I am still having trouble recovering from this year’s annual meeting. Wears this old codger out.
I was born on Friday the 13th, and tried to wear 13 in athletic competition when possible. So, here are 13 prophetic utterances about 2020.
Of course, if this were OT Israel my track record on predictions would have long since gotten me stoned to death.
What will Orlando hold for the SBC?
1. A smaller church challenge for the pastors’ conference is likely to happen again. No, I do not plan to be involved but I think it will happen.
2. As an election year, it will be a bit more rough and tumble than this year’s convention. It would not surprise me if there are three major candidates. A serious minority candidate for president is a distinct possibility.
3. Committee appointments and nominations will continue the trend toward diversity that was in evidence this year.
4. The abuse recommendations will pass a second time and go into effect.
5. Groups that are aggressively strident tend to head in 3 directions, when they realize they are not going to win a majority.
- Some tire of the anger, accusation, and conflict and reenter mainstream denominational life.
- Some become increasingly hostile and spiritually implode. We have seen that often in the blogosphere.
- Some separate into tribal fellowships.
The anti-social justice minority groups that have become increasingly strident in the last year will likely see all three reactions within their tribe.
6. National politics will once again threaten the unity of our convention, since 2020 is a national election year.
We are still healing from 2016 and unless we handle this better, there may be a division in the SBC rivaling the CR.
7. The complementarian issue isn’t going away, but hopefully we will find better ways to discuss issues than Twitter battles marked by more name-calling and derogation than exegesis. Heaven help us if we don’t.
8. Abuse is not going away as an issue either. Our actions do not solve problems but only provide a framework for dealing with sin.
Push will come to shove when a prominent church with strong Baptist ties is caught in a coverup. Will we act to protect victims or the church?
9. We will continue to be criticized by many no matter what we do.
Progress in a convention such as ours is slow but it is being made. I understand why minority brothers and sisters are frustrated with the pace of progress and why abuse survivors are skeptical of our efforts. What we did this year should have been done a decade or two ago.
But it was done. Progress is being made. Things are changing and we need to keep working to make those changes.
Realize that there is a cottage industry in SBC criticism and no matter what we do, some will find a reason to insult and criticize. We must seek to do the right thing and to glorify God, not to make our critics happy. We should hear them, of course, but not be controlled by them.
10. J.D. Greear is the spearhead of a coalition of younger (minded) leaders who are stepping up.
Theologically conservative, they are culturally different than the old guard Baptists who have led us for years.
This transition could be interesting. This may be a new CR – a Cultural Renewal.
11. For a long time, I have been saying that the SBC needs a new Adrian Rogers, a statesman with grace, conviction, and character to lead the SBC.
J.D. Greear can be that man, if he wants to be. He has the juice.
12. SBC 2020 will be the highest attended convention in a long time. It is an election year and Orlando is a popular destination. Reserve your hotel early.
13. Our statistical decline will continue for the time being. Some numbers are up and maybe a few others will level off or tick up. This isn’t going away soon.