The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was held in my back yard in Louisville, KY this past week. Well, I should say my former back yard. I moved to Colorado 3 days before the meeting began and was not able to attend. I have had a few of my good friends suggest I was better off for missing it. They may be right. But, there are some things happening in the SBC that we can be optimistic about. My comments below are in light of my reading about the various resolutions and motions from www.downshoredrift.com and www.sbcannualmeeting.net.
- By far the motion that attracted the most attention was the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR). Specifically this motion requests that “the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 23-24, 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky, authorize the President of the Southern Baptist Convention to appoint a Great Commission Task Force charged to bring a report and any recommendations to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Florida June 15-16, 2010, concerning how Southern Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.” The little amount of opposition that came against the motion was partly aimed at those who hold to the doctrines of grace (Calvinism). What is wonderful to see is that the motion passed by a huge majority, hopefully signaling an embrace of what is clearly true; Arminians and Calvinists can work side-by-side to fulfill the call of the Great Commission. Of course, as is pretty typical for the SBC, we will wait another year to find out what the recommendations are from this task force, and although this is a wonderful step in the right direction, at the end of the day a task force won’t do anything beneficial. It will be up to the local churches to accept the call of the GCR and rethink our commitment and dedication to reaching the world for Christ.
- Johnny Hunt has proven to be a stand-up SBC president. I was impressed with this guy when I heard him speak at a youth conference in Gatlinburg, TN many years ago. He said that he was going to use words like justification and sanctification because our students could “handle” them. No doubt! From what I have read of his speeches and sermons, he is dedicated to moving love and humility to the front line of the SBC and is willing to work with those who hold to different viewpoints in order to fulfill the call of Christ.
- Unhelpful resolutions that the SBC is famous for and that ultimately get in the way of real progress were dismissed this year (such as a ban on Pepsi).
So, there is still plenty of opposition against the SBC and its current leadership. No question the convention has flaws and weaknesses and we should be considerate of opposing voices. But there seems to be something special happening in our midst. I, for one, remain optimistic about our future and the growth of God’s kingdom. The best thing that I can do, and that any of us can do, is not become bogged down with convention politics, convention debate, and convention history and instead do the work God has called us to do right here and right now in our own local churches. That is what will make the GCR a success. When we are faithful to our calling as pastors and as Christ’s church. I am proud to be a part of the SBC family, absolutely. I am way more proud to be a part of the family of Christ. To that we can all say, Amen.