FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

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FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby SLyons » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:51 pm

Jim Smyrl, the Executive Pastor of Education at FBC Jacksonville (http://www.fbcjax.com), has called on the SBC to sever ties to Lifeway unless they ban books that don't meet his theological approval. Jim says the average baptist church member does not have training in "critical thinking" and thus is not capable of "filtering bad theology", and thus should not be reading books like "The Shack", and thus Lifeway should not be selling them.

Unfortunately his latest blog post at the FBC Jax website was removed this morning from the church website. But in the article Smyrl writes about how last year before the SBC convention he and a colleague had obtained a committment from the head of Lifeway to pull the book "The Shack" from Lifeway shelves in exchange for Smyrl not bringing a motion to the floor of the convention calling into question a number of offerings made by LIfeway that don't agree with the Baptist Faith and Message.

According to Jim, the head of Lifeway, after the convention was over, went back on his committment and did not pull the book as was promised. Jim claims this was SBC politics, to fool him into not bringing the motion. Jim asserts that by offering "The Shack" (which by the way is sold by Lifeway with a caution to "read with discernment") that Lifeway is spreading "poison" and says Lifeway has "contaminated shelves" and is harming pastors' ability to grow godly believers - and Jim throws in the accusation that Lifeway is doing all of these evil deeds for financial gain.

This is not surprising, as Smyrl is the same guy who last fall called Catholic priests "cult leaders" on the FBC Jax blogs, and who last week in the pulpit took words out of context to mischaracterize FBC Dallas' new video manifesto as "blasphemous self-promotion".
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Haruo » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:50 pm

SLyons wrote:Jim Smyrl, the Executive Pastor of Education at FBC Jacksonville (http://www.fbcjax.com), has called on the SBC to sever ties to Lifeway unless they ban books that don't meet his theological approval. Jim says the average baptist church member does not have training in "critical thinking" and thus is not capable of "filtering bad theology", and thus should not be reading books like "The Shack", and thus Lifeway should not be selling them..

Unlike the average baptist church member, EPE Smyrl is actually capable of channeling bad theology.

As Mrs Haruo says, "Isn't he one special snowflake. No, wait, that's Florida. He's just a flake."

If the SBC refuses to sever ties with Lifeway, has FBCJax given any public thought to setting up a rival denomination?
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:28 pm

I guess it's obvious that he feels he is training people from his church to have no abilities in "critical thinking." If you swallow all he spews, no wonder he is afraid of a book. I wonder how many of his folks actually ever go to Lifeway anyway?
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Haruo » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:31 pm

Well, the ones who do should have the backhand of fellowship applied, surely. Smyrl sounds like the se-papist. With apologies to John Smyth ;-)...
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Gary » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:59 pm

Seems that all the blogs have been removed from the website.

Infected toe? Amputate at the neck. Yep! That's the ticket!
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:21 pm

FBCJax Watchdog, the persistent critic of the church and pastor, copied the blog to his site. Read it here: Smyrl on the attack

He and a "collegue" wanted LifeWay to pull the book. They did, reviewed the decision, and decided to put it back for sale in stores with a caveat.

I don't know what the problem is here. Smyrl is the "Executive Education Minister" and he is just executing. I think Thom Ranier and LifeWay are a bit too big to fit in his guilllotine.

A few people in my church have the Shack. One is a virulent critic. The others don't seem to like it.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:27 pm

I think they should sever ties with everything.

The Bible says to come out from amongst em. :lol: :brick:

As for me, I think Babs Taylor is on to something about the Theology of Bodily Incarnation:

http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=6185

Now what would happen if you got a good body theologian in The Shack???? :D :D
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:51 pm

I hear that Roger Olson (a Truett professor known for his anti-Calvinism) is teaching a Sunday School class on The Shack. I've been told that he's written a strong response to The Shack for publication.

I think that the author of The Shack is speaking at Wade Burleson's church this Spring.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Mark » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:52 pm

"The Shack?" :?
Is that anything like "the snack (Cheetos)?"
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby SLyons » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:00 pm

Honestly, I don't know what the big deal is with The Shack. I've always liked him, ever since he played at LSU.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:58 pm

SLyons wrote:Honestly, I don't know what the big deal is with The Shack. I've always liked him, ever since he played at LSU.


Ed: :) :) :thumb:
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby lespuryear » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:08 pm

SLyon wrote:

Jim says the average baptist church member does not have training in "critical thinking" and thus is not capable of "filtering bad theology", and thus should not be reading books like "The Shack", and thus Lifeway should not be selling them.


This reasoning was exactly the same as the Roman Catholic Church's reasons for burning people at the stake for translating the Bible into English. Baptist Catholicity sounds like it is alive and well, at least at FBC Jax. However, I will add a caveat of if SLyon's report is accurate. :)
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Mark » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:19 pm

Is there anyone willing to enlighten the rest of us as to what "The Shack" is?
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Cathy » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:24 pm

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be40619009a09d3a18174110.L.jpg (6.05 KiB) Viewed 15639 times


I believe the book was self published and became a huge success. I haven't read it, but with my work schedule I haven't read much lately. A man meets God in an unlikely setting. You'll have to read an online review.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:12 pm

lespuryear wrote:
SLyon wrote:

Jim says the average baptist church member does not have training in "critical thinking" and thus is not capable of "filtering bad theology", and thus should not be reading books like "The Shack", and thus Lifeway should not be selling them.


This reasoning was exactly the same as the Roman Catholic Church's reasons for burning people at the stake for translating the Bible into English. Baptist Catholicity sounds like it is alive and well, at least at FBC Jax. However, I will add a caveat of if SLyon's report is accurate. :)


Funny that you should use that term - "Baptist Catholicity."

There is a Baptist theologian (Steve Harmon) who wrote a book not too long ago called "Towards A Baptist Catholicity." Timothy George lured Harmon from Campbell to Beeson this past year. Harmon defines "Baptist Catholicity" here.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Haruo » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:27 am

Thanks, BDiddy, that's a very interesting conversation. It sounds to me like his Baptist Catholicity is diametrically opposed to what I see Smyrl as advocating, but I could be wrong. There was one Q&A in the piece that intrigued me so much (and that is so far afield from this thread) that I'm going to post separately about it.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Shortandy » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:03 am

Personally I think its more about he money than the theology for lifeway anyway. The Shack has a been on top of their sales list for a while now.

As to the theolgy....I don't like it. God as a big black woman, the Spirit as a little asian girl. Clearly those are not found in scripture and therefore they are theologically off. I thik the book (maybe not on purpose) facilitates improper thinking, and respect for God.

However, why pick on one book? There are many on the lifeway shelves that a lot of SBC members probably don't like.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:16 pm

Shortandy wrote:Personally I think its more about he money than the theology for lifeway anyway. The Shack has a been on top of their sales list for a while now.

As to the theolgy....I don't like it. God as a big black woman, the Spirit as a little asian girl. Clearly those are not found in scripture and therefore they are theologically off. I thik the book (maybe not on purpose) facilitates improper thinking, and respect for God.

However, why pick on one book? There are many on the lifeway shelves that a lot of SBC members probably don't like.


Ed: Andy, most folk don't like what they do not understand, and few try to understand what they do not like.

And you are probably correct when you say "There are many on the lifeway shelves that a lot of SBC members probably don't like." When I was an SBC member I thought the old Baptist Book stores, offered a better selection than after the name change had been in effect for a few years.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Haruo » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:40 pm

Shortandy wrote:Personally I think its more about he money than the theology for lifeway anyway. The Shack has a been on top of their sales list for a while now.

As to the theolgy....I don't like it. God as a big black woman, the Spirit as a little asian girl. Clearly those are not found in scripture and therefore they are theologically off. I thik the book (maybe not on purpose) facilitates improper thinking, and respect for God.

However, why pick on one book? There are many on the lifeway shelves that a lot of SBC members probably don't like.

Put yourself for the moment in the situation of a pious, God-fearing Jew in the early Christian centuries, hearing about the crazy and profane notions in the gospels as propounded by the Christians: God as the infant human child of an unwed mother they say was a virgin? Who grew up to be executed for crossing state lines to incite riot—hanged on a tree in a way that the Scriptures clearly say condemned him? And the Spirit of God as another God "person" who is the same God?

Doesn't it ever occur to Christians in this day and age that if the truth is a stumbling block to the Jews and nonsense to the pagans, it might also be something other than we imagine and quite objectionable in principle to us? Now we see through a glass darkly, folks.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby lespuryear » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:11 pm

BDW wrote:

Harmon defines "Baptist Catholicity" here.


Thanks for the link to an interesting read. Obviously my term is meant in a different way than Harmon's definition.
My reference means Roman Catholic-like.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Mark » Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:28 am

Cathy wrote:I believe the book was self published and became a huge success. I haven't read it, but with my work schedule I haven't read much lately. A man meets God in an unlikely setting. You'll have to read an online review...

Okay, now I recognize what ya'll are talking about. (Guess my mind has been elsewhere recently. :oops: )

A Georgia resident - and it wasn't William, believe it or not, although he probably put him up to it - was kind enough to send me a PM suggesting that I'll become more familiar with reading materials in general once Alabama gets its first bookstore.

No names, of course, but he edits some Baptist rag out of Georgia that isn't The Christian Index.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Haruo » Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:31 am

Wait a minute, does The Shack actually say God is a lesbian? That's what Smyrl implies, and that's much more inflammatory than God as "a big, black woman" (as ET or someone hereabove said).

Smyrl, as quoted by the Watchdog, wrote:Proponents of contaminated Lifeway shelves will readily inquire as to the viability of certain C.S. Lewis fictional works or Tim LaHaye works that may picture God in a less than biblically accurate manner. It is frightening when our convention leaders justify one gross misrepresentation of the very nature of God with a lesser misrepresentation of imagery relating to God. If Lewis or LaHaye serves as the standard by which we now choose our offerings on Lifeway shelves, I’m thankful they did not fictionally present Christ as a lesbian woman. ...
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:57 am

Haruo. wrote in part "Wait a minute, does The Shack actually say God is a lesbian? That's what Smyrl implies,.."

Ed: Haruo where does Smyrl imply such? Smyrt is quoted as saying "I’m thankful they did not fictionally present Christ as a lesbian woman. ..." I am in disagreement with Smyrt's general thesis but we need not make it worse.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby Haruo » Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:01 am

You're right, Ed, it is not necessarily true that Smyrl implied that. I should have said "That's what I infer from what Smyrl said". But I did infer that, and was surprised.
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Re: FBC Jax Calls for Sever of Ties to Lifeway Over "The Shack"

Postby ET » Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:14 pm

Haruo wrote:Wait a minute, does The Shack actually say God is a lesbian? That's what Smyrl implies, and that's much more inflammatory than God as "a big, black woman" (as ET or someone hereabove said).

Haruo, I haven't made any comments on this thread, but since you brought me into it, I will. I read all the hoopla about this book some time back and, as I am prone to do, I went to a few web sites to look for a review. I found this one that was particularly interesting at Boundless.org: The Shack, A Review,by Tim Challies.

One thing in the review struck me as particularly disconcerting:
A man meets God in person, in the flesh and actually curses in the presence of the Most Holy!! Jesus said no man has seen the Father, but now some profane character in a novel is going to stand in the presence of God and curse? I don't think so! Is this the same God from whom Moses hid his face? Is this the same God who told Moses "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live"? Is this the same God in whose presence Isaiah trembled at his own uncleanness? Isaiah says, ""Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts"?

The full review gives even more insight into the problems surrounding the tenets of this book. In short, this book is junk when viewed from a Christian theological perspective. It may have merit for others, but definitely nothing I would find worth spending time to read. Too much other stuff that's actually good and beneficial. I can fully see why some would find it uncomfortable to have a book that has such theological flaws being in a Christian bookstore. The theological problems in this book are most certainly far from minor.

While I can't speak to the critical thinking ability of general Lifeway customers, I would expect that if I went into a bookstore associated with my denomination looking for something to read that it would stock reading material that was in line with general Baptist and Christians beliefs.
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