In a welcome turn of events, Don Hinkle is reporting that as he understands it, the Missouri Baptist Convention is going to work to continue funding at least one of the Acts 29 churches that it had appeared to have cut ties with. He states that MBC ExComm members, and Dr. David Tolliver both want to fulfill their previously made commitments. That is welcome and good news! Don Hinkle is one of my favorite people in MBC life. I have never, in fact, had a conversation with him that I did not thoroughly enjoy. I disagree with him at times, but I have found him to be an extremely thoughtful, well spoken individual who I very much enjoy knowing. Having said that, I do have a few questions about the rest of the post.
Don continues his post by saying that one of the churches – Karis Community, I believe – may or may not continue to receive funding. If this is true, I think it is appropriate to ask why one will continue to receive funding and the other will potentially not?
Finally, Hinkle makes a comment that I find interesting. Hinkle says,
I also believe the convention is not that far from peace. Now that the Acts 29 issue has been settled I think the prospect for a peace — leading to much-needed unity — is within our reach. I heard many board members say Dec. 10 that they feel healing has begun. There will no doubt be attempts by people who hate us to disrupt that process. We are theological conservatives and while we may not agree on every theological issue, we agree on the essentials and the need for us to continue to work together and support one of the greatest missions-giving operations ever created — the Cooperative Program.
I think there are a couple problems with that statement.
First, in my mind the Acts 29 issue is far from settled. While I love my MBC brethren, and I am hopeful that we can find a better resolution in the future, I also believe that if those who made this decision are of the opinion that we who disagree will simply fade into the background now, because their decision is finalized, they are sadly mistaken. This decision is a blow to biblical faithfulness, in my opinion, and as such cannot be left alone. My commitment to the sufficiency of God’s word and my commitment to living under its authority alone, will not allow me to simply sit idly by. To believe that this issue is settled appears to be naive, it seems to me.
Secondly, to claim that “we are theological conservatives and while we may not agree on every theological issue, we agree on the essentials and the need for us to continue to work together and support one of the greatest missions-giving operations ever created — the Cooperative Program.” after having just watched us cut ties with a faithful church planting organization and commit to pulling Cooperate Program funds from effective Southern Baptist churches, seems to be a strange statement. I agree with Don that the CP is the greatest funding mechanism in existence, but I am of the opinion that this recent decision stands in stark contrast to everything he has claimed in that statement. Rather than theological conservatives rallying around essentials, we are pulling apart over non-essentials. We will need further clarification for this “healing” to occur. Healing, in my opinion, cannot occur until there is a coming together by both parties. In this instance, it appears that one side is pulling away and then asking that we come over to them so that healing may occur. I’m sorry, but I am not as confident that we will see that happen.
So today has brought good news and then some questions as well. We will have to wait and see what continues to happen.