The SBC Annual Meeting Is Useless … And What To Do About It.

April 14, 2015

Dr. Randy White | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Katy, TX

**This article was previously posted by Dr. Randy White HERE and is used by permission.

Anyone who follows my articles and tweets knows that I am a disgruntled Southern Baptist. If you ask me why, I would not really know where to begin. I don’t like the “moral communitarianism” of Russell Moore at the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission (nor his “future kings and queens of the universe” theology, nor his “Christ is Israel” brand of replacement theology, nor his Kingdom-advance based ethic). I don’t like the church-planting strategy of the North American Mission Board, using SBC funds to put largely Calvinist and often rebellious church-planters who won’t give a plug-nickle to the denomination as soon as the check stops coming. I don’t like the IMB raise-the-dead and pray-for-visions method of evangelism, nor that there is little role for the preacher on the mission field. I’m no fan of what appears to be the “a good Baptist is a reformed Baptist” teaching that comes out of Southern Seminary. I have a disdain for the “we’ll sell it if you’ll buy it” philosophy of LifeWay, nor the “stick your finger in the air to determine the direction we should go” ministry of Ed Stetzer. Finally, I have grown weary of the entire church-growth movement of Rick Warren that has become so run-of-the-mill in SBC churches.  So, I’m clearly not the poster child for happy, go-along-to-get-along Southern Baptists.

That said, I may be far more the typical Southern Baptist than SBC leadership and wanna-be leadership would admit. I was born and bred a Southern Baptist. I was saved in an SBC church, committed to ministry in another SBC church, educated in an SBC college, trained for ministry in an SBC seminary (tuition paid, in large part, with SBC dollars). I’ve been a pastor who was involved in SBC work from the association to the state convention to the national denomination. My church consistently gives hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for SBC causes. Our church is always a top giver to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. We give 10% to the Cooperative Program. Until recently, we used SBC literature in our Sunday School classes and participated in SBC promotions.

But I think the Southern Baptist Convention is broken. I am afraid that much of the brokenness is systemic in our culture and only reflected in the SBC. However, if there is a small population that has not been consumed by church-growth pragmatism and evangelical neo-conservatism, and if this small population can come together to bring change in the SBC, then it is too early to leave my SBC home.

Why the Annual Meeting is Useless

Much has been written about decline in the SBC, and in the struggle to get 5,000 messengers to the annual meeting of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. I contend that much of the reason people do not attend is because the meeting is often useless. I’ll share four reasons, none of which can be proven and all of which are personal speculation more than scientific fact.

The outcome is increasingly pre-arranged

The officer, committee, trustee, and bylaw structure of the SBC has been used to its fullest to ensure that the desired outcome comes to fruition. No resolution will be presented that does not pass the scrutiny of the Resolutions Committee and no item of business will be allowed that does not pass the barrier of the Committee on Order of Business. Officers and insiders will have the advantage of working with these committees to ensure that their items are presented, but the common-folk will be left speechless as their resolution or motion is quickly dismissed with little chance of resurrection. If one of the agencies has business to present, it will receive favorable treatment and any negative remarks from the floor will receive swift rebuttal from those on the platform. In the end, it is often easy to determine the outcome of the convention long before the convention begins.

The agencies are unbelievably unresponsive

If the Southern Baptist Convention messengers feel strongly about something an agency is doing, they have no power, ability, nor legal grounds to change it through the annual meeting. LifeWay has repeatedly heard from messengers about the use of the gender-neutral NIV, yet defiantly uses it today. It doesn’t matter if 100% of the messengers want LifeWay to stop using the NIV, those messengers have no ability to give directive to the Trustees of LifeWay. While the legal boundaries may somewhat require such an arrangement, the agencies need a responsiveness of the will of the messengers, and the SBC needs an unhindered mechanism for the messengers to express their concern.

The trend toward spiritualization of the convention

It would seem, on surface, like the way to increase participation in the SBC Annual Meeting is to make the meeting a spiritual mountaintop experience. If messengers went to the SBC and had a revival experience, they would go home and recruit more for next year, right? I am not convinced this is true. The Annual Meeting is designed for the business of the convention. The more revivalistic the meeting becomes, the less opportunity for dealing with the business at hand. Agency heads can wax eloquent on spiritual matters as a means of avoiding practical issues of agency operations. I believe that more time should be given for questions, motions, and deliberations. This would require a longer meeting or shorter worship times.  The danger of spiritualizing the convention is that it becomes (even more than it already is) a public relations brochure for agency ministries rather than a business meeting of Southern Baptists.

What to do about it 

In 1979, when the Conservative Resurgence began, the convention was in terrible shape. It was, in many ways, far more liberal than it is today. The solution then was the election of a President, who would then use the nomination process to slowly change the system. It worked, through the blood, sweat, and tears of thousands of normal Baptists who believed the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
In 1979, Baptist news was controlled by Baptist Press. Messages were sent by telephone or by use of a 15 cent stamp. To broadcast the message to a nation-wide audience took thousands of dollars (or more) and many weeks or even months. Bypassing “the system” took an almost miraculous effort. But we don’t live in 1979, and we have a far more effective tool: public pressure. Using blogs, social media, and text messaging, we can but intense public pressure on SBC officers and agencies in a matter of hours, if we work together.

The strategy of traditionalists–this label used for lack of a more definitive word–within the SBC should include the following:

  • Start by gathering a database of the names of 100 pastors who want to see change in the SBC. These 100 pastors can literally change the denomination. In 1979 it took far more men to get the word out. With today’s media resources and internet, the voice of 100 is magnified many times over. This group does not have to be highly organized, deeply secret, or closed to others, but it needs 100 pastors to get the work going. I’ll be the first to add my name to the list.
  • Continue by gathering the email address, texting number, and social media addresses of as many thousands of SBCers as possible. We need a way to communicate, fast.
  • Be ready to insist on increased time for questions to entity heads. The adoption of the agenda presented by the Committee on Order of Business should be a major point of debate for messengers gathered at future conventions. The agenda is typically adopted without question or debate, but the messengers have to use this opportunity to restructure the business of the convention to suit them, not to suit the agencies. At this year’s convention, Russell Moore received two questions and spent 6 minutes and 41 seconds before the familiar announcement,  “the time is expired for questions.”  LifeWay’s President received two questions and spent less than 11 minutes giving answers. With this system, a keen agency head (that’s all of them) can talk without saying anything long enough to run down the clock. Those who want change need to know how to make the agenda work for them.
  • The traditionalists should use their database to inform hundreds of Baptists of the questions that need to be asked, and how to ask these questions. These individuals should line up at mics well before the time for questions. If the mics are full, messengers should make a motion to amend the agenda to add more time, and be prepared for a 2/3 majority to do so. When messengers are unable to answer questions, they should write, blog, email,  call, and tweet their questions until they get an answer, then they should write, blog, email, call, and tweet that answer to their friends, who may want to make a follow-up response to the agency heads. Messengers should not underestimate the difficulty of getting more Q&A time in the agenda.
  • Traditional Baptists should employ, for the convention, a messenger’s parliamentarian. This parliamentarian should be available to consult messengers on proper wording of motions, proper manner of using points-of-order, and effective use of the system to their advantage. I can understand why the president wants a parliamentarian at his side (as the convention has provided for many years). As a messenger, I also want a parliamentarian by my side, and traditional Southern Baptists can work together to provide one.
  • A clear set of motions should be prepared in advance of the convention. These motions need to be “lawyered up” in order to force the Committee on Order of Business to allow the motions to be addressed by messengers at the current convention. With meticulous planning, messengers can craft motions that will force the convention toward a more responsive position.

Some would say, “Why did you just publish this strategy to the whole world?”  I do it because I think that those who want change should work in the open. Our agenda, our meetings, our plans, our dreams…all should be available for all to see. If they stand the scrutiny of the masses, they will stand the scrutiny of the messengers.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Jim P

Thoughts for your consideration Dr. White,

I could picture the Apostle Paul saying your comments in your article about being Baptist and him being a Jew. Of course for him, his adherence to Judaism would be prior him coming face to face with the risen Lord.

And that confrontation for Saul, he described as ‘being torn from the womb.’ From then on his Judaism was always in subjection to his faithfulness to His Lord.

Thoughts, Jim P

    Scott Shaver

    I doubt seriously Paul had any concept of what a “Baptist” (much less “Southern”) was.

    Try picturing Jesus speaking to the established religious leaders of his ilk in his day?

Scott Shaver

Randy:

I’ve never met you, but the way you’ve hit the nail on the head with this piece has me making plans to drive from The Woodlands to Katy one Sunday to visit a worship service.

Truest words I’ve heard from a pastor in many years…”I’m afraid that much of the brokenness is systemic in our culture and only reflected in the SBC”.

Recent public soundings by both the ERLC and BJC are indicative of the truth you state.

Well done.

Rick Patrick

I especially appreciate your courage in suggesting something that, at first glance, does not sound particularly spiritual–and that is the notion that a business meeting should be a business meeting.

There is a place for worship and prayer and revival and Bible study. We can all agree upon that. But the Jerusalem Conference was a meeting to iron things out, and the SBC has a lot of ironing to do. If we fill the time with other matters, even godly things, they can actually hinder the conversation we need to have.

Thanks for a prophetic word. Let’s make decisions at the SBC and do our praise and prayer and worship at meetings called for those purposes. And yes, let’s get us a Parliamentarian of our very own.

Steven

Dr. White:

I really appreciate your thoughts and I would like to make a couple of suggestions for further thought, if I may. I guess that I need to put some cards on the table first. I am a more reformed Southern Baptist than the contributors on this blog. However, I am a Southern Baptist first, and a Calvinist after that. What I mean is that I am more concerned about the health and wellness of the SBC than about promoting the doctrines of grace. Talking Calvinism/Traditionalism with some SBCers is fun, as long as we can grab some BBQ and sweet tea afterwards and talk about why Alabama is the best team in college football.

I agree with many of your concerns with regard to the policies of many SBC entities. I would like to see the ERLC reflecting more of the values of the SBC instead of lecturing the SBC on what the ERLC believes the members are doing wrong. Also, it shows a remarkable lack of integrity for a church planter to take SBC funds, and then change denomination after the funds stop. If you are going to be an SBC church planter, be an SBC church plant, only an SBC church plant, and stay an SBC church when you plant other SBC churches. Additionally, you are correct that there needs to be better oversight at Lifeway and what they are peddling.

It is on this last point that I think that you are most correct in your assessment of how to get things done. Recently, Lifeway pulled the “heaven tourism” books from its shelves. There are multiple reasons why Lifeway did this (not least of which was one of the authors saying that he made it up), but one of the reasons was “the angry fifteen Calvinists” as Dr. Stetzer referred to them, and the “angry fifteen non-calvinists” as Dr. Moore referred to them. However, these groups that were jointly concerned about the products that Lifeway was selling were able to, in some respects, effectuate the change that they wanted. They did, not do it through motions or points-of-order, but through a concerted social media campaign that showed why Lifeway was wrong to sell what they were selling. I think that this is an important point that needs to be developed.

Finally, I agree with you that most of the entity reports have become “a public relations brochure for agency ministries rather than a business meeting of Southern Baptists” (that quote is gold). There needs to be some dialogue and even debate during the convention concerning important issues involving the missions of the entities. I think that this all boils down to the agency presidents knowing that they really do work for the rank-and-file Southern Baptists. Some like to try to argue that they work for the trustees. Well, then put the trustees up there and make them answer to the beneficiaries of their trust – “Why are you allowing your president to do x, y, z.?”

Just some thoughts.

Steven

Jerry Grace

There is comfort in observing that God and His church will survive the demise of the Southern Baptist Convention. I share your lament, and agree with the wisdom and logic of your thoughtful words. Unfortunately the sheer number of legitimate points and required actions you prescribe, with which I could not agree more, likely doom their ever coming to fruition. What we have are irreconcilable differences of theology and polity that cannot be averaged by a vote or negotiated by a peace committee. Having said that I would still be an advocate for what you propose.

Ken

Dr. White:

Thank you for your very informative and thought-provoking article.

I was extremely pleased to see it because the problems you cited(not the solutions) caused me to recently denounce my membership in the SBC after 65+ years of affiliation with it. Like you, I was saved in a SB church and was spiritually fed for many, many years in just two SB churches.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the Calvinist movement and the obvious policies of the executive committee to espouse and promote a “go along to get along” attitude toward the Calvinist ideology which has carried into the various agencies while resulting in special privileges to that Calvinist ideology which I understand to be in serious conflict with the Word of God.

Unfortunately, for conservatives, I see no parallel between the situation in the 1970’s and prior and the current situation. That is because I have seen no evidence of an Adrian Rogers coming to the rescue. Unorganized movements never seem to bring results. What is needed is a leader of the Adrian Rogers stripe to carry the burden of the cause. The time for pussyfooting is long past; the time has come for action such as the Apostle Paul described when he revealed how he “challenged Peter to the face.”

What about you, Dr. White. You seem to grasp the severity of the problem. Could you assume that leadership? I encourage you to do so!

    Scott Shaver

    With all due respect, was it not Adrian Rogers who said “If we say pickles have souls then Southern Baptists should baptize them?”

    Andy

    Ken, just curious…did your church withdraw from the sbc, or did you leave an SBC church because it was following these national trends?

    The reason I ask, is simply that, for me, There is very little that the national sbc could do that would cause me to leave an otherwise good baptist church, since the national sbc has no power to make my church do anything. It is one of the benifits of SBC structure. Our church can participate as much or as little as we want. Currently, it is little, but we do still see value in supporting the CP & the IMB. We don’t have to use lifeway if we don’t want to, we don’t ever go to national conventions, we are not required to agree with everything mohler or Moore says. So if my local church is a good church, and happens to also gibe money to SBC, I have no reason to leave it based on National SBC actions.

    -andy

      Ken

      Andy:

      My church did not withdraw from the SBC but my decision was also dictated by the fact that our church has a Calvinist pastor and I seem to be the only member who is willing to challenge him on his beliefs. My personal withdrawal from the SBC has so far consisted of designating my offerings 100% to the IMB since it was my opinion that that agency was the least tainted with the Calvinist dogma and I strongly desire to support Jesus’ Great Commission. With the appointment of the latest IMB President I am watching that agency very closely to determine if I need to pursue another course of action.

      The next obvious question that might pop into your mind is why I don’t leave the church and seek one which is independent from the SBC. Well, I have been a member of this church for 48 years and I guess I am hoping that God will perform a miracle and either raise up enough true Bible believers in our church to request that our pastor find another place of service and that there will be a resurgence of conservative leaders to guide the SBC back to its former belief in God’s Word as occurred in the late 1970’s with the LIberal movement. Perhaps I am a little naive on that point because at my age(83+) there isn’t much time left for that to happen in my lifetime.

      I trust this has responded adequately to your question. If not, I would be happy to try again.

      God bless you for your interest.

      Ken

        Andy

        Thanks for the clarification. So you are still a member of a Southern Baptist Church, correct?

        I suppose we simply view this a bit differently. I have never considered myself a member of “The Southern Baptists.” But being a member of an SBC church makes me one, apparently.

        YOU SAID: “The next obvious question that might pop into your mind is why I don’t leave the church and seek one which is independent from the SBC.”

        Not at all! Your sentiments and loyalty to your church reflect what I was trying to say in my comment above. I have relationships within this church, and while there are some things that would cause me to leave it…the public comments of a national leader of ONE OF the organizations we partner with isn’t one of them.

        I have spoken with older members in my own church about this scenario: If, perchance, the pastors of our church begin teaching crazy heresies, denying the Resurrection, stuff like that….no doubt many would leave, and with good reason…but some would stay, not because they agree with the pastor, but because they are loyal, their friends are there…they would stay and hope things changed back for the better, perhaps with the next pastor. I think in such a case, each person must make their own decision.

        We have stories from older members who put up with a lot of shenanigans from pastors over the years, but those pastors are now long gone, and several of the founding members from 1959 are still here…they outlasted the crazy pastors!

Max

“Using blogs, social media, and text messaging, we can but intense public pressure on SBC officers and agencies in a matter of hours, if we work together.”

New Calvinists have used social media for years to proliferate their movement within the SBC. It’s a generational thing that the mainline majority of Southern Baptists, which are non-Calvinist, have not utilized as effectively. Most Southern Baptists are uninformed, misinformed or willingly ignorant regarding the theo-political maneuvering which has taken place. Most State convention papers and Baptist Press won’t touch the issue with a 10-foot pole … and pastors at SBC’s 45,000+ churches have not had “family meetings” to inform and discuss the denominational trend toward Calvinism. While I hold out hope that the proposals recommended in this article can make a difference, I fear that such effort is too little-too late and millions of “common-folk will be left speechless” if/when reformed theology becomes the new default within SBC. On the other hand (to borrow a Scripture), “Why sit here until we die?!” Thank you Dr. White for your heart and actions in this regard.

Andy

I wonder how this would/will go in practice, simply because I think there are many in the SBC who would agree, with some, but not all of your grievances…

ie, there are likely traditional, conservative calvinists who disagree with: “moral communitarianism”, church planting with little accountability, raise-the-dead and pray-for-visions evangelism, the low role for the preacher on the mission field, Lifeway in general, and ed stetzer and church growth methods…

And on the flip-side, you have strong non-calvinists who none-the-less love the church-planting movement and church growth stuff, will buy whatever lifeway sells, love the diversity of IMB staffing outside of just preachers, and really believe that the church is God’s tool to bring about his future kingdom…

What would be the plan to mobilize such a diverse group?

David R. Brumbelow

Scott,
Adrian Rogers actually said, (according to “The Truth in Crises” by Hefley),

“If Southern Baptists believe that pickles have souls, then professors must teach that.”

Adrian said it tongue in cheek, but to make the point that if the majority of Southern Baptists believe something, then that is what their employees should teach and reflect.

This was during the days of the Conservative Resurgence when the SBC people mostly believed in the inerrancy of the Bible, while many SBC professors did not.
His point was if Southern Baptists believe in inerrancy, then SBC seminary professors should also believe it.

David R. Brumbelow

    Max

    “… if the majority of Southern Baptists believe something, then that is what their employees should teach and reflect.”

    Brother Brumbelow, how do you think that plays out at SBC seminaries today?

      David R. Brumbelow

      It plays out very well today with the issue of inerrancy.

      With the issue of Calvinism / Traditionalism – well, it depends on which seminary.
      David R. Brumbelow

    Scott Shaver

    Thanks David for pointing that out.

    I’m aware of the context of the statement when Rogers made it….that’s why I had tongue in my own cheek when I posted it on this thread.

    Here for me is the great irony. A movement branded by it proponents as the “Conservative Resurgence” or “Reformation” of the Southern Baptist Convention was orchestrated by Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler et al and carried out through agents like Rogers/Stanley. Goals were to recover biblical fidelity and grow the denomination’s evangelical impact via the shibboleths of inerrancy. Get rid of “moderates and liberals” and get back to “believing the Bible”.

    So much for evangelical impact.

    Now these same proponents and supporters of the CR like to call themselves “Traditional Baptists”. Why? Because they’re getting their historical, theological and denominational heads handed to em on a silver platter by a new enemy in the camp that I refer to as neo-calvinism. Live by the sword, die by the sword…and eventually lose denominational resources along with your seat at the table.

    It was okay for “Traditionalists” to use strict Calvinists as mercenaries and revisionists of Southern Baptist History when the CR was ongoing. Now they’re a problem.

    Structurally, this issue can’t be handled internally anymore because as Randy White enumerated, “the SBC annual meeting is useless!”

    Additionally, I don’t think you could find more than two or three Southern Baptist pastors or educators in one place these days who agree on the denomination’s history and theological axioms.

    Thousands of current and former Southern Baptists predicted that the CR was a signal to the end of historic Southern Baptist faith and practice. I’m old enough to have watched the whole thing unfold and yet stand amazed at just how quickly the destruction was accomplished (past completed action).

    The baptist brothers and sisters of “Traditionalists” who found themselves “marginalized” in the SBC after the CR would probably advise them to create a new baptist entity instead of trying to recover and piece back a shattered egg.

    With all due respect to the effort of 3:16 Connect, I would say this: I know that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but there’s a big difference between 3 days and 20 years.

      Rick Patrick

      Scott,

      So are you a former SBC moderate? Just trying to get some context here. It seems like you are delighting in the misery of Traditionalists as we deal with some complexities caused by Calvinistic doctrine. But wait a minute. At least we are all inerrantists and Bible believing Christians. Trads and Cals also agree on many other things, such as homosexuality, abortion, etc. Our denomination has not gone the way of the PCUSA and others. So the CR is not really to blame for the current Trad-Cal tension.

      America and Russia were allies during WWII in defeating Germany. Our subsequent falling out during the Cold War does not and should not diminish the value of defeating Hitler. First, you overcome Fascism; then, you overcome Communism. In theological terms, first you overcome Liberalism; then, you overcome Calvinism. The Cold War took decades longer than World War II. It was different in form and style. The same is true here.

      I don’t have any desire at all to start a new denomination. I just want the majority to lead the minority once again. And the problem, I contend, is that the majority does not really know all that much about the Calvinization of the SBC.

        Lydia

        Rick,

        I do understand where Scott is coming from. The SBC has become so top down and authoritarianism is so ingrained now, it is hard to get much momentum from the pews. It is so strange how it works. I run into people from my former church and you can tell something is wrong but they have no idea what it is but they are as ever…tolerant. They think it is a sin not to be positive about anything at church. And to make it even harder the greatest generation who understood and recognized tyranny when they saw it are pretty much gone. We have a culture steeped in cult of personality and collectivism. And Calvinism is closer to collectivism than individual responsibilty

        With that said, as a ignorant pew peasant and not a scholar I have found an interesting take on all this. What gets people thinking? So when folks ask me why I don’t go there anymore I simply tell them that I want my kids to be responsible and know their responsibility before God. They are shocked but they ALWAYS agree. And they always ask why going there would teach them not to be responsible? And there is the open door. All done with grace. Even Calvinists want their kids to be responsible which is ironic. As Flowers puts it: Response-able. I have not found one single thing that has worked better. And it is not insulting or angling for a fight because it is my view and my decision. I have had at least one couple come back to me months later and say, “We now see what you mean. We knew something was wrong but could not pinpoint it”. They saw that their teens were being taught that being and remaining “broken” is good. The more broken the better and it was almost a compettition each week to who could be more broken. (Being broken has replaced the altar call. Come down front if you are broken and it is always the staff who are YRR) There is no teaching on living in victory over sin. A recipe for disaster especially for teens from abusive homes. If you followed the saga at SGM at all you would recognize this “broken” stuff and where it leads when there is no corresponding focus on victory over sin. zombies.

        Another aspect of this is this very important question “Can adult humans govern themselves”? (This is something our country needs to ask itself in the next election but it also fits with questioning Calvinism). The American Experiment answered: Yes. Not that it is easy or perfect. But it was a radical idea, sadly. And I do blame Christian history for part of that non thinking for so long with the mandatory state church.

        The Calvinist paradigm has almost completely infiltrated SBC entities. If there is one thing any Republican who ever wins the Governership of Kentucky needs to learn is that every single state entity is almost totally manned by died in the wool democrats -=–down to the clerks. And the one Republican Gov we had in 60 years did not learn this and it was a disaster for him. He thought being Gov was enough. But just about every state employee was against him (subtly because they know how it works and he did not) and not working “with” him. That is close to what I think the Trads are facing.

        One last thought. The SBC Calvinists do not seem to be discussing Calvinism much anymore. I think the leaders would like to pretend the last 10 years never happened and new issues will be floated to deflect from much of the disaster of that movement. Move on, nothing to see here. Mark who? CJ who? They never dealt publicly with their part in it all. How many people damaged?

        I think you guys will have to make a clear case for how you are so different in your beliefs in a very clear and understandable way but it won’t be easy for it to filter down to the pews. As one church pulpit committee was told by the state assoc: He is one of the good Calvinists not one of those bad ones. (That seems to be the new explanation now that pulpit committees know enough to even ask about Calvinism. How they knew this, no one knew).

        I wish you well but I could never be “unified” with Calvinism. I think it is that insidious and blasphemous toward God. To me, it is Chrislam. I wish they would come on home.

          Bill Mac

          I think with this and Ken’s comments, we are seeing a dark part of the traditionalist movement. I don’t think it is the agenda of the whole movement, but it is certainly attractive to people who think this way.

            Scott Shaver

            Before you make the blanket assertion “dark” about the discussions here Bill Mac,

            Take a look at the dark side of STRICT Calvinism which is the kind of “calvinism” in question here.

            I can provide some dark examples of STRICT Calvinism beginning with Michael Servetus…..but such dialogue should not be necessary or constructive to the thread.

              Bill Mac

              Before you make the blanket assertion “dark” about the discussions here Bill Mac

              Of course I made no such blanket assertion. I was specific. I referenced two comments. One comment about expelling Frank Page from SBC Leadership, not because he is a Calvinist (far from it), but because he thinks Calvinists and non-Calvinists can co-exist. The other likening Calvinism to Islam.

              If this is the “traditionalist” movement, so be it. But I don’t think it is (and I said so). There are people on both sides of the soteriology debate who will give no quarter, accept no co-existence. That doesn’t include everyone here, but it does include some.

                Scott Shaver

                “There are people on both sides of the soteriology debate who will give no quarter, accept no co-existence”.

                That is true……and they may have very well have some reasoned, experienced, and spiritual reasons for coming to that conclusion.

                The idea of “unity at all costs” was bitterly and totally rejected during the CR wars. Why, because as Lydia has accurately pointed out, power requires the absence or marginalization of dissent. The entire educational philosophy of Southern Baptists is now “off the rails” due to “co-existence”.

                Both sides need to get along with Christians they can get along with on these issues while walking to separate corners from those with whom they cannot.

                That’s how “denominationalism” came into existence.

                  Bill Mac

                  and they may have very well have some reasoned, experienced, and spiritual reasons for coming to that conclusion.

                  Of course they do. Everyone has, in their own mind, good reasons for thinking what they think. No one wants unity at any cost, and some folks no doubt believe that separation is the only recourse. Again, I don’t think that is the goal of the traditionalist movement, but Rick can correct me if I’m wrong. Then again, separation can mean two things. They can leave, or they can purge.

                  I would expect those who think that Calvinism is a false gospel, is heresy, is blasphemy, is akin to Islam, to make every attempt to purge all traces of Calvinism and Calvinists from the denomination and from their churches. To do anything less is hypocritical. Once more, I don’t think that is the goal of the TS movement. If I’m right, then they might want to clarify that not all who say “TS, TS” are reflective of their movement.

                    Scott Shaver

                    I’m not convinced the goal of Trads is exclusion of strict calvinism either Bill Mac.

                    All I’m saying is that the issues between TRADS and CALS will not be resolved by common views on innerancy and culture.

                    Whether they agree in writing or not, the “innerrancy” of strict Calvinist will always be applied through the Elect/NonElect template and the “inerrancy” of “Trads” will always be influenced by something short of five point Calvinism.

                    Same sex marriage and some of the other “cultural” agreements TRADS currently have with CALS is already showing signs of being in a state of flux and transition (i.e. your common positions today are likely to change tomorrow under the pressure of culture and the latest theological templates designed to appease culture while doing lip-service to Christ..

                    Scott Shaver

                    Of all people Bill Mac, I would think Lydia to be among the last to employ the rhetoric of exclusion, purging or marginalization.

                    Seems to me like her approach to these issues has been more like “I’m free in Christ and under the circumstances to disengage from the denomination of my childhood”…..perhaps for the sake of her own spiritual well-being and that of her kids?

                    Lydia

                    Why” purge” when the idea of “marginalization” was accepted by the Neo-Cal movement? :o)

                    Bill Mac

                    Certainly she is free to do what she likes.

                    I’ve never thought inerrancy was all that unifying, since a belief in inerrancy in no way contributes towards a common understanding of scriptural texts or doctrines. I know why it matters to people, but I don’t think it’s as useful as many think it is.

                    The culture war is certainly not unifying. Cals and trads may agree in their opposition to SSM for example but not in their response to it.

                    I’m tempted to say it is the Gospel that will keep SBC cals and trads together, because I believe it, but I know that once I say it, it will be shot down by people who think Calvinists preach a false Gospel, so there’s no winning there.

                    The bottom line is: Most cals and trads don’t hate or distrust or oppose each other because they don’t realize they are supposed to.

                Lydia

                “If this is the “traditionalist” movement, so be it. But I don’t think it is (and I said so). There are people on both sides of the soteriology debate who will give no quarter, accept no co-existence. That doesn’t include everyone here, but it does include some”

                But what does it matter? I am a nobody. I have no power or influence. I am a middle aged “woman” on a blog. Women have very little influence in the SBC anyway. . I don’t even attend an SBC church anymore since it was overrun by the YRR. So what if I don’t want to coexist with Calvinism? I am unusual in that respect. The SBCToday guys are nice enough to allow me to comment. That is more than I can say for guys in the YRR movement who constantly delete and moderate. Like TGC guys.

                If you want nice, transparent, humble servants you can stick with the YRR movement. (wink)

            Lydia

            “I think with this and Ken’s comments, we are seeing a dark part of the traditionalist movement. I don’t think it is the agenda of the whole movement, but it is certainly attractive to people who think this way.”

            How can that be when they are saying this in a public forum. That is light. Darkness is covert, deceptive, stealth. You don’t know what hit you until it as already in play. That sort of thing. You know, the YRR movement tactics.

            Now if Ken were influential like Mohler, you should be worried. But who is he and what sort of power does he have.

            If you want to see where the “dark side” leades go take a look at the role model for pastors our leaders believe is a good one: James McDonald.

            That is where the dark side leads (unless light is shined which is hopefully why we are not giving seminary credits to the SGM pastors college . Another covert deal. WE could go on and on over the last 10 years)

            The side you think is dark is actually giving away their strategy in public. That is how transparent they want to be. That should count for something but it won’t because the powerful are thinking for you.

            Lydia

            ” I don’t think it is the agenda of the whole movement, but it is certainly attractive to people who think this way.”

            Interesting. What do you think attracted young men to the Neo Cal movement? I say it was the concept of “power” that has been constantly whether talking of God or doctrine . Power is what that movement really promotes. That is the focus whether talking of God’s Sovereignty or the pastor/elders holding the keys to the kingdom or the elders who know best for you. It has been about nothing but power. And focusing on power with young male brains is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. The entitlement attitudes, the whining about how hard they work, etc, the expectations about traveling, money, influence. These young ens expected to avoid the trenches where one grows in wisdom over time. They were told they were special because they have the true Gospel. And they believed it and others who did not were ignorant. The arrogance this movement bred is horrible and the fall out from it has not even begun.

            And they tried to convince us love and power are the same thing whether talking about God or Mohler.

            What other movements in history attracted young men when it was based upon power and authority over others? Chilling stuff

          Scott Shaver

          In all reality,

          What normal non-seminary educated person (avocational interests in Christian theology notwithstanding) from a cooperating SBC church has read, understands or has even heard of Mohler’s “Triage”.

          Will it be employed as “Triage” or “Trinity” in SBC circles, seminaries and Sunday School Literature?

            Bill Mac

            Not many people have heard of Mohler’s triage, but they instinctively know that some doctrines are more important than others. Everyone does. Although they might disagree on the relative importance of different doctrines. I dare say in a lot of run of the mill SBC affiliated churches they would sooner kick out the charismatics than the calvinists.

              Scott Shaver

              Bill Mac:

              I agree with you, would however insert the word “spiritually” instead of “instinctively” on your phrase “know that some doctrines are more important than others.”

              With all due respect, the suspicion that many voluntarily SBC churches would sooner quick out charismatics may be true…….but I’m not aware presently of any systemic “charismatic” theology being taught in SBC funded seminaries.

              The problem is this: “What’s taught and promoted in SBC-funded seminaries becomes the face of the pulpit in SBC churches over 10 year cycles. The educational process funded by cooperative dollars and endowments is what has the power to preserve or rewrite the denomination’s history along with any of its former theological/ecclesiological/soteriological distinctives.

              Who would have ever thought that E.Y.Mullins would become a bad word in Louisville KY?

                Max

                “What’s taught and promoted in SBC-funded seminaries becomes the face of the pulpit in SBC churches over 10 year cycles … rewrite the denomination’s history along with any of its former theological/ecclesiological/soteriological distinctives.”

                If SBC’s New Calvinist leaders wish that traditional members would stop drumming up conspiracy and agenda, they need to stop producing so much evidence! The “new face” of the SBC pulpit is emerging first via NAMB’s church planting movement, along with stealth and deception by some young reformers to establish themselves in traditional churches, leading to church splits.

                  Bill Mac

                  Max: Where can I find the data regarding NAMB’s church plants (for the last 3 years or so) and how many of them are Calvinistic?

                    Max

                    Bill, I doubt that NAMB is keeping such records. But, I can tell you that most (80%+) of new plants in my area in recent years have reformed “lead pastors” (I personally know several of them). Most of the plants have cool names, with no indication on the church marquee that they are even Southern Baptist! You can usually sort that out on their websites on the “Beliefs” page, where they simply reference BFM2000 (lots of theological wiggle room there). A couple of the pastors have been honest enough to paint “Reformed” on the sign out front … I may not agree with their theology, but I sure appreciate their integrity!

        Scott Shaver

        Rick:

        I am a conservative Baptist Christian. During the days of the CR, because of my disagreement with the political methodology of Patterson/Pressler and my reluctance (because I sat under a lot professors) to buy the “wholesale liberalism in our seminaries” rationale, I was branded often with much worse labels than “moderate”. Thanks for your question.

        I do not “delight” in the “misery” of Traditionalists but do believe strongly that lessons not learned from history will repeat themselves with a vengeance.

        I’m afraid if you’re reluctant to see any connection in the dynamics of the C.R. and what’s happening now, I don’t see how you’re going to address your current concerns. Hope that I’m wrong however.

        You are right about the majority of SBCers not really understanding “calvinization”. Neither did they fully understand the shibboleths of “inerrancy” ala CR leaders back in the day. One common element between the “takeover” crowd of the CR and what’s happening now with Calvinization is accelerated imaging, PR, and propaganda through the internet. Doesn’t matter whether anything is true spiritually or even physically anymore….sell the illusion of reality, gain a following, cast your votes. I

        Scott Shaver

        With all due respect:

        Agreement on “Inerrancy” has done and will do very little to quench the growing interpretive fire between “TRADS” and “CALS” .

        Take John 3:16 for example.

          Lydia

          “Agreement on “Inerrancy” has done and will do very little to quench the growing interpretive fire between “TRADS” and “CALS” .”

          And to confuse the situation even more, I noticed that the Calvinist view was referred to as the “conservative” view in several places leaving out the word Calvinism. Now that does not mean it would be used that way in different venues. Depends on the audience. The Trads are up against some of the most brilliant political strategists of all time, IMO. These are people who have no problem redefining words and concepts, as we all well know.

          In every single convo one has to ask for definitions of typical words/concepts. It is exhausting and few will do it

          volfan007

          Scott and Lydia,

          About the CR and today, in the SBC, at least our debates and differences of opinion are about matters of non-essential doctrine and theology. It’s not about whether to accept homosexuality as okay, or not; or about whether to believe in the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus, or not; or about whether the Bible is completely true, or does it contain errors; and a host of other things, which would undermine the Christian faith.

          I thank God for the CR. To get a look at the direction we were going before the CR took place, just look at the CBF, and the American Baptist Convention, and the PC(USA).

          DAvid

            Scott Shaver

            VolFan:

            By the looks of the highly publicized internal squabbles and endless blue ribbon statements which constantly pour out of the SBC these days, it certainly doesn’t look like simple differences of opinion over “non-essential doctrine and theology to me”. How do you explain the change in the seminaries and missions efforts over the past ten years.

            How do you explain the fact that you have millenial-aged SBCers now (“CALS” and “TRADS”) who are voicing opinions and recommending theological templates which are soft on the very issues you claim “undermine the Christian faith” (i.e homosexuality as natural orientation, communitarian theology, soft on alcohol etc).?

            Weren’t the so-called “moderates” during the CR drummed out for holding some of the same views?

              Max

              Scott – you bring up a good point. I’ve been watching an interesting dynamic unfold in SBC’s reformed ranks. It appears that there are as many flavors of reformed theology within Calvinism as there is amongst different Baptist denominations (Southern, Cooperative, Missionary, General, etc.). For years, SBC has had its Founders group and their quiet revolution … “Old” Calvinism has been its mantle. And then comes along this new breed of “New” Calvinists influenced by certain SBC leaders and non-SBC reformers. These New Calvinists entering SBC pulpits have a strong allegiance to such influencers and their closely-connected network of reformed organizations. While most “Old” Calvinists may be opposed to the message, method, and mission of their neo-brethren, others in the old guard appear to be putting up with this new brand as long as the essential reformed message moves forward in SBC ranks and elsewhere.

              There is no doubt (at least in my area) that the young, restless and reformed are attracting a generation of 20s-40s disillusioned with their parent’s way of doing church … many of these folks are children of non-Calvinist Southern Baptists. A “culturally-relevant” message, methodology, and missiology are packing the house … in some places appearing to be “soft” on social issues as you note.

              Oh … since this is supposed to be a comment stream pertaining to the SBC annual meeting … shouldn’t these sort of issues be addressed at that gathering, rather than business as usual? I realize the “unity committee” already tried to do that, but there is still this unresolved tension in our ranks.

            Max

            ” … our debates and differences of opinion are about matters of non-essential doctrine and theology.”

            David, its sounds like you are familiar with Dr. Mohler’s theological triage. If the majority of non-Calvinist Southern Baptists can accept God’s plan of salvation as a third tier non-essential when it comes to belief and practice, then we don’t have a problem in the SBC to be fussing about! If John 3:16 can be toned down in SBC’s outreach to a lost world … if altar calls and sinner’s prayers are viewed as simply nostalgic and unnecessary … if SBC leaders declare it’s OK to have two distinctly different soteriologies in a single denomination … then all SBC bloggers and commenters debating Cal vs. Trad just need to shut up and move on with the flow.

          Scott Shaver

          Rick Patrick:

          I agree whole-heartedly that the current version of the SBC has not gone the way of “PCUSA and others” on various issues.

          But you gotta admit, the entire SBC (at least in media image, content of education in SBC seminaries, etc) is looking slightly more Presbyterian than what we’ve historically understood as “Baptist” within the SBC .

            Rick Patrick

            Yes, much more than slightly. We are almost “presby-baptist.”

            Les Prouty

            Rick,

            With all due respect. I have served in both SB and PCA churches. SB cur he’s are not even close to Presby by a long shot. Elders and a top down church leadership structure is not enough. My 10 years in SB churches were not elder led but definitely top down led….pastors and staff led the deacons to follow along and the church had generally relinquished decision making to those leaders. Even that does not a Presby make.

            God bless brother down in the mother state of Alabama.

              Bill Mac

              Plus aren’t Calvinists a tiny minority in the SBC? That’s what we keep hearing. A good many of that minority are probably in non-Calvinist churches, so that brings the number down even further. So the number of Calvinist churches that have an elder ruled (not elder led) polity are the minority of the minority. That makes the SBC quite a bit less than presby-baptist. But fear of becoming presbyterian is a great political tool for a group seeking power.

                Lydia

                “Plus aren’t Calvinists a tiny minority in the SBC?”

                Minority in laity, majority in clergy , perhaps? But how would we ever really know because of the stealth tactics and definitions?

                Lydia

                .” So the number of Calvinist churches that have an elder ruled (not elder led) polity are the minority of the minority”

                What is the difference between elder ruled and elder led in practical application?

                  Bill Mac

                  What is the difference between elder ruled and elder led in practical application?

                  That’s easy. All churches are (or should be) elder-led. Our church has multiple elders and we are fully congregational. The elders have no more power or authority than the typical single pastor system employed by most churches. In fact I would dare say they have less. They do not run business meetings, chair no committees, and make no unilateral decisions other than what to preach. The elders preach, teach, visit, and counsel according to their ability. They are expected to show leadership in word and example but they can only lead by consent of the congregation.

                    Lydia

                    “That’s easy. All churches are (or should be) elder-led.”

                    Makes you wonder why ALL the Epistles were not addressed to the elders in those churches. Strange.

                    Mark Driscoll had elders. They showed what they thought was “leadership” in word and example. Too bad the congregation believed them.

                    So in your case they are “elder led” because the congregation lets them?

                  Bill Mac

                  I think those who say they fear elder-rule, if they are honest, really mean they fear Calvinist rule. If the SBC were really against elder-rule, we wouldn’t perpetually elevate mega-church celebrities to positions of authority. The idea that mega-churches practice congregational polity strains credulity. People feel (and not unreasonably) that the percentage of Calvinist entity heads is too high because they don’t represent the makeup of the SBC. I think that’s fair. And yet at the same time mega-church personalities are called upon to lead a group that is overwhelmingly made up of tiny churches. And few will blink an eye at this. Our denomination is led by celebrities. Something is wrong with that.

                    Lydia

                    “I think those who say they fear elder-rule, if they are honest, really mean they fear Calvinist rule.”

                    Actually I fear tyrants of every stripe whether at church, work or government. It is too easy to breed tyrants who know best for us these days.

                    . Most “elder led” churches I have witnessed or read about are really elder ruled but won’t admit it. I totally agree with you about mega churches. To even suggest congregational polity in a mega is a joke. But they are more about cult of personality than anything else. Their biggest problem are keeping the numbers so they are always recruiting.

                    Most adult Americans believe they can govern themselves even within a group except when they go to church. It is only then they need spiritual leaders instead of the Holy Spirit. :o)

                  Les Prouty

                  Lydia,

                  From my experience in the SBC elder led would be like many, many SB churches that are deacon led. The congregation has decided (congregationalism) to vest a body of men with limited authority. The elder led body or the deacon led body can make some decisions on behalf of the congregation because the members have autonomously decided they can.

                  Elder ruled (which I don’t know of any SB churches like this), the elders are constitutionally vested with more authority but not sole authority. Ruling elders still have limited authority and on some matters are subject to the congregation.

                  Andy

                  Generally just what it sounds like…Elder ruled means elders make most decisions apart from congregational vote…Elders hire or appoint other elders, etc…Elder led often means it is a congregationally governed church, but Elders (pastors) lead, often as a group, perhaps similar to the way some deacon boards used to lead many churches…important issues come to the elders, and they may recommend a certain action, but the congregation has to approve it. Elder led would actually be very similar to any normal multistage Baptist church (Senior pastor, music, youth, education, children’s, etc…Except that most churches who adopt the elder led model also seek to appoint some non-paid elders as well.

                  In a true elder led, congregationally ruled church, the church could easily vote to remove all elders, drop the term elder, and move to a single “pastor.”

                    Les Prouty

                    Andy,

                    “Elders hire or appoint other elders, etc”

                    I don’t know about in other churches, but in the PCA elder ruled does not mean what you just said. Ruling elders must be elected by vote of the congregation and can be removed by the congregation.

                  Andy

                  also, a traditionalist sbc church with a few pastors could easily decide to go by the term elders, and appoint a few non paid elders, and be elder led, while remaining in agreement with the TS, and with congregationalism

                  Les Prouty

                  Lydia,

                  “Makes you wonder why ALL the Epistles were not addressed to the elders in those churches. Strange.”

                  Not really, Paul (who was an elder) was doing what elders are supposed to do…instructing and shepherding the congregations. And sometimes other elders (Timothy).

                  “So in your case they are “elder led” because the congregation lets them?”

                  An autonomous congregation can certainly decide to let certain men be their leaders, can’t they?

                    Lydia

                    “Not really, Paul (who was an elder) was doing what elders are supposed to do…instructing and shepherding the congregations.”

                    ….From a remote location.

                    Diotrephes was an elder too. :o)

                  Les Prouty

                  Lydia,

                  “Diotrephes was an elder too. :o)”

                  And your point is…?

                Scott Shaver

                “Seeking Power” or seeking to remain hstorically “Southern Baptist” Bill Mac?

                Let’s face it, “power” as you describe it is the way decisions are made and agency goals are shaped within the SBC. That is a byproduct of the CR which changed the entire internal dynamic of the SBC.

                The only alternative to an exercise of power given the situation is the sure death of retreat and silence….denominationally speaking.

                Les says “Southern Baptist churches aren’t even close to Presbyterian by a long shot”. Maybe not according to his definition. But by my definition and that of thousands of SBCers and fomrer SBCers….they look, feel and sound like they’re
                working real hard to become identical.

                  Bill Mac

                  Scott: I don’t think there’s any question that traditionalist are seeking to supplant calvinists in power (however you define it) in the SBC. They have every right to attempt this and it says nothing of motives. As long as they don’t mess with the BFM, it makes no difference to me. But let’s not pretend that isn’t the goal. I see the presbyterian bogeyman as one of the less appealing tactics in that effort. There are what, 44000 SBC churches? Can anyone name 440 (1%) that have true elder-rule? Can anyone name 44 (.1%)?

                  Traditionalists are supposedly the overwhelming majority in the SBC, and yet they blame the Calvinists for the disproportionate number of Calvinists in leadership, when they should be blaming themselves. They are (supposedly) the majority after all.

                  As I said in another comment, things don’t change because the average SBCer doesn’t realize he/she is supposed to be choosing sides and arming for battle. Cals and non-cals work side by side because they haven’t been told they are enemies.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Bill Mac:

                    The recent history of BFM’s in the SBC seems to follow a pattern of becoming obsolete every decade or so requiring revision/rewriting to promote the prevailing status quo.

                    Look for it to happen time and time again regardless of who gets the upper hand, “CALS” or “TRADS”.

                    Lydia

                    Bill, Your entire comment is why this whole issue is a moot point. Do you seruiously want to blame people who had no idea they were being hoodwinked by stealth power grabs over a long period of time? What you are doing is engaging in gaslighting which has been a YRR favorite tactic. To tell people they have to prove something that has been covert all along! Just where does John Doe pewsitter go to report what is happening in his church except a personal experience on a blog or something like that? He will simply be told what he thinks is happening is not happening. That is how that movement works. The new pastor did not tell John Doe that grace meant irresistable grace. He had to work that out over time.

                    I have had several YRR grads tell me to my face that if pulpit committees are too ignorant to ask them the right questions, it is their own fault. This is the thinking taught in semiary. I have seen them say this on blogs! You are engaging in the same thinking by your comment.

                    Here is one for ya: Why would anyone want to be in spiritual fellowship with folks who think that way? The trust issues have become somewhat insurmountable. This sort of thinking is the new normal in the SBC.

                  Bill Mac

                  Lydia: You have a low view of your non-calvinist brethren. I don’t think they are as gullible or dumb as you seem to think.

                    Lydia

                    “Lydia: You have a low view of your non-calvinist brethren. I don’t think they are as gullible or dumb as you seem to think.”

                    Nice try. Educated, erudite and very professional people are hoodwinked all the time. When talking with SGM survivors I was shocked at how many professionals attended there and were sucked into the shepherding cult. Look at the typical Mars Hill member: educated professional albeit youngish.

                    You add in the spiritual element and people are not only more trusting in that environment but more tolerant for long periods of time.

                    Except for my early training in the SBC and my parents influence concerning freedom and responsibility, I would most likely gotten caught up in that movement.

                  Bill Mac

                  Lydia: Which of the current SBC leaders owe their position to deception or stealth? Is there anyone who “came out” as a Calvinist after they were elected or appointed? When was the last SBC president who was a Calvinist? Did these Calvinist entity heads sneak past the unwitting Traditionalists? I think not. I’m not talking about a pastoral candidate who isn’t forthcoming about his beliefs. I’m talking about the leadership of the SBC.

                    Lydia

                    How about naming the entity heads who made it clear they would be focusing on Calvinism as the true Gospel.

                    Or, we could pretend the last 10 years never happened in the SBC. That would be perfect unity. A great way to build trust.

                    So I am done here Bill. You win.

                    Scott Shaver

                    We could start in Louisville and Ft. Worth, Bill Mac ….but that would detract from the current conversation about “what to do now”.

                  Bill Mac

                  My point is this: It is easy to blame others for your misfortune. That usually doesn’t solve anything. I’m not sure I buy everything the author of this piece is selling, but at least it’s an attempt at a solution.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Here’s an attempt at solution as long as they’re being offered up.

                    SBC votes to limit itself for three consecutive years to the appointment only of business persons, educators, and active church members from the ranks of laity to its boards and committees……..not one seminary president/professor, pastor or denominational employee even considered for at least three years.

                    A lot of this foolishness might start to dry up.

                    Bill Mac

                    That’s so crazy it might just work.

                    Bill Mac

                    They might try looking at women for some of these positions also, although I suspect that would cause some people’s heads to explode.

            Andy

            “”But you gotta admit, the entire SBC (at least in media image, content of education in SBC seminaries, etc) is looking slightly more Presbyterian than what we’ve historically understood as “Baptist” within the SBC .””

            …you of course meant to add… “Except for the entire presbertry and presbeterian church structure by which Presbyterians are identified…”. ????

              Scott Shaver

              The correct order and appearance of bonafide Presbyterian ecclesiology and practice is irrelvant except to the extent it’s theology and influence is being imported deceptively as “just another branch of the Baptist church.”

              Horse Feathers.

                Scott Shaver

                Andy:

                I did not mean “Horse-feathers” in terms your comment which is spot on.

                I mean’t “horse-feathers” to the argument which reasons “as long as we’ve not become completely identified with neo-calvinsim right down to the fine details of presbyterian structure…nothing to see here, move along.”

                There obviously is something “visable’…to many, ecclesiology notwithstanding.

Max

“stick your finger in the air to determine the direction we should go”

Brother White, I have to admit that this form of leadership in the SBC is driving me crazy. It’s analogous to “tell me which way you want to go and I’ll get out in front to lead”, which is not leadership at all in that it surrenders leading to followers. It’s getting increasingly difficult to ascertain the doctrinal stripes of some Southern Baptists. They are slippery and elusive, positioned to turn with shifting winds. Just tell me who you are! You will always know who I am.

I asked a young pastor I knew why his theological sentiments had changed when he planted a new church near me – his response “Only the reformed churches are growing.” One could expand this by noting that only the reformed churches are attracting the millennials … only reformed organizations hold cool conferences … only reformed churches have hot bands … only the reformed who’s-who are selling popular books … etc. Such migration is reinforced by an SBC seminary president when he says things like “Where else are they going to go? … there just are not options out there.” It will only take a generation to shift SBC majority belief and practice … New Calvinist leaders within SBC know this.

Ken

While the use of social media may be of some use it doesn’t take into consideration the fact that some SBC leaders(?) do not read blogs. For instance, in my email exchanges with Frank Page, he advised me that he personally does not read any blogs. He does, however, usually respond to emails sent to him. His mind is closed on the Calvinist issue and he is intent upon carrying on an accommodation of Calvinist doctrine. These are the types of people who need to be expelled from SB leadership positions.

    Bill Mac

    These are the types of people who need to be expelled from SB leadership positions.

    Along with the Calvinists themselves?

      Scott Shaver

      I continue to laugh at the rhetoric of expulsion and exclusion over golden calf issues.

      How do you guys think you got into this shape to begin with?

        Scott Shaver

        One last comment and I’m done. I’ve said too much too often already.

        My comments should be picked apart in a public forum and I welcome that. But need to shut-up long enough for such to happen. Thanks Jon for allowing me the space.

        Everybody I read on these blogs seems to miss a major axiomatic principle:

        THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN SBC CHURCH! There are baptist churches WHICH CHOOSE to cooperate with the SBC.

        A five-point CALVINIST Baptist church can CHOOSE to cooperate and a LIBERAL/MODERATE/TRADTIONAL/REFORM church can CHOOSE to cooperate. That is unless a handful decide not.

        A useless annual meeting and some internet prolific seminary presidents (along with sycophants) and carefully selected committees perpetuate the status quo of a handful of “duly-elected” messengers via the very few voluntarily cooperative churches which actually waste time representing themselves at a staged preaching production as opposed to an in-house business meeting.

        Even the churches representing themselves every year at the annual meeting look, to a lot of folks still bothering to watch, less…..”Baptist”?

          Andy

          Good point…this is why I do not worry about what the national sbc does…if they go too far off the deep end, our church will stop supporting their missionaries….but they have no power over us.

            Scott Shaver

            Good approach Andy.

            I suspect that the in-house trend of the SBC’s IMB under the leadership of Platt will be to decrease it’s dependency on Cooperative Program dollars for funding. Would not surprise me to discover that they are already putting plans in place for alternative funding outside the CP.

            At that point, “Southern Baptists” will have only a minority share in the IMB. It will be able to “do” or “do without” your church’s contributions and will set it’s own goals and agenda’s apart from the convention’s influence/ownership.

            Again…..hope I’m wrong.

Ken

Andy

Yes, I am still currently a member of a SBC church.

Ken

Ken

SBC Today

This is probably not the place to submit this question but with my limited computer skills I have not been able to initiate dialogue with the blog.

My question is, if it is not a violation of sbctoday.com protocol, would it be possible to initiate a process whereby contributors(e.g., Dr. White) could respond to the comments made to their articles but particularly the questions posed directly to them during the comments period? I realize they are busy men but perhaps it could be a summarizing submission when it appears that the comments have been essentially completed and with the understanding that they would not be expected to enter into any debates with their answers and clarifications.

Perhaps it is just a shortcoming of mine but I think it would add interesting dialogue to the various articles.

Thanks.
Ken

Debbie Kaufman

I wonder how many who comment on this site are actually going to an SBC affiliated church? There are those from other places, even non-Christians who would love to see the church destroyed. One has no way of knowing a person is who they say.

Also I as a long standing member of an SBC church am more interested in ridding the SBC churches of liars, pedophiles, murderers(and we have had at least 2 or 3 of those from various ministers in the SBC affiliated churches). I am not so interested in removing differing doctrines from mine except those who would wish harm to innocents.

Scott H

I wish to respond to the original post rather than to any of the comments.

I believe this article is poorly timed and completely unhelpful at this time. Our SBC President, has called for as many as possible to attend this years convention specifically to pray for God’s movement on our nation in revival (in addition to the business to be conducted). I believe that revival in our nation is desperately needed and, honestly, I see very little concern for revival in our nation on blogs like this. I deeply regret that due to work and our church obligations that I cannot attend the SBC this year. I can’t imagine how sitting at home on purpose calling the annual meeting a complete waste of time is remotely helpful to the cause of Christ when you have the opportunity to join with your brothers and sisters in prayer before our Lord asking for His mighty work to happen. I can understand why some hard core hyper-Calvinists or theological liberals would not pray for revival, but why more mainstream Calvinists and Traditionalists would avoid this is beyond my understanding.

    Andy

    Scott,

    I believe it is a matter of “best use of time and resources.” Hear me out, I am not saying that PRAYER itself is a poor use of time…rather that for an annual meeting that is supposed to be a business meeting, using the short time available for business is a proper and good use of time. We should be praying every day, alone and in small or large groups. For many, it is a significant strain on time and finances to travel hundreds (for some thousands?) of miles to pray with 5,000 people you don’t know, if that is the main reason for going. For others, it may be entirely appropriate and good for them to go and do just that.

    If your church called a business meeting to discuss a serious issue with the pastor’s leadership, a large financial expenditure for a building, AND the support of 10 new missionaries when the church only had funds to support 5 of them…and you instead spent the time praying, singing, hearing reports, but not deciding anything…that might be ok, if you were planning to call another business meeting the following week to make a final decision…BUT…if it was an annual meeting only, one might call that a poor stewardship of time, if there were important matters that needed to be decided or addressed.

      Scott H

      Andy,

      Thanks for the interaction. They aren’t ignoring the business as it will be done in the day sessions. I am trying to point out that this particular article was not helpful in our current 2015 convention context as that out of all annual meetings, this particular one is the absolute last one that anyone should call useless. If Dr. White had written the article in another year, his points might have some validity. But this is an example of posting something at the absolute worst time to do so in my opinion. Save this one for a more normal context.

        Scott Shaver

        “Over-spiritualization of the annual meeting”, with all due respect, is the main reason nothing gets accompished (i.e. BUSINESS).

        The national call to prayer with 11 celebrity pastors smacks more of an invitation to a World Wrestling Federation event (IMO).

        Andy

        Forgive me if I’m missing something that should be obvious…but what is it that makes this one different? Leaders call for prayer for revival every year. I suppose I’m missing what exactly Dr. White has said that you disagree with. He himself has not advocated sitting at home, but rather coming and attempting to change things.

        Kyle Gulledge

        Again, I think you have missed what Dr. White has said—yes, there will be MUCH business that is missed in the day sessions, or at least rushed through without time for the laity to have time to think through, respond, or formulate some kind of rebuttal. How exactly is THIS meeting different from previous years? Also, why do you keep emphasizing the “useless” aspect of this–I am beginning to think you have not read the article in its entirety. Blessings in Christ brother.

        Jon Carter, Editor
        SBC Today

    Scott Shaver

    I write this light-heartedly Scott H.

    Better be careful using the tag “mainstream” in reference to SBC “Calvinists” and “Traditionalists”.

    Up until just a few years ago “mainstream” was a very dirty word because it designated a group of “traditionalist” (at that time) SBCers who resisted the last “takeover”.

    Billy Preston used to sing “Will it go round in circles?”………..YES it will.

    Kyle Gulledge

    Good morning Scott H,

    First off, thank you for your readership of SBC Today! I believe that you have misunderstood what Dr. White has written. This article is perfectly timed and absolutely helpful! You have stated that the “SBC President has called for as many as possible to attend…” Do you think that Ronnie Floyd is the only president to request such a thing? Of course not. You also mention that he (Floyd) is emphasizing prayer. Well, all of the presidents have a “theme” of sorts–but the SBC Annual meeting is not a prayer meeting–it is a business meeting. This of course does not mean that we should not pray for the meeting and during the meeting–but the focus is the business. This was Dr. White’s point in case you missed it. Too often when all of the messengers come to the meetings we are so tied up with these special emphases and music that more than often the business is cut short or a new time slot is voted on and the messengers that were expecting a correct schedule then themselves miss the business. You then move on to accuse Dr. White of “sitting at home on purpose calling the annual meeting a complete waste of time…” Where did Dr. White say such a thing? Maybe you missed the banner at the top of the page where Connect 316 is hosting a supper at the convention–a way of encouraging more people to come. Then again you move on to accuse Cals and Trads of “avoiding this…” Avoiding what? The convention? Unlike you, I am going–yes, I know that you have time constraints that are keeping you away–but that is quite a bold assessment for someone who in turn is doing the very thing they are upset about. Maybe you meant “avoiding this…” talking about praying for revival. If so, you could not be more wrong.

    The truth is we should be praying for revival all the time for all of our local churches. Won’t you join me in prayer for such things?

    Jon Carter, Editor
    SBC Today

      Max

      “… we should be praying for revival all the time …”

      Amen Jon! This is indeed the most important thing on the agenda at this year’s annual meeting … particularly this year considering the growing unrest in SBC membership over theological difference. I was young and now am old and have seen prayer meetings go by the wayside in many SBC churches for lack of interest … which explains the periodic bouts of division over this and that in our denomination. It could very well be that we don’t experience genuine revival in SBC ranks because both pulpit and pew seem satisfied to life without it … and are not willing to offer up persistent prayer for it. Those who complain that we need to limit the annual meeting to “business” matters forget that prayer is the best business of a Christian.

      Scott H

      Mr. Carter,

      First, you may be correct that I may have misunderstood some of Dr. White’s points. My comments are based in my interpretation of what he was saying and since I am not inerrant, I may have taken some things the wrong way. However, when he calls the meeting useless, it seems he would be against attending this year when his proposed changes would not be in place. I did take it that his point was to skip this year, and make changes for the future. I felt like that was implied (perhaps I am incorrect, but I don’t think so).

      Secondly, your accuse me of accusing when I’m making general observations. I see that I should have been more clear in that respect. I am not accusing people of staying home – I am observing that I find it strange that a more evangelical Calvinist or Traditionalist would behave as I would expect a liberal or hyper-Calvinist to behave. I did not have anyone specifically in mind – it was a general observation.

      Third, I don’t think this years theme is the usual, run of the mill theme. I believe Dr. Floyd is very, very serious about spiritual awakening and he has called on our convention to do something I honestly don’t remember any other SBC president doing in the past. So I think criticism of the annual meeting at this particular time (2015) is not warranted. Save it for later.

      Lastly, I do not understand why you are criticizing me because I cannot attend the convention even though I wish I could go (your unstated implication seems to be that you think I am a hypocrite and that is breathtakingly harsh and unreasonable). Part of my point is that I wish I could go.

        Kyle Gulledge

        Greetings Scott,

        No reason to call me Mister, that makes me feel old!! Thanks for your reply. You state: “I don’t think this years theme is the usual, run of the mill theme.” I don either. But what theme has been “run of the mill”?
        2010–“Love Loud Through The Great Commission”
        2011–“A Great Commission People With A Great Commandment Heart”
        2012–“Jesus To The Neighborhoods And The Nation”
        2013–“Revive Us Again That We May Be One”
        2014–“Restoration And Revival Through Prayer”

        Which one of these is just run of the mill? Which SBC President did NOT call all of the SBC to prayer for these very things over the past years? I like Ronnie Floyd, after all I am an original Arkansas boy! I too think he is sincere in his request–but in all of this I still believe you have misread or misunderstood Dr. White’s point. I was not criticizing you for not going to the meeting–and if that is how it came across I do apologize–but that was not what I was saying. My point still stands that Dr. White was not trying to encourage anyone not to attend the meeting, in fact, I believe he is encouraging them to go. Have a blessed day in the Lord brother.

          Scott H

          Jonathan (since you don’t like Mr. Carter),

          Thanks for clarifying that you did not mean to criticize me. I accept the apology though I will concede I should apologize for misunderstanding you as well as I seemed to misunderstand what you intended.

Andy

(FOR LES, FROM THE THREAD ABOVE…)

ANDY SAID: “Elders hire or appoint other elders, etc”

LES SAID: “I don’t know about in other churches, but in the PCA elder ruled does not mean what you just said. Ruling elders must be elected by vote of the congregation and can be removed by the congregation.”

Sorry, I am not up on my presbyterian polity. I was speaking only from experience and observation of baptist churches. I know every church is different, and every church structures their polity different, but I have heard of some larger churches that function this way, such that addition and removal of Pastors is not by congregational vote.

I should have nuanced it to say that there is likely a spectrum…with elders having more or less leeway to act apart from the congregational vote.

Andy

“”SBC votes to limit itself for three consecutive years to the appointment only of business persons, educators, and active church members from the ranks of laity to its boards and committees……..not one seminary president/professor, pastor or denominational employee even considered for at least three years.””

Ooh, I like it…but I would also allow Bi-vocational pastors. (REAL ones, not the guys who have 4-5 lucrative side jobs in addition to a “full-time” pastorate….people who’s church salaray is under $15-20k).

    Scott Shaver

    I could make that concession Andy. No problemo!

      Scott Shaver

      And Bill Mac, if he is bivocational or other could be credentials chairman etc. It could happen.

    Max

    “SBC votes to limit itself for three consecutive years to the appointment only of business persons, educators, and active church members from the ranks of laity to its boards and committees……..not one seminary president/professor, pastor or denominational employee even considered for at least three years.” ” … also allow (REAL) Bi-vocational pastors …”

    Sounds like a plan to me. Some of the most spiritual folks in SBC ranks these days are in the pew, not denominational office (be it in the pulpit or SBC entity)! And these godly folks are growing weary with theo-politics.

Scott Shaver

Caution: Consider the backlash of a public annual SBC decision NOT to include or “trust” its supporting lay tiers?

    Max

    Yes, don’t add to the misery in the pew of a laity who already don’t trust their leaders.

volfan007

“Not everyone experiences this grace; nevertheless, God holds back any judgment that would come to a man until God, in His kindness, has given every man a chance to repent.”
-A. W. Tozer

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available