You never know when the rumors swirl if they are truth or just the Baptist grapevine, but this is certainly going to be an interesting week at the SBC.
1) Of course, electing Fred Luter as the first African-American president of this convention is the highlight, and I think everyone wishes we could elect him and go home. No such luck. The narrative of racial harmony may be encroached upon by some of the other factors.
2) Lost in the discussion is the significant vote about the Great Commission Baptists moniker. That vote will tell you where the wind lays in this convention. A couple of months ago, I would have thought this would be the big story, but it is more of a sidelight now.
I talked to someone today who thinks the name will fail by a wide margin. I’ve talked to others who think it will pass by a wide margin. I am not a psychic, so I’m not giving predictions. I think they will have some big wigs speak out in favor of it (members of the task force) and that may sway the tide.
3) The Q&A times with the entity heads could be interesting.
- Lifeway always has something controversial going on – their decisions over what to sell and what not o sell seem to always arouse scrutiny.
- Will Land be questioned about his comments on the Trayvon Martin case?
- Don’t think these entity reports will be boring, go-to-the-bookstore time anymore.
4) There are whispers that there might be some movement to confront Land or even call for his removal from office. I am one who has questioned the need for this office, but if we don’t accept Land’s apology (the second one) I have to wonder what has happened to grace in the SBC. The plagiarism issue is still out there, I guess.
Resolved: Whereas I like to make waves!
5) Resolutions look to be a big deal this year. Convention leaders may join me in the call I made a couple of years ago to do away with resolutions altogether.
6) The “sinner’s prayer” resolution is, to me, unfortunate. David Platt gave a passionate and reasoned explanation in his sermon today (get the tape…because I said so, that’s why!) of the dangers of easy believism and the abuse of the sinner’s prayer. I have seen it in large arenas and street corners. “Just repeat this prayer after me.”
This is such an example of how we turn common ground into a quarrel. We all believe that sinners need to call out to God. We all (I hope) are wary of the dangers of easy-believism that creates false converts by dumbing down or selling cheap the gospel.
Why add to the conflict by this resolution?
We all want the same thing. We want to make sure that sinners repent and believe, calling out to God for salvation. By focusing on this one issue, we may end up divided over something on which we could be united.
7) Dwight McKissic’s resolution on Mormonism will, I think, show us a lot about ourselves. Most of us here at Voices and in the SBC are Republicans. Most of us want a Mormon to win the presidency. Many of us find it troubling to be supporting a Mormon for the presidency.
Dwight has presented credible evidence that 1) Mormonism is spreading rapidly in segments of the black community and 2) Mormonism has racist passages in its “scriptures.”
If Barack Obama were Mormon, we’d vote this resolution in a heartbeat. But because the Republican nominee is Mormon, some are saying we should not vote to call attention to Mormonism’s racist scriptures.
Are we going to speak or not speak based on how what we say affects the presidential race?
I say this as one who WANTS to support Romney. I’ve voted for one Democrat in my life, and he switched to the Republican party a few months later. I’m a right winger.
But if the SBC is a campaign vehicle for the Republican party, we’ve got some big problems.
Rant over. Sorry.
9) It is common for the Resolutions Committee to simply not report controversial resolutions out of committee. Last year, the NIV resolution was brought out by the vote of the convention and passed. Look for that same thing to happen on the Sinner’s prayer resolution and the Mormonism resolution if they do not make it out of the committee.
10) The Elephant in the room is Calvinism. I will say again what I said to a friend at lunch today. If the SBC doesn’t learn how to get along on this issue, we will splinter into nothing. We cannot stand and we cannot grow unless we learn how to dialog about Calvinism, disagree without division, and affirm one another in spite of our varied positions.
David Platt addressed that very well today. I don’t have the exact quote, but here’s the Miller’s Paraphrased version. “We need to stop fighting about God’s salvation and proclaim it!”
Yes, the issues matter and they need to be hammered out. But the church has been arguing these issues for two millennia and we aren’t going to solve it this week. What we can do is take steps to affirm one another in spite of our difference.
There have been some hopeful signs. Leaders like Mohler and Patterson have both made “unity in diversity” statements – that is a good thing.
I am going to be writing and tweeting the next couple of days. Follow along. We will try to give both news and perspective.
So far, the fellowship has been great. I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting a few more folks.