I am a lot like Dave in some ways. We both serve in states that are out of the main core of the SBC. We both serve in an office that has a title with no real power beyond our ministry as pastors (admittedly his is a much bigger office with no real power than mine). We both dislike the culture of argumentative combativeness that comes with the territory seemingly of the blogosphere. But I remind myself that it could always be worse.
Yesterday, I ran across an article that reminded me just how true this statement is. At least we find ourselves arguing over issues that are debatable in Scripture as opposed to arguing over things that are either explicit in Scripture or else whether Scripture itself is even worth following.
I would much rather argue with you guys over the finer points of soteriology than I would ever want to argue over whether the Bible is actually true and matters in the first place. While the CR is another topic that Dave likes to eschew, I am forever grateful that we changed course in the SBC to maintain Scripture as the foundation of our faith and practice.
Frankly, if this article showed anything of consequence, it is that the push to be more relevant by compromising on the cores of Christianity has failed.
Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.
This decline is the latest chapter in a story dating to the 1960s. The trends unleashed in that era — not only the sexual revolution, but also consumerism and materialism, multiculturalism and relativism — threw all of American Christianity into crisis, and ushered in decades of debate over how to keep the nation’s churches relevant and vital.
If we have to argue about the sequence of salvation instead of arguing over the sufficiency of Scriptures, I will be glad to continue doing it. Even if I have to do it by reminding myself that it could always be worse.