We Have Met the Enemy

By Mark A. Taylor

Jim Tune says in “Stake” that the NACC is better, but less necessary, than ever. His rationale resonates with that of Gary Weedman who contributed one of several “viewpoints” on the NACC for our September 21, 2008, issue.

The NACC was created in 1927 as a reaction to what was seen as encroachment of liberal theology and of “open membership” practiced by missionaries. . . . The majority of the leaders of the International Convention . . . were seen to be supportive, or at least tolerant, of the theological liberalism and practice of open membership.

The NACC originally was meant to be an alternative national meeting and not a replacement of the International Convention. . . . But by the 1960s, the division between the supporters of the two conventions was fixed. By this time the conventions were not just alternatives to one another, they were at odds with one another.

In other words, the NACC flourished when it called together people to fight a common enemy. That enemy was theological liberalism, especially as it was embraced or tolerated by brothers and sisters in our movement. We identified ourselves with “us” instead of “them” by coming to the NACC.

But now the separation of the theologically more liberal from the more conservative is complete. These days, neither side devotes much energy any more to confronting the other as the enemy.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not an enemy. And rallying together against that enemy is still a good reason to meet.

You know his name. The enemy is Satan, whose clever wiles have influenced every Christian leader and every church invited to the NACC. He is the catalyst behind every family breakup, every political scandal, every fallen leader, every public or private sorrow experienced in our weary world. And we, the church, have the weapons to defeat him. The NACC sharpens our swords and prepares us for the battle. The enemy quakes when he sees the equipping and encouraging that happen each year at this convention.

Ben Cachiaras says this week that mission, not denominational connection, unites us at the NACC, and he’s right. Together we need the help the NACC offers.

That’s why I’m so pleased to promote this year’s get-together in Cincinnati. Nothing will better confront our common enemy than a church unleashed to turn the world upside down for God. And that’s exactly what this summer’s NACC can do.

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