First, Roger says Journey Church, which is a Southern Baptist church in Missouri, is part of the emerging church movement which Moran calls . . .
"one of the most dangerous and deceptive movements to infiltrate the ranks of Southern Baptist life."
I find it reprehensible and unconscionable that someone would call a Southern Baptist Church in Missouri, one that is reaching people for Christ and now running over 1200 in worship, 'deceptive' and 'dangerous.'
I am reminded of a comment I heard recently during a news report of the peace agreement signed by long term foes Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness of Northern Ireland. The agreement states that the two will share power in the government of Northern Ireland beginning next month. A native of the country was asked by the reporter why he felt peace had finally come to the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland. He said, "We finally figured out that who the real enemy is, and it's not us." This may have been an oblique attempt to warn of the growing Islamic influence in the British Isles, but his point has validity - ultimately both political parties in Northern Ireland have too much in common to consider one another the enemy.
So it is with Southern Baptists. Why in the world do we waste our time trying to identify the 'deceptive' and 'dangerous' within our convention? Could it be that the real enemy is being ignored and those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ and part of the Southern Baptist Convention are being unnecessarily attacked?
Second, the the St. Louis Dispatch article states,
In December (2006), Moran began publicly questioning The Journey's loyalty to Baptist doctrine.
Most Southern Baptists oppose the consumption of alcohol, and Moran has seized on the issue of beer in the emerging church as proof that a younger generation will compromise established doctrine to attract souls."
It is unbelievable to me that a man who is a two or three time divorcee is associating 'poor doctrine' with holding evangelistic events in a local brewery. Maybe I could understand Roger if he were questioning the 'morality' of Journey Church holding evangelistic Bible studies in such a location, but to associate 'poor doctrine' with reaching the lost in a brewery is as silly as associating 'poor doctrine' with a man who has been divorced and remarried. It just doesn't make sense.
Finally, the article states
During his revolution, Moran ensured his allies were strategically positioned to appoint other, like-minded Baptists to positions of influence within the convention.
For those who have a hard time understanding how certain decisions or actions can be taken by trustees, which seem detrimental to the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, one only has to remember that if those orchestrating the takeover or appointments wish to do something, regardless of the majority feelings of the people of the SBC - or more importantly what Scripture states - then they can do it by using those they have placed in leadership.
Bill Leonard, Dean of Wake Forest Divinity School, makes an interesting statement when asked by the reporter regarding his obversations.
"The Southern Baptist Convention is growing increasingly terrified that they've spent all this time recreating the denomination in this (conservative) image, and now nobody cares," he said. "Young seminarians are challenging them on issues and saying, 'Your vision of reality is not ours.'"
Dr. Leonard may, or may not, be correct. One thing I do know to be true is this:
We must get to the place where we no longer see fellow Southern Baptists as the enemy. There is room in my convention for everyone who holds to the fundamentals of the faith and seeks to cooperate for the purpose of missions and evangelism. I can't figure out why some wish to continue to narrow the parameters of cooperation and exclude fellow, Bible believing Southern Baptists from missions participation and convention leadership.
Maybe it's just that they have not yet learned that our fellow Southern Baptists are not the enemy.
In His Grace,