This is simply a recap of the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention from my point of view. Although this was only my third convention, this one was unique for me in that it was so devotional. Now that we have adjourned I genuinely feel revived. There is no question that the theme from the platform was one of revival. But I will say that for me, all this talk of the great commission has made me assess the way I relate to people and realize that I need to be more intentional about sharing the gospel. I witness often to those in my path, but I do not go out of my way enough to put others in my path. I really believe in a real hell and it is selfish, or lazy or hateful not to make evangelism a priority in my life even if it is inconvenient. Now to my observations from Wednesday
The first thing of the morning was the executive committee’s report on the motions from yesterday. The majority of the motions were ruled out of order. All the ones regarding Mark Driscoll and Acts 29 were, of course, out of order, but also the ones regarding the HCSB and anything restricting the freedom of any individual member were out of order as well.
Then it was time to pass resolutions. We thanked Louisville for hosting and recognized the sesquicentennial of Southern Seminary. The only resolution with any discussion at all was the one about President Obama, recognizing his historic election and praying that he would have some godly counsel. But it passed as it was printed.
Johnny Hunt named his GCR task force in the morning session as well. Much of that task force had already been named, though I didn’t know the entire list. To me the only surprise was that there was just one woman. I found that odd. One is not even enough to be considered a token appointment. I was also a bit curious about Ronnie Floyd being named chair. His cooperative program number is why he lost in Greensboro so I just find it curious as well.
The Southeastern luncheon was undoubtedly the worst service I have ever received at a banquet of any kind. This was the fault of the Kentucky Exposition center and not SEBTS. The speech from the president was enlightening and made the banquet worth attending. Dr Akin addressed the Mark Driscoll hullabaloo by saying that he is teaching his students to think and that they can learn to glean the useful and discard the bad. He, of course, said a lot more than that, but that was the gist. It was both enlightening and necessary. He was also asked why he thought executive committee president Morris Chapman is so clearly opposed to the GCR. His answer was that he hasn’t spoken with Chapman about it.
When time for questions in the SEBTS report came up he had to answer the Driscoll / Acts 29 question again. He was much more brief and less thorough, but said SEBTS is an open book and has nothing to hide. He also addressed the pamphlet from the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association by saying that if you have questions ask me rather than listening to others. He then repeated that students need to learn to think, and that having a guest speaker does not endorse every belief of that speaker.
The Theme interpretation in the evening session by Jeff Crook was the best message I heard all week. (That is saying something too, because I’m pretty sure I heard 15 from Sunday morning through Wednesday night.) It is a shame that there were so few people remaining by that final session. Go to the archives and listen to it. It was about 7:30 pm Wednesday.
The NAMB report and presentation was inspiring and moving. It made me proud to be a former summer missionary and proud of my cooperative program gifts. Also, Mandisa is a great singer.
I’ll conclude this with some spare thoughts that don’t fit into the recap above.
First, although last year I did not vote for Johnny Hunt, I am impressed with his leadership. To me it is obvious that he is not one of the good ol’ boys. He truly does not seem to be a part of the old guard.
Secondly, Twitter added a lot to the convention. It is very interesting and enlightening to see that thoughts of others as you all experience that same thing. It was a running commentary that included hundreds of people you didn’t know and the thoughts of the convention’s movers and shakers. The reward for best tweet of the week undoubtedly was this one “Almohler could really use a hug today. SBCers just come up and hug his neck” –obviously Russ Moore got his hands on Al Mohler’s phone.
Finally, one of the real fun things about the convention is seeing all the people you only rarely see. This year I saw:
Don Mathis – Evangelist and my great-uncle Lee Merck – a pastor formerly from NSRBA Chp. James Deason – a former member of LaGrange who is now stationed at Ft. Campbell. I wish I had taken his picture so that people from my church could see him with some hair. Stephen Wilson – My former college professor Glen Warner – Youth pastor from NSRBA Greg Taylor – Who I last saw as a part of the UK BSU 11 or so years ago Tim Burdon and family Also some of Former Pastors Rod Groff Don Embry
I’ll say this again. I am genuinely inspired and proud of our convention now that we are headed home. There was much more harmony than in my previous conventions, and I for one am convicted about my need to make the Great Commission central to my life and not just my ministry. As Johnny Hunt said. Talk is cheap and passing a task force is not witnessing. (I wrote that quote down at the time but can’t find my notes so I have messed it up pretty bad.)