Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2009 SBC Meeting Underway

The Southern Baptist Convention is meeting this week in Louisville, KY. I am staying home to participate in Vacation Bible School at JPBC. It really isn't a sacrifice, because I did not have a desire to attend. I'd much rather use my conference funds to go to something like the Banner Conference I attended last month.

I am streaming some of the meeting online and have been listening this morning. The big issue in this year's meeting is the "Great Commission Resurgence." Danny Akin of SEBTS and SBC President Johnny Hunt have offered this "resurgence" plan and SBC executive Morris Chapman has opposed it.

Morris Chapman spoke this morning. The most interesting statement: "The SBC didn't become great because it loved doctrine but because it loved Jesus." My question is: "Can you love Jesus without having some doctrinal understanding of who Jesus is?" Johnny Hunt's morning convention message offered little substance. Clearly, the leadership of the SBC is worried about the declining health of the denomination. As Hunt noted, LifeWay is projecting that if current trends continue the SBC will stand at just 7 million members by 2050. He added that the SBC is getting older.

As the years roll by I have less and less interst and passion for the SBC. And this is someone who grew up going to Discipleship Training on Sunday nights, did "Sword Drills," attended RAs and Prayer Meeting on Wednesday nights, was in BSU in college and went to an SBC factory seminary for my MDiv. Watching the SBC meeting online makes me even more sqeamish. The emphasis is so clearly on the pragmatic and not the doctrinal (see the Chapman quote). Watching is a stark reminder on how my mind and heart have changed on issues like the doctrines of grace, worship, missions, and ministry.

It was interesting to hear Johnny Hunt give some evidence of knowing about the resurgence of interest in the Reformation spirit among younger Baptists and evangelicals. He spoke of God choosing us before we chose him--an interesting comment since he has vehemently opposed Calvinism in the SBC. He also made anecdotal reference to having taken a sabbatical to read through the prayers of the Puritans. "They even prayed about praying," he said. One wonders whom he read and when and why he did this.


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