Category Archives for SBC

ERLC Trustee Chairman is Lobbyist on Immigration Issues

March 31, 2017

Editor’s Note:This article originally appeared at the Capstone Report and is used by permission.

The denominational swamp of the Southern Baptist Convention is as messy as anything in Washington, DC. Ken Barbic, the chairman of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention, is a lobbyist with an organization promoting comprehensive immigration reform. It sparks the question: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchers? Continue reading

Bobby Baptist and the ERLC

March 29, 2017

By: Brad Reynolds
Vice President for Academic Affairs and professor of Christian Studies at Truett McConnell University.

Editor’s Note: This article is used by permission of the author.

I certainly appreciate and am grateful for the joint statement released earlier this week from the Executive Committee and Dr. Moore as they seek unity, but I fear the statement has missed the heart of the issue for many in the SBC.

Years ago, Dr. Jerry Vines introduced Southern Baptists to a hypothetical character in his Sermon “A Baptist and his Bible.” The character, Billy Baptist, represented the typical Baptist in Southern Baptist churches. I would like to borrow Dr. Vines’ strategy and introduce Southern Baptists to a twenty-first century hypothetical typical member of a Southern Baptist rural church. We welcome Billy’s younger brother, Bobby.

Bobby Baptist is really not concerned that leaders within our SBC are seeking unity in their differences. While this is certainly Biblical and laudable (something for which I am personally grateful), it doesn’t even find the radar of concern for Bobby.

Bobby is a contractor who works 8-10 hours a day, five days a week. He and his wife (Bonnie – an elementary school teacher) have four young grandchildren. Bobby and Bonnie both have Facebook accounts as they endeavor to keep up with their grandkids. This medium is where they get most of their news (not CNN or NY TIMES).

With regards to the ERLC, Bobby Baptist is not bothered by what the president of the ERLC seemed concerned about: 1) what it means to be “an evangelical;” 2) the importance of sexual immorality; and 3) racial divisiveness. Rather, what disturbed Bobby was that these concerns seemed of more importance to Dr. Moore than the murderous torture of infants and real religious liberty (this is not Bobby’s fault, rather Dr. Moore did not and has not done an effective job of communicating he is more concerned with abortion than the three topics of which he continually speaks).

For the sake of clarity let me go further. Bobby understands that Dr. Moore is against abortion, and Bobby grasps the fact that Dr. Moore is probably for religious liberty. Further, Bobby would readily admit that Dr. Moore is probably a good man and a godly man. Bobby’s frustrations have nothing to do with Dr. Moore’s winsome personality, nor with such trivial things as whether a person likes Dr. Moore.

Bobby Baptist is a lot smarter than perhaps denominational leaders give him credit.

What gets to the heart of the issue for Bobby are the words of Dr. Moore. Even in Dr. Moore’s apology (which demonstrates Dr. Moore’s honorable and real humility as well as his willingness to listen) he says, “not everyone saw the same [three] challenges” he saw. THAT’S NOT TRUE! Bobby, of course, saw the concern of a presidential nominee with a very immoral past, he saw the concern of race relations, and he certainly understands hypocrisy. It is not that Bobby Baptist didn’t see these concerns; rather it is that Dr. Moore misunderstands Bobby.

The lost people Bobby associates with are able to understand (even if they don’t agree) when Bobby tells them:
“I understand this president-elect is a sinner, like every president and every person. Further, his past words about women are incredibly offensive and indefensible. Moreover, some of the people supporting him seem racist and that is despicable. But, if he has repented of his past words as he says he has, and if his wife has forgiven him, then it is my duty as a Christian to trust him and to forgive him. God’s grace demands such.

“Further, I believe each person is created by God. And thus, I believe babies, in the womb, are as fully human as babies outside the womb. This belief causes a deep concern of infants being murderously tortured. If this were happening to babies outside the womb that were six months old, I truly feel every sane person would say this is more important than offensive despicable words about women or past behavior of a person. Babies having their arms and legs ripped off and being murdered must be our chief concern until such is stopped. Thus, for me the election of a president who is opposed to this torture and the appointment of justices opposed to such is paramount; and voting for such is my Christian duty.”

What frustrates Bobby is, if he is able to explain this to his lost friends then he wonders: Why in the world can the president of the ERLC not first of all grasp this position; second, affirm “yes, Bobby is right”; and third, use his influence to explain it more clearly than Bobby ever could?

Explanations like “Well it’s more complicated than that” will not work with Bobby. Because Bobby understands that genius is not taking the simple and making it complex. Such lunacy may work in Ivory towers, but it’s not how the real world functions and further, true genius is taking the complex and making it simple.

Finally, Bobby, a member of a Georgia Baptist church, is really confounded on how the president of the ERLC would use his talents and resources to defend the building of a mosque (which represents a religion that stands against religious freedom) while not using those same talents and resources to actually defend religious freedom by pressuring the GA legislature to pass a religious freedom bill. His silence on the religious freedom bill protecting real religious freedom coupled with his vocal support of a mosque housing a religion which is opposed to religious freedom is almost irreconcilable in the mind of Bobby, especially since Dr. Moore is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Perhaps this hypothetical character who represents real, live Southern Baptists will help Southern Baptist leadership understand the outcry over Dr. Moore. Not in an effort to remove him, but in an effort to ask him to either represent us or remove himself for we do not desire to pay someone who doesn’t represent us. That representation would begin by an admission that abortion, Supreme Court justices, and the judicial system is rightly our main focus.
We don’t look to our government for Biblical solutions, but we also do not shirk our responsibility to vote to protect LIFE because Ethics demands such.

 

The Cooperative Program And Future Baptists

March 23, 2017

By Dr.. Ronnie Floyd, Pastor
Cross Church Springdale, Arkansas

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.

Financing the work of God that we do together as Southern Baptists should never be minimized. The 51,000 plus churches and congregations that comprise the Southern Baptist Convention choose voluntarily to fund the work of Southern Baptists. Amounts and percentages are not mandated or demanded, but determined within each local church, as it should be.

Last week, when I read Dr. Jason K. Allen’s article entitled Celebrating and Strengthening the Cooperative Program, it was a tremendous reminder of many things. I commend Dr. Allen’s honest and transparent approach. As an employee of one of our Southern Baptist seminaries, he did not speak the company line, but promoted the heart of the Cooperative Program by furthering the centrality of the local church and each church’s voluntary support of our work together.

When the Church Loses Centrality

When churches lose their centrality in Baptist life at any level – association, state, or national convention, it is then that the support of the Cooperative Program stands to lose the most. An association, state convention and the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention must operate with the highest integrity and with the deepest of passion to serve the needs of the churches in carrying out their mission to reach their region, state, nation, and world for Christ. When this happens, churches will joyfully give both voluntarily and sacrificially.

I have championed the Cooperative Program for many years, but especially since I chaired the Great Commission Resurgence task force in 2009-2010, and during my recent service as President of the Southern Baptist Convention. For those who were engaged with us over those two years, you know I believe in the Cooperative Program and spent much of my time and effort toward this grand effort.

Yet, it is never something I have supported blindly, and never will.  When churches are not being heard or being assisted by denominational entities, conventions, or associations, churches will consider other ways to further the gospel. Dr. Allen superbly stated in his article,

“If a church is evaluating or trimming their CP support, let’s not cajole, pressure, or shame them. That is not a winning strategy. My assessment is not a pragmatic or political calculation. It is a biblical and theological one. Christ promised to build his church, not our denomination. Let’s clean up our vocabulary, and use words like “please” and “thank you,” and     shelve words like “should” and “must.” The Southern Baptist Convention agencies, and our state convention partners, serve the churches, not the other way around. As we serve them, they will support us.”

These words represent my heart and what I have both believed and trumpeted for years. Giving the resources God has entrusted to each church is a privilege and a responsibility. Receiving and expending these resources entrusted to denominational entities, conventions, and associations is equally a privilege and responsibility. This is not our money, our church’s money, or our convention’s money; it is all God’s money.

The Past, the Present, and the Future

The conservative resurgence began when I was in seminary. During the early years as a local church pastor, only a few of the conservative resurgence leaders were champions of the Cooperative Program. Therefore, many of us grew up with a limited to non-existent mentorship in the Cooperative Program. This was unfortunate and not to the benefit of our work together. Yet, in everything there is a season.

Over the last two to three years, we have seen the Cooperative Program turn toward growth and a future when most said it was impossible.

But also in this present reality, we are reminded of the central place of our churches in denominational life and the services extended to the churches from our denomination. It is the church that is anointed to take the gospel to the world, not a denomination. Therefore, as churches, whenever it is possible, we must cooperate with one another. To our denominational bodies of service, listen to the churches, help the churches, and represent the churches.

Relating to the future, I cannot determine what other churches do. Whatever a church’s decision, I will pray for and encourage them. I also cannot determine what a denominational entity does or does not do.

What I can do is work with my church to determine what we will do in the future. Prayerfully, we will always be given more reasons to give, rather than reasons to make us question why we should continue to give. Additionally, I am deeply committed as long it is possible for us, to mentor other churches and pastors in a growing commitment to take the gospel to the world through our financial support through the Cooperative Program.

 Future Baptists will determine the future of the Cooperative Program. Pastors in their twenties, thirties, and forties will determine what the next generation will do in funding the work of God as Southern Baptists. Pastors, what are you doing now? My only charge to you is this: Your influence will never be greater than the life you and your church live together in modeling a strong commitment through the Cooperative Program. Not only in Cooperative Program giving, but also in modeling to others evangelizing the lost, reaching your community for Christ, planting gospel churches in North America, and mobilizing people to reach the nations for Jesus Christ.
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