The first day that the BCC website was up, there were hits from about 25 countries on 5 continents … The people on Antarctica apparently need to get their act together 😉 So what? Why should you care? Maybe the best way to answer that question is to answer this question: “Why do I care?”
I have the privilege of being part of the council of the BCC. There are many reasons I could list, but here are two of the most significant.
#1. I am learning to value unity
Biblically, unity is found all over the NT. In fact, according to Titus 3 factiousness is one of the primary church discipline issues. I need to live out this biblical call to unity in as many ways as possible.
Practically speaking, if I were honest I would have to admit that when I was 10 years old I would have been concerned about David Powlison’s salvation. Why? Because I did not think there was such a thing as a saved Presbyterian! I would have said “Evangelical Free??? Sounds like a bunch of people who play church to me.” “Southern Baptists … aren’t those the liberal Baptists who think the Bible has a bunch of errors?” You see, I had been taught or had observed some of these things. In my immaturity I tended to lump all people with the worst examples of their respective movements. So Powlison was just like the downtown Presbyterian church that did not even preach the gospel in my mind. Every Southern Baptist church was led by someone who succumbed to the higher critical conclusions. They all were liberal.
Now I know better. I have learned that my ecclesiastical tradition has its own issues with its own “shady characters” (hopefully I am not one of them!). My tradition is not the only one and not only that, but there is much to learn from others. Without my Presbyterian brothers, especially the reformed Presbyterians, I am not sure I would think very deeply about the Psalms. Without Don Carson I would not have asked questions like “How do you put your Bible together?” (He teaches at Trinity, the flagship school for the E-Free churches). Without the Southern Baptists I would not learned how to turn a group that was giving up core doctrines. In other words, I would have remained immature.
I am also keenly aware that I have the same tendency in counseling. I tend to read certain people with appreciation and others with suspicion. Maybe the lessons I learned in theology will help me in counseling (“theology when the wheels come off”). I am learning to value my unity with people who love Jesus, who want the death, burial, resurrection, and return of Jesus central, who value the indwelling work of the Spirit so that the presence of God in me is not just cool but powerful, and who give the Word of God not just lip service but its rightful place.
#2. I am learning as a counselor
For the past two years, I have been learning Bob Kellemen. Admittedly, my immaturity came out. I was suspicious, cautious, waiting for the other shoe to drop. As it turned out, his influence has changed my counseling. I think more about people’s suffering, I attempt to identify with it, and I seek to help people through it. Two years ago I think I talked too much about personal sin. It is not that I was wrong for talking to people about their sin. I simply was not balanced in my approach. I would have never changed if he had not been willing to win me over.
The people represented on the board and in the council of the BCC have much to teach me. While I might not agree with everything, I can learn. The more I talk to them, the more I read their work, and the more I look at them through the lens of appreciation the less I will read them and look at them through the lens of suspicion. The more I listen with the lens of appreciation the more I will learn.
I suspect that many resources will be available in the days ahead. I would encourage you to learn all you can from them. By God’s grace, the church of Jesus Christ will be strengthened as a result.