First, I was down in Hampton on Monday for the first day of the annual SBCV meeting. I picked up JPBC’s Howard Anderson at the Newport-News Airport (he had flown in from Scottsville), and we made it over to Liberty Baptist for the meeting. We had lunch with Brian Russell, a native of South Africa who served for 16 years as Pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church and then planted Redeeming Grace Baptist Church in Matthews County, Virginia. Brian gave me a copy of his book Baptism (Grace Publications, 2000) that I look forward to reading. I also got to spend time with Pastor Rob Stovall of Providence BC and his son Bobby. JPBC was accepted into membership in the SBCV in the Monday afternoon session. The praise music for the sessions was very loud. As one person said, He felt he had stumbled into a Church of God meeting.
On Tuesday, I made my way to the meeting of the BGAV at the Richmond convention center to attend as a visitor. This was my 15th BGAV meeting and perhaps my last. This year marked the 5th anniversary of the Kingdom Advance meeting, held in Charlottesville on May 10, 2002. In general, it was business as usual for the BGAV, celebrating its "freedom," tying hard to appear relevant, and being self-congratulatory for stagnancy. Just before the lunch break on Tuesday the announced Messenger count was a mere 675 people! A friend noted the irony of the BGAV theme, "Hope is on the Way (H.O.W.)." He suggested a few possible future themes, like "S.O.S." and "D.N.R."
I’ll write a more detailed summary of both meetings in the next Evangelical Forum Newsletter.