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Leaders urge B21 group to stay in the SBC hall
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
June 15, 2010
5 MIN READ TIME

Leaders urge B21 group to stay in the SBC hall

Leaders urge B21 group to stay in the SBC hall
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
June 15, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. — Supporters

of the Great Commission Resurgence task force took a final opportunity to

garner votes for their report when they encouraged 1,300 primarily younger

pastors attending the B21 conference Tuesday to leave the luncheon and become

fixtures in the meeting hall.

“Please get into that hall,

sit in a chair and do not leave until somebody prays and we go eat,” said

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler.

Mohler was one of eight

panelists who answered questions presented them by Jon Akin and Jed Coppenger,

two leaders of B21, a movement intended to help participants discern what it is

to be Baptist in the 21st century.

The Great Commission

Resurgence task force report was the primary topic of conversation, along with

frank discussions about reasons to continue being involved with the Southern

Baptist Convention or to support its Cooperative Program missions channel.

Because changes suggested in

the task force report would require painful adjustments in some entities’

budgets where priorities would change, David Platt was asked to explain how he

made such changes in his church, Brook Hills Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Platt’s church determined to

shift $1.5 million from its budget that was spent on comfort and convenience

for members “to go to urgent spiritual and physical needs.”

“In the end, it’s not really

a sacrifice,” Platt said. “We still have much more than our brothers and

sisters around the world. … The reality of what we do as a convention is a

product of what we do in our churches. When we do that as churches, it informs

what we need to do as a convention of churches.”

Mohler called the decades of

the 1950s through the 1980s “fat” years in Southern Baptist life when they

could put money into good ideas.

Today, “everything’s got to

be provisional” and open for reconsideration in the light of gospel scrutiny,

Mohler said, because “I don’t think we’re ever going to be there again.”

SBC President Johnny Hunt

said the urgency voiced by young pastors has inspired him and his wife to

examine how they will commit more of their personal resources to missions.

To

all preachers, Hunt said, “There’s got to be more emulation to go with our

exhortation.”

He is encouraged that no

matter the result of the task force vote, “The greatest change that will

probably happen has already come and that is that God will change our heart.”

Jimmy Scoggins, pastor of

First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., said he resents that “to be

considered a good soldier” in Baptist ranks, he has to “cooperate in too many

things I don’t believe in” and support departments in his state convention he

sees no reason to have, “money spent on good things by good people that should

be given to the inner city.”

“Our convention agencies are

going to have to compete for mission dollars,” Scroggins said. People seeking

missions funds come to his office weekly.

“It is a competitive

environment,” he said and he is going to lead his church to give to “networks

that are doing the best job.”

He said the task force report gives him hope that

such a network “will be the Cooperative Program.”

Matt Chandler, who

affiliates with the SBC and serves on the Acts 29 network board, said the SBC

will not be fixed overnight, but the key to his continued support is to discern

that it is “headed in a direction.”

By the same token, Chandler

said of Acts 29, “Anybody who thinks that’s a pretty house just hasn’t been

inside the house.”

Ed Stetzer, president of

LifeWay research said, “Southern Baptists are not now evidencing a serious

commitment to planting churches.”

Southern Baptists plant a

lot of churches only because they have a lot of churches already, he said.

But

per capita, Southern Baptists are low.

Mohler called the

Cooperative Program a “great economizer” and “great exercise in stewardship,”

when it was created in 1925.

But it is “toxic for a

denomination” to “focus on the vehicle rather than on the trip.”

He said Baptists have made

the Cooperative Program “worse than a golden calf” — not because they worship

the unified budget, but “we simply think we have to defend it.”

“Who wants to sell a product

you can only sell if there’s no other option?” he said.

“The CP is worthy of

support, but only as a means to get somewhere we need to go,” he said.

Mohler reminded the

audience: “We are not in that room as people who love the Great Commission and

people who don’t love the Great Commission. … Let’s pray this becomes a model for

how Southern Baptists can reason together, and do the right thing and go home

and lead our churches to reason together.”