Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Here I Stand, Still Reforming and Hopeful

In a post over a year ago entitled "Points of Perhaps-Surprising Agreement" I specified a number of current issues in the Southern Baptist Convention upon which I agreed with what I then termed our "dissenting brethren." There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and I thought it might be helpful to take another look at that list in light of the preceding fifteen months:

I stated my agreement with the call for biblical church discipline and regenerate church membership. Since then, I have been thankful to witness the approval of a resolution on regenerate church membership by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (for the text of the resolution, see here). I am hopeful that a similar resolution will pass at the SBC Annual Meeting this year.

I stated my agreement with the call for the disclosure of salaries at our entities. I am thankful to learn that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has an open policy regarding disclosure of salaries. Every trustee of every entity should have access to the specific salary of every employee who draws a Cooperative Program paycheck. I am hopeful that SWBTS's policy is or will be the policy of every SBC entity.

I stated my agreement with criticisms of nepotism and recirculation of appointees in the past. But I noted that the fault for this circumstance lies with disengaged Southern Baptist masses rather than with smoke-filled-room appointment processes. The controversies of the past two years have demonstrated that many young Southern Baptists remain committed to the principles of the Conservative Resurgence. I am hopeful that the coming years will witness a new influx of young participants in the SBC without sacrificing our beliefs in the process.

I stated my agreement with the desire to see more fidelity to the Cooperative Program among our SBC leaders. I'm thankful that we've seen a greater emphasis upon CP faithfulness in the selection of our leaders, and that we've done so without scrapping our polity to enact litmus tests. As I've said before, I think that the tightened definition of what constitutes CP giving may prove to be an unwise action. Nevertheless, I'm hopeful that we will see a surge in Cooperative Program giving among all Southern Baptists.

So, I'm still precisely where I was a year ago, and I think that we've made progress in most of these areas. I think that we'll make even more progress in Indianapolis. I find, after the sometimes-tumultuous days since my previous post, reason to be hopeful about the future of the SBC.

10 comments:

CB Scott said...

Do you still agree that I am far more pretty than you are?

cb

Bart Barber said...

CB,

I'll certainly agree with you this far: I hope that I'm as pretty as you are when I'm as OLD as you are!

:-)

Tim Guthrie said...

You two need a break or???? Wow, the thoughts that I could type but will allow the Holy Spirit to control! :)

CB Scott said...

Tim G,

Get back to trying to get well so you may preserve what little pretty you have left.

And know this; You ain't never gonna be pretty as either one of us no matter how old I get or how young Bart stays. :-)

cb

volfan007 said...

my momma always told me that i was pretty.


david :)

Dave Miller said...

You are so close to the truth, Bart.

(Truth, being defined as agreeing with me in all things.)

Debbie Kaufman said...

And Bart I think there are disengaged Southern Baptists because of the smoke filled appointment rooms. That has been proved with evidence at least to my minds satisfaction.

selahV said...

Dr. Bart...I've decided to be far more hopeful for the SBC also. God isn't stuck inside some box waiting for us to wake up and smell the coffee. He is at work and is working out everything according to His plan and purpose. Won't it be nice when He shows up in the midst of everything in a mighty rushing wind? selahV

Dave Miller said...

SelahV,

I hope you are right, but I am much more pessimistic.

M. Steve Heartsill said...

I pray every day that He comes quickly...to take us home...but, I know that as long as He tarries, we have work to do.