Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is there a Theology of Cooperation?

Dr Chad Brand and Dr David Hankins published a book about the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention called One Sacred Effort.

I admit, going into the book, I was a bit skeptical. I do believe that churches are interconnected. I do not take the autonomy of the local church to be total separation from other churches. All churches are united in one head--Jesus Christ.

But on this very blog, I have accused Southern Baptists like myself of pseudo-cooperation. What I mean by pseudo-cooperation is sole financial cooperation. As such, the SBC would be some charity that I, or my church, gives to but has no stake in actively participating in the work of the charity. Following my missions training, I whole-heartedly affirm that missions cannot be done by proxy. I go a step further and say that the church is the primary agent of missions. And I do not think this contradicts the Cooperative Program. After reading One Sacred Effort and the 1985 version, Cooperation: The Baptist Way to a Lost World, I am less skeptical of the cooperative efforts of Southern Baptists. I would change a few things if I could, but overall its a sound method.

Before I begin to unfold how both the church and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention can be agencies of mission without contradicting one another, let ask you a question? (My answer prior to this past February would have been I don't know much).

What do you know about the Cooperative Program?

Follow Up Question:

Do you think that centralized programs, like the Cooperative Program, are efficient or inefficient at collecting and using funds?

Another and important question:

Do you think that cooperation should be based on a common mission, or a common theology, or both, or do you see another basis for cooperation?

I look forward to your input!

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