The entire post was an interesting insight into Southern Baptist polity and culture. I found this paragraph especially interesting and more than a little sad:
There are evangelicals who do not subscribe to our confessional distinctives and therefore cannot be part of the Convention. But if we as Southern Baptists are right on the gospel, then we should be free to strengthen others who are also right on the gospel. Evangelicalism needs a resurgence of attention on the evangel. Confessional Southern Baptists can and should play a key role in that discussion.This is where the distinctives become a problem. They are not merely “This is what we believe” but also “If you don’t hold these distinctives, our fellowship and cooperation is limited”. For all of our talk about being united in the Gospel, we all too often end up being divided by our distinctives. We hide behind religious talk to cover up this sin but the ugly truth is that many of our most cherished doctrines, traditions and distinctives are serve as excuses for the sin of disunity.
When you have the largest denomination and arguably the most conservative among the major denominations that is inherently divided from other groups that are in lockstep in the Gospel and mainly in lockstep on the distinctives, it really sheds light on the depth of the problem. It is hard enough to get meaningful cooperation between local churches that are in the same denomination much less among those from similar but different denominations. Men from churches ranging from Presbyterian, Baptist, non-denominational, Lutheran, etc. will get together for conferences like The Gospel Coalition or Together for the Gospel and sit next to one another, sing praises to God with one another, take notes alongside their brothers but when the conference is over and they return to “real” church life, they are just as disunited and splintered as ever.
Sometimes even the most well-meaning and seemingly pious actions can have unintended harmful results. That is on full display in the church with denominations, confessions, creeds, etc. used to distinguish one church from another. While touted as a valuable and even essential means of ensuring orthodoxy, the real result is more often plan old fashioned division. Plenty of churches that jumped the heresy shark a long time ago still claim to adhere to one of the old confessions and that hasn’t helped prevent heterodoxy and apostasy. Meanwhile the vast majority of Christians are divided from one another by boundaries of denominational affiliation, formal church membership, secondary doctrines and a whole litany of other ways that we use religious language to excuse our failure to be united as one Body of Christ.
Claiming unity in the Gospel in word but refusing to live it out in fellowship in deeds is nothing more than a lie.