Crossing Borders, Baptist style

I headed up to Lee’s Summit last Thursday to attend the abbreviated session of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. The BGCM served as a faciliator for the Baptist Border Crossing and thus most the time and resources that would have gone to the BGCM were shared with the larger gathering. This probably had something to do with the decreased attendance at Lee’s Summit, but for the above mentioned reason don’t feel like it diminished the event.

There’s a good summary article that covers the Baptist Border Crossing. It meant a lot for me to get to be part of a historic gathering, and also to see a good representation from our own church family in attendance. The shared experience will be good for our congregation as a whole.

It was a good idea to talk about crossing borders, especially since Baptists have done such a good job at creating them. Jimmy Carter commented on that reality, reminding us that we have been known for our battles, and if peace can break out among Baptists then there is hope for the rest of the world. Those in attendance appreciated the humor and also the hope of that sentiment.

The event raises the question of whether it was a “moment or a movement.” I for one hope it is both, but if the BBC turns out to be the former that is fine also. There’s nothing wrong with having meaningful moments without knowing where and what they will lead to down the road. It’s good simply to rejoice in the experience and acknowledge our unity in Jesus Christ is what binds us together. There will always be differences among Baptists, and some of these are significant. The problem occurs when each one of us has difficulty saying which differences are more signficant than others.

Baptists are a schismatic people. I hope we can come together on those issues that matter while respecting areas of disagreement. Time will tell whether the BBC is a turning  point for Baptist relations in Missouri. In the meantime, let’s keep on with the work of missions and telling people about Jesus. Surely that is something we can all agree on.

Once again I say how much I appreciate being part of a congregation who is not only a partner with like-minded Baptists but also a voice for Baptist missions and distinctives in our small part of the Missouri field. That freedom is something I do not take for granted.

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