Thursday, June 17, 2010

SBC in Orlando 2010: Kadesh or Kibosh?

I’m daring to venture into an arena that I do not approach lightly. For various reasons do I approach this arena at times and I do so with great respect not only for the venue but for those who I bring with me into this setting. Never-the-less, I remain undaunted at the task that is before me and endeavor to be fair and forthright.

SBC President Johnny Hunt addressed the Convention on Tuesday with a message from Numbers 13-14 and Joshua 14. He entitled his message, “The Southern Baptist Convention at its Kadesh Barnea”. His great appeal was to persuade the Convention to approve the GCTFR that was to be presented and he used the aforementioned texts to drive home his point. However, though his use of the Numbers passage has a ring of authenticity, is his use of the text authentic to the Text?

Hunt painted the picture that those who would vote against the GCTFR were like the 10 spies who brought back the negative report in contrast to those who would vote for the GCTFR being like Joshua and Caleb. Is his picture, is his analogy true to the text of the Scripture that he based it upon? Let’s look at the text.

In Numbers 13-14, 12 spies were sent into the land and were to bring back a report with authenticating evidence, fruit, from the land. If there is any correlation between this passage and the GCTFR report, it would look something more like what I will propose thus insisting that our use of a text demands that we be true to the text and not use it for a proof text to bolster our opinions. The 12 spies would be likened to the GCTF and to them only. The 12 spies were sent to search out and the GCTF was commissioned to research and report of their excursion into “the promised land” (Great Commission Resurgence). THUS, if all the members of the GCTF approved of the report to the Convention, Hunt’s use of this analogy in the way that he does comes not from the Text but from Hunt’s desire to persuade the Convention to approve the report. The Convention would be likened to the crowd who would receive the report of the committee, NOT the 10 unbelieving spies. But allow me to press the analogy further. Was some of the Convention really UNBELIEVING or were they as of yet UNCONVINCED because of the lack of fruit to demonstrate that the spies “committee” had been where they say they had been. Truthfully, the fruit was not produced but rather sealed away in a freezer for 15 years time after which the fruit will no longer be fresh and the moment will have passed away. Instead, the Convention was asked to believe the report of the GCTF without the substantiating documentation, fruit. The GCTF sought to keep those records private and the majority of the convention voted to do so but what this did for many was eliminate the verifying fruit that the Committee had gone where it was supposed to have gone.

The way the sermon was presented turns the Text into a piece of clay that is molded to fit the hands of the potter. Rather, I was taught in Seminary that the Text is the potter and it is supposed to mold my hands, the clay.
I do not believe this Text was used properly either within its context or the use by which it was designed to persuade the Convention. This does not mean that I believe the GCTFR lacked validity but rather that the chief speech, Hunt’s presidential address, that was used to bully, as the lady said, some into voting for it was just that, a big stick meant to provoke. Well it has provoked me enough into saying that even if I thought the Committee was going in the right direction, the method used to accomplish that direction would make me want to vote against it altogether.
I conclude that his use of the Text was not authentic to the Text. The GCTFR may indeed end up being the SBC’s Kadesh. Why? Because the MAJORITY in the Text ruled the day just as the majority ruled in Orlando.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


There it grew, far from the observation of those who seldom stray from the beaten path. Like a burst of fireworks piercing through the darkness, this blossom of flowers reached up through the undergrowth and showed forth its beauty. Had the little trail that was used to access this area not existed, scarcely could one conceive that a human might have stumbled upon it during its brief display of devotion to God's calling upon it. Far from other blooming flowers, distant from the busy path of life, this little flower was doing what God placed it to do. The flower was displaying the Glory of God and giving glory to God and, it was in a place that would be seldom seen by the passing masses should any of them even but for a moment veer from their busy schedule. No banners, billboards or advertisements drew attention to itself. It simply did what it was designed to do. No parades, no pomp and circumstance, no confetti and noisemakers inhabited the realm of this flower, just quiet solitude and devotion before and to God Almighty.

Christian, pastor's especially, the limelight is not where ability or calling will be displayed for the majority of us. Instead, can we just be like this little flower with no regard to who on earth is looking but instead, with all regard to God above? Can we learn to be content where God has placed us and live to His glory despite our not being surrounded by accolades, sycophants and cameras? Life is really not all that long and maybe, just maybe, instead of striving for the stage of men, we should really be striving upon the stage where God has placed us, even if seldom ever seen by the eyes of men.

Whether I had stopped by or not was irrelevant to this little flower. It was going to bloom where it was whether I saw it or not. God help me to be like this little flower, content in doing WHAT you've called me to do WHERE you've called me to do it.