What Role Does the SBC Leadership Have in the Life of the Local Church?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Baptist_Pastor/Theologian, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

    Baptist_Pastor/Theologian
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    I want to offer this question for those who would care to input. There have been some recent criticism of the direction of the SBC and more specifically there have been personal attacks on those in SBC leadership. In two ways I would like to offer for discussion a question about the role of SBC leadership. The first pertains to the amount of authority the SBC leadership holds in the life of the church. The second relates to the amount of respect a SBC leader should warrant.

    I do not want to offer my final analysis without giving some of you here a chance to weigh in, but I will start off by suggesting that I do not think that many Baptist will agree nor should they agree that there is lack of autonomy for the local church. SBC churches are fully autonomous, that is they hold the authority to make decisions without the need to seek approval from a higher institutional authority. However, that does not mean that churches are independent. We as Christians are not independent of one another, we are interdependent. We are called to hold one another into account. We as Christians are all apart of the universal body of believers and therefore a part of invisible church. Therefore, I submit that while SBC leaders are not directly over the churches they serve, they are to be respected for the experience they have and the knowledge of the Lord they demonstrate. Inasmuch as the SBC leaders are God called men and women, they should also be respected for the fact that they serve the Lord.
     
  2. StraightAndNarrow

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    Well, they've caused a large number of local churches to disassociate themselves from the SBC. They've also caused a large number of former members of the SBC, like myself, to choose another Baptist group or another denomination. The latest word about another SBC battle for control reinforces, in my view, that the real reason for the split of the SBC were less about theology and more about a power struggle.
     
  3. Grasshopper

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    I suppose those in power 20 years ago would say the same thing.



    You must mean “we” as Baptists, not Christians. Otherwise the issue of a “private-prayer language” wouldn’t be an issue to the Joshua’s.




    Does this include those to whom we disagree? Do those not in leadership deserve the same? Are SBC leaders the only ones with experience and knowledge of the Lord?



    Except the ones that were thrown out 20 years ago? Except the ones who wish to not narrow the parameters of missionary qualifications? Is Wade Burleson not called?

    Sorry, but it seems that as long as we agree with you and your group everything’s OK, but if another point of view is held we are to be silent and kiss the foot of the SBC leadership. Is this the Catholic Board?
     
  4. gb93433

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    Neoptism runs rampant.

    http://www.txbc.org/2000Journals/Sept2000/Sept00politicalpower.htm

    "At the SBC level, relatives of Paige Patterson have been named to several posts: Chuck Kelley, Patterson's brother-in-law, to the presidency of New Orleans Baptist Seminary, to the Resolutions Committee, and to the Baptist Faith and Message study committee. Charles S. Kelley, Patterson's father-in-law, to the Midwestern Seminary Board; and Russell Kammerling, another brother-in-law of Patterson, as a trustee with the International Mission Board. Patterson's wife, Dorothy Patterson, was named to the 1997 Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee that proposed an addition to the 1963 document. "

    What do the SBC people think about such ethics?
     
  5. Grasshopper

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    Can you imagine if someone from the 'Memphis group" was elected SBC President and engaged in such things. I imagine this thread would have quite a different heading.:laugh:
     
  6. rbell

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    1. SBC leaders should serve as co-ordinators for missions efforts.
    2. They should keep us informed on how missions efforts are going, and how Baptists can help through others (e.g., giving, prayer, etc.) and directly (short-term and career missions).
    3. They should concentrate on helping the average Southern Baptist minister with resources to better reach the community which they serve.
    4. Their "default setting" is to not be involved in local church matters. Being a mediator when requested is fine. Speaking out against heresy is fine. But on local church, controversial or "gray" areas, SBC leadership should not inject themselves.
    Some SBC leaders do better than others, and its unfair to categorize them with one broad brush. Here are some general thoughts I have that apply to many (but not nearly all) SBC leaders:
    • The average SBC church is quite small. Most of the SBC leadership's focus seems to be on the large church. Get back to the small church focus! The big ones need you less anyway.
    • Quit equating numbers with success. I get so tired of getting all manners of Baptist publications (ESPECIALLY seminary mags) that brag on preachers who have seen incredible numerical growth. Sometimes, God sends amazing people out and they see nothing, numbers-wise (Paul was run out of town. Jeremiah, in numbers' sense, failed miserably, et al). Sometimes, Dr. Jimbo Bigchurch "grows" a church from 50 to 5,000 because he goes to a growing place, stays a while, and doesn't do anything stupid. Likewise, Rev. Sammy Smallchurch faithfully serves his little flock for decades with no accolades at all. Look past digits.
    • Quit talking about "Lifeway Christian Resources" as a ministry. It's a multi-million dollar, for-profit business. Don't get me wrong--I like Lifeway and buy stuff there. But it's not a ministry. And it's not infallible.
    • Quit being so thin-skinned. SBC leadership, believe it or not, can be wrong. Alabama had some state convention bigwigs a generation ago that were dyed-in-the-wool segregationalist bigots. We have a right to criticize folks when they're wrong. Just 'cause someone was right in 1985 doesn't mean they're always right now. And just because they "chose the right side" (I personally agree with much of the conservative resurgence, BTW) doesn't mean they always handled it the right way, or do today. It's possible to be right (inerrancy), but handle it wrong (being obnoxious).
    • Quit trivializing the resurgence of innerantist views of Scripture by making every single petty disagreement a "battle for the Bible." Those guys doing that are shooting themselves in the foot. When a true "battle for the Bible" occurs, no one will listen to the wolf-cryers.
    BPT says,
    I owe SBC leadership the respect I owe any other Christian. I see nothing more I owe them. They are not over me, authority-wise.

    Since when did holding an SBC office mean that someone automatically was "experienced" or had an amazing "knowledge of the Lord?" Maybe they got appointed by a buddy. Who knows?

    There's talk on this board of the small sub-population of IFB's that blindly follow certain leaders and launch into hysterics when any of them are questioned in any way. It would grieve me to see the SBC become like that. I saw just a glimpse of it at the Joshua thingy...the ad hominem attacks on those who blog:
    • "Some pastors need to put their hand over their mouth!" (Context: an indictment on those who criticize SBC leadership)
    • "These preachers that blog: when do they have time to pastor?" (Context: attack on pastors who do the blogging thing...questioning their integrity.)
    We need to guard against a cult-like following in the SBC--or the appearance of one!

    Now, on the Memphis side of things: there's no room at all for character assassinations, the spreading of rumors, unsubstantiated claims, or criticism of one's personhood (appearance, speaking style, etc.). Some of that has gone on, and I have a huge problem with it.

    But, if I see a guy leading ineffectively, or showing an ethical lapse (especially that one!), I'm going to speak up. And I feel absolutely no guilt in doing so. Whatsoever.

    But it comes back to what I've said a half-dozen times: This is a fight over non-essentials...and in a fight over non-essentials, Satan always comes out the winner.

    In summary, SBC leadership IMO are stewards for our missions efforts and resources. They are NOT authorities placed over us. They are owed the respect that the pastor of a 30 member church is owed by other Baptists. Nothing more.
     
    #6 rbell, Oct 1, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2006
  7. Tom Bryant

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    to go back to original question: none, really. They can suggest, urge, cajole, write me emails, send me dvd's, and call me on the phone, but each baptist church is autonomous, so they have the role we as a church give them which is to listen, ponder and then do as we think is best in our local situation.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    The Pressler/Patterson coalition knows all about personal attacks on the SBC leadership. They did it through most of the 1970s and 1980s. Of course now that their people are in charge, any minor criticism of what they do is seen as something ungodly.

    Autonomous = "self-governing; independent; subject to its own laws only"

    Actually, it does. That’s the plain meaning of the word “autonomous.”

    We are all part of the larger body of Christ and should work together where possible, whether we are SBC, BGCT, CBF, Methodist, Episcopalian, Disciples of Christ, etc.

    Yes, especially within our own denomination. That’s why both the bloggers and the Joshua folks should speak freely. The denominational leaders should be accountable to the larger body of believers.

    Yes.

    But if they are wrong, members of the Convention should not shrink back from speaking up.

    And of course, the Pressler/Patterson coalition did not respect the SBC leadership in the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

    But this should go for everyone, not just SBC leaders. Wade Burleson and the bloggers should also be respected for the fact that they serve the Lord.

    Patterson & Co. have directly created this charged political atmosphere through their actions over the last 30 years. They’ve sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind. God is not mocked.
     
  9. saturneptune

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    Well, it is amazing to me that as radically as you spoke against open communion in another thread, you now are bringing forth the concept of the universal church. Is not the foundation of closed communion the local church? Is not the foundation of open communion the universal church? So, BPT, which is it? It sounds like a direct confusion of doctrine, and not really knowing what your foundation is.
     
    #9 saturneptune, Oct 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2006
  10. El_Guero

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    It will take me awhile to digest this . . . and respond . . . .

     

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