Thursday, June 17, 2021

Southern Baptist Convention: A First-Hand Perspective


The following is a good analysis of this week's Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting in Nashville, TN, from pastor Wayne Bray of Simpsonville, SC. I was not in attendance, but my wife and daughter were.

"The Southern Baptist Convention remains in session, but I thought an update is appropriate considering the media attention from Tuesday. Instead of a long discourse, I will list a series of points that may help laymen understand what is going on.

1. The SBC is facing a multitude of issues. For anyone to minimize the disagreements and/or debates to one issue, attempting to categorize people in one camp or another, is misleading. The SBC is not divided into simple categories. Instead, messengers tend to seek the Holy Spirit’s leading on each issue before them, rather than form political groups with a “platform.”

2. The events of Tuesday’s meeting confirmed that the local church is in fact the headquarters of the SBC, not executive offices in Nashville, TN. It was beautiful to see over 16,000 messengers (the most in over 25 years) come from all over the country to speak their convictions on numerous matters.

3. It would be wrong to make the debates of yesterday about any one issue. Issues included debates over internal power struggles and denominational balance of power. There were some who were rightly concerned about the evil of Critical Race Theory and its influence on our denomination, while others (though in opposition to CRT) were equally concerned about the evil of racism. Still more representatives passionately defended victims of sexual abuse. Case in point, this convention was multifaceted. The media will attempt to shove people into categories it understands and use terms that they define. This is misleading.

3. There are no “liberals” in the SBC. I was a young pastor in the closing days to the Conservative Resergence. In those days we had people in our denomination who did not believe in the virgin birth and the literal resurrection of Jesus. We had seminary professors who didn’t believe in the authority of scripture. Those days are gone. I personally do not know a southern Baptist pastor who doesn’t hold to the inerrancy and sufficiency of Gods word. While some pastors in our convention resorted to name calling, using words like liberal to describe their brother in Christ, it’s important to note their definition is much different than that of the 1980s and 1990s.

4. Ed Litton is a godly, conservative pastor who has a passion for racial reconciliation. And Mike Stone is a godly, conservative pastor who feels the convention is in danger of a liberal drift. When emotions run high, and they have, people tend to respond with extreme rhetoric. I wish this wasn’t true of pastors but it is. Some have misrepresented both of my friends. Ed has a long term track record of conservatism that needs no defense. Mike Stone has a long track record of character and consistency. These are two good men, who are not enemies, regardless of what you hear. Sinful accusations were made of both men, and it’s unfortunate that these men and their families were put through this ordeal.

5. While it may have appeared to be a divisive environment, Pastors and messengers on all sides of every issue were godly in their representation. At no time in the convention on Tuesday did men and women get out of order or unruly. Each side of every issue demonstrated Christlike spirit and unity. This was an answered prayer.

6. The SBC is not over. So please continue to pray for our unity in the gospel and great commission."

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