What do Christians, and particularly young-adult believers, want from a denomination in the 21st century?
In the 20th century, the way to influence policy very often was from the top down. If a group with an agenda could gain the favor and support of the leadership of the organization, they would be assured that the organization – a Christian denomination, for example – would use its considerable resources and influence to further their cause.
We see this exhibited in the work of some denominations to support boycotts related to apartheid in South Africa and lobbying for civil rights legislation in the United States.
We no longer live in that world. For one thing, denominations do not carry the kind of influence and authority they once did. Most are extremely fractured over both internal and external issues.
Our friends in the Alliance of Baptists may be an exception when it comes to solidarity, but they were formed out of churches that had already made decisions on the local level to pursue a progressive agenda. Their strength is in the churches and not in the judicatory.
Second, denominations like CBF don’t have a lot of resources to toss around. Churches are more focused on maintaining control over their own mission dollars, and the global missions strategy of CBF seems to reflect this concern.
Third, churches, especially those with a congregational polity, will not defer to denominational entities on “hot button” issues, and individuals should not expect the churches to give up this responsibility.
Those who are passionate about issues such as sexual equality, racial reconciliation and poverty will be more Continue Reading…