By Wes Kenney, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Valliant, OK
At its annual meeting in Indianapolis in 2008, the Southern Baptist Convention spoke clearly on the issue of regenerate church membership. This is an area in which many SBC churches (my own included) have struggled greatly. At an earlier time in our convention’s history, it was not at all uncommon for a church with 100 members to average 200 or more in weekly attendance. We have turned that right around in the last century or so, and that’s not a good thing. We’ve taken membership and discipline far less seriously than we ought, and our witness as churches has suffered for it. It is indeed sad that a person who may have walked an aisle, repeated a prayer, and been immersed in a tank of water when they were seven years old can, at the age of 50, say with a straight face that they are a member of the church where these events took place when they have not attended a service for three decades or more. What is even sadder is that the church might be more concerned with offending someone than they are with the spiritual condition of their erstwhile “member.” Yet this situation, in some variation or other, is played out countless times in churches throughout our convention.
This is a list of recent blog posts which we found interesting. That we found them interesting doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with or endorse the ideas presented in the posts, but that we found them to be intriguing and thought-provoking. (They are listed in no particular order of interest). Please post your comments to discuss any article that strikes your interest. If you have recent blog posts to nominate, please send the link to email@example.com.
About the SBC and Homosexuality
“The President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Says His Denomination Needs to Repent of Homophobia,” “Associated Baptist Press: ‘Mohler Says Baptists Must Repent of Homophobia,’” “Al Mohler on the Southern Baptist Convention: Liars and Homophobes?” “Al Mohler and Homosexuality: Putting the Record Straight,” “Question Raised over Baptist Press Concerning Al Mohler’s Provocative Claim about Homosexuality and Southern Baptists,” “Brian McClaren Encourages Al Mohler: ‘Please Don’t Back Down,’” “Baptist Press Rectifies the Silence on Mohler’s Controversial Words – ‘Homosexuality Comments Reflect Scripture,’” by Peter Lumpkins at SBC Tomorrow, with his take on Dr. Mohler’s answer to his question at the SBC about his position on homosexuality.
“The Church and the ‘Clobber Scriptures,’ – the Bible on Homosexuality” by Al Mohler at his blog, with comments on using “clobber Scriptures” against homosexuals, as raised by Jay Bakker.
“Mohler: Homosexuality Comments Reflect Scripture,” article in Baptist Press with an overview of Dr. Mohler’s comments about homosexuality.
“Transcript and Commentary: Al Mohler on Homosexuality at the SBC,” by Mark Lamprecht on the Here I Stand blog, with a precise transcript of Mohler’s words regarding homosexuality, plus Lamprecht’s own commentary.
By Eric Costanzo, Teaching Pastor and Minister of Community Ministries, First Baptist Church, Tulsa, OK
Dear SBC Leaders and Messengers: Let’s try a new approach!
A Critical Response to the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, AZ by a lifelong Southern Baptist.
The reports and published resolutions from the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, which took place on June 14-15 in Phoenix, AZ, have reinvigorated my conviction that our denomination needs a serious overhaul in the public relations department.
My concerns are not with the meeting itself. Since I was not in attendance, I am not entitled to any opinions one way or another. In fact, I am confident that our denominational leaders and messengers engaged in authentic prayer, vibrant worship, and inspired decision-making at the Annual Meeting. Unfortunately, most people would never know such things took place based on what was published for public consumption during and after the events. Fewer people from our denomination attend these meetings, and fewer people outside of our denomination find our faith communities to be appealing.
But don’t take my word for it. Baptist Press reported that the 2011 meeting was the lowest- attended annual meeting in 67 years [since 1944].
By Wade Rials, Senior Pastor, Thorington Road Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL
Phoenix 2011 has come and gone. Only history will be able to judge this convention for Southern Baptists. As a young pastor, I am still learning what to expect at these events. I do know that we eat well. Without a pedigree within the Southern Baptist Convention, this young pastor has learned all things through experience. An honest evaluation will see very strong missional components that transpired in Phoenix 2011 as well as some not so lovely aspects. In this short article, I intend to outline a few of both and conclude with a thought about the future.
Because I am a cynic and critic by nature, allow me to start with the ugly side of SBC life.
1) The conversations in the hallways don’t perfectly reflect the conversation in the main hall. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we are a divided group in many ways. Ideology has replaced mission and led to factions. These ideological factions are ardent in their beliefs and hold fast to their convictions. The question before us is: Are we willing to die on the hills of our particular ideology? Comically, I feel in many ways as a man pulled in many directions looking for home. As a recovering Calvinist (still meeting with CA and going through the 5 step recovery program), I have dear friends who grow TULIPs in their front yard. I truly love these guys and enjoy talking about their TULIPs and do my best to get them to plant ROSES instead, but as one who no longer adheres to that hermeneutical paradigm I sometimes feel chastised and alienated by my friends when conversing with my new group of theological compadres. Take it for what it’s worth; people are watching who you talk with in the exhibit hall and gossip ensues.
By Rick Patrick, Senior Pastor, Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Hueytown, AL
I left Phoenix in a contemplative state of mind, ignoring (for the most part) the noise of minor skirmishes on the convention floor over Lifeway’s book selections, the new gender neutral NIV translation and the question of whether or not Baptists have been truthful, courageous and fair in our treatment of homosexuality and homosexuals.
For me, the most serious theological question raised at the convention has implications for both the church planting emphasis by NAMB and the people group adoption emphasis by IMB. This topic was addressed with his usual clarity and passion by Dr. David Platt in his excellent convention sermon.
As I understood his message, based upon Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission is not merely a call to evangelize all people everywhere by sharing the Good News of salvation through Christ. While Platt conceded that this common evangelistic goal is certainly a good thing, he indicated that Jesus actually gave us a much more precise command, namely to bring God glory by making at least one disciple among each of the world’s people groups.