Today the SBC voted on several important items. We voted on who will serve as president of the SBC next year. Bart Barber was overwhelmingly elected to a second term with 68% of the vote, and Mike Stone received 31% in his second attempt at being president.
In addition, the convention heard various appeals related to previous decisions made by the Executive Committee to disfellowship churches.
One of the churches appealing the decision was Freedom Church in Vero Beach, FL. Freedom was disfellowshipped for sexual abuse issues with its pastor. This is a clear violation of morality and the SBC Constitution & By-Laws. In the last few years, the SBC has worked hard to make caring for the abused and preventing abuse a primary issue for our churches. I can’t imagine this decision being reversed.
Two other churches were appealing because they were disfellowshipped over the issue of women serving as pastors. This is one of the most significant issues the convention faces this week. The two churches are Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, and Saddleback Community Church in Los Angeles, CA. The issue here, as Dr. Al Mohler said, is one of “doctrine and order,” not one of morality.
In regards to the churches’ disfellowshipped of women pastors. It was clear that the decision by the EC was not a complete judgment of the individual churches. Instead, it was a decision on whether or not they were considered in friendly cooperation related to doctrine and order. It’s been said many times that we can thank God for every good and great thing done by these churches, like Saddleback and Freedom Church. But, we must recognize that we are not in cooperation as it concerns doctrine and order sufficient for disfellowship. The votes have been cast, and we will hear the results in the morning.
Again, I don’t see the decision being overturned by the messengers, and I believe it will have further implications in the coming months and years.