The Southern Baptist Convention is having their annual event right now in USA - a huge gathering. I made it to the 1999 event back in . . . when was it . . oh yeah . . 1999. But i haven't been to one since. Mean Dean gives us 3 bloggers who are there now. But only one of them mentioned that the SBC decided to pull out of the Baptist World Alliance on Tuesday. Maybe its not a big deal to them . . .
"Baptist World Alliance? Which state are they from?"
"Ahh . . i think Kentucky"
But I think its a really big deal and a tragedy. We are living in a world where people are looking for new ways to collaborate while preserving distinctiveness. The SBC's habitual strategy of "POO" (Pulling Out Overtly - yes, i just made that up) is not only limited by the amount of organizations it can withdraw from before there is nothing left to pull out of (the local library will still be there to boycott), but it also destroys the opportunity to grow through relationship, and to show the world a united Body of Christ. . . .
Why did the SBC pull out? Some people say because of BWA's soft theology, and "anti-American" bias. Others say they are sore that Cooperative Baptist Fellowship joined the BWA last year. I hope its not the latter - CBF is a really good group and doing a great job. I flew into Atlanta a few years ago and met with Dan Vestal, who heads it up - really nice man, and his son Joel is a good friend of mine - a missionary himself with Servlife and one of the original Young Leaders (pre-Emergent).
And also (call me a name dropper) the former President of BWA was a mate of mine from Australia - Dr. Noel Vose of Perth, W. Australia. OK, 'mate' is a strong word. We met a few times . . hows that?
Now, call me naive, but I would think that the SBC could somehow iron out the minor wrinkles and show the world that at least they can get on together with other Baptists. I mean, if they cant hang out with family members within the same denomination, then where will they find the maturity to enter into conversation with groups that are really different? And not even Baptist? Not even Christian? What does that say about the power of Christ to heal? We need to try harder . . .
(everyone, with gusto . . . )
"Can't we try just a little bit harder?
Can't we give just a little bit more?
Can't we try to understand
that it's love we're fighting for?
Can't we try just a little more passion?
Can't we try just a little less pride? "
Sing the whole song if you want to get carried away.
I think this is a bad move. The BWA has a voice in world affairs and a great reputation. The SBC could use help in both. I am guessing and hoping that Baptist churches and State Conventions around America will stay connected to BWA and support them. In fact, I am counting on some of them to come over to Birmingham next year for the BWA World Congress. Maybe we could do something special next year in Birmingham and honor the Southern Baptists from America that still want to play in the global scene - its a big baptist world and the current fundamentalist flavor in SBC does not necessarily represent all the states or churches . . or people.
Now for my Southern Baptist blog altar call:
. . . Uh hummm . . .
Some of ya out thar are feelin somethin deep inside ya
a deep conviction in ya heart
I'm gonna ask ya ta do somethin
im gonna ask ya to get off this post
and click on that thar comment button
you know im talking about you
come on now
. . yes . . i can see that hand - thank you
you go ahead and comment on this blog postin'
yes i see your hand also
now while the choir-program google searches all 37 verses of "O Lamb of God"
i want you to write out ya comment below
please make it brief and no jpegs over 25K
html is allowed for hypertext
comment spam not allowed
one of our counselor-bots will be tracking your IP address
and automatically sending you email confirmation of your decision
yes . . i see that IP address coming up on my screen
yes . . . theres another one
PRAISE YOU JESUS!!!!!!!
[activate virtual tears]
now the rest of ya
fathers, mothers, bloggers,
by writing ya comment with ya hand,
you are sayin YES JESUS in ya heart to God
Yeeeeeeeeessss Lord Jesus!!!!!!!
come on now
now the choir-program is gonna copy and paste quietly while you write
"Just as I am without one plea . . . "
UPDATE: Best reporting on the event was the Baptist Standard report