Only because we have a new nomenclature for them
Unfriendly Church Starts
I'm not sure what is going on in our denomination but somehow, some way, Plodder did not get the memo on this. Apparently word is out that we no longer have church "splits."
Nosirree. When a group of jut-jawed, disgruntled church members grab a pastor or staff member in the middle of a church squabble and go down the street to start their own church, by gum, we shall speak hereafter and forevermore of this action as an "unfriendly church start."
There. That prickly little problem is fixed. No more splits.
I suppose I lead a sheltered life in the Southern Baptist hinterlands, since the first time I ran across the phrase "unfriendly church start" was last week on Thom Ranier's blog, Four Thoughts on Unfriendly Church Starts.
When I read the headline, my thinking was, "Hmmm, good topic. A church start in an unfriendly area, perhaps amongst the Mormons or Hasidim. I'd like to know more." Instead Ranier was giving advice on the old fashioned, thoroughly Southern Baptist methodology of starting many of our new churches through ugly and angry splits out of existing churches.
Church planting strategists used to enjoy using this line at minister's conferences and evangelism rallys: "You guys know that a sizable proportion of our church starts are actually splits?"
No, I didn't know way back when I first heard that stated. Now I do, although I have not seen anyone toss out actual numbers lately. Such would be rather embarrassing. I certainly hope it is not true today.
Regardless, consider that we clever Southern Baptists have solved yet another thorny ecclesiastical problem with the old Baptists, tried-and-true fix-all tool: Just rename the doggone thing and plow blithely ahead with kingdom work. To wit:
Southern Baptist Convention : Great Commission Baptists
Calvinism : Doctrines of Grace
Traditionalists : Traditionalists (need a bit more work on this one)
Think of it. If we all got on board there would be no more Calvinists in the SBC just doctrines of gracers. Ah, silly dreamer, the Calvinists are already trying this and it ain't working.
Perhaps we could instead buckle down, pray fervently, talk to each other, listen to each other, put a halt to the expectorating contests, and actually fix the problem.
Come to think of it, that would work on the local church and on the denominational level.
Why not try it?