Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Resolution passes - Regenerate Church Membership and the SBC

From Tom Ascol at Founders...
When I was finally recognized by Dr. Page, I read my proposed amendments. The substance of them follows:

Whereas the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Church Profiles indicate that there are 16,266,920 members in Southern Baptist churches; and

Whereas those same profiles indicate that only 6,148,868 of those members attend a primary worship service of their church in a typical week;


RESOLVED that we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the any failure among us to live up to our professed commitment to regenerate church membership and any failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18), and be it further

RESOLVED that we humbly encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior's teachings on church discipline, even if such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches,

After giving my written and typed notes to Dr. John Sullivan to take back to the platform, I was allowed to speak to the amendment. Following is the subtance of what I said:
Brothers and sisters, last year the convention passed a resolution affirming the legitimacy of corporate repentance. Surely, if we need to repent over anything in the SBC it is true that we need to repent over how we have failed in maintaining biblical standards in the membership of our churches.

Dr. David Dockery, President of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, a Southern Baptist Statesman who is second to none, and author of the highly acclaimed Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal--a book endorsed by Danny Akin, Thom Rainer, Timothy George, John Sullivan, Morris Chapman, Frank Page and Jimmy Draper, was interviewed last week about the very subject of this resolution.

I want to read the brief excerpt from his insightful comments. The article said,

[Dr.] Dockery affirms the call for repentance expressed by one of the resolutions proposed for the annual meeting.

“We need to repent of our lack of concern for biblical faithfulness in our concern and care for church members,” he said. “We need to repent of the way the way we often allow people to join local churches without stressing the covenantal aspect of membership. We need to repent of the fact that we have largely neglected any aspect of church discipline that would have helped us begin to address some of these matters.”

Brothers and sisters, surely we can all say, “Amen!” to Dr. Dockery’s call for repentance by affirming the amendment to this resolution.
The amendments passed by an estimated 2/3 of the vote and the amended resolution passed by an overwhelming majority. By God’s grace, what a difference a year makes.

Here is a list of articles compiled by Timmy Brister on why this issue is important and other related posts by Timmy on regenerate church membership.

UPDATE: Here is the full text of the resolution as amended.

Here is the archived video of this historic resolution at the SBC.

Here is an article by the Baptist Standard on this resolution. Interesting obvservations on how this article was written by Timmy Brister here.

Southern Baptist Texas has three articles on regenerate church membership prior to the convention: Here, here and here.

Another article in CT.
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