Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008 Resolution on Integrity in Church Membership

Well, it's that time of year again...the flowers are blooming, school is ending and I am submitting my annual resolution on church membership to the Southern Baptist Convention's Resolutions Committee.

The first year I submitted it (2006), the Committee refused to bring it before the Convention in Greensboro because, as the chairman said, if we remove all those members of our churches who don't attend, we will lose some of our best evangelistic prospects. I was allowed to read my resolution on the floor of the convention, however, and request a vote to override the committee. The vote failed to get the required supermajority though some estimated 40-50% of the messengers voted for it.

Last year, it was same song, second verse. The rationale this time was that the committee did not want to violate the autonomy of the local churches by bringing the resolution to the convention. The vote to override the committee was stronger, but still not enough to bring it out for the whole convention to consider it.

Since then Malcolm Yarnell has crafted a resolution for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention that was passed in their annual meeting last fall. Yesterday, I was informed that this resolution will be presented to the Resolutions Committee for consideration in Indianapolis. Bart Barber is coordinating efforts on this and will make an announcement about it soon.

I affirm everything in the Yarnell-Barber resolution. It is well-crafted and expresses Baptist commitments very clearly. My only reservations about it are that it does not state the rationale for the need of such a resolution (as indicated by our ACP statistics), it does not call for repentance (despite the fact that past resolutions have repeatedly called on Southern Baptists to repent for other sins and one last year even focused completely on repentance) and it does not call on denominational servants to be supportive of churches that take practical steps to recover the principle of regenerate church membership.

At the encouragement of friends, I offered a few suggestions to address these issues in ways that I thought would strengthen the Yarnell-Barber resolution and make it unnecessary for me to submit my resolution again. For various reasons, my suggestions were not taken and so I am compelled to proceed with my plans to offer the resolution below. My decision to do so should not be taken as criticism of the Yarnell-Barber resolution. We agree on much and share many of the same concerns about these issues.

What this means is that there will be (at least) two resolutions that address membership in our churches that will be offered to the Resolutions Committee this year. One of them spells out an affirmation not only of regenerate church membership but also of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, but does not call for repentance. The other focuses more narrowly on the need for our churches to repent of our neglect of actually pursuing the principle of regenerate church membership and church discipline which calling on pastors and denominational servants to be supportive of the recovery of these church practices.

I am glad that Southern Baptists are being encouraged to have this conversation. I hope that this summer in Indianapolis that we will have the humility to admit our widespread failure in these areas over the last generation and will express our desire to return to that which we say we believe.

Several pastors, theologians and church leaders have indicated that they intend to support the following resolution and have given me permission to list their names publicly. Among them are, Eric Redmond (2nd VP of the SBC) Phil Newton, Southwoods Baptist Church, Memphis, TN, Darrin Patrick, The Journey, St. Louis, Tom Bryant, FBC Osprey, FL, Tom Nettles, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Joe Thorn, Redeemer Fellowship, St. Charles, IL, Roy Hargrave, Riverbend Church, Ormond Beach, FL, Voddie Baucham, Grace Family Baptist Church, Spring, Texas, Nathan Finn, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Greg Welty, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Bill Ascol, Bethel Baptist Church, Owasso, OK, Jeff Noblit, FBC Muscle Shoals, AL, Paul Dean, Providence Baptist Church Greer, SC, Fred Malone, FBC Clintion, LA, Wyman Richardson, FBC Dawson, GA and Tim Brister, Grace Baptist Church Cape Coral, FL

Others are encouraged to sign on, if you agree with it. Just add your name in the comments.

Resolution on Integrity in Church Membership

Whereas the Baptist Faith and Message states that the Scriptures are "the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried" (Article 1); and

Whereas life in a local church should be characterized by loving discipline as the Bible teaches in passages like Matthew 18:15-18, 1 Corinthians 5 and Titus 3:10-11; and

Whereas the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Church Profiles indicate that there are 16,266,920 members in Southern Baptist churches; and

Whereas those same profiles indicate that only 6,148,868 of those members attend a primary worship service of their church in a typical week; and

Whereas the ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle as described in Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message; and

Whereas the significance of believers' baptism tends to be lost when churches that practice it fail to exercise loving care for all their members; therefore, be it

RESOLVED that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, urge Southern Baptists to repent of our failure to maintain responsible church membership, and be it further

RESOLVED that we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the widespread failure among us to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18), and be it further

RESOLVED that we plead with pastors and church leaders to lead their churches to study and implement our Lord's teachings on this essential church practice, and be it further

RESOLVED that we encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior's teachings on church discipline, especially when such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally

RESOLVED that we commit to pray for our churches as they seek to honor the Lord Jesus Christ through reestablishing integrity to church membership and to the reporting of statistics in the Annual Church Profile.


obsessiveskier said...

I will be praying that this resolution passes, even though I am not able to attend the convention this year and vote for it.

GUNNY said...

I give it a "Thumbs Up."

Gig 'em, Tom.

Grace Baptist Church, Somerset, KY said...

Tom, I would be honored to add my name to the list in support of this important resolution.

Bill Haynes

Kevin P. Larson said...

Kevin Larson
Karis Community Church
Columbia, MO

Marty Duren said...

Go get'em, Tom.

Mark said...

Mark Hollingsworth, pastor
Liberty Baptist Church
Lanexa, VA

Shane Waters said...

Shane Waters
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church
Jacksonville FL

micahfries said...

I'm with you Tom.

Micah Fries
Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church
St. Joseph, MO

Coty said...

Coty Pinckney, pastor
Desiring God Community Church
Charlotte NC

pastor justin said...

Justin Childers
Christ Baptist Church
Wilson, NC

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Whatever form of resolution makes it out of committee and onto the floor of the SBC will hopefully become the means of a restoration of New Testament ecclesiology in our churches. Thank you for your hard work in this regard, Tom.

mingo said...

Mingo Tingle, elder
Castlewoods Baptist Church
Brandon, MS

Corey Reynolds said...

We passed an associational rewording of this resolution last year in our Olney Baptist Association in Southern Illinois, and I am all for this one at the national level.

Corey Reynolds
Pastor, Hoosier Prairie Baptist Church
Louisville, IL

Timmy Brister said...

While the differences in the two resolutions appear rather subtle, I would argue that they are substantial.

The first word of the gospel is "repent." The SBC, as many have argued, have lost its focus on the gospel, and it is perhaps nowhere more clearly seen in our state of unregenerate church membership. As Southern Baptists, we have accepted people into our rolls who have given no evidence of regeneration, and we have perpetuated this woeful state of affairs through denominational emphasis, such as allocating CP funds depending on ACP reports. This is but one slice of our loss of the gospel and our need to humbly come back to our roots in repentance and brokenness.

The first word of the gospel should be the first word of the resolution. A refusal to include a call to humility and repentance is refusal to come back to a gospel-centered focus in our churches. If we don't, we will find ourselves offering a remedy that does not match the problem. Our fundamental problem is our need to return to gospel faithfulness. Regenerate church membership is but one expression (albeit a really important one) of that, and to sidestep the gospel is no mere subtlety.

Honesty requires us to look at where we have been for past 50+ years. Humility requires that we accept responsibility for what has happened, and in light of that, seek to bring change. The history we are seeking to make cannot come about without accounting for the history we have made.

And this is the difference between the two resolutions.

Justin Nale said...

Justin Nale, Pastor
Mount Hermon Baptist
Rocky Mount, NC

Bryan said...

In support, and intending to be present to vote for the resolution. Bryan Pain, pastor, Morning Star Baptist Church, Meeker, OK

Todd Crosby said...

Todd Crosby, Pastor
Parkwood Southern Baptist Church
Clarksville, IN

Anonymous said...

Kyle E.
IMB Missionary
Pacific Rim

PastorJasonNRBC said...

Jason Jones, Pastor
New River Baptist Church
Tifton, GA

Dave Miller said...

I have a question. If this motion came before the convention, I would raise my orange cards in support.

But, is the other motion published yet? I would like to see it, since we pretty much have to choose one or the other.

It references Baptism? Does it include any of the stuff in Dr. Yarnell's recent description of the essentials of baptism (many of which I could not support).

Tom said...

Thanks for the encouraging comments and support of the resolution. The comments section is now open so that one need not have a blogger identity to comment.


Bart is supposed to publish their resolution today. It is essentially, and maybe exactly, the same as the one passed at the SBTC last fall. Follow the link I provided.

The committee will not release both resolutions. I am very confident a resolution on this subject will make it out to the convention this year. I have strong hunches on how that will play out, and may post my views on this later.

GUNNY said...

My bad.

I didn't realize we were supposed to put our church name and such. Even if that wasn't the expectation, it's a neat idea.

Gunny Hartman, pastor
Garland, Texas (SBC)

David Rogers said...

David Rogers
IMB Missionary

Stan said...

I'm all for it!

Question -- is this exactly the same as the 2007 version?

Stan Reeves, Elder
Grace Heritage Church
Auburn, AL

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Yes, sir, repentance and faith are the first words in the Gospel! The SBTC resolution does not assume that the churches of Jesus Christ have lost the Gospel. Otherwise, why would we call them churches?

Tom said...


There is one added paragraph (the last "Whereas") and updated statistics. Otherwise, it is the same as the 2007 resolution. Call me creatively challenged! :-)

Tad Thompson said...

sign me up...Tad Thompson
Harvard Avenue Baptist Church
Siloam Springs, AR

Jonathon said...

My question is whether or not these resolutions really matter? I don't hear anything about the resolutions that we made two years ago in Charlotte anymore.

We can say we are resolved to pursure this, the vote can pass, but it really doesn't matter if our local churches don't actually implement what they say they stand for.

I believe that the resolution hits the nail on the head. We need to recommit ourselves to regenerate church memebership! Having ten million people who claim to belong to a SBC church then failing to attend or serve only damages the witness of the local church and hinders the advancement of God's Kingdom.

I am for the resolution, but unsure that it will do any good.

Jonathon Woodyard
Boyce Bible College
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Lead Pastor, Ignite UK

Timmy Brister said...


I appreciate your consistency, having read your comments in the combox of Stetzer's report as well as your quest post on Peter's blog. The vision you have regarding the SBC is presented in the SBTC resolution which apparently does not consider that the current state of affairs require humility and repentance, nor does it reflect that we have lost focus on the gospel.


The two resolutions represent two visions of the SBC and her churches. One calls for humility, repentance, and a return to gospel faithfulness, as well as a call for taking practical steps for integrity in church membership. The other calls for Southern Baptists to responsible church membership to the neglect of our irresponsibility in the past and unfaithfulness to the gospel.

For the record, I stated, "The SBC, as many have argued, have lost its focus on the gospel, and it is perhaps nowhere more clearly seen in our state of unregenerate church membership," not an assumption that we have lost the gospel entirely (as Malcolm misread).

The question before Southern Baptists will be what kind of resolution do we want? A resolution of the nature we are talking about here implies change. To bring about change without calling for repentance is like looking for the sun to rise but being unwilling to open our eyes.

Bart Barber said...


Our resolution is now up. Thanks for mentioning it. Timmy's enthusiasm for your resolution I will take with gladness, thankful that God is stirring many hearts to embrace and to act upon the importance of regenerate church membership. I have resolved to focus upon the similarities of our two resolutions rather than the differences, knowing that we are teammates and not competitors.

Tom Bryant said...

Looking forward to voting on this in little more than a month in Indianapolis.

There seems to be too much of a groundswell of support for both resolutions for it to simply die in committee.

Then maybe onward to Florida. :)

Branton Burleson said...

Branton Burleson
Christ Covenant Baptist Church
Hendersonville, NC

Pastor Hilliard said...

Not to muddy the waters but there will be a third similar resolution submitted as well.


RonK said...

Add Me too!

Ron Kinzel, Jr.
Minister of Worship
Parkland Hills Baptist Church
Fisherville, Kentucky

J.D. Rector said...

I wholeheartedly support this resolution... (even though I will not be able to attend the SBC annual meeting)!

J.D. Rector,
Associate Pastor,
Minister of Congregational Care

Tom Hicks said...

I fully support this resolution!!!

Tom Hicks
Pastor of Discipleship
Morningview Baptist Church
Montgomery, AL

dave woodbury said...

C. Daviss Woodbury
Pastor, First Baptist Church
Nocona, TX

Greg Welty said...

Roll for initiative...

Hmm, it's a tie.

OK, I'll sign both.

Guess my political radar is on the blink today.


Anonymous said...

Sean Gossett
Springhill Baptist Church
Fernandina Beach, FL

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Yes, indeed, I saw that you said the "focus" on the Gospel has been lost. We have to be careful, now, don't we, to exercise human agency strenuously, perhaps with fear and trembling, Paul might say, in working out the implications of the Gospel. We may not be as far apart as your language would indicate, Mr. Brister. You say, "Tomato," and I say, "Tomahto".... To try to end our little conversation, I will not respond to what might be considered misrepresentations. Have a good day.

Barney Fife

Wyman Richardson said...


I guess the good thing in all of this is that the issue will (it appears) be addressed in Indianapolis in some form or other. That's a positive step forward and I pray that much fruit will come from it.

For myself, I agree that the language of repentance is helpful and should be included in the resolution. I thank you for including it.

I appreciate your hard work on all of this, Tom. It's helped me a great deal and it's played a large role in opening my eyes to a number of issues in the church that I pastor.

God bless,
Wyman Richardson

Sean Cole said...

Sean Cole
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Sterling, CO

You can add my name to the resolution.

The Langfords said...

Russell Langford
Macedonia Baptist Church
Cleveland, TN

D.R. said...

D.R. Randle, Pastor
Cleveland Road Baptist Church
Bogart, GA

Jason Sessoms said...

My name is Jason.
And I... am a regenerate church member.

Tom said...


Though (assuming you are a Southern Baptist) you are in the minority, you shouldn't feel ashamed of your status. Furthermore, this is not a 12-step program for recovering regenerate church members... ;-)

GUNNY said...

To interject a bit of levity, one could ask Jason (and any number of us), but how many churches are you a member of?


It seems part of this issue is faulty reporting where people may forget to send letters and just join another church without resigning from the other.

I anticipate there are many who may have been false/premature conversions, but I also anticipate there are many who are just members of 3-5 SBC churches simultaneously.

Wes Kenney said...

Adding to what Gunny has said, I suspect that there are not a few who are listed as members of our churches whose souls are resting in Abraham's bosom while their bodies await the coming resurrection. They're never again going to be reflected in our attendance statistics. At least I know that was the case at the last church I served.

Tom, thanks again for all your hard work on this. While I've signed on to Dr. Barber's resolution, you have certainly been resolute (!) in keeping this matter before us, and I'm grateful for your efforts. I look forward to lifting my ballot for whatever version of this the committee sees fit to put before us in Indianapolis.

Timmy Brister said...


Indeed, I hope that we are not as far as apart as I am led to believe. However, at this point I remain unconvinced, yet hopeful.

Rejecting clearly and permanently any resolution neglecting the gospel,

Timmy Brister

GeneMBridges said...

The vision you have regarding the SBC is presented in the SBTC resolution which apparently does not consider that the current state of affairs require humility and repentance, nor does it reflect that we have lost focus on the gospel.

Well said.

Yes, sir, repentance and faith are the first words in the Gospel! The SBTC resolution does not assume that the churches of Jesus Christ have lost the Gospel. Otherwise, why would we call them churches?

With all due respect this muddled:

1. Your position is that when a person is baptized he is baptized into a local church. Further, this is due, in your own words, to the laying on of hands by an authorized minister. I quote: In receiving baptism by the hands of a minister authorized by a local church, the believer enters a local church (Acts 2:41),

A. That's implicitly an argument for Holy Orders.

B. It's High Churchmanship to the core - for baptism is authorized by an administrator representing a local church. It may have been awhile since you've argued for Sola Scriptura, Brother, but I do it all the time.This exact same argument is used by Roman Catholics for establishing the canon of Scripture. According to them - and I see it every day - the Church authorizes the canon and thereby underwrites the authority of Scripture. According to them, Scripture is a product of Holy Mother Church. Your argument for baptism is no different.

C. So, your resolution is actually non-committal on the Gospel. That's a qualification you are introducing after the fact. Rome authorizes her sacraments and her members the same way as you do, just on a larger and more detailed scale, but she has lost the Gospel. Yet she calls them churches. Your resolution is essentially assuming what it needs to state. All your critics are really saying is "Yes, but where's the supporting argument?"

Put another way, we/they want to know exactly and specifically why not call the churches to repent? What is served by not doing so?

D. And to some of us your (over)emphasis on baptism and what constitutes its validity is the real problem. Yes, you affirm regenerate church membership; nobody says otherwise. But the issue is the link between baptism and local church membership in the way you have fashioned it. A group of baptized people does not a church make. A group of baptized people merely claiming to know Christ does not a functional NT church make - and that's the point of adding a call to repentance. For, at the same time that the SBC is having a discussion about regenerate church membership, the Elephant in the room that nobody is really talking about is the need to repent - the element of the Gospel that, like justification by faith alone some other denominations - is fast fading from Baptist life in favor of "Your Best Life Now." The focus is fading fast.

Caddiechaplain said...

Please add me to the list. . .

Ron Harvey
Associate Pastor
Magnolia Ave Baptist Church
Riverside, CA

jason sessoms said...

Without the attempt at humor here, I do pray ears would be open to what you have to say this year. I would like for our denomination (yes I am Southern Baptist) to continually be open to reforming based on scripture. Thank you for your efforts.

NativeVermonter said...

John Daly
low-level government employee
(And I do mean looooow.)
Valley View Baptist Church
St. Louis

And if given the option to repent or not repent, I would say that's a no brainer.

chadwick said...

chadwick ivester, pastor
Sand Hill Baptist Church
Kershaw, SC

Anonymous said...


Chris Jordan said...

I fully support this resolution!

Chris Jordan
Pastor of Discipleship and Administration
Christ Church of Metro Atlanta
Norcross, GA

Dave Miller said...

I have a comment and an observation.

Comment: I think the world of Bart Barber and like his resolution. I think this one is great, too.

I just have trouble understanding why you cannot work this out and present a unified version. I would vote for either of them. Why should anyone have to choose.

Observation: I don't know Malcolm Yarnell, but he has an amazing ability to deliver verbal smackdowns in the most dignified, congenial manner.

Its amazing That's admiration, not criticism.

Todd Pruitt said...


Add my name in support of the resolution.

Todd Pruitt
Metro East Baptist Church
Wichita, KS

Tom said...


I appreciate your concern and question. Let me restate what I wrote in the post:

"At the encouragement of friends, I offered a few suggestions to address these issues in ways that I thought would strengthen the Yarnell-Barber resolution and make it unnecessary for me to submit my resolution again. For various reasons, my suggestions were not taken and so I am compelled to proceed with my plans to offer the resolution below."

Jared Moore said...


sign me up as well brother.

Jared Moore, pastor
Union Fork Baptist Church
Soddy Daisy, TN

peter lumpkins said...


Greetings. And, I am glad to know you appreciated Dr. Yarnell's ecclesial piece at SBCTomorrow as did I.

The next post, if it goes as planned, should blow a few gaskets, if for no other reason, than the author I have the troubling nerve to invite.

I am a little confused why you explained your first entry as that which Dr. Yarnell apparently "misread". That is, your words specifically meant that the SBC has lost its "focus on the gospel" and not the "gospel entirely".

Please pardon if our Professor Yarnell (actually, a well-known deputy in disguise) did not read what you evidently meant to convey. Shame, shame, Dr. Yarnell!!

Note, however, that, though predictable about my view from your standpoint here, I cannot say I would not have assumed similarly as did he.

For while it is true you recorded once pertaining to the "focus" on the Gospel and not the "Gospel entirely", I call your one "focus upon the Gospel" and raise you two "loss of the Gospel" entireties.

You wrote:

"This is but one slice of our LOSS OF the gospel..."

"Regenerate church membership is but one expression...and to SIDESTEP THE GOSPEL is no mere subtlety."(caps mine)

This of course is what you have regularly lamented elsewhere. Recall your recently posted comment at Dr. Finn's and which you reproduced at your site:

"The most pressing issue facing the SBC in 2008 is THE GOSPEL... The one thing that precludes cooperation is...THE GOSPEL... Ergo, the biggest problem is...namely THE GOSPEL...If we are going to see a “Great Commission Resurgence”...we must recover THE GOSPEL...And the thing I fear the most is...a sentimental appreciation of THE GOSPEL...I love the SBC, but I love THE GOSPEL more..."(all caps mine)

Well said, my brother Timmy. And I sincerely mean that. But please pardon in love some of us--because you lament so regularly, without qualification, the LOSS OF THE GOSPEL ITSELF--if we omit the one single time when you actually mean "it's the 'focus', stupid".

Grace, Timmy. I trust your move to Florida has been smooth. With that, I am...


Douglas Shivers said...

Doug Shivers
Boulevard Baptist Church
Springfield, MO

Tony Kummer said...

I always feel like I'm late to the party when my comment is so far down, but I wanted to point out a side-by-side harmony of the two resolutions that I've posted on my blog.

A Harmony Of The Resolutions

It seems like the whole conversation created by the resolutions will be as useful as the resolutions themselves. Perhaps this was God's providence in "passing over" Tom's first two attempts to have his resolution considered.

Tom - If the other resolution is presented by the committee, do you think someone should try to amend it from the floor to include the more specific calls for repentance?

Anonymous said...

“This has nothing to do with how we understand the workings of God in salvation,” Ascol said.


throughtheveil said...

I've brought the two together here:


Paul said...

Paul Littleton
Faith Baptist Church
Sapulpa, Oklahoma

Brad Williams said...

I will be happy if either of these makes it out of committee. I will be happiest if the resolution includs a call for repentance and points out the shame of our inflated numbers. With that I sign on as

Brad Williams
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Albertville, AL

Joe said...

joe hussung
rich pond baptist church
bowling green ky

Joseph Braden said...

Joseph Braden
First Baptist Church
St. Peters, MO

C. M. Sheffield said...

C. M. Sheffield
Associate Pastor
Faith Memorial Baptist Church
Jacksonville, FL

Anonymous said...

Eric Stephens
Pastor - Hill Grove Baptist Church
Guston, KY

Dave Miller said...

Here's my question (I am not trying to be confrontational - I've been trying to figure out whether I prefer this one or the other):

I don't think I have misreported numbers. I don't think I have inflated numbers. If people have reported false numbers, they should repent.

But I am trying to figure out why it is that I need to repent, or join in the repentance. This has probably been explained somewhere. Maybe someone can just link me to it.

john said...


I would be honored to endorse your resolution.

John Sneed, Pastor
Victory Baptist Church
Springfield, MO

Tom said...

Thanks for all of the encouraging comments and willingness to sign on. Let me reiterate that I do not regard this as any kind of contest or competition between this resolution and the Yarnell-Barber resolution.


Daniel's prayer in Daniel 9 is a great example of corporate confession of sin. No sin of Daniel's is recorded, yet he did not hesitate to pray in the first person plural. We are all in this together, and corporate repentance is, I think, appropriate.

art rogers said...

This reminds me of Memphis...

Art Rogers
Skelly Drive Baptist Church
Tulsa, OK

Oh, and actually, we supported the Greensboro Resolution and you can see that in these two posts: The ACP this year,and ACP Update.

The resolution is just the platform for broadcasting the issue. They did more to heighten the issue by denying the resolution twice than if they would have passed it without discussion.

As such, the discussion made an impact on us and I suspect it will continue to do so.

pastorleap said...

Count me in Tom! I supported this resolution in Greensboro and again in San Antonio last year. I will do so again in Indy. I do prefer yours over the Y/B resolution and agree with you about corporate confession of sin. Nehemiah modeled it quite well also. I heard just recently on FoxNews or CNN, SBs referred to as "16 million strong." We should humble ourselves and apologize to the nation for this willful misrepresentation and then ask them to begin using a more accurate number. Yes, we may lose some political clout, but we would gain a victory of conscience.

We are taking baby-steps in our church toward reform. Slow and steady. That's the way it has to be handled in an established church with no history of responsible reporting.

Press on!
Terry Leap
Pastor, FBC
Grayson, KY

Terry Buster said...

Unable to attend SBC this year, but my endorsement of your resolution is without reservation at all, Tom. As a convention we need to encourage all our churches (including my own) to work toward integrity in who we are, what we say we believe, and what our responsibilities to one another are as believers in the local body under Christ.

Terry Buster
First Baptist Church
Palmyra, MO

Jamus Edwards said...

Jamus Edwards
Pastor, Pleasant Valley Community Church
Owensboro, KY

Kris said...

Count me in,

Kris Harrison
Hill St. Baptist Church
Toccoa, GA

Yogi Taylor said...

Yogi Taylor, Pastor
Saraland Baptist Church
Saraland, AL

solagratia said...

Out of love for Christ's church, we support this resolution.

On behalf of the Pastors at
Immanuel Baptist Church
Louisville, KY

Ben Hedrick

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Tom and Brethren:

It seems to me that we ought to be agreed on what constitutes "regeneration" before we begin deciding who is or is not regenerated.

If a man can be regenerated before he believes, how do we know who is or is not regenerated?


Ivan said...

Please add me to the list.

Ivan Schoen, Pastor
Maranatha Baptist Church
Poplar Grove, Illinois

Rich Barcellos said...

I agree with Tom.

Richard Barcellos
Heritage Baptist Church
Owensboro, KY

Andrew Randazzo said...

Continuing on in our efforts to be Gospel-centered in our blogging, the Band of Bloggers network has been created. Join us as we seek to unify and encourage each other.


Stephen Morse said...

Tom, Add me to your list:

Stephen Morse
Teaching Elder
Christ's Church of Chattanooga, Tn

Hey Jared Moore, drop me a line, maybe we can get together - I live in Hixson

JBaird CFP said...

I'm non SBC, but I love the SBC and our little baptist denomination would feel the effects if something like this got passed. I whole-heartedly agree (for what it's worth)
Jonathan Baird
Wyatt Baptist Church
El Dorado, AR.

Earl M. Blackburn said...

I am happy to have you add my name to those who support your resolution:

Earl M. Blackburn
Hertiage Baptist Church
Shreveport, LA

Paul Fries/Heartland Church said...

We will attempt to implement this from the beginning!

Paul Fries
Church Planter
Heartland Church
Richland Center, Wisconsin

Chris Latch said...

Chris Latch
layperson and regenerate member
Grace Baptist Church
Selmer, TN

Anonymous said...


I completely support your resolution and pray that our churches acknowledge its biblical necessity.

Pastor Jim Langston
Cragfont Baptist Church
Gallatin, TN

Grace Baptist Church, Somerset, KY said...

Well, Tom, it appears from the BP article about Johnny Hunt's run for SBC pres. he should be the "poster boy" for your resolution on Integrity in Church membership. I quote from the BP article: “In the 21 years of Hunt’s pastorate, church membership has increased from 1,027 to 16,495. Current average church worship attendance is 6,180.” That is about 37% of those he calls members that show up on Sunday morning. I guess that’s very “Southern Baptist” but not very serious about a covenant relationship with Christ and His church. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel Penland

Grace Baptist Church
1255 Connie Smith Road
Selmer, TN 38375

Tony Foeller said...

Count me in!

Tony Foeller
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Anna, IL

John said...

John Botkin
Bangor Baptist Church
Bay City, MI

Jake Porter said...

In complete agreement and praying for God to move across our denomination,

Jake Porter
FBC Mont Belvieu
P.O. Box 1167
Mont Belvieu, TX 77580


Mike Leake said...

I support this resolution as well:

Mike Leake
Youth Pastor
FBC New London, MO

Baptist Vision said...

Will support and vote for it. Absolute agreement.

James Brown Jr.

mark richardson said...

I'm with you brother. I'm saddened that the other motion doesn't prominently include repentance. Without it, we're bushwackin' with a butter-knife.

Dr. Mark Richardson, Pastor
Glenwood Baptist Church
Tulsa, Ok

Blayne said...

I'm definitely with you, in full agreement.

Blayne Hall
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
Orlinda, TN

RickWarren said...


Hi Tom!
I have been personally urging the adoption of a resolution on Membership like your's for over 20 years. I hope it passes. The restoration of the integrity of membership is an absolute foundation to the spiritual health of a congretion.

Saddleback's membership class,our covenant, and the accountability to it are the secrets behind our members willingness to sacrifice to reach people for Christ. Imagine a church that went 15 years without a building, setting up and tearing down a church for 10,000 people (at that time in the 90s) week after week, regardless of weather. The way you bring members in is the level of commitment they will live up to.

Most people have no idea- sero- of what is Saddleback Church is really like. They have bought into all the stupid misinformation that circuluates on the internet, and in books by people who aren't even believers and have never even talked to me.

The fact is, for 28 years, from the first day of our chuch, we have dilligently practiced church discipline, used the historic Baptist practice of Covenants (we have 4, including a membership covenant),have a required membership class, and have graduated over 15,000 members through a six month Systematic Theology Course called "Foudations." I would match any 1,000 members of Saddleback to any 1000 members of any other church in terms of spiritual maturity, godliness, scrptures memorized, serving in ministry, and doing missions around the world.

We take membership extremely seriously at Saddleback Church, and people who don't abide by the covenant are disciplined and removed. We have no such thing as "inactive or non-resident membership" which is a contradiction.

People probably also don't know that during the past 10 years, miost churches were plateaued or declining, we've baptized over 20,000 NEW adult believers, put 28,000 studing the Bible weekly in 3,400 small groups, and sent 7,766 of our members to evangelize and plant churches overseas in 68 countries. There's not another church in America with a more mature membership. It's because we stress covenants!

Never believe second- hand sources about Saddleback. They are ALWAYS wrong.

By the way, I am not a hyper-Calvinist. I am a Kuyper-Calvinist! Abraham Kuyper was right about so much. You can see his influence all through Purpose Driven Life. (smile)

Years ago, you may remember a lecture by Mark C at a SBC Founder's Breakfast that compared the similarities between the "the children of Spurgeon and the children of Warren." I got a kick out of that lecture since my great Grandfather was led to Christ by Spurgeon, went to Spurgeon's College, and then was sent by Spurgeon to America to plant churches. I have Spurgeon's handwritten sermons framed on my office walls- passed down from 4 generations of pastors! Another little known fact is that another part of my spiritual heritage is that my namesake Pilgrim ancestor , Richard Warren, came over on that little boat, the Mayflower to escape religious persecution.

Please forgive any typos in this. I don't usually participate in blogs but I care deeply about this issue, and so I typed this out quickly.

God bless!

Rick Warren
Saddleback Church

KevinB said...

Kevin Hash, Pastor
Burton Memorial Baptist Church
Bowling Green, KY

Wade Phillips said...

Wade Phillips
Northcrest Baptist Church
Meridian, Mississippi

SJ Camp said...

Are you sure this is really Rick Warren? Hope you haven't been punked.

Don't drink the Kool-Aid on Rick commenting here, if it is really him, though your young apprentice has. This is nothing but politics as usual for him.

HIs continued propagation of a watered-down gospel is serious; his partnering with Barack Obama on AIDS outreach while Barack supports not only partial birth abortion but live abortion as well is completely inconsistent with a biblical view of the sanctity of life; and his constant obsession with being unequally yoked with nonbelievers on social and political issues such as AIDS, ONE, global warming, etc. is unnerving.

You know I love you brother...

Col. 1:9-14

Dave Samples said...

Dave Samples
Cornerstone Baptist Church
Windsor, Colorado

pastorsteveweaver said...

Steve Weaver
Farmdale Baptist Church
Frankfort, KY

Chris said...

Christopher R. Wilbanks
South Woods Baptist Church
Memphis, TN

CounselorDoug said...

Doug Hoover
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, SC