MBC theological committee work proceeds
JEFFERSON CITY – The ad hoc committee reviewing the theological soundness of all relationships the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has with non-political para-church ministries met March 1 and voted to write a policy related to the sufficiency of Scripture.
On a 4-1 vote, the committee opted to hammer out a statement or policy that will provide guidance only to convention staff as they deal with para-church organizations. The intent of the motion is to have a statement on the sufficiency of Scripture act as a preamble to the policy.
The March 1 vote was identical to a Feb. 8 vote by the committee when Kim Petty, layperson, Grace Community Church, Smithville; Denny Marr, minister of education and administration, Calvary Baptist Church, Republic; Jeff White, pastor, South Creek (Baptist) Church, Springfield; and Michael Knight, pastor, First Baptist Church, Viburnum were opposed by David McAlpin, pastor, First Baptist Church, Harvester, St. Charles, on whether the committee should recommend the adoption of a statement on sufficiency of Scripture for convention staff to follow.
Petty contacted four other state conventions to see whether they have policies or guidelines in place concerning their professional staff members networking with other ministries. A seven-page document from the conservative Southern Baptists of Texas Convention was handed out to committee members to study before their next meeting, which will be at
1 p.m. March 15 at the Baptist Building. The 4-1 vote means the committee is likely to recommend the new guidelines when it delivers its report to the MBC Executive Board in July.
“Our responsibility now is to review the policy statement of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention,” said Knight, who is serving as committee chairman. “It seems to be a very thorough policy and one that may deserve to be emulated here in Missouri Baptist life.”
The MBC has 192 (para-church) ministry partners, according to a document compiled by MBC Executive Director David Clippard and distributed at the March 1 meeting.
“We will be taking a look at them and trying to come up with a policy for networking with these in submission to a theology of the sufficiency of Scripture,” Knight said.
The raw material that will help committee members develop a preamble statement on the sufficiency of Scripture was delivered by Andy Chambers, vice president for student development and associate professor of Bible at Missouri Baptist College. Chambers presented a six-page document that was supported by another six pages of Scripture.
White attempted to frame a debate by asking two questions about something he called entertainment evangelism.
“Why do we have to use entertainment to draw a crowd?” White asked. “Why can’t we just preach the Gospel and let the message be the method?”
Clippard said when he hears the phrase “entertainment evangelism” he thinks of analogies and stories.
“What you label as entertainment, I would label as an illustration,” Clippard said. He then gave his theological basis for that belief, which is I Corinthians 9:22, and his rationale that taking the Gospel into unusual settings like horse arenas is biblical.
“I’m not saying I disagree with all attempts of doing that,” White said. “I just am concerned about some attempts that seem to be more geared to what I would call entertainment.”
After all of the debates had settled down, McAlpin communicated his view that the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 was a sufficient set of guidelines for MBC staff. That view was ultimately rejected by the committee’s vote.
“After a robust and healthy debate or discussion, it was voted on 4-1,” said Knight.