Well, the meeting has been interesting so far. Last night we essentially had no business and mostly listened to two messages. The first was by Dr. David Tolliver, the interim Executive Director of the MBC and the second was by Dr. Mike Green, the current President of the MBC. I was dissapointed in Dr. Tolliver’s address, in all honesty. It appeared to me that he took the opportunity to mention every hot button he could in order to gain a good response from the messengers. It sounded a bit like “playing to the crowd” to me. Now, that’s not to say that Tolliver’s message was not biblical. It appeared to me, however, that he made unnecessary statements that created unnecessary division that is simply not helpful in our current convention climate. Taking his message from Micah 6:8, he preached about the three topics in the passage. Unfortunately, however, his subpoints were not driven by the passage and were used by Dr. Tolliver to criticize younger pastors, blogging, “drinking” Baptists and his definition of legalism. His statement on legalism was most interesting to me. He claimed that he knew what legalism was and then proceeded to define legalism as requiring additional components for salvation. His statement essentially precluded any authentic believer from ever being a legalist, which we know to be inaccurate. He even went so far as to claim that there were no legalists in the MBC, when he said, “Legalism believes in a works salvation and we don’t believe that, none of us.” While I am sure that he is technically correct that there aren’t Missouri Baptists pastors trying to pomote works salvation, there is no doubt that there are those who are encouraging legalistic views of scripture. However, he has the right to communicate his opinion and I’m glad he honestly communicated where he stands.
I was hoping that Dr. Tolliver would attempt to bring about peace and reconciliation in his message. I was hopeful that he would consider the biblical injunctions about unity to communicate a desire that those who are “warring” against each other would somehow find a way to come together for the sake of the Gospel and the kingdom of God. As I said, however, he used his pulpit to drive an even larger wedge in between Missouri Baptists. It was disconcerting, to me anyway. The resolution that I submitted last night (see below) seeks to promote that need.
I was unable to hear Green’s message as I received a phone call at the beginning of his message and then was stopped by some individuals in the hallway.
In addition to those reports, I was also very discouraged while sitting in the Executive Board meeting to hear the report of the Theology Sub-Committee of the Exec. Board’s report on the Emerging Church. After all their exposure to the intelligent, academic research of Dr. Mark Devine, it is unbelievable to me that there report would be so blatantly irresponsible in its broad brushing of all who are involved in the EC movement, particularly when so many conservative SBC churches carry some affiliation with portions of the movement. Thankfully the Exec. Board voted to make copies of the report available to the public, along with copies of a minority report completed by Dr. David McAlpin who served on the committee and who disagreed with the findings of the report.
This morning I heard that the resolution that I submitted had been recieved by the resolution committee. The resolution is entitled, “RESOLUTION REGARDING THE CURRENT DIVISION AND FRACTIONAL DISPUTES WITHIN THE MISSOURI BAPTIST CONVENTION”. You can download a copy of the original draft by clicking here. The resolution was primarily drafted by Dr. Rob Ayers of Camp Branch Baptist Church in Sedalia, MO but when Rob was unable to be here, I submitted the resolution and am hopeful of its acceptance and passage.
We also just completed the election of President. Although the results won’t be known until this afternoon, I am feeling strongly that Dr. Gerald Davidson will be elected as President over current President, Mike Green. The nominating speeches for both were good, but the speech delivered by Kenny Qualls concerning Dr. Davidson as well as Davidson’s name recognition in Missouri probably cinched the election for him. I’ll let you know when it is announced.
Finally, as is always true at convention meetings, it has been very good to meet so many wonderful Missouri Baptists. I am constantly surprised by the number of people who come up to me and know of me because of this blog, but it’s been a wonderful introduction to many good people in our convention. I’ve also been very pleased to spend a little bit more time with some fantastic Missouri Baptists like David Krueger, whom I had dinner with last night, Darrin Patrick, who I spent some time speaking with and will be spending more time with him tonight, and others. This process of connecting with other pastors and leaders across the state is a highlight of the week.
More to come later….