Baptist Methods and Money

A man walks up to a bank teller and asks, “Can you give me change for this one hundred dollar bill?” The teller says, “Sure. What denomination?” And the man replies, “Baptist—Southern Baptist if you’ve got it.”

No, there is not really such a thing as Southern Baptist money—except for the fact that there is. Southern Baptist money is the money given by Southern Baptists to promote Southern Baptist causes and build up the Kingdom of God in and through the ministry channels of the Southern Baptist Convention.

And herein lies a major problem. The walls clearly delineating our religious denomination from that of others are rapidly deteriorating. In fact, some Southern Baptists even celebrate this deterioration as a kind of ecumenical victory. “Let us tear down the walls that divide us from other Christians,” they say. “It is not about Southern Baptists. It is about the Kingdom of God.”

To which I must reply with a hearty, “Yes…but!”

Yes, I’m all about the Kingdom. But why in the world would I ever set the Kingdom, on the one hand, over against the Southern Baptist Convention, on the other, as if these were two competing concepts rather than concentric circles, with our denomination happily existing within the larger boundary of the Kingdom of God? It is precisely as I grow and give and serve and witness through the ministries and channels of Southern Baptist life that I build up the Kingdom.

To be a Kingdom Christian, I do not have to go outside Southern Baptist life with my money, my time or my partnerships, for Southern Baptists are indeed a subset of the Kingdom of God. Of course, we are certainly not the totality of the Kingdom. Methodists, Presbyterians and others are part of the Kingdom of God as well—which we gladly celebrate, even though (for obvious reasons) we do not partner with them on matters of publishing, church planting or ministry training. It is neither necessary nor helpful nor wise for us to commingle with outsiders either our religious or our financial denominations—our methods or our money.

Commingling Baptist Methods

  • Some Southern Baptist churches today practice a form of polity distinctly apart from any form of congregationalism. They commingle an episcopal form of decision making in which a hierarchical leadership structure exists outside the local church. Such is the case, for example, at Fellowship Church in Irving, Texas, where outside leaders who are not members of the church make decisions about matters such as setting the pastor’s salary.
  • Some Southern Baptist churches today have dropped immersion baptism as a requirement for church membership. While still baptizing converts by immersion themselves, they are willing to admit by statement new members whose believer’s baptism in another denomination was by affusion or aspersion. One example would be The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas.
  • Some Southern Baptist churches today refuse to file their annual ministry report, fail to give any significant amount through our Cooperative Program, and essentially hide from the watching world any possible clue that they are even a Southern Baptist church at all. Examples are sadly too numerous to cite.

The price we pay in flirting with the methods used by other denominations is greater than most Southern Baptists realize. Like the insecure middle schooler with an identity crisis, we are so busy trying to be everybody else that we have forgotten the value of simply being ourselves.

Commingling Baptist Money

  • Some Southern Baptist churches today are donating their Baptist money in building up churches that not only identify themselves as Southern Baptists, but also identify themselves as part of another group. One example might be Acts 29. Because of the joint affiliation with this non-Southern Baptist network, financial resources are commingled in such a manner that they could not be easily separated should the merger ever split. In other words, if ten years down the road a church decides, “You know what, we don’t want to have anything to do with Southern Baptists anymore—instead, we just want to be a non-denominational church that affiliates with the Acts 29 church planting network,” then there is no recourse for the sponsoring Baptist church, association or mission board. Not only have they *lost* the church in Southern Baptist life, but they have actually *subsidized* the church’s participation in the Acts 29 Network—a network doctrinally discriminating against Southern Baptist church planters whose theology, like my own, fits within the parameters of the BFM but not within the parameters of the Acts 29 Network’s more rigid doctrinal stance.
  • Some Southern Baptist churches today are donating their Baptist money to the promotion of non-Southern Baptist youth conference ministries. One example might be the registration dues at a Southern Baptist Fuge in California. Numerous reports indicate that several camps were not led by Southern Baptists at all. One conference featured a camp pastor affiliated with American Baptists who attended an Evangelical Free Church, and a musician and band affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries. Our Southern Baptist money is being used to provide honoraria and salaries for non-Southern Baptist preachers and conference leaders. Are we making the assumption that non-Southern Baptist youth speakers and musicians do a better job of reaching our youth?
  • Some Southern Baptist churches today are donating their Baptist money in support of non-Southern Baptist inspired forms of cultural engagement and policy promotion. When Russell Moore took over the ERLC, his first personnel move was to announce the hiring of five people in a single day. On the day of their hiring, three of the five were not even Southern Baptists. Presumably, they have rectified this situation and are presently Southern Baptists, but I have not followed up on the matter by researching their current denominational affiliation. It is possible that one or more are still not Southern Baptists.

Frankly, it pains me to think that Southern Baptists today feel the need to commingle Baptist money by partnering with (a) a non-Southern Baptist church planting organization, (b) a non-Southern Baptist Fuge speaker and musician team, and (c) a non-Southern Baptist slate of new employees at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Although it is not clearly marked, and contains no likeness of W.B. Johnson or Lottie Moon, there is certainly such a thing as Baptist money. In similar fashion, there are Baptist methods as well. As we play fast and loose with these boundaries, justifying them by means of a misguided ecumenism, we not only cross important boundaries, but we obliterate them—in the process destroying the very Southern Baptist distinctives that have served us well in the past, and will continue to serve us well in the future, provided that our deposits and withdrawals are made at an institution whose vault is sufficiently secure.

Comments

  1. says

    I can think of one reason to “dilute” “Southern Baptist funds”—which I believe to be God’s money: missions. And I believe money is only one aspect of this discussion. There are many other resources that may, in the long tun, have more eternal merit than our dollars.

    After being called to the mission field, I discovered that, because I was divorced, I could not become a career missionary with any of the SBC organizations to which I inquired, nor, because of the structure of their mission activities, work in the ministry to which God has called me–serving those with disabilities. This was despite the fact that I had served on the staff of a large SBC church for almost ten years and had the full support and approval of my pastor.

    Should I not have come to the mission field because I could not do it through the convention? Should my home church refuse to support me because I am not serving under the convention?

    A related topic. A friend, a published Lifeway author, could not publish a book through Lifeway because she included us in a profile of missionaries in the book–and I was not an IMB missionary. This, despite the fact that I am still a member of an IMB church in the States and attend a church in my mission country which is a church plant of a SBC church in the US (which, by the way, is also not part of the IMB).

    You have no ideas how this pains me, leaving me feeling like while I remain committed to Christ and his service, I am somehow less than those who serve under the SBC banner.

    The problem I see with this one-sided approach is that, while it looks on the surface as though it is protecting the integrity of he SBC is reflects an “elite-ism” and hampers the prayer of Jesus that we may all be one.

  2. William Thornton says

    Rick always raises some good questions even if all of his points are not quite as good:

    Non-SBC polity: This is a good thing to watch and scrutinize but if Ed the Younger Young’s compensation is set by an outside committee and the congregation approved that system, it is not against SBC polity (although I detest it and would not be a part of any church that practiced it). Elder ruled churches are by my definition not congregational polity. There are some examples of this in the SBC. It bears scrutiny.

    Annual Church Profile: I think about 20% of SBC churches do not file. If you want to bark up this tree then it may rain critters on you. Although the proposed SBC constitutional amendment specifically, though negatively, defines a cooperating church as one that files the ACP.

    Acts29: Would you guys please find a few of these churches? A few of you continually trot out the point but never offer data or examples.

    Fuge: Good point. This ought to be asked of Thom Ranier at the convention. Let him explain it.

    ERLC: Another good point. Russ Moore offers a kinder and gentler ERLC and then hires Joe Carter whose is offered by some as being more brusque than necessary and appropriate. Moore should be queried on his hires. If the ERLC is worth 1.65% of every CP dollar (out of the Executive Committee’s allocations), over $3 million, we better start getting more for our money.

    With the caveats above, I think Rick has drawn attention to a number of things that need to be scrutinized.
    _________

    As an aside, Rick, everyone knows that the coin-of-the-realm in SBC life is numbers – baptisms, budgets, buildings. That is the SBC currency.

    • Jeff says

      Joe Carter recently spent a huge amount of time on Twitter defending C. J. Mahaney and SGM. I don’t think we should have SBC employees defending C. J. Mahaney and SGM, especially those who work for our “ethics” agency.

          • Tarheel says

            Truly it seems there are lots of missing tweets in that exchange.

            Just sayin’

            (did you notice that some of those people were using pseudonyms for twitter handles?)

          • Tarheel says

            Nah, I’m just saying I’m not going to impugn a man based on some obviously selected tweets posted thru an obviously biased source.

            Guess it’d be hoping too much that others wouldn’t either.

          • Tarheel says

            …and I don’t see any “strongly defending of CJM” by joe Carter there anyway.

          • William Thornton says

            These latest aren’t the only ones. There is an issue here. Just wait. You’ll see.

          • William Thornton says

            Any hold on a sec…they are his tweets. Does it matter who provides the screen shots?

          • Tarheel says

            It matters the context of them….

            One could select tweets of just about anynd and with them make out like they’re saying something that may not be 100% accurate.

            Not saying that’s what happened here…just to say, I don’t feel like I have enough evidence from that cearly biased site to indict Mr. Carter. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Tarheel says

            1. That article, despite it’s heading, says nothing about what Carter allegedly said.

            2. The bias of that media org. Is evident

            3. “Two parties using pseudonyms in the lawsuit disputed” (these are not victims but disgruntled church members suing for lots of loot)

            I thought you identified all people who use pseudonyms are “cowardly, gutless, drama queens”? That hold true here as well?

          • Tarheel says

            Still waiting for demonstration of what exactly Mr. Carter has said that is so (in my best Charles Barkley voice) tur-a-bull.

          • says

            I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me why there is so much outrage against SGM and Carter, when in Missouri we had the executive director of the State Convention resign to do “immoral conduct with a woman” and to this very day he still not only pastor, but gets invited to local associational meetings to speak.

            Yes child abuse is not the same as adultery, but if we are talking about problems within our church leadership, and people not taking a stand against the people who commit, or do not do enough to stop these people from committing these actions, why the double standard?

            Frankly I can, at this point, only come to one conclusion. SGM and Carter are reformed. The man in Missouri was a leader in the fight against Acts29 and “reformed” influences in Missouri. I guess that is why one gets a pass and the others don’t.

          • Tarheel says

            Ok…I clicked the links…the conversation shows no defense of CJM only a plea to stop the slander. They also slandered him by implying because he won’t join their cause exactly as they want him to and say what they want him to say…he must endorse child abuse….it’s a ridiculous and sinful game of gotcha they are playing with him.

  3. Greg Harvey says

    Perhaps these are all problems, but they remind me of the federal government using the power of the purse to enforce compliance with things like Medicaid and seat belt laws.

    Each church deserves the freedom to spend money she collects as she sees fit. Admittedly, congregationalism also seems to me a superior model, Rick, but let’s not be confused: large churches require a different level of skill in almost all areas and paying celebrity pastors–who tend to attract fawners–is just one (I wish I were saying that tongue planted firmly in cheek.)

    I’m a bit more sympathetic for the Fuge and ERLC comments especially to the extent they represent the expenditure of shared sacrifice. I get a little confused at times about how LifeWay goes about serving Southern Baptists first, but the old Baptist Book Stores would have either been heavily subsidized or taken down the BSSB (the name need not have changed to only sell to SBs after all) by now without an expanded audience in my opinion.

    I would also add that in the majority of churches where I’ve been involved, some form of body formed a shadow cabinet that effectively pre-designed or at least vetted decisions that were “acceptable” to them before t was “wise” to present it to the church as a whole. That isn’t in the spirit of congregationalism either, yet it is very practical and convenient politically (and yet it saddens me.)

    Finally, the idea that Southern Baptists have all the good ideas is just wrong. We need the interaction with others as part of our shared responsibilities in the universal Bride. Largely your points about distinctives–in my opinion–deserve consideration. But I’m not certain that we can remain effective in the world if we appear to be more about disunity or about a somewhat gnostic reading of the Bible. Having to dig into the etymology of baptizo, for instance, to justify immersion is fine within a specific congregation for new conversions. But given that the doctrine of the Age of Accountability is just as made up as paedo-baptism, it looks like to me sometimes distinctives should be spelled di”stink”tive.

    Plus one of our worst di”stink”tives is our willingness to fight over practically anything. Maybe it’s time to rest the pugilism. Or perhaps we could negotiate with HBO or Showtime for a new fight night…

    • says

      Greg

      while it does seem that we fight a lot I am not sure it is accurate to say that we would “fight over anything”. TheCR was not just anything. Leaving our emphasis on evangelism and getting into politics is to just anything. Even in the context of the day the millennial arguments were not just anything.

      What seems like the “just anything” fights of today are not really that. While many of the issues might in and of themselves seem trivial, taken as a whole the fight is one of maintaining Baptist identity. this is not just anything. The real fight is not the issue itself but baptist identity.

      When one looks back and considers the discussions of the past one will find that most of the time the common denominator was the validity, authority, and teaching of scripture. During the CR we used the word inerrancy. Prior to that the discussions may not have used the word, but that was the issue at the base of the argument. the authority etc. of Scripture is not jus anything.

  4. volfan007 says

    Rick,

    There’s a movement afloat….and has been afloat for years….to morph the SBC into an Ecumenical, Evangelical, fuzzy whatever. I see this happening at all levels of SB life….national, state, etc. And, while I agree that we can gladly join with Christians of other denominations in all kinds of things….to serve God; there’s just some things that we cannot do. And, if we do, then we will be sacrificing doctrines that Baptists have held dear for years…..some of them even died standing on these Biblical doctrines….things that we believe the Bible clearly teaches….which other Church groups do not hold to.

    But Rick, in our day of shallow preaching and weak doctrine, we’ve got a lot of SB’s, who really don’t know what they believe, and they don’t know why our doctrines are so important.

    Thanks for making us think of these matters, today.

    David

    • says

      Volfan
      Very true! I will take it a step farther. It seems to me that the issues that have been and still are important to me are not as important to younger pastors. That is bothersome.

      While the idea of “distinctive” has come into bad repute and the battle cry is to relent and join with others, this strategy will backfire I feel in the long run. Why? People today need something solid to hold on to. This is a problem in all areas of our lives. Things no longer are black and white. Gray is celebrated. This leaves people feeling insecure. Absolutes bring a feeling of security.

      Note the Reformation. Why did it take off? Partly because Luther said “Here I stand”. Again people function better with absolutes and feel confused and lost where everything seems to be a dull gray.

      • says

        D. L.,

        Have no fear, there are a few young pastors still that hold to baptist distinctives. In my undergrad work, I had a professor that would say, “If you are going to be a Baptist, be a good one!” I strive to be a good baptist.

        Thomas A. Magers, II

        • says

          Thomas

          I like you my brother.

          A story is told of R.G. Lee, of which I have no idea if it is true or not, but it does sound like him….It goes….”Dr. Lee, what would you be if you were not a Baptist. His reply, I would be ashamed.”

          Seriously, I am a Southern Baptist by conviction. If Southern Baptist move in a direction I cannot go I would leave in a heartbeat. But I stay because warts and all it is still in my judgement the best deal in town. And as long as I stay I will support SB causes.

  5. David Rogers says

    Rick,

    While the wisdom behind some of the specific examples you give may be debatable, I think the general principle you are trying to defend here is taken more from a J. R. Graves op/ed piece than from the New Testament.

    I notice there is not one biblical reference in your entire post. In fact, I think it would be interesting for someone to try to lay out a biblical rationale for the basic principles you present here. In the NT, the Body of Christ is time and time again the predominant concern and factions or sub-groups based upon some particular interest or pet doctrine are frowned upon.

    I am not saying denominations per se are wrong. See this article, which pretty well sums up my understanding on this: http://matthiasmedia.com/briefing/2002/05/christian-unity-and-denominations/

    What if we were to take your line of thinking here and apply it to a Sunday School class within a local congregation instead of to a denomination of local congregations within the Body of Christ?

    God has so designed the Body so that we all need each other. Jesus said the world would know we are His disciples by our love one for another, not by our exclusive loyalty to our denominational programs.

    There is a time and a place for biblical convictions which by their very nature preclude cooperation with certain groups on this or that. The devil is in the details. But as I understand it, the general idea of denominational exclusivity and isolation is not biblical, and we must be careful to not fall into this trap.

    • Ben Stratton says

      David,

      The problem is in the days of the New Testament, all churches were existentially of the same faith. (Jude 1:3) No one was baptizing by sprinkling or pouring, no one was baptizing babies, no one was teaching baptismal regeneration, no one taught an episcopal form of church government, no one taught apostasy, etc.

      So when you take Bible verses about cooperation and compare them to our mixed up denominations today, you are comparing apples and oranges.

      • volfan007 says

        Ben makes a great point, here, David.

        Now, if we can just get the Methodists, and the Presbyterians, and the Pentecostals, and the Evangelical Whatever’s to see the truth….abide by the truth….and join with us, as we seek to live by the truths of the Bible….well, we could have the kind of unity that you’re talking about, David.

        David

      • David Rogers says

        Ben,

        The “faith once delivered to the saints” is the compendium of the core essential doctrines of the gospel. It is not dotting i’s and crossing t’s on debatable matters (see Romans 14). Yes, the NT churches (and individuals within those churches) did disagree on this or that. Romans 14 makes that clear. And yet, because one church or believer disagreed with another on a debatable matter, they were not consigned to the status of a false church, or false believer.

        As a matter of fact, the clear teaching of Scripture (as opposed to other teachings, which although certain, are not so clear) is that we are to receive one another, including those who differ with us on secondary matters (Romans 14:1-4; 15:7).

    • Rick Patrick says

      David,

      If my remarks came across as derived in any form from Landmarkism, then I apologize for communicating so poorly. I am not advocating any form of head-in-the-sand isolationism, but that does not mean that denominational lines cannot or should not be drawn at all.

      As for the biblical basis undergirding faithful stewardship of resources, trustworthy support of mutual causes, the protection of sound doctrine, and the prevention of the Body being manipulated by outsiders with agendas of their own, were I to devote the time to the task, I could provide you with well over a hundred verses to support my essay’s desire for the preservation of Baptist methods and money.

      I suppose one man’s *denominational exclusivity and isolation* is another man’s *preservation of doctrine and protection of resources from wolves in sheep’s clothing who would use said funds for purposes other than the ones intended.*

      • says

        Rick,

        Fair enough. I do concede there are Scriptures to back up the principles you mention in your comment. As I said above, the devil is in the details. It seems, though, that you and I always come down on opposite sides of these types of things: you pointing out the danger of falling into the ditch on one side of the road, and I pointing out the danger of falling into the ditch on the other side.

  6. John Wylie says

    I started out with an independent Baptist group known as the world Baptist fellowship. That group had a grand total of around 80 missionaries. There was great pressure to not support any non fellowship causes. The problem with that is if you wanted to reach a country or people group that currently had no wbf missionary you either had to break the cardinal rule of no non fellowship causes or you had to forget about. There are all kinds of wonderful kingdom causes out there that are not SBC, why would anyone limit themselves to exclusively support only one group? Also, many of the African American churches in the SBC are dually affiliated with the National Baptist Convention how would they apply the principles espoused I. This article?

    I could from some extreme exclusivity and I personally do not want to go back to it. I must very respectfully disagree.

  7. Adam Blosser says

    “Some Southern Baptist churches today practice a form of polity distinctly apart from any form of congregationalism. They commingle an episcopal form of decision making in which a hierarchical leadership structure exists outside the local church. Such is the case, for example, at Fellowship Church in Irving, Texas, where outside leaders who are not members of the church make decisions about matters such as setting the pastor’s salary.”

    In this paragraph you bemoan a type of top down leadership that undermines congregationalism. I agree in general with your concern here, but also agree with what William Thornton said above about it not necessarily being inconsistent with congregationalism.

    Then you wrote…

    “Because of the joint affiliation with this non-Southern Baptist network, financial resources are commingled in such a manner that they could not be easily separated should the merger ever split. In other words, if ten years down the road a church decides, “You know what, we don’t want to have anything to do with Southern Baptists anymore—instead, we just want to be a non-denominational church that affiliates with the Acts 29 church planting network,” then there is no recourse for the sponsoring Baptist church, association or mission board. Not only have they *lost* the church in Southern Baptist life, but they have actually *subsidized* the church’s participation in the Acts 29 Network—a network doctrinally discriminating against Southern Baptist church planters whose theology, like my own, fits within the parameters of the BFM but not within the parameters of the Acts 29 Network’s more rigid doctrinal stance.”

    Here it seems that you are advocating some kind of heavy handed authority on the part of NAMB over autonomous SB church plants. Surely you recognize that the possibility of a SB church plant leaving the SBC 10 years after the SBC funded the planting of said church is not unique to Acts 29 affiliated church plants. NAMB plants autonomous SBC churches with the funds given by autonomous SBC churches. There is no mechanism in place to keep any autonomous church in the SBC whether 10 years old or 200 years old.

    I know you hate Acts 29 and despise the fact that SBC churches are affiliated with them, but you need a different line of arguing. The one used above is not unique to Acts 29 affiliated plants. And the only way to prevent the situation you described would be the establishment of some sort of legal contract that would be binding on autonomous church plants. Surely a good Southern Baptist like yourself would never advocate such.

  8. Chris Johnson says

    It wasn’t really that long ago that a collection of folks called Southern Baptist felt the need to gather God’s money in a different way, with a few good ideas, for what was believed by that group, for a greater distribution.

    I don’t think that challenging those initial endeavors is all that bad, since man is not sinless in this age. Has the method, manner, and scope of the collection changed? It appears it has. Should every individual giver to the Southern Baptist collection apportionment care? Yes they should. Are there better and more efficient ways to distribute money to evangelical work? Yes there is. The SBC should embrace those and distribute wisely!

    “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

    Blessings,
    Chris

  9. Christiane says

    ” . . . for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also ”

    (from the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew 6:21)

  10. William Thornton says

    What Rick is getting at, and I am always happy to speak for any of my Alabama SBC friends who might need a bit of assistance, is that there are various aspects of our *cooperatively funded* work that many are increasingly reluctant to fund. We all have gripes and preferences about exactly how churches ought to operate.

    It’s one thing for some churches to go awry in regard to polity or practice. It gets serious when our common dollars are being spent on these or when denominational employees, leadership, or trustees are selected from such churches.

    One of my objections to the SBC constitution being linked to the BFM is that a loose cooperative arrangement is best (and part of the reason we have never made that linkage) and were we to adopt the change proposed by the Executive Committee a considerable number of churches would be in jeopardy in regard to being considered “in friendly cooperation.”

    NAMB has long had difficulty with church plants after they achieve autonomy, i.e., after we no longer fund them. I am aware that they have worked hard to address this because they recognize that those who put the funds into Annie and the CP expect to plant SBC churches. There is a tension here.

  11. volfan007 says

    Well, we should never be willing to compromise certain doctrines, in order to just “fit in” with the rest of the Evangelical crowd. Doctrines like Believers Baptism by immersion; congregational govt.; the Lord’s Supper and baptism being the Church’s ordinances; Priesthood of the Believers; autonomy of the local Church; inerrancy of the Scriptures; salvation by grace thru faith; all are doctrines, which Baptists have held dear for years and years and years.

    Why should we compromise these, just to fit in with the evangelical crowd? Why should we?

    David

    • volfan007 says

      The Bible clearly teaches these doctrines…the verses and passages can all be found in the BFM2K.

      David

      • William Thornton says

        But no church must adopt the BFM as their doctrinal statement to be Southern Baptist. We all draw lines in slightly different places.

  12. David Rogers says

    While in a few instances, cooperation with certain fellow evangelicals on this or that might entail compromise (and if so, should be avoided), many, if not most, opportunities for cooperation with fellow evangelicals do not demand compromise. My position is that we must study these opportunities on a case by case basis, not from the perspective of an a priori aversion to interdenominational cooperation.

    • volfan007 says

      David,

      I’m not against cooperating with fellow evangelicals. In fact, I do partner with some of them….thru a local, benevolence ministry in my county; by praying with them for our nation on the National Day of Prayer; by participating in Operation Shoebox; by having Awana at my Church; etc.

      But, whenever we start allowing Churches to be a part of our SBC, who believe in Elder Ruled Churches, and who believe that people don’t have to be immersed based on their salvation experience; or who believe in some sort of heirarchy contolling the other Churches under them….well, that’s where we must depart. Amen?

      We had a Church that tried to join our local Association. They believed in Believers baptism by immersion. But, they allowed people to join their Church, who had been sprinkled. We did not allow them to join for that reason alone. They had a Church full of people, who had been sprinkled on top of the head, at a Presbyterian Church. Would you, David, have been for that Church joining your local Association? I’m just curious at how far you go.

      David

      • Chris Johnson says

        David,
        There are some SBC churches that do agree with the Apostle Paul’s teaching…..

        “17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.”

        I am assuming that Paul is addressing you at that point? Or, are you a different type of Elder?

        Elders ruling well appears to be something good!

        Of course it doesn’t mean that they rule over the congregation. That is dealt with by Paul very effectively as well. Of course you may also be speaking to those Corporate CEO type church organizations with staff, right? They seem to make the right calls for the congregation.

        Blessings,
        Chris

        • volfan007 says

          Chris,

          Elder ruled Churches means more than Pastor led….yes, I’m talking about the CEO types, or some kind of Elder Board, which rules the Church….makes all the decisions. If the Elders want to paint the sanctuary purple, then they vote to do it….the congregation shows up the next Sunday, and finds a purple sanctuary. Or, if the Elders decide to move the Church across town, then the Church is moved across town….without any approval of the congregation. That’s what I mean by Elder Ruled Churches.

          But yes, I do agree that the Pastor/Pastors should be the leaders of a congregation.

          David

          • Chris Johnson says

            yep,…I thought your point was a good one, but wanted to clarify that Elder rule and CEOs with Staff are really mirror images on both ends of the same stick.

            Definitely relevant to the money conversation, where in both instances, money is typically misguided.

            Blessings,
            Chris

          • Tarheel says

            You do understand the difference in elder ruled (which I agree is most likely in a baptist setting going to end up badly) and elder led?

      • David Rogers says

        Different denominations (and associations, networks, etc.) draw the lines at different places with regard to distinctives and qualifications for cooperation. For instance, some denominations include a certain stance on eschatology and the timing of the millennium as part of their statement of beliefs. As Southern Baptists, we have mutually decided we can cooperate in the same denomination with folks (and churches) advocating different views with regard to the millennium. That doesn’t keep some churches within the SBC from convictionally preaching and defending their view, though.

        My point is, it is possible to hold firmly to a conviction in a certain area, and not compromise, and at the same time cooperate with others who do not hold to the same conviction, provided it is not an area of essential doctrine (i.e. a matter of orthodoxy vs. heresy).

        As Southern Baptists, we have mutually agreed that believers baptism by immersion is part of the doctrinal package that joins us together as a denomination. As William Thornton has pointed out, though, we have not defined ourselves as saying that only those churches that agree with every point of the BF&M may contribute to the Cooperative Program, send messengers to the Convention, or identify themselves as Southern Baptists.

        I do see the point about money that is given in good faith, and that it should go to support causes that are in general agreement with our denominational guidelines and principles. If a church wants to send its money on to a network or project with which it does not agree 100% on every issue, that is up to that church to do as they deem best. We must all give account for ourselves to our Master with regard to the stewardship of our resources.

        • Chris Johnson says

          Good point David,

          We have been through the Book of the Revelation for going on three plus years now. What a tremendous blessing!! If Baptist’s were to draw the line on when the “gettin out occurs”,…we would never spend any money together!

          Blessings,
          Chris

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            We’re not talking about Pre Trib. or Post Trib. here….we’re talking about doctrines, which are clearly spelled out in the Bible, which we Baptists hold dear…..the things taught in the BFM2K.

            David

          • says

            David,

            Are you saying there is a direct correspondence between “doctrines, which are clearly spelled out in the Bible” and “the things taught in the BFM2K”?

            If so, I guess the differences between those things taught in the BFM1925, BFM1960, and BFM2K were not so clear to those who passed each of those documents.

        • volfan007 says

          David,

          Soooo, you would’ve been for that Church joining your local Association? The one who allowed sprinkled on top of the head baptism people to join their Church?

          David

          • David Rogers says

            If the founding documents of an association defined believers baptism by immersion as a prerequisite for membership, I would vote according to what the founding documents stipulated.

            If I were involved in founding a new association and drawing up guidelines for membership, I could go either way on this. It is largely a matter of pragmatism, as I see it. Will working together only with other congregations who follow the same practice with regard to baptism be more productive in the long run for furthering the advance of the kingdom, or get in the way and detract from overall productiveness and faithfulness in furthering the advance of the kingdom? I can see good arguments on both sides of this question.

          • volfan007 says

            David,

            I really, really CANNOT agree with you, enough, about this. And, I see your view as part of the problem that we have in the SBC. The fact that you would allow a Church to join your local Association, that would accept sprinkling baptisms….is, well, concerning to me.

            I love you in the Lord, Brother….but, I have MAJOR problems with what you just said….major!

            David

          • Tarheel says

            Associations are not entities of the SBC. They are in no way connected to the SBC – they are fellowships are they not?

            In fact Volfan,

            This us relevant ypto Ricks purist argument regarding CP money to church plants –

            don’t many associations have SBC churches in thier fellowship who deny inerrancy and embrace CBF?

            Aren’t many still “fighting” over homosexuality stances?

            Aren’t many still linked up with 1963 instead of 2000 BFM?

            What if a CP sponsored Chuch plant joined up with such an association?

            Should the plant be cut off?

        • says

          David R.
          In the few months I have been commenting on this sight I have come to respect you and enjoy very much your comments. They have been helpful.
          However I must disagree concerning baptism/sprinkling for two reasons: (1) The scripture is clear on this point (2) This is a primary Baptist distinctive. It is in line with salvation by grace and the second coming of our Lord. To give this doctrine up to fellowship with others is too much to relinquish. People who hold to sprinkling cannot fellowship at the level required to be a part of an association.

          • says

            Let me expand a little on my words “fellowship level required” above.

            There are several levels of fellowship. At the associational level there must be a very close theological and even social agreement. If not there will come a time when these differences will bring confusion and chaos. The more agreement there is to basic and primary theology the deeper the fellowship. The deeper the fellowship the more effectiveness will be experienced.

            If the lines of fellowship are too broad, the entity will eventually come to an impasse.

          • says

            D. L.,

            Thanks for the kind words in prefacing your comment.

            Re, your point #1: Scripture is clear enough on this point to have convinced you and me, but not clear enough to have convinced a number of other bona fide evangelicals that I expect to see in heaven.

            Re, your point #2: It is indeed a primary Baptist distinctive. But I must ask, Is it a primary Evangelical distinctive? Is it a primary distinctive of membership in the Body of Christ?

            Yes, it is in line with salvation by grace and the second coming of our Lord. But is, say, a Presbyterian take on baptism necessarily out of line with salvation by grace and the second coming of our Lord?

            I think you may be using the term “fellowship” differently than I do here. As I see it, fellowship and cooperation are not the same thing. I can have (and indeed must have) fellowship with some true believers with whom, for practical reasons, it is not helpful to cooperate on this or that.

            I also think a big issue at the core of this is defining the purpose of an association. Though I realize some Baptists in history may disagree with me on this, I think they exist primarily for cooperation and not for fellowship.

            There is nothing biblically that I can find that demands that associations necessarily be Baptist associations. There are Evangelical associations as well. There are premillennial associations. There are associations for supporting missions to provide clean drinking water for people in South Sudan. There are associations for all sorts of different causes and joint projects. I am not against associations. But ecclesiologically, an association is not a church, and it is not, strictly speaking, where the dividing lines for fellowship should be drawn.

            If we want to form an association for planting churches which all practice believers baptism by immersion, I don’t have a problem with that. Just as long as we don’t say those who join associations which cooperate for broader purposes are unbiblical. As a matter of fact, we can all be a part of any number of associations simultaneously.

          • says

            David Rogers,

            You said, “There are associations for supporting missions to provide clean drinking water for people in South Sudan.”

            I do indeed see the distinction you are making and I think it’s a good one.

            Question: Would you see it as ok to partner with my organization the Haiti Orphan Project? We are not church affiliated but are faith based, using TGC’s statement of faith as ours. We don’t plant churches but partner with Haitian churches to assist them in caring for orphaned and a banded children in Haiti of course. And, would you be ok if CP monies flowed our way? Remember, I am an elder in a PCA church though our statement of faith is broader than that (TGC).

            BTW we have several SB churches currently partnering with us.

            Thanks brother.

          • David Rogers says

            Les,

            I think it is great that SB churches partner with you in the Haiti Orphan Project and think it would be wrong if they were somehow disparaged or branded as something less than truly Baptist for doing so. There should be liberty with regard to this. However, I think it is probably a good thing that Cooperative Program funds go toward supporting specifically Baptist projects and not interdenominational ones, since that is the stated purpose of our mutual agreement. If, however, a local Baptist association wants to sponsor and take up a voluntary offering for something like the Haiti Orphan Project, I don’t have any problem with that, as long as everyone in the association is on board and thinks it is a good thing. I am generally in favor of solidarity with fellow Evangelicals and their projects as long as it does not involve coercion of any type and does not obligate anyone to compromise on their convictions.

          • says

            Thanks David Rogers. I thought that would be your view and I agree. I agree that CP funds would probably be best left to specific Baptist missions.

            Thanks again.

          • Tarheel says

            Les,

            I agree within David R. here.

            I think SBC churches (even CP assisted plants) and associations can certainly partner with your ministry as they see fit – but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that CP money shoud be drectly given to non SBC ministries like yours.

          • says

            David R
            I agree with much to most of what you have said. You are defining association, fellowship,, etc. in a much broader way than I. Space prohibits me from answering point by point, hence some general observations.
            Much of what you delineated are relationships for the general welfare and good of man. Relating to feeding organizations etc. can cross most theological lines, I agree completely. I was talking about associations with a capital A as we have in the SBC. I believe that any relationship whereupon discipleship or doctrinal teaching (church plants etc.) is the immediate desired outcome theological lines are extremely impotent. Again if thy are not heeded one will come to an impasse very quickly. For example I cannot have an organic relationship with a church planting partner who will tell someone that salvation is not by grace. That is an impasse.

        • dr. james willingham says

          Good point, indeed, David. My ordaining pastor was a pretrib, premil, one who was in agreement with much, if not all, of the views of R.G. Lee. And why not? He had been his associate at one time, and Dr. Lee thought so much of him he put it in his will for my pastor to preach his funeral. Anyway, when I told Dr. Campbell I had become a post-mil, he just shook his head and smiled or laughed (I forget which). And we went on together. I even know of a time, when Hershel H. Hobbs (an amil) preached a revival for Dr. Lee. Now here is something interesting, something a number of you all will enjoy and appreciate. Dr. Lee was a Landmarker. I saw a copy of his reply to a fellow in which he clearly identified himself as being of that ecclesiological view, one that I held for a few years. Interestingly enough, J.R. Graves did make a contribution to ecclesiology in his work on Intercommunion in which he exegetes Acts 19, showing how the ekklesia of Ephesus was not to be equated with the Oklos, the mob or crowd, a telling point. Even so, he went too far, when he insisted that there was no universal church at all, E. C. Dargan’s work on the Church along with John Thornbury’s work on the same (John is the father of Greg) answered the view quite adequately. In any case, Landmarkers and regular Southern Baptists have learned to work together (except for those Landmarkers who pulled out and formed the two Landmark Assns).

          However, we still have to maintain our cohesion as a denomination, if we are to sustain the largest protestant missionary force in the world today (and in history). But the ties are loosening. Money is beginning to be spent or sent through societies and other agencies, and the former was one of the reasons for the formation of the SBC to begin with. Baptists in the North, perhaps due to Congregationalism influence, accepted the idea of societies as a means for missions. In the South Baptists were more church oriented, and, as a result, we have long resisted the temptations of societies. This infatuation with the church approach might be traceable to the history of the idea that the true church continued in the underground and/or groups not affiliated with Rome, some of which, in my opinion, definitely have connections with the Baptists. In this case, I agree with John T. Christian’s arguments and answers to the Jessey Records, etc., and that without buying the Landmark views. I came across information that indicated a connection, but the sources were not there to make it truly objective history. It is sort of like the work on The Lollards of the Chiltern Hills. There I a period involved, about a hundred years, if memory serves correctly, in which there are no records, but, when the Baptists come on the scene, they have the same family names as the Lollards. O Really? And they are not the same? Get a life. There is more, but that is just one little item. It is also like Emil Comba, the Waldensian Historian, arguing that there were no groups like the Waldensians in the Alps prior to the 12-13th century (he wrote around 1900), but my researches on the Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, and Paulicians, to mention a few, made the alps look like the cross roads for every group seeking shelter from Rome.

          It really bothers me that the Acts 29 movement involves and includes charismatics as this group has been a troubler of Baptists for the past century. It also bothers me that the head of a charismatic Calvinist group (SGM) can come into Southern Baptists and become a recognized speaker at, at least, two our main seminaries, perhaps due to his contributing $100,000 plus to the President’s outfit of one of the seminaries. Also the promotion of government by Elders is connected in particular with SGM and some others not associated with that view. The old Calvinism of the Founders was fiercely egalitarian. Even the slave members were called Brothers and Sisters, and, objecting to that treatment of them as equals could get a white member excommunicated as it did in the church from which came our first missionary to China. It actually happened just before the War in 1861. Baptists were congegationalist in church government before there were Congregationalists in my opinion.

          So we also get strong authoritarianism from the SGM along with a conviction now of one of their officials/members regarding the abuse of children. We have to question what our leaders are doing.

          • David Rogers says

            Dr. James,

            Thanks for the interesting info. I will be reading it for myself in due time, since it is on my reading list for my dissertation; but I am curious, in the meantime, in what ways do Christian’s views on ecclesiology differ from Graves and the Landmarkers?

          • Chris johnson says

            Brother William,
            As I was riding down the street with my teenage son, I ask him your same question just now. He said, “well Dad, pretty simple, you bring him before the church”. He seemed to understand the adjudication and the process. The church does have that authority.

            Blessings,
            Chris

          • dr. james willingham says

            To David: Christian is a Landmarker. I don’t realize that I had not made that clear. I sort of assumed it would be known, forgetting that most people have not read and/or taken notes on Christian’s writings. I apologize for that gaffe.

          • dr. james willingham says

            Interestingly enough, Christian as a Landmarker is more in the Traditionalists camp, while Graves is a Calvinist and one of the earliest pre-mil pre-trib advocates – after a fashion.

          • David Rogers says

            Okay, my bad. I had misread the phrase “without buying the Landmark views” to refer to Christian himself rather than to your own take from Christian.

            Thanks for the clarification.

  13. Chris Johnson says

    Since its separation from other Baptists, it did take about 80 years for the Southern Baptists to discover what would work well cooperatively, and by 1925 seemed to have a pretty good package.

    Its been another 80+ years, so the tweaking continues and the volume is enormous. And as I stated above, it demands a careful eye; but even greater, a watchful willing heart! Our congregation cooperates with the SBC and about 95% of revenues flow out to mission organizations, which includes the SBC. I was once a part of another congregation earlier in my ministry where 50% of the revenues were dedicated to Missions, …so I listened, worked, and learned some great lessons from that group.

    Its all about efficiency and targets. Who needs it, when they need it, and why? The willingness to share, staying vigilant and giving is the key!

    Blessings,
    Chris

  14. volfan007 says

    Also, why would we hire people to work as leaders in our state convention entities, and in our SB entities, who aren’t even Baptists? I mean, why would we hire a man, who belonged to some Evangelical whatever Church, who held to beliefs that we don’t, as SB’s, to work at high ranking positions, in leadership capacities….where they’ll be in charge of teaching doctrine in some way? or, in the training of people on how to witness to the lost? etc.?

    DAvid

  15. Tarheel says

    It strikes me as interesting that Rick argues against hierarchy leadership and decsionmaking outside the local church when it suits his arguments….but then turns around and argues FOR it regarding how church plants may affiliate themselves in addition to thier SBC affiliation.

    Like I’ve always said…”some SBCers love church autonomy – until they don’t.”

    • volfan007 says

      Tarheel,

      Churches can be autonomous, while the SBC is autonomous, as well. The SBC also does not start Mormon Churches, for example. Why? Because they’re not SB’s, and NAMB does not have to start every kind of Church, just because that Church plant is autonomous, and wants NAMB to support them.

      David

      David

      • Tarheel says

        VolFan,

        “The SBC also does not start Mormon Churches, for example. Why? Because they’re not SB’s, and NAMB does not have to start every kind of Church, just because that Church plant is autonomous, and wants NAMB to support them.”

        No, but apparently we award them diplomas in Christian divinity at SWBTS. ;)

        Seriously, mormonism is a cult and false religion. Your analogy is not apples to apples …. Not even apples to oranges or rocks…

        It’s apples to rocketships. :-)

        • volfan007 says

          Tarheel,

          Okay, let’s use a Presbyterian Church for the example. Does that make you feel better? lol.

          The point is….we can believe in the autonomy of the local Church, and the autonomy of the SBC…at the same time….in fact, that’s the way it is, and should be. A local Church can do whatever they want to do….but, they shouldn’t expect the SBC to back them…..the SBC is under no obligation to support any ole Church that’s out there…..

          David

          • Tarheel says

            I agree.

            But the SBC is not “supporting” any ok church when an SBC church plants another SBC church who happen to also align with a fellowship (not denomination) like Acts 29.

            CP money, to my knowledge, and it’s never once npbeemn demonstrated otherwise in all Ricks arguments or yours, ONLY SUPPORTS SBC churches.

          • Adam Blosser says

            I am not aware of NAMB planting Presbyterian churches. Are you? The point is that Rick seems to be arguing for some sort of heavy handed leadership on the part of NAMB that would prevent SBC church plants from ever leaving the SBC. See my comment above.

          • Tarheel says

            Sorry for typos above.

            CP monies to my knowledge, and it’s never been demonstrated otherwise, ONLY assists in planting SBC churches.

            Is there any proof otherwise?

  16. Chris Johnson says

    Tarheel,

    Yes, we have three Elders that our congregation have said lead and rule well. All three have remained qualified as of yesterday.

    Blessings,
    Chris

    • Tarheel says

      I agree that elder led and Congregationalism is not in any way mutually exclusive.

          • Chris Johnson says

            Brother William,

            Please accept my apologies on that quick humor.

            Certainly, the SBC churches have a long and deep history of firing Pastors. I’ve been around for a while and could list out a huge laundry list of church families within congregations that get sideways with their Pastor, and then all of a sudden “it is God’s will”, that this man “has been called” to another congregation. We all know that to be hogwash, ….but most go along with the game anyway. Some think that is effective congregationalism,…yet the bible calls it sin, or a diversion from letting the ox work.

            My answer to your question,… is that congregations would do well to understand the scriptures before they get into the business of firing.

            Blessings,
            Chris

          • William Thornton says

            Chris, my question was whether or not your congregation had the power to fire the elders to whom you earlier referred. The wisdom of such action is moot of they lack the power.

            So?

  17. Tarheel says

    What if one is a cessationist objected to CP money going to church plants who are charismatic?

    What if elder LED churches objected to CP money going to churches that are deacon RULED. (many who object to elder rule, seem to have little issue with deacon ruled churches, or at least they’ve never said so with the same veheminance)

    On and on….Point is…it’s not long till we become a quite uncooperative, non church planting people if everyone demands complete uniform beliefs from our church plants to thier own.

    • volfan007 says

      Tarheel,

      I can speak for me….I’m against Deacon ruled Churches, as well.

      And really, I’m always amused at Elder Ruled Churches….it’s like they’ve gone from a board of Deacons ruling the Church, and just changed the name to Elders. lol. But, the end is still the same…you’ve got a small group of men RULING the church. lol

      David

      • Tarheel says

        I’m with ya there my friend. I don’t like the “ruled” model. I’m a Congregationalist.

        But, if a local body is OK with it and embrace it….then my congregational preference is met so to speak.

        • volfan007 says

          Tarheel,

          Not mine. Mine threshold for being a congregational Church would be…..the congregation should at least vote on the budget each year, and they should vote on who the Elders are…..and, of course, a smart Church would let the congregation vote on the big, big things….like building new buildings, buying a church bus, etc. I’m not saying that the Church should vote on everything from what light bulbs to buy, to whether to have the a/c fixed, or not….but, the congregation should at least have a say on who their Elders are….and, where the money should be spent. I could go along with that Church as being congregational enough.

          David

          • David Rogers says

            David,

            Tarheel makes a good point here. You may well prefer strict congregationalism, and not deacon-ruled or elder-ruled or anything of the sort. And your local congregation may well support you in this. But that doesn’t mean you can never cooperate with other congregations who see things differently on this, unless you yourselves decide that is a deal-breaker. Different churches and individuals each have different issues which for them are deal-breakers. And we can each choose whether we should cooperate on a relatively “small tent” basis or a relatively “larger tent” basis. What we are not free to do is to cooperate with those who deny the faith and sell out on essential gospel doctrine.

          • Chris Johnson says

            Brother Vol,

            “but, the congregation should at least have a say on who their Elders are – See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/baptist-methods-and-money/#comment-242361

            The congregation does and should have this say based upon the scriptures…. not opinion.

            If an Elder qualifies, it is through the working of the Holy Spirit. A congregation that is being instructed to follow the doctrines set forth through the Apostles will gladly cooperate with the Holy Spirit and His care and feeding of the local church body by appointing Elders. That is how the church matures and grows.

            Blessings,
            Chris

          • volfan007 says

            Chris,

            The Church should affirm who their Elders are….the normal, every day, Christian people sitting in the pew can pray and hear from God, just like the Pastor can….amen?

            The Church can feel the leadership of the Holy Spirit, just like the Pastors can…..right?

            Otherwise, we’re back to the Catholic idea that only the Priest can really talk to God, and know the will of God.

            David

          • volfan007 says

            David,

            The BFM2K should be the “deal breaker.” Churches which cannot adhere to the BFM2K, should not be a part of the SBC.

            David

          • volfan007 says

            Les,

            It’s not the way of the Presbyterian Churches that I know. Elders hire and fire. Elders choose everything in the Presbyterian Churches that I know.

            David

          • Les Prouty says

            Vol, are you sure about that? I suspect it’s very difficult for you to know from an outsider standpoint exactly how those decisions are made.

            The PCA has a clearly defined document detailing how the election of elders, the removal of elders etc takes place. Is be highly surprised to know that the PCA you speak of are functioning the way you describe. Our BCO is online and one can see it clearly spelled out.

          • says

            Volfan,

            RE: “The BFM2K should be the “deal breaker.” Churches which cannot adhere to the BFM2K, should not be a part of the SBC.”

            I guess, then, you don’t think I should be allowed to be a part of the SBC, and that the SBC should have never supported me as an IMB missionary, because of my view on modified open communion.

            If so, so be it. You are free to believe as you choose to believe.

            And, better yet, we can still love each other and support each other as brothers in Christ.

            But I do think it is good to be clear about the implications of what we are saying.

          • Tarheel says

            But, but, but Les…… “That’s not the stereotype we use to make our case!”

            Lol.

          • William Thornton says

            But David, the SBC has never required that of churches. Not even the constitutional change proposal makes that requirement, although they instead define a church in friendly cooperation as one that doesn’t speak or act against it. This is a silly, backdoor, backhanded way to try and get creedal conformance on the sly.

          • volfan007 says

            Les,

            Well, I’m talking about the Presbyterian Church, in general….not a specific flavor. I do know that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church’s Elders….near where I live….fired the Pastor and the Youth Pastor, one Thursday night. The congregation came to Church, the next Sunday, to find that their Pastor and Youth Pastor had been fired. The Congregation was NOT happy.

            My wife was Presbyterian….Cumberland, as well…..and, her old home church had a board of Elders, who decided everything.

            Also, I know a young man, who was starting a Baptist Church, and the Church’s Elders decided everything….the Church did not vote on the budget….they didn’t vote on new Elders….nothing. We tried to talk to him about this….because, they had expressed interest in joining our Association….but, in the end, I think they decided to not join with us, due to our insistence on them being more congregational.

            But, no, I don’t know about everything that all the Presbyterian Churches do…..but, of course, Les, sprinkling on top of the head, and baptizing babies would be the deal breaker for Presbyterian Churches joining with the SBC.

            David

          • Adam Blosser says

            Vol,

            What if they turn them upside down and sprinkle them on the bottoms of their feet?

          • says

            Vol,

            I can’t speak to Cumberland Presbyterians. But the PCA is not an oligarchy. I know about the PCA since I have been a teaching elder in the past and am not a ruling elder. So I speak from a knowledge of the BCO and from experience.

            The congregation elects by vote elders and can dismiss elders. The session does indeed decide things like contracting for a new roof or new painting etc. But the congregation absolutely is involved in many things.

            Les

          • Dean Stewart says

            I am not interested in helping Vol out because he left me off his list of people he wanted to help him. However, Les in your effort to explain that PCA and SBC practice a similar polity you highlighted how we are not close at all. The PCA has a document that defines how a church may elect and dismiss elders. No document will ever be tolerated in the SBC. We have historically practiced Congregational rule and have rejected rule from denomination leadership.
            On a second matter, I do think it is wise to use polity as a litmus for who we cooperate with or if we will help a certain church plant. However, having a board of outsiders to determine the salary of a pastor and that pastor be on a board to name the salary of those on his board is so abnormal we may want to take a step back and see if we want cp dollars working with such.

          • Tarheel says

            dean,

            “On a second matter, I do think it is wise to use polity as a litmus for who we cooperate with or if we will help a certain church plant. However, having a board of outsiders to determine the salary of a pastor and that pastor be on a board to name the salary of those on his board is so abnormal we may want to take a step back and see if we want cp dollars working with such.”

            Are you aware that state conventions and NAMB (and I presume IMB) sets the salaries of pastors.planters according to thier internal policies for church plants/missionaries without any kind of local church direction?

          • says

            Dean, you said,

            “However, Les in your effort to explain that PCA and SBC practice a similar polity you highlighted how we are not close at all. The PCA has a document that defines how a church may elect and dismiss elders. No document will ever be tolerated in the SBC.”

            I didn’t mean to be trying to make the two similar overall. Our polities are very different. I was just responding to Vol’s comment that Presbytertian elders make ALL decisions.

            Blessings brother.

        • Dean Stewart says

          I have no idea where this will land in the comment string. My last comment should have read it’s not wise to use polity etc… I left out “not.”
          Tar Heel, you are trying to compare apples and oranges. If we in the MS Baptist Convention sponsor a church start we can have a voice the pastor’s salary. However they do not have to accept that salary but in turn we do not have to support the church start. Tarheel, are you arguing we as SBC have a hierarchal system with direction coming from above?

  18. volfan007 says

    Boy, where’s Bart Barber, Robin Foster, Wes Kenney, Malcolm Yarnell, Scott Gordon, Tim Rogers, Tim Guthrie, CB Scott, and the others when you need them!!

    David

    • says

      Bart’s on the way to Missouri with a family medical crisis–I’m looking to see if it’s father-in-law or grandfather-in-law being suddenly hospitalized. I’m certain he and family would appreciate prayers for safety and healing.

      • volfan007 says

        It’s his wife’s Grandfather, who is having serious problems. I know that they would appreciate yall’s prayers.

        David

        • says

          Thanks–I was amalgamating FB status posts from him and another friend–and wasn’t sure exactly who was related, just that they were.

    • Chris Johnson says

      Brother Vol,

      Yikes… Not the Catholics! :)

      I think you have made my point well. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches all His children, even the Elders. So, all those given faith within the congregation will agree with Him (The Holy Spirit) and obey.

      Part of that is giving liberally to those in need!….(back to the topic)

      Blessings,
      Chris

    • Adam Blosser says

      I expect CB will show up soon now. He has some special way of knowing when his name is mentioned here.

  19. Ron West says

    Rick brings up some points worth discussion as noted by the responders on this thread. I understand David’s remarks that all of Rick’s points may not have a Biblical basis for their acceptance. David and I both served on the mission field and had the opportunity to observe, cooperate with and pray for other mission groups who may not have been Southern Baptist and did things different than us but we could find little or no theological differences with. That doesn’t mean they or we were right or wrong but just different. Having been raised in the Bible belt in a traditional Southern Baptist church this a learning experience for me.

    I am 67 years old and as I said was raised in a traditional Southern Baptist Church that supported the Cooperative Program (14%), Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong and our SBC entities. I am a theological conservative and inerrantist. I will mention of a few of the changes I have observed over the last 40 years.

    I have noticed the comingling of funds that Rick mentions and at times have been concerned. I had a missionary friend who was invited to the church of a sitting SBC president for a mission conference with 30 something missionaries and groups represented. He was the only Southern Baptist missionary present. He was allowed to speak to one Sunday school class while others were given time in the main church service. Since then I have been invited to several mission conferences in large Southern Baptist churches where SB missionaries were in the minority. Personally I preferred the old World Mission Conference method of inviting several SB missionaries to an association and letting us spread out to all the churches in the association. Now days the typical method is many missionaries coming to a large church and just staying there. The small churches are being left out unless they take the initiative and invite a missionary to their church.

    It seems like most large churches have moved away from the congregational form of church governance and either have an elder led or staff led decision making process. I am from Arkansas. Back in the 90s the chairman of our deacons called Ronnie Floyd and asked him to come and speak at a deacon’s banquet at our church. Ronnie told him that he was probably not the best person to ask. He said they had a staff run church and he was not even sure who his deacons were. Our church was not a deacon run church, were are congregational. Floyd’s ideas seems to be the trend among SBC leadership. I am in agreement with Volfan on elder ruled churches and baptism by immersion.

    Here are some other differences that old time Baptist might recognize.
    Someone above mentioned lack of doctrinal teaching in our churches. I was raised in Baptist Training Union. I was taught Baptist doctrine. I don’t see that today unless the churches offers optional classes on doctrine. Sunday school is good but we need more. We also need classes on Baptist History.

    When I was young, the only private schools in the south were Catholic. We were strongly opposed to any type of federal aid to private schools based on separation of church and state. In the 60s and 70s as segregation was ending in the South, Baptist Academies starting popping up everywhere. Slowly the opposition to funding private schools changed until today many Southern Baptist support vouchers, direct aid to private schools and many other methods of comingling public and Southern Baptist money.

    Southern Baptists were once strongly opposed to having an ambassador to the Vatican and recognizing the Catholic Church as a nation. In the early 80s Ronald Reagan sent an ambassador to the Vatican and gave the Catholic Church all the rights and privileges of a sovereign nation. The SBC Executive Committee held up taking a position on this until after the next election. When I wrote the Executive Committee member from Arkansas to ask why they waited, he told me they did not want to do anything that might harm Ronald Reagan’s election chances. The person on the Executive selected to make the response on this issue was Alan Sears, a Reagan appointee as a US attorney. When I wrote him saying I didn’t think our response should be determined by who we supported for president and I didn’t think a man whose job depended on pleasing Ronald Reagan should be in charge of making the response, he wrote my pastor and asked if I was a liberal. I thought it strange that supporting a tradition Southern Baptist position made him think I was a liberal.

    Another change has been that few churches have RAs and GAs and but many have AWANAs instead. I was an RA and found this a big part of my call to missions. It seems that we are raising a generation of Southern Baptist with little knowledge of Southern Baptist mission’s methods or history.

    I am not necessarily saying all changes are good or bad. Some things have served us well and were discarded. I do believe in the autonomy of the local church and feel every church can make their own decisions on these issues.
    Ron West

  20. volfan007 says

    Welp, I’ve got to leave this great conversation….it’s getting time for me to get the chicken and burgers and polish sausage on the grill. I wish that yall lived closer….I would invite yall to come and eat some of the delicious delicacies that will be coming off of my grill after while!

    David

  21. Dave Miller says

    There is a balance between Baptist distinctives and Isolationism. Holding on to our distinctives is good. Isolationist tendencies are bad for us and for the Body of Christ. Rick here in my mind us promoting an isolationism which I hope wise Southern Baptists will soundly reject.

    • Rick Patrick says

      “Rick here in my mind…” Can somebody please help me get out of Dave’s mind? These wide open spaces are reminding me of the Texas panhandle! :-)

  22. Tarheel says

    Can anyone demonstrate where CP money is used to plant non SBC churches?

    As for the Lifeway thing…churches/pastors can choose which fuge camps they attend-with which speakers and bands….choices are a good thing. So long as all speakers/music are affirming of BFM2K it’s all good, IMO.

    I’ve known youth pastors who have driven hundreds of miles to a FUGE camps (passing up ones closer) to get the speaker they want.

  23. Jess says

    Rick, I agree with you. I just want to go a little farther here. To me, there is no difference in commingling money and commingling with other denomination’s.

    We are allowing other denomination’s to participate in the Lord’s Supper with us. We are taking in members of other denomination’s who have been baptized in churches other than a Baptist church. We are performing weddings for our youth who are marrying members of other denominations, and not telling them of the potential problems that will probably exist in the near future because they are not members of the same denomination.

    We are becoming much too liberal in today’s Baptist Churches. The Holy Spirit no longer leads the church. The church is led by man’s thinking and rarely the Holy Spirit. I personally have found the small remote Baptist congregation’s are more in line with God’s word than anyone else.

    We are to love one another, respect and care for one another, but that is as far as it should go when it comes to commingling with other denominations. Worshipping with one another certainly will not work.
    I will preach to other denominations that come to my church, but I will not go listen to them. Before anyone says well, how are we going to worship together in heaven if we can’t worship together down here. The answer is we will all be the same in heaven with no doctrine separating us.

    Commingling shouldn’t ever be! I have very precious friends who are Catholic, and by the way they live their life and their testimony they are going to Heaven. I just can’t believe the way they do to get there. We all believe that we should have a President of these United States, but he or she must be of the right political party. Laugh out loud.

  24. Jess says

    I do believe whole heartily in isolationism, what I mean by this is to do what we can to keep Baptist’s pure.

    • Tarheel says

      So then Jess…you must disagree with the “cooperation” wording in the BFM2k?

      • Tarheel says

        BFM 2000 cooperation;

        “Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.”

      • Jess says

        Tarheel, I disagree within the parameters I have mentioned.

        Tarheel, I disagree within the parameters I have mentioned.

          • Tarheel says

            The BFM is very clear that individuals and churches are encouraged tward working interdenominationally with those who are Chrstians to proclaim the gospel.

            Do you or do you not agree with that? With your Stating that you are an isolationist and denounce working across denomial lines to cooperat with the body of Christ…it woud seem that you disagree with the BFM here, no?

          • Rick Patrick says

            There is an important “violation of conscience” clause in that statement. When our widows class takes up a collection to sponsor a youth going to camp, they REALLY expect it to be led by Southern Baptists and promote the doctrines of Southern Baptists. When this does not occur, we have a violation of conscience, and a concern over stewardship.

          • Tarheel says

            Then the youth pastor/leader shoud be more in tune with the membership of the church and know if that’s a problem. Or at least be open to and recieve criticism from that class of ladies should it be a problem he didn’t anticipate.

            I suspect though that so long as the children/teens are not taught heresy and the ladies see benefit in the lives of the teens – that it likely matters little to those litte old ladies.

          • Adam Blosser says

            Rick, your comment about the widows’ class certainly illustrates the great difference that exists in the experiences of various people on this site. I have attended SBC churches my whole life and attended some SBC camps with children and teens and some camps run by other parachurch organizations. As long as the camp was biblically solid, it was never an issue.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Adam,

            Admittedly, churches respond with greater sensitivity to certain issues when there have been situations in the past. Our Minister of Education no longer purchases John Piper books for youth discipleship around here either. The reason? An entire youth group came through in which the majority are now Presbyterians instead of Baptists. We discipled them right out of the SBC.

            Southern Baptist distinctives matter much more in a church that has seen the consequences of ignoring them.

          • Adam Blosser says

            I don’t want to go too far down this road but this is something for you to consider. Might it be that your anti-Calvinist views had more to do with them leaving the SBC than reading John Piper’s books? John Piper, as you know, is a Baptist not a Presbyterian. It sounds like they determined from reading Piper’s books that they agreed with him on soteriology, heard from you inadvertantly that their soteriology is unwelcome in the SBC, and therefore went somewhere that there soteriology would be better received.

            I guess you can take comfort in the fact that they did not leave the faith. Many teens are graduating and never stepping foot in church again. The fact that they care so much about their faith that they would decide to go to another church in another denomination at least demonstrates a level of commitment not present among many graduating teens.

            I hear you on the concern though. I do not want the teenagers in my church becoming paedobaptists either.

  25. says

    The constant attacks on SBC/Acts29 affiliated churches is nauseating to me. And I have a good reason why.

    In Missouri, the former Executive Director of the MBC was removed from office by the convention for “immoral behavior”. This man was one of the key instigators and proponents for the removal of all MBC funding from SBC church plants who also affiliated with Acts 29. To this day, a certain MBC/SBC aligned local association still calls this man to regularly speak at their annual meetings, revivals, ect, and to my knowledge this man is a pastor of a church within that association, which is still in fellowship with the convention. They hypocrisy frankly is revolting.

    If the whole idea behind this thread is removing from fellowship churches that are not in “true” fellowship with “mainstream” Southern Baptists, be they due to polity reasons, split affiliation reasons, theological reasons, ect, then why not come out against other types of churches and pastors of those churches who are guilty of equal, if not far worse infractions? Why not come out and directly remove from fellowship every SBC aligned church that still practices segregation (either directly through their governing documents or subtly through social pressure)? Why rally against SGM affiliated churches, and yet allow men to continue in SBC aligned churches/associations who are are guilty of “immoral behavior”? It’s funny how most of this outrage is and can be directed against those who theologically lean “reformed”, and yet when there are those who lean “traditional” and are guilty of some of the same errors, they are given a pass. And to be fair, on this thread at least one “traditional” person, that I can see, is equally offended by offenders on both sides of the “line”; and for that I am optimistic that eventually we all can reach that point.

    • Tarheel says

      I agree SV,

      I know personally of a local SBC church which has the following in its bylaws. “a quorum will consist of whatever number of white males are in attendance during the business meeting.”

      I also don’t hear/read decrying and calls for ejection of “single pastor rule” in small churches where the pastor reigns supreme and does what he wants.

      • says

        Or what about the “patriarch” styled church where one family “rules” the church, and if you don’t vote their way, you get shunned and pressured out of the church! That model is very common in SBC circles. Yet nothing is done about it.

        • says

          SVM
          You are right. The problem is that no one CAN do anything about it except the local church on question. While you are correct in insinuating that nothing is done, however there are SOME exceptions. In my area we are dealing with that very issue as we speak. It will be messy.

          But again you are right not much is done about it.

      • says

        Tarheel,

        You can’t be serious about a current SBC church who has such a policy? Are you? Are you willing to name that church and her location? I am equally as concerned about what such a policy implies regarding women, as I am the exclusion of anyone having a voice other than “White Males”. Does that mean that non-White races are excluded from membership? How would the proposed EC policy on “churches in good standing” in any way apply to this church, or does this policy not address this issue?

        I sure look forward to meeting you in Baltimore. Has David M. named the time and location of our bloggers fellowship?

        • William Thornton says

          Yeah, that was not uncommon a generation ago. A neighbor SBC church of mine debated at length whether or not women should be allowed to speak in church conferences.

          Would you mind emailing me at sbcplodder@gmail.com? I want to ask you a question or two.,

    • says

      I guess I should clarify. The former Executive Director resigned before he could be removed for “immoral behavior with a woman”. This man is still pastoring a church and having active participation in a MBC affiliated local association. Don’t get me wrong, I do hope and pray this man has repented, will not stumble again, and eventually could be restored to the ministry. But frankly I think just over 3 years is a bit too soon to be allowed back into the ministry (technically he became pastor of his current church only 21 months after “resigning”) for what he was caught doing.

      • Chris Johnson says

        That is such a sad situation; and unfortunately is a product of poor ecclesiastical endeavors.

  26. Chris Johnson says

    Brother William,

    “Chris, my question was whether or not your congregation had the power to fire the elders to whom you earlier referred. The wisdom of such action is moot of they lack the power.
    So?
    – See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/baptist-methods-and-money/#sthash.9vQJD3Iu.dpuf

    I love the question….been down that road 100 times.

    Our congregation had, has and executes the power to affirm all Elders that are functioning within the congregation. So, it also has the “power”, or we like the say “the responsibility” to continue love, support, and judge if these men remain qualified to serve as Pastors/Elders according to the scriptures.

    Although scripture never has given or attributes to the congregation the ability to firing of a qualified Elder,…many churches do engage in that practice.

    Blessings,
    Chris

    • William Thornton says

      Chris, you dance all over this simple question it but have yet to answer.

      Does the congregation have power to remove elders at will, i.e., without that action itself being approved by existing elders? You imply that your church does not but you don’t quite say that. Either they do or they don’t.

      Why is it so hard to answer this? I have no quarrel with you about it but you put your church’s governance into the discussion…so I asked the obvious question.

        • William Thornton says

          The BFM gives no church power to do anything but the article on the church teaches congregational governance. It is general and not specific.

          Would you make a case otherwise? I’d be glad to hear it.

          • says

            William, please forgive my poorly worded, hurried question. I’m pretty sure figuring out what I meant was easy.

            I’ll rephrase my question using some of your phraseology and the implications of your questions to Chris for more clarity. As I understand it, you were challenging how Chris’ church polity operates because it may, in your opinion, operate contrary to the BFM.

            Where specifically does the BFM teach that the congregation may fire their pastors at will?

            Given that the BFM is general and not specific in this area I’m hard pressed to find such a teaching. Therefore, do not quite get your full court press with your polity question to Chris.

      • Chris Johnson says

        Brother William,

        I have answered the questions many times already, but it appears that the answer is not quite what you have in mind.

        Let me try it this way….. Anyone (that means anyone) in our body has the authority to bring a charge against an Elder, and if that somehow reveals a disqualification, then that Elder is, to put it in your vernacular, “fired”. In our vernacular “we have not won our brother”, and the church is very sad, and continues to bring about restitution as possible. Depending upon his disqualifying action, he may not be restored as an Elder, but can serve the church in many other ways in the future.

        Fortunately, our body does have the authority to affirm Elders “at will”, pursuant to qualifications that the Apostle Paul has outlined; and the “vote” or “affirmation” of the congregation must be 100%.

        I would assume that your church operates in the same manner?

        Blessings,
        Chris

        • William Thornton says

          Chris, you have not given an answer and I have no preference on which answer it might be. I admit a bias towards clarity. Non-turnip truck fallees would recognize that you have yet to state clearly whether or not your congregation has authority to remove elders.

          What you wrote involves a process, nothing wrong with that, but it is unclear who in the church evaluates charges and pronounces guilt or innocence. Do elders do this, or non-elders, a mix, or those the elders pick, or…?

          Suppose the elder is found not guilty by whomever does the investigation. Does the congregation then have the option of “affirming” as you put it *or* of removing the elder?

          Thanks.

          • William Thornton says

            Thanks for the reply above. You should delegate to your teen authority to answer tough questions. He knows how to pull the trigger.

          • Tarheel says

            William,

            It’s clear that the invocation of his teenager was to illustrate that, he, th teen, understood that the congregation had the final authority on the issue.

            Therefore demonstrating that the “rank and file” membership understands that congregational concept.

            Chris has more than once “pulled the trigger” in ths discussion.

          • says

            I don’t comment often, but . . .

            Tarheel will be unmasked in a few weeks, I’m looking forward to the SBC at Baltimore. But until then I laugh every time someone brings up the name issue. Let’s keep it up until he is unmasked!

            Thomas Magers, II

          • Rick Patrick says

            Is this true or just a rumor? Has Tarheel really committed himself to revealing his true identity at the SBC? Where? When?

            In the superhero movies, it is always best to reveal your identity at some kind of formal ball or something. Then you have a dramatic private conversation with a beautiful girl, followed by something bad which forces you to turn back into Tarheel.

          • Tarheel says

            Tis true, Rick. Several already know…but you gotta wait. ;-)

            Thanks Thomas….I laugh too.

            Honestly, I don’t know what Thorton is gonna do after I reveal….it seems to be his most favoritest talking point. He’ll ten have to find ‘nother way to disrespectfully dismiss what I say. ;-)

          • Chris Roberts says

            Prediction: prior to Tarheel’s unveiling, there will be a resolution to provide an alternate name for him to use. Thus when he reveals himself, it will be via the alternate moniker rather than his birth name. William will oppose the whole thing since it would take away his typical basis for opposing what Tarheel has to say.

          • William Thornton says

            My anonymous friend, try and have a little sympathy with me here. For all I know you may be a baboon holdover at the Yerxes Primate Center who has been taught to hit the keyboard and occasionally string together a cogent sentence sufficient to appear to be a Baptist pastor, admittedly not a difficult task…which would be making me have limited exchanges with a monkey…but I take your point that since I’ve never met Dave Miller and he occasionally bangs out a decent thought, he may be a baboon also.

            …oh the shame, the shame.

            Wish I could be in Baltimore. I’d buy you a banana, er beignet, er, Baltimore hot dog…

          • Rick Patrick says

            We could always give him the informal descriptor, Great Commission Tarheel. But then we would never hear from him again!

  27. dr. james willingham says

    Rick, we have reason to question the Traditionalists as well as the Calvinists. After all, we have the strong denial of much of place for the Sovereign Grace view among the Traditionalists as Dr. Emir Caner has indicated in his brief writing on Baptist history which depends primarily on secondary sources and tries to build a case for his view on a few statements by John Leland without putting him in context as to his views, etc. Just consider how as late as 1934 Dr. George W. Truett in his Address at the Centennial of C.H. Spurgeon in London stated that “Calvinism presses down on the brow of man the crown of responsibility.” This hardly comports with the fatalism so often ascribed to the view that was the source of the Great Century of Missions as well as the First and Second Great Awakenings down to 1820, not counting C.G. Finney’s labors very much as he himself admits his converts were wanting. Also the area in which he labored really turned indifferent to the Gospel and became known as the burnt over area.

    We also have the problem of the President of SWBTS wife having a private audience with the pope as well as the President’s taking a hard line stance on the issue of faculty members being married to someone who had a previous marriage. This would mean that even the Founder of SWBTS could not teach there, because he was divorced and remarried. Is the President following another denomination’s views on the issue?

    The truth be told, the leaders of both the Calvinists and the Traditionalists stir feelings of anxiety due to their actions and conduct.

  28. Peaches says

    If our congregation were raising “baptist money” to spend on missions there would not be much of it. We raise a lot of “Jesus money” though. Acting like the SBC somehow “owns” the money given autonomously to autonomous churches to be spent by some arcane, byzantine formula is ridiculous. The SBC is not a taxing entity. They have no right to a red cent.

    • says

      Peaches,

      You wrote:

      The SBC is not a taxing entity. They have no right to a red cent.

      This is a true statement. The SBC does not tax and has no right to any money. However, churches may cooperate to fulfill the commands of God. The CP of the SBC is still the easiest way for Ebenezzer #9 Baptist Church that only has 5 members to support missions in North American and the world.

      If you have another plan for small churches to support missions that is not “arcane,” then please tell.

      Thomas A. Magers, II

    • Rick Patrick says

      All Jesus money is not Baptist money. But all Baptist money is Jesus money.

      • John Wylie says

        Thomas,

        A church could just as easily support individual missionaries. I know lots of sbc churches doing this.

        • says

          John,

          I agree. The church I pastor supports individual missionaries but also give to the CP because we can support numerous missionaries.

          There is a small church that I know of, they barely take in any money, they give to the CP. By doing so, they support many missionaries. If they gave the money allocated for the CP to a missionary, it would not make much of a difference to a missionary for it is a small amount.

          Thomas A. Magers, II

          • Tarheel says

            Right! Hence he beauty of the CP.

            As

            Vofan and DL take heart….as Thomas has demonstrated There are many young SB pastors (including myself, wait, is 40 young, I hope so) who love, advocate for and support the CP and SBC distinctiveness as delineated in the BFM2K.

            ;-)

            You can Relax in knowing I’m part of the SBC present and future. ;-)

          • says

            Tarheel
            Thank you sir, I will sleep much better tonight. :-) :-)

            Seriously I do know of several young men who are sharp and giving great leadership to their church and SB entities. As time goes on I think we will loose extreme fringe people on both ends. However I think most pastors young and old see the value of the CP and will do much to preserve it.

            And yes, 40 is young, at least I think it is I cannot remember being 40. LOL

          • says

            Guys

            I want to expand on that a little. In our area we have several young church planters who are engaged in current events as it relates to convention issues. However, almost down to a man they have their heads down, feet firmly planted and working diligently to build a good reproducing church. Do they get concerned about some thing in the convention? Yes! However they stay focused on the task at hand. Do they have disagreements? Yes! However they do not let that overshadow the task that needs to be done.

            I am simply saying I think the future is in good hands with our younger guys. I would like to see more of them involved in SBC work, but they are getting the job done in some very difficult places. In short, I am optimistic.

  29. says

    William Thornton,

    I am a member of an elder led church. We have 4 elders who are unpaid and are members of our community and we have two paid elders, our pastor and our associate pastor. As a congregation we have the ability to remove any of these 6 men for cause through the appropriate Biblical discipline process. But we can only ‘fire’ the two men who are paid.

    We vote on most every major decision including the budget, personnel changes[ like adding more or less, changing salaries our hours], building projects, missionary funding, who will be deacon, and so forth.

    mike

    • William Thornton says

      Glad to hear it. Some who are unaware of the differences between elder led/elder ruled churches may find that illuminating.

      • says

        William T

        Some churches have “gone to teams” (as it is stated) rather than committees. Translated, they changed the name of the group, but things still remain the same. From you research do you feel that the same thing has transpired in the area of elders. That is to say they now have “elders” but the task is essentially the same as when they had deacons. Or do you feel there is a genuine change in function

        I realize that this is different from church to church of course, but generally speaking, what has you research shown you.

        • Chris Roberts says

          The church that ordained me went that route. Sort of an odd arrangement – neither elders nor deacons, but a leadership team. Later on, they switched to an elder/deacon model.

        • William Thornton says

          Anecdotally, an established church moving to an elder system may represent a route for a Calvinistic pastor to consolidate power moving it away from deacons to his hand picked few. I warn established churches to be wary of such and to be sure and quiz pastor candidates on their views.

          An elder system has much more cachet for younger pastors. Thirty years ago, one never heard of the system in an SBC church. Thirty years hence we will probably make a reactionary movement to a church governance system with adjusted vocabulary. We pastors are notorious for blaming deacons for problems. Down the road we will blame the sorry non-salaried elders.

          I have read very little actual research on elders in SBC life so my opinions are based mostly on anecdotes. I occasionally attend a new church that has elders and is trying to implement a deacon system alongside. I haven’t asked the pastor/elder much about it, feeling more curiosity about other things in the church like the smoke machine used in worship (he said the worship leader wanted to employ that so he let him).

          I don’t think that an elder system is an instant panacea for a church nor do I thin it portends ultimate disaster for a church.

          • Chris Johnson says

            Brother William,

            Thank you for steering the conversation back to the intent of the post. I do believe that a post on when the single Elder system became popular, would be an exciting exercise.

            Blessings,

          • says

            William T

            Thanks for the info. The part about pastors blaming someone is “spot on” and in my area has been the most disturbing issue I face. It is hard to coach or mentor a pastor who is always blaming someone else for the problem. I have a strong respect and appreciation for pastors. Hence they are worth the investment of time.

      • says

        D.L.,
        In going to an elder led church, we expanded the amount of roles in leadership. An elder is more accountable than a deacon and must be able to teach. Many men were reluctant to become deacons in the older [to us] model of a deacon led church. In moving to elders and deacons, we divided up the service these men provide us to a greater number of ‘servants’. This also allows us to develop elders from within the congregation by first giving them deacon roles. Those that are faithful in those roles and who who have the gift of teaching and the desire for a greater role in leading the church than become candidates for elder ship.
        mike

  30. William Thornton says

    I hate to see comment range too far afield from Ricks OP because he raises a matter that is an issue and which will get worse – a growing number of SBCers resent their money being used in certain ways. This is a repeat of the essence of the Conservative Resergence.

    • Adam Blosser says

      If true, that is definitely a problem. However, apathy regarding the SBC seems to prevail in my circles.

      • William Thornton says

        You call it “apathy” but it might just as well be expressed in another way, that is, churches are not forced to give to our cooperative work but have other choices and believe their resources are better spent on other causes.

        If Rick Patrick reaches a tipping point where he concludes that his church’s Cooperative Program money is unwisely spent (I gather that he is not there yet, though others are) then rather than attempt to change the CP allocation formula or the CP-supported entities that concern him, he will simply lead his church to give less to the CP and put those dollars directly where he is comfortable.

        Our SBC leaders should be paying attention here.

        • Adam Blosser says

          Fair enough. I guess I just don’t view most SBs as being near as informed as Rick Patrick. It really wasn’t until I attended SEBTS that I actually began to understand the SBC and the CP though I have only been in SBC churches my entire life.

        • Tarheel says

          Sure, that’s a possibility William.

          To be honest though…I’ve never heard anyone in my church – or heard tell by a pastor of another that people within he church were upset about Lifeway having speakers who arent southern baptists. Never.

          But I have heard them complaining about Lifeway selling books by Osteen, copeland, Jakes, Mormons, etc…yet Lifeway continues to do so and our church us not wanting to pull away from the CP as a result.

          Also, does the CP pay for these camps anyway or registration fees pay for these camps? I’m under the impression it’s the latter.

          • William Thornton says

            Doesn’t matter about the source of runs in LifeWay’s case. If LW offers a steady diet of nonSB camp pastors and leaders, as opposed to just an occasional one, then that’s an issue.

          • andy says

            As one who has taken students to these camps and talking with the leaders and organizers, I suspect it is not lifeway executives who are booking these speakers and musicians…rather it is local state convention employees…perhaps using connections and recommendations from other states…probably a much different group than than the one that puts Joyce Meyer in lifeway stores…

        • andy says

          I think you are describing the problem well…however it is a problem without an apparent solution…

  31. says

    Adam, William, Tarheel

    I am not sure just how much the average SB really understands what is going on in SB life. One or all of you have made statements something like that. What I know in all honesty comes from here an another blog or two.

    One of you guys who has more influence than I should ask Stetzer to do a survey in this area. It would help us get a handle on whether the lack of participation is apathy or disenchantment. I am not sure what it is. I suspect a little of both.

    • Adam Blosser says

      More influence than you? hahahahahahaha

      I can’t speak for William, but my influence is extremely limited and Tarheel’s anonymous influence is non-existent.

      Maybe Dave Miller can call his buddy Ed up and get him on it.

    • Les Prouty says

      DL,

      Anecdote. I have two SB church partners who I suspect are not up to speed on current debates. Mostly 20s and 30s age group. I have family in two SB churches, very traditional in the south. Very little knowledge in the pew of SB issues being debated here. FYI.

    • William Thornton says

      …am a hacker and plodder. Need one of the exalted VPs here to give the order.

  32. Andy says

    I’m late, I know, but here’s a few thoughts on the OP…wondering mostly what Rick’s proposed solutions are for the problems he points out…all the solutions I can think of are things that will pretty much never happen.

    >Non-congregationalism, non-member pastor’s salary decisions, SBC Churches accepting non-immersed members.

    -What is the Solution for this? It seems there is no institutional solution other than to significantly tighten cooperating standards to exclude all churches that practice these things, which will take those church’s contributions away and not lead to Rick’s end goal of “an institution whose vault is sufficiently secure.”

    >Churches s not fully embracing their Southern Baptist Identity.

    -I believe some churches have been embarrassed, and rightly so, by some of the endeavors, infighting, useless resolutions, and publicity that the SBC has received over the years, and should not be blamed if they believe themselves to be an autonomous Baptist church that happens to partner with the SBC on some missions endeavors…rather than as a “southern baptist” church. Identity is important…but I believe the first identity is more historically Baptist than the later.

    >Namb money sponsoring churches that are also sponsored by Acts 29, or other outside groups.

    -Again, the only possible institutional solution to this is to find out ALL of the partners of potential church-planters, have a list of banned partners, and enforce it…which would likely lead to much fewer church plants, since NAMB does not have resources to give 100% funding to all these church planters. Perhaps having those churches sign a binding commitment of a certain level of SBC support for a certain amount of time is technically possible…but would likely be a non-starter, and would not be fitting with Baptist beliefs of autonomy.

    So again, we have noticed some problems, but what are the solutions?

    • Adam Blosser says

      My understanding of Acts 29 is that they do not provide funding for church plants. They provide assessment, training, and support for church planters. Am I wrong?

      • says

        Acts29, the institution, does not provide any funding to any church plant. Established churches give and support church plants, and that giving does not have to be directed towards Acts29 churches at all. This is something that some critics of Acts29 have not grasped yet. A SBC/Acts29 church can give 10% of its budget to the CP and be in full compliance with their covenant with Acts29. (Acts29 churches are asked to give 1% to Acts29 for the funding and support of the training, conferences, support networks, ect, but that money does not go to church plants). That is not bad as I would bet if a “traditionalist” church gives 10% to the CP, more than 1% is going towards administration costs in the various entities that get money from the CP.

      • Andy says

        I believe you are correct…but I believe the issue remains either way…for some people, they are wary of an outside group exercising influence on an SBC church plant.

        • Adam Blosser says

          I sure hope none of our NAMB church planters signed the Traditional Statement. Rick will be furious if he finds out they did.

          • says

            Ahh yes…but those supporting the Traditionalist Statement are all above reproach and cannot possibly commit any theological or ecclesiastical errors. After all there is a growing number of “traditionalists” who are rejecting the historical Christian position of “original sin” (something that all Christians from the 4th century have believed), and that is not a problem. But to dare associate with Acts29? PROBLEM! Clearly those in the Traditionalist camp can do no wrong in comparison.

          • Tarheel says

            SV,

            “but those supporting the Traditionalist Statement are all above reproach and cannot possibly commit any theological or ecclesiastical errors.”

            “Clearly those in the Traditionalist camp can do no wrong”

            Duh. Did you dare think otherwise? ;-)

          • volfan007 says

            SV and Tarheel,

            Reading comments like these, and we wonder why it’s so hard for us to all get along in the SBC….

            Wow. Yall sound like haters.

            Also, SV, Traditionalists do not reject the doctrine of original sin. We just don’t believe that original sin carries with it the idea of everyone being guilty of Adam’s sin. We do believe that Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, and all men fell with him. The consequences of the fall of man in the Garden was that all men are born with a sin nature…yes….most certainly. But, guilty of Adam’s sin? We’re guilty for our own sins.

            David

          • says

            David there are indeed people within the SBC, who are active in blogs, who hold to the idea that man is not totally corrupted, and can choose God prior to any act of God. I am not talking about man being given the ability to choose because of prevenient grace (as many/most non-Calvinist baptists believe), I am talking about an out right belief that the fall is not so corrupting to prevent such a choice. THAT is something that is borderline heretical (pelagian if you will). What you are expressing here, and what I am arguing against are not the same thing. I hope you can see that.

          • Tarheel says

            DL, nothing I can do for ya there.

            Wives are forever going to remain unconvinced on that front no matter what soteriology we hold to. ;-)

            They choose to do as they predestined to do…keep is on our toes. ;-)

          • Tarheel says

            I just playin’ a little, Volfan.

            But if those little comments seem like hating to you…perhaps you might do some personal evaluations and see if there be any truth in the comedy. ;-)

          • volfan007 says

            SV,

            Yes, I also believe that man can choose….I do NOT believe that the fall of man left man unable to choose. But, of course, I do believe that the only reason any of us have a choice to make is because of the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit. If He did not call and convict, then man would remain lost in his sins…wondering around in the darkness of his sinful condition.

            BTW, almost EVERY “Traditionalists” that I know does NOT believe that man makes the first move towards God, as the Semi Pelagians taught. I can’t think of any, who would say that man will come to God without the drawing of the Holy Spirit.

            David

        • William Thornton says

          If Rick can point to any NAMB/A29 churches we might have something to discuss. NAMB only plants churches in conformity to the BFM. Rick says NAMB will not tell him of any. He should take a road trip and find some.

          • Tarheel says

            I would say that we have nothing to discuss until he can show that NAMB is planting Non-SBC churches.

            As it stands now, its clear that his beef seems to be about the cooperative efforts of autonomous Southern Baptist Church plants. Not sure, since he has not offered one, what his solution to this “problem” is though.

            Again, some SBCers love church autonomy, until they don’t.

          • Rick Patrick says

            NAMB/A29 hybrid church plants fit within the BFM2K. So will the hypothetical NAMB/Mission316 hybrid church plants, once that soteriologically exclusive missions organization within the BFM2K forms on the other side, bringing the equation into balance.

            The area of imbalance currently is simply in this: there is no counter for A29. The more I discuss this with folks, the more I realize this is a situation of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” It’s probably time for a soteriologically exclusive Traditionalist church planting organization—an A29 for Trads. That solves it.

          • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

            William, Rick, Tarheel, or anyone who will answer,

            Does anyone understand the purpose and practical ramifications of the proposal from the EC to be voted on in Baltimore regarding the BFM, and “churches in friendly cooperation? What’s driving this proposal? Why has there been so little discussion about it? In what scenarios will it be used? What triggered the advent of this proposal? Maybe Dave M. knows since he was a VP, perhaps when it first was discussed. Is this proposal necessary? What will it accomplish? I am utterly confused regarding the value and intended use of this policy change if it passes. Somebody please help me before I get to Baltimore and have to cast a vote for something that I don’t really understand?

            Rick, I got a feeling that you understand. Please, explain? Thanks.

          • Tarheel says

            Rick,

            “The area of imbalance currently is simply in this: there is no counter for A29. The more I discuss this with folks, the more I realize this is a situation of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” It’s probably time for a soteriologically exclusive Traditionalist church planting organization—an A29 for Trads. That solves it. ”

            Solves what? You keep handwringing about a “problem to solve” but have presented NO evidence that said problem, actually exists.

          • Tarheel says

            Dwight,

            There’s a whole thread someplace on here explaining and debating it.

          • Adam Blosser says

            “The area of imbalance currently is simply in this: there is no counter for A29. The more I discuss this with folks, the more I realize this is a situation of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” It’s probably time for a soteriologically exclusive Traditionalist church planting organization—an A29 for Trads. That solves it.”

            Then get on it. Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler aren’t going to do it for you.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Andy,

      Your first step is simply outstanding…identifying all of our co-sponsors of NAMB supported church plants. We should know the people and the organizations with whom we are financing our Southern Baptist Churches.

      Next, we can and should present this list of new church plants to the SBC. Those who give financially deserve to know what kind of denomination they are building. I recommend two categories: (a) Pure SBC Church Plants, in which all partners (such as local associations, churches, NAMB, etc.) are Southern Baptists unaffiliated with any organizations that discriminate against certain kinds of Southern Baptists, like A29 does with Trads, and (b) Hybrid SBC Church Plants, in which at least one partnering organization places requirements on the church planter’s doctrine more limiting than the BFM2K itself—again, like A29 does with its doctrinal requirements.

      The principle of fairness is simply this: SBC Trad Churches are currently forced into funding A29 Cal Church Planters; however, A29 Cal Churches are not forced into funding SBC Trad Church Planters.

      The A29 Network plants soteriologically exclusive Calvinistic churches, while there is no Mission 316 Network out there planting soteriologically exclusive Traditionalist churches to balance the equation on the other side.

      In the end, it may be a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” in which case, a Trad Church Planting counterpart to A29 will emerge to partner with NAMB in planting exclusively Trad churches. Then, churches who want to be just as specific on the Trad side of the equation as A29 supporters are on the Cal side of the equation would have a giving option to accomplish exactly that. Presumably, NAMB would stand in the middle supporting both, since each would affirm the BFM2K.

      Under this scenario, Trads who chose to do so could plant exclusively Trad churches through Mission 316 just like Cals who choose to do so today can plant exclusively Cal churches through A29.

      • Tarheel says

        Rick,

        “In the end, it may be a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” in which case, a Trad Church Planting counterpart to A29 will emerge to partner with NAMB in planting exclusively Trad churches. Then, churches who want to be just as specific on the Trad side of the equation as A29 supporters are on the Cal side of the equation would have a giving option to accomplish exactly that. Presumably, NAMB would stand in the middle supporting both, since each would affirm the BFM2K”

        Go ahead and do that if you think it is constructive in forwarding the goals of gospel proclamation, church planting and building the kingdom of God.

        That is what this is about, right?

        Or is it about something else?

        • Tarheel says

          Rick,

          “The principle of fairness is simply this: SBC Trad Churches are currently forced into funding A29 Cal Church Planters; however, A29 Cal Churches are not forced into funding SBC Trad Church Planters.”

          No one forced to do anything.

          DO you really think that “cals” are not on occassion, with their CP contributions, helping start churches with planters who are anti-calvinists?

          The knife you claim is cutting you to bits, cuts the other way too – don’t you think?

          • Rick Patrick says

            To be clear about the channels, consider two facts: (1) Cals who do not wish to plant Trad churches can do so by giving a bunch to A29 and a token to NAMB, but (2) Trads who do not wish to plant Cal churches have no “soteriologically exclusive missions organization on our side of the aisle” in which we can pour money to avoid the sponsorship of opposing soteriology.

      • Adam Blosser says

        “however, A29 Cal Churches are not forced into funding SBC Trad Church Planters.”

        This is only true if there are no SBC church planters who could affirm the TS.

        • Rick Patrick says

          SVM,

          Let me explain. Please pay attention. It is *not* that the A29 churches NAMB sponsors are not BFM believing. I’m not suggesting otherwise. I never have. If you are waiting for me to demonstrate that, you are wasting your time.

          Ironically, you accuse me of “wanting to go beyond the BFM.” But that is precisely what A29 has done by placing their “soteriologically exclusive” requirement on their church plants. There is no alternative missions organization placing a “soteriologically exclusive” requirement on church plants in the other direction. Someday, maybe there will be, and you will see that I no longer have a problem.

          At that point, the SBC will have true neutrality in its partnerships, because it will not only partner with exclusively Cal groups, like A29 or PLNTD, but it will also partner with exclusively Trad groups, once they form.

          • Tarheel says

            Rick, here is what you are missing;

            Acts29 does not *force* any church to partner with them in ministry. Just the contrary actually, these church planters *choose* to partner with them!

            It’s undoubetly about church autonomy….you don’t like the choices they make and want to strip (or abridge) ther NAMB funding…..A29 meets the litmus test of the local church.

            You seem to want a top down litmus test.

            I disagree. The BFM2k is enough.

          • William Thornton says

            So what would you have NAMB/A29 churches do that they aren’t doing now…assuming you can find a few?

          • Adam Blosser says

            “There is no alternative missions organization placing a “soteriologically exclusive” requirement on church plants in the other direction. Someday, maybe there will be, and you will see that I no longer have a problem.”

            Why is that NAMB or Acts 29’s fault? Create the network and quit whining.

          • Rick Patrick says

            Tarheel,

            Just stop. When you say I believe things, you get it wrong. I do not believe A29 *forces* any church to partner with them.

            You guys are arguing against points I have not made, claiming that I have it all wrong. But you’re not listening to my concern. Read it slowly. Try to see it from my side.

            The SBC, through NAMB sponsorship of BFM affirming SBC church planters who are *co-sponsored* by a soteriologically exclusive NON-SBC organization, enters into a *de facto* partnership with an outside organization that excludes me from their membership.

            I’m not saying NAMB is planting churches that don’t affirm the BFM. I’m saying that NAMB is co-sponsoring work with a NON-SBC organization that excludes me.

            The solution? I only see two options. Either (1) NAMB stops co-sponsoring work with extra-SBC organizations or networks that discriminate against certain kinds of Southern Baptists, or (2) we create a similar church planting network to win the world to Christ that requires planters to embrace the traditional Hobbs-Rogers theology I believe in while discriminating against the Calvinist planters being funded by A29.

            The equation needs to make sense in both directions. If NAMB is going to co-sponsor with Cal Only Networks like A29, then it needs to co-sponsor with Trad Only Networks like M316.

          • Adam Blosser says

            “The SBC, through NAMB sponsorship of BFM affirming SBC church planters who are *co-sponsored* by a soteriologically exclusive NON-SBC organization, enters into a *de facto* partnership with an outside organization that excludes me from their membership.”

            Again, Acts 29 does not *sponsor* church plants in the same way NAMB *sponsors* church plants. It is beyond me why you have a problem with church planters receiving training from Acts 29 when you say that you do not have a problem with NAMB using Calvinist church planters who are not affiliated with A29.

          • Rick Patrick says

            I am part of NAMB. NAMB accepts Trads. I am not part of A29. A29 does not accept Trads.

      • William Thornton says

        Rick, NAMB only plants churches that affirm the BFM and has a policy concerning networks. My blog below has the policy statement:

        http://sbcplodder.blogspot.com/2012/05/namb-trustees-adopt-church-planting.html

        If you find an actual church plant that you have questions about I may join you. Until then, I don’t see anything to discuss. If the SendNA data shows that we plant considerable churches that leave the SBC as soon as they can post NAMB funding, I will be the first to talk about it.

        A29 is not that large and smaller still if the subset of SBC/A29 churches is all that needs to be checked. Seems like either you, Tim Rogers or someone else could do the legwork and get past the phantom A29/NAMB church menace. It just looks silly to keep trumpeting this without evidence.

        A few years ago I knew of one, maybe two. Today? Don’t know.

      • says

        Rick, do you think that the NAMB and the SBC should have the power to place restrictions and/or requirements on church plants pertaining to the theology they can believe/hold? If the answer to this yes, how does that fly with the baptist doctrine of local church autonomy?

        Further I would suggest the following hypothetical scenario. What if in the 50’s-70’s the Home Mission Board said, we are going to place limits on the number of “Conservative” churches that could be planted? If even for a small time, the majority of SBC churches were “moderate” or even “liberal” would they have that right?

        The way I see it, you cannot say yes to one and no to the other. And yet based on your previous posts, I suspect you would do that very thing.

        Let me also point something else out. Not every church that affiliates with Acts29 receives money from other Acts29 churches. There are some churches that by their own choice, choose to affiliate with Acts29 AFTER they are established and even stopped receiving monies from their state conventions and NAMB. Further once again, some SBC/Acts29 churches give money exclusively to other SBC church plants. Would you deny them the ability to do such? Would you deny the churches who receive that money from receiving it? What if those such churches were not Acts29 affiliated? That happens you know. It happens here in Missouri. SBC/Acts29 churches supporting SBC churches that are not even reformed! IMAGINE THAT! Would you have all of that undone just because there are a few church plants that are Reformed within the SBC?

        • William Thornton says

          NAMB, as a part of a mutual agreement, imposes requirements on church plants that they support/fund/sponsor. The planter/church agrees to this. This indeed compromises autonomy until the church fulfills it’s contractual requirements and then becomes fully autonomous. No problem with that.

          You seem familiar with a number of SBC/A29 churches. If some of these are/were NAMB plants, how about sending Rick a list.

          • says

            I guess what I am saying is, can NAMB, as part of that mutual agreement, dictate what theology can be taught in a church plant? Requiring a fulfilling of contractual obligations is one thing, what Rick seems to be proposing is something else entirely.

            Let me also propose one more issue. Should SBC churches be allowed to support individual missionaries who are not affiliated with the NAMB or IMB?

          • Tarheel says

            NAMB doesn’t dictate theology, partnerships, alliances, agreements, etc for the pliant….only that they affirm the BFM2k.

            Rick is suggesting they should. I disagree for a myriad of reasons.

          • Tarheel says

            Sometimes states will add certain criteria about alcohol, etc…

            But to my knowledge soteriology litmus tests are not given.

          • William Thornton says

            SV, NAMB absolutely dictates theology…BFM..and they doggone well better dictate that. Rick would go beyond that somewhat, though exactly what I’m not sure.

            SBC churches need answer to no one on whom they support, not even Jesus (but with the proviso above on denominational funding).

            Starting an SBC church with some or all denominational funds has some prickly aspects.

          • says

            But again William we are not talking about the BFM. As even you have asked Rick to do, is there even one single SBC/Acts29 church that is NOT in line with the current BFM? But Rick DOES want to go further it seems. He does seem like he is advocating that the NAMB say to church plants “If you believe/teach Calvinism (or fellowship with Acts29 churches; or have an elder led congregational polity; or what ever else he comes up with) you won’t get money from us.”

      • David Rogers says

        RE, Rick’s comment, “Those who give financially deserve to know what kind of denomination they are building”:

        Though it may come across as a bit pedantic, I believe it is important that we have a mindset of, “We are not here to build any denomination; we are here to work together with God and with the Body of Christ around the world to build the Church (capital C) of God.” If a certain denominational structure allows us to be more effective in doing that, then, praise the Lord, let’s work through that denominational structure. But “building a denomination” should not be the goal we are working toward; it is merely a means toward that goal.

  33. says

    I want to make sure I understand the context of the OP when it mentions “Baptist money”. Are you referring to money already received from SBC churches and then dispensed by the CP to church plants, missions, and seminaries? If so then I agree, that is SBC money and should be used to support SBC programs and SBC church plants.

    If you are referring to how a self-supporting SBC church prayerfully chooses to use its undesignated receipts to fund missions and benevolence ministries not directly affiliated with the SBC, well, those dollars are not SBC dollars, that is God’s money entrusted to the local Church to use for His kingdom work. Example might be the Watoto children’s homes in Uganda.

      • Tarheel says

        Again….do you have any, even one iota, of proof that CP monies are used to plant non SBC churches?

        Any, Rick?

        I contend you don’t, because they don’t do that.

    • says

      Rick, Tarheel, whoever…

      I’m not terribly familiar with A29. But their website indicates that they do not plant churches, right? They assist with training church planters.

      “Our vision is to be a Spirit-empowered network of churches, united on mission to reach all people groups for the glory of God, planting churches that in turn plant more churches. If God has called you to plant or replant a church, apply to Acts 29 and our pastors will shepherd you in that journey. As a member, you will be in relationship with other planters through assessment, training, and support as we strive to continue planting church-planting churches.” From their website.

      So, what is the issue with a SB church autonomously choosing to seek assistance from fellow believers to assist them in networking and receiving some training from a non SB org? Why is that a problem?

      How different is that from a SB church seeking training assistance from Evangelism Explosion (EE)? I know many SB churches that do that and contribute $$ to EE.

      • Tarheel says

        Les, I don’t see a problem.

        Rick sees “a problem” but hasn’t demonstrated any reality of one.

        He keeps railing that CP money is used to plant non SBC churches (identified by him as SBC churches who also autonomously choose to augment thier training from A29) but hasn’t shown where a) that’s happening on any statistical scale to speak of. b) even if it were how that demonstrates that plant not being an SBC church.

        NAMB ONLY PLANTS SBC CHURCHES. PERIOD.

        • Tarheel says

          Also, Les, shhhhhh.

          Let’s not tell them that dreaded Calvinist who was a Presbyterian wrote the wildly SBC used EE! OK? Mums the word. ;-)

  34. Max says

    The early church told the sick that they didn’t have silver or gold, but to rise up and walk. We’ve got lots of Southern Baptist money, but not enough spiritual power to blow the dust off a peanut, let alone say rise up and walk!

    • says

      One of my favorite quotes comes from E.V. Hill …..”No longer does the church have to say ‘silver and gold have we none’, but no longer does it have the power to say, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk’ “.

    • Rick Patrick says

      SBC would not start one. It would be an independent network operating autonomously outside of SBC jurisdiction, just like A29. You would have SBC-NAMB in the middle partnering in neutral fashion with both A29 Cals discriminating against Trads on one side and M316 Trads discriminating against Cals on the other side.

      • says

        Rick, my point was that Acts 29 was not started by Southern Baptists. Yet, you want Southern Baptists to autonomously start a Trad network for Southern Baptists. There is a difference.

        • Tarheel says

          Yes, that’s a great point, Mark.

          Rick is suggestioning SB create an “intentionally competing” network.

          Haven’t we been down that road with CBF? I’m not calling Trads liberals, Rick,, but I’m saying your potential tactics are looking similar.

          • Rick Patrick says

            M316 is rubber. A29 is glue. Anything you say…you know the rest.

            Whatever will it take to get you guys to stop saying M316 would be created by the SBC? The SBC has a church planting network–NAMB.

            This would not be formed by action of the convention. Gifts would not be reported as CP. It would be separate, like A29.

            We’re communicating so poorly, brothers, that we’re not even talking about the same hypothetical church planting network.

          • Tarheel says

            I’m not contending that you are saying the SBC would create it….I suggesting that you’re saying that SB people would create an autonomous and intentionally competing church planting network….that is what you’re saying, right?

            A29 was not created by SB people, and was not created, and is not now a network competing with the SBC.

        • Rick Patrick says

          I am not asking Southern Baptists to start it. I am asking for it to be started autonomously and independently of the convention by anyone at all who wishes to do so–whether they themselves are SBC or not. Doesn’t matter at all. Someday, whoever starts it will no longer lead it. Look at A29. Perfect example. Non-SBC Mark Driscoll started it. But SBC Matt Chandler presides over it today.

          As long as it is separate from the convention, conforms to the BFM and excludes Calvinists, it will mirror and balance A29.

          • Tom Stowe says

            Rick, just give up. You and I both know that Calvinists have interpretive deficiencies, be it Scripture or blog conversations. Communicating with them is like drinking coffee with a fork.

          • Tarheel says

            Tom,

            “Rick, just give up. You and I both know that Calvinists have interpretive deficiencies, be it Scripture or blog conversations. Communicating with them is like drinking coffee with a fork.”

            What utterly constructive comments thou makest.

            Thanks so much for furthering the conversation, Tom.

            SMH

    • Tom Stowe says

      Mark,

      Your bias against Trads astounds me. A couple weeks back, you tweeted about a Trad conference giving away Trad literature, and whined about it not being unifying. But when reformed conferences give away Calvinist literature, you never whine about the absence of books by Vines, Allen, etc.

      Objectivity is impossible in a pure sense, but you can do better.

      • says

        Tom,

        I whined? Nice. lol

        It would be nice if you’d ask why I thought the book list was not unifying and give me the benefit of the doubt. I don’t recall in recent times having seen a Southern Baptist Calvinist conference giving away anti-non-Calvinist literature. If they did and I’d seen it I would think the same thing – it would not be an attempt at unity.

        Frankly, I’m tired of the division on both sides.

        • Tom Stowe says

          It’s hard to tell that, Mark. You’re still quick to pull the trigger on Trads and criticize them.

  35. Adam Blosser says

    Rick,

    I am interested to know what you would lead FBC Sylacauga to do were a Trad church planting network to be formed. Would you still collect the AAEO or would you take up an offering for the new Trad church planting network instead? Would you designate around NAMB with your CP gifts and pass them on to the new Trad church planting network? Or maybe you would maintain the same level of giving to AAEO and CP (including NAMB) and set aside additional funds for the new Trad network. I am anxious to know. What would Rick Patrick do were such an organization to exist?

    • Rick Patrick says

      First, we would pray. Then we would ask some hard questions about what kind of churches we believe in planting, and how we could be sure that such churches were in fact being planted with the resources we committed. At that point, the church might decide to continue funding both Cal and Trad plants through NAMB–the same as always.

      Or, they might decide to weight the giving in a different manner, with the kind of changed formula used by so many churches today. Granted, this would definitely be an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach. We might even stop completing our ACP profile so others would not be able to notice our declining SBC gifts and increasing societal gifts.

      I cannot imagine ever giving zero to AAEO like Highview did one year when Ezell was pastor there. But we might choose to support somewhat significantly a Southern Baptist church planter directly through M316, if God so led.

      What I would do is present the options, pray, and support the vote of the congregation. I could live with it either way. The value of having an M316, however, is simply in this: Trad churches choosing to do so could then plant with the same level of Soteriological exclusivity as Cal churches can today. The option of a Trad Planting Network balances the scales denominationally, whether or not my own particular church opts to make use of it.

      • Adam Blosser says

        Rick, I appreciate your commitment to seeking the Lord’s leading. I also recognize that you are not the dictator of your church. However, you are the pastor. You have the responsibility before God of leading the people of the church you pastor. You have also thought about this issue quite a bit. I am not buying your non-answer. What would you, Pastor Rick Patrick, lead FBC Sylacauga to do were M316 to exist?

        • Rick Patrick says

          Sorry, Adam. Just too many variables. Does NAMB still refuse to ID non-SBC church planting partners? Are lots of Cal churches reporting their ACP gifts or do they remain hidden? How many A29 churches are popping up? Does it seem like the SBC is continuing to move its entity leadership in a Cal direction? Are more SBC churches accepting Presbyterians as members without requiring immersion?

          I just can’t make definitive statements about a poorly defined hypothetical construct. But generally speaking, the more Calvinist and the more Presbyterian we become, the more likely I am to push for greater M316 involvement. If the New SBC is a Reformed denomination, then M316 will probably become my New NAMB.