When I’ve heard Tom Ascol, he has always handled himself well, at least on the floor of conventions. There has been a bit of a downgrade recently, recall the scurrilous trailer presented in Birmingham. Not his best moment, but, as Shelby Foote says, “Longevity conquers scandal every time.”
Ascol is the original rabid Calvinist and to the surprise of many is now allied with the old Trad anti-Cal faction. I suppose Calvinism is palatable if it can help the Trads acquire power in the convention but all the Cal fights seem so 2010. We’ve moved on to raw, secular politics. He also gets credit for an erstwhile movement towards regenerate, responsible, meaningful church membership. That’s very 2010 also.
But Voddie Baucham is a believer in meaningful church membership which found him in no man’s land when his name was floated by the back room boys as a possible SBC presidential candidate. Baucham lives in Zambia and isn’t a member of any Southern Baptist church; hence, not qualified to be SBC prez. If formerly being a member of an SBC church was sufficient, we could have Russell Moore, Beth Moore, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter as candidates.
But, back to Tom Ascol. According to Baptist Press, no baptisms reported (that’s a key word) since 2004. He’s not the only pastor who doesn’t want the SBC world to know how many or few baptisms his church perfoms each year. The great majority of SBC churches report data on the Annual Church Profile. Since BP writes that Ascol’s church gives a healthy 4.23 percent to the Cooperative Program and has other financial data, I guess Ascol files the ACP. But one might ask, “Uh, Tom. Would you mind telling us how many folks your church has baptized?” Seems like a reasonable request of a presidential candidate. I wonder if meaningful church membership is solved by merely not reporting data? Voila! No one knows if your membership is meaningful or not.
Our venerable, and totally independent Pastor’s Conference, seems to me, has been on a march to irrelevancy for years. There are no Adrians around to close it out. Competing groups just have their own meetings, like the CBN who had a large breakfast last year and has a pastor’s conference this year in Anaheim. While I think it’s a disgrace to have JMac speak, it’s their meeting. They pay for it. They can doggone well invite anyone they wish. And the SBC Pastor’s Conference can elect anyone they wish as president, Voddie Baucham (the candidate who says he is still “technically” a Southern Baptist) or Daniel Dickard, a young South Carolina pastor who is an actual, not just technical, Southern Baptist..
Anti-wokesters complain that this year’s PC president was a pastor last year when elected but a DOM this year when he presides. His pastor says he is a pastor, so he’s a pastor but getting into the titles of SBC church staff is a black hole. I’ll save that for a day when houses drop on witches. Call me metaphorically proficient if nothing else.
Shoot, the Pastor’s Conference could even elect Dave Miller as president. I’d show up to vote for him, again. He gave scholarships to people who needed help getting to the convention. Now there’s my kind of PC prez. Or, the PC could elect Anaheim favorite son Mickey Mouse as president, although I would prefer Grumpy if we’re going into fantasyland with this.
A serious thought: Mike Stone wasn’t my guy last year but he was a strong candidate. Excellent preacher, solidly Southern Baptist in every way. And one wonders if he had not filed the lawsuit would he again be the strongest CBN candidate? We will never know.
The wild card for Anaheim isn’t any individual but the SATF report and recommendations. There will be recommendations because you can’t spend several millions of SBC dollars and not at least come up with some proposed solutions. I’m assured that nothing will undermine our autonomous polity. While I certainly hope not, there are bad ideas out there that do not impact autonomy. Unhelpful, damaging, or disastrous proposals can be perfectly correct in polity. We will see what the SATF comes up with.
Special shout out to Rod Martin who can turn out a good tweet: “Establishment to non-IMB missionaries: Drop dead!” I don’t buy the idea but the tweet is well done! And I think I’ve seen the phrase before around here.
Let’s see. The Atlanta Braves traded megafranchise star Freddy Freeman to the Dodgers. Don’t they have a field somewhere around Anaheim? I may go just to protest and boo the toothy superstar now in Dodger blue which is almost as bad as Carolina blue. And, which super-strutting SBC megapastor will longingly cruise Sunset Boulevard?
To quote Adrian: “I’m not mad at anybody but the devil.”