Word Document: Harmony Of The Resolutions
At least two separate SBC resolutions are being proposed for this summer’s Southern Baptist Convention Annual meeting. One by Bart Barber and the other by Tom Ascol. You can read more from the Southern Baptist Texan.
What follows is my attempt to harmonize the two. I’ve kept everything in its place, but aligned the columns to show where the resolutions speak to similar issues.
What Do You Think?
I would like to hear what you think about the situation and the pros and cons of each resolution. At first reading there were some points I noticed:
- They are complementary but not redundant. Ascol is really speaking to our hypocrisy in saying we have 16 million members. While Barber is dealing more in depth with the issues that caused the problem in the first place.
- Ascol cites the 2007 Annual Church Profile for support, while Barber does not.
- Barber cites the theological reasons behind his resolution in more detail.
- Ascol’s language calls for “repentance.”
- Barber calls for “renew” their commitments and practice.
|Bart Barber & Association of Convictional Baptists Resolution on Regenerate Church Membership||Tom Ascol & Founders Ministries Resolution on Integrity in Church Membership|
|WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith Message asserts that the Scriptures are “the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried” (Article I); and||Whereas the Baptist Faith and Message states that the Scriptures are “the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried” (Article 1); and|
|WHEREAS, A New Testament church is composed only of those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word, becoming disciples of Jesus Christ, the local church’s only Lord, by grace through faith (Matthew 18:18-20; John 3:5); and
WHEREAS, A New Testament church is formed through covenant by a group of Christians intentionally gathering in the name of Jesus Christ and under his lordship (Matthew 18:19-20; Colossians 2:10, 19); and
WHEREAS, Baptism of only believers by immersion in the Triune name is the only proper means of entering a local New Testament church and is thus the indispensable beginning of regenerate church membership (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:41); and
|Whereas life in a local church should be characterized by loving discipline as the Bible teaches in passages like Matthew 18:15-18, 1 Corinthians 5 and Titus 3:10-11; and|
|Whereas the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Church Profiles indicate that there are 16,266,920 members in Southern Baptist churches; andWhereas those same profiles indicate that only 6,148,868 of those members attend a primary worship service of their church in a typical week; and|
|WHEREAS, Regenerate church membership is preserved by the practice of redemptive church discipline according to our Lord’s command (Matthew 18:15-18, 1 Corinthians 5; Titus 3:10-11); and
WHEREAS, The Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated in a worthy manner as a memorial of our Lord’s atoning death, providing continuing evidence of regenerate church membership (1 Corinthians 11:23-29); and
WHEREAS, Regenerate church membership is necessary for the responsible practice of congregational church government (Matthew 18:17; Acts 6:3-4; 15:22); and
WHEREAS, The New Testament ideal of regenerate church membership has long been a cherished Baptist principle as described by the Baptist Faith and Message (Article VI); now, therefore, be it
|Whereas the ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle as described in Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message; and
Whereas the significance of believers’ baptism tends to be lost when churches that practice it fail to exercise loving care for all their members; therefore, be it
|RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, humbly urge our beloved churches to renew their commitment to regenerate church membership by acknowledging the necessity of spiritual regeneration and Christ’s lordship for all members of local churches; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we humbly urge our churches to renew their commitment to the congregation as a covenantal assembly entered only by immersion of those who evidence a credible profession of faith in Christ; and be it further
|RESOLVED that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, urge Southern Baptists to repent of our failure to maintain responsible church membership, and be it further|
|RESOLVED, That we humbly urge our churches to renew the practice of redemptive church discipline, reviewing their membership rolls and kindling fraternal kinship and accountability among all members of the congregation; and be it further||RESOLVED that we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the widespread failure among us 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 urge our churches to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a meaningful memorial celebration according to the New Testament, and develop congregants capable of responsible self-governance; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we humbly encourage all of our beloved Southern Baptist churches to seek to fulfill the New Testament ideal of regenerate church membership for the glory of God, the edification of His people, and the more effective evangelization of the lost.
|RESOLVED that we plead with pastors and church leaders to lead their churches to study and implement our Lord’s teachings on this essential church practice, and be it further|
|RESOLVED that we encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on church discipline, especially when such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally
RESOLVED that we commit to pray for our churches as they seek to honor the Lord Jesus Christ through reestablishing integrity to church membership and to the reporting of statistics in the Annual Church Profile.