Thoughts of a Country Preacher

The Monday morning ruminations of a pastor.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thoughts on the Convention

Missouri Baptists have wrapped up their annual convention – earlier I said I would provide my thoughts on it, so here they are. If you would like more thoughtful/in depth coverage of what happened though, I would suggest looking here, here, and here.

Overall, I was pleased with the convention. The election of officers was perhaps the biggest ticket of the convention as SOC and MBLA slates, both conservative in nature, faced off over the future of the convention. Admittedly, I expected officers to be elected off of both slates, but instead the SOC slate won a decisive victory over their counterparts, showing that Missouri Baptists, while roundly conservative, realize that there are limits to what the convention can control.

I know that there are some, and perhaps many in our state who believe that the SOC is only mimicking MBLA tactics, and are doing exactly what they accuse the MBLA of doing, but I do not think this is true. Right after his election, the ABP interviewed Gerald Davidson, and asked an intriguing question – "How long will Save Our Convention continue?" Davidson’s response: "As far as I’m concerned, it can stop right now,".

I believe that this is the exact kind of attitude our leaders need. Yes, sometimes you must stand up for an important victory. But when that victory is won, its time to sit back down.

Considering all of the run up to the convention, I thought that the motions presented to the floor were somewhat mild. While I personally would have liked Mr. Fries’ resolution on seeking peace among Missouri Baptists come to the floor, I also believe that the resolutions committee did a wonderful job fulfilling their appointed tasks.

The discussion on Mr. Moran’s resolution on alcohol was perhaps the lowest point of the convention in my opinion. Personally, I would have been in complete favor of a resolution that encouraged abstinence among Missouri Baptists. However, I do think that this resolution went too far in stating that all people employed by & serving the MBC must abstain.

By and large I enjoyed and appreciated the sermons preached at the convention. Though they did seem to present two distinct visions in the MBC, and among Southern Baptists at large. I didn’t even really think about it until a friend of mine brought it up. He mentioned that it seemed like everyone was aware of the fact that Christianity was in a state of decline in the United States, and that there are two major approaches that Christians are taking as a result.

First, there are those who seem to think that we are beyond hope, and so they withdraw into their own theological systems, hoping that through separation with the world & what they see as worldly Christians, they will be able to maintain their own standing with God. Then on the other hand, there are those who are responding to this problem by going outside of their comfort zones, hoping to reach the lost with the gospel, and see their lives transformed by the gospel. I believe that he is right in his estimation, and that the second option is the only option that we can pursue if we want to see our culture transformed by Christ.


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