For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Where is the MBC Going?

Next week, messengers from Southern Baptist churches all over Missouri will gather at Tan-Tar-A for the Missouri Baptist Convention's annual meeting. What in recent years has been a pleasant experience to look forward to has me a bit apprehensive this year.

The primary reason is the appearance of the so-called "Save Our Convention" folks (read here for my previous comments on that whole thing). One of their agenda items is to propose an opposition slate of candidates to serve as our convention leadership. As my earlier comments made clear, this is not only unnecessary, but plainly points out the fact that this group of "concerned" individuals is merely interested in power and politics.

David Krueger has recently posted a series of "interviews" with the slate of candidates offered by current leadership and I think these are well worth your time to read. (Click here to go to David's site and erad those interviews). Of special interest is the interview with Roger Moran, nominee for 2nd Vice President. Roger is the much-maligned research director of the Missouri Baptist Laymen's Association, a group responsible in large part for the conservative swing in our state's leadership; reaffirming our stand on the inerrant Word of God. While we should be patting him on the back (along with Kerry Messer and others), the SOC folks have set out to villify him.

The reason I point out his interview in particular though centers on this. Roger points out clearly that the decision before Missouri Baptists is one of cultural conservatism to go along with our theological conservatism vs. cultural liberalism. The SOC folks and many others would have us believe that the Emergent Church movement is harmless when it is clearly not (cf. my comments on lack of discernment). No matter what anyone says, using worldly means to "draw crowds" is never right, never biblical, regardless of how orthodox the theology might be once folks "come in."

Missouri Baptists have some decisions to make. Where are we going? Where do we want to be in ten years? Do we want to maintain the course of theological and cultural distinctiveness, or do we want to head down the road of trying to become so "culturally relevant" that we cease to be biblically reliant? I for one pray that saner and more spiritually minded heads prevail, that we see this move by the SOC for the politically motivated thing it is, and that we stay the course, confirming that we not only believe the Bible to be true, but that we intend to live by it.


Anonymous said...

Hey! I'm living next to one of those "nar-do-good" evil cultural liberal churches. (The Journey). I like it and they are OK and they are OK with God too! I believe wholly in the Bible. I know that I'm OK with Jesus. And I'm very happy to see a move way from the power of the MBLA.

Southern Baptist are already "irrelevant" and dieing on the vine because....well I'll save that for another time. But Moran disturbs me because he and his posse can't see the harm they do. What good is all your Bible truth if it is just to beat me down because my OPINION doesn't agree with your OPINION?

Scott said...

Dear Courageous-enough-to-leave-your-name (tongue firmly in cheek):

I'm glad you "like it." After all, that's what the Gospel is all about, making sure people "like it."

You are certainly entitled to your opinion on things. But holiness is not a matter of opinion. Scripture is clear on the demand for it and the meaning of it.

I'm not concerned about the SBC being "revelvant." I'm concerned about us being biblically faithful. The church through history has never stood for revelvance to the culture, but faithfulness to the Savior.

The desire is not to "beat you down," (I don't even know you!). The concern is to see that God's people stay faithful to God's Word, not giving in to cultural pressures to "fit in" and be "relevant." And as brothers, we are to work to keep one another from straying.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I appreciate it, and you are entitled to it. My prayer is simply that we would ditch this "post-modern" idea that truth is relative (you've got yours, I've got mine) and return to the solid ground of God's Word as the Truth.

Bill Camption said...

Truth is truth and lies are lies and never the twain shall meet.

Scott said...

Amen and Amen!

Anonymous said...

"... we would ditch this "post-modern" idea that truth is relative (you've got yours, I've got mine) and return to the solid ground of God's Word as the Truth."

I didn't say anything about truth. I didn't say anything about fitting in. I did screw up and use a word that is bad in your vocabulary --relevant--which is a good word for me.

I've seen head deacons humiliate church staff and committee members in business meetings over change. I've seen a church split and decline along generational lines over change. I've seen churches in-effective in talking to the community around them because they don't understand how the people they are talking to have changed. None of this had anything to do with Truth. It did have to do with opinion. And different opinions have shredded a lot of love and broken a lot of unity. Relevance is understanding how things around you have changed and working with those changes to be effective. Truth tells you what you can and can't change. Truth is something God has clearly said. Opinion is something you or I have said about God.

I'm growing more cautious to limit my items of Truth because I know I am not all knowing and I make mistakes. But some seem to think they know everything and everything they know is right. They don't leave much room for themselves to be wrong. But they leave plenty of room for others to be wrong. That is my discouragement in the whole of SBC life; No Grace. No Love. All in the name of someones very strict opinion of truth. And no real gains in SBC holiness after all the fighting is done.


Scott said...

Dear Courageous:

I couldn't agree more with your sentiments regarding change. When we're talking about the color of the carpet, the order of the service, the style of the songs, the way we "do church", etc. I'm all for change; and in that sense I'm all for "revelvance."

My problem is with so many (not all) in the Emergent church who have thrown discernment to the wind and will do whatever it takes to "reach" people. Around here we have a gathering that allows Hindu teachers to come in, just so we can say we're "tolerant," etc. Then there the well documented cases of rated R movie discussions, poker nights, and so on. This is not holiness.

I would even argue that the Journey's use of alcohol is a serious lack of discernment. Talk about being unaware of culture. Do we not realize that we live in a culture that sees/associates/uses alcolol as part of a definitely un-Christian lifestyle. Do we have no compassion for the hundreds who will be destroyed by a lax attitude (check my archives for the post on Argument Against Alcohol).

It seems you've had a negative experience with some bitter folks. That's not the SBC I know and I don't want it to become that. However, I also don't want us to be so focused on trying to be "accepted" and "relevant" that we lose sight of the true goal: the glory of God. God is not glorified by our compromise with culture. We are Kingdom citizens, called to be a holy people. That means different from the world, not fitting in with them.

I pray you find forgiveness for those who have given you such a hurtful experience. But know that the response to the overly bitter and stuck-in-their-way types is not to go the other extreme: liberality. The answer is to find the biblical norm for holiness and live it out before them.

The SBC is by history all about grace. Don't let a few bad apples ruin that for you. And I'm sorry if my overly sarcastic attitude gave you any other impression.

Thanks again for your opinion. I enjoy the discussion.

Anonymous said...

I think that Roger Moran started off right. He and the Project 1000 group did a great thing in saving the Convention from Liberalism and returning it to belief in Biblical inerrancy/fundamentalism. I am as conservative as they come. But I don't believe that what Roger Moran or his group is doing now is right. It is like the Pharasees. The Pharasees started off right. In the beginning they were for reforming the Jewish faith back to the fundamentals. Great! But by the time Jesus was around they were eaten up with pride and SELF righteousness. They were a brood of vipers drunk with their own power.

I don't disagree with all that Roger Moran touts. (I have my own issues with the Emergent Church movement.)

It's a shame, but I DO believe the Convention needs to be saved...not from liberalism or moderate thinking, but from self righteousness and empty symbols of godliness signifying nothing.

Anonymous said...

Please note the last comment was not left by "Courageous-enough-to-leave-your-name".


Scott said...

To all:
Having just returned from the MBC meeting, this is all mute now. However, it is a very sad day when Missouri Baptists had to resort to a ballot vote to pass a resolution opposing alcohol. I know there are "fine line" issues in all this, but I will have to disagree. I don't think it's about self-righteousness or Pharisaism. It's about holiness and maintaining a holy and distinct witness to the world. I don't think seeking holiness is an empty symbol. It's a profound desire of the Christian heart. I commend my brother Rodney for addressing this issuse so profoundly and prophetically during the annual sermon (if you weren't there, you really missed it).

Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts here. I'm delighted that someone reads this besides my kids!

Anonymous said...

moot, not mute.

Scott said...

I'm a bit tired and shouldn't be let near a keyboard when I'm like that. You are of course very correct, although I could certainly benefit from a mute button now and then as well when in these discussions (that's a joke now, people)