Remember when Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote a series of articles on "myths" concerning the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force work? Virtually a year ago to the day (October 6, 2009), Dr. Akin wrote:
"I am going to do a series of blogs that will hopefully help in putting to rest a number of untruths that are being bantered about. The list of “myths about the GCR” will not be in any particular order. I hope these blogs will be helpful in setting the record straight. There is too much mistrust that unfortunately characterizes Convention life at this time. We must be better than this. Jesus deserves better than this."
Following through, Akin wrote a series of blogs dealing with a total of eight "myths" (not including a postscript) which he believed was "putting to rest a number of untruths that are being bantered about." Though I offered my own commentary on the "myth-making" phenomenon which GCR advocates indicated were being exploited (my commentary beginning here), most found Dr. Akin's series enlightening and helpful.
I thought immediately of this series again only this week. The thing is, I thought of the series Dr. Akin composed--a series assuring all Southern Baptists myth-makers were hard at work, buzzing about matters that were simply not on the radar for the GCRTF (at least, that's surely the sense I got reading his blogs)--in the strangest place.
So, what made me think of Dr. Akin's blog series on "myths" about the GCRTF? The recent article in Christianity Today on Dr. Al Mohler, "The Reformer"!
On October 8, Dr. Akin logged "myth #2" in which he expounded on what he identified as his very favorite myth "because of the incredible imagination needed to come up with it!" And, while I offered several lines of reasoning why it took no imagination whatsoever to wonder about the GCRTF's posture toward Acts29 Network, Dr. Akin assured all Southern Baptists just how incredible this myth was. He confidently insisted:
The fact is that Acts 29 has never been an item on the GCRTF agenda. In fact, I suspect a number of the Task Force members have never heard of Acts 29...Do I think we can learn from them? Yes. Would I support a formal partnership? No. Would I support turning North American church planting over to them? Never! I am quite confident my feelings would reflect the sentiments of the rest of the GCRTF were our discussions ever to turn to Acts 29...So, can we expect a future wedding between Acts 29 and the SBC? Not likely, since they are not even dating!" (emphasis added)
Contrast this bold denial concerning consideration of Acts29 and the recent quote attributed to Dr. Akin in the Christianity Today article. It reads:
Akin stresses that in an enormous organization like the SBC, no change happens quickly. But when asked which models of church-planting and evangelism the Task Force admired, his answer was telling. "We have looked at—we have no intention of emulating them at every point—Acts 29 and Redeemer Presbyterian [Church in Manhattan]," he says, naming two of the most prominent Reformed evangelical church-planting bodies in the country. "We are this big, monstrous aircraft carrier, and they're both speedboats, but we've been watching them" (emphasis mine)
Comparing the two statements, it seems to me, it's very difficult to explain how a "myth" was supposed to have existed, a myth, if you recall, took such an "incredible imagination" to spawn it, that, according to Dr. Akin, "The creative imaginations behind this myth deserve a medal." For my part, if I am reading these two assertions fairly, I find the tension disturbing.
What is more, Dr. Mohler gave no less an affirmation of Dr. Akin's open admission about "watching" Acts29 and Mark Driscoll when queried about church planting by Molly Worthen. Mohler answered rhetorically:
"When you're looking for theologically vibrant, healthy models that lead to growing churches, where else are you going to look [other than Acts29 and Mark Driscoll]?" asks Mohler."
Hence, supposing Dr. Mohler is correct and no other viable church-planting model exists other than Mark Driscoll's Acts29 Network (and perhaps Redeemer Presbyterian), it takes no incredible imagination to assume Mark Driscoll and Acts29 conversations would have been routine during the dialogs on church planting. After all, unless I've misunderstood both Akin and Mohler,* all else would have been a grand waste of time.
With that, I am...
*another possibility is Worthen either misquoted or misunderstood either or both Akin and/or Mohler