Some unexpected things have already happened. Speculation is rampant, but then, we are SBCers and we always speculate about things. It doesn’t cost a thing. Here you go…from the hacking and plodding SBC hinterlands:
J. D. Greear can stir the pot, as we have seen. Any more surprises, JD? Here, take this giant Baptist spoon and stir some more, bro. I’ll help you.
Executive committee leader and other CEO searches. IMB: check. SWBTS: check. NOBTS, LifeWay, and the Executive Committee: not yet. The EC sayeth that they have “God’s man” and it’s the worst kept secret in SBC history. It might help the new guy to remember that no church has to give a dime to the Cooperative Program. Let’s get on with it. I declare ambivalency about NOBTS and LifeWay.
Southwestern is undergoing a renaissance but serious questions persist: Nothing like a new CEO hire to magically dispell the gloom and doom. What about the financial condition? What about the overstaffing? What about sinecures and patronage positions? Will the truth be told? And, what about the stained glass windows? Will those lovely pieces of artwork at SWBTS that enshrine various hand-picked SBCers and dogs be kicked out of church? Bonus question: Can you get me a quote by anyone who has a window that is even slightly critical of PP? Just asking. We SBCers love a quick fix, even when it doesn’t fix. But…let’s be optimistic about the future.
Will the initial products of the Grand Blue Ribbon, High Profile Sex Abuse Universe Group find favor with abuse victim advocates? That’s been partially answered: yes they will. The work thus far has been good. Will the group propose the creation and funding of an SBC-level investigatory body, staffed by independent experts, that will receive and maintain reports of abuse in SBC churches or by SBC clergy? I’m open to something new in this area. Maybe the group will come up with something. I’ve been surprised thus far.
Will the Traditionalists (and it has only been about a year since their complete meltdown last spring) find an advocacy vehicle the majority of SBCers (who are supposed to be Trads of some sort) will find suitable to join? The odd thing is that no one is asking this question any longer; nonetheless, I predict that someone will respond and attempt to meet this market. I’d even speculate that there is some money to be made in this if some Trad entrepreneur can get it going. There is a Cal/Trad theological discussion FB page but it is interminably tedious. Maybe the Trad Brethren are still in shock over the replacement of Paige Patterson with someone with ties to Southern and Al Mohler. Who would have thunk it?
Will celebrity former megapastor and now celebrity, high profile evangelism leader at NAMB, Johnny Hunt, be able to move the SBC baptism needle? The grand, male-only Evangelism Study Group created by Steve Gaines seems to have as it’s only result the motivation of NAMB to put more money and a higher profile on evangelism. I don’t object but can one of the most energetic, most ebullient, highest achieving SBCers, who happens to be approaching his eighth decade, personally inspire SBC pastors to be more evangelistic? Will new evangelism tools with his branding and imprimatur be successful enough to get baptisms up? This story will be told in numbers.
Will the new generation of SBC state convention leaders be found to be transformative leaders or the same as those they are replacing except for less gray hair and more facial hair? Several of the major state conventions, these that control most of the almost $500 million in CP dollars given by the churches, have new leaders. Will they propose anything other than new labels, staff shuffling, and minor new initiatives? My pessimistic view (informed by ingrained realism about these things) is that they will not because of the strength of vested interests in present spending schemes. The problem is that individual pastors and their churches can easily just give less to the Cooperative Program and direct their money to the destinations that inspire them. This has been the pattern for almost two generations. Not sure what will change it. Maybe the new guys will take risks and we will see changes. I do like my state’s new CEO. We will see where things go here.
Will the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham be dominated by the sex abuse matters? Pretty good chance of that, I’d say.
Will God lead some candidates for the first and second SBC VP slots to be nominated? That’s “God” with a capital “G” not “god” as in an SBC mover and shaker celeb. Only the One True God should be able to tell any Southern Baptist whether or not their “turn” has come.
Will certain SBC political celebs sidle up to prosperity preacheresses for photo ops in the White House again? Hey, I’m just observing here.
Any more deplorable scandals to come for SBC entities? Hope not.
Will Lottie and Annie set records this year? I predict that Lottie will do just that and Annie will be very strong.
Will your humble hacker and plodder blogger finally catch a largemouth bass weighing over ten pounds? Optimism of the same wanes. I hear you have to go fishing to catch fish. Haven’t been doing much of that.