Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Playing into the Media's Hands

As much fun as this MBC/A29 snub has been, I'd like to touch on an angle that has received little attention, and that is how the media has played a role in how things have shaped up. That is, unless you have been living under my roof, because I've been sounding off about Tim Townsend and Jennifer London since the "Beer and the Bible" article appeared on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch early this year.

But, that's about to change.

Basically, Southern Baptists have repeatedly fed the beast that is the liberal media. Among the newsworthy events: Texas SBC faction secedes from the Union--er, the SBC; Next, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship secedes from the SBC. In MO, secession by Word & Way newspaper, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University, Windermere Conference Center, and Missouri Baptist Foundation. And now, the rejection of the Acts 29 Network by the MBC. Hmm, a trend. The media has certainly eaten well this decade.

This is a minor point with larger ramifications. The current stink about the MBC and A29 over alcohol should be an internal matter that only impacts the respective parties involved, but sadly, this is not the case. Newspaper and tv reporters can and are blowing disputes among Christians up into juicy news. This might get them a plaque on their cubicle wall, but I daresay that they'd like to make this yet another black eye to parade to the public about how conservative Christians cannot do anything but disagree and split...

especially here in MO. Regardless of the specifics, the implication is that Southern Baptists cannot help but focus on issues that divide Christians rather than on unity for the gospel's sake.

When are we going to lose this image? When is conscience going to override the tendency to play clique-religion within the Christian faith? Why are our leaders of the Conservative Resurgence, supposing to right the wrongs the theological liberals committed during their leadership, not doing any better than those they have deposed? At this juncture in the MBC saga, I predict not too few aspiring young leaders will seek opportunities to preach and lead outside of the SBC. What then? Perhaps by their absence, the current SBC leadership will come to realize just what they have become, a beauracracy of stubbornness that holds legalism as a higher ideal over the preaching of the gospel. Maybe it will come to that and maybe it won't. But if decisions like the one the MBCEB has made toward A29 spread across the country, the SBC is finished.

And wouldn't that be one salacious story for the front page of the newspapers?

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