My pastor has asked some good questions over at the 9Marks blog. I encourage you to read his entire post Coming Up . . . The SBC. I’ve taken some excerpts from it so we can discuss it here. Yes, he knows. However, he doesn’t know exactly what I’m going to say in between. <grin> I’m most interested in his questions, but I’m adding a few bits of info here and there. Let’s get going.
Let’s be clear on where he’s coming.
I am the recipient of not just one, but two degrees from a Southern Baptist seminary and am very grateful for the support of Southern Baptists in subsidizing my education. I pastor a church just north of Atlanta that has been Southern Baptist from its beginning. I am a Southern Baptist.
While he is in Louisville tonight and this week I’m stuck in Atlanta. He is looking forward to the conversations on the GCR and 9Marks and B21 as indicated in his post. This brings us to the first question.
If I had an opportunity to raise one loving question, here is what it would be: Is there enough unity among SBC churches to successfully cooperate in national church planting?
He is asking this in reference to the methodological diversity among our local churches.
In other words, we often “do” church differently. Some churches value drama in the morning service some value art in the foyer. Some rock out to contemporary praise music while others sing only traditional hymns. Some advocate a multi-site approach to church growth and some publish e-journals on its dangers. Some see social outreach as “the” evangelistic wedge in the community that earns a church the right to be a gospel presence. Others see preaching as that wedge. As Southern Baptists we agree to disagree on so much because we know that there is something greater at stake, the Great Commission.
The next quote I think is getting to the heart of the questions.
Each difference may be very slight, but it is a difference that could very well affect who is called to plant a church, where that church ought to be planted, and what the priority of that church planter/revitalizer ought to be.
Enlarging the scope of church planting observations outside the SBC may offer much to consider.
Look at the Acts 29 movement or the Sovereign Grace movement. They share more than the Gospel or an ecclesiology—they share a methodology. When those Christians gather to strategize how and where to plant churches, some of the most basic questions have already been answered. This must make it easier to jump in and select and train the men to be used to plant or revitalize a local church.
Then, in relation to the SBC this brings us to a few more questions.
I wonder, “Wouldn’t it be better simply to partner with 9Marks churches for local church planting where the methodology is already worked out?” That’s not to say 9Marks has everything figured out! Nor is it to say that the SBC should be abandoned!
Would it be better, though, at least when it comes to planting churches locally, to partner with baptistic churches that share a similar methodology? So again, I ask, is there enough unity among SBC churches to successfully plant local churches?
He has asked these questions out of observation not contentiousness. I believe they are good questions. That doesn’t mean they are the best or even most correct questions, but they are definitely pointed in the right direction.
What do you think? Which question(s) would you like discussed/answered this week and beyond?