Reflections on the 2010 SBC in Orlando

The record may reveal that the 2010 Convention in Orlando was a historic moment for the churches of the SBC. Only time will tell. From my perspective it was a wonderful Convention as Southern Baptists affirmed overwhelmingly how we wish to chart our future. What were the crucial happenings and their significance at this year’s convention? Let me highlight several.

First, and by far the most important, was the adoption of the GCRTF Report. By a 75%-80% majority vote the report was passed with only a minor amendment, one that I believe actually strengthened recommendation #3 on “Celebrating & Empowering Great Commission Giving.” (For those wishing to read the final report go to www.PRAY4GCR.com ). The adoption of the report was a small but major step in the right direction. I agree with my good friend David Platt. Adopting the report was a small step forward in the right direction. Rejection of the report would have been a giant step backward in the wrong direction. Now we must ALL get about the business of implementing the report from the local church level to our national entities and agencies. I pledge Southeastern’s enthusiastic commitment to see that the report and its recommendations will permeate a campus known already for its Great Commission passion.

Second, Johnny Hunt completed two years of outstanding leadership as our president. History will identify him and his legacy with the GCR. This is most fitting. He was clearly God’s man for this time. It was a joy to work alongside of him, Ronnie Floyd and many other wonderful brothers and sisters on the Task Force. It also was a thrill to announce to our alumni that we have fully endowed the Johnny Hunt Chair of Biblical Preaching at SEBTS. This will be a wonderful way to honor this man of God until Jesus returns.

Third, strong evidence for the GCR received additional support with the election of Bryant Wright as our new president. That the two men who were strongly pro-GCR were thrown into a runoff is significant. It sends a strong signal where Southern Baptists want to go in terms of what we emphasize and what we support. In the “Axioms of a GCR” message, it was stated that Southern Baptists could come together and would support that which promotes 1) International Missions, 2) Aggressive Church Planting and 3) Healthy Theological Education. Here is a 3-prong vision that transcends generational and methodological differences. Here is a captivating agenda that can lead us into our greatest days as a Great Commission people if God would be so gracious as to allow this to happen and to let us partner with Him in what He is doing in bringing the nations to Himself.

Fourth, Frank Page was elected as the new president of the Executive Committee. The vote was closer than many would like, but Dr. Page accepted the call and has promised to work hard to be a team player and build a healthy consensus. He clearly deserves a chance to do exactly that. He also deserves our prayers as he implements the GCR recommendations at the Executive Committee. He will have both from me.

Fifth, the Resolutions Committee, under the excellent leadership of Russ Moore, brought strong and pointed resolutions which subsequently passed on The Oil Spill in the Gulf, Gospel Centrality, the Scandal of Divorce in the SBC, and Family Worship. Many thanks to Russ and the committee for their superb work.

Sixth, we say goodbye to the long tenured leadership of Morris Chapman and Jerry Rankin. Though I obviously disagree with Dr. Chapman’s opposition to the GCRTF report, I love him and respect his passion for the convictions he holds. I know he only wants what he believes is best for the SBC. I gladly applaud that. Dr. Rankin has become a good friend and encourager, especially since I returned to SEBTS 6 1/2 years ago. He has been a visionary leader at the IMB. I believe he and Bobbye will continue to serve our Convention of churches well as they champion the call of getting the gospel to all the nations.

As we move on from Orlando, we need to pray fervently for the search committees at both the IMB and NAMB. Both need God’s man to lead them in the crucial days before us.

Finally, what lies ahead for Southern Baptists? Of course only our sovereign and omniscient God knows. Will we be seduced by the non-biblical sirens of the emergent church? I do not think so. Will we be divided over the “bogey man” called Calvinism? No. Will we be distracted from our main assignments by differences in worship style, names on church marquees, and other methodological issues that are biblically neutral? Let’s hope not. These are interesting and challenging days to be sure. However, of these things we can be certain:

Jesus is Lord.

The Bible is True.

Salvation is by grace alone thru faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone.

God is Building His Church.

All the Nations will gather to worship the Lamb.

Our Savior is coming again.

In the end our God wins.

This is more than enough to give me hope. This is more than enough to keep me going until I see my Master face to face and worship at His nail scared feet. What a God we have. What a Gospel we preach. What a family we enjoy. What a Savior we serve!

  9Comments

  1. Rick Patrick   •  

    Daniel,

    Thank you for your tireless efforts in seeking God’s heart for the nations. I have not always agreed with each GCR recommendation, but I do share with the Task Force a common desire to fulfill the Great Commission.

    Allow me to express a concern. In paragraphs two and five, you use the word “implement” with regard to agencies, churches and the Executive Committee. If I recall accurately the language of the report which the convention actually adopted, these entities were not to “implement” anything, but rather to “consider” various recommendations of the Task Force.

    There are a great many things I do not understand, but I DO understand the difference between “CONSIDERING a proposed recommendation” and “IMPLEMENTING an approved strategy.”

    I hope our entities understand the difference as well.

  2. Rick Patrick   •  

    Daniel,

    Thanks for your tireless efforts in serving the Lord and the SBC while calling us to a greater commitment to reaching the nations. I certainly share that desire. However, I do wish to raise one distinction since there is a world of difference between a “mandate for action” and a “suggestion for consideration.”

    In paragraphs two and five above, you use the word “implement” to describe the desired actions of the state conventions, entities and the Executive Board with regard to the GCRTF Report. As I understood the language of the report, SBC messengers voted to refer these matters to the various entities. Therefore, rather than “implementing a strategy” these entities are to “consider a recommendation.”

    At least, that’s what the SBC voted for them to do. Thus, I think it is much more appropriate to talk about “consideration” rather than “implementation.”

  3. Rick Patrick   •  

    Sorry for the duplicate post. The first one was not showing up on my screen so I reposted the gist of it.

  4. Rick   •  

    Daniel,

    In paragraphs two and five above, you used the word “implement” just as Ed Stetzer did in his SBC reflections article. It is much more accurate to call this the “consideration” phase rather than the “implementation” phase, since there is a world of difference between “implementing an approved strategy” and “considering a proposed recommendation.”

    Dr. Mohler made crystal clear the nature of these recommendations. We have it on video. At the time, he was arguing against the motion to refer based on the logic that the recommendations were exactly that and were specifically worded so the entities might “consider” them.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but it would be nice to hear GCR proponents calling this the “consideration” phase rather than the “implementation” phase. Not only would it be nice, but it would reflect the will of the convention, which did not vote to ask the entities to “do” something, but rather to ask them to “consider” doing something. It is only after they “consider” doing it, if indeed they “determine” to do it, that we can properly talk about any kind of “implementation.”

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  6. kschaub   •  

    Thanks for your reflections, Dr. Akin. I will join with you in prayer and look forward to seeing the positive effects of a GCR on the SBC to reach others for Jesus.

    Kevin Schaub

  7. Danny Akin   •  

    Thanks so much Kevin. I covet your prayers! Rick, thank you. I do think you are making a distinction without a difference. The Covention has expressed overwhelmingly what it wants to see happen. I can hardly imagine that the various national entities directly addressed in the recommendations will consider the actions the Convention has asked them to take, and then not move to adopt them! I know I would never consider such a thing and I am certain the trustees of SEBTS feel the same way. If I found what they asked to be a violation of my conscience, then I would resign with no anger or bitterness. Afterall we do serve the Convention of churches of the SBC. I think that is clearly understood by all. I cannot imagine any other scenario. That is at least my perspective. God bless and have a great summer.

  8. Rick   •  

    Danny,

    Sorry, just one more moment please. I am not trying to be confrontational, but the convention did not direct the entities to “implement” something but to “consider” something. When I proposed to my wife, I asked her to “consider” marrying me. She really did have a choice, as do the autonomous entities of the convention.

    The last two minutes of this link explains the entire “this is only a referred recommendation” argument with greater articulation than I ever could achieve. It sounds like at least one seminary president believes this report was basically a motion to refer. At least, the convention heard it as a motion to refer.

    As long as the English language distinguishes between a recommendation and a directive, this is indeed a distinction with a difference. The SBC is not telling the boards what to do, but merely asking them to “consider” its recommendations.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTz03hm9WBs

    I’m very glad Southern Baptists are talking about the Great Commission. God has used you mightily to bring that about. I wish you a terrific summer as well.

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