In 1787, Edmund Burke, the British author, orator and philosopher, made the following statement during a parliamentary debate: “There are three estates in Parliament but in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder there sits a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.” Continue reading
*This article is taken from Dr. Hadley’s website, sbcissues.com, and is used by permission.
Only July 12, the New Orleans Baptist Association published a statement titled, Which Way Forward, Toward Unity or Division?” It can be read in its entirety by CLICKING HERE. I understand the need for unity and the desire for unity. As Christians, one would think that this would be a given. As the old saying goes, union is one thing; unity is another. Continue reading
From 2000 to 2016, I have attended every single Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting—seventeen in a row! My impression is that the opportunity for genuine messenger involvement in such meetings is virtually nonexistent. Yes, the business of the convention appears to be open for discussion and participation, but this is really nothing more than a ruse. Virtually every initiative desired by leaders is scheduled and passed by the messengers. Virtually every initiative desired only by messengers is declined, referred, ruled out of order or defeated. This is rigged reality TV.
A Very Tight Schedule
The primary means of controlling outcomes is found within the convention schedule itself. Much of the time is devoted to music, preaching, reports, recognitions and other items in which the role of the messenger is simply to sit and listen. Given the plethora of conferences available for preaching and worship, one wonders why, if we are only going to set aside two days for a business meeting, we cannot manage more than about ninety minutes or so for motions and resolutions in which messengers have a slim chance to be recognized at a microphone in order to offer feedback to our leadership.
Sometimes, following a report, there is time for questions and answers, but here is how that always plays itself out. Once the first question is asked, the leader on the platform begins talking in response. By means of eloquence and skillful transitional sentences, the speaker may use all the remaining time in his reply. Occasionally, a second or third question may be asked. More than once, the question is so easy and clearly supportive of the speaker’s agenda that I have wondered if it was planted. When the speaker is finished answering, someone steps forward and says, “Time has expired. Thank you for your report.” And the beat goes on. Continue reading