I was so busy during the convention and the days since that I have not yet posted my reflections on this year’s meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio. But inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write an orderly account for my readers. I will provide my analysis in the form of a bulleted list with the events in the order in which they happened this past week in San Antonio.
- The Pastor’s Conference: This was one of the best SBC Pastor’s Conferences in recent ministry. Dr. Hayes Wicker put together an excellent program. The music was largely God-centered and done with excellence. The messages which I heard were excellent. The testimonies were a great idea and were both encouraging and convicting. I encourage you to watch the following messages and testimonies:
- “Be Being Encouraged in Your Calling” – Dr. Roger Spradlin
- “Christ’s Victory in Spite of Opposition” – Dr. Paige Patterson
- “By Evangelizing Your World” – Dr. Jerry Vines
- “By Engaging Our Culture” – Mr. Charles W. Colson
- “By Claiming Your Victory” – Dr. James MacDonald
- “By Hearing Your Word About Love and Worship” – Dr. J.D. Greear
- “Christ’s Victory in Spite of Pain” – Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
- “Christ’s Victory in Spite of Temptation” – Dr. James T. Draper, Jr.
- “By Humbling Ourselves in Surrender and Obedience” – Dr. Johnny Hunt
- Dr. Mohler’s Radio Program: Along with my friend Scott Lamb, I had the privilege of sitting in on a live broadcast of the Albert Mohler Radio Program. The program being broadcast was titled “Creation Care and the Problem of Global Warming” (download MP3 here) and featured a dialogue between Dr. Mohler and Russell Moore about the latter’s testimony before a Congressional subcommittee the week before. A fascinating discussion and one which showed once again to me the brilliance of these two men. Scott also had the unique honor of being interviewed by Dr. Mohler for this program (download MP3 here). They discussed the question of why what happens at the SBC is important.
- Voddie Baucham’s message at the Founder’s Breakfast (read all about it here): This message was a call for repentance in seven key areas. Read this BP story by Scott Lamb for the details.
- Dr. Albert Mohler’s Response to a question by Bart Barber about theological triage (watch here). Dr. Mohler’s unique abilities were on display in this on the spot response. He is truly a Baptist (and Evangelical) treasure.
- The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Report: After a video presentation about the seminary, Dr. Patterson addressed the issues that many had questions about in a straightforward, non-compromising, yet gracious way (watch here). He did an excellent job presenting his views and the policies of SWBTS. For some reason many in the blogosphere are lampooning his report, even though he addressed the concerns which they have been addressing over the last year.
- Election of Jim Richards as 1st Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention: You can watch the nominations here. This was a resounding victory for Jim Richards over David Rogers (who supports those who pray in a private prayer language. Although I have no ill will toward David Rogers (who is by all accounts a good man), I voted for Richards because I knew the political intentions of those who promoted his candidacy. When the votes were cast, I could hear the “chads” being punched out and I told my wife Gretta that Richards had won by 66 to 70%. That prediction turned out to be correct.
- Adoption of Baptist Faith and Message (2000) Motion (watch here beginning at 22:40): This motion was hatched by the Burleson/Cole coalition in an attempt to take advantage of the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention desire to affirm the Baptist Faith and Message (2000). The goal seems to have been to cause the majority of unsuspecting messengers to tie the hands of trustees of SBC institutions in implementing policies to protect the interests of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. The main targets were policies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the International Mission Board regarding the practice of private prayer languages. The motion passed, but only because the language of the motion was so vague that all Southern Baptists could support it. The main reason any voted against it, was because of the understanding of some of what was behind the motion. Because the language was vague, it will not have the effect which the crafters of the motion desired, as is clear in Dr. Mohler’s SBTS report (see below).
- Resolution Committee Report (watch here): Always one of the most interesting parts of the convention. The convention adopted some good resolutions, but refused to adopt the best one offered by Tom Ascol. I was very disappointed at this point.
- The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Report (watch here/listen here): This has been one of the most maligned moments of the convention by the Burleson/Cole coalition (along with the SWBTS report), but in my opinion it was the greatest moment of this year’s convention. Dr. Mohler singlehandedly saved the day by explaining to all present exactly what had been passed in the Baptist Faith and Message Motion, while explaining exactly how that motion would be applied by him in his role as President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. If you want to understand the issues at stake in this discussion, watch this video.
- President George W. Bush’s Address to the Messengers of the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention (watch here).
The most blessed part of the week was the brief time available to visit with friends like: Scott Lamb and his wife Pearl, Klay Aspinwall, Don Whitney, Michael Haykin, Chad Brand, Ed Stucky, Russell Moore, Robbie Sagers, Jeff and Christie Wright, Bret Capranica, Chris Morgan and his wife Melanie, Tim Ellsworth, Chad Bresson, David Dockery, and Greg Thornbury. It was also great to meet for the first time: Malcolm Yarnell and Bart Barber.
Overall, this was a very interesting meeting. Transporting my wife and five kids back and forth from our hotel to the convention was more difficult than I had imagined. But had I imagined it, I wouldn’t have brought my family so I’m glad I didn’t imagine it. We had a great time together sleeping all over a hotel room and walking all over San Antonio. The Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio was beautiful. We got to ride a boat down the river on Wednesday night after the meeting ended and we went to the Alamo on Thursday morning before heading back home.
Finally, let me leave you with a few links to men who have provided both better and fuller commentary on this year’s convention. These are all men with whom I generally agree. You can find the others on your own!