After reading several of the comments on the previous post, I felt it best to clarify a few of things associated with our efforts to turn the SBC toward more of a cooperative spirit.
First, any talk of leaving the SBC is not in the best interests of the kingdom of Christ. Why? The SBC already has a mechanism in place for reaching a world in need of a Savior --- the International Mission Board --- and it would take at least a century for another evangelical missions sending organization to duplicate what the SBC is already doing. There are some who seem to be saying, "If I don't like what the SBC is doing, I'll just leave." I would propose that the SBC is in need of people who will tough out the bad times, be faithful in the rough times, and in general, give their finest efforts to better the SBC.
In marriage counseling I tell couples that once the word divorce enters the vocabulary, it is just a matter of time before it happens. Those who are advocating leaving the SBC lose their effectiveness in being an agent of change for the SBC. Of course, blind loyalty to a denomination is never appropriate, but I am of the opinion that with all our warts and faults, the SBC still has in place one of the greatest organizations to build the Kingdom of Christ in the history of man. Stay in the game, my friends. Threatening to leave the stadium only minimizes your influence.
Second, there is no need to be angry or bitter. Twenty years ago if some conservatives who were the victims of hard ball politics would have just smiled and laughed their way through the tough times, much of what we are seeing happening today in the narrowing of the parameters of cooperation might not have even begun. Instead, many conservatives became angry and bitter at the intimidation and control techniques used by some, and as a result, they are no longer part of the process of change. The Bible is replete with verses that tell us to rejoice in all things. The best antidote to anger and bitterness is a comprehension and acceptance of the providence, sovereignty and goodness of God.
My wife, staff, church and I will tell you that this past winter and spring have been wonderful. I have no offense toward those few who attacked me. In fact, I really like those who dislike me. Further, the more I am around people who did not previously know me, and the more I visit with them, the more I am seeing them grasp the issues that face us. This is NOT about people or personalities. It is about the philosphy of broad involvement, creative missiology, and mutual cooperation. I have faith that when the people of the SBC, including the trustees of our agencies, have full information, the right thing will always be done.
Finally, I have been invited to participate with a group of Southern Baptist men and women from around the nation that will be meeting in Memphis next week to dialogue about what can be done to change the direction of our convention. All these men and women are grateful for our conservative heritage, possess an evangelical and missional zeal, but are concerned that we may be becoming too narrow as a convention by exceeding the BF&M 2000 and excluding wonderful, conservative Southern Baptists from participating and cooperating in our convention efforts to reach the world for Christ.
I laughed when I read someone who wrote this meeting was "secret." I can assure you that I will not be a part of anything "secret." I will blog about the meeting, I will tell you exactly what takes place, and when it is over I have been told we can anticipate a handful of resolutions and recommendations that will be presented to the Convention in Greensboro. Since I have been assured the meeting is to discuss the issues and not personalities or people, I have agreed to participate.
All of us have learned a great deal ove the last twenty-five years. I really believe Greensboro can be a beautiful demonstration of how conservative Christians, who may not cross every "t" the same or dot every "i" the same, can work together for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom. Again, it will require our finest efforts of speaking the truth in a spirit of grace.
I will post again on Monday and then will be traveling to Memphis with my youth pastor Ben Carr.
Have a great weekend and may this Lord's Day be a wonderful day of worship and refreshment!
In His Grace,