Acts 29 Responds to Baptist Press and SBCToday

Scott Thomas, director of Acts 29, has taken the time to respond at length to the accusations and charges against Acts 29 from the guys at SBCToday and Baptist Press.  It is not fair to imply everyone at Baptist Press is carrying the anti-Acts 29 agenda, so perhaps it is best to limit the sphere of accountability to Will Hall, their executive editor.

In general, Thomas explains the nature of the fellowship with the SBC and the concerns many A29/SBC church planters feel:

We are glad to have SBC churches in our fellowship.  They give to the Cooperative Program and we are glad.  They are governed as elder-led churches (rather than elder-ruled churches).  And, they have expressed to me that they would like it if the misrepresentations would end and we could focus on the gospel, mission, and church planting.  I am assured by Southern Baptist leaders that the attacks by those in the SBC are not representative of the larger convention.

As I have stated on more than one occasion, neither SBCToday or the Baptist Press sought to attain first-hand evidence for their arguments but merely jumped to erroneous conclusions determined by their own understanding.  Thomas writes,

We are not sure why one denominational publication is obsessed with Acts 29 and continues to publish information without checking with us.  It seems odd at best, and agenda driven at worst, to publish information about what Acts 29 believes and practices without ever checking with Acts 29 leadership (emphasis mine).

Regarding the insistence of Tim Rogers and perpetual misrepresentation of the policies and practices of Acts 29, Thomas explains,

I tried to convince Mr. Rogers about his interpretation of our policies (outdated or not), but we were not able to agree on the interpretation of what “primary funding consideration” means. In a rather postmodern way, Mr. Rogers thinks that he is a better choice to describe the meaning of our covenant than we are (emphasis mine).

Following Rogers’ blogpost, Robin Foster attempted to make the case that the ecclesiological position of Acts 29 is in violation of Baptist polity.  Thomas points out that “again, in this case, a blogger believes that he can better interpret what our covenant means than we, as the Acts 29 leadership, can.”  Incidentally enough, I had the opportunity to discuss with the leadership of Acts 29 about their ecclesiology and whether churches who are congregational fit within the Acts 29 paradigm (including Thomas, Patrick, and Montgomery), and I found our discussions quite fruitful, largely in part to their humble approach to the issue and willingness to be corrected if they were wrong.

When asked to be on a future SBCToday podcast, Thomas expressed interest, but at the same time he (rightfully) noted that “those involved have made their conclusions already and did not check the facts.  And, then, even when they had the facts, did not want them.  So, I am not seeing any benefit for the Kingdom in this” (emphasis mine).

So there you have it.  If you want to know the truth about Acts 29, talk to Acts 29Read their covenant. Let’s get on with focusing more on what the gospel does in us (humble orthodoxy) and through us (passionate orthopraxy) rather than being fixated on creating controversy.  If anything, this proves our need for a Great Commission Resurgence where our love for the mission of Christ is more important than our love for being right.

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15 Comments on “Acts 29 Responds to Baptist Press and SBCToday”

  1. bfpower Says:

    You bring up a good point. If you want truth, try the Matthew 18 sort of way – GO to the source and ASK for yourself. If it doesn’t work, GO with a few others and ASK. Ideally, the situation never need become public except in the gravest cases of hard-heartedness.

    Thanks for bringing this issue to my attention. I am not affiliated with the SBC or with Acts 29, but this issue has really made me think about conflict amongst Christians. Also, it has made me grateful for God’s work both in the SBC and in Acts 29. He loves to use us messed-up types.

  2. Alan Cross Says:

    “In a rather postmodern way, Mr. Rogers thinks that he is a better choice to describe the meaning of our covenant than we are.”

    That is an interesting comment and deserves some reflection. It is ironic, I think.

  3. Greg Alford Says:

    Good Greif… how much more credibility can these guys at SBCtoday loose before they have no credibility left to loose? If I were a part of the “Baptist Identity” movement I think I would be desperately looking for better leadership than this…

    Unfortunately, by using the name “SBCtoday” these guys are putting forth (to those outside our little Southern Baptist world) a tarnished image of who we are as Southern Baptist Christian. I am sure there are many uninformed Christians outside the SBC who tragically believe these guys represent the majority of Southern Baptist opinions… which they do not!

    This sort of conduct is particularly sad coming from a group of men who claim to be “Restoring Unity through… Baptist Identity”.
    Instead of restoring unity through Baptist Identity, what these guys are dong is giving all Southern Baptists a “Black Eye”.

    Grace Always,


  4. Scott’s reply was abundantly gentle. While I appreciated the nature of the post on Driscol @ SBCtoday, it does not a retraction make and I hope that they confess and seek full restoration.

  5. Todd Says:

    Timmy, nice post. One of these days people will talk to each other rather than at each other or past each other. Not likely to be soon, but maybe one day.

  6. Bill Nettles Says:

    Timmy,
    I think the 10% issue is a red-herring that Rogers has thrown out. The real motivation of his post is clearly revealed in comment #2 where
    he comments on his own post. I won’t quote the whole thing, but here’s the punch line: “These churches have within their covenant that an Acts 29 church is only one that has reformed theology. So much for a big tent.”

    He’s explicitly against partnering with people who are intentionally starting churches of “reformed theology.” At the SBC Today guys are consistent in their animosity toward the Doctrines of Grace. I guess that’s a choice they are free to make now that their souls have been released from bondage to sin by the sovereign will of God. But why would you want to bite the hand that feeds you? 🙂

    I’m really surprised that someone (you?) didn’t pick up on the dig from BP when they first reported about the ACTS 29 school where they say “the Acts 29 church planting network, which is exclusively Calvinistic.” Why was such a piece of irrelevance thrown in there, unless it is considered important by the publisher, BP, to maintain an atmosphere of divisiveness.

  7. Matt Privett Says:

    Bill, I agree with your assessment of the red herring completely. You beat me to that punch. I believe this is about Calvinism.

    As for Baptist Press, they are guilty of journalistic misconduct that no self-respecting newspaper would tolerate. They are becoming The Huffington Post of SBC news. Sadly, I believe the only way things will change is by the election of new trustees to the Executive Board who understand what is going on and are willing to lay it on the line to see things change.

  8. nations1 Says:

    I agree, move on and do what most people do, ignore SBCToday. Their attacks on Driscoll are simply an attempt to stop what they consider the bleeding in the SBC. Many SBC people are connecting with what Acts 29 is saying and doing in Church planting and the BI guys do not like it. Of course there is not much they do like about anybody outside their little world. Oh well, move onward.

  9. Bill Says:

    I wonder. I’m not so sure this is about the fear of reformed theology, although I’m sure it factors in. What do certain factions in the SBC fear more than Calvinism? Alcohol. It is well known that ACTS 29 is not rabidly abstentionist. If they were, I suspect you would find a lot of the concerns about Reformed theology and elder governance would not be quite so loud.

  10. Greg Alford Says:

    Bill,

    I think you are on to something… It probably is not any single issue that is causing the Baptist Identity guys so much heartburn over anyone in the SBC partnering with Acts29, but a combination of several. The big three that they appear to get their feathers ruffled over are:

    1) CALVINISM
    2) ELDERS
    3) ALCOHOL

    Ironically, the current upsurge in support for all three of these can be traced directly to the Conservative Resurgence championing the doctrine of the inerrancy of the Scriptures for the last twenty years.

    As a close friend often puts it… “They told us to read our Bibles, and we did!”

    Grace Always,


  11. Well, it is no question that some of the leading controversies in the SBC over the past five years has been Calvinism, Alcohol, and elders. But Bill Nettles does make the right point regarding the specific situation regarding Acts 29 in that they confessionally hold to more than the Baptist Faith and Message, and therefore, it is narrower. But then again, that must also be said for anyone who holds to the Abstract of Principles or 2ndLBCF.

    The fastest growing network in North America is Reformed, and three of the five most reproducing churches in the United States are Reformed. This does not bode well for the caricatures that have been held up among Southern Baptists. And on top of that, to know the current state of the SBC in evangelism and church planting, it puts the SBC in even worse light.

    I think the bottom line is that when Southern Baptists cannot act triumphalistic, then turn to being antagonistic. Instead of pointing the fingers at ourselves, we try to pick apart any and every thing we disagree with by those who are not like us.

  12. volfan007 Says:

    Timmy,

    You and your commenters would do well to go to Peter Lumpkin’s blog and read his rebuttal of what you have written here. The comment thread over there is quite interesting and enlightening as well.

    David


    • You mean your comment like this:

      Thanks again for spelling it out very clearly, and exposing the rude, obnoxious, tantrums of those people who seem to go balistic anytime something that they believe is challenged.

      Thanks, but no thanks.

      • volfan007 Says:

        Timmy,

        At Peter’s place, I think that you can see that everything is not so cut and dry, black and white, as you see it. And, to call people liars, and ascribe evil motives to people that I know are good men…well, it troubles me. So, I say things that maybe better left unsaid.

        But, Peter spells it out very clearly why the SBC Today guys have problems with the Acts 29 network, and why they have said what they did. Does this make them liars? or, have evil motives? or, not care about carrying out the Great Commission?

        David


        • David,

          This is the last time I am going to address this with you. It seems that no matter how clear and plain speaking one is, you still cannot grasp what they are saying.

          I called Tim Rogers out as lying *after* he was given opportunity to correct his misunderstanding about the 10%, *after* both I and Scott Thomas pointed that out to him. Instead, he chose to hold to his view of Acts 29 and not that of Acts 29 and thereby intentionally suppressing the facts and truth about the policies of Acts 29.

          No less than six times did Tim Rogers reiterate his position even when he knew he was wrong. To refuse to be corrected and hold to one’s intentional misrepresentations is lying. He could have at least said that, after Scott Thomas’ comments, that he would refrain from speaking to the issue until he got the record straight. But he did not, and instead continued in his agenda against Acts 29 in spite of the truth being clearly communicated to him.

          Regarding the 1%, it was a part of the new covenant and is considered a *voluntary* fund, not required by A29 leadership. They hold still to the autonomy of their churches and allow the leadership to determine whether they will give to that 1% or not. That does not change the essence of the argument SBCToday continues to level against A29. The 10% still does not got to A29 and the 1% is optional. Therefore, nothing changes regarding the errors of Rogers and SBCToday as you can clearly tell in the comments of Scott Thomas in the original post, including Rogers/Foster belief that they know what Acts 29 believes more than Acts 29 does.


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