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.