Archive Monthly Archives: May 2014

Resident Aliens, Secret Church, and Witches in the Wardrobe / Keith Eitel, Ph.D.

May 23, 2014

Originally posted May 20, 2014
at “Theological Matters.”
by Dr. Keith Eitel
Dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions
Professor of Missions
Director of the World Missions Center
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas

A witch, a lion, a wardrobe closet, or leaders of a nationwide network of secret churches throughout China? I walked through the back of a closet built into a wall in a remote rural Chinese farmhouse wondering which it would end up being—it certainly was not Narnia. An invitation came to join other professors and teach 100 underground leaders from all four geographic corners of that big place in 2003. Continue reading

Autonomy in the Southern Baptist Convention

May 21, 2014

by Ron F. Hale

Southern Baptists cherish the autonomy of the local church in our conservative and cooperative family of congregations.

We are of the “Free Church Tradition” valuing the voluntary principle of cooperation while having no organic ties to a state or national government; nor governed by any higher religious ruling body. The local church is at the top of the denominational pyramid in SBC life. Messengers, money, and mission volunteers spring forth from thousands of local churches in the SBC, thereby spreading God’s resources to the ends of the earth.

Inconceivable to most Southern Baptists, many congregations around the world feel the heavy hand of the state-run church or higher ecclesiastical powers pushing or pulling them to acquiesce to external pressures.

To be autonomous means that each church is self-governing and self-directing as the people of God seek the help of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. In essence, no other ecclesiastical power, government entity, bishop or back room boss has the authority to enter a local SBC congregation making demands and issuing commands. Continue reading