Side Streets in the SBC
Tonight, Dr. Ed Young Sr. preached a message in which he argued that the SBC has lost its identity and gone down several "side streets." A couple of things I want to point out that I was really glad to hear: 1. Young mentioned that we are fooling ourselves if we think that we really have 16 million members in the SBC. He argued that 10 million of them could not be found by the FBI. 2. Young passionately called for SBC churches to reach out to the younger generation. He mentioned that six out of eight students who are committed church attenders, when they graduate high school, will leave the church never to be seen again. Having been a student minister for four years, I share such concerns for the younger generation. 3. As Southern Baptists, we need to double our efforts in missions and evangelism which also includes our giving. Young wants the SBC to propose a challenge to Dr. Jerry Rankin, which is to have 10,000 missionaries in the next two years, and SBC churches will double their giving to support that cause. Now that is what I am talking about! At the moment, Young mentioned that we give 2.8 cents to missions and evangelism. What a pitiful state we are in. As one professor told me the other day, we need to get off our building programs and start building up the kingdom of God. 4. Finally, Young made a serious call for Southern Baptists to experience a supernatural healing of relationships. He mentioned that we don't need all the biting, butting, hardlining, and ruling out of one another. We not only have to preach James 3, but it is not a bad idea to practice James 3. The tongue is like a fire which can bring both praises and curses. When we attack motives and slander brothers, what are we thinking?" Amen to that. Young mentioned that there were fifteen words which he believed in that brought reconcilation. They were, "I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. I need you." He added, "A whole lot of us in this fractured time needs to say these words." Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a part of the younger generation of SBCers, Reformed in my theology, passionate about missions, and committed to the local church. Over the last several years, the rift in the SBC has increased between the younger and older generations in the SBC, and especially between the anti-Calvinists and the Reformed community. Young's message today was about forgiveness, transparency, honesty, integrity, humility, and reconciliation. The younger generation is not a bunch of rebels or dissenters. Calvinists are not killing or dividing churches or hindering the Great Commission. We are committed to our convictions and our convention at the same time, and that is not a bad thing. I think we all would do well to point the finger at ourselves for once and say, "Father, forgive me, for I do not know what I am doing."