Balaam's Ass (faith, culture, politics)

I believe the church has lost its prophetic voice by choosing sides with the powers of the world. They have become like Balaam. I am hoping to be his donkey by helping them see the error of their ways before it is too late. So, yes I am the Ass. When you read the posts you may well agree. a little light reading regularly included

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The New President of the SBC

I just sent this "Letter to the Editor" to a few SBC newspapers. They have elected a new SBC President who has said some things that seem disengenous to say the least. After my letter you can see some quotes from the Florida Baptist Witness.

Once again I am dismayed by the half-gospel the leadership of the SBC seems to be promoting. I was especially concerned with the profile of newly elected SBC president Bobby Welch.

First of all, his opinions regarding malaise, problems, and decline seemed to take issue with the past presidents. If he assumes these were problems of the SBC and he will change them, then he assumes the president has the power to change things. If so, what has been wrong with the past presidents. I think more care needs to go into his statements.

Also, of much more concern is Welch's understanding that "This Convention does not have one problem that soul winning will not solve." This seems like a statement that has little to do with proper theology and more to do with a desire to fire people up.

Does he really think that every problem of the SBC is because we do not have enough converts? That is naive from a 61-year-old man. If more people are converted, then all of our problems will go away? This is not the problem and he knows it.

The problem with this theological assumption (along with his 6 problems to be addressed) is that only stewardship has to do with discipleship. Remember, Jesus said, "Follow me," which entails more than getting people "saved." The great commission, which we so regaularly trumpet, tells us to make "disciples" not "converts" or "win souls."

If all of our focus is upon "making converts" and not disciples, which he seems to be saying in other statements, then we are winning people to a half-gospel, which creates more problems from "undiscipled disciples."

Please Dr. Welch and SBC leadership, embrace a whole gospel, one which will change lives and will change the SBC. If we disciple people to follow Jesus in their relationships with others, who embrace the beatitudes and live out the fruit of the spirit, including our leaders, then the SBC can truly change.

blessings,

My name inserted here

From an article on Welch (these quotes are in order, but some of the article is taken out because it is poorly written and quite boring)...

Bobby Welch believes he knows what ails Southern Baptists and desires to lead the Southern Baptist Convention to a time of renewed focus and commitment to evangelism that will fix a “malaise” which afflicts the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

“Here’s the headline on me: This Convention does not have one problem that soul winning will not solve. You put that in big, capital letters, quotes, three exclamation points and underline it in red,” the 61-year-old pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, said in an extensive interview with Florida Baptist Witness three weeks before he stands for election as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

If elected during the SBC annual meeting next week in Indianapolis, he promised “to give the greatest effort that I have ever given to anything in my life to … unify this Convention for the sake of souls.”

Citing a drop in the number of baptisms during 2003 and unacceptable incremental gains in membership as evidence of the problem among Southern Baptists, Welch said, “I believe this Convention has really been attacked by the Devil in about six critical areas that we’ve got to break-out from.” He said most pastors and lay leaders could “unify in purpose quickly” on the areas of concern in a coordinated, simultaneous effort that will result in reversing the troubling statistics.

The areas of concern included evangelism training, soul winning, baptisms, stewardship, Vacation Bible School and starting new units.

Welch added, “I believe that if we unify on purpose—and that being evangelism—that we have the ability then to move us from this malaise that we’re caught in now of floundering and struggling with the hope of incremental improvement in things that are very essential to our life. … We’ve got to get off these decimal points. Decimal points are good for nothing but death spiritually.”

Welch emphasized that there could be other areas of focus about which consensus could be found, but said that he believed the six he identified would find wide agreement in Southern Baptist life, expressing hope that the SBC could unify with “each church, each pastor and the people, and each entity of the Convention is going to embrace these six things and we’re going to try to come together over a twelve month period … and we’re going to try to do our best in these areas.”