Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Is The SBC Worth Saving?

Recently, there has been a lot of speculation about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since the close of the San Antonio meeting this speculation has increased. Many have noted the strife and seeming division within the Convention and are asking "is it worth it?" It is a good question and one worth answering.

All Southern Baptist churches are independent Baptist churches. Each one is an autonomous organization. The one thing that binds all SBC churches together as SBC churches is their giving to the Cooperative Program of the SBC. The Cooperative Program is how the SBC funds it's various agencies. When people in church put money in the offering place, they are not only paying their pastor and working to keep their churches bills paid, but they are helping to fund the work of the SBC. So the question is worth asking, is it worth sending our money to the SBC? My answer is "yes."

Yes, the SBC is worth saving. That being said, it begs the question "why?" That is what I am going to answer in this post.

I have already said that the Cooperative Program is the vehicle by which the SBC funds it's various agencies. Churches who contribute to the Cooperative Program (hereafter called the "CP"), help to fund the work of these agencies. Those agencies include a lobbying arm in Washington D.C., six seminaries, two mission boards, a publishing arm, and the Executive Board who works the Convention's business between annual meetings.

Our SBC seminaries are world class institutions of higher learning. They are led by godly men who are scholars of the first rank. They have the task of training the leaders in our churches and also training those who, in turn, will teach the later generations of Southern Baptists. Funding our seminaries is an investment in the future, not only of the SBC, but of Evangelicalism in general. Our seminaries stand shoulder to shoulder with other historically orthodox seminaries and universities in keeping the faith once and for all delivered to the saints alive. The quality of teaching (not to mention the timeless truths themselves) must not perish from the earth but be preserved and perpetuated. For this reason, the funding to our seminaries must continue.

Between them, our two mission boards field over 10,000 missions in North America and around the world. Southern Baptists believe that no one will be saved who does not hear the gospel and believe it. Therefore, we must be about preaching the gospel to every creature. In Revelation we are told God is drawing to Himself people from every tongue, tribe, nation, and people group. Therefore, we must get the gospel to people of every tongue, tribe, nation, and people group. That is the work of our missionaries. They are willing to give up everything, sometimes their own lives, to see that missions mandate fulfilled. Our mission boards make it possible for them to do their work by making sure that earthly matters do not distract them from their heavenly task. In other words, Southern Baptist missionaries are paid through the mission boards. That way they know they will have money to live on. Without that worry hanging over them, they can devote themselves to seeing the gospel message reach the most number of people. In my opinion, the Southern Baptist Convention is the best organization on earth for reaching the world with the gospel. That being so, we must keep funding our mission boards, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB).

I will stop with these two examples. I could go on about each of the Convention agencies and tell why it is important for each of them to continue the work they do. But these two are enough to make my point. Let me say, if these two types of agencies (our seminaries and our mission boards), they alone would be enough to make my point.

It is the SBC that makes the funding of these agencies possible through the CP. This organization that binds us all together makes it possible to train the best evangelical leaders, pastors, theologians, scholars, and missionaries. It is what makes it possible to field over 10,000 missionaries around the world. It is the SBC that is the central point, the hub, around which everything else spins. It is the central collection point for CP money that is disburse to our SBC agencies for use in continuing their work.

That is why the SBC is worth saving. It makes so much work possible. As the motto of our flagship seminary states, "For the Church; For the World; For the Glory of God." That excites my heart. That is why I am a Southern Baptist. That's why there should always be Southern Baptists. And that is why the SBC is worth saving.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jason Young said...

John,

While I appreciate your zeal for maintaining the cooperative program for such things as "missions", here is something I think you may not have considered: A person considering becoming a missionary thru the IMB has to meet certain qualifications, and go thru an application process. Looking thru the application process, it doesnt look very promising for "calvinists". One of the application forms requires the candidate to submit his statement of beliefs and thoughts on the baptist faith and message. This is then reviewed by certain trustees on the IMB board. ARe any of these trustees "calvinists"...I honestly doubt it. How do you think it would turn out for those that have calvinistic convictions after their application is reviewed? My guess is, it wont turn out very good. Something to consider before we continue on the "cooperative program bandwagon."

In Christ,
Jason Young

9:08 AM  

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