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13 June, 2007 / theexpositor

The SBC-No you can’t, yes you can, no wait…

 Main Entry: au·ton·o·mous
Pronunciation: o-'tä-n&-m&s
Function: adjective
Etymology: Greek autonomos independent, from aut- + nomos law — more at NIMBLE 

1 : of, relating to, or marked by autonomy
2 a : having the right or power of self-government b : undertaken or carried on without outside control : SELF-CONTAINED <an autonomous school system>
3 a : existing or capable of existing independently <an autonomous zooid> b : responding, reacting, or developing independently of the whole <an autonomous growth>

I present the meaning of the word autonomous as I write this regarding the Southern Baptist Convention. The annual meeting of the SBC, reagrded as the largest protestant denomination in America, boasting some 16 million, is currently underway in San Antonio, Texas.

In a discussion today with a friend who is attending the convention, I posed the following question, “If every Southern Baptist church is autonomous, and the denomination’s leadership cannot mandate what churches and members do, then why even bother to have a convention meeting, let alone introduce and debate resolutions?”

For example, if at the annual meeting of the SBC, a resolution was introduced that said all members of  Southern Baptist churches cannot drink alcohol and remain Southern Baptist, and that measure were approved, it would have absolutely no effect whatsoever. In fact such resolutions have been proposed and many Southern Baptist drink alcohol.

Another case in point, for the last several years, one prominent SBC pastor has introduced a resolution that in effect states that if someone wants to be a member of a Southern Baptist church, they must actually be born-again. In other words, to be a member of a Christian church, you must actually be a Christian. Amazingly, that resolution has not been approved. 

Here’s the point, the meetings, the resolutions, the debates, the special programs and cute curriculum titles mean absolutely nothing, if the SBC and in fact all denominations, are not willing to take a firm and solid commitment to the truth. If the Southern Baptist Convention , as a denoimination, really desired to firmly and consistently they would do something about it.

Sadly, the adoption of the following statement says it all:

“The Baptist Faith and Message is neither a creed, nor a complete statement of our faith, nor final and infallible; nevertheless, we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention.”

Translation- We do, but we don’t, unless we want to, but only if you do and only then if we care to.




  1. kim / Jun 14 2007 14 36

    Amen Mike!

    I’ve written before. I’m in the MBC on the excutive committee. I wrote to Pastor Ken Silva and told him too, that I’m not surprised anymore at how the SBC compromises.

    Our SBC president’s speech on even though we have significant differences, we should move on hand in hand, is unbelievable. So he admits they are significant, but no biggie. Move on and get over it is what I hear him saying.

    The committee that I was able to help on was supposed to do research on partnerships we have in our state convention. We have now been told our report is to be tabled for now because of unforseen problems, one of which is a protest group who has accused us of being legalists.

    Some of the partnerships we looked into were, emergent, willow creek, and purpose driven. Since the SBC is involved in each of these up to their eyeballs, we knew there would be an uproar. I guess unity trumps Truth, but as I keep telling people, what kind of unity are we getting when Truth is not even agreed upon.

    Thanks for letting me fuss. Keep up the great work. kim


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