly new -- is that we now find Southern Baptists themselves making these criticisms of themselves. Many others have seen these problems for a long time -- now Southern Baptists are admitting that they have these problems. Ledbetter himself notes that self-examination is a difficult task but is a necessary one if Christians and their churches are to be revived and to become what God commands.

     One of the books speaks of the array of various maladies afflicting the churches, and does so from the perspective of Satan's work aiming at producing these maladies. As its title implies, the Devil's main weapon is producing false thinking and confused thinking in the minds of Christians, many of them in the form of misconceptions about the meaning of Holy Scripture. The other book focuses on the malaise in the deacons in the SBC churches and recommends a teaching and training program as a corrective. Ledbetter in writing this book draws upon his own experience in the teaching and training of deacons he has done in his travels to many SBC churches.

     Ledbetter's books are not only significant as an example of SBC self-criticism, they are also important as one of the most recent examples of the burgeoning literary scene in the Southside counties. And Ledbetter is also one of the latest examples of the increasing number of Christians on the Southside who are authoring and publishing books.

     If anyone wishes to know what is going on in today's SBC churches, I recommend these books by Ledbetter. Information on the man and his ministry is available at


  • At Tuesday, May 31, 2011, Blogger Xanthorpe said…

    As a Baptist of the Southern variety and member of an SBC-affilliated church, there are definitely some eye-opening statistics available that lead us to believe there are a number of things we can do differently to shape our churches into what God wants them to be.

    As long as we keep the Bible - and not the latest 'thing' as the rudder for our change, we should be able to continue our collective journey to be more Christ-like.

    Nice review; I might have to pick up my own copies of Mr. Ledbetter's work.


  • At Wednesday, June 01, 2011, Blogger Forrest Schultz said…

    I would encourage you to read it and other books like it.



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