I just came across the article Why, When, and For What, Should We Draw New Boundaries?, by Wayne Grudem, published in Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, edited by John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Helseth (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003), pp. 339-370.
As the title of the book indicates, the original context of the article is the discussion within the Evangelical Theological Society over Open Theism, and its compatibility or incompatibility with membership in the society. However, the scope of the issues dealt with in the article is much broader than just ETS and Open Theism. I, personally, believe that it provides a very helpful framework for continued discussion on the questions of "narrowing parameters of cooperation" in the IMB and Southern Baptist life in general that have been frequently discussed on blogs and other media over the last year.
In his article, Grudem deals specifically with four questions:
A. Why should Christian organizations draw boundaries at all?
B. Why should Christian organizations draw new boundaries?
C. When should Christian organizations draw new boundaries?
D. For what doctrinal and ethical matters should Christian organizations draw new boundaries?
Since the article is 28 pages long, it is not practical to copy it here. However, I would strongly recommend anyone who is interested in these questions to give an attentive read to what Grudem has to say. Although Grudem is a well-known advocate of "continuationalism" (the view that all of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible are still in effect today), nothing he says in this article comes down clearly on any side of the issues currently being debated among Southern Baptists. He does, at one point, mention the Baptist Faith & Message 2,000, and the process involved in bringing about the revision of the earlier statement. But, the current issues being discussed were evidently not specifically in mind when Grudem wrote this article.
Having said that, however, I think that Grudem's article is highly relevant to the discussion at hand, and has much potential to guide us through the process of looking for a workable solution on the questions that threaten to divide us. I would be interested in what any of you have to say after reading this article, and possibly "parking" here awhile, for a more in-depth analysis of implications of specific parts of it, in future posts.