This is just a brief overview of how I felt the convention went this past week.
Sunday Service with Richard Mc Pheeters
Nearly everybody from SBC Today went to see ex-Oklahoma pastor Tank McPheeters deliver God’s word. A strange coincidence, Tank actually interviewed at Immanuel before I did, but did not feel the call to this church. We now know why because he pastors New Salem Baptist Church in Cox Creek, Kentucky and is working on a PhD. The church was founded in 1801 and the current building was built in 1906. Some noted previous pastors of that church are A. T. Robertson and W. O. Carver. Listening to Tank preach gave me reassurance that he was carrying on the great preaching and scholarship tradition of times past.
After church, Tank’s wife cooked lunch for all of us. Her generosity and cooking ability is great. Trust me, no one walked away hungry. All of us thank Tank, his wife, and the church for their hospitality.
For me the pastors conference seemed like a constant barrage of negativism. Many who I talked to felt they were being scolded for not running big numbers. Not all the sermons were like that. There were in fact two high points. First was Gov. Mike Huckabee. He is correct in pointing out that the problem with America, and dare I say our churches, is not financial, but moral. He encouraged us to hold the line on biblical values and to keep on sharing Christ. The other bright spot was David Platt. Everyone who I talked to said that Platt hit it out of the park. There were some other great sermons, but Gov. Huckabee and Bro. Platt are two that gave the most buzz.
Dr. Mohler presented the motion for the task force on the Great Commission Resurgence. Going into the convention I had mixed feelings over the whole motion. When I left Perkins, I thought I would vote against it. On the road I had further time to think and give consideration to changing my mind. I also had the opportunity in Louisville to talk further with other people. When I heard Dr. Mohler, I was 99% sure that I would vote for the task force. I admire Dr. Mohler and his plea was very moving. I came to 100% certainty when a messenger, who was against it, said the problem with our convention was Calvinism and that the GCR task force was unnecessary. He even compared the Calvinists today to the Primitive Calvinist of a bygone era. Needless to say, his misinformed rant sealed the deal for me and I voted for the task force. Ultimately, I don’t necessarily believe it is a bad thing for an organization to examine itself periodically in order to maximize the stewardship of what God has given her. I just hope that the change presented will directly benefit the local church. I am praying for the task force.
Another momentary lack of judgment was when Wade Burleson wanted to replace Bart Barber on the list of new trustees at Southwestern. Bart had already committed to not teaching adjunctively while a trustee at Southwestern. In doing so, he removed any conflict of interest that may have been present. Unfortunately, whether Wade knew about Bart’s resignation from being an adjunct professor or not, the motion was presented and overwhelmingly defeated. In this, the convention affirmed Bart as a trustee of Southwestern. I thank the convention for their trust in my friend.
The other big news was the severing of ties with Broadway Baptist Church for their openness to homosexual members. Why it took so long for this action to occur still baffles me, but I am sure that the procedure of the convention allowed all parties involved to make the right decision. Kudos to the SBC in making this stand.
Quotes of Worth
PUBLIC – Johnny Hunt: The perception and vision of the church is God’s standard.
PRIVATE – Anonymous: Tertiary definition- Anything that Jesus commanded that I don’t agree with. :-)
Most everyone that I have talked to has been pleased with the convention. This year there have been no calls of victory by any one group. Most are pleased with the eighteen-member task force that has been appointed by Dr. Hunt and all are committed to praying for the people serving. I did sense a feeling of unity from the convention. The question is, will this unity last when recommendations come from the newly appointed task force?
This year will present some challenges for the SBC, with finances being a major obstacle. But I also believe that God has many great things still planned for our convention. May we all be in prayer as the task force assumes it’s mission and our churches seek to fulfill theirs.