One of the distinctive characteristics of Southern Baptists has been an emphasis on the autonomy of the local church. For those who have not read it lately the BF&M defines a New Testament church as "an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel . . ." It also states, under the article on Cooperation, that
Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner.
Historically, this has precluded the kind of connectionalism that is being proposed in Missouri. The local church was always free (with some obvious doctrinal exceptions) to be a member of the SBC and/or the state convention and/or the local association or any combination thereof. It is only with the ascendancy of the current breed of control freaks into positions of leadership at both state and national levels that this has come into question. I wonder which Baptist distinctive they will go after next.