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