Monday, April 14, 2008


The SBC blogworld is beginning to warm up now as the Indy date quickly approaches. Speculations, confirmations and predictions are the music of the keyboards. Certainly, it is a privilege to serve as president of the SBC and in the capacity of president, the ability to appoint the Committee on Committees which nominates the Committee on Nominations is also a heavy responsibility. The trustees, which eventually are elected out of this cycle, determine the direction that the ship of the SBC and its entities will sail. While one may argue that the responsibility of the trustee is to reflect the beliefs of those who were responsible for electing the president, it is highly unlikely that the trustee will vote in any way contrary to his own personal convictions and political leanings. Therefore, I believe it is possible to say that the trustee is not so much a representative of the people as he is a representative of an ideology. And this, the ideology, is where the great divides occur. To some, the issue of how a candidate feels about Calvinism is the chief concern while others are pondering his view on the role of women in the church and yet even others are pondering if his ideology will continue along the lines of the Conservative Resurgence begun in '79. Should the next president be a small church pastor or a large church pastor? Should the next president be the president of one of the seminaries or should they not be allowed to serve as SBC presidents? To be sure, each group will claim that Scripture and God are on their side as well as the use of historical precedent to bolster their belief. What an amazing amalgam, this group called the SBC.

Yet, for many SBCers, this time in June will pass with no thoughts of Indy but plenty of action at VBS. For many years, that is the position I took. I was willing to swim in the pond of the SBC without much concern for the water in the pond, because after all, I am a pastor of an AUTONOMOUS church and no echelon exists to tell me what my church can or cannot do. Ah, BUT, the church I serve has chosen to associate itself with the SBC and so it becomes a matter of importance to us about that by which we can be/are identified. It becomes important then for us to let our voice be known in this ship of the SBC. We therefore seek presidents whose ideologies most reflect our own because we trust that the president will make appointments of those of like mind on our ideologies as well. In turn, then, we swim in a pond of our own making, or so we hope.

The challenge to shape the pond is a formidable task desired by many. In pursuit of this challenge, temptations will abound both visible and in stealth. Guard your hearts and your keyboards. There is no reason for any of us to be devoured by Satan if we truly are all seeking the exaltation of Christ and the decrease of ourselves. Run. Run Hard. Run Clean.

And that is how I see it.


Byroniac said...

Luke, looks like I will finally get the honor of first comment. Good words. Now if they'll only listen to you...

Luke said...

Isn't it comforting to know that no matter how things turn out, God is still going to be glorified? My prayer is that He is glorified because of the love that His disciples display for one another. Surely we can disagree and disagree sharply, after all, the Word of God is our passion. But we must not neglect the contents of the Word in our struggle to defend the contents of the Word.

Dave Miller said...

In reality, the most important power an SBC president has is the appointment of the committee on committees that will appoint trustees, etc. That is how the conservative resurgence went forward.

I still don't see a candidate out there who matches my ideology. I want someone who is very supportive of the SBC, but also sees the need for a broader range of candidates.

Luke said...

What is interesting about how the CR took notice of that point is that they did not see the change over night but it took a few years for the rudder of the SBC ship to be turned. The leaders of the CR had long range vision as well as short range vision. Long range was to reorient the direction of the ship and short range was to turn that wheel one degree at a time.

We are on a ship in a sea, so when someone mutinies, it would only seem natural that either they abandon ship on their own or are tossed overboard. And there definitely is reason to address a habitual naysayer so that the rest of the morale on the ship is not infected. Defining mutiny is where so many disagree, and just how many times does a person have to nay say to warrant the title "infecter"?

I would like a president that keeps us on the same heading charted by the CR and knows how to energize the deck hands as we head across the sea.

Having said that, might I conjecture that the reason for our seeming futile splashing of the oars in the water is that the CR goal was reached. Success on the battle field leaves soldiers without a war to fight. Reaching port leaves deck hands without a sail to furl. The CR ought to have opened the door to great and world changing endeavors for the Lord. Kinda like Star Trek, always pressing forward.

So while I hope we can stay the course of the CR, I pray for a president that can help us to achieve success on top of success. No status quo but constantly moving forward for the glory of the Lord. I do have confidence, though, that no matter how things may appear from our perspective, the Lord will receive glory from it all.

Dave Miller said...

When the CR was in full swing, all factions of the SBC on the conservative side pulled together - Calvinist, not-so-Calvinist, more fundamentalist, less-so, etc. The question of whether we would be an inerrantist denomination trumped all those other concerns.

Then, we won the battle. Suddenly, with inerrancy no longer an issue, our divisions on other issues began to percolate to the top.

It is a pretty normal human response.