The SBC is a wonderful convention where independent, autonomous churches cooperate with each other for the purpose of world missions and evangelism.
The ability to cooperate with each other is dependent upon our willingness to accept each other in spite of our differences.
I personally affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 --- every jot and tittle. I have signed the BFM 2000 for my service on the IMB.
My concern for the Southern Baptist Convention has been twofold:
(1). Though the BFM 2000 states "the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments" (and the BFM) "has no authority over the conscience," any one who expresses disagreement with the interpretation of any of the handful of seond or third tier doctrines placed in the BFM are excluded from SBC service. Southern Baptist confessions should contain only first tier doctrines, and just a few, important second tier doctrines that make us distintively Baptist, but avoid third tier doctrines in order that we might rally around the good news as Baptists and put our differences in individual churches aside.
The greater concern however, is,
(2). There is a movement by some within the SBC to narrow the parameters of cooperation within the SBC by demanding agency employees conform to a particular interpretation of third tier doctrines that are not addressed by the BFM. As a result, some conservative Southern Baptists, who affirm the BFM 2000, are now being shut out from service.
The question then must be raised --- "Who is establishing the doctrinal requisites for the agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention?"
Obviously, the answer should be -- "The Convention by the adoption of the BFM 2000."
But if there are doctrinal requisites for employment at a particular agency that move beyond the BFM, where did they originate, for what purpose were they implemented, and who is responsible?
That's the issue.
The Attempts to Distract
There are some who are now attempting to distract from the issue at hand. They are attempting to make this very personal.
The Scripture says that a soft answer turns away wrath. I desire to be soft with my fellow Southern Baptists, and with the Lord's help, I will be. I would ask that you pray for me. The following are just a handful of comments left in the last three days on various blogs that seem to have the purpose of distraction.
(Comments from Terrence on Brad Reynold's Blog)
What brand of wine do you prefer for visitation? I understand that your companion Ben prefers mixed drinks. I simply wanted to know if you preferred MD 20/20 or Boones Farm?
(Comment from Jim Henry to Wayne on Reynold's Blog)
Are you serious? If you are then you are a bigger kook than Wade. May God have mercy on you
(Comment to Jeremy Green from Anonymous in Oakdale on Reynold's blog)
You asked several questions concerning the signers of the Memphis Declaration and their beliefs. From reading the thousands of words spilled on these blogs, it is evident that they are only interested in defending the use of alcohol. I wonder if homosexuality is next on thier agenda?
What say ye Wade? If homosexual activity permissible as long as it is done in moderation?
(Comment from Volfan007 to Brad Reynolds)
It's hard for me to understand a certain bloggers whining and crying and calling for unity...and he joins with these same type people, and then he calls himself a conservative. i am sorry, but the tent can only be so broad before it breaks.
(Comment from HarveytheRabbit to Brad Reynolds)
It appears to me that the alcohol issue and trustee issue may just be the tip of the iceberg. It seems that these alcohol bibbing, women pastor promoting, charismatic liberals are now upset with Dr. Frank Page .
What if Wade and his cohorts intend to overthrow Dr. Page and run McKissic for SBC President? Dear Lord deliver us from the "Burleson Method."
Awwwwwe help us Lord
(Comment from an Australian named Grosey to Brad Reynolds)
In My Honest opinion, if you guys could help him get his MDiv, he may be a little more hospitable to the conservative position"
(Post from Jeremy Green who will not allow comments on his blog)
I have received numerous emails and phone calls from other conservative Southern Baptists stating that they are also very concerned and several have even stated that he should either resign or the convention should remove him from his position at next year’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
(Comment from Les Puryear on his blog)
I'm just telling you how you come across to a lot of us. Disingenuous. Self-righteous. Martyr-complex. Thin-skinned. I am not trying to call you names. I am just describing how you sound to a lot of us conservative baptists.
These are just a handful of examples of what is being said to me and about me.
It is an axiom that when one's argumentation is weak, attack the opponent. There is no need for any of us who see what is needed in the SBC to attack anyone.
I'll do my part, and encourage you as well, to insure we stay above the fray, refrain from personal attacks, and focus simply on the issues before us.
Have a great Lord's Day,
In His Grace,