Acts 29 is banned

For more reasons than I have time to write about at this point, I am very upset about a decision that was made this week to formally preclude any Acts 29 church from being considered a partner worthy of receiving funds from the Missouri Baptist Convention. This decision was approved by the Executive Board of the MBC. This decision is ill conceived and certain to create increased division within the MBC. I cannot express how strongly opposed to this decision I am, nor can I adequately communicate how frustrated I am with it. This is further evidence that our lip service given to church planting is just that, lip service, and not representative of a significant commitment to the act of planting new congregations and pushing back lostness. The worst part of this decision is that there is no valid justification for its existence. In convention life we are made up of so many theological preferences each of which exist in the fishbowl that is SBC/MBC life without tearing at the fabric of our unity. You are historically welcome if you are reformed or Arminian in orientation; Amillenial or Dispensational. I could go on and on. Differences, within reason, have been welcome.

I should clarify, as well, that we’re not talking about a liberal/conservative argument, either. This is a matter of differing opinions between theological conservatives. We should not divide over that! This decision is more evidence that we, as a convention, are moving from simply being biblical and conservative to being legalistic and exclusionary over non-essential issues. This is particularly true when you consider how many in SBC life have encouraged the existence of A29. For instance, Dr. Ed Stetzer, the Director of Lifeway Reasearch was formerly on the board of A29. Many in SBC life have recognized that A29 is to be commended, not rejected. For our convention to succeed, these unfortunate decision have got to stop. I pray that the Lord will not remove His blessing from our body over decisions like these. The Executive Board of the Missouri Baptist Convention has failed us in this decision.

My friend Scott Lamb, from the eastern part of the state, has weighed in on the decision as well. I would recommend his article.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

19 thoughts on “Acts 29 is banned

  1. I don’t see the Missouri Baptist Convention people even really raising theological issues with regard to Acts 29, their differences of opinion seem to be more over application of scripture and methods of church planting. Again, depending solely on what I have read, I don’t see that Acts 29 is really all that different in terms of their theology and doctrine. I may not be seeing something, but it looks to me like the MBC is nit-picking and the bottom line is that Acts 29 is so non-traditional in its approach that cooperation with their churches does not lend itself to the kind of control that the convention wants to have.

    I look at it this way. Considering the makeup of the majority of congregations that, in turn, make up the majority of the MBC (and the SBC for that matter) in twenty years, two decades, unless there are major medical breakthroughs that stop old age from being the leading cause of death, somewhere between 55 and 60% of our membership will have passed away, and they will have taken something like 77% of our current financial resources with them. The effects of this trend are at our doorstep now. We’ve already entered the period when that generation is dying off. And I know of no real successful initiative in reaching the younger generations and planting churches that has been led by Southern Baptists. We tend to avoid, on vague “doctrinal” grounds, cooperation with those who have experienced tremendous success in doing so.

    The attititude here seems to be to reject something because we didn’t come up with it ourselves. Or is it just about having a few beers during Bible study at the bottleworks?

  2. The generation of folks that includes my children (16-20 years old) will not be Southern Baptists when they grow up, in my opinion. The traditional Southern Baptist Church, and our VERY traditional MBC, have very little to offer them.

    Now, I understand that church should be about more that what is offered to you. My kids know that too. However, church should be about a relationship with Jesus Christ, NOT rules concerning with whom we can fellowship and whom we can not…

    If we want to continue down this road, then I’ll tell you Scott Lamb (referenced by Micah in the original post) is correct….the Founders will be next…then those who worship “incorrectly”, do missions in the “wrong” way, etc., etc., etc. And the last MBC church in the state will have the satisfaction of being the one to turn out the lights — all within just one more generation.

    This is quite disappointing, again, in my opinion. Thanks, Micah, for sharing.

    Charles Brazeale,
    Neosho, MO

  3. Wow…this is awful news. Now I’ll have to choose between A29 and the SBC if I end up planting in Missouri. I wonder what it will take to make up this kind of a backward step.

  4. What’s up Micah…

    Hey guys I want to encourage you that we at St. Louis Metro are disappointed, to say the least, with the recent actions of the Exec. Board. I wonder if these brothers realize that defunding these young men and their families boils down to how they buy groceries and pay the electric bill. Merry Christmas, huh?

    We at St. Louis Metro are united around the essentials (BF&M), and are willing to let secondary issues be secondary and not divide us. We are committed to assisting all of our churches in their missional endeavors and toward planting gospel-centered churches. We are currently supporting a number of A29 churches and have no plans of doing otherwise.

    Darren Casper
    St. Louis Metro Association
    Church Planting / Acts 1:8 Partnerships

  5. I am the pastor of a 10 month old church in St. Louis. We happen to not be an Acts 29 church but do recieve funds from the MBC. From my perspective we may be wasting some time and energy with this whole debate. If it were not for all the money that were at stake would people care as much as they do? Maybe they would, I do not know. Please do not read any sarcasm into that question, it is geniune.

    Ultimately, I care more about friends of mine who are trying to find out how to continue to follow God’s call on their lives to plant a church. There are two guys and their churches who are being targeted specifically. I am working on our budget for 2008 which is about $27,000 for the calendar year of 2008. We are doing our best to see if there is some money to send to these two churches who have had their promised funding removed.

    I would ask that some who read blogs would spend some time trying to find some funds to send to these guys.

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