The First Question asked and answered is: What is the Southern Baptist Convention? I suspect that many Southern Baptists would be unable to give a good answer.
But Keith Harper and Amy Whitfield of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary answer this and others in their new book “SBC FAQs, A Ready Reference.” It’s $13.99 at LifeWay. I’m guessing you can pick one up at the Annual Meeting if you dare sneak out of one of the contentious sessions and visit the bookstore.
In several decades of talking inside baseball SBC stuff and attending annual meetings the lack of understanding about the SBC, the Executive Committee, the trustee system, the roles of officers, the entities, the relationships among churches, state conventions, and the SBC is always obvious. This book answers most of those questions succinctly and clearly, most often using the language in our governing documents.
Who are the messengers? They are the folks who actually compose the convention when it meets. Why “messengers” and not “delegates”? Read the book. The question is answered.
What does the Southern Baptist Convention president do? “First, the president appoints a number of groups to serve at the annual meeting.” Note here that the SBC president appoints these. They don’t need a vote of approval from anyone. It tales only three paragraphs to cover the duties of the SBC president. Heck, even Dave Miller or Bart Barber could do it.
What does the Executive Committee do? Frank Page (and Morris Chapman, Harold Bennett, and others before him) would generally explain that he was the head of the SBC for the other 363 days of the year when the convention was not in session. I suspect interim president Augie Boto will do the same next month.
What is the difference between the SBC president and the Executive Committee president? Uh, one of them gets paid? Noted is that an SBC entity head can also be SBC president (Paige Patterson was such while head of SEBTS).
What is the relationship between the SBC and state conventions? Important but probably not widely known among the brethren and sistren.
Why can’t messengers order LifeWay to stop selling certain books? OK, that’s not one of the FAQs but the answer is given in How are entities governed? When some passionate brother stands up in Dallas and makes a motion for LifeWay to ban [Beth Moore, The Shack, heaven tourism books etc.], quickly, someone hand him a copy of SBC FAQs.
The book includes the SBCs guiding documents and the mission assignments of all the entities.
Get the book. Edumacate yourself and don’t get caught in a rookie mistake in Dallas.
So, What is the Southern Baptist Convention?
The Southern Baptist Convention is a body of people who are members of churches that have chosen to participate in cooperation with one another.