The series continues. On June 5th, I began a series in which I asked "What has [fill in the blank] tradition gifted the larger Church?" The one rule was the answers had to be edifying, which twitter people are (mostly). You can find the results of this twitter series on my blog or using the hashtag, #GiftingTheChurch (thanks for the idea Pastor Daniel).
I had no sooner posted the tweet asking for the ways Southern Baptists have gifted the larger Church than I had a private message from a sexual abuse survivor, at the hands of an SBC church leader. The Southern Baptist Convention's response to abuse within the church has made media news and continues to be critically examined. As it should.
Can a flawed denomination, such as the SBC, offer gifts to the Church? This one is personal to me because I'm a product of the SBC. They've given women like me teachers such as Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer and Kelly Minter. Teaching is just one example. Is it fair to recognize their strengths when there are obviously glaring weaknesses?
In my book, Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost, this is one of the first questions I ask about church. Chapter one wraps up with the following paragraph:
If you're in the church long enough it will disappoint you, I promise. The way I always saw it, disappointment left me with choices. I could stick it out and try to make a positive change in the church I attended. I could determine the fellowship was broken enough I needed to find a new church home. Or I could ultimately decide God was to blame for the hurt and suffering, causing me to abandon church altogether. This last choice never seemed a viable option to me.
Sometimes the hurts we have at church go far beyond disappointment. We acknowledge that. Let's recognize the gifts our Southern Baptist brothers and sisters have given us, praying for them as we do so.
Day Five - Southern Baptists
- Evangelism - a dynamic energy in their ministries leading people to Christ.
Southern Baptists have been known as the greatest soul winners in the world. I believe that example to the rest of Christ’s Church is their greatest contribution. (David B.)
- Uncompromised preaching of Scripture aimed at life-change.
- Equal emphasis on evangelizing and discipleship.
- Value of Scripture memorization.
- Baptisms (by immersion)! Lots of them.
- They do missions well (Lottie Moon).
- Their emphasis on church planting.
A surprisingly helpful and non-cookie-cutter approach. I believe they continue to be far ahead of the curve in their church planting approach via (NAMB). (Tim A)
- Fellowship - potlucks, revivals, weekly Bible studies, showers and senior events, eating after church.
- The true answer to the Arminianism and Calvinism debate.
- The practice of giving personal testimony.
- Priesthood of every believer; no pope, no official position on the matter, denominational higher ups.
- Each believer, under the Spirit's leadership, reads the Word and applies it.
- The missionary efforts of the IMB (International) and NAMB (North America); including a cooperative program that allows each individual church to give to missions (ie. a church of thirty can fund missionaries in Cameroon, Hungary, and Boston).
- Great hymns.
- Expositional teaching of scripture.
- A deep love and desire to please him (that could get twisted into legalism at times).
- Proof that autonomous churches can associate for good.
- Amazing teachers and leaders.
- World-changing seminaries and colleges.
- Billy Graham quote:
If I didn’t believe that the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ held the answer to this world’s baffling problems, I would go back to the farm and the rural life that I love and spend my days in peaceful solitude.