We are in Orlando determining the direction of the SBC for many years to come. We will elect a president who will guide us for the next couple of years. That may not be our most crucial decision, but it will reveal something about who we are. We will vote on several motions. I think that our response to Dwight McKissic’s motion on racism will reveal how much progress we have made in racial issues. Of course, the GCR will be the al turning point. Will we embrace the vision the Task Force has put forward or will we turn back and hold onto the status quo?
But there is another question behind these questions. What is the true SBC majority? Which vision, which ministry model, which theological outlook really represents the majority in our convention?
There are several possibilities here. I remember many years ago hearing Vance Havner opined that the majority of Southern Baptists were unconverted. A scary thought, isn’t it – that the true majority among us is unredeemed? I hope that is not true, but for the sake of this discussion, we must assume that the SBC majority is born-again children of God.
But who is the majority in this convention? The megachurches? The small churches? I would like to reflect on that for a few moments.
Les Puryear has put up a website with 150 or so signatories which has laid claim to the SBC Majority mantle. The majority of Southern Baptist churches average fewer than 200 in attendance. This, according to Puryear, is the majority. But a recent study published at “Between the Times” showed that 70% of Southern Baptists attend larger churches. It seems that a majority of churches are smaller, but the majority of Baptists chose larger churches. So, who is the real majority?
There is a simple answer to this question. The true Baptist majority is the majority of messengers here in Orlando for the SBC Annual meeting. Majority. It is the messengers at the Annual Meeting who decide the direction of the convention. We are conservative today because a majority of messengers at 30 consecutive conventions voted for conservative candidates. This gathering of believers who represent churches across this country form the true majority.
Who will be president? The SBC majority will tell us today. Will we support the GCR? Only the messengers know. It is a great privilege to be able to hold my ballot in the air and be part of the decision-making process for this great convention. Every church; big or small, north, south, east or west can be a part of this process, a part of the majority (or, perhaps, the minority – who knows?). I am excited about the privilege of being a part of this deliberative body.
The true SBC majority will be in the West Concourse of the Convention Center tomorrow, wearing badges and wielding ballots.
Everything else is theory, rhetoric and conjecture.