Thursday, February 07, 2008

The SBC Doesn't Deserve To Be Any Better

Boyd Luter pointed out something in a recent post that got me to thinking.

I love it when that happens. Unless I'm watching SpeedTV at the time.

He pointed out what someone else had pointed out to him; namely, that the Conservative Resurgence, for all the good it (may have) accomplished, was a political solution, applied to a spiritual problem. Gee, the times I remember God doing that among His people, He used heathen armies to do it. I am no scholar, but I simply do not recall God's people getting political, or military, with God's people.

See ... if I'd been awake during the CR, and I had been concerned about preserving the SBC, I'd hope I'd have gone to God about it, and also realized that He is capable of correcting Spiritual problems Spiritually. And I'd also have thought that God might not want the SBC to prosper and carry on, for whatever His reasons might be, so I'd have been reluctant to take any action of the sort that Judge Pressler and Dr. Patterson are reported to have taken.

I think. Hindsight is like that, you know.

So .. now .. where am I going with this. Well, let me relate a story about my brother. He'd converted to Judaism, from the Unitarian Universalist (whatever you call it .. I'd prefer not to say "church" or "faith" ...), and I'd witnessed to him, for Christ, many times. Then, when he contracted terminal cancer, I was very disturbed and really sought God's face on what to do. One day on the altar at Kingwood AoG, God spoke (it wasn't audible .. it was a lot louder than that) and asked if I trusted Him. I said yes. He asked if I trusted Him with my brother. I said yes. He then asked if I trusted Him enough to do nothing. I said yes, again.

He then said something like "Well........?"

I got up, brushed myself off, and went back to the office. I did have a chance to see Art, two days before he died, and God affirmed via what Art said, that I'd heard God correctly there on the altar. At least as correctly as these old sinful ears ever hear Him.

Rev. Wade Burleson's efforts have been valiant, to say the least. He dedicated himself to righting some specific wrongs, and correcting some pretty egregious directions the SBC and its entities have taken. He did what he knew to do. And he made a big difference in the SBC .. and among Christendom .. while on the IMB BoT. He identified the problems, the ungodliness, the unfairness, the extra-biblical actions, the improper narrowing, etc etc. He worked to correct them.

It didn't work as he desired. He didn't obtain the worthy goal toward which he was striving. I have to think God didn't want him to, or else he would have (last I heard, God was still in charge).

My personal opinion: God has already passed judgment on the SBC. God doesn't want the act cleaned up. The seeds of decay were sown in meetings over coffee and in back rooms. Silly us, we saw the narrowing of parameters, the firing of women because they happened to be born women, the expelling of God-called missionaries, the excesses of certain leaders and their spending habits, all the rest, as problems to be addressed, rather than symptoms of sin upon which judgment may already have been passed.

And speaking of Dr. Klouda, can you imagine Jesus looking down on the mess and saying "Well done" to the folks responsible for her hiring and subsequent firing?

I can't, either.


DISCLAIMER: Of COURSE I know there are wonderful organizations in the SBC. I think of Union University, for whom I have the highest regard. That's just one and there are plenty of others, I'm sure. That's not the sort of organization I'm thinking of here.

I'm not a lifelong Southern Baptist with an emotional investment in the SBC. I should have connected the dots sooner.

The plain fact is that the SBC doesn't deserve to be any better than all the garbage we've seen in the last couple of years. And please don't yell that none of us are worthy, etc. I know that, but the SBC was especially blessed early on, and it doesn't take a genius to figure something's come off the tracks, and badly at that.

One other point: don't point to souls on the mission field, or baptisms, or any of the other "successes" in the work. Those are God's successes, not ours. He used Pilate to paint a sign that pointed one of the thieves on the cross, to the saving power of Jesus, and if He can do that, He can use a corrupt organization just as well as He can a corrupt politician. We're supposed to be known by the fruit we bear, and somehow we've perverted that to mean souls "won" by our efforts. Well, God wins them, we don't, and I think we'd better be about showing the fruit of the Spirit in our collective lives, not something we've defined to be striven for in its stead.

So ... Rev. Burleson's dilemma is that he desires to see the SBC ship righted, but God may not want that done. That reduces the question, and it's a question I ask myself all the time, to "What does God want ME to do?" NOT "What does God want to happen, to the SBC?"

That never was the question, but it seems to have been the one that certain Denominational Executives have been answering, by their actions, all along.

7 Comments:

At 9:07 AM, February 08, 2008, Blogger Wade Burleson said...

Bob,

I am not giving up. On the contrary, it's time to step back, take a deep breath, and focus on other things. There will be another day. Thanks for your friendship and your wisdom.

In His Grace,

Wade

 
At 12:20 PM, February 08, 2008, Blogger Steve said...

It kind of makes me wonder if we'll recognize what has happened when we enter the Temple and discover the curtain torn top-to-bottom. We have enough good souls to save this convention on board, but there were good Israelites hauled off the Ninevah, etc. too, weren't there?
We have certainly matched the Pharisees for adding man-made traditional "Thou shalts" to the actual Scriptures.
Post-industrial....
post-feminist....
post-convention Baptist?

 
At 12:31 PM, February 08, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Steve:

Thy comment shalt be posted. Yea, verily, already it hath.

Thanks for commenting. I've wondered some of the same stuff, myself.

 
At 9:14 PM, February 09, 2008, Blogger CharlieMac said...

Bob,
I am a "life long" Southern Baptist who learned to step back and catch a breath sometime around the firing of Russell Dilday.

PP and PP had control and there was nothing anyone could do about it from then on. Some were carried off to captivity as in ancient times, and some went about being the same Baptists they had always been right where they always were. We are still here for the most part doing the best we can where we are.

Allowing some types of adversaries to exercise on their own will bring about their destruction from within quicker than fighting them will.

Relaxing and taking a deep breath works.
Charlie Mac
Semmes

 
At 10:13 PM, February 09, 2008, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Right on, Charlie Mac. I admire Wade B and many of the others as they are doing what they see as right, Spiritually. That way, the battle is really waged by God.

As opposed to the marshaling of armies as was done by the forces of the CR Army.

Thanks for the comment.

 
At 8:30 PM, February 16, 2008, Blogger truth, not religion said...

Deep, touching,truthful, wise words,

thank you sir.

wtreat

 
At 3:11 PM, February 20, 2008, Blogger Mike Ruffin said...

Gosh, I wish I had said this. Thanks, Bob.

 

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