Tuesday, June 19, 2007

San Antonio Hindsight: Part Four

A Consensus Proposal: Explicit Referendum Powers?

Should agency trustees be accountable to the Southern Baptist Convention? Here, it seems to me, is a question that occupies a fundamental position in our current debates and upon which some measure of widespread agreement is feasible. Should agency trustees be accountable to the Southern Baptist Convention? I answer yes. At the risk of putting words into people's mouths, I'm going to guess that Wade Burleson, Ben Cole, Art Rogers, Marty Duren, C. B. Scott, Les Puryear, Alan Cross, Robin Foster, Jeremy Green, Wes Kenney, Jerry Corbaley, David Worley, Tim Guthrie, Peter Lumpkins, Joe Stewart, etc., etc., etc., will all agree. I'll be shocked if anyone in Southern Baptist life responds negatively to that question. With such widespread agreement on an underlying principle, people can build consensus—especially people led by the same Spirit. It all boils down to asserting a right akin to the secular political process called referendum. I think it is unwise to set up an automatic referendum situation. That's one reason why I oppose the current assertion by a few people of the BF&M as a maximum doctrinal statement for the agencies (among other reasons). No good framework exists for determining which policies and practices are doctrinal and which are not. The ultimate effect of the recommendations in Dr. Chapman's sermon at the SBC would be, in my estimation, each board of trustees bringing a dozen items every year for review by the convention. Inefficient and onerous—the people of the SBC don't want to deal with all of that folderol. Not having to rubber stamp every little decision is one of the reasons why we have a trustee structure in the first place. I do not affirm any system that forces the Southern Baptist messengers into an automatic referendum of new doctrinal policies and practices. For Southern Baptists to have to vote, 150 years later, to affirm the Abstract of Principles for SBTS is idiotic. I do, however, believe that the Southern Baptist messengers ought to be able to provoke a referendum of any trustee policies and practices that we WISH to take up. Furthermore, the mechanism for doing so ought to be accessible and reliable—messengers ought to be able to know clearly their precise avenue of recourse, and it ought to work the same way every time for every issue. Our polity does not allow the convention to instruct the agencies; therefore, our referenda amount to the expression of an opinion, for or against. But remember, the SBC is the indispensible source of funding for these agencies. Believe me: They pay attention to the opinion of the SBC. Currently, our bylaws and rules of order are structured in such a way as to try to slap down as many initiatives from the floor as is possible. In most cases, I believe this is a wise approach (for one thing, it helps to stem our bureaucratic accretions somewhat). Nevertheless, if you give people the impression that they cannot gain a fair hearing at the annual meeting, you are courting the eventual rise of denominational junta after denominational junta—you force people to seize power in order to have influence. I believe that this right of referendum is already possible within our current structure. Nevertheless, I can understand why somebody might conclude that such an action is not really possible, whether it is technically possible or not. So, I'm suggesting that Southern Baptists could clarify and codify an explicit right and procedure for elective referendum of trustee or Executive Committee actions by the body of convention messengers. Should it require a simple majority or 2/3 to bring a trustee action to the floor for review? A simple majority or 2/3 to overturn a decision? Should the process take a single year, or should the trustee body have a year to prepare a response or propose a solution? Should the proposed referendum have to be filed in advance, as our resolutions are now? I'm open to persuasion on these specific issues. I'm specifically interested in hearing from those on the "other side of the aisle"—does this seem a workable solution to you? What say you?

49 comments:

Matt said...

"Wade Burleson, Ben Cole, Art Rogers, Marty Duren, C. B. Scott, Les Puryear, Alan Cross, Robin Foster, Jeremy Green, Wes Kenney, Jerry Corbaley, David Worley, Tim Guthrie, Peter Lumpkins, Joe Stewart, etc., etc., etc."

Is that meant to be the pecking order?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Matt,

Thanks for keeping you and me in the etc., etc., grouping. But that is okay I see an accomplice in CB Scot and he is only 5th in this pecking order.

:>)

Blessings,
Tim

OKpreacher said...

Bart,

I appreciate your desire to bring a policy that will work well and still allow for the voices of dissent to be heard. This is a good first draft. I need to think about it some more.

OKpreacher

Bart Barber said...

Ben,

Watch your language, young man, this is a public market.

joerstewart said...

Bart
Can we play the Soggy Bottom Boys in the background of your quote? Maybe not - I've been accused of being as dumb as a hammer.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate starting with something we can agree on. I think that always has merit.

Danny Cabaniss

Bart Barber said...

Danny!

I sent you greetings when you posted on somebody else's site. I don't know whether you remember me or not, but I'm shouting out a "Hello" anyway.

Tripp said...

Bart,

Some very good thoughts in this post.

Thank you for them.

joerstewart said...

It depends on whether this might undermine the ability of the trustee board to really lead. The revelation (to me) about Xcom participation in the Resolutions Committee is a hindrance not a help. It's definitely a starting point.

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

Upon my initial reading of this post, my first impression is favorable. Maybe some real life examples of how this process might work would help us understand where you're going.

I'll give it some more thought.

Les

Matt said...

True, true...I agree that Alison Krauss would have made a fine addition to the line-up.

volfan007 said...

matt,

here...here!

david

William said...

Why would this not be the convention instructing trustees?

Is there anyone now with a legitimate complaint about not getting a fair hearing?

Seems to me that the tested solution is to replace trustees. Sure, it would be difficult but certainly doable.

Anonymous said...

Bart!
Hello back to you. Catch me up at dannybcbc@aol.com or check out our church website at blackburnchapel.org

Bart Barber said...

Les,

Glad you're considering it.



William,

It would amount to the convention expressing a direct opinion about a trustee action. If this mechanism were not binding upon the trustees and were specifically codified in our bylaws, there would be no reason to rule it out of order. Trustees would recognize that directly contradicting the express will of the convention means jeopardizing future funding, even if the motion were not binding.



Matt,

No pecking order intended. I'm not even in the list you quoted. :-)



OK Preacher,

Maybe you and Les could think together. :-)



Tripp,

Thanks for your encouragement.



Joe,

The effort is to enable trustee leadership without compromising trustee accountability. Our brothers on the other side of the aisle are not wrong to want accountability. I just don't think that accountability has been compromised. The SBC already has the ability to express its displeasure with trustee actions. This just codifies that already-present ability and makes plain to everyone what to do when you don't like a trustee decision. If we have had a fiasco with a vague statement (not to tweak anybody here, just expressing an opinion to Joe), perhaps one reason is because it isn't clear to everyone precisely what one ought to do upon disagreeing with a trustee decision.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Bart, in reading and trying to put the EC statement and San Antonio together from the different blogs, I have the following understanding (which may or may not be correct).

1. Begins with a resolution by Boyd Luter in 2006 in Greensboro, "that bylaws be amended to require a vote at the next annual meeting on 'any doctrinal position or practical policy' of an SBC entity that 'goes beyond, or seeks to explain … the Baptist Faith and Message 2000,' with revocation of the policy or position if not approved by messengers (Florida Baptist Witness, June 22, 2006 & Dennyburk.com) This was referred to the Executive Committee.
2. The Executive Committee in February, 2007 adopted the following statement: "The Baptist Faith and Message is neither a creed, nor a complete statement of our faith, nor final and infallible; nevertheless, we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention." (Grace & Truth to You) According to the SBC bylaws, "The Executive Committee shall not have authority to control or direct the several boards, entities, and institutions of the Convention. This is the responsibility of trustees elected by the Convention and accountable directly to the Convention." (18. E. 9)
3. June 2007 the SBC messengers
approve a motion consisting of the aforesaid statement of the Executive Committee. The SBC Constitution states, "Authority: While independent and sovereign in its own sphere, the Convention does not claim and will never attempt to exercise any authority over any other Baptist body, whether church, auxiliary organizations, associations, or convention." (Article IV.)

IMO, both the EC statement and the vote on it by the SBC messengers is basically an opinion, regardless of how it is interpreted. Neither can direct the trustees, according to the Constitution and bylaws. William wrote that "the tested solution is to replace trustees." It is also the "Constitutional" solution. The real referendum according to SBC policy as it now stands is in the election of trustees.

I posted a statement by Allan Blume and Augie Boto on Les' blog. I think you will want to read it.

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

I've spent the last couple of hours analyzing your statement and the following are some observations:

1. I agree with paragraph number one. You ask "should agency trustees be accountable to the SBC?" Your answer is "yes." On that we agree.

2. In paragraph three you state that it is "unwise to set up an automatic referendum situation". Your reasons for this position are stated as "no good framework for determining which policies...are doctrinal.."; fear of each BoT bringing "a dozen items every year for review"; inefficient and onerous process; and the convention doesn't want to deal with every "little" decision.

My response to paragraph two is I disagree with your reasons for not being in favor of an "automatic referendum situation." I don't think it is very difficult to determine which policies enter into the doctrinal realm. As of now I know of only two: the IMB's PPL & baptism policies. These are obviously doctrinal. I think most messengers are doctrinally astute enough to recognize these two as doctrinal issues. Secondly, these are the only two doctrinal issues I am aware of in recent years, thus your fear of each BoT having "a dozen items each year" is not supported by recent history.

In regard to the process, it may be inefficient and onerous, but apparently it is meant to be so.

One last comment on this paragraph. I disagree with your use of the word "little" when speaking of doctrinal issues. Doctrine is the crux of this entire issue and as such is not "little" either in scope or importance.

3. In paragraph four, I read the main point of your issue: you do not want an automatic referendum system. Okay, now I understand your true concern.

Although you don't want to see an automatic referendum, you would agree that some process should be available to "provoke a referendum" on trustee policies that we "wish" to take up. I agree that we need a process. One question that comes to mind is: who decides which issues do we "wish" to take up?

I also agree with your characteristics of a process that is clear, precise, and consistent in its implementation.

4. In paragraph five, you rightly state, as R. L. has recently learned, that our polity doesn't allow the churches (messengers) to instruct the agencies. I personally have an issue with this part of our polity but that is besides the point. :)

Then you go on to say that any referendum that is adopted by a convention is only the expression of an opinion and because the agencies receive funding from those providing said opinion, the agencies will pay attention to the convention opinion. I know we disagree on the meaning of the BFM motion in SA, but I contend that the convention did just what you describe in paragraph five and the heads of said agencies did NOT pay attention to the convention's expression. This is the point that burdens my heart. If the Mohler's, Patterson's, Kelley's, Floyd's, etc., can choose to ignore what the convention said in SA, why will they not ignore any other expression of differences? To me, this is the inherent weakness of your proposal. You assume that the agencies who claim autonomy will choose to listen to the convention when the convention is at odds with the agencies. Brother, I would love nothing better than to be able to agree with you on this presupposition, but I saw no indication of such a mindset from our agency heads in SA.

My comment is going way too long so I will stop here and allow you to ponder my feedback to this point. I will take up paragraphs six and seven in another comment.

I am honestly trying to evaluate your idea with as much objectivity as the Spirit will provide me. I do not want to disagree because of who wrote the proposal or to be disagreeable. I am searching for anything on which we can all move forward together on this issue. Your efforts toward this goal are commendable.

Thanks for allowing me to give you my take on your proposal.

Les

William said...

Referendum = Resolution

The wheel is reinvented and renamed?

Gary Ledbetter said it well:

"A final word on boards: When we hear of a “runaway” board in Fort Worth or Nashville or wherever, we’re talking about Baptist pastors and laymen who were appointed by the only legitimate human authority the SBC recognizes, the messengers. They are from your churches and they are as fallible, well-meaning, and noble as the rest of us. They aren’t puppets of one or a few shady men in smoke-filled rooms. They’re yours and you’ve chosen them to be the policy makers for our institutions. Those who would change that process need a better reason than simply that they are tired of losing the debate."

Replace the trustees.

I do appreciate the fact that you and others explore these matters and seek solutions.

Bart Barber said...

R. L.,

Your analysis is correct at all points. Nevertheless, the wholesale replacement of trustees is, at this point, unnecessary. Contrary to popular allegation, we are not at this juncture plagued with renegade trustees who will do as they please regardless of convention wishes. Rather, the situation we now face is one of profound ambiguity as to the actual wishes of the convention. The tension of the current situation is increased by the adoption of a vague statement at our most recent annual meeting, fueling allegations of renegade entities flinging vulgarities at the Southern Baptist people. Balderdash.

How did we get here? Although unhappy with recent trustee decisions, some Southern Baptists have been at a loss for how properly to express their frustrations. The convention benefits in the long run, IMO, from specifying a clear, uniform process for bringing to the floor personal disagreement with a trustee action and finding out whether the majority of messengers agrees.

The helpfulness of such a process is not so much that it sets up some sort of binding imperative upon any agency, but that it could provide a unversally-agreed-upon mechanism for determining the will of the convention.

Bart Barber said...

Les,

1. I'm glad that we agree on the basic principle involved. That provides hope for ultimately successful negotiations, at least between the two of us.

2. I suppose the best way for me to proceed, rhetorically, is to advance other items that clearly are doctrinal, and other items that might or might not be.

The question of whether seminaries ought to hire women to teach theology...doctrinal? I think so. Of course, someone might assert that it is a personnel matter, not a doctrinal matter. What is the framework for determining which it is? There is no framework.

The IMB's decisions to focus on church planting and place less emphasis upon hospitals, educational institutions, etc. Doctrinal or strategic? I suggest that it is strategic if you like it and doctrinal if you don't. Specifically, this decision is influenced by some interpretation of BF&M XI and XV.

The IMB's decisions about partnerships with so-called "Great Commission Christians" is quite doctrinal, I personally have had several doctrinal discussions about these very issues with David Rogers and others.

NAMB's ecclesiological guidelines are doctrinal in nature and relate to several articles of BF&M.

I reiterate…the effect of such a system would be to incentivise anyone who disagrees with any decision to make a case for uncovering the theology behind it. And as a Christian organization, there is little that we do that doesn't have some sort of theology behind it.

3. Who decides which issues to take up? The messengers. Somebody makes a motion to take up an issue. Somebody else seconds the motion. Some number of messengers must agree to desire to take the matter up. At least, that's the way I envision it.

4. As we have already discussed, I believe your consternation over the EC statement vote and its aftermath arises out of the fiction that passing the EC statement somehow equates to the adoption of the sentiments in your resolution on the role of the BF&M.

But, I'm not trying to reinaugurate that disagreement. Indeed, I'm working on quite the opposite. Even if, as you presume and I do not, the entities are entirely willing to disregard the will of the convention, before we could responsibly make such an assertion, wouldn't it be nice to have some reliable indication of what the will of the convention actually is? But that is precisely what we do not have at this moment. If I am correct as to the attitude of our entity leadership, then my process would give them the clear direction that they need in order to be responsible in their governance. If you are correct as to their attitudes, then my process would give incontrovertible grounds for their condemnation and pillory.

Win-win, you see. :-)

I appreciate the time you have invested in considering the proposal. Such is the mark of a peacemaker. I look forward to continued interaction on this topic.

Bart Barber said...

William,

Although it would function similarly to a resolution, if the convention clarified the appropriate venue for dissent against trustees it would be helpful. Also, if this were a special measure outside the scope of the Committee on Resolutions—a sort of privileged resolution guaranteed to receive consideration—that would further be helpful, in my estimation.

Anonymous said...

Bart,

I appreciate what you endeavor to accomplish in this post. I support your desire for cooperation on both sides of the aisle. However, the following, IMHO...

1) Since 1845 how many instances have we on record of renegade trustees? To my knowledge, and please correct me if wrong, 2006 was the first year in which the "potential" of bringing a trustee up for dismissal has even been an issue. To this end, and regardless of what a few bemoan to the contrary, the system has worked well for many, many years.

2) Those who wish to see the trustee system modified have a greater agenda than they would have us believe. To dismatle what has worked for so many years due to recent dissent it like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For some odd reason, this does not compute for me.

3) Establishing a system that allows for all issues that a trustee disagrees with, contrary to the will of the entire entity trustee body, to go before the convention negates the democracy process in the trustee system and would be too difficult to manage on a convention-wide basis. It reminds me of the first church I pastored, financial decisions that had to be made, down to ridiculously small amounts, had to go before the church for a vote. Talk about rendering your finance committee powerless - which equates to useless.

4) Finally, life is not about getting everything we want. When a trustee is in the minority on a board, that's life. For one trustee to establish himself as the doctrinal authority above all of the other trustees is particularly arrogant. I've found that when people don't get what they want, quite often they take the approach of crying foul for satisfaction. There is too much crying going on from a few right now.

5) Finally... again... if the authority of the trustee system is undermined and usurped there will be no end to what this coalition will desire next. The CR worked because the president was able to place trustees in positions where they could make a difference. If we remove trustee authority, we rewind the clock and open a pandora's box of potential future problems.

To this end, and for more reasons than what I list above, I say leave the trustee system alone and allow it to function as designed. The will of the body of trustees should come before the will of a lone dissenter - that, IMHO, is the Southern Baptist way!

Thanks,

B. McWilliams

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

Brother Byron McWilliams is a true Baptist Preacher. He has placed "finally" twice in his analysis. I do wonder if he meant to say; "this is my last closing."

:>)

Blessings,
Tim

Anonymous said...

Bro. Tim,

Only the most qualified preachers would catch such a thing. From the moment I met you in San Antonio I knew I had met me a "preachin' brother" - Amen? Amen! :)

Blessings brother.

B McWilliams

sbc pastor said...

Byron,

You are a wise man, indeed. You have made several excellent points here, sir. However, this one is worth its weight in gold:

"...[If] the authority of the trustee system is undermined and usurped there will be no end to what this coalition will desire next. The CR worked because the president was able to place trustees in positions where they could make a difference. If we remove trustee authority, we rewind the clock and open a pandora's box of potential future problems."

We would do well, as a convention, to hear and to heed. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Bart Barber said...

Byron & Jeremy,

I concur that nothing is broken. I'm not talking about changing anything. I'm just talking about clarifying the appropriate mechanism for the convention to do what it already can do—express approval or disapproval of a trustee action.

I believe that the best avenues for channeling those sentiments are being circumvented by some of our dissenting brethren, resulting in much of our present uproar.

sbc pastor said...

Bart,

I agree that clarification is needed... as some are, indeed, either circumventing the system intentionally or are unaware of how it works.

Baptist polity has always allowed for the expression of approval or disapproval... both in our congregations and in our convention.

However, I think that Byron makes an excellent point when he says that "life is not about getting everything we want. When a trustee is in the minority on a board, that's life. For one trustee to establish himself as the doctrinal authority above all of the other trustees is particularly arrogant. I've found that when people don't get what they want, quite often they take the approach of crying foul for satisfaction. There is too much crying going on from a few right now."

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

Here's my comments on your final two paragraphs.

1. In paragraph six, you say you believe the right of referendum is already possible. In light of Allan Blume's recent statement of why a motion is ruled out of order, how is it possible in our current structure?

2. In paragraph six you suggest that we "clarify or codify an explicit right and procedure for elective referendum" of agencies. I agree with you. Let's do it. How do we do it?

In regard to your questions at the end of paragraph six, here are my thoughts:

- 2/3 majority to bring a trustee action to the floor. This will indicate a major disconnect between trustees and messengers more than just a simple majority.

- Simple majority to overturn the decision. Once brought to the floor, majority rules. These two actions: 1) 2/3 to bring out and 2) majority to overturn, mirrors our current requirements for resolutions to be brought out of committee and then passed.

- I vote for filing the proposed referendum in advance similar to our resolutions now. Since the BoT would need sufficient time to prepare a response for the messengers, then maybe a six-month prior to convention deadline for filing might be appropriate.

I have been happy to provide my input on this issue as you requested. Now what?

Les

Anonymous said...

hey another controversial issue from San Antonio was the definition of CP giving. Jon Akin over at sbcwitness.com has written a nice article on this issue.

Paul Kullman said...

Bart/others:
Consider the following:

Article IV. Authority: While independent and sovereign in its own sphere, the Convention does not claim and will never attempt to exercise any authority over any other Baptist body, whether church, auxiliary organizations, associations, or convention.

According to the SBC bylaws, "The Executive Committee shall not have authority to control or direct the several boards, entities, and institutions of the Convention. This is the responsibility of trustees elected by the Convention and accountable directly to the Convention." (18. E. 9)

Question #1:
Taking both previous statements in unison, does the EC not review/recommend candidates for trustee positions before the convention votes?
If yes, then authority is indeed exercised. If not, then each agency/entity is free to recruit candidates and go straight to the convention for an up/down vote. The EC should then remain unconcerned. Which example is accurate?
Question #2
Is Article IV meant to keep an "arm's length" from the business various trustees conduct on behalf of the convention (i.e., will never attempt)? "Never" is a strong word demostrating finality. Legally, I do not see this working as all business is conducted under and through the convention in some various form or another (i.e, funding).
Question#3:
If we are desirous to be transparent, then where can one readily find the names of all convention appointed trustees for said agencies/entities? Should not each member, pastor, church have access? Does each SBC appointed trustee/officer exclusively represent the SBC, or the agency/entity? If the former, then any SBC church member should be able to communicate with a trustee directly. If the latter, then a wall can be preceived built with regards to accountability.

Bart, I saw you at the convention, but you were talking with someone and I did not wish to interrupt.
Greetings anyway.

Paul

Matt Brady said...

Paul,

I’m sure Bart could give you a better answer, but until he jumps in, here are some thoughts that might help answer your questions.

1. The Executive Committee nor the entities themselves recommend trustees to the convention. That process is handled by the nominating committee which is itself nominated by the Committee on Committees. The Committee on Committees is appointed by the elected president of the convention.

2. The elected trustees not the Executive Committee handle the internal business of the entities.

3. The trustees are all listed in the daily bulletin at the convention before they are voted on. They are then listed in the SBC Annual which is available online here. I believe a hard copy is also mailed to every church In the convention. The trustees are pastors and lay people just like the rest of us, and I have always found them to be very open to hearing questions or concerns from fellow Southern Baptists.

I hope that helps.

Les Puryear said...

Matt,

Your comment raised a question in my mind.

If the convention, as so many are saying, elects the trustees, how is the convention to address the election of individual trustees? They are all voted on in a block nomination.

If I objected to four out of sixty trustee nominees, how could I vote for the sixty and not for the four?

Les

sbc pastor said...

Les,

If I understand correctly, those on the left side of the Baptist aisle regularly offered other nominations instead of those that were brought forth as nominees during the Conservative Resurgence...

I imagine that you could do the same if you disliked four, or however many, of the nominees. As far as the appropriate time to bring forth alternative nominations, I am not sure.

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Matt Brady said...

Les,

Good question. In my understanding, Jeremy is correct. During the nominating committee's report to the convention, individual trustee nominations could be challenged. A motion could be made to substitute someone in place of a nominated trustee. It is hard to convince the messengers to do that. I think that is rightfully so. The nominating committee is charged with the task of finding trustees. Their constitutional duty should not be usurped by an individual messenger at the convention who has an axe to grind or a petty grievance. However, if there were a major problem with a trustee nomination, the above process would serve as a safeguard.

Les Puryear said...

Matt,

I understand your point, however, I have read several bloggers who say that we vote on the trustees as if we truly had some kind of choice. They say that if we want to institute change, then we can do that by changing the trustees. That sounds good in theory but in practice it is untenable.

I agree with your assessment that any challenge to the nomination committee's choices for trustees would probably go unheeded. It's not much of a safeguard.

Les

Matt Brady said...

Les,

Actually, I think changing trustees is very tenable. The Conservative Resurgence proves that. It is exactly what turned our convention around.

The process of challenging nominations from the floor of the convention is a great safeguard for genuine problems. It is not, however, a platform for rival agendas. That problem must be addressed by the election of the president. The overall type of trustees that will end up on the boards will be a reflection of the president who appoints the committee on committees. However, if there were a legitimate and serious concern that the majority of the messengers agree is serious and legitimate, they will vote to change a nomination.

Simply disagreeing with someone's support of a conservative doctrine is not going to muster enough votes to change a nomination. However, if the nominating committee were unaware of some egregious sin, or some doctrinal matter that was serious enough, then a messenger could bring that to the attention of the other messengers and they would act.

Overall, however, you are correct. Challenging a trustee nomination here and there will never accomplish much. The real chance for change is in the election of the president which is the foundation of changing the makeup of boards of trustees. It is no secret that was the key to the Conservative Resurgence.

peter lumpkins said...

Bart,

If as Matt queries, the pecking order is intended, I take extreme exception that I only may peck Joe (at least by name). And even worse, are you telling me I must first receive my pecks by the likes of Les and Alan?

Consider youself hereby banished from my blogroll.

With that, I am...

Peter

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

VBS is over. Get to work.

:>)

Blessings,
Tim

AndyHigg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AndyHigg said...

Having read the above comments, I am going to throw my opinions/responses in a series of posts...please forgive my exuberance!

First, in response to your comment about each board of trustees bringing a dozen items every year for review by the convention, I agree with Les' assessment. Not all issues will be called to the floor, only those who people have a question about. I have formulated a draft motion to that effect:

"I move that the messengers of the SBC at __________ consider for the purposes of affirming or rejecting the recent action by the trustees of _________ to approve (whatever supposedly doctrinal/non-doctrinal statement)."

Then if there is no second, it dies. If it is seconded, then the trustees will be "called on the carpet" and must defend their action to the messengers.

As Dr. Mohler pronounced in his speech, the trustees sometimes do have to address issues not enunciated in BFM, but they should also know that we are watching them! And if they cannot convince the messengers at large of their rightness, their action will be rejected by the body.

AndyHigg said...

Les wrote, "If the Mohler's, Patterson's, Kelley's, Floyd's, etc., can choose to ignore what the convention said in SA, why will they not ignore any other expression of differences?"

Later he wrote, "In light of Allan Blume's recent statement of why a motion is ruled out of order, how is it possible in our current structure?"

My response: no, they can't...the Convention has the enumerated right "to establish ministry statements, and to approve changes in them." (see Blume's response that R.L Vaughn posted)

If I have worded my motion (above) correctly (please tell me if I haven't!), then the sole membership of the Convention allows us to render judgment.

AndyHigg said...

Byron McWilliams wrote "life is not about getting everything we want...."

My response: I disagree that we are primarily talking about disgruntled/renegade trustees. I think the issue is that the minority (trustees) make decisions questionable by the majority (the messengers).

AndyHigg said...

Les wrote, "If I objected to four out of sixty trustee nominees, how could I vote for the sixty and not for the four?"

My response: I suggest that if you don't want to endanger the whole slate of trustees to deal with a few, a motion be raised to divide the slate into the different boards and approve the non-controversial ones, then amend the ones with problems...much like we did with resolutions at San Antonio.

AndyHigg said...

In response to the original post, Bart, I disagree with Les.

I think that bringing a trustee action to the floor for consideration should be a simple majority (since many messengers won't be excited about it one way or the other) and overturning the trustees should be a 2/3 majority (I see this as more in line with present policy, like overturning the decisions of the Resolutions Committee)

I think that the consideration of trustee actions can be dealt with in a single year, but I would add a new policy that the action of bringing the matter to the floor, but failing to overturn, should then precipitate a response by the full trustee board at the next convention...this would be like a referred motion and would probably be done anyway if the trustees are fully behind their decision.

I would not be opposed to having to file opposition to a trustee action before the convention so that the trustees could form a response/explanation to be presented. However, a motion to formalize this process (by amending the By-Laws) would need to precede this and be approved by the Convention.

Please feel free to tell me where I am in error in any of these posts. (I may be slow if responding back though. I only have limited time to read blogs each week.)

Les Puryear said...

Andy,

Thanks for quoting my remarks, I think. :)

Your profile doesn't reveal anything about you. I like to know who I am speaking to and who is quoting me. Please excuse my ignorance, but who are you?

Les

Bob Cleveland said...

Bart: I don't think any sort of referendum is appropriate. The trustees have to be trustees, and if they do too many things out of harmony with being Baptists, then nature will take its course.

Referenda might lead to their looking over their shoulders and act in some ways other than simply doing what they see as the right thing.

We got enough of THEM in Washington already.

Couple of platitudes I've heard:

Pleasing everybody pleases nobody.

and

None of us is as dumb as ALL of us.

Bart Barber said...

My apologies to all. See my latest post to figure out what on earth has swallowed me whole the past couple of days.

AndyHigg said...

Hey Les,

Sorry about the secrecy concerning the profile: just registered recently and haven't had the time to fill it out!

I am presently tying up loose ends i Athens, Ga, where I have lived for five years while going to school. I am moving to Kansas City in August to attend Midwestern in pursuit of a M.Div and M.A in Biblical languages.

In other news, I am a wayward blogger who has neglected his site while trying to pass his classes in the Spring! I also was a messenger for my church to the SBC the past two years. (I made a motion endorsing the Missional Network in 2006 and put forward a resolution on Baptist soteriology this year.)

hope that helps!
Andrew

Lee said...

I think the convention needs to loosen the bottleneck related to replacing trustees. That's where the real problem is. Trustee boards become pretty much inbred under the current system. They are easily stacked, and it's extremely difficult for the convention as a body to change that. Too many of the same people, and thus the same antiquated, outdated, ineffective ideas move from one board to another.

Term limits would help. If you've served as a trustee, committee member or officer of the SBC at any time, you are not eligible to serve anywhere else in the SBC. Spouses are also disqualified. No more than one member of any single church should serve at a time.

That would broaden the tent, and remove a lot of the dissent and frustration.