Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Why I'm Thinking The Report Will Pass

I've already said I'm not going to the SBC Annual Meeting this year, and why. In a couple ways, I kind of wish I were, but my instructions are pretty clear. But I can sound off about it here.

I'd like to go so I can vote for Jimmy Jackson for SBC President. That one's clear.

The other way is I'd like to be there for the discussion and vote on the GCRTF Report. I have a hunch it's liable to pass. Now, it's true I haven't seen the final, yet, but unless something changes drastically, I'm guessing it'll be pretty much a restatement of what we've already seen.

And my hunch is connected to the Caner controversy. Lots of folks seem to want accountability from Ergun Caner, but I've also seen a lot of defensiveness about him, particularly from pastors. Some are even doubting the motives of those who are demanding accountability as an SBC'er, and are highly critical of those trying to hold Dr. Caner responsible for what they see as lies in his immediate past.

I wonder why anyone in the ministry would resist the call for accountability in the King's work! And particularly in the face of the attitude implied in what some have referred to as Dr. Caner's "apology". It seemed to me to come from the same place as the protestations of the non-believer when he says he's as good as anybody else!

And that's what snagged me about the GCRTF Report.

In an SBC where the majority of the people God has sent us seem to have disappeared, and where we continue to report 16 million members, even boasting about that number, the biggest failure has got to be the failure to disciple most of the people God sent our way. And that's a failure to carry out the Great Commission.

And it's at the feet of the pastors. Not the Cooperative Program. Not the Executive Committee. Not IMB or NAMB or how CP funds are divided. Maybe a little at the feet of the seminaries who apparently don't teach students that it's important to hold members accountable for their actions .. or their inactivity .. and exercise church discipline when members simply turn their backs.

So .. if it's the case that the majority of the messengers at the Annual Meeting are Pastors and others in the ministry, then my guess is they'll be more than happy to affirm a report that points the finger of blame, for their failure as local church pastors, at somebody else. And, that might also explain why they're reluctant to demand accountability on the part of Ergun Caner.

It's been said that "No single raindrop thinks it's responsible for the flood". I think that's the case in the SBC. Making disciples is everybody's responsibility, which apparently makes it nobody's responsibility.

Sure, there'll be some wrangling about the "Great Commission Giving" deal, which seems singularly stupid, especially when the Commission seems to have folks on it who don't give all that much to the CP. That part of the preliminary report seemed rather self-serving, to me. Also, the fact that the initial report seemed to spit in the face of the State Conventions seemed awfully obvious .. but .. what do I know?

Time will tell. I just hope we believe what it tells us.

2 Comments:

At 9:41 AM, April 29, 2010, Blogger Nathan said...

"And it's at the feet of the pastors." Agreed, and also at the feet of members who allow pastors to decline their holy responsibility to tell the truth no matter the outcome.

The conservative resurgence was apparently something that could be accomplished at a convention level. But the CR did not, quite obviously, ensure faithful, holy, risk taking local churches. Making disciples, spiritual formation, faithful covenant living is not and cannot be accomplished at the convention level. That will only take place at the local church.

Until pastors start being faithful, loving truth tellers with no concern for the consequences (never easy, just indispensable), then most members, without the benefit of a reliable model, will not learn to live and grow as God intends. The results are evident: decline.

Bob, I think the fact that you were not on the SBC manor born provides you with a perspective which is actually sorely needed. I understand your reason for not attending the convention, but your voice is needed.

 
At 10:33 AM, April 29, 2010, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Nathan:

Appreciate the comment.

I'm not sure that laying any of this at the members' feet isn't Baptist polity trumping Scripture, though. I think it flies in the face of a couple of scriptures:

Hebrews 13:17 says to me that I'm to submit to those in spiritual authority over me, as to ones who must give an account for my soul.

And..

The Great Commission itself refers to enrolling as scholars .. to the teaching of pupils (and baptizing), and not to the pupils holding the teachers responsible.

I think the wise pastor will tell his flock to hold him responsible .. I know our pastor does, but I'm not sure how much of that goes on.

Ah well......

 

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