What Happened Today?Well...not everything I wanted to happen. You should probably take that into account in evaluating my comments.
All in all, I think that today was a mixed day:
- GOOD: We rescued a sensible Cooperative Program motion by defeating an absolutely non-Baptist amendment through which State Convention Executives (some of whom, by the way, will only move toward the 50-50 split over their dead bodies) might have put the SBC on record as saying that everyone EXCEPT State Conventions should give sacrificially at arbitrarily set levels to increase CP throughput.
- NOT GOOD: We elected Frank Page as president of the SBC. I wonder whether he has gotten his congratulatory phone call from Russell Dilday yet?
- GOOD: Most of the crazy motions made today found their way to someplace where sounder and cooler heads might prevail.
- GOOD: We managed to amend a potentially-disastrous recommendation that would have precluded anyone who had ever been employed by any entity (or whose spouse had been employed) from serving as a trustee of that entity.
- GOOD: No nominees got torpedoed.
Best Nomination Speech of the Day: By the guy who nominated Wiley Drake for 2nd VP. I can't recall his name, which is a shame. It provided some much needed comic-relief.
Dumbest Move of the Day: Assuming that we didn't actually elect Wiley Drake as 2nd VP (I didn't stay long enough to hear the voting results...can you imagine the chaos of a convention session presided over by Wiley Drake?), the dumbest move of the day was a recommendation from the Executive Committee that basically would have excluded every poor seminarian who scraped through school by getting his wife to work in the business office from EVER IN HIS LIFE being able to serve as a seminary trustee. Come on guys...get with the program. In my opinion, this is like term-limits in secular politics: I sympathize with the general concept, but I absolutely cannot consent to something that takes away the power of the people to select whomever they wish to represent them.
Craftiest Move of the Day: Wade Burleson for supporting the motion to refer his main motion regarding the investigative committee. After the presidential election, he had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Because he chose not to fight this fight, he can declare victory and move on, seeing what happens in the intervening year.
Worst Report of the Day: The Executive Committee. Ummm...Excuse me...but we already have people in charge of the music for the convention. Is it really necessary for you to take an HOUR for your report just so you can trapse out people for THREE SONGS that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with your actual reporting? It just got so tedious.
Best Report of the Day: Southwestern Seminary. I know I'm biased, but really, the Q&A format posed serious, substantive questions and kept things INTERESTING. Dr. Patterson was content to say very little, let others address topics that struck to the heart of what SWBTS does, and then bring things to an end.
What Does It All Mean?Particularly, the tragedy of the presidential election? I think that really remains to be seen. I will, however, make certain predictions:
- Page's election will energize SBC moderates. Since next year's meeting is in San Antonio, the extreme-left-wing Baptist General Convention of Texas will mobilize and attempt to sway the convention leftward. The only way this will not happen is if Page quickly and decisively makes it clear that he is at war with liberalism. Anybody see that happening?
- Next year's crop of nominations will almost entirely consist of moderates. Page will claim that all of his nominees are biblical inerrantists. Indeed, some may be, but they will be biblical inerrantists with no backbone—those who have no problem with folks who are not biblical inerrantists teaching in seminaries or serving as SBC missionaries.
- Page's coalition will eventually vaporize. After all, it involves everyone from the liberals to the Founders folks. They have NOTHING in common other than DISSATISFACTION. That, my friends, may be a basis for winning, but not for governing afterwards. They'll soon see their differences clearly, and Frank Page will have to choose sides. That won't be pretty.
- Page's election will also energize SBC conservatives. We were not organized well this year. Next year will be different.
- And thus, the SBC will plunge into yet another denominational struggle. This will distract us from everything we really ought to be doing. In return, the convention will emerge absolutely no better, and perhaps far worse, than it is today. Congratulations, folks! I hope you're proud of yourselves.