Today must have been “Truthiness Friday” in the SBC.
Much of what commonly is called the Southern Baptist Convention may well not survive this century, and much of it may disappear within the lifetime of Southern Baptists living today. There will always be a certain theological/denominational place for the SBC on the map of American evangelicalism, but those three letters could easily become a designation for a plot of religious real estate — once heavily populated, but abandoned for greener pastures.
And this at Baptist Press. Good grief. Someone go buy me a lottery ticket.
Baker is completely on target. The denominationalists in SBC life have a plan to bring out the loyalty oaths and the required uniforms and hymnals, but the mule has already left the barn. Post-denominationalism, the country cousin of post-evangelicalism, has already arrived and taken over the house. Get ready for some changes.
Tom Ascol has been blogging the truth for months, and paid for it. Now he takes Lifeway’s own numbers and tells us that the SBC is a denomination full of people who really don’t care much about their denomination. Of course, if you were under 50 or in an average, healthy SBC church, you already knew that.
Old line denominationalism is dead. That is different than saying that old denominations are dead, though, in some cases, that also is patently true. Those leading the Southern Baptist Convention would do well to think deeply about what this research indicates. It could, I think, help give some insight into some of the frustration that is arising in the not-always-very-successful-attempts at communicating across generational and cultural borders that are within the SBC.
I was at a state convention meeting and heard a major league official in our state convention tell the gathered pastors that sometimes the state denominational headquarters needs to come to the local church and remind them of what they need to do. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
News flash professor: It’s over. While you were selling your 3,535th denominational bumper sticker, the denomination generationally and culturally changed. Hybels, Warren and Driscoll have the attention of your pastors. Stetzer is speaking the truth about the future. And Ascol’s call for integrity and an emphasis on theology is on target. Giglio and Piper have the attention of your student leaders. And this isn’t going to change. It’s going to increase and multiply. Denominational headquarters may be talking, but not most younger leaders aren’t listening. They are talking to each other, trading resources of their own, using the new technology, and the old denominational lines are, sorry to say this, a hassle rather than a help to many of them.
Has the SBC EVER put on a theology conference like Founders, Desiring God, T4G or Ligonier? Hellooooooo? Hello? Is the elevator running in that building?
That’s the new world and the SBC needs to embrace it. What I think we are going to see, instead, won’t be pretty and won’t be helpful. It’s time to stop, listen, admit the problem, pray, worship, spens time getting to a place where we can see the Kingdom and not just the denomination. As Blackaby says, God is at work all around you. Maybe, SBC leaders, you have to stop what you are doing and join Him.