Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What is the greatest threat facing the Southern Baptist Convention

Jared Moore recently asked me to address this big question. I'm sure my answer will surprise some and anger others. But I'm also hopeful that my thoughts will resonate with many. Here is part of what I said.
I think the SBC is facing an identity crisis that, if not resolved with a humble, biblical understanding of and clarified commitment to the gospel and the church (and the relationship between the two), will cause it's relevance to diminish with an increasing number of churches.

We can no longer assume that just because a church is Southern Baptist it therefore genuinely understands the gospel and knows how it works to save sinners. Commensurate with this is the preaching of Christ. There is a difference between preaching about Christ and preaching Christ, just as there is a difference in preaching from the Word and preaching the Word. In some respects preaching about Christ from the Word is a more serious error than preaching rank heresy in the same way that being almost right can be worse than being completely wrong. A slight miscalculation is harder to detect but can prevent a space shuttle from reaching the moon just as surely as a blatant mathematical mistake.
You can read the whole interview here.


Z of ZKNITZ said...

It takes humility to come out and say, "I don't have it all".

God's heart is for souls. And it takes humility to go to God and ask Him, "Is there something more, something else, something better that I can do, to reach those who don't know you"?

a guy said...

Dear Z of ZKNITZ. I think you missed the point of the text quoted above. It was not at all merely about reaching more people, but rather that in large part what people are being reached with cannot be assumed to be the actual, biblical truth--even with the very words or texts of Scripture being what are being held out, they are not being held or taught with the same sense, and oftentimes are preached in such a way as to be very near to, but not quite the, truth. The context in which he was saying this cannot be assumed is that within the SBC, but it's a point folks like me have been trying with tears to get people, who often seem very "Christian" in the modern sense, yet examine a while by the word and there are things just very off, or who follow after and teach other things themselves, understand this sort of thing, or trying to figure out how to speak to them in order to do so, so they might examine themselves.

Probably a fool's endeavor to get people like that to understand, who are assured of their salvation but have no biblical premises, hard workers "for the gospel", but either stare blankly when one asks "what gospel is that?", or think it nit-picky when you start tearing apart what they offer in response. Who confronted with a false teaching or teacher, give it a pass as no big deal; or bringing the word to bear on it, grab onto the false teaching as something precious. Going about this sort of thing like "yeah, we need to figure better ways to reach people", rather than "wait, we need to recognize that it's God who causes the growth, and what's growing in "Churches" among "Christians" stinks--not just the outrageous obvious stuff, but in large part very subtle and seemingly genuine stuff, completely misses what Tom here is giving warning about.

Lamar said...

The greatest threat to the SBC is something that has always been hanging around their necks since I have known of them for the last sixty plus years. Politics, "an inward focus" rather than a heart for the evangelism as commanded by our Lord, and a emphasis on "the material aspects of this world" rather than an emphasis on the person of the Triune Godhead! I am convinced that most of our difficulties lay in the area of the last item mentioned. When Christ and the entire Triune Godhead is preached, lifted up and focused upon in order to bring Glory to Him rather than man and means, we shall see God's blessings again. Until then, things will most likely continue downward.