In a post over a year ago entitled "Points of Perhaps-Surprising Agreement" I specified a number of current issues in the Southern Baptist Convention upon which I agreed with what I then termed our "dissenting brethren." There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and I thought it might be helpful to take another look at that list in light of the preceding fifteen months:
I stated my agreement with the call for biblical church discipline and regenerate church membership. Since then, I have been thankful to witness the approval of a resolution on regenerate church membership by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (for the text of the resolution, see here). I am hopeful that a similar resolution will pass at the SBC Annual Meeting this year.
I stated my agreement with the call for the disclosure of salaries at our entities. I am thankful to learn that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has an open policy regarding disclosure of salaries. Every trustee of every entity should have access to the specific salary of every employee who draws a Cooperative Program paycheck. I am hopeful that SWBTS's policy is or will be the policy of every SBC entity.
I stated my agreement with criticisms of nepotism and recirculation of appointees in the past. But I noted that the fault for this circumstance lies with disengaged Southern Baptist masses rather than with smoke-filled-room appointment processes. The controversies of the past two years have demonstrated that many young Southern Baptists remain committed to the principles of the Conservative Resurgence. I am hopeful that the coming years will witness a new influx of young participants in the SBC without sacrificing our beliefs in the process.
I stated my agreement with the desire to see more fidelity to the Cooperative Program among our SBC leaders. I'm thankful that we've seen a greater emphasis upon CP faithfulness in the selection of our leaders, and that we've done so without scrapping our polity to enact litmus tests. As I've said before, I think that the tightened definition of what constitutes CP giving may prove to be an unwise action. Nevertheless, I'm hopeful that we will see a surge in Cooperative Program giving among all Southern Baptists.
So, I'm still precisely where I was a year ago, and I think that we've made progress in most of these areas. I think that we'll make even more progress in Indianapolis. I find, after the sometimes-tumultuous days since my previous post, reason to be hopeful about the future of the SBC.