… Says this old SBC member who has attended these major annual SBC meetings in five different decades, perhaps thirty in all.
I voted in favor of the proposal for sexual abuse in Nashville, but after all the arguments of the Executive Committee in September, I am not sure that everything that is now known was presented before the vote in June. I doubt that would change the outcome, but the messengers needed to be informed more than they are.
It may be exclusively a positive outcome of the proposal, that is my hope anyway, but at this stage no one knows.
If “manipulated” is too strong a word for some of our more sensitive readers, I would answer that it is the way things are done at these world’s largest purely democratic business meetings. It’s an old saw about churches that pastors like to walk around and complain about: “We’ve always done it that way, preacher.”
In Nashville, we had pre-arranged formulations that involved insiders and lawyers and that had specific goals. Probably those who eat and sleep SBC policy knew that. Beloved Baptist pastor Podunk Crossroads and his lovely wife, voter messengers, probably didn’t think about what exactly was going on, except that the creators of the proposal, along with the sexual abuse victim who stood with them, were willing to do some unadulterated good for all. us. I hope it ends that way.
Messengers have not heard much from anyone who might ask questions about the proposal. They are dealing with the unusually passive executive director of SBC. I guess he believes he could work out details in a space not full of outraged messengers and journalists. All the water under the bridge at the moment.
My first convention was in 1982. I knew nothing about SBC politics and parliamentary matters, but I knew enough to take my voting signals from people I trusted and respected. At the time, and during all the hot years of the Conservative revival, Adrian Rogers and several others were talking about controversial nominations and proposals. I would go with Adrian.
Moderates had a few self-proclaimed cow bells. Ken Chafin and Sherman are the ones I remember. The problem was that they almost always hit the wrong notes and uninformed messengers fled to the party opposite. Compare Rogers ’public demeanor and attractiveness with the Chafins or Shermans and it’s not hard to see how close the outcomes positively affected the former and negatively impacted the latter.
SBC messengers are not unintelligent, they just stay busy trying to hack it in their local church – preaching, baptizing, serving, serving – and not spending portions every day dealing with SBC politics. When the annual meeting comes, it is partly a vacation and partly a duty, at a considerable expense to their church. No wonder activist insiders spend a lot of time trying to influence all those who wave ballots. We owe the CR to the fact that uninformed voters have been under the influence from year to year.
Which brings me to 2021 and the year ahead. We have a download group. Will they be able to influence a sufficient number of messengers to move the commissioners’ committees more in their direction?
Mike Stone lost by just a few votes. I would have guessed he would have won if the lending of Ed Litton’s sermon had been known to messengers or had he not had that unfortunate and confusing incident with the victim of pre-election abuse. I voted for Liton. I would repeat that, but these days the SBC leader of Rogers rank is missing.
The Conservative Baptist Network has some people I like. There are some who are extraordinary preachers (the only time I heard Stone preach, he was preaching the best sermon I’ve heard lately), but I don’t know of any CBN who has a great stature, honestly. The appointed spokesman gave the worst nomination speech I have ever heard a few years ago. Maybe he had a bad day. It is a great strategic move to make all CBN statements on Twitter anonymous. Who knows who writes them?
The SBC is inherently political, at all levels – church, association, state, national. It always has been. It always will be. Let the brothers and sisters try to influence the SBC voting public as much as they can. But let us not pretend that the messengers as a whole are highly informed voters. They never were. It never will be.
As for me, I am a happy retired guy. I do not plan to grit my teeth because of the SBC policy for as many years as I have left. I will make a generous gift for Lottie Moon’s Christmas offer this year, as every year, lurk about this and that while I feel guided, worship at my local church and be fulfilled in it. Here I am and my lovely wife with the most important CEO of SBC:
I don’t plan on being in Anaheim unless I get oil or find gold on my wooded five-acre plot. I can’t justify the cost. Have fun. I’ve heard that Disney is offering a big discount for CBNers going to Fantasyland. They may have in mind the Cinderella candidate for 2022.
Misguided addition: It is true that voting patterns would have changed if we had ever had remote SBCAM locations or remote voting. If we ever took that path, and I have often written against it, the convention would be even more political than it is now.
The biggest bass I ever caught was a warm December day. Maybe I should devote a little energy to it. It is always profitable.