Showing posts with label Jerry Drace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jerry Drace. Show all posts

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Notable SBC quotes from 2011

Folks in the SBC are always good for some quotable quotes although I wouldn't say that they are always helpful for the Convention. Here are some that I picked up from 2011:

Goebbelesque quote of the year:
Restoration to doctrinal purity and a renewed sense of unity in the churches of our Association were our goals.
This from the official communication of Surry Baptist Association, NC.

So, what’s the issue? Deity of Christ? Soteriology? The trinity? Nope.

What happened was that one of the association's churches called a woman pastor, thereby polluting the pastoral gender pool for the association. That bit of “impurity” could not be allowed to stand. It didn't, as the offending church was unceremoniously and hastily cast out. Other churches left in time over the association's action, thereby adding, one presumes, additional levels of purity.

One has to admit that the terminology has a strong eugenics flavor. Plodder will accept criticism for the use of a National Socialist Party figure in this context as it may be considered overly harsh. If persuaded, I will exchange it for 'Orwellian'.

Head-scratching quote of the year:
I think the challenges confronting the SBC today are different than they have been in decades past. I think one of the issues which is a tremendous challenge for us is the theological divide of Calvinism and non-Calvinism.
This from Executive Committee head Frank Page in answer to the question about what the SBC’s greatest challenges are. This would be the self same Frank Page who is in a better position to understand well that the lifeblood of the SBC is the Cooperative Program which is continuing a decades long decline. The CP was not mentioned by Page as one of the SBC's greatest challenges.

From another planet quote of the year:
First, there is an existing [negative] attitude toward evangelists in certain areas of SBC leadership.
This from evangeilst Jerry Drace who was explaining why the SBC evangelist is an endangered species. This was reason number one. SBC evangelists are endangered because NAMB won't pay their travel expenses. Uh, no.

Dodged-a-bullet quote of the year: one [on the SBC Name Change Task Force] believed the word "Baptist" should be removed from the convention's name
Jimmy Draper explaining that the Committee had reached a decision and would report to the Executive Committee in February.

We will remain Baptists. SBCers might all get tattoos and grow goatees but, however we look and act, our forefathers may rest peacefully knowing that we will officially be called "Baptists."

Generic apology quote-of-the-year:
I deeply regret if I've ever offended you...if you speak as speak as much as I speak you're going to say some goofy things from time to time.
Mac Brunson, FBCJax megapastor, addressing everyone in general and thereby expiating any and all sins in one fell pulpit swoop.

It is not known if the blogger behind FBCJax Watchdog, the one who aroused Brunson's ire and who was investigated by local law enforcement merely for blogging negatively towards the pastor, was addressed specifically in this apology. One might be flummoxed over the meaning of the phrase "deeply regret" in this context. He is absolutely right about those who say a lot do say some things they will regret. I share in that.

Refreshing quote of the year:
I will not personally support any At Large appointment of a person who has recently served. Nor will I support the appointment of that person’s staff member or a member of his/her immediate family to key places of leadership, practices which have become commonplace in recent years.
This quote is rather provincial, coming from John Waters newly elected president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Any SBCer who pays attention understands that an oligarchy of a few dozen prominent pastors maintains control of key positions and trusteeships in most SBC arenas in part by passing appointments among themselves and, when by-laws prevent their being appointed, by having their family members or church staff members appointed as their proxy.

I attribute Waters' electoral victory this year to this quote.

Most notable Baptist Press quote: Sorry, there were none. Baptist Press was so busy reporting sports stories that they left all of the real news stuff to Associated Baptist Press and other news outlets. Maybe next year.

My memory fades after a few weeks. Perhaps you would have some submissions for notable SBC quotes of 2011.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why SBC churches eschew evangelists: NAMB?

Most SBC pastors and churches do not use vocational evanglelists. Less SBC churches use vocational evangelists than did ten years ago, twenty years ago. It is one of the longrunnng trends in SBC life.

How come? One might ask.

Let's ask Jerry Drace, one of the SBC's most distinguished vocational evangelists. Last month he offered an interesting column in The Christian Index entitled, "The SBC evangelist - an endangered species" in which he listed five reasons that he thinks SBC vocational evangelists are an endangered species. [I'd link it but cannot.]

"First," he wrote, "there is an existing attitude toward evangelists in certain areas of SBC leadership."


I'm a pastor. I've had revivals most every year. I've used evangelists rarely but occasionally. I don't recall ever considering what any SBC leader thought about my choice or non-choice of a revival preacher.

Turns out that Drace had in mind for the "certain areas of SBC leadership" one Kevin Ezell and the North American Mission Board whose attitude towards evangelists consisted of their decision to cut funding for certain activities of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE).

What did they cut?

They stopped taking Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong money, over $100,000, and using it to pay for travel, hotel, meal, and conference expenses for evangelists to attend the COSBE retreat held immediately prior to the SBC's annual meeting every June.

NAMB quits cutting hotel, food, and travel costs and that is why SBC evangelists are an endangered species?

I rather think not.

I doubt most Southern Baptists knew that part of their CP and AA gifts went to pay for hotels and meals for Drace and his fellow evangelists.

Ezell responded to Drace's article by stating that "our decision to no longer cover travel, hotel and reception costs for evangelists to meet and greet at the annual Southern Baptist meeting is not intended as a negative toward them – it is a way of keeping as many dollars focused on missionaries and new churches as we can."

Sounds like a better use of the money to me.

But, back to the SBC evangelist being an endangered species. If you ignore Drace's first one he is quite reasonable in his other four reasons:
Second, the current fashion in many churches forsakes sound biblical exposition with an evangelistic fervor.

Third, the lifestyle and requirements of those in full-time evangelism is vastly different from any other Christian calling. Since our calling is referred to as a “Faith Ministry” pastors often make off-handed and ill-advised statements regarding the financial necessities of the evangelist and his family.

Fourth, we as evangelists are often guilty of the demise of evangelistic events in the local church and area wide emphases in the community. Those with unscrupulous methods and deceitful messages hinder not only the advancement of the Kingdom, but encumber evangelists who have ministries of integrity.

Fifth, the challenge for our young men and women to answer the call to itinerant evangelism is almost non-existent in our churches and Southern Baptist institutions of higher learning.

I'll generally agree with Drace on four of five, too bad he expends 40% of his words on the one he lists first.

SBC pastors and evangelists don't eschew evangelists because of Kevin Ezell, NAMB, or any other SBC person or entity. We may be afraid to ask one. We may feel that we cannot afford one. We may have been stung in the past by disreputable ones. But we don't take our cues from SBC leadership.

Vocational evangelists in the SBC have been declining for decades, but not because of NAMB.

The full text of Drace's first reason is below:
"First," he wrote, "there is an existing attitude toward evangelists in certain areas of SBC leadership."

The latest Convention meeting in Phoenix saw the smallest number of evangelists gather in the history of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE). This was due in a large measure to the action taken by the current leadership of NAMB.

The traditional financial assistance for the COSBE retreat held the weekend before each Convention was withdrawn. Pastors, staff, and agency personnel have their Convention expenses covered in their budgets, but the evangelist must cover all expenses out of his or her own personal finances.

This action taken at NAMB was a spiritual “slap in the face” to those of us in full-time evangelism. It is a clear declaration of the current trend in the SBC toward the men and women who have given their lives to answering God’s call to full-time evangelism.

Since 1975 I have sat in scores of meetings with denominational leaders listening to how much the evangelist is needed and appreciated. I have heard countless times, “If we can ever help, we are here for you.” When you are young and na├»ve you believe it, but when you are seasoned you know better.

Lip service without feet service is like church planting without evangelism.