Day 1 of the 2023 Southern Baptist Convention Meeting, Part 1
Today we begin day 1 of the SBC Annual Meeting. The last two days have been filled with one of my favorite parts of the week, the Pastors Conference. Yesterday was filled with connecting with old friends, incredible worship, and solid preaching. Last night HB Charles wrapped up the conference with one of those sermons that stick with you for life. He preached on Matthew 5:10-12, like fresh water to a dry and thirsty land.
During the business meeting today, there will be many significant moments. There will be motions made regarding the role of women as pastors. As many have heard in recent months, there will be a vote on disfellowshipping churches with women pastors, including Saddleback, where Rick Warren pastored. But, we won’t debate today about saddleback; instead, there will be a simple up or down vote on whether or not we affirm or reverse the decision to remove them. Saddleback will have a few moments to speak, the Executive Committee will have a few moments to respond, and then we will vote without further discussion.
Other noteworthy moments will be the vote for the office of president of the SBC, we will hear a list of motions and resolutions from the floor, and at some point today or tomorrow, we will hear more about the proposed solution for addressing sexual abuse in the church.
But one of the most significant things that will happen today is the commissioning of more International missionaries. This isn’t the only time we do this, but we do it at every annual convention meeting. I am grateful that it will be in the first-morning session because it reminds us of the primary task of making disciples of all nations. I’m not saying that maintaining sound doctrine isn’t essential; it is. I’m not saying it’s not important who is president; well, I would say it’s not nearly as important as sound doctrine and sharing the gospel. I am saying that our convention of churches partners primarily for the sake of taking the gospel to the nations. And I believe we are better when we keep our priorities in place.
Regarding some of the issues we will face today:
Do I believe women should serve as pastors? No. Do I think women should preach the sermon to a gathered church? No. Do I believe that all men should be pastors and preach? No. Do I believe God has gifted women with incredible gifts and that without them, the church would limp or crawl along? Absolutely, because we are one body made up of many parts, and we need each part to work properly to be healthy.
Link to recent sermon on this at Harrisburg
Do I think dealing with sexual abuse is important? Absolutely, and because of that, I think we need some type of system that allows SBC churches to maintain autonomy while also making sure predators can’t move within our churches abusing others.
Who am I going to vote for as President? Probably Bart Barber. Why? I think he has done an excellent job this last year dealing with a host of issues, and I don’t see a reason to deny him a second term.
Why not vote for Mike Stone? Primarily because he has given several reasons for me not to. For instance, after he lost the race a couple of years ago, he sued another SBC brother who opposed his presidency for close to $800,000.00. Why did he sue? He claimed that by not being elected as president, he missed the opportunity to make that much money on speaking engagements and such. I would prefer that our president isn’t in this for the $, and Mike has proven that’s a part of his focus. I find that Mike raises a few legitimate concerns about the SBC, and I think we will handle those regardless, but I don’t think we are best served with him in this role.
Today will be a full day… may the Lord be glorified in all we do.