DALLAS (BP) — Connect316 has changed its program — now to focus on prayer — for its Monday evening meeting, June 11, following the concluding session of the SBC Pastors’ Conference.
“Prayer will be our only agenda,” Will Hall, editor of the Baptist Message in Louisiana, wrote in an email distribution Saturday morning, June 2.
Connect316, an organization advocating a “traditionalist” view of the doctrine of salvation, “has heard the heart of our [SBC] president, Dr. Steve Gaines, and we believe our Convention’s future rests upon prayer and fasting, now more than ever.”
Gaines issued a call for 21 days of fasting and prayer, leading up to the opening of the June 12-13 SBC annual meeting in Dallas, in a statement he issued May 11 largely addressing controversy related to Paige Patterson up to that point involving comments Patterson had made in sermons regarding domestic abuse and a woman’s physical appearance. Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was subsequently terminated by a trustee executive committee on May 30 largely over the handling of two female students’ rape allegations against fellow students at SWBTS and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earlier had served as president.
Hall, in his email, said the June 11 Connect316 fellowship will focus on “calling upon our Lord to capture our thoughts, hearts, and actions. We will pray for Dr. Gaines and all our convention committee members, and for those who bring reports. We will pray for all the candidates who will be nominated. We will pray for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Most of all, we will implore God to send a revival among our people marked by humility, repentance and holiness.”
Hall wrote that “anyone and everyone” is invited to “this solemn and special time of unifying around the cross and Lordship of Christ.” People may “come and go as you please” during the session, which will begin around 9 p.m. in the Omni Dallas Hotel; refreshments will be provided.
Referencing one of the two nominees for SBC president, Hall added, “We will still provide 400 complimentary copies of Ken Hemphill’s newest book, Unlimited, on a first come, first serve basis. Ken Hemphill will be present for a meet and greet.”
Connect316, according to its website, is a fellowship that affirms a doctrine of salvation between that of Calvinism and Arminianism, holding that Christ died for the sins of every person.
Hemphill had initially been scheduled to address the Connect316 meeting, along with Richard Land, former president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Ministries with a “traditionalist” view of salvation also were to have been introduced to the group, including TrueLife, Soteriology 101 and Baptist Strong.
Among the matters to be prayed for are the issues lately raised related to both SWBTS & SEBTS.