The individual with whom I conversed last week about allowing his name to be nominated for President of the SBC called me and told me he has decided he will not allow his nomination. He gave me a reason, which I found very interesting, but nonetheless, I affirmed him and his decision to not run.
I have said from the beginning that the issues which we face as a convention are critical. The President of the SBC will have a great deal to say regarding our future, and more importantly, will be able to help chart the course. The issues as I see them are:
(1). We must stop narrowing the parameters of cooperation in the area of missions and evangelism. We cannot, we must not, define Southern Baptists in more narrow terms than our Baptist Faith and Message and more importantly, we cannot disenfranchise committed, conservative Southern Baptists who hold to the integrity of the Scriptures but differ on the interpretions of minor doctrines of the sacred text.
(2). We must broaden the base of service in the SBC to include more than just a few who are recycled in their appointments. This broadening of the tent of service will insure that the SBC will remain broad in cooperation, grasssroots in the authority structure, and viable for the next generation of Southern Baptists.
(3). We must actively seek to engage the new generation of Southern Baptists who are unfamiliar with the SBC by ceasing the attachment of perjorative labels on fellow Southern Baptists, and more importantly, forsaking any exclusivist spirit which refuses to cooperate with those we identify as "different" from us. Even though I have spoken clearly and directly against Landmarkism in the SBC, I love my Landmark brothers and look forward to cooperating with them in our work. Unfortunately, the spirit is often not reciprocated. The same could be said of any other minor doctrinal issue where there is disagreement. We are large enough as a convention to work together in fulfilling the Great Commission without demanding conformity in issues of soteriology (Calvinism vs. Arminianism), ecclesiology (Landmarkism vs. traditional denominational views), eschatalogy (dispensationalism vs. other views), missiology, etc . . .
Young leaders in the SBC need to rally around the gospel. We as a convention must learn to emphasize the essentials, display a charitable spirit to those who disagree with us on the non-essentials, and most of all, work together to further the Kingdom of Christ.
(4). We must elect Presidents of agencies who are empowered to lead according to the vision God gives to them. Trustees are responsible to hold accountable administration and to help establish policy, but trustees must never confuse their roles with those of administrators. Therefore, there must be trustees elected to the different agencies who take seriously their responsibility and accountability to each other AND the SBC at large.
(5). We must move in a direction where people in our world know what Southern Baptists stand for, not what we stand against. We are for the the proclamation of the gospel. We are for the good news of Jesus Christ. We are for helping those in need both materially and spiritually. We are for so many good things.
Ronnie Floyd has announced that he is running for President of the SBC. I have commended Ronnie for being willing to serve Southern Baptists. If he is elected I will pray for him and his family, help him succeed as he leads our convention, and do everthing in my power rally people behind him.
There are some who may see the Presidency as an honor or a recognition. But the SBC needs a President who understands what the issues are and is willing to address them. The election this year for President will give the people of the SBC a choice. Ronnie has a vision for the future, and the other candidate will have one as well. It will be the decision of the body as to which vision is best.
Who will the other candidate be? I'm not yet sure, but this one thing I know --- there will be another one.
In His Grace,