I am a pastor of a medium size church in south Arkansas, where we probably have more deer than people. While many people have weighed in on the reasons why or why not to vote for J.D. Greear, I thought my perspective as a traditional SBC preacher, brought up in the non-reformed “whosoever will” camp, might be of value to others in my same camp.
Cards on the table, I have moved from refusing to even listen to the “chosen before the foundation” side, to embracing the Biblical tension of God’s Word affirming both “chosen” and whosoever will”. I don’t have to understand it, or even explain it, but I do know it. Neither can I properly explain the Trinity being 3 and 1, but we never fuss about that one. All that said, if you cut me, I probably still bleed “whosoever will”. And yes, I am proudly voting for J.D. Greear as SBC president.
The reasons are many, but the main ones are I have seen his heart for reaching the lost in all nations, and all for the glory of our awesome Lord. From his time as an IMB missionary, to the explosive growth of The Summit church, God seems to have a hold of J.D.’s heart, and is leading The Summit to share their faith all over the world. They are sending people all over the world to reach the nations, they are in the process of planting hundreds of churches in the U.S. to share the Gospel in our country, and they are baptizing hundreds a year locally to reach their Jerusalem. That sounds like a Biblical model of the Great Commission and Acts 1:8 being lived out. What else would we want?
I have listened to hundreds of J.D.’s sermons, and they have never offended my “whosoever will” view of things. Even if he lands in a slightly different spot than me on some non-salvation issue, his kindness and humbleness are so apparent in these areas. Brilliant, Godly men who disagree in some of these areas have locked arms in Great Commission work for hundreds of years. Below is a quote from two such Godly men.
Simeon: Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers. But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions. Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?
Wesley: Yes, I do indeed.
Simeon: And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?
Wesley: Yes, solely through Christ.
Simeon: But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?
Wesley: No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.
Simeon: Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?
Simeon: What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?
Wesley: Yes, altogether.
Simeon: And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?
Wesley: Yes, I have no hope but in Him.
Simeon: Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election, my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things wherein we agree.
So as we pray for unity in the upcoming convention, and for wisdom in the future of the SBC, I ask you to prayerfully consider joining me in voting for J.D. Greear as our next president. I believe God will use J.D. to point the convention in the same way He has used him to point The Summit in a world impacting direction, and if so, the SBC has many wonderful years ahead.
Jimmy Meek is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in El Dorado AR. He was also one of the speakers at last year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference, Above Every Name.