Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It strikes me that the hurricane-force winds which accompanied all the activity in Indianapolis last week have quickly subsided into occasional breezes.

The blogosphere which last year was credited with such power and influence seems miserably impotent today.

There was a brief period of rejoicing over the manner in which the "church membership" resolution which came out of committee emasculated by the non-rockers of the boat was infused with virility from the floor through efforts by Tom Ascol and Malcolm Yarnell...then passed by a solid majority (some say 2/3) of the delegates.

To a cynic like me, this "victory" seems rather of the Pyrrhic sort. Kinda like, we hold a referendum nation-wide on say, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, and it is approved......by a 2/3 vote! Is that a "victory"?

When 1/3 or more of the delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting vote "No" to the question of whether local church membership should be based on evidence of spiritual regeneration........can we cheer?

A fellow cynic stated elsewhere (Timmy Brister's blog, perhaps) that purging inflated church membership rolls would not happen because of "pride". What will happen, he asks, when the membership of the SBC drops from 16.7 million to 10 million, or to 7 million, a more realistic number based on actual church attendance? How will we bear the shame? It's quite one thing to pontificate about our sin in our meetings together, but to go public? After all these years of hearing the news media say: The Southern Baptist Convention, the world's largest Protestant organization, etc.??? What will people say?

This same Resolutions Committee did not report out at all but File 13'd an even more telling resolution which would have affirmed the absolute foundational need of correct (Biblical) doctrine in all evangelistic efforts. Delegates never saw it.....irrelevant, I guess.

In hindsight, no one (except me) confesses to being surprised by the election of Johnny Hunt as President of the SBC. Two years ago when his name was bandied about as a probable candidate, there was such an uproar, at least in the blogosphere, that in the end, he let it be known that he would not have his name put forward. Last week, he was elected without a fight, first ballot, all opposition reduced to "token" status.

Some random thoughts:

One wonders what would have happened had Al Mohler's illness not forced him to give up the thought of running. Me? I think that was Providential and kept Mohler from making a mis-step.

Johnny Hunt is not simply a non-calvinist. We've had lots of "non-calvinist" presidents in the past 50 years and done very nicely so far as that goes. Johnny Hunt is the personification of the rabid anti-calvinist mentality seen in one corner of the SBC--the straw-man builders, the demonstrably ignorant (or worse) who cannot or will not differentiate between the various forms of Biblical theology called "calvinism" and the unBiblical heresy called "hyper-calvinism".

He is portrayed by his supporters as a "uniter". I think he's a politician. I think he has one stand before this group, and another stand when speaking at another group. His church is the locale for a meeting this fall which includes speakers like Paul Washer, Kirk Cameron, and Todd Friel. These men are not members of the "everyone is elect" club. First, I was surprised, then I learned that Woodstock was just the venue, not the sponsor. OK.....then, another surprise: Hunt is one of the speakers! His topic is the sufficiency of the Scriptures. The question is: Will he speak to the topic or use his "bully pulpit" to "correct" the calvinists who speak ahead of him? Should be interesting..........

BOTTOM LINE: The actions of the resolutions committee, the casual election of Johnny Hunt, etc, all demonstrate the establishment mentality that "business as usual" is the intention--despite the resolution on church membership. That will probably turn out to be merely lip service. I predict that SBC membership will still be 16+million two years from now; churches will still report 5000 members and have 954 in attendance Sunday morning.

The chasm will widen between calvinists and non-calvinists in the convention. There may be a reverse resurgence in which the non-cals make an effort to "clean up the seminaries" (one in particular).

This does not have a happy ending.