the tentmaker

daily thoughts on the common lectionary

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Location: Sharpsburg, Georgia, United States

"...because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together — by trade they were tentmakers." Acts 18:3. Tentmaker is a title taken by bi-vocational pastors. As such, I am both a pastor and a project manager. I am a pastor of a local congregation of moderate, accepting and affirming people who worship in the Baptist tradition. We call our church "Hope Memorial Baptist" and we are about 40 in number. I am also a project manager of major construction projects for the State of Georgia. My home and church is in rural Coweta County, between Peachtree City and Newnan, with a mailing address of Sharpsburg, Georgia.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

As the Pendulum Swings...

Is There a Millennial Shift Occuring?

"For 25 years it occurred as steady as clockwork. Nearly every 5 years Southern Baptists would launch a national evangelism strategy that motivated congregations to reach their communities with a renewed zeal. But since the dawn of the Millennium that regularity has been short-circuited and strategies have rarely made it off the drawing board.

The denomination, slowing in baptisms and membership growth, is now finding it increasingly difficult to financially partner with state conventions in key evangelism strategies.

Southern Baptists may not be too supportive of Global Warming but may be caught up in what could be described as Millennial Cooling in how to fund those strategies.

Has evangelistic outreach become too expensive for the nation's largest Protestant denomination?"

A mellinnial shift? How about mainline Baptists coming to their senses. It is increasingly clear to the person in the pew that the Southern Baptist Convention no longer holds to the basic Baptist beliefs. The 25 years alluded to in the Christian Index article refers to the Fundamentalist (hostile) takeover of the convention in 1979. Since then the denomination has steadily lost membership. But the real migration of mainline Baptists away from the SBC came following the adoption of a non-baptist Baptist Faith and Message, the statement of faith that has bound together the independent congregations of Southern Baptists since the late 1800's. By adopting the 2000 BFM the fundamentalist convention leaders sought to distance the convention's beliefs from the teachings of Jesus as the main interpretative source for the remainder of the Bible. I have heard SBC evangelists say that the teachings of Jesus were delivered before the crucifixion and resurrection. They say that because Jesus lived and taught under a previous dispensation, his words are no longer relevant for Christian doctrine. The scriptures written after the crucifixion, mainly the letters of Paul and the Revelation (The Apocalypse of John) are now the source of Christian Teaching. I think this is one reason why fundamentalists are so intolerant of diversity.

The real reason the SBC fundraising efforts are failing is because the rank and file membership is leaving the SBC for other Baptist groups. Groups like the American Baptists, the National Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship offer a knder, gentler, more tolerant view of Baptist Christianity.

3 Comments:

Blogger Monk-in-Training said...

because Jesus lived and taught under a previous dispensation, his words are no longer relevant for Christian doctrine

I have never been more shocked at a Christian teaching. Are you serious about people saying this?

11/23/2008 9:38 AM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

Yes, I am serious. It is a common belief among protestant fundamentalists.

11/23/2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger Singing Owl said...

Yow! I never heard this either. Appalling!

12/03/2008 12:18 PM  

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