Wednesday, July 12, 2006

So All This Fuss Was About a Table in an Exhibit Hall?

The GARBC is straining out gnats and swallowing camels.

That doesn't mean I think the Cedarville vote was wrong. I think it can be a good thing that the GARBC told the SBC that it has a long way to go (not that the SBC noticed). But after all the shooting and shouting, wasn't it all really about a booth in an exhibit hall and a talent contest? The deeper issues of cooperation and association of the autonomous GARBC churches with Cedarville really weren't up for a vote, as some of the cyberdiscussion seemed to imply. Now that the GARBC website defines what action was taken and the reasoning for it, these matters are a bit more clear.

I really have no desire to beat up on the GARBC, but I think this controversy is illustrative of the mindset that is prevalent in contemporary fundamentalism. It seems as though individuals and institutions are far more willing to address the external behaviors of other individuals, churches, and institutions than they are to confront the internal theological-philosophical motivations.

Ken Fields and Tom Pryde
have been right to point out that in addressing the Cedarville controversy, the GARBC has swept under the carpet the more fundamental issues of theology and philosophy of ministry that point to far deeper rifts in the Association than what people think about Cedarville.

So I wish the GARBC well. I hope that the dreams Fields and Pryde and Ketcham (via Fields) have articulated come true. Forgive my skepticism. I just don't think that the tenor of this debate gives any indication that the real issues are even on the radar.

So good luck choking down that dromedary, GARBC friends. I don't know how it would taste BBQed up Memphis style, but I'd be willing to chow down on my share if I'm not a disobedient brother to the point that you're not prohibited from eating a meal with me.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Your last sentence, though written in jest, very neatly sums up the entire problem with the issue of separation, particularly secondary separation. Even those most adamant that the GARBC should dump Cedarville are personally inconsistent when it comes to separation. Every organziation including theirs (by their own admission) includes people doing things they regard as wrong. How can a person celebrate rebuking a school for deviance on separation when many of those present are in bed with Rick Warren? Is what Cedarville is doing really worse? And by not separating from the Warrenites, or from the GARBC for refusing to cast them out, aren't they doing the very thing for which they decry and disfellowshiped Cedarville?