This might as well be considered a series. Don’t usually do that. However, Smooth posted a wrap-up to his posts that I’ve previously mentioned. I just want to respond to one point of his wrap-up.
Clarification #3: When I say that I’m done with the SBC, I mean that I’m done fighting for it and identifying with it. I don’t hate the convention. I don’t harbor any resentment towards the churches, church members, committee members, and Directors of Ph.D. studies, etc. who have intentionally marginalized me, belittled me, or treated me unfairly. Contrary to what Rev. Palmer may think, I can say with some certainty that you will never find me holding a position within the SBC. I don’t mean that I am against the SBC or think that they are evil as my good buddy John seems to think I mean. It may, however, be beyond saving. History will tell.
I think I wasn’t clear. I don’t think Smooth is against the SBC or thinks it’s evil. I meant he’s through with it (as he said) and many who say that they are through with it are counting it off as useless and others are evil. Smooth never has said that, but I’ve read it in quite a few blogs of people who have “jumped off the ledge” of leaving the SBC.
Journey still gives money to the Cooperative Program. As the senior leadership team here at Journey we decided to give to the Cooperative Program as a means of contributing to missions and supporting conservative theological training. We do not, however, identify ourselves as Southern Baptists, and you will not find any of us serving on this or that committee or going to this or that convention fighting for a voice. We just don’t care.
I am very glad Journey gives to the Cooperative Program. This finances my seminary education in two ways: first, a portion of CP funds goes to SBC seminaries, including Southeastern. Second, since I am a member of Journey – a church giving to the CP, I get a 50% tuition reduction. That’s stinkin’ awesome. While it saddens me that “We just don’t care” about having a voice in the convention, I know that’s not the case of all members of Journey, as I am a member of Journey who cares about turning the SBC around. I may be the only one, but that’s OK.
Why bother? Because of the missional impact the convention can have, you say? Again, I’m responsible for me. Maybe others are called to “save” the convention. But the reason that “young people are jumping ship by the thousands” and that Dr. Reid has to talk “good younger men off the ledge from leaving the SBC” is because saving the convention is not our calling.
I totally agree that we are responsible for ourselves. But one thing that I’ve learned at Journey is we are part of something bigger than ourselves. And while I also agree that the convention is not our calling, the convention, when course-corrected occasionally to line up better with God’s calling, could be used by God to help many people in many nations to know Him.
While Smooth and I may disagree regarding whether or not to have hope in the SBC, we are co-laborers in the Gospel at Journey and still somehow manage to get along. Heck, we’re even in the same small group!
And finally, lest you think this blog has become a blog about all things SBC and nothing else, I guarantee that my next post will mention absolutely nothing about that. It will probably be something theological or technical, since I love talking about that stuff. Politics? Not so much.