Monday, June 18, 2007

San Antonio Hindsight: Part Three

Word of the Year: Irenic

The report of the Committee on Resolutions was, in my analysis, reflective of President Frank Page's peaceful spirit. Any resolution that had the slightest whiff of any controversy whatsoever made its way into the wastepaper can. The committee's anti-controversy policy was evenhandedly applied to all parties. As soon as I saw the report, I was more than happy to leave the Resolutions report alone entirely and respect the committee's quest for peace. It was a good enough disposition of this year's flood of resolutions. Nevertheless, allow me to observe that this approach to resolutions, if applied year-after-year, will eventually become counterproductive. Consider, for example, the heated debate over the meaning of the vague EC statement on the BF&M. At least two submitted resolutions dealt squarely and specifically with this topic: Les Puryear's and mine. Neither resolution was ambiguous. Les did a good job of writing his. I think I did a fair job of writing mine. The Committee on Resolutions decided to trash both of our resolutions. The SBC (through no fault of the Committee on Resolutions) wound up adopting a vague statement that both Les Puryear and I supported and in favor of which we both voted. Conflict can be constructive when it resolves something. Consideration of either of our resolutions would have been definitive—would have resolved something. We avoided that moment of contest in San Antonio, but as a result the conflict remains entirely unresolved. I don't savor the idea of the SBC becoming like the members of a disfunctional family who caustically argue with one another every night without achieving any resolution. Neither do I savor the idea of the SBC becoming like the members of a disfunctional family who stuff it all in and ignore matters of difference until the unresolved conflict kills the relationship. Rather, we ought to give our convention processes the opportunity to address differences frankly and to bring some resolution to issues hanging up in the air. Eventually, a dogged determination to avert substantive conflict will only make it fester. But for one year—this year especially—the Resolutions report was a breath of fresh air. Thanks, Dr. Page.


Al said...


COuld you explain to me why and the differnce between the conventions in TX.


New to the SBC

Bart Barber said...


Not in anything under a lengthy essay. Sorry. Perhaps another post sometime soon.

Gary Ledbetter said...


I'm a little less optimistic than you about the resolutions process. I agree that every year doesn't need to be a floor fight--the job of the committee is represent a messenger consensus--but I'm concerned that so many special interests could make the process totally useless.

One change that has potential for keeping the edgines of the report down is the very substantial influence of the EC. With two committee members sitting on the commmittee each year as well as a staff rep, I'd thing the administrative instinct to avoid controversy, even when it represents consensus, will increasiny prevail.

I did like the approach to global warming, though. Not controversial in our corner of the world but definitely against the cultural tide.


gary ledbetter said...

Wow, terrible proofreading. The word is "edginess." The other mistakes are easier to figure out from context. Gary

Shawn Thomas said...

Bart: Good post.

I love Frank Page's spirit. May God multiply his kind.

I also agree that not much was settled by the BFM vote this year.
Unfortunately, it sets up a new "showdown" for next June, with a year to fester. I can pretty much guarantee there will be more than 8600 in Indianapolis now! I WISH we would gather in those numbers to hear the missions reports and to hear preaching focused on revival. The fact is that 2 "sides" will come in large numbers because they are prepared for battle. I know we have to make some theological and practical decisions, but my prayer is that we can do it with that irenic spirit you mentioned. I don't know how much faith I have behind that prayer!

Jerry Corbaley said...

Some good minds frequent this zone. What do you think about the following?

Article I of the BF&M includes the following about Scripture.

It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried.

Southern Baptist entities are governed by elected representatives who are entrusted with the authority to make decisions regarding human conduct and religious opinions. Does not Article I cover all human conduct and religious opinions? Would not trustees and hired administrators be within the BF&M if they make personnel decisions based on what the Bible says? What decision could representatives make that are not a part of human conduct and religious opinion?

What is the point of professing inerrancy if we don’t trust anyone to apply it?

The movement to restrict representative decision making to the “topics” covered by the BF&M is a drastic reduction of Southern Baptist autonomy, and makes Article I a hollow philosophy instead of real priority.

I’m an inerrantist; I’m just not apathetic about it.

Bart Barber said...


Do you know how much it encourages me to see YOU have trouble with proofreading? :-)

Bart Barber said...


Indianapolis may not be as bad as our worst imaginations.

Bart Barber said...


I think you have a good point.

joerstewart said...

I was unaware of the makeup of the Resolutions Committee. Is this in the bylaws?

Michael said...

My guess is that the people who post on blogs like this are the same people who leave the single mom waitress with 4 kids, $1.50 after Sunday lunch. LOL!!

AndyHigg said...

First off, let me say AMEN! to Shawn Thomas' comment above. The most irritating thing I found at San Antonio this year was when people would file in to hear the "big name" but leave during prayer/worship times! I also hope that we can calmly discuss issues without feeling the need to bus people in to complete our shouting sections!

Bart, about resolutions this year, I also found the committee to be wise in their even-handed rejection of most of the resolutions...including mine! I'd like to hear your thoughts on whether Res. Comm. should also give reasons (written in the Part 3 booklet) for their rejection of each resolution, in the style of Order of Business Comm. about motions. Personally, I'd like to know what made my resolution prone to trashing.