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is anyone surprised?

Darby Livingston

I've been somewhat of a vocal critic of the way things have been with NAMB in the past. I've read and been told that folks like me are uncooperative, not trusting God, just want to take my ball and go home when things don't go my way and aren't seeing the bigger picture. I guess the tables are turned now and lo and behold, the SBC vote in Orlando means nothing to some people. Now they want to take their ball and go home. Why have a convention at all if the votes of southern baptists aren't accepted by leaders at various levels? Must they always know more than the southern baptists they supposedly serve?



As I've often argued GCR was and remains a 'top-down' push for Southern Baptists to swing this way or that. Think for a moment who leads the charge: men who hold positions of unquestionable authority. That is, what they say pretty much goes in their respective spheres. Mohler does not count noses when he makes decisions at SBTS. Nor does Akin at SEBTS. Nor does Hunt, Traylor, or Floyd who run mega-churches from 'top-down' templates. They don't ask for permission; they stand up and tell people who work for them what they're going to do.

Now, I'm not necessarily arguing there is no place for leadership spheres like that. Indeed I was in a position at one church I served where, though not a mega-church by any stretch, the leadership template in place when I arrived was a mega-church leadership paradigm. *The Pastor* made decisions. End of story. It was nothing to drop $40k on a project without gaining 'permission'. This is a tremendous amount of authority for one person to possess.

All said, the conventional wisdom is not yet overturned that Baptists always--*ALWAYS*--vote twice: once at the meeting, and again after they've gone home or the offering plate is passed. Trying to impose a top-down scenario on millions of free church believers who are congregationally-driven is like Ronnie Floyd all of a sudden being carried away from his Springdale church where he gets what he wants to a medium-sized county seat First Baptist Church in south Georgia. It just ain't workin'.

With that, I am...

William Thornton

Peter, I would say that the beloved DOM is correct on only one of his four assertions, the one where he says that the GCRTF has "Programmed the coming withdrawal of cooperative agreements with home missionaries in established state conventions and new work areas". Well, they didn't exactly program it but they recommended it to the NAMB trustees who have programmed it. We have his opinion on the other three.

Isn't this letter and similar statement by folks like David Hankins evidence that this isn't an imposition on the various levels of SBC life, although it does frame the discussion and, like good Baptists do, we are meeting and voting and deciding.

I suspect when the dust settles NAMB will be stronger, though without much additional funding, the IMB will receive marginally greater funding, and state conventions will find that the gravy years are over and that they must reprioritize their work.

...but then, I'm just a hacker and a plodder.

Howell Scott


I have a post up at www.fromlaw2grace.com which deals with the Alabama DOM's open letter and the continued denial of stubborn facts that have resulted from the GCR. I voted for the creation of the GCRTF in 2009, but, if I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would have voted against the creation of it.

That being said, it amazes me that people continually say things like, "get over it, the convention has spoken!" If that were the mentality of folks in the pre-CR days, then I suppose we would not have had a CR. But, of course, the shoe is on the other foot now. There is no question that this has been and contiinues to be a top-down approach and it is simply not working.

As Ronald Reagan said, "Facts are stubborn things." The fact is, that the SBC is more divided now that it has been in the last 10 years. The reason for that is the GCR. Instead of getting 80% of their agenda passed (which would have garnered almost unanimous support), the SBC establishment went for 100%. That approach, from any honest observer, has been not only a bust, but it has caused division, not unity within the SBC. To deny that is to deny those stubborn facts. Thanks and God bless,


Brent Williams

Being a cooperating pastor from a "pioneer" area, I'm not sure Alabama DOM's should draw up an open letter speaking on behalf of me or our state convention. We are not damaged or fragile. I welcome them to write the letter from their convictions, but do so without using us to pull on the heart strings of mission minded Southern Baptists. I love the heart of our new executive director when he says... with or without GCR, we will reach our state for Christ.



Well, I suppose you could look at the dissent as proof that what GCRTF advocates is not imposing upon all SBs. But surely this says nothing really. I've stated as much. What *is* happening is an organized *attempt* to do so. Now, while such an attempt will invariably fail on free church congregations, the devastation is the dismantlement of the SBC as we know it.

You may feel like it's no big deal for denominational elites to "attempt" an imposition upon Baptists. I see nothing helpful at all...


Thanks. I'll take a look...


Thanks for logging on. I did not read the open letter from Alabama DOM's in the same light as did you. While they encouraged all Southern Baptists (including your pioneer area presumably) to continue with existing structures, they only officially spoke for themselves and apparently what they intend to do. Being an 'open letter', did they intend to persuade other state conventions to follow their lead? It must be so.

Something is brewing in Georgia similar to Alabama's statement I understand.

With that, I am...


I hope the following is a shared view of most small-church pastors, but it may not be:
1. SBC entities do not need more money to reach more people, but need less executives so the real missionaries can be funded.
2. Let's quit chasing "big preachers" and start preaching the Bible and enjoying hearing the good news.
3. Both State and SBC recipients of CP monies are not doing a good job with the money.
Your bro in GA

Ron Hale

Here are some things I learned as a NAMB missionary working in pioneer areas of the SBC over twenty years:
1. All SBC dollars originate from a local SBC Church. All other entities depend on the graciousness of the local church, so be very kind to them and their leaders.
2. Most of the mission dollars in SBC life come from mid-sized and smaller churches. Dr. Joseph Bunce [New Mexico State Exec] has recently reminded us that 66.16% of all CP giving come from churches that run fewer than 499 in attendance. And, 93.87% of CP giving comes from churches that are not mega-churches. In fact, we only have 169 mega-churches in SBC life. So be kind and gracious to all, epecially mid-sized and smaller churches.
3. Baptists at all levels [church, association, national enitities] are autonomous. Some who do not understand and respect this principle ... seek to operate by the Golden Rule [He who has the gold rules]. Yet, they forget it all comes from the local church. So be kind to the local church.
4. Associations are closest in proximity and emotionally to the local church. So be kind to DOM's and the churches in their local Association.
5. Most mega-church pastors do not understand the importance and historic role of the local Baptist Association.

SBC leaders need to listen and heed the words of these Alabama DOM's and possibly ... one thousand of their Brothers in the SBC. Why? Because the role and importance of the local Baptist Association is going to increase [once again] as other entities fight over their share of the SBC pie.

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