Friday, January 12, 2007

Membership resolution redux

This is really curious. Last summer in Greensboro, after my failed attempt to have the Southern Baptist Convention consider my resolution on integrity in church membership, I was kindly admonished by a representative of an denominational executive. He said something like this, "When you spoke against the resolution #5 just before you argued your point about the membership resolution, you made a disastrous political mistake, all but guaranteeing the failure of your motion."

He is partially right. I have never been very good at political calculus and I knew that my speaking against resolution #5 would be interpreted by some as advocating the consumption of beverage alcohol (and, boy, did I ever underestimate just how many would do that!). However, a political mistake implies a political agenda, and I have none. I spoke out on that resolution because I was convinced that the sufficiency of God's Holy Word was being undermined. Good men, including some for whom I have the utmost respect, disagree. But I did what I do out of conviction--not about booze, but about God's Word. No doubt the alcohol issue confused the membership issue for some and maybe even many messengers. Nevertheless, consequences belong to God.

In a strange twist of providence, something similar is happening again. I had planned to post on the "state of the resolution" this week. I have had lots of conversations about this recently and planned to post on the issue Wednesday. But then Dr. Sullivan's article came out (see my previous blog post) and I was compelled to address it.

Last year at the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention that met in Greensboro, NC I had hoped to have a resolution on integrity in church membership set before the messengers for a vote. That did not happen due to the Resolutions Committee's decision not to bring my resolution out of their committee. I was able to appeal to the moderator from the floor to have the messengers vote on the resolution's decision. Dr. Welch, the President and presiding officer of that convention, graciously allowed me to read the resolution from the floor. The committee, of course, spoke from the platform against overturning their decision and the vote failed. I have written about this here, here, here, here and here.

I recently was interviewed by American Family Radio about the membership resolution and my intention to resubmit it this year. You can read part of what I said in this Agape Press article. You can hear part of it here (don't be fooled, however, the church I serve is in Cape Coral, not Coral Gables; that's a common confusion :-) ). On Wednesday, January 17, 2007, I am scheduled to be on Mike Corley's show on WQBC radio out of Vicksburg, MS to discuss this issue.

Many people have asked me if I plan to resubmit the resolution at this year's convention in San Antonio. The answer is yes. And, if it does not pass, I plan to submit it again in 2008. If that does not pass, I plan to do so again in 2009. You get the picture. In other words, I have taken a page out our esteemed Southern Baptist Convention Second Vice President's playbook. If this resolution doesn't get approved soon, people may well start calling me "Wiley." :-)

Do I think that this resolution will be passed by the convention? That's a good question. I do think that the SBC will approve some kind of resolution on membership, maybe this year. My fear is this: I am concerned that all of the embarrassment over this issue will cause the powers that be to come up with a watered-down version of the resolution that will be brought out of the resolutions committee to the convention floor--something like, "we ought to do better." If that happens, I will be prepared to offer an amendment to strengthen it.

This issue is important. I have not talked to one person who thinks that it is a good idea to have 8 million or more inactive members on our church rolls. I know that Tommy French indicated from the platform in Greensboro that it was a good thing to keep them on the role because they are good evangelism prospects, but I don't think he really believes that. All of the Southern Baptists to whom I have talked know that this is not a good statistic. What I don't think most see is just how serious this situation is. It is spiritually deadly. It is blasphemous. It shows a fear of man that far exceeds any fear of God. It betrays a fundamental unbelief of the Bible--exposing loud proclamations about inerrancy and infallibility as meaningless. It exposes a lack of love for Jesus Christ, who said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." It is a hindrance to spiritual vitality and even spiritual life in our churches. It sends people to hell with a decision card in their pockets and their names on a church roll. Therefore, this situation--millions of unregenerate church members--is a barrier to any revival or reformation that we desperately need and for which we have been called to pray.

Will a resolution affect any change? No, not in itself. Despite what some denominational executives might suggest, resolutions are not binding. But they can raise important issues and provide reference points for denominational dialogue. When they call attention to long-neglected biblical commands and principles, they might even be used of God to encourage humility and repentance. Pray that this would be the case.


GeneMBridges said...

Oh that Brother Jim Eliff could preach a sermon on this subject at the Pastor's Conference. Seeing as that's just not likely to happen, perhaps you could talk to the folks planning the Young Leaders Conference (assuming there will be one) and he or you could bring a sermon on this.

I admire your tenacity. If I could be there with you, I would be there. You know how dear to my heart this resolution is. I do think you're correct, if it goes through this year, it will be watered down to "we need to do better," and you'll be having to ask for amendments from the floor - for your own resolution no less. *sigh*

One of the problems I see is the way this issue is viewed by the messengers. Dr. Ed Young touched on this briefly in his sermon at the Pastor's Conference as I recall, and made a comment about some of the people on the rolls being dead (as in in their literal graves), not just being truant and difficult to find. It's become a running gag. People hear it, know there's a problem, but giggle a bit because it's so common that there's little else to do from their point of view. It's rather like "Throw your hands in the air and give" syndrome.

It also doesn't help that there's a theology of "eternal security" out there with no doctrine of perseverance to back it up. I've had chats with some of the folks in the SBC on this, and they just can't see why we'd practice church discipline. As long as they believe in Jesus (as in believe some facts about him) they're Christians, and they might not ever bear fruit. I call this Zane Hodges Gone Wild! It's its own infomercial, isn't it?

We're talking a lot about Baptist principles these days: religious liberty, priesthood of believers, soul competency, local church autonomy, freedom to disagree within the confessional boundaries set - but what nobody seems to realize is that none of this is of any use without THE key Baptist principle: a regenerate church membership in the local church.

Brian Hamrick said...

Praise God for your resolve! And if you ever get discouraged about this, remember what Wilberforce went through to abolish slavery. I think his bill was defeated something 5-6 times before passing.

Ben said...


I've wondered if the defeat of the resolution last year, and even its juxtaposition with Resolution #5, might not have been a providential hand at work. Had your resolution passed, then folks might have been able to sweep the issue under the rug as if it had been dealt with. (Kind of like what happens with new converts after baptism.)

The fact that it failed means that the conversation continues, and the issue lives so that more people can grasp its significance. Those who continue to oppose it are forced to deal with the issue or willfully choose a diluted view of the gospel and the church.

So I don't wish for its failure again, but I can see how that might be beneficial in the long run. And I'm not usually a glass-half-full kind of guy.

Tom said...


Well put!


Thanks for the encouragement. I do not possess 1/100th of Wilberforce's statesmanship or spirituality, but I can be hard-headed!


I think you are exactly right! But, heed a word of careful, or you might find yourself being invited to address the optimists' club!

DoGLover said...

Tom, you don't need a political agenda to make a political mistake. You experienced a verbal shooting of the messenger (pun intended). I'd guess that many messengers voted against "that liquor feller," or in support of the committee, rather than the actual content of the resolution.

Unfortunately, the convention is a political arena. Therefore, some level of politics is necessary to communicate effectively. Your best bet is to find a listening ear on the resolutions committee who will help you word the resolution without compromising its intent (not that there's anything wrong with it now) in such a way that the committee will endorse it on your behalf. With their approval, it should pass. Gene makes an important point to invite/encourage key leaders to speak out on the subject. Lots of resolutions pass that produce no resolve. The point is to change people, not paper.

BTW, the biggest bone of contention in my church has been over trying to practice discipline. They tolerate license because they fear legalism. Holding a few folks accountable has been an uphill climb. I've gained some scars, but I've also seen God's faithfulness in the process. Some folks are actually glad to see me stand up to temper tantrums & hissy fits.

Give 'em heaven, Brother!

G. Alford said...

Don’t worry Tom… our Landmark Masters will clean everything up once they have completed their subjugation of all lesser Baptist in the SBC to their rule (insert smile face here). After this you can be sure the inflated numbers within the SBC will drop significantly.

All kidding aside… I am 100% behind your resolution brother.

art rogers said...

Well, you know how I feel about it.

Speaking of which, a resolution's power lies in the publicity it garners and that's all. It made an impact on me, regardless of what the committee or convention said about it. In that respect, is is mostly irrelevant if anyone actually passes it. That the issue is brought before us is what is important.

Still, I'll vote for it, if I get the chance. I think the Resolutions Committee may be a little more receptive this year, under Frank Page. If not this year, next - assuming Frank is re-elected.


Keith said...

Great post, Tom. I especially liked Tommy French's statement: it was a good thing to keep them [inactive members] on the role (sic) because they are good evangelism prospects... Was he serious?!

I personally know of a church that found "members" on their roll that had been deceased for years. Highly unlikely that THEY are prospects.

Hang in there! Looking forward to hearing the resolution brought before the 2007 SBC.

kingofbleh said...

Average uninformed Baptist layman speaking here -

Wouldn't the practice of leaving inactive members on the rolls because they are good "prospect" lower member status to the same level as prospect status? Given that logic, why not go ahead and add all of our prospects to the roll? For that matter, since we practice Acts 1:8 outreach, why not just copy the entire phone books into the church roll? Imagine! My own church's roll would go from 4,000 to 86,000 overnight. Talk about purpose-driven growth!!!

GeneMBridges said...

Brother Art has a good point. On the other hand, if the FL Convention goes the extra mile to make a resolution binding as policy, then might I suggest, given the tenor of the SBTC that they take a cue from the FLBC and do the same if Brother Tom's resolution passes. Ditto with the FLBC. After all, if teatotaler theology (not just praxis) is a good idea, how much more the right practice of discipline. How about a policy that no church with less than 75 percent of its members showing up any given Sunday cannot provide nominees for trustee boards?

My point is that is that's the way they want to play with Resolution 5, then why not do the same with a Resolution like this? That's what you get, though, when you start down that path.

Brian Hamrick said...


Are you going with exact wording, or could you add a clause such as this that presupposes a rebuttal:

"Whereas, to call someone a member is to consider their claim of salvation by grace and a member of Christ's body, and not an evangelistic prospect..."

Brian Hamrick said...

exact wording= exact wording of 2006 resolution

scripturesearcher said...

Regarding what we Christians are to believe (our doctrines) and how we are to behave (our deportment)~~~

Where the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative Book of God speaks ~ His children must always SPEAK ~ clearly, continually, courageously and consistently.

Where the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative Book of God is silent ~ His children should remain SILENT and not try to
make human traditions the authority
of God.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Keith,

Yes, he was serious.

Dr. A is being very kind about Dr. French's comment. I do not give him so much slack. He is a long-time Baptist pastor and denominational leader. He should at least know something about Baptist (that is, Biblical) ecclesiology. His comment that we should not remove absentee members from our rolls showed an acute lack of understanding of the church. He even invented a new term, "reclamation evangelism" to describe his approach to absentee members. Wow!

I hope and pray that Dr. A's excellent resolution and Dr. F's unbelievably ignorant response has moved many Baptists to hit the books (especially The Book)to re-learn some lessons they evidently had forgotten.

Love in Christ,


willreformed said...

Brother Tom
Genembridges in a previous post said "THE key Baptist principle: a regenerate church membership in the local church."

I agree wholeheartedly. However I do not believe that SBD leadership or the majority of SBC Pastors believe this.

There are two pressure points that Pastors get offtrack on: 1. How many baptisms did I have last year
2. How many members do I have?

Please continue your leadership role.

pateimus said...

Many people say as you do that those who want to enforce total abstinence of alcohol are, "Good men, including some for whom I have the utmost respect, disagree." In the sentence before that you said that they undermine the Word of God when said persons enforce their rules of alcohol abstinence without warrant. I am finding it impossible to have the "utmost respect" for those who undermine the Word of God in such ways bringing their own cultural convictions upon others, whether they are denominational leaders or not. Actually it makes it harder for me to take them as correct in other matters of greater or lesser weight when they get a question that is so clear so wrong.

Thanks for your blogs, I enjoy them and are encouraged by them immensely.

Tom said...


You are correct. Someone has rightly noted that the issue of unregenerate church members has probably received more attention because of the failed attempt than it would have had the resolution passed. God is a God of providence.


I will change the language to update the stats, and may refine the language a little, but basically it will hit the same points.


I do sincerely believe that about Tommy French. I had hoped that he and I could issue a joint statement acknowledging that it is not a good idea to keep unregenerate people on our church rolls. Unfortunately, that has not happened, yet.


Gene has nailed it, hasn't he? You, too, have put your finger on evidence of a deeper problem that has gotten us into this mess--spiritual pride and a fear of man that far surpasses a fear of God.


I understand where you are coming from. My statement is reflective of the sober awareness that sin has so profoundly affected our minds that good men can disagree on things that seem so blatantly clear to me. That keeps me from writing off those who disagree with me on issues like this, and hopefully, will keep them from writing those of us on this side of the aisle off, as well. We cannot both be right, and each will have to give an account to the Lord for how we have regarded His Word. I know men who believe this just as strongly as I do who disagree with me on this issue. Sin has radically affected all of our minds. Otherwise, we would all agree.

Kevin Rhyne said...


While I find myself trending toward your sentiment, I have to check the judgmentalism of my own heart. None of us has perfectly consistent doctrine, either in belief or practice.

Whether we agree with a person on any one issue or not does not negate our responsiblity to test all things and cling to what is good. The fact that someone takes a position that imposes extra-biblical regulations, like Resolution #5, does not equate with error on other issues. They may be in error on other issues, but one does not necessarily lead to the other.

We all have traditions. Some public, some not so public. Some of us just admit it and strive to conform our practice to the obedience of God's Word, alone. I know that I fail in that goal more often than I care to admit.

Denny Burk said...

Dear Dr. Ascol,

Thanks for the concern over this very important issue. Did you hear about the conference at Southwestern Seminary titled, “Maintaining the Integrity of a Local Church in a Seeker Sensitive World: The Baptist Perspective on Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Church Discipline"?

You can read about it on SWBTS's website and at Baptist Press “Baptists must reclaim church discipline."

It's seems like you should be able to enlist some of the men from this conference in the cause. I hope to be in San Antonio this summer, and I will certainly vote for such a resolution.

Denny Burk
Assistant Professor of New Testament
Criswell College

Caddiechaplain said...

You nailed it dude! It's called "Jahave, Jarun" syndrome. What "jahave" in worship. . . what "jarun" in Sunday School? . . . . It's why our Conventions have more messengers in the hallways, rather than in the meeting hall. And, by the way, those same Pastor types always carry with them an updated resume to boot.

B Nettles said...

So many pastors miss the irony of the numbers game. One church bulletin promoting a special event with an out of town pastor of a large church in Texas had the following, presumably provided by the speaker (or possibly rewritten by the publisher): Dr. [XXXXXX] will be guest speaker at this year’s Beast Feast [a men's event]. He has led [church] from 16 members in 1966 to over 16,000 today. Weekly attendance exceeds 5,000 and annual offerings exceed $12 million.
My questions: Where are the other 11,00 each week? And should I be impressed with $750/person/year?

And this is PUBLICITY for this guy. Oh, my.

I'd much rather hear from a guy who has been pastoring his church of 120 members for seven years and has 250 in attendance every week.

B Nettles said...


Where are the other 11,000 each week?

Tom Bryant said...

Thanks for keeping this in front of us. I can understand the reluctance on the alcohol resolution - indeed, I share it - but there ought to be only support of this resolution.

Joseph Botwinick said...


I think I pretty much agree with you and will keep praying that the SBC will open their eyes to the truth staring them in the face on this. I would ask, however, if you could define "inactive" church members a bit more precisely for me. Does this mean all those who are not in Church on a weekly basis? Would there be any exceptions in your resolution for those who are homebound?

Brian Hamrick said...


the original resolution is clear enough that church discipline is being called for- which of course, is the loving, Biblical response to sin.

Since the genuinely homebound are not in sin by missing church services, I think it is clear enough they are not being implicated here.

Not one person I know of calling for membership reform has ever suggested it in a way that fails to show mercy to these providentially-hindered saints.

Joseph Botwinick said...

"Not one person I know of calling for membership reform has ever suggested it in a way that fails to show mercy to these providentially-hindered saints."

Thank you for the response. I agree.

Betsy said...

"It sends people to hell with a decision card in their pockets and their names on a church roll."

Don't you all believe that no one is in hell or heading for hell who isn't supposed to be there? So these people are either gonna become regnerated at some point or they were never meant to be regenerated to begin with. I completely agree that we need to get inactive members off the roles. This statement seems to imply that inactive members are in danger of thinking they're really saved when they're not and will go to hell without getting it straight if we don't straighten them out. That's a nonCalvinist argument. If they're elect nothing's gonna stop them from being saved no matter what their membership status.

Tom said...


Brian said it very well. Thanks, Brian!

Tom said...


You don't understand Calvinism. Calvinism is nothing more than an attempt to take the Bible seriously and to not be afraid of any verses in the Bible. This means that we also take those verses about deception and false conversion very seriously--more seriously, it appears, than our more Armenian brothers and sisters whose evangelism is responsible for our bloated church rolls.


Betsy said...

First I stated that I agree with you about the issue of bloated rolls. Prospects should be on a prospect list not on a membership list.

Now perhaps since I don't understand Calvinism you'll help me clear up my thinking. Are you saying people on the "bloated rolls" who think they're saved and aren't really saved are in risk of going to hell if we don't correct their thinking? Doesn't Calvinism teach that if one is elect there is no danger of them going to hell? Therefore the issue isn't really about whether someone is going to hell since that's already been determined, but more of an issue of deception.

Tom said...


I will try to answer your questions:

"Are you saying people on the "bloated rolls" who think they're saved and aren't really saved are in risk of going to hell if we don't correct their thinking?"

Not exactly. I am saying that those who are not saved will go to hell regardless of whether or not they are on a church roll. Their thinking is only part of their problem. They need to be converted, which involves not only their understandings but their affections and wills as well.

"Doesn't Calvinism teach that if one is elect there is no danger of them going to hell?"

Well, that depends on what you mean by "danger." Election is not conversion, it is "unto" conversion. The elect will be converted but not apart from the means of conversion that God has appointed--namely, through repentance and faith in Christ. If someone thinks he or she is converted without possessing saving faith and repentance, that person is deceived and needs to be disabused of his or her false and assurance and, more importantly, needs to be evangelized, whether or not he or she is elect. Again, the elect are not saved apart from repentance and faith.

"Therefore the issue isn't really about whether someone is going to hell since that's already been determined, but more of an issue of deception."

No. It is an issue of heaven and hell, precisely for the reasons I gave above. If this doesn't make sense to you, I would submit that it is similar to affirming the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ at the same time. Our Jehovah's Witness friends say that this affirmation doesn't make sense--it must be either one or the other. We respond, the Bible teaches both, therefore we believe both.

That's what Calvinism teaches--that God is completely sovereign and man is completely responsible in salvation. We believe both because the Bible teaches both.

To sum up: the elect will be saved, but not without being converted to Jesus Christ.


Kevin Rhyne said...


Another point I would add would be that from a human standpoint we do not know who the elect are. There is no appendix in the back of my Bible with a golden list of those whom God has chosen. That list is part of the secret counsel of God's will.

Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit has given us commands through Scripture about the fruit we are supposed to show if we are truly in Christ. A Christian's whole life is repentance from sin and faith in Christ alone that is expressed in obedience to Christ's commands.

The membership issue is important from a Calvinist perspective for, at least, the fact that church attendance is one of the "means of grace" God has given to preserve the saints. Those who do not persevere in the faith to the end will not enter heaven. Therefore, I want to see light shown on that issue so that we will all be spurred on to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling BECAUSE it is God who works in us to will and to work according to His good pleasure. That's Calvinism, we work because God is working. He gets the glory, we get the benefit.

Tony said...

Thank you Dr. Ascol for your persistence in this matter.

Maybe the SBC would be willing to take those off of the role that disagree with resolution #5:) .

But seriously I think that there is more politics than we realize in a resolution on church membership. If it was taken seriously what would the next days papers say about 8,000,000+ people leaving Southern Baptist Churches, never mind that they were not there before so they did not rally leave The numbers game is a dangerous one and the SBC may be in too deep and we may not be willing to humble ourselves before the unrelenting press.

I realize that this is a rather negative view of the SBC leadership and the many that follow blindly but as with many things political it is hard to change course unless someone else is in charge of the rudder. The positive thing is that people like Dr. Ascol are willing to speak up and be persistent and over time I pray people will see the wisdom in his resolution.

Having not grown up Baptist or any other denomination, unless you paganism a denomination, I struggle when I see men who claim to be different from the world look so much like it. I realize we are sinners but should not an organization of believers be different. I pray that the Holy Spirit will work in the leadership and future leadership of the SBC so that biblical change will come and that men like Dr. Ascol will remain steadfast.

Again than you Dr. Ascol.

GeneMBridges said...

For not only Betsy, but all others. This isn't a Calvinist issue. Rather, it's a gospel issue.

1. Scripture enjoins us to church discipline. Likewise the assembling of ourselves together and placing of men and women under the teaching and nuture of elders in a local church is as much part of the NT pattern for "doing church" as baptism and the Lord's Supper.

2. Second, unless you believe that person can go through life without bearing any fruit of the Spirit whatsover after conversion - a view I might add that is out there in some quarters - you have to believe that we are justified by faith alone but, like Luther said, the faith that justifies is never alone.

3. Ergo, if somebody out there has made a profession of faith and joined your local church and isn't showing up then, yes, there is a real possibility that they could be unregenerate.

4. But, we extend the judgment of charity to anybody giving a credible profession of faith. You don't "treat them as an unbeliever" until the last phase of church discipline. We aren't advocating a church just lop off all the truants without either (a) seeing if they are members elsewhere - and if so, why are they still on our rolls? Sometimes the fault is our own for not recording transfers of letter (b) seeing if they've moved away and are still members (in which case your church is responsible for helping them find a new church if they have not yet done so- a little factoid we sometimes forget and (c) seeing if they are backslidden. This last one is where we put them through "church discipline." In the other two, you correct your own shortcomings or help the person who has moved away find a new church home. As long as they are a member, they are within the scope of what they used to call your "discipline," e.g. your responsibility in terms of their growth, nuture, teaching, etc. If they are in the process of switching churches and are faithful there, that should be honored, but if they are there and do not transfer membership, one or both churches should make inquiry.

So, there's just some common sense here. We believe in a church membership that is regenerate, and we believe that we should take the well being of people seriously. We are to always act redemptively, extending the judgment of charity to them. Like others have said, we don't treat them as those for whom Christ did not die, rather we treat charitable as those for whom He did die but who are in need of reproof and correction. Only when all else fails do we "excommunicate" them...and when we do, we still, because of what happened, keep an eye on them with an admonition to repent, and, if they try to move to another church, we inform them through their pastor(s)(with appropriate documentation) of what has happened. My church has had to do this in the past with one couple. They were, of course, unhappy, but the church they were visiting was most appreciative and enjoined them to repent as well.
Again, this isn't a judgment of them, as much as it is the biblical model for us taking the precepts of our Lord seriously and acting redemptively toward those within our memberships. No church should just up and purge the rolls without carefully contacting each truant. Of course, for some of us that would literally number in the thousands (Churches with 20,000 members or more but less than half show up, what's up with that?!), but I won't go there for now.

Fred said...

Pro 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

Since the SBC has addressed the alcohol issue they might as well address overeating.

1.Be it resolved that all Baptists will now only be able to have one dessert.
2. Be it resolved that Sweet tea or beverages cannot be used in conjuction with a dessert for this would be excessive.
3. Be it resolved that no one can go back for seconds because this may offend the brother or sister who is trying to lose weight.
4. Be it resolved that Slim-fast cannot be used while consuming doughnuts.
5. Be it resolved that No filled doughnuts can be brought to fellowhips I mean fellowships.
6. Be it resolved that Caloric intake must be posted on all covered dishes.
7. Bet it resolved that church membership shall now include a BMI record.
8. Be it resolved that all members of churchs when visiting any institution must take the stairs.
9. Be it resolved that our members shall take note of those members who wheez while they walk.
10. Be it resolved that churchs require ATKINS training for new church membership.

Fred said...

Important Clarification: Article 7 and BMI. BMI should not be confused with BSU, BYW, BMEN, or BM. Please make note of this on all relative documents.

G. Alford said...

I loved your post!!!

Allow me to add just one...
11. Be it resolved that no glutton shall be allowed to serve on any SBC board of trustees.

Ouch, I just disqualified myself!

Biblically Reforming said...

while we're at it, might as well add another:

12. Be it resolved hereunto that no church shall be allowed into or be allowed to remain in the convention that does not use fat-free wafers and diet Grape-juice for the church's Lord's Supper.

Biblically Reforming said...

Brother Tom,

There's all sorts of disagreement within the SBC about things such as alcohol, especially as guys my age gain leadership and influence within the Convention, but I keep wondering, what are the core, basic ideas and theology that dictate the acceptance of the proposal of Resolution #5, and the rejection of your proposal regarding church membership?

Fred said...

13. Be it resolved that a member of the board cannot wear suspenders.

14. Be it resolved that no church shall consider a person for membership if said person has modified his belt by adding an extra hole.

Tom said...


Thanks, brother. I understand your sentiments completely. Thanks for the encouragement.

Thanks for the laugh...and for all the amendments added by others!

Biblically reforming:

Well, I don't know if I can answer your question with any authority, but here is my opinion. I think at its core the difference is view of the sufficiency of the Scripture. On the alcohol issue, many are scared that if you do not demonize booze, then you will open the door debauchery. Therefore, the reasoning goes, keep the door closed by calling drinking of any kind a sin.

On the regenerate church membership/church discipline issue, I think there is a fear that if we do what we know the Bible instructs to do at this point, our churches will be so radically different from what they currently are that there is a fear of what the result may be.

In both points, IMHO, the issue tends to be for many (perhaps not all) a crisis of unbelief in the real sufficiency of Scripture.

Rhett said...


Somehow I knew that was going to end up on the blogisphere!!!



Fred said...

Glad my post made you smile Tom. I've met all kinds of folks. Several years ago a Christian lady asked me if I drank anything with caffeine in it. I was not ready for this witnessing tactic so I said yes. She then preached to me and was convinced that I was struggling with drug addiction. Today, I am still a coffee drinker and would like to say that I'm in rehab and strenuously working through the 12 cup program.

johnMark said...


Why don't the Resolution 5 folks go all the way? I mean if your going to apply the slippery slope argument then:

Take a look at the influence the whole alcohol industry has on sports. No more Braves games for local SBC churches. (smile)


willreformed said...

Brother Tom/fellow Christians.
The irony of this is that the SBC is the only denomination that has reportably been able to change the tide from liberalism (the belief that Bible is not sufficient, inerrant, or reliable), to conservative (the belief that the Bible is sufficient, inerrant, and reliable). Having now changed the tide, we now, as espoused by the majority of SBC leaders I have heard speak, de facto state that the Bible is not sufficient. In fact, what we are doing is shaking our fist at God and saying "we know better".

In the meantime, genocide is occuring, abortion continues unabated, and we are facing an enemy in radical Islam that is going to try and eliminate us.

Thank you Lord that you are sovereign, and in spite of us, your Will will be done.