Wrapping Up: Encouragement

Okay, by now you all know what happened at the Convention: At the pastors' conference we had flaring nostrils the first night and a fog machine the next (rolls eyes). We elected a President for the SBC many did not think would win, though no one I spoke with thinks it will make much of a difference in the Convention either way. I am praying for Frank, and am hopeful he will do a great job. We passed a resolution encouraging abstinence from alcohol only after it was amended to be even more restrictive than originally intended. And we refused to consider a motion calling for integrity in reporting our numbers in our Southern Baptist Churches. And you know what? I am still encouraged.

I am encouraged because I do see things beginning to change. The Pastors' Conference was highly attended, including a significant number of "younger leaders."  The theological break-out sessions were excellent. Many of the speakers on day two encouraged pastors to preach the Scripture in the language of the people to whom they have been sent. Shane and Shane was great. At the big show, the resolution on refusing the gift of God (calling for abstinence from alcohol) overwhelmingly passed, but a number of courageous men spoke against it, encouraging biblical thought that should naturally flow from a belief in both the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. I imagine a few years ago fewer, if any, would have spoke against the resolution at all. And concerning Tom Ascol's excellent proposed resolution that was shot down by both the Resolution Committee and the majority of the messengers present during the meeting... okay, there's nothing good to pull out of that one. I think many of us were dumbfounded at how that vote turned out.

My point is I am encouraged because things are changing, and it is not happening through political maneuvering. It is happening as our churches continue to allow sola scriptura to form their confession and character. You can't raise a generation of men and women on the infallible/inerrant word of God and expect them to remain comfortable while introducing extra-biblical law and denying our Christian liberty. We have begun to hear this "missional" message now for two years, and I am praying it will begin to stick. I am also encouraged because - get this: God has been breaking me and rebuilding me in very positive ways over the past few days. I look forward to sharing what's going on in the near future.  Let me just say I have never been more excited about risking everything to follow Christ in preaching the Gospel to community in which I live. And being at the SBC played a major roll in that.