The recent SBC convention

I didn’t attend the recent SBC convention in Louisville, Kentucky, but it has been interesting reading various perspectives on the event.

Timmy Brister attended his first convention this year. Afterward, he posted ten highlights of the week and ten lowlights.

one of Timmy’s highlights was:

3.  The discussion and vote for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force was historic and hopefully paradigm shifting.  Dr. Mohler was sharp and persuasive; Dr. Frank Page was irenic (as usual) and clear that this transcends theological differences; Tom Ascol was direct in returning us to issue at hand by avoiding the subtle attempts to overthrow the motion; and the young brother from TX has bold and convincing as a spokesman for the younger folk and why they are here in support for the GCR and future of the SBC.  The overwhelming vote of 95% to 5% in the affirmative revealed that we as Southern Baptists are ready for change in spite of the failed attempts of Morris Chapman and the majority of the Executive Committee to stop it.

Obviously, this is a very important vote and event in Southern Baptist Life. A recommitment to the Great Commission is essential if the denomination is to last longer than one or perhaps two more generations. Still, I wonder how this step will translate into action for your regular old run of the mill Southern Baptist Church down the block. That is where the rubber meets the road. In those pews are the hearts and minds that need to regain a heart for our joint ministry of reconciliation. In those pews are the feet that need to get moving while there is still time. In those pews are the mouths that need to open to share the Gospel with their friends and neighbors.

The vote on a GCR Task Force is an important step, but time is short and the need for immediate action is greater than it ever has been.

One of Timmy’s lowlights was:

3.  Cultural Fundamentalism

The Southern Baptist Convention has embraced the religious forms of the South in many ways that has pushed cultural fundamentalism at odds with gospel-centered churches.  This fundamentalism emphatically embraces the culture war and bemoans the sinful actions of secular society, calling for radical separation and denunciation of things aforementioned in #2 (homosexuals, drinking, cussing, etc.).  More attention is paid to the cultural imperative than the gospel indicative, thereby leading to a moralism or religion that fights for cultural values and even sometimes elevates them to a higher degree than the gospel.  Although I agree that some of the issues are important, the presence of this cultural fundamentalism is quite disconcerting, especially as this past convention revealed the level of importance placed upon them.  I would much rather see us deal with being “of the world but not in the world” than being “in the world but not of the world.”  We need the fight the war with sin the camp before we fight the war with sin in the culture.  And for the record, I have never had an ounce of alcohol in my life, nor smoked, nor do I cuss – but that’s besides the point. ;)

This one and the lowlights Timmy lists before and after this one get to the heart of the problem that has to be overcome in order for the SBC to ever be effective again as a denomination. Satan has well and truly blinded the hearts and minds of many good people and has them believing that fighting for cultural moralism is the same as engaging in the ministry of reconciliation. I have struggled against this mentality most of my life and it is the reason that I finally left my church last year.

There are more important things to which to attend than keeping track of people’s outward conformity to a list of “acceptable” activities. Quit wasting time with conduct lists and get busy for the Gospel while there is still time to work.


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