12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

End Game

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A little over a year ago, I struggled with Steve McCoy. On the one hand, I found him insightful and challenging as I was growing in my understanding of being Missional and leading in a Missional way. On the other hand, he had begun to decry some of the political discussions in which I was beginning to invest myself. I would only later find out that I had come late to the party and Steve, Joe Thorn and Marty Duren were among the first to begin to blog about the SBC and its struggles. Someone recently called them the original “Big 3.”

I mentioned that I was struggling with Steve. Really it was more of the concept he was putting forth. The concept with which I struggled was that political engagement would not significantly move the SBC where we all thought it needed to go.

At this point, Steve was on his way out of blogging the SBC and I was full of vim and vigor – just starting. Obviously our takes on the subject were heading in very different directions. His leading SBC blog, Missional Baptist, is now gone from the net. So, we were passing one another in the blogosphere, heading in different directions. I didn’t, at the time, realize that he had been one of the first voices for reform in the SBC in the blogosphere.

This all matters because Steve said a few times, and in various places, that real Missional reform in the SBC is not going to be accomplished by the making of political moves within the SBC. There can’t be anything such as a Missional Resurgence, in other words (mine, not his), because being Missional is about specifically breaking from traditional/political structures and being a more organic source of light in a very dark culture. Steve was saying that the long lasting impact will be from Missional minded pastors and other leaders getting out front and leading by example in engaging our lost culture. Politics would be a short run and ineffective fix.

Well, I went on my journey over the last year and then some, helping to write (I added a couple of words – so that counts :) ) and host the Memphis Declaration. Of course, I blogged regularly about the IMB policies and then posted what one of my friends called the “definitive tome” on how to do business within the convention in a series called, “The SBC Primer.”

The convention was big. Frank Page was the first President elected not backed by either Patterson or Pressler since the Resurgence began, oh those many years ago [edit] with the obvious exception of Jim Henry. Bobby Welch wasn’t their first choice, but they didn’t try to thwart him either.[/edit] Debate on the floor over resolutions was unprecedented. The nominations from Bobby Welch’s committees were excellent with only one or two personal objections. The Executive Committee took reform into its hands and dealt with several by-law issues that were of paramount importance to many of us.

Looking back, I can definitely say that the convention is different because of some of the things I have said and done over the last year. “Politics” has had some positive impact. But how much and for how long?

At the Baptist Identity Conference held at Union University, I sought out Steve McCoy to tell him I had come to some conclusions about his earlier statement. I had come to the realization that he was right. The best effect we are going to have in making the SBC into a convention for the future is leading by example – politics will not ultimately get us where we need to be. He asked what led me to say that. I responded that it was what I had failed to see thus far. After a year of pouring my life into dealing publicly with Convention issues, I have realized that we are not much closer to the overall change that we need to have in the SBC.

Since that time, we have now had the convention adopt the report from the Executive Committee that calls for agencies and institutions to keep from going beyond the BFM in areas of doctrine. Nevertheless, we have also heard from seminary presidents (and at least one professor) who have told us that we didn’t know what we were doing, and that they would do as they saw fit. The issue is still not resolved, though I have done all I could.

Openness towards conservatives who disagree on tertiary (or what SHOULD be tertiary) issues is still a far way away from us now. Are we closer? Sure. But not much.

Instead, I have observed the IMB BOT change its restrictions on missionary candidates just enough to say that they actually changed them, but not enough to make one shred of actual, practical difference in the way they are interpreted or enforced.

It was at this point that I finally realized the End Game.

I have repeatedly said that I could fight for ten years over the authority of the Bible. Who gets to steer the SBC ship is not that big a concern for me. Yet it is now clear that for the institutions that have placed tertiary restrictions on Southern Baptists who wish to serve through their ministries, loud complaints on blogs just won’t cut it. Backroom meetings might cut it, but then you just replace one group with another, and I need no part of that.

Ultimately, lasting change will come from two things that are available to me: As Steve once said, it will come from young leaders living out Missional Leadership as an example for others to follow and it will come from the election of a succession of presidents that are more interested in cooperation than controlling the minutiae of every SBC entity’s theology.

In other words, the Trustees of those organizations will not change their minds nor their actions because they alienate conservative Southern Baptists. They were choosing to do that last year and nothing has changed on that front. The IMB, in particular, has made it clear that they are listening to their own counsel and the rest of us must simply deal with it.

No, to reverse the policies, the trustees at the two mission boards and the one seminary are going to have to be replaced with people who will choose not to alienate their fellow Southern Baptists. To do that, the SBC will have to elect Presidents that mandate that action through the appointment process over the next eight years. It could take less for the mission boards, but it is my evaluation that it will take a complete overhaul of the SWBTS trustees to make the difference there. This is assuming that the BFM report, now adopted by the convention, has little or no effect. I pray I am wrong, but I will wait and see.

Yes, my voice for inclusion has just called for the exclusion of some who currently serve in leadership. I am saying that those who would exclude fellow conservatives must, themselves, be excluded from leadership for the well being of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I say again, I just don’t think I care to do what I’ve done over the last year and a half for another nine years.

Along with others, I have sounded the alarm and raised the issues. It is time for those leaders who are able to rise up and press the issue of cooperation at the national convention level. I have repeatedly said that I wasn’t seeking national appointment. I realize that I have said some things that may exclude me from service that I might otherwise been privileged to enjoy. Among many, because of my vocalization, I have wounded my own reputation, and I deeply regret that. Not that I think it was wrong to speak, but that I dislike being a person of division, especially when my cry has been for unity.

Ultimately, the more cooperative natured among us, especially those already in leadership, are going to have to step up to the plate and move the convention in the direction that portends a healthy future – given my understanding of what a healthy future is. If not, I am afraid that the politics of exclusion, because it is so ingrained in some of our leaders, will lead us to a future of irrelevance and ineffectiveness.

The SBC is a good thing. I think we may have a bright future, but it is dependant on cooperative minded people showing up at the convention and making sure that their willingness to cooperate with their fellow conservatives is the majority view when we do business.

Instead, I see many of pastors and churches beginning to cooperate around the convention. They are building bridges with other churches and forming networks of their own through which they do missions without the exclusionary politics that they despise.

It’s easier to form new networks than to try and secure the future of the one we have.

I brought a couple of church members with me to the convention. They are former church planters who have a heart for engaging the lost and are doing great things in that area with the Sunday School class they now teach. They are coming because the future of the convention matters. I can honestly say, though, that the thought of worrying about voting and being at all the business meetings just isn’t appealing to them.

So here’s the deal. If those who think that restrictive mindsets don’t belong in leadership don’t start being leaders themselves, showing up at the convention to make a difference in the business of the convention and leading out as an example, then we might as well stop talking and look for another way to do missions, because the talking isn’t doing anything of extended value.

If you would ask me now about the BFM motion now adopted, rest assured, I think blogging contributed a small number of votes to the total. Rather, that vote was won on the floor and Dwight McKissic did more for that than anyone else.

As for me, I am tired of haggling over every detail of convention controversy. Close observers of my blog will be able to note that I have cut back on convention business severely up until the convention arrived this week. It used to be that I wrote daily and the convention was my daily source of opinion – even when I was no where near the SBC. It has been a long time since that happened.

I am continuing down that road, as well. I am going to attend the SBC and I will try to bring messengers for several more years. I will continue to blog here at this website. The substance of my blogging though, will be less and less political in favor of being more and more inspirational (I hope) in my desire to be an example of Missional engagement. I will continue to deal with this convention for another couple of weeks, and then will only blog about the SBC when it directly affects my ministry.

As I make that move, I expect readership to drop. There is nothing like watching a train wreck. Political infighting has made my blog one of the most well read sources in our SBC Blogosphere. That is something that I have no problem giving away.

I expect that my Phriday fotos will get better. I expect that my church will become prominently listed on my blog and that my blog will be prominently listed at my church. They have been separated now out of deference to those in my church who may not feel that I represent them in the political arena of SBC life. I expect that the details of our church’s journey to Missional engagement will be chronicled with more regularity. I expect my picture, along with the pictures of my family will be posted here more often. I expect that I would begin to mend fences with some that are on “other sides” from me within my own convention. I expect we will still vote differently, so long as we are both still in the same convention – which I hope is a very long time.

Sorry for the “Wade Burleson length” post. Expect me to be talking more about other things. If that is not what you’re after, then I am not all that sad to see you go, though I am sad that that’s all your after.

1-4-3!

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35 Responses to “End Game”


  1. Keith Price
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 12:40 am

    Amen! Thanks…and my daughter wants to know if your new blog style will include music links that will be as good as Steve’s.

    I stop by here often, but comment rarely. I will still stop by often, probably more so. May God bless you in your missional efforts.

    Keith Price


  2. Strider
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 12:45 am

    I really appreciate your heart here, Art. I agree with you that instead of shouting at the darkness we should light a candle. I felt that we M’s were slandered by the policies enacted so I began a blog just to tell the story of what God is doing in my life and ministry. I never mention trustees or policies but only tell true stories of God moving in our lives. I would love to continue reading your blog and instead of political spin find the story of what God is doing in your life and in your church. Your readership may decrease, but your influence will surely grow.


  3. Joe Kennedy
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 12:49 am

    I look forward to your photos (which have been pretty good so far), and maybe a template change so I don’t burn my retinas trying to look at the white text on the black background. Eesh. But most importantly, I look forward to watching you become a missionary in an American context. And maybe I’ll comment some now. =) You and Alan Cross both.


  4. Charlie Curce
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 6:09 am

    Art,

    I have appreciated your fair, honest, and open perspectives about the SBC and its future. Rest assured – change will come to the SBC through:

    1. Future backdoor revivals (funerals) – “Lord, Send some Revivals!” (And He will – including my own!)

    2. A coming funding crunch – the quickest way to bring about change in SBC life.

    3. And above all else – Time! With recent studies indicating that 60% of all existing churches will close their doors by 2050 in America(Church Next – Gibbs), change will come and God is and will do a new thing! And that is already happening through:

    4. New networks and alliances forged by trusting relationships of churches and church leaders. And some will be Baptist in theology, structure, and orientation though not all will be identified by our user name!

    Though it will be different, I am excited about the future and again, thank you!


  5. Anonmyous
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 6:18 am

    Art, I think you are being optimistic.

    Circumstances may force you back.

    2007 SBC may not be over. I may just be beginning.

    Already, one post at

    http://kerussocharis.blogspot.com/2007/06/practical-outworking-of-2007-southern.html

    has asked if the resolution invites belivers in errancy back into the convention. “Isn’t it almost inviting the liberals back in?”

    I hear that Paige is very upset and likely to be even more upset when he realizes that inerrancy/errancy is open again. He is not happy with the media spin that the SBC is going moderate. He may start another liberal sweep like 30 years ago to prove that he is still himself.

    I hear that Mohler is equally upset for the same reasons. He may want to try a liberal sweep himself.

    This could start as competing liberal sweeps by Patterson and Mohler, turn into a conflict between Patterson and Mohler over who is top dog in the SBC, and degenerate into Calvinist/non Calvinst fight.


  6. tlinasia
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 6:29 am

    Art,

    You have made a HUGE difference. Patterson will ride the SBC ship to its watery grave. Visions of 3,500 seat chapels, large men in suits and homemaking degrees won’t lift sinking CP dollars.

    You have led a noble charge for the right purpose.

    I urge you to keep up the work, but you must follow God’s path for you and for this blog.

    Thanks for shining light on the deep fissures in our convention.


  7. Sean the Milkman
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 6:35 am

    Thanks Art,

    Awesome post. You have articulated what has been welling up in my heart as I have read many and interacted with a few blogs over the past 6 months.

    I came late to the game, but it hasn’t taken me long to decide what you have decided.

    While I probably tend to be on “the other side” from you on several issues, I agree that a handful of bloggers (on either side) will not accomplish much for the amount of time invested in this medium. You are right again- it is going to take a long-term committment and more face to face dialogue to mend fences. Blogging has some severe deficiencies.

    I am so glad that Jesus didn’t mandate the SBC. All of this political maneuvering and venemous spewing in the SBC (I am not innocent) breaks my heart, but gives me renewed passion for the local church and my vision for getting on mission.

    Thanks for being a clear voice.

    Sean M.


  8. Paul Burleson
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 6:56 am

    Art,

    The battler/builder statement I made on Marty’s blog can be duplicated here as well.

    Thank you for your genuine friendship and your future is very bright in the Kingdom BECAUSE of your heart for the One who rules it.


  9. Kevin Bussey
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 7:47 am

    Art,

    As you know I came to this conclusion a few months ago. I missed hanging out with you in SA but I’m ready to make those connections you are talking about. In fact they have already begun. I received a call that I’m sure you got too about going to Viet Nam with a group of churches like you.

    I want to be a part of something bigger than me. I appreciate your friendship.


  10. Wayne Hatcher
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 7:52 am

    Good words. I look forward to your future, more diverse posts. Blogging can be such a good tool when turned from “fire from hell” into “show and tell”. Let others see what you and your congregation are doing to advance the gospel right where you are. Blessings.


  11. Cyle
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 7:59 am

    Art,

    Good post, good to hear your heart.

    One thing that’s been regularly said in all the blogwars in the SBC is that missional leaders are young leaders. From someone on the edge of becoming old, that’s really not a helpful label, but it is one that Steve has embraced. You repeated it in this post. It’s one that the traditional SBC leaders use, possibly with a bit of disdain.

    The only successful church planters I know are at least 5 years older than me. I’m 45. If missional people only want to plant churches for people under 25, and they focus on being “young”, we’re going to miss more than half of un-church, un-regenerate America. Labeling the movement as a “young” movement limits its effectiveness. It limits its methods, and it alienates some people who have a great deal of wisdom from the mix. I want to build networks that reach lost America. I’ll do that with anyone of any age.

    I do hope we don’t see a new ethinc cleansing movement in the SBC. I think that will effectively kill it.

    Cyle


  12. Joe
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 8:53 am

    Art:

    Thanks for the journey that you have taken us all on in the past year. It has been a great ride as you have provided truthful insight into what is going on in SBC life, and a small amount of what is going on in your part of the world.

    I will miss the SBC post, but not near as much as I am looking forward to hearing how God is going to use you and your church in to change the world.

    And more pics of your family won’t be bad either!


  13. John Stickley
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 9:23 am

    Art,

    As I did with Marty, I want to express my appreciation for everything you’ve done over the past couple years. You HAVE made a difference.

    As encouragement for your new direction, I want you to know that I have enjoyed the glimpse of what’s to come with your blog that we’ve seen over the last couple months, and look forward to more of the same! I don’t know what everyone else thinks, but I can tell you now that I’ll enjoy your blog even more when it’s not all SBC, all the time!

    I pray that God will continue to bless you, your family, and your ministry.


  14. onelittleman
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 9:38 am

    Brother Art,

    I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog more than any other. You have a gift for getting to the heart of what’s going on.

    I understand and respect your reasons for shutting down the political side of your blogging efforts. When I first discovered your blog and sbcoutpost, I had real hope that the sbc might be self correcting from the excesses of the resurgence. I really hoped that the sbc would become primarily a positive missionary force for the kingdom. However, with the news that first Brother Bussey, now you and Brother Duren completely disengaging from this conversation, it seems that the entrenched leadership has won. As we know, the winners write the history.

    I am coming to a few realizations, maybe I should blog them myself, feel free to delete if I’m threadjacking.

    1. The SBC is no longer led by baptists.
    2. The consolidation of power in the hands of a few will probably continue.
    3. If a new round of liberal hunting breaks out, then it is probably the end of any meaningful cooperation under any but the most narrow tests of acceptable belief.

    If we are to accept your call to developing new missional networks of people committed to kingdom purposes, then it seems that it is also time to accept the logical consequence of that effort. It is probably time to quit spending our scarce resources on an apparatus in which we can’t cooperate and gives us no missional return. And yes, I’m talking about churches deciding to stop giving to the cooperative program on the national level. No more Lottie Moon. No more Annie Armstrong. No more underwriting seminaries. If the structure is more committed to power than mission, then it makes no sense to keep funding the structure. If life is too short to keep trying to reform the SBC, then it’s probably time to serve without it.

    Let the power brokers have their castle of ashes. As long as we keep sending the money, there will be neither change nor kingdom fruit.

    Thanks for the work you’ve done on this project. I’ll continue reading the new missional blog you’re planning and I’m eager to see what your congregation is going to be doing.


  15. Marty Duren
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 10:04 am

    Art-
    I just want to publicly state my appreciation for standing up and being counted. Only God knows the depth and breadth of what these 18 or so months will be, but you have been in the thick often articulating things that were being lost or overlooked. You’ve been an intricate part of everything that has happened to attempt to free this convention from its fundamentalist, legalist tilt.

    God bless you, your family and Skelly Drive BC.


  16. Tim Cook
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 10:26 am

    Art,
    I just want to say thanks – thanks for taking this journey for some of us. It has been a blessing to watch you stand to be counted. I feel like, by your having represented my thoughts and those of others, that I can focus more fully on where God has called me in ministry. I know that, if I had a platform to address national issues, I would have done it in the same way. I guess what I am saying is, not only are you more free to move on in ministry, but some of the rest of us are also. I for one am comfortable with the fact that like-minded people did SOMETHING. now, we will just have to see where it takes us in the future.

    In Christ,
    Tim Cook

    PS if you read this, the same goes for Marty and Alan – thanks for your representation on behalf of the rest of us. God Bless.


  17. Karen Scott
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 11:41 am

    Brother Art,

    I just wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated you and your work in trying to educate and inform Southern Baptist of problems within our convention. May God bless you and your family as you seek to reach the lost in your community for Him. Please continue to pray for us as we will you and yours.

    Karen


  18. Alan Cross
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 1:47 pm

    Art,

    You have been a blessing to me and a good friend. As I told Marty, I’d check my email, go to SBC Outpost, and then come here every day. You helped shape my thinking and my writing on these topics and you were a huge part of letting me know that I could get involved and stand up and be counted. I also step back from this with no regrets because of people like you, Marty, and Wade who reminded me what it really means to be a Baptist. I look forward to hearing more from you in these other areas and I can’t wait to hear about what God is doing through your church!

    Here’s to better days . . .


  19. David Troublefield
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 3:15 pm

    Gee; it already almost sounds like a funeral in here. Your best days, though, are AHEAD of you–not behind! In my opinion, Art, the best writing you’ve done anyway during the past 12 months was our email exchange of several weeks ago when members of our congregation had moved to your area but not yet found a new church to worship/serve with; you indicated in writing that you’d love-on them, and you tried (our congregation is very grateful to you for it because we truly love and miss that family).

    Each of us can go merrily and alone on his theological way, smiling and even waving at a distance; no cooperation–or Cooperative Program–is necessary. I know what I believe about/from the Bible; when I feel like I need the input of anyone posting in the blogosphere, I’ll ask for it (after all, at Judgment, I’m standing there without you–best I can tell). But when, on my own, I’m trying to reach a great big unsaved world, I’m going to need a little assistance–from a whole lot of other Christians. I don’t need your theology; I need your money and your manpower–and you need mine and that of my believing friends for the same. If we can agree enough on theological matters (what the gospel story is, basically), then we can get along for world missions and evangelism (some will split hairs here). The BF&M is a good idea; it just isn’t “the Sabbath”–what everything in SBC life must come to a stand-still for. Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath–that day with its man-made impositions–comes to a stop for Him, and He’s Lord of the BF&M statement, too. If I were Him (obviously, I’m not), this week–with its 30th consecutive summer of SBC fighting–probably would be an incredibly sad one for Me; I’d probably be getting ready to do something awesomely terrible about it, too.

    My teenage daughters often saying in teasing, “Dad, build a bridge and get over it!” I’d suggest it now, for all of us. If the SBC cannot be what it needs to be, it only has been a good idea for as long as it’s lasted (150 years for any organization is rare); it’d be time to build a bridge and get over it, to continue moving forward together really on-mission with God. I’m “game” for either–again, not because I need the theological input of anyone posting here, but because we good news-tellers need the resources God is providing to Himself for world evangelism through each one of us.

    Just some thoughts from someone who is as tired of reading bad news as Art is of typing it.


  20. Art Rogers
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 3:22 pm

    Anonymous,

    I pray you are not a prophet. I am not desirous of being drawn back in. So much for the prognostications that we want power and positions – that we wish to replace one group with another.

    Quite the opposite.

    All,

    Thank you for the kind and encouraging words. I appreciate you all. I especially appreciate those who have said they look forward to my future blogging than my past.

    When I first started, no one read what I wrote. Only when I got involved with politics did I gain a readership. You can see, then, that I expected to slip into oblivion, blogopshperically speaking. That’s still a possibility, but knowing a few folks will be around to read fuels the desire, a bit.

    Remember that I have a few more analytical posts to come, but then (with a tip of the hat to Ben) “we at 12 Witnesses will turn our thoughts toward more Kingdom minded pursuits.” :)

    I’m leaving this post up for a day, but look for more soon on the status of the SBC and the motion to adopt the BFM as sufficient.

    Marty & Alan,

    I’ll be by your blogs shortly to tell you how much I appreciate you both.

    Grace to all,

    Art

    PS I have received several personal emails and I will answer then as soon as I am able. I am still en route home, stopping overnight at my Mom’s and picking up my kids. Friday I go home and Saturday kicks off VBS with a big event at the church. I am going to have to take a breath, but I will be returning your emails asap, I promise.


  21. micah
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 5:21 pm

    Art-

    Well everyone else is getting sappy, so I guess I’ll just say…”Thanks for playing Charles Barkley at the microphones this week.” :-)


  22. David
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 5:42 pm

    Did anyone else see Dr. Jerry Vines at Cornerstone Church Sunday morning? Sources say he was even recognized publicly by Pastor John Hagee. Interesting that he didn’t attend a Southern Baptist Church – at least in my mind. :-)


  23. A 10-40 Windows Missionary
    on Jun 14th, 2007
    @ 11:27 pm

    Art,

    Those of us “half a world away” appreciate what you and Marty have done for informing us of the world of SBC. It is so easy to get isolated from those who sacrificially give in order for us to serve Him in other lands. We also become isolated from what is really happening in the convention which makes it possible for our service.

    Thanks to you for trying to inform…Blessings on you and Skelly Drive.


  24. Tim Rogers
    on Jun 15th, 2007
    @ 3:39 am

    Brother Art,

    I would not have known what to do on the blogs if it were not for you. (I am sure you did not want to hear that one. :>)) Seriously, you helped me fashion the blog and taught me about placing quotes in italics and other tidbits. I am grateful. I also am grateful that when we disagreed to the point of my not speaking to you, you were the bigger and more Godly among us and reached out to me. It revealed to me that your heart was pure in this endeavor. I will always respect that in you.

    I look forward to your closing post, and to your more missional direction. My wife has placed a leash on me for my future blogs. I too plan to do more “this is what God is doing” posts.

    Blessings,
    Tim


  25. Art Rogers
    on Jun 15th, 2007
    @ 7:11 am

    Apparently, someone from Insight Communications in Louisville, KY felt it would be appropriate to impersonate Jerry Vines on my blog.

    I removed the comment.

    Please don’t think that because I am changing directions that I have gone soft.

    As for Jerry attending a non-SBC church, I don’t mind. I am against Triumphalism in the SBC.


  26. David Phillips
    on Jun 15th, 2007
    @ 7:43 am

    Art,

    Knowing what I know, all I can say is: “The Best is Yet to Come!”


  27. Brad Guenther
    on Jun 15th, 2007
    @ 8:50 am

    Art,
    I for one will be excited to stop by far more often. Missions, cooperation, and loving our churches, our communities, and our Lord are what it is all about. I’ve hated all the anger and division I’ve felt in myself and look forward to linking arms with you and others around moving forward.
    God bless.


  28. marie
    on Jun 15th, 2007
    @ 12:37 pm

    Now THIS is what I would call unity! I have been reading your posts with interest as to what was really going on in the SBC. I am no longer SBC, but I still care…

    I, too, am looking forward to what Jesus Christ has planned for your church and reading here how He is accomplishing His will in answer to His prayer in John 17.

    This sounds like a Paul and Barnabas moment when they fought about John Mark. The LORD was still able to use both even after their rift!!! :)

    Abundant blessings to you!

    Marie


  29. Les Puryear
    on Jun 15th, 2007
    @ 1:29 pm

    Art,

    I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together in SA. You have a great heart and a wise mind. I, for one, will continue reading your blog whether you talk politics or dessert recipes.

    Regards,

    Les


  30. Bryan Riley
    on Jun 16th, 2007
    @ 1:23 am

    There is nothing too hard for God. Thank you, Art. I say praise to Him for what you are about to begin. May you walk circumspectly and be filled with wisdom and strength from God alone.


  31. cb scott
    on Jun 16th, 2007
    @ 7:31 am

    Les,

    It was good to see you at the SBC. I do want to tell you one thing; I will not read Art’s blog if it is about dessert recipes:-)

    cb


  32. David Rogers
    on Jun 16th, 2007
    @ 9:50 am

    Art,

    Thanks for your service and insight. I will continue to check in here to see what the Lord leads you to contribute toward the edification of His Body.


  33. Bart Rhea
    on Jun 16th, 2007
    @ 10:05 am

    Art – As a member of SDBC the past year, I have grown to love and respect you and your family. You are Art. No falsehoods, no pretenses, no favoritism…just Art.

    CB – I don’t know what the reference to dessert is…but you do need Art’s recipe for his world famous grilled steak.


  34. Bart Barber
    on Jun 17th, 2007
    @ 7:42 pm

    Art,

    May God bless you in your upcoming pursuits. Happy VBS!


  35. Tim Sweatman
    on Jun 18th, 2007
    @ 11:37 pm

    Art,

    Imagine my surprise when, after about 3 weeks of being unable to follow the blogs, I discovered on the same day that both you and Marty are taking your blogs in an entirely different direction. I’ll try not to repeat what I said on his blog, but my feelings are mixed. Obviously I believe this move is a detriment to the efforts to bring reform to the SBC, but I cannot help but think that in many ways this new focus will greatly benefit the Kingdom. As I mentioned in my comment on And How Have We Come to This?, I have a hunch I will need you, Marty, and others to help me figure out the practical aspects of these new avenues of partnership and cooperation because I really think the time is soon coming where the SBC will no longer be a viable avenue of cooperation. I’ll miss your insights and analysis on SBC matters, but I look forward to seeing how you apply your skills and wisdom to matters more missional in nature.

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