After spending the last few days in Louisville, KY for the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention I can say I am actually excited about our future. As a student of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary I've been very excited about the example that our president, Dr. Danny Akin, has set for us and the leadership he has in both the school and the SBC. This was my first annual meeting that I went to, and I started by going to the the Monday evening sessions of the pastor's conference. The three messages I heard that night were fantastic and inspiring. Drs. Reid, Platt, and Hunt all delivered in such a way that I came away very optimistic that this was not simply a hunger by the younger generation to move forward for the sake of the gospel. It truly seemed to be a desire of the SBC.
However, after that came the first day of the convention (Tuesday) and my heart began to sink throughout the afternoon. The focus seemed different by some of those on the floor making motions. I want to be careful here because I really believe what was happening was a sincere fear that our convention could be compromising in areas that they felt would hinder the Great Commission and our identity in Christ. For that I am quite thankful. A lot of what I heard being complained about when it came to these motions was the attacks on Mark Driscoll and Acts29 (which was also an attack on those who affiliate with them in any way). Since that is the case I want to be clear about something - I love the theology of and passion of Mark Driscoll, but I am certainly not Driscoll. I am uncomfortable with some of the things he does/says. But I have no intentions of throwing out Driscoll because of these things. The fact is he has a good understanding of the gospel of grace and he's reaching people for the Kingdom.
So heading into Tuesday night I was not sure what direction we were going to head in. You could feel the tension building as many people (younger and older) came into the business time for the convention. The silly motions were dealt with before they ever made it to the floor, but there was still one that I felt was the key to our moving forward as a convention. That motions was to allow the president of our convention, Dr. Johnny Hunt, the duty of appointing a task force that would look into our structure and see how we could better reach the nations with the gospel. Dr. Albert Mohler presented the motion that morning and spoke to it first that evening. It was great, but it was also rejected by some as being a Calvinist movement or a waste of time and resources. When it came time to vote I was overjoyed to see that around 95% of our convention voted in favor of this motion. I think this is a great step for our convention and the time is now here to pray for the task force as they look over this and bring back their findings to the SBC next year.
Therefore I am excited about our future in the SBC. But I do also want to give a warning. One of the things I am concerned about is the lack of remembrance of those around my age. The love of theological depth and passion for taking the gospel to the ends of the earth is rooted in a trust in the fact that the Bible is God's Word without error. This battle was fought by those who came before us. While I agree that some of the motions made and some of the battles still being fought are crazy at best, let us not forget that those who have gone before us have wisdom and experience that we do not yet have. We must not forget that we are in the line of history that includes the generations that came before us. In fact, I am thankful that those who led the way for the Great Commission Resurgence are not in their 30's and 40's. Some to be sure are 50 and above. I am quite thankful for the generations that have gone before us. Our convention would not be where it is today if it were not for those who were genuinely concerned about the identity of our convention in Christ. Yes we have work to do, but I am excited about our future and do not want to forget our past.