SBCREC?

Michael Spencer, the iMonk, has written an insightful piece on  the future of the SBC. He calls it Death by Nostalgia. It’s worth a read.

My own reflections on being Southern Bapitst are echoed somewhat in the Monk’s essay. I often find it difficult to impossible to participate in associational events because so often they just seem silly.

Last year I was invited by the pastors of a local CREC church (ahem, Al and David…and now Uri) to attend their presbytery meeting. I was immediately captivated by the warmth and seriousness with which these men conducted the business of their presbytery. They shared important information about their churches and they prayed for each church in turn. There were light moments, but there was very little wasted energy or time.

Earlier this year I attended the Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference. I was one of maybe two baptists there. I was again taken by the tone and sense of purpose of the gathering. Men were talking about serious issues in a serious way. The conversation between sessions was congenial and thoughtful.

Tomorrow night I will be attending the ordination of a new good friend in the CREC (our own Uri). I anticipate that it will be serious, thoughtful and warm.

I say all this not to say that I’m crossing whatever river it is that you cross when you join the CREC (the Palouse?), but to say that when I’m with CREC brothers, I genuinely feel like I’m with brothers. And to contrast it with the SBC.

Now there are thoughtful, serious men in the SBC to be sure. I think of Tom Ascol as an example of what is good in the SBC. He is energetic, theologically astute, encouraging to younger men in a meaningful way. And he is surely not the only one. But it is not SBC culture. I’m hopeful that Spencer and others will succeed in ringing this bell. Not just so that we can save a denomination, but that we can return to seriousness about what we’re doing.

Press on, Michael Spencer. And press on, CREC. If the long view is the right view, good things are, indeed, coming. But they will probably not be wearing polyester and Hai Karate.

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18 responses to “SBCREC?

  1. (the Palouse?) HA! That made me laugh, forcing folks in my office to stop what they were doing and look at me. HA again!

    You are very kind Rob. My family and I have great affection for you and I am glad when you get to meet my CREC friends.

    al sends

  2. This is what is draining down the SBC. Over the last two and a half decades, the best the SBC has had, has drifted or walked away. There are some like Brother Tom Ascol and a few others who are still in there to be all they can for Jesus to these (fill in the blank) and I haven’t been made aware that it’s time for me to leave yet. Though it is a small brotherhood, there is still a band of brothers to worship, fellowship and study with in here.
    It does seem to be getting smaller.

    ed

  3. Alfonzo, You’re a good brother. Your family is a delight to our family, and your friends are a pretty classy bunch.

    Ed, Did you have a chance to read the piece linked above by Michael Spencer? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

  4. I have a dream…that one day Southern Baptists will be singing the Psalms and corporately shouting AMEN at the end of a Scripture reading and wearing nice beards and saying the word typology in every other sentence and reading Leithart instead of Criswell and smokings cigars rather than stuffing themselves at buffets and raising Sam Hadding’s instead of Joe Covenant-breakers and preaching like men instead of sissies…yes, brothers…I HAVE A DREAM….AMEN!

  5. You know, if you guys want to start living that dream, we could all meet at Hopjacks this weekend. Like on Saturday. Rob could drink a beer, too, and we promise we won’t tell the SBC.

    Hopjacks? Saturday? Or Friday, even? Is Friday better? Roll call.

  6. Rob;
    I sent you an article from the IMONK back in 2005. I have followed and admired this guy for years. I believe he is spot on with almost every view he has on many of the SBC problems. I’ll send you an email later.
    Brother Uri;
    You need to be real carefull where you sling that sissy stuff. In better than 25 years of preaching, I’ve been thrown out of more and better pulpits for standing on Solo Scriptoria than you have been in.
    The SBC has plenty of problems, but as I look around, I don’t see anything ready to replace the third person of the trinity yet.

    ed

  7. No mud on the CREC, but I wonder if much of their purity and thorough goodness lies in their relative newness in comparison with the SBC. They are for all practical purposes still in a bit of a revivalistic movement whereas the SBC has had plenty of time to disintegrate. The key will be what they look like in a hundred years. Nevertheless, IMONK’s post was great, and right on target for what is happening now.

  8. Hey Ed, not directed at you, brother. I am surprised you took it that personally. I have never met you nor personally heard you minister the Word of God, thus you should not take my comments as if I am directing it to you. My comment is referring to my general desire that the SBC (I am using them, in light of Rob’s post), and also other denominations begin to see the benefits in some of the things I mentioned and that Rob mentioned. Please, don’t stifle my fun, let me keep dreamin’ on!
    Dan’s comment is very valid. The validity of a group/movement/ecclesiastical body is seen more clearly in the long run. Let us pray that the CREC and the SBC continue to strive for covenant faithfulness and ecclesiastical unity.

  9. Pastor Uri;
    I’ve been in the SBC for over twenty-five years. I have been painfully aware of the shortcomings, failures and bad judgment on the part of many of our leaders. But I am also very aware of the great work being done by pastors of a few large, and a few medium churches. And I especially am aware of the sacrifices of the small, rural, single staff/wife-works-to-make-ends-meet pastors and their families. The greatest work being done for Christ today is NOT being done by the big, high profile, never have a worry preachers and teachers. It’s being done by men and women who will never be noticed in this world. When I here someone lump the good with the bad, it bother me. Perhaps my scars are too tender from all of the wars I have been in. There are people who dislike my “meet you in the middle of the street” sometimes confrontational style, it does not mean I’m unloving. And there are some who are ashamed of me, and that’s too bad. When I arrive in heaven, it won’t be to step from a gilded carriage wearing silver slippers, having safely smuggled in my soul. I will slide in sideways with every window shot out, the doors blown off and running on the rims and all of the demons cursing my name behind me. I’m not “in” because I was seeking a safe/soft way. I could do nothing else, whatever the world may do or think. Remember my brother, “It is the slyest form of treason; to love the right thing for the wrong reason.”

    ed

  10. Pastor Uri;
    I’ve been in the SBC for over twenty-five years. I have been painfully aware of the shortcomings, failures and bad judgment on the part of many of our leaders. But I am also very aware of the great work being done by pastors of a few large, and a few medium churches. And I especially am aware of the sacrifices of the small, rural, single staff/wife-works-to-make-ends-meet pastors and their families. The greatest work being done for Christ today is NOT being done by the big, high profile, never have a worry preachers and teachers. It’s being done by men and women who will never be noticed in this world. When I hear someone lump the good with the bad, it bother me. Perhaps my scars are too tender from all of the wars I have been in. There are people who dislike my “meet you in the middle of the street” sometimes confrontational style, it does not mean I’m unloving. And there are some who are ashamed of me, and that’s too bad. When I arrive in heaven, it won’t be to step from a gilded carriage wearing silver slippers, having safely smuggled in my soul. I will slide in sideways with every window shot out, the doors blown off and running on the rims and all of the demons cursing my name behind me. I’m not “in” because I was seeking a safe/soft way. I could do nothing else, whatever the world may do or think. Remember my brother, “It is the slyest form of treason; to love the right thing for the wrong reason.”

    ed

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