Without a doubt, the great moments of a convention are often not scripted or expected.
The Pastor’s conference was uneventful, but frankly, I was having meetings and “fellowship during most of it. The Calvinism Committee Report at the CP booth was packed out and wonderful. With the exception of some of the most extreme elements on both sides, the report seems to be well received by everyone. Hopefully, we will put into practice the ideals expressed.
Monday evening’s presentation by Tim McKenzie was unbelievable and moving. His “sermon” was nothing but scripture. He quoted the Bible for 35 minutes! He started in Genesis with the seven days of creation then tied in scriptural themes for each of the seven days. Never seen anything like it, but I really liked it!
Tomorrow, our attention turns to the SBC Annual Meeting. They have been expecting around 7000 to 7500, but at last count we had not reached half of that. This may be the smallest convention in a long time – which is strange for Houston. But the fact that no major brouhahas are expected will likely drive down attendance. On a positive note – getting a seat at a restaurant is not that big of an issue!
The following are likely to be issues that arise at the convention.
Some of you may have seen my tweet expressing my feelings about resolutions. They are useful at times (see Dwight McKissic and Tim Rogers on Mormonism) but so often they become silly and petty. People ride out their hobby horses each year and expect the convention to join their personal crusade. Then, that is all the secular press covers, as if all we do at the SBC is sit around talking about Boy Scouts and homosexuality and whatever the issue of the day is. As you can tell, I’m not a huge fan of the process. Here are some of the likely issues to be raised.
The Boy Scout issue is the one that will garner national attention. The Resolutions Committee (under the direction of Dr. Steve Lemke) is bringing forward what I hear is a well-crafted and less strident resolution. They are not exactly where Louis was in his post last week, but they are closer than might have been expected.
Peter Lumpkins has a resolution on child sexual abuse that will probably make it to the floor, in slightly altered form. In his original resolution, he takes a pretty transparent dig at CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, and at Al Mohler for supporting Mahaney. The resolution is likely to appear without the paragraph that is directed more personally at those two.
I’ve not heard a word about whether Dwight and Tim’s resolution will make it to the floor. I hope it will. Of course, there will likely be motions from the floor to challenge committee rulings and edits. I know that Dr. Lemke and his team are trying to be careful and fair.
At this point, 2nd VP will be the only contested election, just like last year. However, nothing is official until they show up for nominations. If someone runs against Fred Luter, I will likely be shocked. I fully expect Bart Barber to be unopposed for 1st VP, but he may get last minute competition. Jared Moore has competition for 2nd VP though. I think his name is Don Cass, and he is a former evangelism director of the SBTC (Texas Conservative Convention).
More candidates could show up tomorrow.
3) Reports and Entity Q&A Sessions
These, once perfunctory, have become among the more exciting moments of the convention in recent years. I think this is a great moment in Baptist life, when our entity heads have to take questions from the floor.
I hope, again, that there will be no monkey business this year as there was last year, when one entity had mics covered to lob softball questions. This is not the time to shelter the entities from tough questions, but the time to allow people to ask them.
It is possible that Mohler will be asked about his comments in support of Mahaney at this point, which should be interesting.
There are always issues from the floor. There has been scuttlebutt that perhaps a motion will come that will force the entities to use the BF&M 2000 as their only doctrinal statement. Such motion will be ruled out of order – because it is. The SBC annual meeting does not govern the entities. We elect Boards of Trustees that govern those entities. Such a motion would be meaningless and unenforceable.
It is also possible that the crusade against the NIV 2011 will continue. LifeWay endorses one Bible only – the HCSB. But they sell many others, the NIV among them. One man has tried year after year to get the LifeWay to pull those Bibles off their shelves. The LifeWay Trustees have acted on the issue, but it is not clear that this particular messenger is going to take no for an answer on this one.
5) The Most Important 1/2 Hour!
Tuesday at 1:30 PM Central, with knees knocking and voice likely quivering, I will stand to the convention microphone to moderate for about a half hour. I’ve asked my church to pray that I could simply avoid doing or saying anything incredibly stupid during that time.
You can tune in to the streaming video at that time to see whether their prayers are answered. My only key job will be to introduce the President of Midwestern Seminary and moderate his Q&A session. No, CB, you will not be recognized to ask any questions.
I am going to try to blog and tweet as much as possible, to keep people apprised of what is going on. However, as 2nd VP, I have a few responsibilities that come first and frankly, WiFi is hard to find in the convention center. I will do the very best I can.