Associations within the SBC -Pros/Cons

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Paul Kersey, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. Paul Kersey

    Paul Kersey
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    For those of you who are SBC, could you please comment on the benefits and downsides of both the local and state association? There seems to be ever increasing pleas for additional funding from the local churches, yet it is difficult to articulate their tangible benefit to the member in the pew. I am somewhat mixed personally, but I feel that the states I have worked in have not done a good job of explaining exactly what is done with Cooperative Program funding and why that vehicle is the best usage of the Lord's money. Also, I have been a bit disturbed by the quick elevation of David Platt to the presidency of the IMB, as he seems to be somewhat controversial. Many thanks.
     
    #1 Paul Kersey, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2014
  2. Revmitchell

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    I think the infatuation with Platt has to do with wanting to put in place young blood in order to attract people. Personally I think he is far to young and inexperienced to be there.

    As far as money that goes to associations, it doesn't. That is long gone.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    I'm a life long SBCer (to the disdain of many...) and hopefully will contribute some thoughts that will help the conversation. You have several questions here and hopefully I'll be able to address them.

    I'm thankful for our local association and the ministry it does. Having been part of several churches in varying associations, the leadership can vary dramatically. There are some, thankfully only a few, associations whose executive directors (or whatever they're called) are hiding out and barely doing anything. These aren't helpful, of course that happens in churches too. However, many, many associations are well led by honorable men. A well lead association can be a major catalyst for healthy churches and growth in their region. In general, the local SBC association is more of a service for smaller churches but the vast majority of churches in the SBC are smaller.

    State conventions (there are no state associations...well maybe one in NE) also provide some great resources for churches of all sizes. They are, by and large, run very well and have great leaders throughout the organization. Being able to have a central place to encourage and equip churches is ideal. Likewise, the state convention can serve effectively in church planting leadership as well as state wide missions. We all get asked for more money, a well led local or state convention will operate within their means and if they do not it isn't my church's obligation to bail them out. I've said that to several state executives who have shown up hat-in-hand in the past two years. We make decisions about budget and leadership at our state convention meeting. If they decide to operate outside those sensible limits, that's not my problem. Sometimes you need to go through a season of starvation in order to trim down to the proper levels.

    The way the SBC is structured there is no denominational hierarchy nor is there, technically, a national convention leadership. Instead, the local church is the headquarters of the SBC. That is the ideal of the NT churches in my opinion.

    The plain truth of the SBC is that the Cooperative Program is genius and the best way to effectively support missions and ministries ever devised in Christendom. Having the ability to support that program means we can train up a generation of great pastors while also supporting important Gospel work within our country and beyond. There has never, in the history of Christianity, been a more equipped and better supported missionary force than the IMB missionaries throughout our world. That is because of the Cooperative Program.

    Obviously I'm a fan.

    BTW, you mentioned something about David Platt and made a bit of a swipe at him. I'd encourage you to reconsider. I know Dr Platt and he is one of the most consecrated men of God in the SBC I have ever met. He has, not only, the capability to lead well but also understands the realities of the world in which live at a level that too many of the old-guard leaders of the SBC cannot. I fully support Dr Platt and entirely disagree with the silly mischaracterizations that some (often jealous) types have made of him. Particularly his statement about the sinner's prayer. That was an important statement to make because in too many of our churches we have promoted a false gospel that if you only pray you're secure in Heaven and never have to be obligated to live like a changed life. Yes he is being provocative, but it is a needed provocation.

    I hope that helps. :)
     
  4. Zenas

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    PJ, I agree with your post for the most part but I do have some questions about the quoted portion here.

    1. Considering its multi-million dollar budget, isn't it a stretch to say there is no denominational hierarchy?

    2. If there is no national convention leadership, what does Ronnie Floyd do? I know for a fact he has almost total control over who gets on SBC boards and commissions, and that's a lot of power not to call it "leadership."

    3. I don't know about yours but no one ever mistakes my church for the SBC headquarters. Have you ever been to the "Baptist Vatican in Nashville?"

    4. Aside from appointment of clergy and ownership of property, can you really say that the SBC functions any differently than any other Protestant denomination?
     
  5. Revmitchell

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  6. Zenas

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    In a very academic and theoretical sort of way I guess that is true. But no one gets elected to presidency of the SBC without some kind of agenda. No one goes in and says, "I'm here to serve you, not to impose my ideas on you. Therefore, I have no ideas about where we ought to be going,"

    The fact of the matter is Ronnie Floyd has a vision for the SBC. If the convention reigned him in, he might comply. But when have you ever seen the convention give a president his marching orders?

    If all a president did was what the convention told him to do, we wouldn't need a president. All we would need would be a skilled administrator.
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    Regarding point 2, not quite accurate. I have served twice on the SBC Committee on Nominations, charged with securing nominees for various boards and commissions. We sought input from many sources (the seminary presidents, for instance, for their boards). We got recommendations from a lot of folks. But not one from the president of the SBC. The two Nominating Committee members from Kentucky were charged with securing Kentucky nominees. The full committee met in Nashville for two or three days. Rarely were nominees questioned or rejected by the full committee, and never by the SBC itself.

    The way the Committee on Nominations is set up, it would be difficult, almost iimpossible, for an SBC president to exert much influence on the makeup of various boards and commissions.

    Sorry to derail the OP, but I felt some clarification was needed.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Once every year.

    This is incorrect. Yes in fact we would. The SBC is a large organization and you can call it an administrator or a President. Either way it is the same thing. You might want it to be a hierarchy for whatever reason but it just is not. Fact is the churches are autonomous in every sense of the word. Period.
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    There is no denominational hierarchy as it relates to oversight or control of the local churches.

    You might be surprised by this, but all of the agencies of the SBC are entirely independent of each other and stand on their own. The annual convention affirms their levels of support but they are in no way controlling of local church nor can they demand anything of local churches. Instead, they are all accountable to the local churches.

    Dollars and budgets aren't qualifications of hierarchy. :)

    The only

    Any SBC president is only a figurehead. He is not the spokesman for all SBCers but is a representative. Your point about "total control" is erroneous. I know that because I have served on one of the boards and the SBC president at the time had zero, zero influence over my appointment.

    While Dr Floyd can make recommendations, there is no apparatus for him to control nor any means of exercising "total control" of appointments. The SBC president has about as much power over the SBC as a Miss Texas has over her state and for the same reasons. ;)

    Yeah, I was there two weeks ago. Said "Baptist Vatican" occupies half a city block in downtown Nashville and has zero control over the actual SBC headquarters, any SBC church.

    Did you happen to go into the "Baptist Vatican?" What committees or agencies were located in there? Who occupies this control?

    I appreciate the interaction and am offering my point of view in a friendly tone (or attempting to) but you're deeply deceived about the nature of the convention. The Executive Committee of the SBC has zero control over any church and only exists to facilitate two things:
    1. The proper execution of the annual convention
    2. The proper distribution of the Cooperative Funds

    It functions entirely different from almost all formal Protestant denominations (Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc etc etc.) If you think otherwise you're not awfully familiar with the actual leadership and functions of the SBC.

    Quick question: who collects CP funds? (Just answer it without looking it up and we'll see how well we all understand the SBC system.)

    There has never been, nor will there ever be external control from a national hierarchy over a local church within the SBC.

    As for the appointments, any certified messenger of the SBC annual convention can make, at any point during the meeting, a resolution to disband all boards and all agencies and fire all denominational employees and, if seconded and affirmed by majority vote, that can happen in an instant.
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    Actually, I would say one of the recent men who was elected without an agenda was a) Bobby Welch, b) Fred Luter, and c) Frank Page.

    Dr Floyd might have an agenda, but, and this comes from a longtime SBC pastor (me), I don't support it with any programming, dollars, or activity from my church. Its not that I disagree with him, we just don't care what his agenda is. We care about our community and how we are strategically reaching them with the Gospel. And guess what? Dr Floyd can't do anything about it nor can be compel me to care.

    Every year. Every year. What is Dr Floyd's vision for the SBC? Can he compel SBC pastors to join him in accomplishing this? What was ____fill in the blank_____ SBC president's vision? Did they compel or force pastor's to accomplish it? How?

    One example, recently, comes to mind. Dr Paige Patterson, the man who is a walking agenda, was president not long ago. How did his agenda work out? What was it?

    This is entirely incorrect.

    This is incorrect. There is an administrative leader, his name is Frank Page and he is the president of the executive committee. Please refer to my above post as to what his agency is responsible for as it relates to the convention leadership. :)
     
  11. Zenas

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    Since I am being castigated by people who are closer than I to being "insiders", I won't attempt to debate these points. I will merely relate my understanding of the SBC hierarchy.

    For many years I have been told that the conservative insurgency began when Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler met and concluded that the key to reversing the liberal trend in the SBC was to elect conservative presidents, who get to appoint the committee on committees. They, and other like minded persons, succeeded in doing this by getting enough messengers from conservative churches to show up and vote for the conservative candidate. The rest is history.

    For some reason I understood that the president had the power to constitute the committee on committees. The committee on committees would appoint like minded persons so the president's influence would ultimately filter down to the various boards and commissions. In watching how things developed at SBTC, I believe that was true. When the SBC started electing conservative presidents, there were few if any conservatives on the board. Their numbers grew until they soon gained a majority, who began to promulgate policies distasteful to many of the faculty and administration, and the atmosphere changed 180 degrees.

    Am I wrong on this understanding of SBC history? If so please say so.

    To be sure, the messengers elect a president who they believe reflects their views but this man really does wield a great deal of power and influence. To refer to him as a "figurehead" is really misleading.
     
  12. Zenas

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    Without looking it up, I believe CP funds go from the churches to their state convention.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    Uh...who said that?
     
  14. Zenas

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    Who said what?
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    That he was just a figure head
     
  16. Jerome

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    :null::null:
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    That was a dumb statement.
     
  18. Zenas

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    I wouldn't call it "dumb" but I will stand by my earlier assertion that it is misleading.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    It is correct that the SBC President appoints the Committee on Nominations, and therein lies much of his power.

    The President, with plenty of input from others, appoints like-minded men and women, who nominate other like-minded people for boards and commissions.

    That is how the Conservative Resurgence was accomplished.

    When I served on the Committee on Nominations, we had a couple of criteria.
    1. Nominate only those who hold to inerrant Scripture.
    2. Don't nominate anyone whose church gives little or no support to the Cooperative Program.
     
  20. Salty

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    I remember this subject came up at our State Convention. An individual was nominated for a certain position ( I forget which one). A messenger stated that according the book of reports his church gave zero dollars to the Convention. It then was explained that his church was actually a mission of an established church and that all offerings of the mission went thur the mother church.


    I'm glad that that the individual spoke up - it shows that we are following protocol.
     

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