From time to time calls arise for us to go to regional conventions or online voting. I have a number of reasons for opposing those – theological, ecclesiological, pneumatological, and such. One reason is very personal and selfish. I love to come to the SBC and hang out with friends, people I communicate with online on an only daily basis but generally only see the second week of June. That is fellowship time I couldn’t get glued to a screen in my office.
So, what is going to happen in Baltiimore 2014? Some things are predictable while often the most controversial items seem to just arise. So, here are a few projections from Dave’s mind.
1) The presidential election should be interesting.
Ronnie Floyd is the establishment candidate and a strong favorite according to most prognosticators. He is speaking at the Pastors’ Conference (that is a shocker, isn’t it?), is being nominated by the good Dr. Mohler, and is the only true megachurch, megastar pastor in the field of three.
Maryland pastor Dr. Dennis Manpoong Kim joins Jared Moore in the category of other candidates. Dr. Kim is a dark horse in this race but there seems to be quite a buzz about him in wide circles. I am not a prognosticator of SBC presidential elections, but I suspect Ronnie Floyd will walk away with the office, but I think that Dr. Kim could make a surprising showing. Can he win? Perhaps. Not to put pressure on my good friend Dwight McKissic, but if his nominating speech is as good as I think it will be, that could turn things in Dr. Kim’s direction!
I think it would be great and healthy if we elected not only another minority candidate but a qualified, SBC-committed, outside-the-power structure candidate. It is my plan to vote for Dr. Kim as president of the SBC. I think his election presents the best path forward for the SBC.
For information, the presidential vote this year is Tuesday morning (10:35 AM) instead of Tuesday afternoon as has usually been true. This is likely a change due to the fact that such low numbers were present last year for the 2nd VP election on Wednesday morning. All the other elections will take place Tuesday afternoon, which should be generally a good thing.
2) The Q&A sessions should be lively.
There was a time when entity Q&A sessions were perfunctory and kinda boring. Probably not this year. Unless there are the kind of silly shenanigans from a couple of years back, where supporters blocked the mics to lob softball questions and prevent the entity head from having to face any real questions, these sessions could be among the most tense of the convention.
- Questions about the Muslim and Mormon SWBTS students will likely be raised.
- Dr. Russell Moore will likely be grilled about some of stands he has taken, especially about immigration and the presumed “retreat” from cultural engagement he has (falsely, in my view) been accused of advocating.
- Dr. Rainer always gets some interesting questions (NIV2011 and the Shack, anyone?) and this year will likely be no different.
I think this is an important time. Our leaders have to face tough questions from messengers and that is a good thing. One man’s opinion – let those with tough questions to ask have their time in the sun. The organized effort to avoid tough questions being asked of our leaders is wrong. Peter Lumpkins has the right to challenge Dr. Mohler, and Mohler can then answer. Those who don’t like editorial or trustee decisions at LifeWay have their time to speak to the man in charge. It is a good thing and the NOBTS shenanigans of a couple years ago should never be repeated.
3) The Executive Committee’s report on Article III is still a question mark.
We had a preview of some possible changes on the qualifications of messengers a couple of months ago – which led to a strong debate online. The EC was transparent, putting out their proposals and advertising an email to hear from those who wanted to weigh in. They may still be deciding if they are going to offer the original proposal, an altered proposal, or nothing at all.
If they do put that forward, it will be an item of great discussion.
4) The Resolutions Committee will leave exhausted.
Most of the resolutions offered will never see the light of day at the convention, or will folded into other resolutions. The resolution by Denny Burk and Andrew Walker will probably go to the floor (and it should). Most of the others will either die in committee, or be blended into amalgamated resolutions based on several offered on similar topics. You have to read the SBC bulletins to see what is coming forward.
My hope is that our words on social issues will be both uncompromising and measured. Does anyone not know what we think about homosexuality and gay marriage? We ought to speak to issues as needed, but avoid giving the media fodder to paint us as angry extremists (they will anyway, but we ought not make it easy).
5) If any messengers arrive from New Heart in Lamirada, CA, they will not be seated.
My guess is that Danny Cortez will stay home and the New Heart issue will not come up (it happened after the resolutions deadline). Again, the SBC has spoken repeatedly and clearly on the topic. It is already in Article III – on the qualifications of messengers. This will not be a big issue unless the church sends messengers.
If they do, it will be a publicity stunt and will likely be the big news in the media reporting of the convention.
6) Motions will be offered and referred, and messengers will get upset!
Folks, that is the way it works. Most motions are referred to the appropriate Board of Trustees. They will bring a report back to the next convention as to what action they took. They reject most of them, but they do go through them.
Dear messenger, it is a rare occurrence when your motion actually gets acted on by the convention the year you offer it. Don’t get offended that your motion has been referred – that is standard protocol. Normal. They way things are. And it doesn’t mean you have been rejected or disrespected. Motions get referred.
Since I don’t know what motions will be offered, I cannot currently opine on the merits of any of them.
I considered offering a motion to remove the words of the BF&M that encode close communion, but I am planning to wait until after the EC makes their article III report and see what happens. Maybe next year.
7) SBC 2014 should be the most desegregated SBC Annual Meeting ever.
The SBC Annual Meeting is no longer a lily white enclave and that is good. May that trend continue. So-called ethnic churches are, as I understand, the fastest growing segment of SBC life. The numerical decline we decry is mostly in white churches. So, we should cherish ethnic diversity and seek to make the SBC look a little more like heaven, where people of every tribe and tongue on earth will gather in worship.
That is not meant as a campaign add for Dr. Kim, but while I’m at it….
Well, I have to go. Food. Hanging around the convention center. All that stuff. I might think of some more stuff and add it later. I’m @davemiller7 on twitter. If you are here, let’s connect.
Tonight’s pastor’s conference features Ronnie Floyd, HB Charles and David Platt. Should be a good night. Hope the chairs are comfy.