Rethinking Our Southern Baptist Anti-Non-Calvinist Partnership

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    At the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Houston, Robin Foster asked an excellent question of Kevin Ezell during his North American Mission Board report: “After seeing last night that word was put out that we work together with Acts 29 and that we have partnerships, could you clarify that and also define exactly if there is any partnership formally or informally and how do we work with them if we do?”

    Ezell began his response dismissively with, “That’s the absolute first time I’ve ever been asked that,” before recovering with, “I do appreciate your question.” For good reason, Ezell has been inundated with requests asking him to justify the unequal partnership discriminating against Non-Calvinists:

    Although Southern Baptists are willing to accept into our membership ALL Acts 29 Pastors who affirm the BFM 2000, the Acts 29 Network is UNWILLING to accept into their membership ALL SBC Pastors who affirm the BFM 2000.

    Ezell explained our partnership: “We plant Southern Baptist Churches. Our church planters are expected to endorse The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and give to the Cooperative Program. We don’t ask questions necessarily about what type of conferences they go to or what type of support networks that they might be a part of.” Along with many others, I believe we should.

    While conference attendance is irrelevant, I believe we must ask about their support networks. When we plant such churches, we enter into a financial partnership with a distinct religious organization whose beliefs clearly differ from ours. The SBC has labored to remain soteriologically inclusive. Why then should we partner with a network that is soteriologically exclusive?

    Many Southern Baptists may be unaware that the doctrinal statement of Acts 29 excludes Non-Calvinists. According to their website, “Churches planted from within the Acts 29 network are expected to agree to the doctrine and mission of our network.” Among those doctrinal statements that exclude some Non-Calvinists is an affirmation of total inability found in the statement, “Sin has totally affected all of creation including marring human image and likeness so that all of our being is stained by sin (e.g. reasoning, desires, and emotions).” Their view of election implies that it is unconditional: “We believe that the salvation of the elect was predestined by God in eternity past.” The context makes it clear that this is not simply a foreknowledge type of election, but a predetermined type. Even more clear is their position on irresistible grace: “We believe that God’s saving grace is ultimately irresistible.” Clearly, these positions are much more narrow than those found in the BFM 2000.

    Groucho Marx once said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me for a member.” My concern is almost the reverse: “I refuse to pay for any network that would NOT have me for a member.” Make no mistake—when we partner with another organization, we are not only supporting our own. We are also supporting theirs. Many organizations have begun such partnerships believing they were using the other party to promote their own interests, only to discover later that the other party was actually using them instead.

    Why would any of my Calvinist brothers ask me to support financially a network with a Statement of Faith that not only excludes me personally, but also contradicts The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 on the significant matter of soteriological neutrality, the very issue we are making a special effort to address in Southern Baptist life with such sensitivity and grace?

    http://sbctoday.com/2013/06/21/rethinking-our-southern-baptist-anti-non-calvinist-partnership/
     
  2. Mexdeaf

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    Interesting, but simply nit-picking, as I see it.
     
  3. 12strings

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    Anyone who follows the link should read the comments that follow, as there develops a discussion about the opposite situation...CP money going to support local associations that deny Calvinist church planters financial support...raising the opposite question: "Should Calvinists be concerned about supporting such things?"
     
  4. Mexdeaf

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    Most DoG people that I know cooperate with and support non-DoG people. I personally do not ask the missionaries that I support if they believe in the DoG or not. I'm supporting their call and vision.
     
  5. PeterM

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    As I see it, the churches are at the top of the food chain... not the denominational entities, networks, or associations. Those things are outflows of our churches, not the other way around. If Acts 29 is exclusively Reformed, that's their decision. Those in the SBC who fit can be a part of Acts 29 if they so choose to do so. If an Acts 29 pastor/church plant wishes to be a part of the SBC, they should be able to do so without reservation.

    I'm not seeing the dichotomy... SBC is and has never been an Arminian only association. Why should it be now? Acts 29, birthed from the heart of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, is Reformed. OK great! If a church chooses to support the CP or Acts 29... or both, that's perfectly fine. If a local association chooses plant 1 or more Acts 29 churches, that's fine as well. From what I'm seeing, SBC might learn a thing or 2 from Acts 29... and yes, I'm sure the same is also true in reverse.

    Seems as though we're looking for divisiveness rather than preserving unity.
     
  6. 12strings

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    I agree with PeterM. It seems as thought the article author is somehow operating under the mistaken premise that the SBC owns the church that is planting, and that if the SBC puts money into a church, then the church is obligated to then follow certain guideines indefinitely, or even to remain as a cooperating church. But it isn't. It's still an autonamous church, that could decide at its beginning to partner with SBC and Acts 29...then later decide not to partner with either one, or both.

    Also, If any SBC entity or person, is looking at a church plant investment primarily as a way to have another CP contributing church in the future, then the motivation is all wrong. If every NAMB-sponsored church plant for the next 20 years decided after getting on its feet to cease supporting the Cooperative program, but continued in faithful Gospel ministry that saw people saved, missionaries sent, and lives changed, then SBC Baptists should REJOICE that God's mission is going forth! (and perhaps look inward as to why nobody wants to support the CP anymore).

    Also, this kind of thing goes on in both directions all the time within the SBC...Calvinist churches contribute to CP, which goes to associations and Colleges where calvinists are not welcome.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    The issue in the article is whether the convention would partner with Acts 29. Ezel is saying that since Acts 29 will not associate with non cals then the convention should not cooperate with them. I find it weird that is somehow an offense to anyone.
     
  8. TadQueasy

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    Well said.
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    that begs the question...

    Cana Christian freely chose not to associate with other Christians who hold differeing views?
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    You are going to have to explain what you mean by this.
     
  11. Yeshua1

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    As long as the other group not practicing or holding to doctrines that are outside what are seen as being within orthodox views, can a Christian group distance itself from another on biblical grounds?

    just because another church/group holds to non cal views, does the bible condone distancing yourself?
     
  12. Aaron

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    Calvinism and Noncalvinism are mutually exclusive doctrines. Calvinists and Noncalvinists can be friends, but its foolish to think they can work together. It's time to fess up and just accept the reality of the situation and move on. Stop trying to mix them.
     
  13. Yeshua1

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    Si we keep the unity among the betren by dividing ourselves up?
     
  14. quantumfaith

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    I agree, it is rare when either one can be comfortable in the opposing situation. It takes a remarkably patient, wise, confident and mature person to be involved with a congregation that differs greatly from ones own theological proclivities.
    But it is also problematic to practice theological apartheid.
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    If they are going to exclude non cals that is reason enough not to partner with them. The convention is made up of cals and non cals. Therefore anyone the convention partners with needs to do the same.

    And you still have not explained your begging the question claim.
     
  16. Yeshua1

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    I was referring to those who would see it being acceptable to practice distencing ourselves off from other betren who held differing beliefs from us!

    Not a SBC, but question was if a group could even biblically practice exclusionof non cals just due to them being non cals in belief?

    think we are in agreement on this, aren't you saying thats it is wrong for that group to exclude non cals just based upon that?
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    They have every right to exclude whom ever they want. That is not the issue. What the issue is, is whether CP funds should rightly be going to an organization that excludes non cals. It is about where CP funds get distributed. And it is tremendously wrong to support that type of exclusion.
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    I agree with that!
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    Ok then I do not get what you meant by "begging the question".
     
  20. Yeshua1

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    why would be OK to have funding for a group that excludes non cals, as those who see that as being wrong should be able to NOT financially supporting the group doing that!
     

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