A Great Day for Tennessee Baptists

As many of you know from a previous post, I am spending the first half of this week at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Memphis. While I am greatly encouraged by the general direction of the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, I have spent most of my six years as a Tennessee Baptist greatly discouraged by the direction of the TBC. Today I saw the first signs of encouragement for me as a Tennessee Baptist.

  • First, the messengers elected to add a question to a questionaire asked to all potential trustees of the various institutions of the TBC regarding their affirmation of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. The answer to this question will be reported to the messengers of the Convention, so that an informed decision can be reached on their nomination. I believe that this is an important step toward the recovery of the doctrinal accountability of our institutions in our state convention to the churches.
  • Second, the messengers once again elected a conservative president. This time it is Ron Stewart, pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Knoxville, TN. Dr. Stewart has taken a strong stand for the conservative theological issues in our state which I greatly appreciate. I believe he will make a great president for our convention.
  • Third, in a surprise move to me at least, the messengers voted (finally) to affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a convention. There was vigorous debate on both sides, but in the end, it was those who called for a stronger doctrinal commitment who carried the day.
  • Fourth, Dr. David Dockery gave a stirring report on behalf of Union University in which he affirmed Union’s commitment to holding to historic Baptist doctrines. His “report” was the best “sermon” of the week so far! He received a standing ovation. Another sign that doctrinal fidelity is the desire of Tennessee Baptists.

As a whole the actions of this deliberative body on this day represents a strong statement from the people of the churches of the Tennessee Baptist Convention that it is no longer business as usual in the TBC! The issues related to Belmont and the drift of Carson-Newman seem to have awakened Tennessee Baptists to the need for doctrinal accountability. Let’s hope that the Executive Committee was watching and listening today and that they will be more responsive to the vast majority of Tennessee Baptists who believe in the need for doctrinal and confessional accountability!

For a more detailed summary of the proceedings of the convention, check out the blog of my friend Jeff Wright. He is doing a great job so far, and I’m sure that he will continue to provide updates.


  1. Oh yes, and a fifth reason for encouragement today was my lunch with Tim Ellsworth, Mike Beach, Mark Martin and Ray Van Neste at a local Memphis BBQ place. It was delicious . . . and the “conversation” was good as well. Thanks for the BBQ Nachos Tim! They were delicious!

  2. It’s good to know you Tennesseeans are doing good with the doctrinal purity and also that you’re having some fine barbecue.

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