Greg Thornberry: The "Angry Young Men" of the SBC

This afternoon’s session will be led by Dr. Greg Thornberry. His topic is the “angry young men” of the SBC.

The background of the phrase: “angry young men”

In a conversation about “the bloggers.” Someone summarized: Well, they’re just a bunch of angry young men.

This raised a couple of questions:

  • Is it appropriate to use the in front of “bloggers” as in “the bloggers”?
  • Are these men really angry?

There is such a thing as a “righteous” anger (Nehemiah 5:6, Mark 3:5).

But usually anger is seen as “unprofitable” (Psalm 37:8; James 1:19-20)

So, Greg and his assistant began to read the blogs to see if there was evidence of “unprofitable”.

He posts several quotations from the comment sections of prominent blogs.

After posting several “angry” comments, Greg concludes that there is anger among some bloggers. But it should not be assumed to be true of all bloggers. Many are mistaking frustration as anger.

Bloggers have frustration, not anger, at:

  • The lack of respect for men in positions of authority in denominational life (Traditionalists)
  • The demise of revivalism, and the rise of Calvinism (Revivalists)
  • Misrepresentation of Calvinism as being anti-evangelistic (Calvinists)
  • Assumption that postmodern=relativism (Missional/Emergent)
  • Narrowness and cliquish agendas (Protest)

All feel: “I, and people like me, do not belong in the current SBC landscape.”

Thus, a different description would be appropriate instead of “Angry Young Men”.

  • There is a general malaise and disillusionment towards denominational life.
  • “What is a Baptist?” institutionally and theologically? Lack of clear answers spawns new networks.
  • Interest in other sources for encouragement for local ministry
  • Mood: “This is not what I signed up for.”

Expired: Baptist Programs
Tired: Baptist Battles
Wired: Baptist Basics (Back to the Bible, local churches, etc.)
These Baptist basics include:

  • Regenerate Church Membership
  • Rediscovery of Holiness and Ancient Forms of Discipleship
  • Awe and Wonder of the Bible
  • The Prophetic Voice of the Church

Hal Poe has said, “Every culture has a question that only the Gospel can answer. Listen for the question.” What is that question today?

We have grown accustomed to controversies. We don’t seem to be able to survive without fighting about something. Will conservatives turn on each other and devour one another?

But many of our struggles pale in comparison to the global struggles which the persecuted church around the world are facing. And these same issues are coming here soon.

Let us not too quickly abandon the Baptist ship! It may not be “good ship Lollipop”, but it’s the best vessel we have!

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