A Response to Peter Lumpkins
Peter Lumpkins’ blog, SBC Tomorrow, recently posted an excerpt from my message at the 2013 Reformation Montana Conference. Entitled “Modern Day Downgrade,” I drew the parallels between the doctrinal ‘downgrade’ in Spurgeon’s day to what we are seeing now in American evangelicalism. The excerpt, which was cut and pasted and then re-posted onto Lumpkin’s own YouTube channel (and currently has a whopping 254 views), includes audio of me saying that given the amount of email Reformation Montana had received, asking in advance that the audio from the Modern Day Downgrade audio be released, I was aware that the message would be listened to by thousands of Southern Baptists.
Apparently, Lumpkins was humored by that projection, and so he posted the video with a subtitle meant to be ironic or sarcastic, “Small Church Pastor Preaches As Thousands Across the Southern Baptist Convention Listen.” At first, I thought that Lumpkins was making fun that only thousands have heard the Downgrade message. Perhaps, my line of thinking suggested, the number has to be in the tens of thousands or millions for it to be a notable discourse. Thankfully Lumpkins’ comments to follow the post clarified what he considered funny about my claim; that the message would be listened to by ‘thousands throughout the Southern Baptist Convention – a projection he thought ridiculous:
“Either produce the evidence that thousand’s of Southern Baptists listened to JD’s message or drop the righteous anger bit. I specifically noted JD’s claim of ‘thousands of Southern Baptist’ listeners. ‘Thousands of Southern Baptist’ listeners is published right on the soundbite picture. Now, either demonstrate thousands of Southern Baptists listened or drop the point. Clear enough?”
“Then if it is impossible to know as you claim don’t pop off about knowing. And don’t claim it as a fact. And when somebody challenges it, concede the point with something like–‘You’re correct. It was a bit of a stretch to claim 1000s for sure.”
“It remains all but impossible to prove thousands of people across the SBC actually listened to Hall’s sermon.”
“Unfortunately, just like JD, [this commenter] fallaciously presumed and without sufficient warrant pronounced a completely unknown listening audience as a demonstrated fact. JD did not know then nor does he know now that ‘thousands’ across the SBC actually listened to his message. Good heavens. How absolutely dense are people willing to be?”
“I happen to think JD, like most of us, is capable of being both arrogant and too big for his britches and his claim in the opening words prior to his sermon demonstrate nicely his making a claim far beyond empirical evidence could substantiate.”
“And one of the points he wanted to make was that thousands of SBCers would listen, a supposition neither he nor you with all your “apologetic circle” backing you up is able to demonstrate.”
The message, “Modern Day Downgrade” was played on Chris Rosebrough’s Fighting for the Faith program on Pirate Christian Radio within two weeks after the message was originally given. Pirate Christian Radio, by the way, is the #1 web-based Christian talk station in the world. Rosebrough logged the following comment onto Lumpkins’ blog:
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