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
***Editor’s Note: Dr. Cox’s book, “Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism” is available for purchase HERE.
Calvinism teaches that the human will has been so utterly destroyed by the sin of Adam that it cannot choose to place faith in Christ even if it wanted to do so. It also claims that certain humans are unconditionally elected by God for salvation, while all others are left unelected and have no hope of experiencing God’s grace. It further asserts that the atoning work of Christ on the cross is absolutely limited in its extent only to the elect. It additionally declares that God’s grace is completely irresistible for the elect. Continue reading
Editors Note: This open letter was first sent to Baptist Press. It is a letter written in response to Russell Moore’s Twitter comment (Click HERE) and is used here by permission.
We have been involved in Southern Baptist life for most of our lives. We are grateful for the opportunities to serve and minister in our Convention. At the same time, we have also witnessed and been involved in America’s political life. Though we never endorsed political candidates, as pastors and Southern Baptist leaders, we have sought to share our perspectives as to how Southern Baptist believers should evaluate the moral and spiritual issues during presidential election cycles. Based on biblical principles we trusted those to whom we ministered to use their brains and their hearts as they voted for political candidates. Such political campaigns can be times of strong emotion, spirited debate, excessive rhetoric and sadly, broken relationships. Continue reading