Thoughts on SBC Meeting 2010
Returning to some writing after considerable delay, I bring out just a few thoughts I’d jotted down last year in regard to the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. I apologize for the belated post, but I believe it is still relevant.
In the news following the convention, I was struck by the words of a Georgia pastor who attended. I am concerned that these words may be indicative of a dangerous arrogance within the SBC:
“If you think we can once again rise to the occasion and we can sail into a world in the 21st century that is more lost than it’s ever been, and we can once again become the greatest evangelistic force for the Gospel this world has ever seen, I encourage you to vote for this report.”
The greatest evangelistic force for the Gospel this world has ever seen? I’m wondering how this gentlemen could square words like his with 1 Cor 3:7,
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
Are we Southern Baptists anything? Are we in competition with our brothers in other denominations to “win the world for Christ”, as the phrase goes? I hope we don’t see our denomination as if we were football fans, rooting for the SBC’s dominance like we would for Auburn’s or Bama’s. Is the glory really for God, or in truth do we reserve a good bit for ourselves and our denomination?
This same pastor also indicated in the news coverage that adopting the recommended changes meant turning the titanic away from the
“iceberg of declining baptisms, diminishing missions and what is becoming a dead orthodoxy” to the “same voyage than an apostle named Paul took 2,000 years ago into a world of … darkness.”
What really caught me here was this: Ours is becoming a dead orthodoxy? As I consider the SBC by and large, I often have difficulty finding any orthodoxy! And I believe if we did sincerely focus on attaining that, help for many of our other concerns would follow as well. I sense here the all-too-common notion that concern for doctrine and concern for evangelism must oppose each other, which is as unfounded and harmful to the church today as it has ever been.
Two quick notes from events of the meeting itself are:
I was encouraged to hear of Al Mohler’s good preaching on John 3, and
I must admit I was disappointed to hear of the appointment of Frank Page, past SBC President and author of the misleading, uninformed attack on historic Reformed soteriology, “Trouble with the Tulip”, to lead the SBC Executive Committee. My understanding from a pastor friend who attended is that Pastor Page accepted despite receiving only a fairly narrow margin of approval. I have concerns for the unity and doctrinal accuracy that would come of such an appointment, but I hope and pray for the best, for the SBC leadership and for wise future decisions.