Southern Baptists and Fellowship Baptists

This came in response to yesterday’s post:

I was happy to see you address in your normal and well thought out way the recent news that the SBC has suffered a period of decline. I think that you are right that the reasons for their ascendancy for a number of years, as well as their recent decline, are nuanced and multi-faceted.
However, I would like to point something out. I am a Seminary student affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a group born out of the culture wars that took place in the convention in the 1980s. We have striven to hold on to many of the Baptist distinctives that you mourned have been lost in the contemporary SBC. Something else to note is that at least here in North Carolina, the CBF is growing. Some of this growth is coming from churches that are finally leaving the SBC, but much of this growth is the result of an intentional attempt on the part of CBF-NC to reorient ourselves in a missional direction. We are encouraging our churches to reach out in their local communities and have put resources behind church planting in underserved communities, including the growing Spanish speaking community.
I think that while we are far from perfect, we are doing our best to “deconstruct our paradigm” while at the same time holding on to the roots of our historic Baptist identity.
Just felt called to share. I am so proud to be a Fellowship Baptist!

Thanks for sharing this. I love the CBF community too – some of my favorite folks to speak to and be with. My experience matches yours – it’s great to watch CBF move forward guided by mission and the best of the rich Baptist heritage.
Just as an aside – one of the things I notice among Baptists around the world that I really like: a daring, entrepreneurial, “just do it” spirit. Where some groups would form committees, do years of study, debate any new venture, get all required permissions, build in lots of safeguards to avoid problems, etc., etc. (not bad things at all – in fact, very good things in most cases), Baptists are often the ones to roll up their sleeves, pray that funding and wisdom and personnel will be provided, and jump in. Bringing water to people in crisis, developing business ventures to employ women and children from the sex trade, planting pub churches and coffee house churches, creating HIV clinics, launching schools, housing homeless people, helping refugees … so many good things I’ve observed around the world would never have happened without this kind of faith, creativity, and boldness. Whatever the banner – SBC, CBF, ABC, whatever – when Baptists cooperate in mission and build fellowship in that good spirit – that’s a beautiful thing.