Frank Page called me today and said he was allowing his name to be nominated for President of the SBC. I have stated my personal intentions from the beginning --- I would allow my name to be nominated if there were no candidate to arise who is willing to face the issues that must be addressed in our convention.
I have mentioned at least five major issues, but I wish to focus on just two in this post, two issues I have discussed with Frank and find him to be on the same Page as I (nice pun if I say so myself :) ).
(1). WE MUST STOP NARROWING THE DEFINITION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SOUTHERN BAPTIST AND WE MUST STOP NARROWING THE PARAMETERS OF COOPERATION IN MISSIONS AND EVANGELISM!
Frank Page understands this.
Some of my reformed friends who are five-point Calvinists are concerned because Frank wrote a book six years ago that attacked those who hold to limited atonement. I spoke directly to Frank about this issue, because frankly, it was a concern to me as well. The book is out of print and Frank said it did reflect his personal views, but he recognized there is a large, and growing number of SBC pastors who would believe differently. He further told me that one of his best friend is a five-point Calvinist and members of his church are five-point Calvinists. In short, Frank recognizes that the SBC is large enough for people who hold to different views of the atonment.
Frank told me that he is willing to cooperate with any Southern Baptist in missions and evangelism, regardless of their Calvinistic tendencies. I have a simple word of caution for those of you who are my reformed friends --- if we reject a Southern Baptist for a position of service BECAUSE he personally rejects Calvinism (and writes about it), then we are no better than our Landmark friends who reject people for service BECAUSE they are not Landmark, or our cessationist friends who reject people for service BECAUSE they speak in tongues (I am speaking in terms of the SBC as a whole).
Our convention is large enough for us all, and frankly, it is healthy for us to be able to discuss these various views and stop rejecting those who disagree. We must learn to WORK TOGETHER FOR THE SPREADING OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Frank Page is committed to this view of the future of the SBC. Reformed theology in the SBC is not going away, and Frank Page is aware that Calvinists can be as missions minded and evangelistic as the most ardent Arminian (and I would say even more so!).
(2). WE MUST BREAK THE CHOKEHOLD ON THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS OF TRUSTEES AND NOMINEES FOR NATIONAL OFFICE THAT HAS GRIPPED OUR CONVENTION FOR THE LAST QUARTER CENTURY.
There are many, many stories that could be told of the manipulation of the nomination process. This system of control must be broken for the health of our convention. The stakes of the tent must be stretched. The base must be broadened.
Frank is a conservative with a vision for the future of the SBC. There may be more conservatives who announce they are running for President. If so, great! The more the better. We must get to the place where we recognize the gifts of many in our convention and don't just trust a handful to do our thinking for us.
I will continue to focus on the issues. I will continue to participate in the process. I will support every candidate who understands and is willing to face the issues.
Next week (Sunday afternoon through Thursday) I will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the International Mission Board trustee meeting. I have the privilege and pleasure of having my wife escort me on this trip.
I'll post from NM Monday.
Blessings this Lord's Day,
In His Grace,