Saturday, February 18, 2006

What Do We Want from Cornerstone?

I was there at the conception of the organization to follow American Baptist Evangelicals. We gathered in Lombard, Illinois on the campus of Northern Seminary to discuss what needed to happen next. We saw the ABCUSA in tatters, with its theological soul sold out to a concept of "liberty" foreign to the faith of the New Testament.

And we were agreed that a new organization for Baptists coming out of the ABC needed to be created--a nimble, missional organization focused on (1) strengthening churches to do mission, (2) planting new churches to reach the lost millions of America, (3) supporting and sending missionaries to reach the lost billions of the world and living in accordance with (4) a robust, mature, enforceable, historic statement of faith.

Early on, I stressed the importance of a name that clearly communicated the nature of the new organization--that would come tripping off the lips with clarity.The initial name that "the new organization" announced was quickly panned by friends and foes alike: "Cornerstone Network Group." Friends of the old ABE said it sounded like an insurance company; foes (for example, the reliably wrong Timothy Bonney) said it was a case of bait and switch.

[An aside on Bonney et al.: Have you noticed (I sound like Andy Rooney, the last unbearable five of 60 Minutes) that liberal churches love the names of their denominations? There is a reason for that. See my post on What Happens When the Bible Shrinks? When Scripture takes the backseat, one thing that rushes in to take the role of authority is "our tradition" (be it Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) That's why theo-left churches would just about rather be caught dead than to have a name like Centerpoint Church (the new name of FBC Colton, CA).]

Cornerstone Network Group quickly regrouped (pun intended) as Cornerstone Church Network. It still lacks the B word, as I quipped to Bill Nicoson. I suspect that if that remains unchanged some churches will actually supply the word: "First Baptist Church of Podunk is affiliated with Cornerstone (Baptist) Church Network."

I am all for giving the "Vision Architects" the space needed to expound their vision. I urge ABE/CCN to get their website up and running (and it needs to have the forum capacity that the old ABE website had) and to have another national gathering along the lines of last September's Lombard meeting to receive feedback from the same ad hoc body which commissioned the New Movement. I urge my fellow revolutionaries both to be patient and bold in this crucial moment in time.

Lord, bless our broken desires to be faithful to Your call to serve as laid forth in Your Word. We long to see the influence of the Lord Jesus expand in our midst and in our world. Go before us and grant us wisdom; in the authority of the Son of God, we pray, Amen.

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