The SBC 2013 Guide to Houston

I’ve joined forces with my friend Nathan Lino, who is pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church and first vice president of the SBC, to create this SBC 2013 Guide to Houston. It will point you to some of the best places to enjoy food and fun while in Houston for the Southern Baptist Convention. Thanks to those who made recommendations on twitter!

In addition to checking out these great places, I hope you’ll join the ERLC for our “Marriage on the Line” panel discussion with Russell Moore, David Platt, J. D. Greear, Susie Hawkins, and Paige Patterson on Tuesday, June 11th, at 7 AM in the General Assembly Theater on level 3 of the convention center. Pre-register now to make sure you get a seat because space is limited!

For Food

Hungry? Here’s your guide to the Houston food scene–both near the convention center and around town

Walking Distance to the SBC

To stay cool while walking downtown Houston, use the Houston tunnel system as much as possible.

  • The Shops at Houston Center Food Court ($-$$ | Food court | Web | Map) Includes Chick-Fil-A, Ninfa’s Mexican Express, Otto’s BBQ, Potbelly Sandwiches, and Treebeards Cajun
  • Guadalajara ($$ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map) Good quality TexMex near the convention center
  • McCormick & Schmick’s ($$-$$$ | Seafood | Yelp | Map) Excellent seafood in a nicer atmosphere
  • Treebeards ($-$$ | Cajun food | Yelp | Map) Tasty Cajun food at reasonable prices
  • The Grove ($$ | Modern American food | Yelp | Map) Great atmosphere, right across from the convention center with trendy food offerings
  • Zydeco’s ($$ | Cajun food | Yelp | Map) Amazing Cajun seafood and soul food.
  • La Palapa ($ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map) Taco stand with delicious breakfast tacos
  • The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation ($$ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map) A bit of historic Houston mixed with good Mexican food
  • Irma’s ($-$$ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map) Hole-in-the-wall with amazing lemonade and no set menu
  • III Forks ($$$-$$$$ | Steakhouse | Yelp | Map) Nice steakhouse with a good atmosphere and prime beef
  • Prince’s Hamburgers ($-$$ | Burgers and fare | Yelp | Map) Top notch hamburgers and milkshakes
  • Sparkle’s Burger Spot ($ | Burgers and fare | Yelp | Map) Cheap but delicious burgers and soul food
  • Brother’s Taco House ($-$$ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map) Mexican food; also good for breakfast
  • Beck’s Prime ($$ | Burgers and fare | Yelp | Map) Huge burgers and all the trimmings
  • Post Oak Grill ($$ | American food | Yelp | Map) A great variety of foods makes the long walk worth it
  • Pappas BBQ ($-$$ | BBQ | Yelp | Map) The best bbq in (long) walking distance from the convention center

Worth the Drive

  • Shipley’s donuts ($ | Donuts | Yelp | Map) Delicious donuts and kolaches
  • Lupe Tortilla ($$ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map) The best fajitas & tortillas you’ve ever had
  • Star Pizza ($-$$ | Pizza | Yelp | Map) Huge and flavorful pizzas
  • Goode Company BBQ ($-$$ | BBQ | Yelp | Map) Savory brisket, sausage, ribs and all the fixins
  • El Tiempo ($$ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map)
  • Molina’s ($$ | Mexican food | Yelp | Map) Great TexMex; get the Jose’s Dip and thank me later
  • Southwell’s Hamburgers ($-$$ | Burgers | Yelp | Map) My favorite burger spot when I lived in Houston; great waffle fries
  • Taste of Texas ($$$-$$$$ | Texas Steakhouse | Yelp | Map) Great steak, great atmosphere at a Houston landmark
  • Freebirds ($ | Burritos | Yelp | Map) Move over Chipotle, Qdoba & Moe’s, this is the best burrito around

For Fun

In addition to the good eats, enjoy these great places to have some fun during your free time:

In Houston

  • NASA – See our nation’s space program in South Houston
  • Lanier Theological Library – A unique Houston-area environment for theological study
  • Minute Maid Park – The Astros stadium offers daily tours of a unique field
  • Discovery Green – If you can handle the heat, this is a great park across from the convention center
  • Houston Zoo – See thousands of animals in the heart of Houston
  • Houston Museums – Choose from several excellent options in the museum district
  • Houston tunnel system – Travel downtown underground to stay cool and find shopping and restaurants
  • Waterwall – Perfect picnic spot with a nice park by the water wall
  • Houston Galleria – Huge mall featuring lots of stores and an ice skating rink
  • Lucky Strike Bowling – High quality bowling alley open all day and late near the convention center
  • Memorial Park Golf course – A convenient spot for a quick round of golf

Around Houston

Honorable Mention

Not finding something you like above? Here are some more options you can explore on your own:

For food

  • Mia’s
  • Union kitchen
  • Just Mac
  • Torchy tacos
  • Grand luxe
  • Kenny and ziggy’s
  • Breakfast klub
  • Pappas burgers
  • Niko nikos
  • Langford grocery and Market
  • Ruggles
  • Dolce vita pizzeria
  • Benjy’s
  • Barnaby’s cafe

For Fun

  • Natural science museum
  • Holacaust museum
  • Battleship Texas
  • Downtown aquarium
  • Memorial park

Debate on Speaking in Tongues

The audio is available for Dr. Russell Moore’s debate with Dwight McKissic on the Jerry Johnson Live radio show. The debate is well done and well-spirited. Three deficiencies are clear in McKissic’s views on the issue:

  1. He prooftexts 1 Cor. 14:2, with no consideration for its context, as the primary support for his view in the same way a Jehovah’s Witness prooftexts Col. 1:15 to deny the deity of Christ. One verse in isolation from its context cannot be foundational to an argument.
  2. He resists any interaction with historical perspectives on the issue in an effort to just stick to his prooftext.
  3. He engages in what I have dubbed ‘charismatic fundamentalism.’ In fact, he goes as far as to say that anyone who does not share his view on this issue is not an inerrantist. Wow!

Private prayer languages are not a modern day manifestation of the biblical gift of tongues. There are several reasons this is true:

  • The biblical gift of tongues is prophetic in nature–it was for the purpose of inspired revelation. Once God provided a written body of inspired literature to the early church, this oral transmission phased out.
  • The biblical gift of tongues, like all other spiritual gifts, is for the building up of the body of Christ; not for the building up of individual Christians.
  • The biblical gift of tongues marked the initial advance of the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea/Samaria and the ends of the earth.
  • The biblical gift of tongues occurred in known languages in contrast to much of what goes on today in ‘ecstatic’ speech.

The bottom line is that, since the purpose of tongues (as a form of prophetic revelation of divine inspiration) has now been fulfilled, the spiritual gift of tongues has now been fulfilled. While it may be possible for a believer to practice something they consider a private prayer language, this is not the biblical gift of tongues. We must not call it what it isn’t, and we must recognize the potential danger of it.

Raising the Roof on the Glass Ceiling?

Just in time for next week’s Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Albert Mohler has resumed writing on his blog, Conventional Thinking, to deal with issues related to the denomination. His first post is a provocative analysis on Julie Pennington-Russell who may become the head pastor of First Baptist Decatur, GA. As Mohler states, “The historic Georgia congregation would be the largest church associated with the Southern Baptist Convention or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to call a woman as senior minister.”

I draw your attention not only to the article itself but also to the fact that Dr. Mohler has begun to actively write on SBC issues again. Enjoy!

Jim Richards to be Nominated for SBC 1st Vice President

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention website reports that executive director Jim Richards will be nominated for 1st Vice President of the SBC. With Richards’ Texas ties and conservative credentials, he will be a formidable candidate. According to the website:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Donald M. (Mac) Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., has announced his intention to nominate James W. Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, for first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In a June 1 news release, Brunson said, “Jim Richards has led SBTC to do denomination right. With a leaner staff and a focused mission, this convention has done a lot to show the way.”

Richards is the founding executive director of the eight-year-old state convention.

In my two years of working with the state convention’s college ministry, I was nothing short of impressed with the direction of the state convention in general and Richards in particular.

Texas A&M Salutes You: E.Y. Mullins

E.Y. MullinsIt’s not everyday that you learn about how the history of your alma mater and your seminary connect. But today is one of those days.

E.Y. Mullins is a noted Southern Baptist theologian. In addition, he served for 28 years as president of the Southern Baptist Seminary beginning around the turn of the 1900’s.

So what’s the connection? After finishing high school in Corsicana, Texas, Mullins attended Texas A&M University. Since Mullins was born in 1860 and A&M didn’t begin until 1876, this suggests that he was one of the earliest graduates from the institution.

After his time at A&M, Mullins later went on to be a student at SBTS. Then, he became president of the seminary and helped to restore its health after the Whitsitt Controversy. Though not everyone agrees with Mullins’ theology, everyone agrees that his influence on Southern Baptist life is undeniable.

Today, we salute a great Aggie and a great Southern Baptist — E.Y. Mullins

Paige Patterson on Denominational Decline

In light of the brewing controversy in the Episcopal Church, I’ve been thinking a lot about controversy among Southern Baptists. What helped us return to orthodoxy in the past and what will help us preserve it in the future?

Then, I came across some timely words by Dr. Paige Patterson found in his chapter in the excellent book Why I am a Baptist. Speaking of denominational demise going on at that time, he says, “Methodists and the larger group of the Presbyterians in America have found themselves, if not on a slippery slope, then surely on a wild toboggan ride to the bottom of the course. Their ecclesiology does not allow them much of a chance to turn it around.” His words are eerily relevant to what is happening today among Episcopal churches.

If this lack of potential recovery marks other denominations, why might it be different for Baptists? Patterson offers, “All of this is to say that I find in Baptist ecclesiology and polity the possibility for a grassroots referendum. Because Baptists rejected all forms of connectionalism, and Baptist churches, associations, state conventions, and national conventions are independent, autonomous entities, the people in the churches find it possible, though not easy, to rise up and say, ‘We do not approve of the direction that our denomination is going and we want this corrected.'”

In other words, Baptist ecclesiology does not guarantee recovery. However, it provides an opportunity for it. Instead of power centering at the top of a hierarchical structure as in other denominations, power is dispersed at the local church level in the Southern Baptist Convention.

So, in theory, the denomination can save itself from disaster. But, Patterson testifies about how it happened in reality, “The primacy of the local church has been crucial. I knew from studying Baptist history as well as Southern Baptist bylaws that such a referendum was possible. But, in 1979, I did not know for sure whether that was merely a technical matter or whether a referendum was genuinely possible. As it turned out, that which was technically possible resulted in on of the great reformation movements in modern time.”

While it seems that the Episcopalians are passed the point of no return, Patterson’s words should cause us to realize that their problem is not just theology but ecclesiology. It’s not just their view of scripture; it’s their view of the church.

But it should also sober us into the realization that every denomination that drifts from the authority of scripture can crumble. Just because Southern Baptists have recovered once does not guarantee that we would recover again.