Last night I had the opportunity to talk to a group of about 20 longtime SBCers on recent events in the SBC. These are folks who work with me at a ministry that is partially (6%) funded by Cooperative Program funds, so there is some interest. Many, not all, are older and had a lot of sympathies with the moderates in the conservative resurgence.
I made a list of factors that I saw as significant in bringing the SBC to its current situation. I am just going to list them without extensive commentary. If you aren’t Southern Baptist, feel free to ask a question, and I’ll try to give you a brief answer. If you are Southern Baptist, I’d like to hear your responses.
These are listed in broad chronological form. “Broad” meaning that I’m not good with dates and don’t have a good memory.
1. The rise of a second generation of conservatives in the newly “retaken” SBC.
2. The first “official” perception of a generational divide in the SBC by then Lifeway President Jimmy Draper.
3. The effect of the wired revolution in the SBC: grass roots embracing of the wired world by the younger leaders. Confusion/Rejection of the implications/uses of the wired revolution by the old line SBC.
4. The grass roots experience of the generational divide in local churches, particularly regarding worship and programing.
5. Impact of networked leadership church models outside the official denomination on the younger SBC: Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Bill Hybels, Bill Hybels, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll.
6. Election of Frank Page as SBC President. First SBC President outside of and clearly critical of the ruling club.
7. Controversial standards adopted at the IMB: Baptism and Tongues. Grass roots reaction, especially among younger SBC leaders.
8. Resolution on integrity in reporting church membership statistics: a major crirtique of the megachurch model in the SBC and its perceived credibility for leadership.
9. Two years of declining baptisms.
10. Predictions of a declining SBC future: Frank Page and Ed Stetzer
11. The rise of new church planting over older church revitalization as a choice for younger leaders.
12. Baptist Identity movement vs. Gospel centered/Kingdom networked movement. Issue: How do we relate to non-SBCers? Can we learn from their approaches? Can we work together with other Great Commission Christians?
13. Rejection of the culture war emphasis of the official SBC by younger leaders.
14. The current missionary funding crisis and “freeze” in missionary appointments. Perception of the denominational bureaucracy as a problem, not an asset.
15. The development of the Great Commission Resurgence approach by Danny Akin: embracing diversity in the SBC, rejecting the “Great Denomination” model.
16. Johnny Hunt’s support of GCR/younger SBCers and their agenda
17. Official labeling of Calvinists as the enemy by Morris Chapman.
18. Adoption of the GCR study commission at the 09 SBC.