Josh Buice

The Blessings of a Confession of Faith

When it comes to the local church, a confession of faith serves as a transparent advertisement as to where the church stands on important theological matters and can be extremely helpful for potential new members in the community. When people are looking for a church home, it’s important to define the church’s position on key issues of the faith and a robust theological confession can do this with a great deal of precision. A confession communicates to the community: “Here is where we stand!”

For centuries, God’s people have been using creeds and confessions in order to identify where they stand on critical issues of the faith. We can likewise see confessions in Scripture. We find in the Scriptures forms of early church confessions of faith. For instance, in Paul’s words to Timothy, we find an example of this in 1 Timothy 3:16:
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
 He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
As was common in the early church, they organized the confession and arranged it into a hymn to be sung in worship. Yet, like all theologically sound hymns of the faith, the song is more than a superficial song. It’s a concise theological confession of truth about God and to be confessed for his glory.
Through the years, some groups have created intentionally broad confessions of faith in order to keep the line of divisions to a minimum and to maintain a big tent approach to their associations. Yet, in doing so, it’s almost inevitable that the group or denomination at some point takes a leftward turn due to a lack of theological conviction.
Still others err by rejecting the spirit of confessionalism by claiming “No Creed but Christ.” This group fails to see this is a creedal statement (yet very shallow), and they too find themselves with no anchor in swift cultural waters that eventually sweep them away.
Confessions and creeds, while not bulletproof, can be extremely beneficial when used properly in the life of a Christian home, denomination, or organization.
Fortress Wall for Protection
If you’ve ever had the privilege to visit a castle, the fortress wall can be quite impressive. The purpose of the fortress wall with it’s robust width and impressive height is to serve as a frontline defense strategy against enemies. There are always other weapons on the inside of the castle, but the fortress wall serves as a first line of defense against those who might come along and try to overtake the castle. The reason why many castles around the world today are merely partially standing buildings surrounded by piles of rocks is indicative of the fact that their wall was weak and the enemy prevailed.
In a similar way, a theological confession serves that same purpose as it provides a frontline defense against heretical statements, ideologies, and agendas that often plague God’s people. Flowing out of the Reformation are different streams where we have different confessions. Historically, we see the Augsburg Confession, Belgic Confession, Westminster Confession, and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith to name a few. Alongside the confessions, church history has provided us with important theological statements that respond to theological error. We can point to the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed as examples. In addition to creeds and confessions, we likewise have the catechisms that provide more light and clarity on theological distinctions and definitions.
When it comes to the gospel or doctrines like the Trinity which is at the very heart of Christianity, almost everyone agrees that confessions function as a defense against cultural attacks that seek to pervert the teachings of Scripture. However, as we have witnessed through the years, there are many entry points into the church where heresy can arise and lead people astray.
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Why We Are No Longer an SBC Church: A Statement by Josh Buice

This downgrade involves compromise on theological levels such as complementarianism (roles of men and women in the church), ecclesiology (the office and function of elder), and most important of all is the gospel (the social justice movement has replaced theology with victimology—resulting in the rise of a new religion). For that reason, our church which is 180 years old and predates the SBC by three years, has determined by a 100% congregational vote led by the elders who voted in a 100% eldership vote to lead the church away from the SBC due to such compromise. The SBC has failed. The leaders have compromised. 

One of the great joys of my life has been serving as the pastor of three different churches that have been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. I currently serve the church where my wife and I grew up as children on the west side of Atlanta—Pray’s Mill Baptist Church. Although our church is 180 years old and predates the SBC, our congregation has maintained a longtime affiliation within the SBC. However, in recent days we came to the conclusion that there was no profitable path forward for us within the SBC and we made the decision to officially separate.
Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of transition and change within the Southern Baptist Convention. That’s a nice way of describing the devious deconstruction plan that has been at work for many years behind the scenes. Along the way, we have witnessed scandals, controversies, and division. It is not my desire in this article to add fuel to the fire, however, as a lifelong SBC member and pastor I believe it’s necessary to provide a reason for our church’s decision to officially separate from the SBC effective on January 1st, 2022.
The Commendable
What I will say in this article should not be seen as a denial of the fact that there are many good and gifted professors who are serving in the SBC entities and doing a good job of training men for the pulpit and church planting. When I look back on my time at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I am grateful for many of the professors who invested in me and helped prepare me for the work of gospel ministry.
Alongside professors are many good pastors and local churches who have been healthy and profitable in supporting Christian education and church planting for many years within this network that we know as the SBC. Therefore, we can be thankful for these gifted individuals and churches who have sacrificed much to accomplish much for the glory of God.
But, all is not well within evangelicalism and that also includes the SBC. In recent years, we’ve witnessed quite a transformation take place within the once beloved SBC that has necessitated separation for what I believe is far more than preference matters.
The Downgrade
Over the past decade or more, things began to shift with the SBC leadership that moved the once theologically conservative denomination in a leftward direction. The biggest catalyst to this leftward movement undoubtedly was the acceptance of the social justice agenda which has resulted in the greatest downgrade in our modern era of church history. Any denial of this downgrade is simply a refusal to report the facts about where the SBC is today, where the SBC was yesterday, and where the SBC is moving tomorrow.
While this shift did not take place overnight, it began to pick up the pace drastically over the last 4-5 years. Back in 2018, I was part of a group who assembled in Dallas, Texas for a meeting regarding the problems of social justice. As we assembled, I was concerned but hopeful. Little did I know that our meeting and subsequent Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel would not only serve as a means of confirming what was already in motion beneath the radar, but it would expose many people and institutions within the SBC and their involvement in this devious movement.
Sadly, the top tier SBC leaders continue to double down on their positions. They have sought to deflect charges of theological capitulation and rigorously work to protect their positions through cultural virtue signals and theological word salads.
During this downgrade we have witnessed once trusted voices and institutions accept the ideologies of the social justice movement and platform notable voices within their hallways, classrooms, and conference circuits. They came together under the banner of the gospel only to embrace a social justice gospel that resulted in confusion, division, and in some cases—a complete derailing altogether. This must not be overlooked. If left unchecked, the social justice agenda will leave an indelible mark upon preachers who will be sent out into local churches to serve as pastor.
The SBC once fought a war on the inerrancy of Scripture during what has become known as the “Conservative Resurgence.” After claiming a victory over the “Battle for the Bible” the SBC has moved into a new era where this once theologically conservative denomination has adopted the controversial “Resolution 9” at the 2019 SBC in Birmingham. How could the SBC who openly champions inerrancy at the same time adopt a resolution stating that we need to employ Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT/I) as “analytical tools” for gospel ministry? This was done, in all reality, without much public debate and through sly political schemes.
Moving beyond the 2019 SBC, after a break in 2020 due to COVID-19, the SBC reconvened in Nashville in the summer of 2021 to discuss business and make decisions as a group of churches. During the meeting, there were multiple attempts from the floor to call upon the SBC to openly renounce the teachings of CRT/I. At each juncture, all of these attempts were rejected and generic language was adopted in place of specific language that openly rejected CRT/I.
One must ask the honest question as to why there was such an open refusal from the SBC leaders at this point? In the past, the SBC openly challenged Disney and eventually boycotted Disney in 1997. One must ask why the SBC was willing to boycott the gospel according to Disney but failed to boycott the gospel according to social justice?
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Why Is the Organ Relevant for Major League Baseball and Irrelevant for Local Churches?

If relevance is based on cultural trends rather than congregational engagement—it’s easy to see how the organ can get pushed out the back door. However, if relevance is based on congregational engagement—the organ will beat out all other instrumental choices hands down.

Recently, my children and I watched the Atlanta Braves take on the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series. As committed Braves fans, we’ve waited a very long time (predating my children’s birth) for the Braves to make it back to the fall Classic.
As we’ve watched the games each evening, one thing that I’ve noticed is something that transcends baseball. It has to do with music. Specifically, it has to do with the use of the organ as a ballpark staple. The Braves, along with a number of other MLB teams, have a staff organist who sits in a room high above the field and plays an organ during the game. And the organ is used for far more than “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
The instrument was first introduced into professional baseball back on April 26, 1941. A pipe organ was installed behind the grandstand at Wrigley Field, and during the game organ music echoed out across a baseball stadium for the first time. Soon the trend of a ballpark organist was one of the game’s most recognized players.
Matthew Kaminski (@BravesOrganist) who plays the organ for the Atlanta Braves selects pieces of music intentionally designed to keep the fans engaged in what’s happening on the field. During the fourth game of the 2021 World Series, Kaminski began playing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” as Luis Garcia came to the plate.
What’s the reason? It’s connected to the fact that the Astros’ starting pitcher has a very unique windup in his approach to the plate as a pitcher. It looks like he’s rocking a baby in a cradle-like position with his hands. So, this prompted Kaminski to call attention to that reality by using music which caught the attention of many fans—in person and on television.
Beyond the noticeable eclectic style of some organists who play for MLB teams, the real question is why does Major League Baseball view the organ as relevant while many local churches continue to view the organ as irrelevant? After nearly 80 years, more than 50% of MLB teams have a live organist at the ballpark and a good percentage of the other teams pipe in organ music through prerecorded musical pieces. Why has the organ fallen on hard times within the church?
The Organ Is Better Than the Band
In recent months, we have purchased and installed a new organ in our local church’s worship auditorium. In fact, I would urge you (if you’re a pastor) and your local church to do the same. You ask, what’s the big deal about an organ? The fact is, the organ as a single instrument is far superior than the modern praise band.
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Making Honey and Naming Names

While we live in an age where men lack backbone and are often times unwilling to do the unpopular thing, it’s quite refreshing to see men like Voddie Baucham spend time dealing with the issues and pointing out the errors of men and organizations that were once trusted and respected. 

At the recent 2021 G3 Conference, a copy of World Magazine was placed on every single chair in the main session room for each attendee. This is something that has repeated every year since about 2018. However, this year proved to be unique as the selected publication (9-11-21) included a review of Voddie Baucham’s book Fault Lines by Marvin Olasky. Although short and somewhat complementary, Olasky took a swipe at Baucham’s book by writing the following:
What’s not helpful is Baucham’s dismissal of theologically sound Christians, including individuals and groups like Tim Keller, the Gospel Coalition, and Mark Dever/9Marks. We can make more honey if we go beyond buzzwords. Let’s spin the latter-day followers of Marx, Darwin, and the Black Panthers. Let’s ally with those who also emphasize the Bible rather than racial division. Let’s agree that black lives matter but oppose the BLM industrial complex. [1]
This caught the attention of many G3 attendees who asked me for a response. Obviously, I wasn’t aware of the review of Baucham’s book in this edition of World Magazine prior to it showing up at the conference. While I agree that we can have differences of opinion on various matters within evangelicalism and sometimes a friendly critique is helpful, I want to push back on this critique, point out the flaws of Olasky’s review, and substantiate how Baucham defends the faith and calls out names in a biblically consistent manner.
The Biblical Pattern of “Naming Names”
All throughout the Scripture, we see a pattern of naming names in various contexts. This practice is used to warn the faithful about deceitful schemes, devilish doctrines, and divisive people. When we read the New Testament, we find that Jesus called out the names of the Pharisees and Herod (subsequently calling out the Herodians) in Mark 8:14–21. Jesus was issuing a warning to his disciples regarding their false teaching and sinful practices.
Jesus warned the church at Ephesus of the Nicolaitans. He demanded those who hold to their teachings to repent or suffer the wrath of God (Rev 2:6; 15–16). Once again, we see that Jesus calls out names and warns his church of devilish schemes.
We must recall that Jesus was mistaken for John the Baptist, who also named names. In his public preaching ministry, John the Baptist called out Herod for committing adultery with his brother’s wife. It’s apparent that John the Baptist was a judgment preacher—warning people of their sin and impending doom (Luke 3:19).
Paul also named names of divisive people in his letters—including both enemies of the cross to avoid and brothers and sisters who need to be corrected in love. In his second letter to Timothy (2 Tim 4:14), Paul writes the following:
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
It’s apparent that Paul wanted Timothy to know of this evil man and how he had greatly opposed the work of the gospel—bringing injury to Paul.
Paul warned Timothy of two men who had made shipwreck of their faith and gone as far as blaspheming God. Paul writes the following in 1 Timothy 1:20: “Among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Paul was not pulling punches when it came to those who attacked the gospel or divided God’s church.
In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul named two women, Euodia and Syntyche, who had apparently been the cause of the division in the church. Much of what Paul labors to correct in his letter to the church was caused by their division. In this case, Paul calls the names of sisters in the Lord who needed to be corrected.
Paul likewise rebuked the church at Corinth (see 1 Cor. 5) by pointing an intense spotlight upon an unnamed man who had been committing adultery with his father’s wife. Perhaps Paul didn’t know the exact name of the man, but the entire church did know his name. Paul rebuked the church and called for them to act swiftly in church discipline.
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