Good Is Not Poorer
I'm reading through the Report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force as I type. I won't have to digest the whole thing at once that way.
Sort of like the way say you can eat a whole elephant.
However I would like to start with one basic premise. God is our source of supply. When I hear preachers tell their congregations that they should tithe of their income, to the local church, I hear them tell that God will supply their needs if they will do that. That they can trust God to provide.
Can't the SBC? I do not happen to believe that I am under a command to take the tithe to the "Storehouse" .. meaning "your local church". I do, however, believe that God said the tithe was Holy unto Him, and that He established a principle in that Old Testament command. So we do give 10% of our now-limited income, and we give it to our church. We don't want to be choosing "what we want to do with our money". But we are not doing it because God commanded the nation of Israel to do so.
First time I ever addressed the SBC Convention, was over the EC's desire to put a percentage in the request for churches to be more faithful in their giving to the CP. I won't mess with details, but I did tell the assembly (nervously) that GOD, not the churches, was their source of supply, and if they were not "receiving as much money as they thought God should give them, they ought to talk to God about that". The idea is that God pays for what He wants done, and if they think they need more money than they're getting, they're doing things with money that God doesn't want them doing.
I still believe that. And I still don't believe they realize it. the EC, or the GCRTF.
Another premise: we've talked to death .. but that's all we've done about it .. the fact that something like 9 million SBC church members have walked our aisles, joined our churches under our rules, placed themselves under our churches' authority, and are not disciples. I mean, they've disappeared. Plus, I find a small percentage of Southern Baptists who know what we believe, as Baptists. They know what they believed to get in the door, and generally not a lot more.
So the second premise: SBC churches have done a lousy job making disciples. And that is the real command of the "Great Commission"! Peg and I often mention the fact that we did much more "discipleship-oriented" studying .. year for year .. while Presbyterians, than we've done in our years as Baptists.
Another premise: it's God that sends us people. Personally, I think God sends us the people He can trust us with. If we were to do a good job with all the people He's sent our way, I believe He'd send us some more. It's a little like a conversation I had with our pastor 15 years ago: I'd remarked that we prayed for great moves of the Holy Spirit in our services, but when he gave the invitation, he stood by himself in front of the congregation as if he expected folks to come down one at a time.
I don't think the SBC is handing all the people, by millions, God has sent us. Why would He want to send us more?
Another premise: The SBC is "taking the easy way out" on too many issues. Why there is not a database within the SBC of convicted sex offenders in the SBC .. and perhaps credibly accused ones .. I have no earthly idea. But if the case of the ex-IMB Missionary ... who embezzled on the field, but had it covered up in the hopes he'd pay the IMB back, which left him free to get a job in Alabama to swindle a lot of people out of a lot of money ... is at all typical of the SBC mindset, I'm guessing the SBC just wants to avoid a "black eye".
Regardless of the cost.
A conclusion or two: the GCRTF does not see God as their source of supply. Hence Ronnie Floyd's statement that all of us sinners out here need to repent of our failure to obey that Old Testament command to bring the tithe into the storehouse. The way I figure, if the Task Force admitted that God isn't supplying the money the leadership of the SBC thinks it needs, then they'd be forced to admit that the problem isn't in the pews.
And say ... if the problem isn't something in the system, then why aren't the Seminaries turning out preachers who preach the gospel and thus motivate .. if their thinking is right .. to "storehouse tithe"? Who do they think is doing the preaching in the SBC? If tithing is New Testament Gospel, and SBC Seminaries trained the preachers, then why aren't the people tithing?
I have heard when you have money problems, in the sense of churches and church-affiliated ministries, that the problem is spiritual, and not financial.
That was while I was a Presbyterian, but I believe it more now, as a Baptist, than I did back then.
This sure is getting long. I'll do some more tomorrow, and tie it to some of what Chairman Floyd said.