9Marks Panel Tackles Church Health and Influence on the Culture

SBC leaders Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., discussed the state of the Southern Baptist Convention on a panel hosted 9Marks June 11 in Birmingham. Photo by Matt Miller

This year’s 9Marks panel discussions tackled the current state of the Southern Baptist Convention and whether or not the health of a church is enough to sustain itself in this cultural moment during two evenings of discussion in conjunction with the SBC’s annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

The Monday evening (June 10) discussion was led by Mark Dever, co-founder of 9Marks and senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C, and Jonathan Leeman, 9Marks editorial director. Conversation centered around the topic, “Are Healthy Churches Enough for Today’s Problems?” Dever and Leeman’s discussion was a live recording of their Pastors’ Talk podcast, which they record weekly to discuss practical aspects of pastoral ministry and Christian life.

“Is the church enough? No, if you’re trying to use it for what it’s not built to do in this world,” Dever said. “But I’ll answer yes it’s enough for God’s purposes, for what He needs to do with the church, for displaying His glory.”

Leeman and Dever discussed how churches can be influential in today’s culture, using Dever’s nine marks of a healthy church.

“It’s a temptation for all of us to use the church for things it’s not quite built to do,” said Dever, explaining that the church was not meant to be and do everything to fix societal problems. Pastors must pay careful attention, Dever noted, to the morality they are preaching from the pulpit to make sure it lines up with Scripture and is being drawn from a place of understanding who God is first.

He called the lack of the indicative informing the imperative a “gospel-less moralism that will not run well; your engine will overheat over time.”

State of the SBC

Tuesday evening’s panel, sponsored by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, featured a discussion on the state of the SBC. Panelists included Dever, who moderated the panel; Danny Akin, president of SEBTS in Wake Forest, N.C.; H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Among conversations regarding motions presented on the floor during Tuesday’s business meeting, panelists addressed some of the hot-button issues at this year’s SBC annual meeting. Among those issues were complementarianism, racial reconciliation and sexual abuse.

Panelists spoke about the history of complementarianism, noting that the idea has been around since Genesis 1 but the word itself has only existed for a few decades.

Charles explained that the SBC’s view on complementarianism — that men and women have unique but complementary roles in the church and the home — was one of the aspects that attracted him to the convention.

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Source: Baptist Press