Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Way To Go Jonathan Merritt!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Way To Go Jonathan Merritt!

According to Baptist Press, a statement was released on March 10th titled "A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change." This declaration, signed by SBC heavyweights such as Frank Page, James Merritt, Dan Akin, and my own Hershael York, says that Southern Baptists' "current denominational engagement with these (environmental) issues [has] often been too timid, failing to produce a unified moral voice. Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed. We can do better."

What I want to speak on here is not the overdue status of such a statement in the SBC or the wake-up call to Southern Baptists in the light of an environmental crisis. I just want to give a shout out to Jonathan Merritt. You see, this declaration sure sounds like it has come from the top tier of SBC leadership. How else can it enjoy such wide spread media attention and host the names of such important people in the SBC? The truth is, however, this was all started by a 25 year seminary student. Jonathan Merritt is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. In a teleconference with the media, this is what he had to say:
"In my theology class lecture my professor made the statement that when we destroy creation, which is God's revelation, it is no different than tearing a page out of the Bible. At that moment, God began to work in my heart and call me to do something. [This document] is the product of that nudge from God that day."

This elicits two responses from the Beast's Lair.

First, this is a powerful reminder that God uses all people of all ages in all walks of life to do great things. Jonathan no doubt was reminded of Paul's exhortation to Timothy to not "let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." Whether it is a young Timothy, a young David, or a young boy with two fish and five loaves, God will use whom he wishes to do Godly things. This also applies to the 75 year lady in the back pew who thinks her time is finished. God can and will use all ages.

Second, the idea of the declaration came to Jonathan during this theology class, a class that many of our beloved church goers would think has no real practical value. I identify strongly with this. I love theology and studying systematics, but I have absolutely been motivated to take action more in my three theology classes from SBTS than from any other class, including my personal evangelism class. When theology finds its way to the heart in addition to the head, great things happen.

So way to go Jonathan Merritt!

(on a slightly humorous side note - it is ironic timing that such a declaration which brings up the issue of global warming comes just after a massive snow storm that crippled a good part of the OH, IN, and KY areas. Louisville got around 14 inches.)


Blogger Mike Ruffin said...

Well said. I'm linking to this post on my blog.

March 11, 2008 10:44 AM  
Blogger Tom Wilkinson said...

This is an intriquing development in SBC life - I am hopeful this kind of attitude will spawn even more like minded people to join. I agree with your post, this young man should be grateful to be in the service of God in such a manner.

March 11, 2008 11:01 AM  
Anonymous James Merritt, Jr. said...

Very good post. I'm super proud of my brother for showing that one person can change the tide of evangelical responsibility and educate the masses.

May 18, 2008 6:44 PM  

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