Casual Conversations discuss culture and theology
    December 10 2013 by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor

    On December 5, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) featured an event named Casual Conversations that emphasized cultural and theological dialogue.

    “As evangelicals, we tend to lean toward extremes,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
    Moore was joined by Daniel Akin, president of SEBTS; Andy Davis, senior pastor of First Baptist Durham; and J.D. Greear, lead pastor of the Summit Church in Durham, N.C.
    Moore said, “Some Christians tend to overreact to a highly politicized Christianity that is essentially apolitical. ‘Only preach the gospel,’ they might say. But not speaking to [cultural] issues is a cultural stance. We are to speak to non-believers with truth, with conviction, but also with gentleness and kindness because our ultimate goal is not to win an argument.”’

    SEBTS photo by Maria Estes
    Danny Akin, from left, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Andy Davis, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, take part in Casual Conversations at the seminary's campus Dec. 5.

    With the speakers casually arranged in a circle at the front of Binkley Chapel and a large number of faculty, students and friends of SEBTS gathered, Greear moderated the first session of the event devoted to cultural engagement and the Christian. In session two, Davis moderated and entertained theological topics on Calvinism, eschatology, church polity and evangelism.
    Moore shared the four important categories he focuses on at ERLC: religious liberty for everyone, human dignity – including the right to life, the protection of family stability and how to live justly in a civil society.
    He encouraged the audience to find common ground on cultural issues as they interact with others. One strategy he noted is to share both theological information and personal implications despite the other individual’s beliefs.
    The second session of Casual Conversations focused on theological themes.
    Akin stated, “Theology helps us think better in terms of biblical truth. … We should process [truth] with our hearts and minds. The gospel is central from beginning to end in the scriptures. Everything is genetically-wedded to the gospel such as marriage, church discipline, church polity, lawsuit issues and even the family.”
    Greear agreed. He said, “Unfortunately in the local church there’s a tendency to downplay theology. Everybody is a theologian, but the question is: ‘Are you a good one or a bad one?’ We at the Summit are in a highly educated context of Raleigh-Durham. People aren’t interested in ‘happy’ sermons. They ask hard questions so we must give convincing answers.”
    The panel discussed variances between Arminianism and Calvinism, while acknowledging each perspective’s emphasis on God’s sovereignty and grace toward humanity. The conversationalists came to the conclusion that both views are to balance one another, as iron sharpens iron.
    Pertaining to biblical manhood and womanhood, each of the conversationalists confirmed the distinguishable roles between males and females as created in the image of God.
    Davis said, “God put Adam in the Garden in order to serve the land to bring it into its full potential. Also, he was to protect the Garden and Eve. I think that Adam’s sin of omission preceded Eve’s because he did not protect her by warning her.”
    Adding to Davis’ point, Moore said, “Indeed, we need to capture the meaning of scripture’s ‘servant-leader.’ If Jesus is the true servant-leader, He is making real leadership decisions while serving and pouring Himself out for His bride.”
    To watch the event, visit
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Ali Dixon, news and information specialist at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary contributed to this article.)
    12/10/2013 12:43:41 PM by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Baptists, SBC, theology

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