August 17, 2006
If you listen to Stacy Harp's podcast
, you know I'm a Mark Dever fan. I've been devouring his Message of the Old Testament
(which I will review here soon, promise), and the 9Marks
site has been a real benefit to me lately. So when I saw a post by him titled "Southern Baptist Mistake,"
I was more than a little curious.
The post is an indictment of the SBC's contention that we affirm regenerate church membership, and subsequent rejection of a resolution that affirms just that. No matter what the excuses are that we put forward, the bottom line is that we know that if we remove unsaved people from the church rolls, our numbers will drop. And in spite of everything we say, numbers are important to us. We live and die by the numbers.
Dever has this to say about the people who are members of our churches, but whom we never see:
All of them will die, many of them without returning to church. Some of those will be our brothers and sisters in Christ who were in sin. I fear that many of them will not have been our brothers and sisters in Christ, and so they will slip into a Christ-less eternity, face a good and just God while they are still pleading their own merits for salvation, and fall under God's deserved penalty forever. We could have helped them, like the man in I Cor. 5 who was caught in sin (and may have repented II Cor. 2?), or like the man in Gal. 6:1. But we didn't.
Instead, we met their actions of disobedience with continued formal approval. They remained members. We continued to teach them that church membership was their own private business, not the business of the congregation. We continued to meet their absence with our silence.
Posted by: Warren Kelly at
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I think Dever is on-target with his assessment. I currently pastor a church with a roll of almost 300. Probably 125 (conservative estimate) of that number hasn't been in church in a number of years.
And we wonder why the church is so spiritually lethargic...
Posted by: Gordon Cloud at August 17, 2006 09:55 PM (ON2uF)
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