Gregory writes of the events at the June 9-11, 1992 Southern Baptist Convention in Indianopolis on page 292
Thus came time for The Meeting. Each year on Monday night of the Southern Baptist Convention was The Meeting. Attendance was by invitation only. It was usually hosted in the presidential suite of the sitting president. Security was tight with the meeting often taking place on an elevator-keyed floor. This was the strategy meeting for the next day's election. The heroes of the conservative resurgence led the meeting. Adrian Rogers by force of personality usually became the unofficial chair. Around the room sat the major voices of the conservative wing of the Southern Baptist Convention. With three candidates seeking to lead the sixteen-million-member denomination amidst a thirteen-year-long war for control, certainty was not a guest at this gathering.
I was seated on a couch in the middle of thirty or so conservative powers, most of them friends of the years. I read to them my thoughts of a nominating speech for Ed Young the next day. It was not well received. Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler, Adrian Rogers, Bailey Smith, Jerry Vines, and Charles Stanley all began to submit their ideas for a better direction of thought in the speech. Then the second rank of younger leaders around the periphery of the room added their opinions. As I took notes on my lap-top, it began to look like a speech by committee. Since Ed was perceived by some as an elitist, some wanted to emphasize his populist roots in Mississippi. Others wanted to underscore his astonishing achievement at Second, Houston. Some said this, some that, and some something else. Finally, Adrian made the suggestion that since they had asked me to do it, they must have thought I had sense enough to write the speech. As usual, his wisdom carried the day. Dr. Charles Stanley of First Baptist, Atlanta, approached me as the meeting broke up. With his gaunt presence and basset-hound eyes, he laid his hand on my shoulder to say, "Joel, this may well be the most important speech of your life."
I was not sure if this was an affirmation or a warning. This was the second of three times in as many years that Charles would say something like that to me. During the Paige Patterson airport meeting described earlier, Charles told me something of the same ilk concerning my stand to save Paige's job. A year later and months after my resignation from the church, I presented the new candidate for the presidency of the Foreign Mission Board. Again, Charles informed me of the uniqueness of the moment.
For thirteen years the anointed candidate of the conservatives had won. NO one, but no one, wanted to be the nominee or the nominator who lost that election. The stakes were sky-high. If there was ever one conservative loss, the left wing of the denomination could gain momentum again. There was a domino theory that the whole Baptist civil war could reverse itself. Whether or not that was true, no one knew, and no one wanted to find out."
Fifteen years later the domino theory is being tested. The ordained candidate did not win last year. The first domino has fallen in the election of Frank Page. However, it is my personal belief that the Southern Baptist Convention will only become broader, more missions oriented, and less focused on the non-essentials through the election of Frank Page. We shall remain conservative. We are all conservative, Bible believing Christians. We all hold to the fundamentals of the faith as historical Baptists have always done, and we unite for the purpose of missions and evangelism.
I think the SBC in Greensboro, June 2006, a quarter of a century after the beginning of the 'conservative resurgence,' will go down as the beginning of a needed pendulum swing back toward a brand of irenic conservatism that focuses on missions and evangelism more than sectarian ideology and demands for conformity in the interpretation of tertiary doctrines.
San Antonio will only build on that trend.
And, contrary to what some might believe, the SBC will not reverse course - we will only slightly alter our direction toward a more important destination.
In His Grace,