Reflections From the SBC Annual Meeting

Holly and I had the opportunity to attend the SBC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis this week. I just wanted to offer some quick reflections.

The Bad

  • If a road is closed completely, then do not have a sign that only says, "Road closed to large trucks." This cost us an hour's time on the way there.
  • No free wi-fi at the Hyatt Regency. That's absurd!
  • We did not get to make it to any of the Pastor's Conference on Sunday evening, but were able to catch some of the sessions on Monday. We laughed while we were in those sessions, but then left pretty frustrated and discouraged. One pastor talked about pastors being re-baptized to encourage others who need to be baptized. I'm serious.
  • If the SBC spent have as much time focusing on God's Gospel as it does on new and improved plans and programs and strategies, the Great Commission Resurgence we all desire to see, by God's grace just might happen. We need to stop trying to come up with new and improved catchy ideas and just focus on God's idea--the Gospel. Stop trying to disguise God's idea--the Church being the Church and sharing the Gospel and living its implications out in the world--as something "new" or different or innovative. We shouldn't have to trick people into doing what the NT tells us to do. I am all for every person sharing and every person hearing by 2020, but praying, engaging, sowing, and harvesting (the four sign posts/mile markers or whatever to NAMB's new evangelism initiative are not new concepts, but just what the NT tells us we are to be doing.) We need to stop spending so much time and money on thinking up "new" ideas and strategies and just stick with God's--the Church being the Church and taking the Gospel to the world. We can keep throwing money into new ideas and strategies, but nothing will change until local churches start being the Church where God has placed them and exporting the Gospel that created the Church to the world. This starts with pastors faithfully preaching God's Word expositionally week in and week out, equipping the saints with and through the Gospel.
  • An amendment to a resolution concerning the recent law changes in California involving same sex marriage failed. The amendment to the resolution would have urged parents in CA to withdraw their children from public schools due to the recent legislation that allows the teaching of same sex marriage, the normalcy of homosexuality, and also that gender distinctions are not God-given and biological, but rather a matter of personal choice. If you decide you are a girl then you are a girl, despite what your anatomy may say to the contrary. The argument against passing the amendment had to do with not wanting to withdraw from the culture, but rather engage it. How is a kindergarden age child or a first or second grader going to engage that culture at school? Should parents even ask them to do so at that young age? How are parents to engage the culture of the public school for the eight hours while their child is being indoctrinated with this garbage and they are at work? How can we as parents and as a Convention vote to withdraw from Disney because of homosexuality (which I believe it probably would have been wiser to engage the culture there), but not withdraw our children from the same homosexual indoctrinating culture in the public school system?! Something is amiss.

The Good

  • We have a great church family who allowed us to go to the convention as their messengers. We are very thankful.
  • Indianapolis is a neat city--just wish we could have enjoyed it a little more. But, this wasn't a vacation.
  • Johnny Hunt was elected on the first ballot (which was a surprise to everyone). I believe he will make a good president. He loves the Lord, His Gospel, and His Commission. As long as he stays his own man and agrees to disagree without being disagreeable on marginal issues, he will serve the convention well.
  • Frank Page served the convention remarkably as president. You will not find a man who is more gracious and humble or more of a gentleman with a Christ-like spirit than Frank Page. Only time will tell how important his presidency was to the Convention and that God raised him up for such a time as this. He just needs to work on the difference between "congressional singing" vs. "congregational singing." (Speaking of singing, one of the highlights of the convention was Dr. Page singing the opening verses of "In Christ Alone" in honor of his friend Forrest Pollack, who died along with his son in a plane crash a few months ago.)
  • I love my Seminary president, Dr. Danny Akin. He is biblical, Christ-like, and inspiring every time he speaks--even in giving a Seminary report.
  • The resolution for regenerate church membership finally passed. Praise God for the perseverance of men like Tom Ascol in seeing this come to pass. This is the highlight of the convention. The Great Commission Resurgence that we all long to see will never happen unless our churches are indeed made up of those who have truly been born-again. Churches must recapture this baptist distinctive, along with its necessary counterpart--church discipline--, in order to be the Church that God has created and called to take the Gospel to the nations. Pastors must lovingly lead the way in teaching churches to reclaim this historic baptist distinctive. (You can read the amended resolution here.)
  • The push for a Great Commission Resurgence seems to be gaining momentum. That is indeed good news and very encouraging.
  • We got to see old friends. This is always a joy.
  • We were able to see a screening of Fireproof. This is the latest film from Sherwood Baptist Church who also gave us Flywheel and Facing the Giants. This is undoubtedly the best of the three and a wonderful movie and I plan to use it as an inreach in our church and an outreach to our community. Check out more details at www.fireproofthemovie.com.
  • I got to spend a few days with my bride. Thanks to my mom, her husband, and my grandma, who watched the girls for us, Holly and I were able to go together and enjoy a few days alone. It was needed and a blessing.

That's about all. Next year, Lord willing, we will meet again in Louisville. The next year should be interesting. There is reason to be optimistic about the future of our convention as long as we heed the calls we heard at this year's meeting to take an honest look at where we are as a convention and make the crucial changes needed. If we don't...well, let's just hope and pray that we do.

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