Please help me understand

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Psalm 100, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Psalm 100

    Psalm 100
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    I am new to the SBC, and Baptists in general, as I was saved and attended for a long time in a charismatic church (which doctrines I generally refute as I've grown in Christ).

    So I don't understand the hoopla surrounding the convention and all the politics involved. One thing that attracted me to my current church (and the Baptists churches) was the local governing of the church. And I still believe that for the most part, SBC churches adhere to this.

    But I see all the discussions and arguments concerning the SBC, it's board members, it's trustees, it's programs, and I wonder why? I thought the purpose of the convention was to be a sharing of resources by individual churches to promote missions and education. I thought the convention was supposed to basically run in the background, and leave the theology for the churches.

    I don't disagree with the concept of the convention, but am I wrong in thinking that it's grown way larger than what it was intended to?
     
  2. rbell

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    No you are not, and yes it has.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

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    Psalm 100, I think you are right in your observations and many of us have concerns along the same line. I think that is why many of us are excited about the new direction some things have taken at this years convention. Hopefully some of that is going to change in the near future.
     
  4. Cailiosa

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    I'm not an Southern Baptist, but I can't help but feel concerned for the SBC's because everytime in the Bible I see a committee or board or something like that it always turns out for the bad, like the sadducees and pharisees, they had "board" meetings and all got together to discuss what was to be taught in all the temples, and I don't ever see there being any good. And I don't see how it could be good today, it's seems to me that any church that is under a committee or board always has a lot of trouble.
     
  5. mcdirector

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    The joining together of churches in the SBC has allowed us to do many things -- like send out missionaries without those missionaries having to worry about funding and providing sound curriculum just to name two.

    Joining the SBC is a choice and many churches over the years have withdrawn their membership. Many have joined too.

    The SBC has had various problems over the years, but individual men running things aren't immune from trouble.
     
    #5 mcdirector, Jun 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2006
  6. Magnetic Poles

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    This is silly. Even so-called "Independent" churches need some way to make business decisions, pay bills, etc. The entire church cannot write every check, make every phone call, etc.
     
  7. Cailiosa

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    Why must you have a councel of men, a comittee in order to make phone calls and pay the bills? I only meant that it seems like this councel of men often seems to go away from God rather then towards God. We are to take our councel from the Scripture not from men.

    Please pardon the fact that my previous post seemed rude. It was not intended to be, just my saying what it seems like to me.
     
  8. DeeJay

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    Most churches are run by a leader or leading group. Where the leader/group is like the top of the pyramid and the chain of command goes down to the bottom of the pyramid. Church members are at the bottom of the pyramid and the bottom of the chain of command.

    The difference is instead of having a pyramid with the convention at the top chruches below and church members at the bottom of the pyramid. We have an upside down pyramid. Chruch members rule their own church and churches rule the conventions they are a member of.
     
  9. lgpruitt

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    I'm not sure I truly understand how the conventions work myself.....
     
    #9 lgpruitt, Jun 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2006
  10. DeeJay

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    If our conventions are going away from God then it is our fault. We are in charge of our conventions.

    See my post above.
     
  11. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Psalm 100

    In a nutshell:

    The SBC is an voluntary organization of churches that have unified primarily for the purpose of missions. Although the national covention has no control over a single church, it is suppose to express the consensus of the local churches through the election of leaders, and distribution of funds.

    In addition to missions, the SBC funds 6 Seminaries and a few other oganizations through what is called the "Cooperative Program". This is a fund to which local churches voluntarily contribute. Each church is allowed to send "messengers" to the National Convention, based on how much money they give to the Cooperative program. These messengers elect the leaders of the Convention. The SBC leaders appoint trustees to the Seminaries, who hire the adminstration of the Seminaries, who hire the professors of the Seminaries, who train the pastors for the churches and missionaries for the mission field.

    Thirty years ago, most of the professors in the Seminaries took a very "liberal" or "critical" approach to key doctrines such as the authority of Scripture, the Nature and Person of Jesus Christ, the historical accuracy of the resurrection, etc. The problem was that local church membership held, primarily, conservative views on those issues.

    For example, at the Seminary I attended, the professor of spiritual formation; who was removed just a year or so before I arrived; had a large painting of "mother goddess" on his office wall. This man is currently the pastor a church which advocates homosexual marriage among other things.

    Beginning in the late 1970's, a group of pastors, primarily, started working together to change the course of the SBC, through the election of conservative minded officers at the national level. These men informed the local congregations of the condition of the Seminaries (primarily), and through the democratic process, appointed trustees of like minded beliefs. Most people would agree the Seminaries have moved considerably into the conservative mainstream of the local congregations.

    As best as I can tell, there are those in the SBC who believe the conservatives may have pushed too far into the "Calvinistic" camp, among other things. This election, apparantly, was seen as shift back toward a more moderate position. The leaders of the Convention do provide critical leadership and direction for the convention.

    As someone once said, "politics is sort of like making sausage. You don't want to see the process, only the outcome", or words to that effect. In an organization as large as the SBC, this process allows for a concentrated effort in missions and education.

    peace to you:praise:
     
  12. Magnetic Poles

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    Like any organization, somebody has to do the mundane business. The scriptures don't make calls or pay bills.

    BTW, SBC churches ARE independently and locally run. They just affiliate with the SBC as free, independent bodies. The SBC doesn't run them.
     
  13. Joseph M. Smith

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    While I think that your nutshell report is on the whole accurate, I have to dispute the notion that the seminary faculties of thirty or more years ago were "liberal". Critical, yes, in the proper sense of the term -- that is, open to examining things from a careful perspective without a priori assumptions. But not liberal. Obviously I do not know about every single professor, but I know of no disputing the resurrection, no disagreement on Christology, no discounting the need for human beings to be redeemed. But the notion of inerrancy as a litmus test was certainly not applied.

    I would argue that we need for our seminary faculty to be on the cutting edge, ahead of our congregations and their sentiments. Leaders may need to be in touch with and sympathetic to their constituencies, but unless they are ahead of them, they are not leaders! I wanted, expected, and received more from my professors at Southern Seminary in the 1960's than I had already obtained from Sunday School!

    Let us also consider that inerrancy was cynically selected by the bloc that became the "conservative takeover" as something they knew the average Southern Baptist layman and pastor would rally to. In other words, the movement was not about protecting the Bible; it was about using the mantra of Biblical inerrancy as a way to rally the troops for power.
     
  14. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Joseph Smith

    I cannot tell you about Southern in the 1960's. I did know a man who had a PhD from Southern from the 1980's. He told me once that he "disagreed with Paul's interpretation of the Old Testament" as we discussed some issue of scripture. He didn't dispute what Paul was teaching, only making his opinion equal to (or better than) Paul's. He could not/would not do that if he held to the inspiration and authority of scripture. I am certain he considered himself on the cutting edge of something.

    Just a couple of things about what you said. I would be careful to assume you know the motivations of the men who rallied the convention to the conservative cause. You believe it was a power grab. They have stated otherwise. They have given me no reason to doubt what they said to be their motivation, so I accept it was a desire to protect the authority of scripture.

    I am not sure what you mean by seminary faculty being "ahead of" our congregations and their sentiments. If you mean a demonstrated lifetime of dedication to the cause of Christ, then I might tend to agree. If you mean trying to learn from and/or appropriate and/or harmonize the views of those who are hostile to the cause of Christ (yes, I mean those who deny the authority of scripture among other things), then I strongly disagree.

    peace to you:praise:
     
  15. Joseph M. Smith

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    I expect we are both going to be arguing from our own experiences and from anecdotal information. It was because of that that I snipped out your story about someone with a "Mother Goddess" picture on the wall. It is not that I disbelieve that, but would consider that an aberration, from which it would not be valid to generalize. Similarly, your story of a PhD who disagreed with Paul seems idiosyncratic to me; the posture of the seminary has been, as I experienced it (anecdotes of a sort again) to be one in which the thought-world of the Bible was affirmed as a given. That did not mean that we did not examine Paul's thought critically.

    As I speak about motives, I am referring primarily to those things that some of us heard, felt, and saw during the years of the takeover ... and largely to the article that James L. Sullivan, President of the Sunday School Board, wrote about how he had been told by architects of the takeover that they were looking for an issue around which they could rally Southern Baptist people because they felt they had been shut out of SBC positions. They told Dr. Sullivan that they had decided it would be easy to rally the troops around Biblical inerrancy, because average Baptists had always given at least lip service to the Bible as the revealed word of God. So it was, at that point, a cynical decision to manipulate the feelings of the masses of Southern Baptists by alleging that the professors in our seminaries and the executives of our agencies "did not believe the Bible".

    I have always found, among those of us who cannot in good conscience take the inerrancy line, nonetheless a serious examination of the Scripture and a passion to teach and preach its full counsel. When I speak of seminary professors being ahead of the people in the pew, I mean that they need to be free to explore new ideas, read all sorts of scholarship from a wide range of points of view, and then lead pastors to learn to think critically about spiritual issues.

    In my own pastoral practice, I have found people hungry for and eager to absorb critical scholarship about the Bible. Right now I have a class of very able students to whom I am giving lots of material about epistemology, archaeology, comparative anthropology, etc., all couched in terms of understanding the Scriptures. And we are not doing it just to be academic nerds, either; we are working on understanding the Bible's origins, thought-world, and patterns in order to be better equipped for witness.

    I know that at the age of 68 I will probably not see the SBC return to the days of a broader tent, nor its seminaries return to a less polemic approach. But I do count it a measure of hope if the new president is not interested in belittling or excluding other viewpoints. We'll see.

    Enough of my soapbox! Got to go finish preparing to preach tomorrow!
     
  16. Cailiosa

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    I don't know a whole lot about SBC, but perhaps the people who have been telling me about it have been biased against it. I still don't think that we should be under any sort of committee of men, but everyones comments have allowed me to see a side that I had not seen before. Thank you.
     
  17. canadyjd

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    Joseph Smith

    May God bless you and your congregation with His Spirit during your services tomorrow.

    peace to you:praise:
     

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