Saving(?) the SBC

First Baptist ChurchThe Internet Monk is at times the most critical voice of the SBC, even while on the inside.  At the close of Advance 09, he aknowledges there are problems that the SBC needs to work through in order to remain effective, and wonders how we will do it. 

Which forces me to ask the question: why save something that is so bad off?  I’m not saying the SBC is doomed, just like iMonk didn’t suggest we kill Evangelicalism.  When he wrote The Coming Evangelical Collapse, he was suggesting how it would change and what would come from those changes.  I’m just wondering outloud, based on some of his criticisms: if Sunday School is in the way of being effective, if Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings are not the way to fund missions, if the VBS themes are offensive, if congregations are divided by Calvinism, if the number of baptisms grow while the number of active members fall, if youth programs are no more than social alternatives, and on and on, why keep bailing water out of a ship that continues to sink? 

Let’s be clear: I am an ordained minister in the SBC.  Before Tony Kummer excommunicates me from SBC Voices, let me clarify the purpose of this post.  I’m presenting a hypotheticl scenario, and wish to engage a critical discussion.  Hypothetical questions are designed to force us to think about the answers.  IF the SBC had more problems than could be fixed, what would be wrong with letting it go and moving on to the next thing?  The goal of every Christian is to share the gospel, to become more Christ-like, and to exhort fellow believers to do those same things.  If we spend all of our energy fixing an organization (any organization for that matter) instead of doing these things, we are preventing ourselves from fulfilling the Great Commission.  If the cost of repairing my car were to exceed the value of the car, then going ahead with repairs is a waste of the money I should be investing in my next car. 

I’m not saying the SBC is doomed; but if it was, would that be so bad?  Many churches are giving up their buildings and moving into homes and small groups, and doing so with great success.  Instead of meeting in a Sunday School classroom, Bible studies are meeting in coffee and donut shops.  If keeping the organization alive will interfer in the longrun with building the Kingdom of God, then it would in fact be best to pull the life support plug and let it pass. 

I hope iMonk will consider thoughtfully responding, and not feel this is some sort of personal attack.  I invite your thoughts and comments as well.

One thought on “Saving(?) the SBC

  1. The SBC isn’t going to die. It’s going to decline. Sine it has no real idea how many members many of its churches have, we’ll never really know what the condition of the denomination is. We’ve been lied to so long in the SBC regarding membership that I wouldn’t be surprised at all to discover that we are actually a denom of about 5 million.

    The Cooperative program is a sound and Biblical method of funding missions. The problem is that too much money stays in the states for reasons that Baptists really don’t care about. We need a major revolution in the funding formulas for the state conventions. It’s time for the state and national conventions to get a lot smaller and get the money to the places in the SBC that are doing direct missions, evangelism, church planting and missionary support.

    The SBC desperately needs critical voices. I’m hardly much of a critic of the SBC. I support the SBC and its mission. If it died, it would be a tragedy. The people thinking of defunding the CP are idiots. The fascination with churches doing everything is a pipe dream. We need a cooperative SBC united around a lean and minimal doctrinal statement and without the cultural baggage we’ve carried for years. We need to have a Kingdom vision, not a denominational one.

    It can happen, but it will take leaders with a lot more spine than we’ve seen.

    Support the GCR. Insist on honesty in reporting. Tell the state conventions its time to do something sacrificial and bold. There is a way forward, but it’s not the way backward.

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