Ascol to encourage more church planting
Pathway writer Scott Lamb sat down recently with Tom Ascol, executive director of Founders Ministries, at First Baptist Church, St. Peters, for a brief interview.
Q: In what direction do you see Founders Ministries heading in the coming years?
A: Founders Ministries intends to continue encouraging Southern Baptists to be faithful to the Scriptures and working for the recovery of the biblical Gospel and the spiritual renewal of local churches. We also plan to become more involved in helping churches become actively involved in planting new churches. We will continue to expand our internet ministry, both in the materials that we make available through www.Founders.org (which is receiving over 800,000 hits per month) and our online Founders Study Center.
A: I am greatly encouraged to see how the conversation in the SBC has turned toward issues that Founders has been talking about for the last 25 years. It is gratifying to hear denominational leadership admitting publicly that most of our churches are in real trouble when it comes to the issue of regenerate church membership and biblical church discipline. At some point, the dialogue must necessarily shift to an honest consideration of how we got into this mess. Then, many of the unbiblical and unhealthy approaches to evangelism that have crept into our denomination can be reassessed.
Q:Do you plan on submitting a resolution at the SBC annual meeting in San Antonio?
A: Yes, I do. I plan to offer another resolution similar to the one that did not make it out of committee last year, calling for integrity in the way that we report our church statistics. A resolution, of course, carries no authority with it, but it can help further the dialogue on this important issue and perhaps provoke pastors and churches to reexamine what the Bible says our churches ought to be and do. That, in my opinion, would be very healthy.
Q:What current publishing projects is Founders involved?
A: We saw two major publications released in 2007, “Life in the Body” by Curtis Thomas and the 20th anniversary edition of “By His Grace and for His Glory” by Tom Nettles. The Thomas volume is an excellent treatment of practical issues related to church life. Nettles expanded and updated his classic work on the history and theology of Baptists, especially Southern Baptists. We plan to publish a revised and expanded version of “Baptism of Disciples Alone” by Fred Malone. That book has been a great help to Baptists around the world and is, according to Al Mohler, one of the most important books on baptism to appear in the last 200 years. We also will publish additional volumes of the “Founders Bible Study Guides” by the late Curtis Vaughan.