Friday, May 29, 2009

Qualified Affirmations of the Great Commission Resurgence

SBC Today is reporting that Dr. Jerry Vines is affirming the Great Commission Resurgence document with caveats. The Great Commission Resurgence website lists Dr. Paige Patterson as having done the same.

I have already listed the areas in which I agree with the document, the areas in which I disagree, and the areas in which I can't quite tell whether I agree or not. I affirm in its entirety the resolution on the Great Commission Resurgence that the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention affirmed at our annual meeting in 2008. Not only am I in agreement with that statement, beyond my mere agreement there is enthusiasm about all that it says.

I will not ask to be an asterisked signatory on the GCR website. However, I request that nobody construe me as an opponent of the idea of a Great Commission Resurgence. I am indeed someone who is enthusiastically in support of portions of the statement, uncertain what the convention would mean by other portions of it, regretful about the absence of some things within it (e.g., the actual interaction with the text of the Great Commission evidenced in the SBTC resolution), and yet willing for the deliberative process to unfold further before concluding one way or the other about this particular set of ideas.

I have determined to do this: I am going to bring the text of the SBTC resolution before my church for its own consideration. I would encourage each of my readers, if you desire to see a Great Commission Resurgence in our convention, to start in your own life and in the life of your local congregation. Let this not be exclusively a conversation of blogs and national conventions; let it be a conversation opened in our own assemblies, where it ultimately must rise or fall.

31 comments:

David Samples said...

Bart,

I think that you have an excellent idea in terms of bringing the SBTC document before your congregation for approval. I am not in Texas and so the SBTC document is not in my line of sight. I am thinking that I might like to distribute Dr Akin's document to my church for their consideration.

Bart Barber said...

Great idea, David. I would encourage that..

Les Puryear said...

I signed it today with caveats. My caveats have been explained on my earlier blog post about congregational polity. I wonder if they will list mine w/caveats like they did Dr. Patterson and Dr. Vines?

Good idea about bringing it before the churches.

Les

Bart Barber said...

Les,

I do not know whether the listing of people with the wording "with caveats" will be an option extended to any and all, or just one reserved for "people of note." It looks to me like that section of the site is hand-typed, while the broader signatory list is likely computer-generated from a database. It is possible to code a database to flag "with caveats" signatories and to have the server add the text to the appropriate entries, but I do not know whether the site has or will make the necessary modifications in order to make that happen.

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

It's a wonderful day in the Southern Baptist Convention when men and women can sign a document with caveats in order to express their general approval with what the document is saying, and to identify with the body of believers who have formulated the document, but at the same time maintain one's integrity by signing the document with caveats.

Congratulations to Dr. Patterson, you and others for signing the document with caveats.

Blessings,

Wade

Bart Barber said...

Wade, bless your heart, you just don't have a very good batting record around here lately. When did I sign the document with caveats?

Wade Burleson said...

My apologies, Bart. Please forgive me for misidentifying you as a c0-signer of the GC Document. I assumed that you would do what Dr. Patterson has done, Dr. Jerry Vines has done, and others whom you mention in your post.

Anyway, it is still a great day in the SBC for the reasons stated above.

Blessings,

Wade

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

I'm happy to report that the GCR site has listed me as a signer w/caveats in the "normal folks" section. So I guess it's not just for "people of note." :)

Les

volfan007 said...

Bart,

I havent signed yet, either. I, too, am a huge believer in the Great Commission. But, this document is void of some specifics that I'd like to see before affixing my name to it. I do understand those who signed with caveats...and their caveats probably have to do with the same thing that you and I are not signing.

Also, do you think that signing a document about the GCR is really gonna make a huge difference in SBC life? Bart, will this make any difference in the soul winning and mission endeavors in SBC life?

David

Bob Cleveland said...

I signed it, as I think it's a good document. But that's what it is .. a document or a declaration.

Now, if it is brought up in the annual meeting as something to be studied by the Convention as a possible mandate for action, I will speak against it.

If the recommendations set forth for certain entities are sound ideas, let the officials and trustees of those institutions do something about it.

Similarly, if there are good ideas for local churches, let the churches act on them.

What we don't need is another document to tell folks in the SBC what to do. The Bible tells us how to do stuff, including being good stewards of what's entrusted to us.

debbiekaufman said...

Bob: I would disagree with you on this one. I does present a direction that we should go, if it stays just a document, then we will be no better off than in days past. I hope you change your mind and don't speak against it being studied. This has to be more than just another document, it has to lead to convictions and changes or I would have signed it for nothing.

david: We need a document like this in my opinion, just saying do the Great commission hasn't been enough, our differences in doctrine have prevented that from happening because not only have we been arguing what constitutes the Great commission, but what doctrine should be taught. It's time that stopped and we did something, that is going to cause changes to have to occur in the Convention and in our churches, as well as individually. IOW what you are saying just hasn't produced anything but words. That's it.

volfan007 said...

Debbie,

In my own little way, I'm trying to fulfull my part of the great commission. I know that I need to do more, and my Church needs to do more. I pray that we will. But, we are preaching and teaching, and baptising as we go thru life.

Also, let' look at the SBC. It's the greatest mission sending force that has ever existed. No one, and I mean no one, to my knowledge has done more mission work than SB's. Thousands and thousands of missionaries have gone all over the world preaching the Gospel and starting Churches since the existence of the SBC.

So, exactly what are you talking about when you say,"IOW what you are saying just hasn't produced anything but words. That's it."???

David

Wayne Smith said...

Bart,

Another former SBC president, Herschel H. Hobbs, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, hosted an ecumenical gather in his church. Roman Catholics, Nazarenes, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Southern Baptists were “eating, laughing, praying, and singing together” at what Hobbs called a “rally for the Agency for Christian Cooperative Ministry.” Hobbs, the host pastor and a member of the steering committee of the proposed agency, explained, “I feel that by being here, I’m no less a Baptist, but much more a Christian.” Beale, David O.. S.B.C House on the Sand? Critical Issues for Southern Baptists . Greenville: Unusual Publications, 1985. 141.

http://sbcvoices.com/ecumenical-cooperation-or-foul-play/
Dealing With Legalism
by Matt Svoboda on May 28, 2009
Here is a great quote on legalism from Chuck Swindoll:
“The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don’t mess with legalism anymore. I’m 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they’re dangerous. They are grace-killers. They’ll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don’t have any opinion!
So, if I am trying to force my personal list of no-no’s on you and make you feel guilty if you don’t join me, then I’m out of line and I need to be told that.”
Chuck Swindoll

As most of you know Southern Baptist are quite known for being legalistic. When I read quotes like this it breaks my heart and makes me cringe, knowing my convention is known for legalism and that the quote above too true.

http://sbcvoices.com/dealing-with-legalism/


Wayne

CB Scott said...

There is one really big difference in the Patterson and Vines signing of the GCRD and the Burleson signing of the BF&M with caveats.

Patterson and Vines were not signing a document to affirm their service as trustees or employees of a SBC entity. Burleson was.

Burleson should not have been permitted to serve as a trustee of the IMB after signing the BF&M with caveat. The BF&M was and is the approved document of the SBC for cooperation and service in SBC entities.

The GCRD is not an approved document of the SBC for anything as of yet.

I am sure that if it (GCRD) were to become so (SBC approved for cooperation) Vines and Patterson would have the integrity to either sign it in full agreement in order to serve or refuse to serve based upon their convictions.

Burleson is comparing apples and oranges here to make a point that is actually none existent.

Actually, he is and has consistently made credible an argument many have made over the last three years; Burleson does not display cooperation with the SBC in practice or polity, historically or otherwise.
cb

Todd Benkert said...

I did sign the document, without caveats. If I were to have a caveat, it would be that I much prefer the presentation in Akin's chapel address than in the final, less potent, written version.

Looking with anticipation at what will or won't come to the floor at the Convention. Should be a good one. See you in Louisville.

Blessings,
Todd

Anonymous said...

We will be more impressed when there is a signing of a Great Commandment document.

You cannot have a Great Commission Resurgence without a return to the Great Commandment. As things now stand, Paige Patterson would never sign a 'Great Commandment' document, not with the blood of Dr. Klouda all over his hands.

Nice try to 'look like you care about converting others to Christ' but maybe some people need to start converting those closer to home, like some in the leadership of the SBC. Otherwise, it's just more of the same, lip-service to the 'Gospel', while destroying the lives of fellow Christians who are innocent. Sad to see it.

Bob Cleveland said...

Debbie, I agree that if it doesn't lead to convictions and changes, then it's just another document, but I've seen lot of evidence that what's voted on at the convention doesn't mean a lot at the church level unless the church already has that conviction and wants to make that change.

Ditto for the various institutions.

I just don't think an "endorsement" by the people in Louisville will make that happen any more than a strict denominational structure (think Catholicism, Methodism, etc) makes for more conviction as to sin, death and righteousness in the pew. But it may give the "denomination" one more lever in telling the local church and the believer what to do.

CB Scott said...

"I just don't think an "endorsement" by the people in Louisville will make that happen any more than a strict denominational structure (think Catholicism, Methodism, etc) makes for more conviction as to sin, death and righteousness in the pew. But it may give the "denomination" one more lever in telling the local church and the believer what to do."

An "endorsement by the people in Louisville" will make nothing happen in the local church. I agree with you there completely there Bob.

Yet, I do not think it was the intent of those who drafted the GCRD for the "denomination" to tell "the local church and the believer what to do."

Local churches must grasp the intent of those who have drafted the document if there is to be a GCR just as local churches (grass root Southern Baptists) had to grasp the intent of the leaders of the CR for its success. Which, by the way, they did. The CR was a grass roots movement as far as its success was concerned.

The GCR will only be a success (and I pray it is) if local churches grasp its intent and fulfill the biblical mandate of the Great Commission.

I think that is the goal of those who drafted the GCRD. I think they know it must be a local church movement or it will not work.

cb

SBC Friend said...

CB,

Could you be so kind as to show us all where it is required that a trustee of one of our agencies must sign the BFM 2000 without caveats?

CB Scott said...

SBC Friend??,

This is Bart's blog. He can do as he pleases relating to who comments here.

But you did address your question to me. Therefore, you will have to identify yourself beyond being just another anony if we converse beyond this exchange.

cb

SBC Friend said...

So you are unable to show us.

That's what I thought.

Tom Parker said...

"the CR for its success"

Was the CR really a success?

It seems to me it knocked BMT-BOLD MISSION THRUST right off the front burner IN 1979 and now 30 years later we have the GCR and people are 100% for it or have caveats.

Seems to me we are about 30 years tardy, but "the CR was successful"

No one will ever convince me the CR was a success.

CB Scott said...

Tom Parker,

I have one question for you as to whether the CR was successful or not. Here it is:

Are you presently in any position of leadership within the SBC?

cb

Harry said...

CB,

You are a jerk and don't even know it.

You put down to Tom is evidence.

Bob Cleveland said...

CB,

I don't think that was their intent, either, so it'll be interesting to see what's done with it in Louisville.

CB Scott said...

Bob,

I make that assertion because the framers of the GCRD know Southern Baptists have an independent nature about them.

They also know the only hope we have is the gospel.

History will verify that at various times the people of God have needed a "wake-up" call to move them toward the fulfillment of the mandate of Christ to carry out the Great Commission.

It is my prayer that this call for local church attention to the Great Commission by SBC leaders will cause a stir in the hearts of many and the gospel will become central to our understanding of mission and purpose.

Also, I would like to add that some leaders of Southern Baptist entities have been calling for an awakening to the mandate of the Great Commission among local churches for a long time prior to the framing of the GCRD.

The state missionaries of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions led by Rick Lance are, in my experience with them, focused on the Great Commission. All of them I know are passionate about the gospel in their preaching and leadership. They seem to be doing many things to help and inspire pastors and local churches in Alabama to be about the gospel above all else in their focus.

cb

CB Scott said...

BTW, Bob,

Are you packed? And is the oil changed and the tires rotated for the trip? :-)

cb

Bob Cleveland said...

CB,

Jah, mein herr.

volfan007 said...

CB,

Your answer to Tom Parker was a classic!

And, Tom, yes, the CR was a HUGE success.

David

Alex said...

As you write, David.

'was'

Tom Parker said...

For there to be so much decline in the SBC and also so much of an effort to make a list of what one must be to be "SB" how is it that as one said--"The CR was a huge success." There must be a new definition of success--addition by subtraction.

Are we really better of than before the CR? I vote NO!