The Resolution Committee brought before the convention a Resolution (No. 6) “On Regenerate Church Membership and Church Member Restoration.” While I appreciate the committee’s work on bringing something before the convention, I was disappointed that significant language was excluded from their report. Bart Barber and Malcolm Yarnell shared my disappointment. There were no clear statements baptism, Lord’s Supper, discipline or repentance. In addition, there was no clear indication as to why such a resolution was necessary and nothing about denominational servants encouraging churches who try to implement changes in practicing regenerate church membership and church discipline.
After giving my written and typed notes to Dr. John Sullivan to take back to the platform, I was allowed to speak to the amendment. Following is the subtance of what I said:
Brothers and sisters, last year the convention passed a resolution affirming the legitimacy of corporate repentance. Surely, if we need to repent over anything in the SBC it is true that we need to repent over how we have failed in maintaining biblical standards in the membership of our churches.
Dr. David Dockery, President of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, a Southern Baptist Statesman who is second to none, and author of the highly acclaimed Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal–a book endorsed by Danny Akin, Thom Rainer, Timothy George, John Sullivan, Morris Chapman, Frank Page and Jimmy Draper, was interviewed last week about the very subject of this resolution.
I want to read the brief excerpt from his insightful comments. The article said,
[Dr.] Dockery affirms the call for repentance expressed by one of the resolutions proposed for the annual meeting.
“We need to repent of our lack of concern for biblical faithfulness in our concern and care for church members,” he said. “We need to repent of the way the way we often allow people to join local churches without stressing the covenantal aspect of membership. We need to repent of the fact that we have largely neglected any aspect of church discipline that would have helped us begin to address some of these matters.”
Brothers and sisters, surely we can all say, “Amen!” to Dr. Dockery’s call for repentance by affirming the amendment to this resolution.