Christian denominationalism is easily dismissed as anything but Christian. True, Christians should be unified, not at each others’ throats. Yet, in a fallen world where sinners abound, denominationalism may be the best way of preventing more significant division within the universal body of Christ.
Click here to book your rooms for the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.
Some pastors have noted parallels between the politics of the Southern Baptist Convention and the politics of the local church. One idea along these lines is that you don’t want to be that church member as you work for reform in the SBC. Yeah, you know the one. Sure, you’ll love that church member anyway, but you’ll also wonder if you’re required to like him or her. Don’t be that kind of convention member.
Five years ago, Hans Fiene of Lutheran Satire fame wrote an article titled, “Gay Marriage Isn’t About Justice, It’s About Selma Envy.” The article is worth checking out, even though its point differs significantly from that of this post. Fiene wrote:
My generation engages in straw men, misinformation, and lies because, in every year of social studies class, we studied the civil-rights movement not as history, but as hagiography. We didn’t just learn what events happened on American soil, we were encouraged to mimic the segregation-defeating holy ones and merit for ourselves a place alongside them in glory. Combining that admonition with our general aversion to hard work, we concluded that the only thing necessary to be as righteous as the saints who fought racial injustice was to decry an injustice that no one else was. And we became so desperate to find that injustice, we lost our minds in the process.
Fiene proved himself to possess prescience few of us could have understood at the time. Aside from that, Fiene perhaps inadvertently highlighted a tendency found in almost anyone who works toward some cause. I’m talking about a type of hagiographic jealousy. Consider the calls for a modern-day Conservative Resurgence.
In this video episode of Thinking in Public with Albert Mohler, R. Albert Mohler, Jr. interviews James Lindsay on Critical Theory.
Is the Southern Baptist Convention drifting toward liberal theology? Is it already there? Or is theological liberalism merely the bogeyman of discernment blogger Baptists?
Let’s suppose you support a political candidate or party because of tradition, self-interest, or a genuine belief that the person or party will implement policies that affect your neighbor for the good. None of these motivations for voting the way you do is necessarily negative. Democrats, Republicans, and third party voters each offer such justifications for voting the way they do. Of course other factors come into play. For example, how intolerable is the opposition? But this post will focus on the positive justifications provided for voting the way one does, hashed out in terms of the possibility of a Christian voting for a ‘pro-choice’ political candidate.
My three-year-old was doing a three-year-old thing at breakfast. He wouldn’t drink his milk because he said it smelled funny. Every time he put his cup to his mouth to take a sip he curled his nose and told us “This milk smells yucky!”
Finally, I did what dads do. I took the cup and gave it a sniff. Turns out, he was right! Sort of. It wasn’t the milk that actually smelled funny but the cup. The inside hadn’t been cleaned properly and it gave off a noticeable odor when you put the cup to your nose. I attribute the problem to my older children who are too much like the adolescent version of their father who thought washing dishes poorly might get him out of having to do it (as an aside I was wrong, and so are they!).
Of course, I wouldn’t have gotten my youngest to drink the milk if I would have taken a paper towel and simply shined the outside of the cup. The outside wasn’t the problem. It was the inside that was causing the issue. I could have put a sticker on the outside of the cup that said “Clean Cup!”, but alas, the inside is what needed changing.
In this newsletter, Aaron M. Renn writes on the strategy of conservative exit, writing, “Using Exit as a default strategy comes with a number of downsides in the real world. One is that it cedes high value territory or institutions to people who either won’t steward them well or who may use them in ways contrary to your values.”