Baptist21 Podcast: Interview with Dr. David Nelson

david-nelson-1-for-webDavid P. Nelson is senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in systematic theology and worship. He is a contributor to the Between the Times blog. Dr. Nelson has served on church staffs in Texas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. He has contributed to A Theology of the Church, Authentic Worship, and Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue. He is currently working on editing “A Biblical Theology of Mission” in a series called The Mission of God and He is authoring “40 Questions about Worship.”

Baptist21 is grateful to have had the opportunity to interview Dr. Nelson for the Baptist21 Podcast.

In this interview, Dr. Nelson covers some of the controversial topics surrounding the GCR. He answers the claims by Bart Barber that he has sold his Baptist birthright by calling for a “good ecumenism.” He addresses why those who are calling for a more sectarian Baptist outlook need to listen to those that are calling for some types of Ecumenism. In addition, he speaks to those who say there should be no theological triage. He addresses what he considers a major problem in our convention. This major problem is that we preach a message that the gospel is about saving us from “hell” but never draw out that the gospel is for all of life, and he believes this is just as dangerous as a “self-help” gospel. You will want to hear his thoughts on the Gospel and Southern Baptists. Finally, he addresses the controversial 9th commitment of the Great Commission Resurgence.

If you are not familiar with David Nelson, you need to become familiar with him. This interview is a must listen.

In part two, he will say some controversial things in the context of if “he were king for a day in the SBC,” Stay tuned.


  • Why are you a Southern Baptist?
  • What do you think about those who are saying that you want to sell your “Baptist birthright”?
  • Are you committed to Baptist Distinctives?
  • At the recent panel discussion, you said “it is not as much an age divide, but the root is there is a different understanding of the gospel.” Can you speak to why you think that it is not an age divide? And so, what is the Gospel?
  • Some say if you believe in a theological triage that means that you do not want to teach full obedience to all of Christ’s commands in the Great Commission, What is your response to that?
  • Why do you think that article 9 in the GCR about considering restructure for more efficiency and how do we put the GCR into action?

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Comments 0

  1. Great podcast…

    I would make one comment concerning Dr. Nelson’s presentation of the gospel. I think he is right in making the death, burial, and resurrection central to the gospel message. However, in the age we find ourselves in we cannot start there.

    We must start in Genesis 1 and draw our hearers into the story of redemption. We cannot assume that our listeners have any understanding of the biblical narrative. We are in a biblically illiterate age! If we simply start with Jesus, who died for our sins, we lose them. “Sin” is a rare category these days. It has been replaced, as Michael Horton has argued, by Therapy. We have addictions, not sin problems.

    If we leave out Genesis 1-3, then our listener will have no need of Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection. D.A Carson has made similar statments in the past. He talks of times past when he would lecture on campuses and encounter atheists. These atheists were at least atheists that denied the God of the Bible. Not even that can be assumed today. (I think Dr. Nelson would agree and believe he would in fact make sure his listener understood the sin problem. I am not implying that he would simply run to 1 Cor 15 to share the gospel. I simply believe the idea of starting in Genesis needs to be emphasized)

    With such unfamiliararity with the storyline of the Bible our gospel presentations must begin at the beginning. I think we all would agree. Great podcast!

  2. Post


    Thanks for taking the time to listen to the podcast and for offering your thoughts. I hope that the podcast was helpful. I think you are right that Dr. Nelson would agree that we need to teach people in light of the whole story of redemption.


  3. Nathan,

    Obviously, you either failed to read or misunderstood my final comment on the previous comment thread, which I would encourage all of your readers to consult. My charge was not that Nelson has “sold his Baptist birthright.” Rather, I charged that his statements were just as lopsided and inaccurate as it would be if I were to level that charge against Nelson.

    Is reading comprehension in the curriculum over there?

  4. By the way, once again, an overwhelming amount of stuff in the podcast at which I agree 100% with Dr. Nelson and am thankful for his insights. He may have a deliberate agenda to be provocative toward folk like me, but apart from his provocations I have no desire to provoke him and believe that he has many great ideas to offer the Southern Baptist Convention.

  5. Post

    I need to clear up that Dr. Nelson did not know that he was addressing a comment from Bart Barber. I had Bart Barber’s comment in mind when I asked the question, but I did not inform Dr. Nelson of that.


  6. But the larger point is not that he did not know that he was addressing a comment from Dr. Barber. The larger point is that he, in point of fact, actually was NOT addressing a comment from Dr. Barber. Rather, he was addressing Nathan Akin’s misreading of a comment from Dr. Barber. As things now stand, nobody associated with this site has accurately addressed the comment from Dr. Barber.

    Which is normally fine. Nobody requires that my comments be addressed at all. But when they are not simply left on the table, but are addressed inappropriately, and when it further becomes apparent that such is the case, then isn’t there some obligation to provide either a correction or at least a defense?

  7. Pingback: Worth a Listen « aGCb // the gospel, biblical theology, missions, SEC football

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