UPDATE 12.12.07 :: 7:30 p.m. EST: Scott Thomas, director of Acts 29 Network, has responded to the motion.
My good friend Scott Lamb, also a contributor to Missouri’s state paper The Pathway, has reported that members of the Executive Board presented and passed a motion (28-10) during the miscellaneous business session that sets down a “no-partnership with Acts 29″ rule for MBC church plants. Here is the motion:
Effective Jan 1, The Acts 29 Network is an organization which the MBC Exec Bd. Staff will not be working with, supporting, or endorsing in any manner at anytime.
It was amended with the following statement:
While recognizing the autonomous nature of all areas of MBC life beyond that of the Executive Board Staff, the MBC Executive Board directs the Church Planting Department and other ministry departments to not provide CP dollars toward those affiliated with the Acts 29 Network.
What this means is that dually affiliated churches (Acts 29 and SBC) will not be able to receive church planting funds from the Missouri Baptist Convention.
For background information to this embarrassing situation, you need to read this post. Scott makes an excellent point, reflecting:
I just wonder where all the church-planting police were 10-15 years ago when I resisted the siren song of Willowcreek and Saddleback, only to have it thrown up in my face by Baby-Booming pastors that I was an arrogant idiot who resisted the work of God in my generation if I didn’t buy into the seeker model.
In addition, I do wonder if the MBC will be consistent and pass a reciprocal measure that keeps Cooperative Program dollars from coming into MBC coffers via such polluted churches.
For all of us Southern Baptist who are committed to building bridges in the SBC, this is a day where we should all be ashamed of being one. Let’s be clear on this. The issue about the MBC and Acts 29 is not merely about alcohol; it’s about the future direction of the SBC and who will be leading us there. For 2008, the MBC will be keeping $10.5 million of Cooperative Program money to be used for their own causes, just not church planting with Acts 29. With all that many and with so many less church plants to fund, one has to wonder what exactly they are planning to do with that $10.5 million. Abstinence billboard campaign? Hiring “specialists” to do weekly inspections of MBC churches that give traces of Acts 29 involvement? Church planting recruiters? But I digress.
Scott asks a pointed question:
Have we really come to the point as a denomination that we encourage muscle-men power teams to come and blow up hot water bottles and break bricks over their heads, but we cannot condone what basically amounts to a Francis Schaeffer approach to cultural engagement with the lost? Acts 29 doesn’t walk on water, but at least there is a serious-minded approach to the gospel that leaves the buttons, balloons, and baloney in the dust.
It is not enough to shake our heads and move on as though we think this situation is isolated to Missouri and Acts 29 churches. As we have seen, one state’s precedence becomes another state’s principle, and if they will do this to Acts 29 churches, what makes us think they will not do it to Founders or IX Marks churches? It is times like this that I wish some of our SBC leaders would step into the ring, even if they happen to disagree with the alcohol issue. Those of us who are passionate about the gospel, church planting, and building networks and partnerships with others in the evangelical world with like-minded passions cannot and must not tolerate these kinds of actions in the SBC. May God grant courage and conviction to steer the convention away from the fundamentalism and folly before us today.
Scott Lamb: Missouri Baptist Convention vs. Acts 29
Micah Fries: Acts 29 Is Banned
Tom Ascol: Missouri Baptists Axe Acts 29
Steve McCoy: No Funding for SBC/Acts 29 Church Plants in Missouri
Tim Ellsworth: MBC enacts ‘no partnership with Acts 29′ rule for church plants
Aaron Martin: The Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Committee Should Repent
Marc Backes: I Guess That Answers That Question
Talitha Koum: Missouri Bites a Hand That Feeds It
Borrowed Light: The Effects of the Acts29/MBC Decision