I depart for Africa tomorrow (Wednesday, 5/18). It will be May 27 before I return. SBC 2016 will be practically upon us. The time has arrived for me to finalize all deliberations ongoing in my heart and mind related to the convention.
- For president, Dr. Steve Gaines: These are remarkable days in the life of the Southern Baptist Convention. There are no bad choices running for SBC President. I mean that genuinely. I could vote for David Crosby and be perfectly happy. I could vote for J. D. Greear and be perfectly happy. I believe that the convention will have good leadership for the next year regardless of how the ballots fall.
Nevertheless, there are differences in emphasis that I have read from these candidates. Dr. Gaines is running as a proponent of prayer, spiritual awakening, and Cooperative Program emphasis. I believe that the SBC has benefitted from Ronnie Floyd’s emphasis upon prayer and spiritual awakening, and I think a continuation of that theme will be beneficial for our convention.
Most compelling for me is Gaines’s promotion of the Cooperative Program. I am thankful for any and all gifts that further the task of the Great Commission. That’s true whether they are CP gifts or society-method gifts, whether they are Southern Baptist gifts or Independent Baptist gifts. If the money is going to further the work of the Great Commission in a biblically faithful way, I’m happy about it.
But the best way to give in support of the Great Commission is through the Cooperative Program. I want an SBC president who celebrates all contributions, but I want an SBC president who clearly says at every opportunity that the Cooperative Program is not just a peer among equals but is instead the best and preferred way to support the work of the Great Commission.
Feeling confident that Gaines will make good appointments and will preside well over the annual meeting, these sentiments are enough for me to give him my vote.
- For Pastors’ Conference president, Dave Miller: I very much like the content proposals that Dave and his band of merry men have offered for the 2017 Pastors’ Conference. Although Dave is a friend, this is not about personalities. I find exciting the prospect of what these brothers are trying to do.
Here’s a follow-up idea for 2018 (presuming that you guys plan to run someone again next year): After having a year of representative Southern Baptists preaching through a book or a passage, for the follow-up, go back to the leading expositors in the convention, but assign them something exquisitely difficult. I’d LOVE to attend a meeting in which our most gifted expositors worked their way through…I don’t know…Nahum. I think that they could do well, we’d all want to see how THAT turned out, and they could, by doing well, open up an entire book of the Bible for the rest of us to preach (not by stealing their sermons but by following their examples).
Or maybe, if not a book of the Bible, just pick the ten most exegetically difficult passages in the Bible and let each speaker choose the one he prefers. Not because preaching is a competition, but because those are the passages where we ordinary preachers probably could benefit the most from their skills. If there are preachers who make the circuit preaching the exact same message every time, they probably wouldn’t be a good choice for this assignment, but the men gifted and trained for sound expository preaching would shine at this and would point the way for us all.
- For Tuesday Night, the Prayer Session: I had previously planned to lead a group to the Cardinals game on Tuesday night. I have decided not to do that. When I scheduled this, I did not know what Ronnie Floyd had up his sleeve for the night. Now that he has announced the lineup, three things are clear to me. First, as a former officer of the convention, it sets a bad example for me to lead a group of people to the ballpark. Second, my youth group from my church is going to be there working during the convention, and I do not wish to give the wrong impression and set a bad example for them. Third, I really want to go to the convention that night! President Floyd has put together a compelling program, and I don’t want to miss it.
Keep in mind this much: I’m a Cardinals fan, so this is a big decision for me. If I want to go to the Tuesday night meeting rather than the ballgame, that should tell you something about what I believe is in store for us all that night. I would encourage you to be there, too.
- For my resolution: After feedback about defects in the resolution that could cause it to be construed as calling for action (and therefore unable to be considered as a resolution), I have reworked the wording of my resolution. I have done so in ways that accomplish the same things, but without making it vulnerable in the same ways. This was not easy to do. I’ll give the revised text of the resolution at a later date. Your participation in the comment thread of the earlier post was helpful to strengthen the resolution. Thank you for that. It represents the best of Southern Baptist blogging that you were able to strengthen this endeavor in that way.