Skip to comments.So. Baptists Called to Repent, Grip Reality of 'Lostness'
Posted on 02/23/2010 12:54:18 PM PST by Between the Lines
Southern Baptists need to repent of their pride, boasting and disunity and return to God and His vision.
That was the sobering call Dr. Ronnie Floyd made Monday as he presented a highly anticipated report charting out a new course for the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
"We (task force) have been gripped by the reality of the lost condition of our world and about our condition as a denomination, but through this journey we have also been set on fire by the call of God to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ," Floyd, chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, stated in a progress report. "Surely Southern Baptists can agree that we need a new and compelling vision for the future."
Last summer amid talks of a "Great Commission Resurgence," delegates of the Southern Baptist Convention overwhelmingly approved a motion authorizing the appointment of a task force charged to bring a report and recommendations to the denomination concerning how Southern Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.
Put it simply, the panel was asked to address the question: What needs to be done?
For the past several months, the 22-member panel has been hammering out a vision and outlining steps that would move the denomination past the infighting and toward penetrating the massive "lostness" in the world.
Their first action was to get on their knees and cry out to God, Floyd said. And that's the first action Floyd has called the rest of the 16 million-member convention to take.
"We need a fresh and compelling vision that will only come when we are right with Him," he said in his report, which has been the talk of the Twitter world among Southern Baptists since its release Monday evening.
Membership in the SBC began to dip in recent years and the number of baptisms has continued to fall. The latest report shows a membership decline in 2008 by 0.2 percent. And while the population in the country more than doubled since 1950 and the number of SBC churches grew, the convention still baptized 33,887 less people in 2008 compared to 1950.
"With rhetoric we bemoan our dismal baptism numbers, our declining and plateaued churches, and our economic selfishness. The casting of criticism has resulted in a caustic cynicism that just adds to our rhetoric and writings. We attempt to treat symptoms rather than the root issues of sin and carnality. The rhetoric needs to cease and the repentance personally and corporately must begin," the Arkansas pastor said. "We need to repent of our sins and return to God."
The next critical step for revival to spread in the SBC is getting the 44,000 churches to grasp the reality of lostness in the United States and in the world, Floyd said.
Among the 340 million people living in North America, three in four are estimated to be "lost and perishing," he reported. At the global level, 4 billion of the 6.8 billion people in the world have little to no access to the Gospel and 1.5 billion have never even had the possibility of hearing the name of Jesus.
"Missiologists will tell you that 90 percent of the entire world is lost without Jesus," he highlighted.
"To the degree we grasp lostness will be the degree we are willing to do whatever is necessary to penetrate it. If we do not understand lostness intellectually and theologically, we will not change nor will we do what must be done to penetrate it."
Floyd believes many Southern Baptist churches today have developed "theological amnesia or theological Alzheimer’s disease" when it comes to lostness.
"I am convinced we have not only forgotten what it is like to be lost, but we act as if lostness does not exist, there is really no hell, and many times conduct ourselves as Universalists," he said, as he reaffirmed Christ as the only way to salvation.
The task force report, which was presented to the Executive Committee and leaders of SBC national entities, outlined a vision based on six components and rooted in eight core values.
Among the recommendations is the reinvention of the North American Mission Board – the domestic mission arm of the SBC. The NAMB's priority is to assist SBC churches in planting churches, particularly in metropolitan areas, where the majority of the population lives, and under-served people groups.
The report also recommends entrusting to the International Mission Board – the international missions agency of the SBC – the ministry to reach the unreached people groups in the world and in North America. Many unreached groups that may be difficult to reach overseas are residing in the United States, the report points out.
Southern Baptists will also be asked to raise the International Mission Board allocation for the 2011-2012 budget year to 51 percent. If approved, it would mark the first time in SBC history that more than one-half of all funds that come from local churches through the SBC Cooperative Program will go to the reaching of the nations.
A final report of the GCR Task Force will be released on May 3. It will then be presented and discussed at the SBC's annual meeting in June.
"The 2010 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, can become a watershed moment for the reaching of the nations," said Floyd. "May [the annual meeting] be the moment that will define the future for generations to come and show that Southern Baptists are a unified people, Bible-based, Gospel-centered, and set on fire by the Holy Spirit, believing we must join together like never before in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations."
I'm former LCMS (now Methodist) and here's why this idea breaks down, in my opinion. It is still me deciding to receive the Eucharist; me deciding to read the Scriptures; me deciding to pray; me going to confession, etc...
I did not save myself, but I do actively choose to participate in the salvation Christ has wrought for me by being where He promises to meet me. The very act of wanting to meet Him in those places is an activity in which I choose to enter. I never met a Lutheran worth his salt who would claim that a person could maintain faith by ignoring God's means of grace. As such, it doesn't follow to me that a person is entirely passive when he does pursue those means.
I believe they are correct.. Somewhere in the midst of the feel good Olsteen prosperity gospel , the saddleback and willow creek methods the message that we are all sinners in need of a Savior has become secondary .The old hell , fire and brimstone pastors became a butt of jokes..but people heard and understood that God is angry over the sin and rebellion of men. We do not need Jesus to make us prosperous or famous or happy we need Him to save us from the fire of hell.
the convention still baptized 33,887 less people in 2008 compared to 1950.....
My Christ - centered, Bible believing SBC church baptizes someone most every Sunday - 2 this past Sunday. This is a weird statistic anyway - why compare to 1950, when the baby boom was starting? What is the current trend?
It was always my understanding the the southern baptist are not calvinists.
***Dr. Ronnie Floyd ***
Pastor of the BIG Church at Springdale and Rogers, Arkansas.
It has been said that some big business deals are concluded in the pews of that church during sermons.
Good for them; God loves the sincere penitent, always has, always will.
Personally I just don't think SBC'ers are really into evangelism. I'm talking about individuals. Many of the evangelical methods suggested sound like a slight variation of the telemarketwers approach. Also, its been my perception that alot of these churches really ask alot from the church visitor. They expect the visitor to pretty much impose himself/herself on the church. The church membership ought to be seeking out the visitor and really welcome them but they really dont do that. Most church members are generally pretty tribalistic. IMHO.
I’m ex-military, and have moved around a lot. I think you are pretty accurate. Many SBC congregations are comfortable, and don’t really WANT to reach others. IMHO. I’ve been in some wonderful congregations, but I’d say more than half I’ve seen were social clubs for the saved.
Also - traditionally, the SBC has not been Calvinist. In the last 20 years, it has become more so, with the national leadership pushing it to go farther. The seminaries tend to be more Calvinist than the congregations.
I go to a 150-year-old Catholic parish in the inner city. We get all kinds: families with lots of kids, street people, poor, rich, black, white, lawyers, doctors, unemployed people. Our two regular priests are from poor countries; both speak with an accent. The church building itself, while traditional and beautiful in kind of a kitchy way, has been ... well-loved. Some of the pews are broken. Some of the kneelers are, too. Sometimes the HVAC system doesn't work; sometimes it's the sound system that's broken. The restrooms are in an even more decrepit building next door (which used to be the parish school; now it's sort of a parish hall); stepping into one is sort of like going back to the 1940's.
By contrast, the SBC church ... we met in an auditorium, not the main sanctuary. The auditorium had a state-of-the-art sound system and giant tv screens on the walls advertising various church programs about almost every topic imaginable. When the speaker wasn't speaking, the sound system played soft Christian contemporary music. The stage also had a drum set, keyboard, etc. In the corridor outside, the church had its own restaurant (!!!), and a manned information desk by the front door (a concierge??). The restrooms were like something you'd experience in a 4-star hotel, complete with (faux?) marble walls.
I'm not making any moral judgement. The contrast was just very striking to me.
I visited a church in Phoenix (maybe Mesa) like that. OTOH, the SBC church I was a member of until last week is still meeting in an office building 14 years after it started. The church I’m likely to join (still praying about it) meets in a school cafeteria.
But the wealthy churches are too comfortable. You don’t know if the chill running down your spine is the Holy Spirit, or the Air Conditioning!
If their Gospel isn't good enough for their own children, why should the rest of the world give them the time of day?
“Why worry about the lost? If God wants the heathen converted, let Him do it! Maybe the SBC is seeing less passion as it becomes more Calvinist...”
It seems to me you misunderstand Calvinism. God has told US how to do it!
His predetermined method is found in Romans 10 14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
The elect are saved as a result of faithful, obedient Christians preaching the Word of God.
I live in NC not far from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. When we home schooled my home school support group included faculty and students at Southeastern, many of whom were Calvinist Baptists. I was surprised at that. Other Baptists we met, the old school ones, felt the Calvinists were hijacking their church. I sensed a tension between the two groups and wondered how it would play out. Since I no longer home school, I don’t hear what is happening first hand. The couple we remained close to have become independent Baptist and are now in VA.
“I’m not making any moral judgement. The contrast was just very striking to me.”
I felt the same way back in 1976 when I visited the (then) new Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. There were peasants in rags walking on their knees to pray at the shrine.
I understand the basilica now also has a Domino’s Pizza franchise.
Being a Southern Baptist (although only for about the last 10 years)I can say that the good Doctor Floyd is right. We’ve (for the most part) really dropped the ball in getting the Gospel out to the people who need it.
For instance, our church has AC (only the 2nd one I’ve ever attended that does), a gym, 2 kitchens (one of which is in the process of being updated to help with disaster relief), a website (with the new ability to give online, if you so choose), an espresso bar (hey, it’s Western Washington...what do you expect?), AND recently announced plans to possibly expand the church into a NEW building within the next 4 to 5 years.
What we DON’T have is new people coming in the door.
Granted, we do occasionally have a few, but for the most part it’s the same people every Sunday. We maybe have 35 people in our 1st service, although the 2nd service is usually full up (about 180-200). Last week, our pastor said we were having a special business meeting to see about a possible 3rd service. What for? Unless he sees something that I do not, we’re not growing.
Speaking for myself, I confess that I have not followed Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples of all nations”. There are many things that I have not done as a supposed ‘Christian man’ that require some personal repentance on my part. My life has not been a shining example to others on why they would want Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I can only imagine that there are other men and women in our church that feel as I do...at least, I hope so.
As far as the statistics they mentioned...I don’t believe 90% of the world is lost. I think the percentage is greater to the good, but not by much. As for the 1.6 billion people that have no way to hear the Gospel, I can tell you that they’re referring to the Muslim world, where evangelism warrants a death penalty. As for America, it seems to me there are many, many people who are abandoning God because He no longer fits into their lifestyle. Our pResident isn’t helping any, especially since he seems to worship himself...and wants others to do the same.
Yes...I agree that we, as Southern Baptists, and also as Christians, need to repent before God and ask Him what He wants us to do and how He wants us to do it. It may be completely different than what we think we should do. His plans don’t always make sense, but they WORK.
I am forwarding the article on to my pastor. We’ll see what happens.
Scripture positively ascribes conversion exclusively to God: John 6:44, Romans 1:5-7, Col. 1:12-13, by His grace: Phil 1:29, Eph. 2:8-9,and by His power: Eph. 1:19, 2 Cor. 4:6.
We may be vessels of the Gospel, but the Gospel, which converts man, is the solely the power of God.
The Calvinist word is a big no no in the SBC, we say reformed instead. ;)