Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: SBC13: Mostly Good

Friday, June 14, 2013

SBC13: Mostly Good

It's Thursday and we just got back form Houston. Random thoughts, in no particular order:

Wow am I tired. And my feet hurt. IAH is enormous and the signs on how to get to the Rent-A-Car Shuttle aren't done real good. I got patted down in BHM and radared in IAH, so I got the best of both worlds, sort of. Houston traffic stinks. Our rental Ford Focus had a very strange power band. And I couldn't find the headlight switch until we were taking the car back this morning. That's most of what wasn't so hot .. albeit that term doesn't apply to the weather, which was. 4,000+ Messengers in a hall that seats 12,000 doesn't make an impressive crowd. 684 total votes, in one election, out of 5,066 messengers does, however, make an impression.

Somewhere in the middle of the road, Resolution #6 as presented to the convention was very good. It dealt with the Boy Scouts of America's recent decision to allow homosexual members (albeit not adult leaders). The resolution as presented did 3 things I thought appropriate:

  1. Expressed the SBC's continued opposition to the recent reversal of the position on homosexual members.
  2. Affirmed the right of families and churches to continue affiliation with the BSA.
  3. Affirmed the right of families and churches which choose to sever ties with the BSA.
Unfortunately, some messenger moved some parts of the "Resolved" section supporting churches and families electing to continue with the BSA be stricken; that was subsequently amended, and I am not sure what the final overall resolution ended up saying. But it disappoints me to think that the SBC is "encouraging churches to sever ties with the Boy Scouts".

That was stated on a local newscast I saw, that same evening.

I could write a lot about that. Already did, in fact, in a prior blog post.

There was a Resolution .. #7 .. "On Tithing, Stewardship and the Cooperative Program" that passed, which I voted against. Reason: its statement that the convention "...exhort all Southern Baptists to tithe cheerfully to their local churches". I disagreed with that, as the Baptist Faith and Message states:

"According to scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionally, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth."

I disagree that the Messengers should contradict the Baptist Faith and Message, on a matter specifically addressed by the Baptist Faith and Message. But since I knew it was going to pass anyway, I was a long way from a microphone, and my feet hurt, I let it go. But I'll continue to stand on the Baptist Faith and Message.

Resolution 9, entitled "On Prayer For The President And Other Political Leaders": One messenger seated right in front of me, voted against it. I wonder what translation of the Bible he's using.

I liked (a lot) the resolution addressing "..The Danger Of Age Discrimination In Healthcare Rationing". It passed.

Can I get a "Hallelujah!"?

Resolution 12 dealt with the growing American prison population, and ministering thereto. Good resolution, but someone who was involved in prison ministry added some wording to the effect that we encourage law enforcement officials not to be a hindrance to that ministry, which he happened to be involved in; further, that they "come alongside us" ... as I recall his words ... in this effort. I wondered at the time how they'd feel about the government asking the SBC to come alongside them, in law enforcement.....

I was perhaps 75 or 100 yards from the nearest microphone that time, to rise in objection to that amendment, and it passed.

Can I get a "Hypocrite!"?

Peter Lumpkins had submitted a resolution condemning child abuse, specifying "Southern Baptist congregations, churches of other denominations, and other Christian ministries". There has, after all, been a lot of press about that, lately. The Resolution, as it came out of the Committee on Resolutions, resolved "The we remind all Southern Baptists of their legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities....". I rose to that, moving an amendment to change its language to "..responsibility to report accusations of child abuse to authorities". The Committee agreed with the change, and it was incorporated into the resolution with out objection, and the resolution passed.

Reason: the church isn't the Investigative body to determine whether abuse has occurred. That should be done by the authorities. And Peter Lumpkins, by whom I was standing at that time, agreed.

I was especially pleased at that. Now, if there's a report of abuse in a church, how can they not call the authorities immediately? Imagine they check on it themselves and decide it didn't really happen, and they're later proven wrong ... how can they defend that in court, when their own denomination went on record saying the cops, not the church, should investigate?

OK .. I got a good night's sleep so maybe I can wrap this up today .. Friday.

There was a case here, locally, involving people we know and the school system. An incident of inappropriate touching by a teacher was reported to the police, who investigated and requested a Grand Jury be convened. The Jury considered and investigated the matter, concluding there was not enough evidence to prosecute. The School Board met and decided that, since the Grand Jury had ruled thusly, they could not fire the teacher.

Unfortunately, the accusations were true, and he went on to abuse others for quite some time, subsequently. When the truth came out, the School System then had the defense that they had done all they could in the matter.

Imagine all that happening in a church, had the church not reported the accusation. Particularly after Wednesday's Resolution, they'd be defenseless. So .. how can they not report accusations, now?

Resolution #5 was entitled "On Mental Health Concerns and the Heart of God". A well-known California pastor moved to amend the Resolution, adding that the Bible be considered the sole authority in mental health issues. That motion was not well received, and I spoke against it. I suggested that Mental Illness is Illness, and if we followed the amendment to its logical conclusion, we'd all be Christian Scientists. I mentioned that mental illness needs to be brought to the table and dealt with as shamelessly as any other illness. Fortunately, his amendment failed.

Someone subsequently asked me about why the Bible wasn't the authority on mental illness, and I responded it wasn't, any more than it was a handbook on automobile repair. I didn't say it, there, but I'm a good friend of our church counselor, and I know that it takes more than Biblical advice to solve mental health, and even general, counseling.

Even at that, I know several other reason for my statements.

We cannot simply talk people out of mental illness.

There's lots of other stuff I've forgotten, which I'll probably remember later. Oh. One of them was that Eric Hankins had the best observation .. idea .. of anybody on the panel at the Gospel Project breakfast. And I told him so. Right after I told him I was a rip-snortin' Calvinist.

He had correctly observed that the meanings we get from Old Testament passages, when we read them Christologically, do not in any way negate the meanings that readers of that era got from those passages, at the time. The discussion up until then seemed to indicate that we should ignore what OT readers, back then, might have gained from an OT truth.

That little chat with him, reminded me again: those who disagree with me on one issue, or even several, don't have horns and a tail. And are even nice guys.

OK. Last. We ended our final convention day with all 7 of us from FBC Pelham, having dinner at Pappadeaux' Seafood Restaurant, where Alyssa served us some of the best food ever. I put Alyssa's picture on Facebook, as she's the only server who has ever asked if she could pray for us, too, and then stood there holding hands with the circle, as we prayed over the meal, and her.

A great way to end a pretty good time in Houston.

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At 10:10 PM, June 14, 2013, Anonymous Lee said...

If I still lived in Houston, I'd have had you over for Taco Salad, or real barbeque. I hated the traffic there, too. And the weather. Two hurricanes and a tornado displeased my homeowners insurance company. They grumbled a lot, but they fixed the damage. The foundation failure, a common problem there, displeased me. I guess the mosquitos and the cockroaches were the most disagreeable part of living there, because you have them with you all the time. Even in the winter.

4,000 messengers? Wow. They could have had that gathering in the small theater at the GRB.

At 10:48 PM, June 14, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

That was the number of the first registration secretary report. By Wednesday noon, it was up to 5,066 and that was the max. And 600+ voted in one of the elections.

At 9:15 AM, June 15, 2013, Anonymous Lee said...

I remember a few years back, in San Antonio, when a handful of Southwestern students, following Paige Patterson's broad hints, were able to influence the election of Jim Richards over David Rogers in one of those afternoon sessions when there weren't 1,000 people in the hall. But, with only 5,000 messengers, which means there are never that many in the hall to vote. And I'm guessing that you and your wife were among the younger messengers present.

If the younger generation in Baptist life doesn't value the convention structure and the denomination's way of doing things, it is in trouble. That's if there are all that many younger generation members left in the churches.

At 11:13 AM, June 15, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

You are dead-on right in that, Lee. I talk all the time to my SS class about how they ought to get involved. I mean, this year, I:

Sat and chatted with Ken Hemphill, former Pres of SWBTS for 10 or 15 minutes. (I'd met him in S.A.)
Talked to Russell Moore at the meeting hall, about something I'd observed. He thanked me for my observation. I'd met him and talked to him before, too.
Sat in the hallway and talked to Frank Page, about his book "Melissa" for a little bit. Did a little ministry for him, I think.
Proposed an amendment to the child protection resolution, which was passed.

The messengers actually approved a resolution on tithing which far exceeded the BF&M. I dare say they didn't even know what they were doing. Which tells you something. I was too far from a mike to get there in time to object.

That stuff is just a lot of fun to do, but sadly, people in the churches don't know it. Don't know they can count.

At 4:20 PM, June 15, 2013, Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

Bob, what was the margin on the vote on Resolution No. 7 re tithing? I didn't notice that reported on anywhere. I'd like to hope otherwise, but I'm guessing it passed by a large margin.

At 4:44 PM, June 15, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

As I recall, I was the only one I saw that voted against it. It went beyond the Baptist Faith & Message, is why.

At 8:09 AM, June 17, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to commend you on your speaking to the Resolutions that had been presented. Both comments were directly on point; the church doesn't determine abuse, and mental illness is an illness. As one who was watching via the internet I would like to ask you a question.

I could only see the individual microphone for the current speaker - there were no crowd shots - and wondered if anyone else appeared to be willing to speak to both of these resolutions. In other words, did you see anyone sit down following your comments, etc? Especially on the Mental Health resolution there appeared to be some collusion to insert a "Resolved" showing Scripture as being the final authority. The reasoning for this seemed obvious: it would remove the issue of mental health being an illness.

Thanks for your efforts.

At 8:32 AM, June 17, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

The hall seats 12,000 people and is about the size of a football field. Really. Plus, when you're speaking into the microphone the with your face plastered all over a half dozen 12' screens in your view, and hearing your voice coming back to you perhaps 1/4 of a second later, you tend to focus very hard on the microphone itself to get what you want to say, said. I think you could have paraded an elephant down an aisle and I wouldn't have noticed it.

But having said that, no, I don't think there was any sort of concerted effort to get that amendment through.

Thanks for the comment, and also, thanks for watching the convention.

At 8:37 AM, June 17, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Daniel: The resolution concerning child abuse had been written by a friend, Peter Lumpkins. He'd addressed the motion from that microphone and I walked to that mike .. which was 150' or so from the mike I was originally at, to tell him the amendment I was going to offer. He agreed with me, and was in fact happy with the resolution as passed.

The committee had scrubbed it quite a bit to make all the points he wanted to make without naming any other names, which was appropriate.

At 3:24 PM, June 21, 2013, Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

Bob, I haven't seen this mentioned elsewhere. Do you know who wrote the tithing resolution, and/or where it originated?


At 5:10 PM, June 21, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


I don't know for sure who submitted the resolution ... #7 titled "On Tithing, Stewardship and the Cooperative Program" but I suspect it started with Tim Overton of Halteman Village Baptist Church in Muncie, IN. The SBC Bulletin part 3 states a resolutions was submitted by him, "On Tithing", and the Bulletin simply states "See Resolution #7".

I recall him because, although I live in Birmingham, and have for 38 years, my office used to be in the Halteman Village Shopping Center there.


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