Convention Assessment

Posted: June 17, 2008 in SBC Issues, SBC President, Southern Baptist Convention

Well, it has been about a week since we voted in Indianapolis for a new president. Dr. Johnny Hunt overwhelmingly was elected our new president. I look forward to seeing how God will use him in the coming two years. It is already rumored that a couple of Florida pastors names are being floated to see how the response is for the next full election cycle. But, who knows, maybe Dr. Hunt will take a page out of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers’ book and only serve one year and allow Dr. Mohler to place his name back in the ring next year in Louisville. I have not heard anything to that effect and I am not trying to start a rumor, but it would be interesting. Would one not agree that Dr. Hunt has seemingly received the mantle of Dr. Rogers? It would appear that if the trustees reverse their policies after Dr. Hunts meeting with them, that the mantle has truly been passed.

On other convention matters, the resolutions that passed were certainly ones that spoke to the needs of the convention. The Charlotte, NC paper picked up a report from Religious News Service. The story found here speaks about the numbers being debated which spoke mainly about the resolution on Regenerate Church Membership. It seems that in that report the reporter made reference to another resolution that was passed on The Equality of Ethnic Representation. This resolution was a joint effort between Dr. Dwight McKissic and myself. I am a little concerned with Roger Oldham’s response in that article. I do not want to pass judgement on his response because I understand that sometimes a misplaced quote is not what a person communicated. However, if the quote is an accurate quote, it would seem that the Executive Committee sees nothing wrong with no minority representation on the Executive Committee staff because minorities are represented in other entities. If this is what they are saying then trustees should take a serious look at this. But, as I have already stated, I want to believe the quote is a misplaced quote.

Brother Bill Sanderson made a motion that called for us to identify Broadway Baptist as not being in friendly cooperation. I am glad to see this take place. One thing I do not understand is why a motion had to come from the floor of the convention to deal with this issue. It is clear from the debates that ensued around that situation in Texas that we certainly have a church that is not in cooperation with the Convention because their actions affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior (SBC Constitution Article III.1). With that in the constitution, it just is not clear why messengers have to make the motion from the floor before the convention can deal with it. One thing noted in the response to this motion was that Broadway Baptist did not send messengers to the convention. If the church is following the lead of the pastor that implemented the ‘openness’ policy there at Broadway, we can expect a request to address the convention next year.

On another matter that I did not understand was the motion for the Executive Committee to revisit our relationship with the Baptist World Alliance. If this motion comes through the EC and a motion is presented to the convention, I will only have one question. What will we do with Dr. Welch? I mean, isn’t that what he is supposed to be doing. I believe he gave a great report of trying to build bridges to Baptist on an international scale. He seems to be covering his position and building the foundation for a world wide network.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the convention. I am excited to be a Southern Baptist and look forward to the future as we cooperatively allow Jesus Christ to reach the world through us.

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Comments
  1. Tim,

    A comment about Bobby Welch.

    Here are what a few people at BL.com, some of the comments from SBCers, said about Welch’s speech:

    Welch spent 15 minutes saying absolutely nothing….

    He may have said nothing, but he said it so well…

    What struck me was the extremely lukewarm response…

    It was so generic as to be useless….

    He gives a good pep-talk, but I’m not convinced he is doing anything valuable…

    And Sandy (aka Lee) said this:

    “Welch spent 15 minutes saying absolutely nothing. I believe the SBC set aside about $400,000 in the budget to fund this effort, about what they once gave to the BWA. A thousand meetings, and a lot of “encouragement,” but in a report like this to the convention, where everyone else is bragging about their numbers, or as in the case of certain seminary enrollment figures, trying to find a way to cast them in a positive light, to have no specific information whatsoever is a hint that there is probably nothing worthy of reporting, since nothing is really happening.”

    What do you think of these quotes? Welch has a budget and has met with folks. But what has been accomplished, really? You know, about the BWA, membership is a two-way street. Even by the slim chance that the SBC wanted back in – the BWA might not be interested. The SBC’s defunding of the BWA really hurt that organization and it took a couple years to recover, financially. And from what I remember hearing, the SBC’s departure (and bullying tactics) really left a sour taste in the mouths of some prominent BWA leaders. It would obviously not be in the interest of the BWA and its bodies for the SBC to be granted membership once again, only to withdraw funding again 5-10 years down the road.

    One other question. Broadway is not Welcoming and Affirming – otherwise they would not have had such a controversy over putting gay couples pictures in the church directory. Keep in mind that the division in that church was so intense that the pastor eventually resigned. However, Broadway does have gay members. Now, maybe you see having gay members as an endorsement of homosexuality. But what is the difference between Broadway having gay members and John McCain’s church – North Phoenix (formerly pastored by Richard Jackson) – having gay members. Current pastor of North Phoenix, Dan Yeary, revealed in an interview that his church has gay members but he does not affirm their “lifestyle.” Nonetheless, they appear to remain members in good standing. I suspect North Phoenix still sends a million plus dollars to the Cooperative Program each year as they were once the #1 CP giving church in the nation. So, what’s the difference? Shouldn’t consistency demand that North Phoenix gets the boot if Broadway is getting ousted?

  2. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother BDW,

    It would obviously not be in the interest of the BWA and its bodies for the SBC to be granted membership once again, only to withdraw funding again 5-10 years down the road. Ok, if the BWA doesn’t let us back in we will infilltrate the CBF, because they will take our money, and then come back in that way. :)

    Seriously, I do not bleieve that motion will gain any traction due to the words I saw come out of the EC when the motion was made to withdraw. Dr. Chapman made some pretty pointed statements. But, everyone needs to remember that any messenger can make a motion from the floor. It has to work its way through the committee structure which I believe will die in the committee.

    As to Broadway. While the pastor did eventually resign, it was after the church voted by a majority to keep him. He also said he was not resigning due to the controversy. The Broadway issue was more than just the church have church member that were gay. These gay church members were in leadership positions, and still are in those positions. Thus, no one would have ever heard about these church members had it not come out in the papers.

    As to North Phoenix, it seems that Richard Jackson went with you guys (CBF) which speaks volumes as to the CBF affirming gays. Isn’t it also amazing that a fellowship that says they do not affirm gays are certainly open to accepting churches that do? There is no difference there. As to the SBC receiving funds from North Phoenix. I have no idea about that. I also am taking your word about the interview which you quote their current pastor as to their gay members. Could you give me some direction as to where you have found this quote?

    Blessings,
    Tim

  3. Justin says:

    I agree with the concern about the BWA. It seems the SBC’s new worldwide effort is effective and we are just getting started.

  4. I partly concur. I too agree that the BWA motion won’t gain any traction. The people who led the effort to withdraw from the BWA are still in leadership roles. But I disagree with Justin. There is no proof that Bobby Welch’s effort is effective.

    http://www.thebigdaddyweave.com/2008/04/abp-lands-interview-with-john-mccains.html

    That’s my post with links on the North Phoenix story. Their pastor says they have at least a dozen gay members but he does not “encourage” their “lifestyle.” If this info is in the SBC Annual (I don’t have a copy handy), you should look up North Phoenix and find out how much money they gave to CP last year. I bet it was a TON.

    Richard Jackson never went CBF. He was an inerrantist who refused to join the “conservative movement” because he felt that fight was over power and control not over the Bible. There probably are some CBF-givers at that church. But, all in all, it’s a Arizona Baptist megachurch affiliated with the SBC.

    The Broadway situation was complex. They were more “welcoming” than most – that’s why the controversy erupted. But trust me, their pastor resigned because of the controversy. You can’t survive in that type of environment for too long. But remember, CBF has a policy against hiring homosexuals on staff or as missionaries. Thus, that’s why most of the liberal Affirming congregations align uniquely with the Alliance of Baptists. The CBF is a mixed bag. I won’t predict what will happen in the future with churches that identify with the CBF. I’m not sure anyone really knows.

    By the way, have you had a chance to read Jerry Sutton’s new book on basically the history of Southern Baptist political involvement? My copy came in the mail today. I know Sutton is biased. But from what I can tell, it is a tremendous resource with lots of primary source documents that I’ve never read before. And it’s academic with footnotes. It reads like a documentary. I’m going to be blogging about it as I read – but I think all Southern Baptists can learn alot from this account.

    Find it on Amazon. It’s called:

    A Matter of Conviction: A History of Southern Baptist Engagement with the Culture

  5. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother BDW,

    Thanks for the link. No, I have not read Dr. Sutton’s new book. I will certainly try to get that book. I wish I had known about it while I was at the convention, I would have asked him for a copy. :)

    Enjoy Memphis. I will contact volfan007 to let him know you will be in town. I am sure he can give you some tips on where to eat. Of course when it comes to partaking of the nectar of the vines he will not be able to help there. His idea of a good wine is Boones Farm red. :)

    Blessings,
    Tim

  6. volfan007 says:

    Big Daddy,

    Go to Corky’s barbeque in Memphis. Great food. You can mapquest the nearest one to where you will be staying. Also, the Rendevouz has great ribs. It’s downtown. If you need anymore info on my hometown, please feel free to ask.

    Also, Tim’s right. I wont help you find any moonshine stills. Besides, if you went to them, you might get shot.

    David

  7. volfan007 says:

    Big Daddy,

    Another place in Memphis that’s good to eat at…if you want Italian food…is Grisanti’s. Oh yeah, also, to get Cajun food, on Beale Street and Third St. I believe…near the Peabody….is a place called Fat City Beniet. Good eating.

    David

  8. Steve says:

    Well I would strongly disagree with BDW’s assessment. As one involved through Bobby Welch’s ministry we are establishing FAITH evangelism in our country. Before FAITH has commenced we have seen a number of people come to know the Lord through it.
    We are looking forward to aprtnership missions with SBC churches in the future. From personal experience I repudiate BDW’s claim that Bobby Welch has been ineffective.
    Steve

  9. Andrew H. says:

    Hey Tim,

    Just saw a picture of you…and realized we’re the ones who almost car-pooled together from Chicago! I have read your comments on several blogs over the past year, but didn’t realize we would share such a providential meeting! Hope you and your family are well!

    On the issue of the 2008 meeting, I would like to hear your thoughts on the Wilkerson motion about barring entity heads from being elected SBC president….

  10. preacherman says:

    Brother Tim,

    Thought you may be interested in this article. Blessings.

    http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/8934.article

    Let me know what you think

  11. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Andrew,

    Sorry, but I wrote an article earlier and it must still be floating out there in cyber-space.

    It was good to see you in Chicago. Sorry the ride did not work out. I was already committed to the guys that I rode with because we were speaking about doing such if the plane was canceled. As you know, it was and we did feel obligated to them because we had previously spoken about such a plan. God’s providential hand revealed itself on the trip to Chicago for me. He opened a door for me to share a witness of salvation to the entire van. What an awesome opportunity.

    I pray that God allows our paths to cross again in the future. It was good meeting you and then seeing you again at the convention. But, even after meeting you and seeing you, can you imagine my surprise as I saw you step to the mic to nominate someone for a convention office? I told my wife I wanted to vote for that person just because I met you. However, I was already committed to someone else. :)

    Blessings,
    Tim

  12. Norman says:

    Tim,
    writers raise significant and appropriate issues about the BWA and Bobby Welch’s efforts in international relationships. I wrote more about it here: http://www.biblicalrecorder.org/content/opinion/2008/06_30_2008/ed30062008sbc.shtml
    One of the things people are beginning to talk about, thanks to Danny Akin’s bold statements that the SBC structure is “bloated” is that too much money is being spent in administration. Every dollar spent on some redundancy is a dollar lost to missions. The global relations office is a redundancy. The line item in the SBC budget for the global relations office is $425,000, the amount the SBC contributed to BWA. In the article referenced earlier, Welch talks about the importance of connections. People and peoples thrive on relationships. And he is about building relationships. The painful irony of it is that he is working very hard to build relationships with Baptist organizations we already had relationships with through BWA. The SBC said in 2004 (Norman paraphrase) “We don’t like all ya’ll, but we like most of ya’ll. We’re going to say goodbye to all ya’ll and then ‘establish relationships’ with those of you we like.” You know, at the family reunion you don’t hang around with the red haired cousin who doesn’t notice the mayo on her chin. But she’s still part of the family and needs your acceptance and support, just like you need her presence to be all you are supposed to be.

  13. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Norman,

    I am not sure you are calling the CBF and other moderate groups that make up the BWA a red haired cousin who doesn’t notice the mayo on her chin. :)

    There are many redundancies within the SBC that need to be fixed. However, I feel that the trustees on the EC along with trustees at NAMB and the IMB would be better to work that out. Would you not agree? Just someone’s opinion that there is redundancy and what needs to happen to fix it is like a Deacon trying to fix the spending of the Finance Committee. People become territorial and dare someone to ask questions. Working through the system to fix the problems is the best route to take.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  14. thehigg says:

    Brother Tim,

    I recently started a series on how we can have better communication in the SBC…primariliy as messengers, trustees, and entitites. I would very much appreciate your (and your readers’) thoughts on the first post on trustee oversight and accountability. (I suppose now that I’ve been on the big screen at Convention, I better start pushing my own agenda….haha!)

    Andrew

  15. thehigg says:

    The link to my blog didn’t seem to work, so here it is:

    http://adubhigg.wordpress.com/

  16. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Andrew,

    Thanks for the info. I will check it out. My mother-in-law is in the hospital and it has proven to be quite challenging for my family. Thus I am in the office on the 4th. I promise to get back to you next week on this. Until then, have a great Lord’s day.

    Blessings,
    Tim