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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nathan Finn on What Ails the SBC

Nathan Finn, adjunct instructor at Southeastern College, has written an excellent series called "Some Possible Solutions for What Ails the SBC." Below are the links to all 16 posts in this series. Finn explains that the series began when he first wrote a post called, "Why I Don't Want to be a Southern Baptist Sometimes" and Wayne Hatcher commented with a word of exhortation:

Beautiful post. Perfect biting wit. All sad, but true, with hope and promise at the end. Now, follow up with a post listing what you intend to do to correct the problems; not a convention-wide approach, but what you (and we) can do, in one Sunday-school class, one church, one community, one life.
So for the last two months, Finn has been giving his exposition of the points laid out in his initial post, and I must say that it is rare to find such clear, critical thinking in the SBC. There are many SBC bloggers out and about these days--some who are involved politically in the power-grab of the Convention, others delving into theological issues, and yet more who simply write about what is going on in their church or sharing their sermon manuscripts. I suppose that all these have their rightful place, but Finn has done an exceptional thing by transcending the trench-type blogging and given us a big-picture layout of the landscape of the SBC, where the battlelines are being drawn, where the booby traps are being placed, and where we as a Convention can keep ourselves from getting stuck in our own civil war. If we as a Convention are going to experience success on the ground, we must get on the frontlines and not get distracted with silly issues which are not the problem (e.g. alcohol, Calvinism, etc.). From some in our elder generation who have fought for the Conservative Resurgence, we have much to be thankful. However, it is some of these same fighters who are looking for new theological or ecclesiological hills to die on. The future of the Convention will depend upon the wisdom and discernment to know what the real issues are, contrary to how some want us to think. As this younger generation of Southern Baptists is being marshalled onto the current battleground of the SBC, there will be some familiar trenches we will need to dig in and fight for (inerrancy, exclusivity of Christ, etc.). There will also be posts that we need to abandon, however (I will let you figure out what some of those are). In any case, Finn has done us all a service by giving us some good material to think about and discuss in the days ahead. Here are his posts in the order he wrote them: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.1 13.2 14.1 14.2 So what was Finn's conclusion to the greatest problem in the SBC? Here's his answer:
"The biggest problem in the SBC is our loss of the gospel. It is pervasive. It is often subtle. It is likely accidental, or at least it has not been deliberate. And it is a tragedy. . . . In many corners of the SBC, the gospel has either been redefined, dumbed-down, confused, prostituted, or downplayed. Again, I think almost none of this is deliberate. But it has happened."
So where do we begin? We begin with the gospel. I suspect the future of our Convention lies not in the political prowess of the SBC elite or the erudite academia of our well-esteemed seminaries or even whether we blow the shofar in our next annual meeting. Rather it lies in every local church committing themselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Believing it. Teaching it. Living it. And glorying in it. Let us labor to that end. Selah

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