Friday, October 20, 2006

A Line in the Sand

TransMin Conference #2: October 20, 2006

For some pathetic reason, Dennis, the Barking Dog, McFadden felt the need to post this afternoon. To save myself from carpel tunnel, I quote:

On the second day of the first Annual Meeting for the newly formed Transformation Ministries, standing room only conferees heard keynote speaker Ken Huthcherson call for “unity without compromise” and exhort listeners to take church discipline seriously. Employing the incident of Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree he explained that to advertise the wares without the fruit was the basis for Christ’s condemnation.

Applying the text to today, he reminded the church leaders that if you have the trappings of religion such as congregations, organization, infra-structure and the like, you better deliver the goods as well. One listener told me that he saw the application as being one comparing the ABC to the barren fig tree cursed by God and reminding those of us in TM of the danger of following this fruitless pattern.

In the afternoon, Dr. Dale Salico, preached on 1 Peter 2:4-7. He asked who is the “living stone” and who are the “living stones” mentioned in the text. Contrary to his former understanding of this text, he found that Peter refers to the churches in the area, not to the individuals in the congregation. A proper understanding of the text assails the “heresy of the utter independence and absolute autonomy of the local church,” Salico declared.

According to the executive of Transformation Ministries, an over emphasis upon congregational autonomy is wrong because . . .
* It is contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible
* It debilitates the church’s mission
* It destroys pastors

In illustration of the final point, he screened a video clip from the movie Spider Man where the discouraged hero discards his outfit and abandons his mission. He encouraged those who were feeling like Spider Man to take comfort from 1 Peter 2:4-7 and to “come and let yourself be placed in the building among other churches as a spiritual house.

And now, the (say it like Paul Harvey) rest of the story.

After the session with Dale Salico, churches were grouped together either by size of ethnicity to discuss a proposed new covenant of relationships among TransMin churches--one that is very much within the stream of Baptist history and practice.

The PM program included Ken Hutcherson's last message, on the faith of the Canaanite woman entitled, "How Many Ouches Can You Take?" (In short, she got ouch after ouch from Jesus and His disciples until Jesus granted her request. This was to build her faith. How many ouches can you take?) A great conclusion to a great day.

But now a bit of hallway chatter significa. I learned that one reason Ken Hutcherson was invited was to (this is a quote) "draw a line in the sand" between the old ABC/PSW order and the new order. "Hutch" did do some of his own line drawing (see McFadden's comments in his second paragraph.) A quick Google search on Ken Hutcherson reveals the bare-knucked hatred that that his opponents (mostly gay activitists) have for Ken. He says he doesn't care and my impression is that...he really doesn't care. What he does very much is care passionately about what God thinks. Thanks, Hutch. And thanks to Dale and the crew for such a fine conference.

I will post again in mid-afternoon, Pacific time.

1 comment:

Dennis E. McFadden said...


Thanks for the "rest of the story." Indeed, Hutcherson has been an extremely controvsersial person up north. His battle with Microsoft over sexual orientation and his "Mayday for Marriage" rallies established him as the hero of evangelical traditionalists and a "spiritual bulldozer" to his opponents. While the "text" of bringing in Hutcherson may have been that he is a "good speaker," the subtext was a not too subtle "in your face" to the forces of the old order.