SBC Annual - 2006
In the video Arrington conducts conversations with 13 Web 2.0 CEOs about what Web 2.0 is, whether we're in a bubble, what business models work, what is the role of publishers, and how important and how large is the early adopter crowd, along with other issues related to user adoption trends and technology. For certain, Web 2.0 is about technologies such as Ajax, Mash-Ups, Flash, Tagging, and open source applications. But mostly Web 2.0's central focus is user participation.
Participants included Joe Kraus (Jotspot), Scott Milener (Browster), David Sifry (Technorati), Auren Hoffman (Rapleaf), Chris Alden (Rojo), Jonathan Abrams (Socializr), Aaron Cohen (Bolt), Jeremy Verba (Piczo), Steven Marder (Eurekster), Matt Sanchez (Video Egg), Godhwani (Simply Hired), Keith Teare (edgeio), and Michael Tanne (Wink).
Speaking of Web 2.0, last week Joe Carter (Evangelical Outpost) and I met with Justin Taylor (I hear J.I. Packer calls him Justin the Squire!) and a couple of other Crossway Publisher folks about blogging & reviewing books. Very good conversation, and some great people.
I am trying out Browster because of the 2.0 video. Wow, it's very interesting. Anyone else trying it? You need to check it out.
I'm pumped about GTDGmail. If you haven't read Getting Things Done by David Allen, and/or if you aren't implimenting GTD in your life, please give it a look. And then you can get GTDGmail and really geek out.
Michael Foster leads us to David Slagle's 100 Things I've Learned the Hard Way as a Senior Pastor.
Some Music You Should Check Out:
Speaking of "the good life," if you are a Southern Baptist you need to read this critical article from former SBC President Bobby Welch. We need more wisdom like this!
I understand one pastor's blog site indicates he believes his drinking assists him in soul-winning!...
We have many outstanding young pastors and others on their way to leading this Convention to...do it as "sipping saints,"...as...soul winners! God help us to...elect a user or promoter of the use of alcoholic beverages to...leadership...!
Please don't sent hate mail. It's a joke. ;) Bobbay is SOOOO funny.
Every day is Photo Phriday when a picture is this good.
Joe Thorn and I were photographed by Olan Mills at the Southern Baptist Convention. I just received it in the mail and couldn't resist scanning it and putting it up. The photographer thought it was funny, but a few SBC'rs walking by the booth seemed a little freaked out. Imagine trying to take this pic and keep a straight face!
Some of you will be offended by it. When you are offended and choose to tell me, it won't be a surprise. So save your fingers from violently typing your thoughts and laugh with us.
I think it's unbelievably funny and still laugh out loud whenever I see it. It's really the continuation of a running joke. Enjoy!
I find it both frustrating and hysterical that after a landslide victory onthe alcohol resolution we have a couple of unthinkable things happening. To use the words of a very recent SBC President, it's one of the most unthinkable things imaginable.
1. Those who champion the alcohol resolution are quick to admit the resolution and biblical teaching on alcohol don't match. I'm sure they wouldn't like the way I've worded that. Whatever. It's true and they seem to feel a great motivation to admit it.
Jim Smith (Florida Baptist Witness): "As noted in the debate on the resolution, it’s clear from Scripture that wine was consumed during biblical times — and that it is even encouraged in moderation in select passages of the Bible."
Danny Akin (SEBTS): "Does the Bible by direct command condemn the use of alcohol in every instance? The honest answer is no it does not. Jesus clearly turned water into wine (John 2)."
No matter what else these guys say, it's clear that they are supporting what they consider to be an extra-biblical resolution. How hilarious is that? And the bigger problem is that these ideas are not just extra-biblical, they are anti-biblical.
For example, Danny Akin also says, "I have observed for some time a growing emphasis on our 'liberty in Christ' that I fear neglect of our 'responsibility in Christ.'" Sure, we get his point on responsibility. Let's not try to trump responsibility with our liberty. There are certainly times to abstain for the sake of others, and any faithful Christian of any stripe will strive to live that way.
But both responsibility AND liberty are Jesus things. We cannot act like responsibility nullifies our liberty, or why have liberty? They both have their place, and anyone who interprets our responsibility as totally abstaining from a liberty has misinterpreted responsibility. That's why when these guys say that all should abstain all the time we have moved into the realm of absurdity.
Of course there is one, clear biblical warrant for this kind of thinking: the Pharisees. Yes, those "strong conservatives" knew how to take seriously all the "contextual and principle considerations" behind their extra-biblical rules. I'm sure their intentions were often good, desiring Scriptural fidelity and a "holy life." But they were condemned because they missed the grace that sets us free, opting rather for their own interpretations and additions to the Law.
Now, let me be clear. (Unfortunately, I have to spend time on this because so many of our leaders not only have a poor understanding of liberty and responsibility, but they also have a poor understanding of biblical conservatism and liberalism.) I’m an inerrantist & Calvinist. I’m an expository preacher who regularly has people leaving our services telling me that they are feeling terribly convicted over some sin. And I submit that our so-called “strong conservatives” are actually less conservative than me on this issue. The most conservative conservatives (biblically speaking) are sola scriptura-ists, and anyone who pushes extra-biblical rules that disqualify Jesus for SBC service is less conservative because they are NOT sola-scriptura-ists.
Let me move on.
2. Those who champion the alcohol resolution seem to be speaking as if they lost the vote, yet they had like 85-90% of the vote! This is remarkably queer. Their massive "win" on this resolution is strangely only a small comfort.
Do you believe it? They propose a resolution that has no biblical backing and are surprised that some want to debate it. Then they win by a landslide and feel the need to keep pushing the issue as if they lost. Why is this happening? I think for at least two reasons, though probably more. First, they need something to celebrate after getting pummeled at the poles on nominations. Some will now put me in the ranks of some who pushed hard for other nominations, but if you read my blogs you know I’m in disagreement with them on this issue.
Second, they are disturbed that there was even a conversation to be had on alcohol! From Jim Smith's article...
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson…nicely summarized the alcohol resolution debate when he told me, “Sadly, I would never have believed that I would see a 45 minute debate at the Southern Baptist Convention on a resolution on abstinence from beverage alcohol. When one considers that the alcohol industry devastates more lives and homes today than any industry other than the pornography industry, such a question is doubly unthinkable. Positively, the resolution was adopted by 90 percent of the messengers, a critically important resolution in light of some pastors who now openly boast of imbibing alcohol.”
This much is clear: the Southern Baptist establishment is terrified of more than just abused liberty. They are terrified of even responsibly exercising biblical liberty. Why else would they push for extra-biblical rules? Liberty allows churches to be autonomous, and Christians to be responsible to God for their use of liberties, and even *gulp* allows some people to blog. So some have been making new rules and resolutions on baptism and tongues and blogging trustees and alcohol and who is able to serve as a convention leader and who is not. Fear causes people to do very strange things, like make rules that would disqualify Jesus and the Apostles and Old Testament saints from SBC service.
The sad thing is, fear is what led the Pharisees to seek the death of our Savior. Fear of a political takeover. Fear of losing power and authority and privilege. It seems the SBC "strong conservative" leaders have, like the Pharisees, turned a blind eye to the Scriptures they say they love so dearly. In that stance they continue to vilify and isolate brothers who enjoy the things Jesus enjoyed, even in a responsible and thoughtful way.
I strongly disagree with Dr. Akin, Jim Smith, and their lot. I think their position is hurting our convention, our witness, our mission work, the outworkings of the conservative resurgence, and more. I think they are pushing away from our convention our best and brightest young pastors because of extra-biblical resolutions like this. I think they are showing the world that the SBC and Jesus aren’t as close as we hoped.
And at the same time I would NEVER, EVER say these men are unregenerate. I love them both and spoke briefly with Smith and Akin at the convention. I have great respect for the work they do and the many wise things they say. But in this case they are both working against the Savior they love.
Justin Taylor uses the words of John Piper (from 25 years ago) to question the wisdom of the newest SBC resolution on alcohol use. A blurb...
I want to hate what God hates and love what God loves. And this I knowbeyond the shadow of a doubt: God hates legalism as much as he hates alcoholism. If any of you still wonders why I go on supporting this amendment, after hearing all the tragic stories about lives ruined through alcohol, the reason is that when I go home at night and close my eyes and let eternity rise in my mind I see ten million more people in hell because of legalism than because of alcoholism. And I think that is a literal understatement.
Joe and I left a bit early from the convention today. We had considered leaving early anyway since we couldn't find anything worthwhile on the schedule for Wednesday night. But it was a phone call from my wife that pressed us to leave. My grandmother had a massive stroke Tuesday and isn't expected to live long. So we felt it would be best to head home a little early.
Oh, and here's what I missed. Scott Slayton, my dear friend and fellow blogger, quotes Bobby (BOBBAY!) Welch as saying tonight, "Maybe if we spent less time blogging we would spend more time baptizing."
I guess that means that we won't reach 1 million "Everyone Can" brand baptisms by the fall, and now the bloggers are going to be blamed for it.
I hope by the end of the weekend to have a couple more posts up in response to a few things. We are in a Comfort Inn in Indiana getting ready for bed. Tomorrow my two oldest boys have their first baseball practice and I hope to be there.
Joe and I attended the voting on some resolutions this morning. What a pile of waste. If anyone thought we had great changes happening in the SBC, I'm afraid they aren't as great as they might have appeared.
This first post is on a resolution against the "use" of alcohol. Shocking, I know. (UPDATE: Sorry I wasn't clearer. Yes, it passed with an overwhelming majority. A few spoke against it, all but one eloquently. A handful spoke for it.) Here it is thanks to Dorcas, and my very brief responses are in italics.
Whereas, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damages (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and
This passage is about the abuse, not the use, of alcohol. And this is dishonest by not facing the whole council of God in the Scriptures. There are many positive passages on alcohol, but Pharisees always miss them for their extra-biblical rules and desire to control the consciences of others.
Whereas, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways; and
Not use, abuse.
Whereas, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and
Not use, abuse.
Whereas, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and
What? Yeah, and the use of Q-Tips has led to hearing loss in some too. And the use of cheeseburgers has led to the creation of widows and orphans. And the use of blogs has led to the accountability of SBC leaders (oh wait, that's different). PULEEZE! It's not use, but abuse that is the problem.
Whereas, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of "our freedom in Christ";
Oh, right. I'm sure "freedom in Christ" actually means to pass resolutions that would eliminate Christ from service in SBC churches. I'm sure that's what it means. Have we no clue?
now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-24, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further
Jesus manufactured, advertised and distributed wine in John 2!
Resolved, [insert amendment from floor urging that potential Trustees and Entity Heads who don't adhere to this resolution not be chosen for service]; and be it further
"And the results for SBC President are in....Jesus receives 0% of the vote,and Johnny Hunt receives 100% of the vote."
Resolved, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our commuities and nation; and be it further
Cool. Now Jesus gets SBC'rs actually encouraging Caesar to stop him from making wine, instituting the Lord's Supper, and so on.
Resolved, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally
"Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
Resolved, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churces to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries."
Yes, let's help those who are alcohol abusers. We must help. And there are certainly times some
need to abstain (as I did for many years after abusing in college). But let's promote the Bible and not our abstinence rules.
Rather than regurgitating the day, let me interact with some good stuff that happened.
Some good conversation with many several bloggers and pastors on Monday. I can't list all of them, though I will talk about their blogs and links from time to time (like this one). Good stuff. Also met with friends: Tim Ellsworth, Scott Lamb, Jason Gray, Spencer Nix, and one of the first people I ever met after moving to Denver years ago, Duane Arledge. I'm sure I've left people out.
You know, I've had some who have talked to me about blogging and questioned whether blogging is a fad or whether blogs will last. All I know for sure is that the connections (networking) that have resulted from blogging are significant. I'm blessed to know a bunch of great young and not so young guys.
The morning on Monday was full of seminars (all were standing room only as best I could tell). I only attended the Mohler-Patterson talk on election, which was more a talk on Calvinism and Calvinism caricatures than election. And it was really was more debate-ish than I expected. Mohler, after emergency eye surgery was stellar. Seriously, he was fantastic. Patterson started with all too common criticisms (and some less helpful ones), and Mohler responded with Gospel and Gospel again. Brilliant, winsome.
Afternoon, Erwin McManus and Nelson Searcy were both great. Exactly what I needed. Reminded me of the powerful work of God in difficult areas. Joe Thorn and I both were not only impressed, but very encouraged for our own contexts. Simple, direct, convicting stuff. I met Nelson back when in seminary (he came and spoke to our class when he was in planting mode). Was great to hear him preach and meet him again briefly. If I buy any CD's here, it will be these two.
By the way, Shane and Shane were here and they were amazing. I've loved their music for some time, but live was incredible.
Monday night Joe and I spend some time with other bloggers and that was good. Sharing stories and learning new things. Answering a few good questions too. And to answer everyone's most asked question, no, Joe is not Tele Savalas' 'mini-me.'
We also had some time to talk with Greg Thornbury (Union University Dean), Ray Van Neste (Union University Prof), Greg Wills (SBTS Church History Prof), Tom Nettles (SBTS Church History Prof), and the incomparable Mark Devine of Midwestern. Mark was a great guy to meet (I'm just starting into his Bonhoeffer book). A passionate guy with a deep love for theology and the Church.
Then we hit the Younger Leaders meeting which was basically a gospel-centered meeting from Ed Stetzer who is promoting the NAMB Missional Network. We were able to meet some great guys at the meeting, some we knew by name only before Monday.
Tuesday, tons of motions and discussion and laughter. Also serious stuff about Wade Burleson. He handled himself with much grace and eloquence. For details, see the 74 other bloggers. :) Mark Dever almost made First VP, but almost didn't cut it. Too bad I think. Speaking of Dever, Joe and I were able to talk with him for a while on Monday about several things. It was hard to find time to talk with his 17 interns and associates around. Man, I wish I had that problem. If you haven't checked out his 9Marks ministry yet, it's a very helpful place.
Lunch with Todd and Paul Littleton and their wives, as well a pastor in LA named Steve Somethingerother. Steve, if you stop by, remind me of your last name. Too many Steves around, not that there's anything wrong with that.
You know what, a bunch of other stuff happened too. I wish I could do so much more for my readers. But we came to network and we are in a big way. It's been the best convention in terms of what it's doing for me and my ministry. I miss my family. Sheesh. It's honkin' late and I'm tired. Nighty nite. Pictures of the SBC stuff here.
Sorry for not posting yesterday. I didn't really have time to get online, couldn't access from our room for free, and decided to wait to blog tonight (Tuesday). So hopefully tonight I will get up a bunch of something on Missional Network/Younger Leaders meeting, hearing Erwin McManus and Nelson Searcy, what books I've purchased, what people I've seen in various contexts, and how much Joe Thorn is irritating me. It's bound to be the most amazing post you will every read. Or, it might just be boring. Wait and see.
We drove our last 2 1/2 hours this morning through the smokey mountains, which was beautiful. Look for pictures from Joe since I was driving and he was free to take some shots. We arrived too early to check in, so we ate at Bruegger's Bagels (diced chicken fajita on an everything bagel, which included jalapeno cream cheese) and figured out how to get around Greensboro.
We checked in at around 2pm and completed our convention registration around 4pm. Then we had dinner with Chris Turner of LifeWay and a couple of guys he had with him. The conversation was reformed theology. Joe Thorn kept trying to give me a chance to speak (which I did a little), but if Joe has a chance to help someone understand reformed theology then you just let him speak. It was really encouraging, especially since I haven't talked through the Doctrines of Grace (et al) for a while.
Then we headed to the convention in order to catch Johnny Hunt's Acts 17 message (at one point the lights totally went out due to a powerful thunderstorm). He said some good stuff about character and holiness and how much that matters in ministry. If you are a person of integrity you can be bold and not worry about someone digging up stuff on you. Very cool. Of course, that good point was mixed with a bunch of fairly angry preaching, nostril flares, an anti-Calvinism dig or two and a highly offensive tan.
Point of Privilege: At one point in his message Johnny Hunt had the opportunity in a room full of pastors to either 1) drop laws and harsh words against struggling pastors who are not doing their job well, or 2) encourage struggling pastors to be strong in the grace that is in Christ (2 Tim 2:1) with gracious words. Guess which he chose. Sometimes we feel like truth-centered, prophetic preaching must be wielding the sword of law and guilt, but law without grace is a killer. Sure speak to the problems, but point to Jesus. Sure share stats, but then point to grace.
Then we waited for Rick Warren's talk, only to find out that Rick decided to skip out for a round of golf (well, I'm not really sure what he's doing but he isn't here). So they said they were going to show him preaching on video which was a strong argument for us to leave. So we did. Look, we didn't drive to North Carolina to see a Purpose Driven VHS tape.
Note to those here in Greensboro...
For those wanting to meet up, we are mostly free Monday evening since we are skipping the evening session of the pastor's conference but will be at the Missional Network (younger leaders) meeting later on. Joe and I will probably be in the exhibit hall from 7pm-10pm or so. On one side is the LifeWay store and the other side are the exhibits. On the exhibit side there are a bunch of round tables; we will try to snag one. Ideally you may want to call in case something comes up, but we hope to be around.
One last thing. This news from Tom Ascol's blog, "I just heard that Dr. Al Mohler had emergency eye surgery today at the Duke Medical complex. He has had eye difficulties for years and I do not know the nature of this procedure. He is still scheduled to speak at the pastors' conference on Monday." Please pray for Dr. Mohler.
Left my house at 7:30am to pick up Joe Thorn on our way to the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, NC. It rained until we got a bit South of Indianapolis, but God delivered us from the deluge.
Along the way, somewhere in Indiana, we stopped at Burger King for a couple of kids' meals (well, we weren't all that hungry but needed a shot of something before getting to Louisville, plus we got cool G.I. Joe toys!). We stopped in Louisville for a staple of mine, Stevens & Stevens Deli (the Woody Allen-pastrami, garlic roasted potatoes, cole slaw, Sobe Energy). We also hit my second staple, ear X-tacy, the world's coolest indie music store. I picked up the new Espers, Beirut, Alexi Murdoch, and Constantines. All very good, but the first two had us dropping our jaws. Fantastic. Much more fantastic than needing to stop every 6 miles for Joe's atom-sized bladder.
We made it out of Louisville, through Lexington, and onto Charleston, WV where we are now comfortably enjoying the night in a Country Inn & Suites. Sharon is behind the desk and has been very friendly and helpful. By the way, I had to break my rule to stay here (my rule states that I can't eat or sleep in a place with the word "country" or "famous" in the name, and Famous Dave's gets a pass). They have free wi-fi, which is sufficiently fast, and smoking rooms that smell like, well, smoke. There out of the fresh smelling kind.
We walked across the parking lot for a very late dinner at the Texas Steakhouse & Saloon. It was very good, we both had sirloin. And Brooke was a very fun and conversational waitress, though a little slow getting our checks taken care of. But she didn't charge us for our drinks so, we forgive you Brooke!
Now we are writing on our blogs and still fielding emails from some of you who want to meet up while in Greensboro. It's been a long but very good day. God has given us strength and kept our families in order while we are away.
I've had a few questions from non-SBC'rs about the shofar stuff a couple of posts down. I know outsiders don't get the context. So, if you want to know more, read my post from last year's SBC annual meeting in Nashville and then view this video (especially the last 4 minutes).
I was emailed recently by the Florida Baptist Witness for a comment on this question: "What do you hope will be the single, greatest outcome of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Greensboro?"
Here's my response at the end of the article. Obviously they were saving the best for last. ;)
Steve McCoy, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ill., and owner of Missional Baptist Weblog: "My greatest hope for Greensboro is that I will continue to build a personal network of missional pastors and thinkers, and encourage others to do the same. My second greatest hope is that the shofar won't work."
A bit of breaking news. TheFlorida Baptist Witness is reporting that the executive committee of the IMB's trustee board, "will recommend at the board's March 20-21 meeting in Tampa that trustees reverse a Jan. 11 motion asking the Southern Baptist Convention to remove Wade Burleson of Enid, Okla., as a trustee."
IMB trustee chairman Thomas Hatley of Rogers, Ark., told the Southern Baptist TEXAN the committee determined the matter of disciplining a trustee could be handled internally. Burleson has vocally--and allegedly improperly, according to the trustees--opposed the board's action to establish new missionary candidate criteria.
Misinformation disseminated through informal weblogs caused confusion in the minds of some Southern Baptists, Hatley said. He said he hopes a detailed accounting of the timeline and rationale for those standards will help separate those issues from the matter of Burleson's personal conduct as a trustee and answer questions that have arisen.
Since November, Burleson’s blog and several others have maintained frequent discussion of the issues. Many of the blogs include feedback from online readers rallying to the embattled trustee’s defense and calling for a large turnout at the annual meeting of the convention in Greensboro June 13-14 to vote against his proposed removal.
With the initial wave of e-mails and letters opposing the action against Burleson subsiding, Hatley told the TEXAN that he was beginning to receive many letters expressing appreciation for the stand taken by trustees.
The policy on private prayer language regards the habit to be outside the norm of Southern Baptist practice and states that candidates holding to the conviction or practice eliminate themselves from consideration. The guideline--not a policy--related to baptism expects candidates to have been baptized in a church that practices believer’s baptism by immersion alone, does not view it as sacramental or regenerative and embraces the doctrine of the security of the believer. In contrast to the misinformation circulated by critics, both the policy and the guideline feature an exception clause that allows for review by appeal.
For those in the SBC or interested in SBC issues, Wade Burleson, Oklahoma pastor and IMB trustee, is facing a vote for removal as a trustee. You can read what Wade says about it on his blog. I also recommend you keep up with it on my other blog, Missional Baptist Blog.
This may be the most important year in some time to attend our annual convention in Greensboro, NC as Wade's fate as a trustee will be voted on by SBC'rs in attendance. I will be there.