Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ronnie Floyd: The Messengers Will Decide

In a press release dated June 1, Ronnie Floyd clarified that the GCR Task Force will bring its report and offer its recommendations as a unified whole. Floyd clarified, however, that the question of whether to consider the seven recommendations as a whole or separately "will ultimately be determined by the messengers of the convention" and that the Task Force "will wholeheartedly support their decision."

A few observations about this:

  • This meek deference to the will of the messengers has been laudably characteristic of the Task Force's operation throughout its existence, in my estimation. I do believe Ronnie Floyd when he promises his wholehearted support of the messengers' decision, and I applaud him for his attitude. As I have said before, I'm truly thankful for the attitude that the Task Force has employed while performing its work.

  • I predict that parliamentary efforts will be made to sever the seven recommendations into separate votes. I do not know what the outcome of those efforts will be, and I do not plan to offer any predictions.

  • The Task Force has a good point, in some respects, regarding the inseparability of some of the recommendations. In particular, I would say that the ideas of transferring CP promotion to the states, increasing the scope of IMB responsibility, and transferring 1% of the CP allocation budget from the EC to the IMB are recommendations that depend mutually upon one another. Whatever outcome may dawn upon one of these motions, it must logically come upon them all, or else we will have a chaotic result.

    It seems, therefore, that severance of the motion must at most be into clusters of recommendations, and not into seven standalone items.

  • Whatever decision that we make about the recommendations, I believe that it is important for Southern Baptists to come to consensus before we move forward. We don't need a 60/40 vote; we need an 80/20 vote or better, I believe. One of our key objectives here must be to bring greater unity to our convention. Although as a student of history I would say that we're no more divided today than in previous epochs of our history, I still believe that greater unity among Southern Baptists is an important ingredient for our progress from this point.

  • In consideration of the previous sentiment, I can see some potential benefit from allowing separate votes on the individual recommendations.

    It is no secret that the third recommendation, the proposed alteration of the ACP to change the name from "Total Missions Expenditures" to "Great Commission Giving," is the least popular of the seven recommendations. I know many good friends who would gladly support the entire recommendation but for this one component. Several of them are prepared to vote against the entire proposal solely in opposition to this one plank.

    In the light of our need to find greater unity in the convention, the great danger here may not be that the omnibus recommendation will fail, but that it will pass by a narrow margin. If the entire recommendation passes by a 57/43 vote, then the pall of that cliffhanger vote will be cast across the entire report, even though I believe that there are important recommendations in this report that could earn the overwhelming preponderance of ballots cast.

    The Task Force members, above all other Southern Baptists, ought to recognize the benefits of an overwhelmingly decisive vote. How many times have we heard about the overwhelming endorsement in Louisville for the creation of the Task Force? A vote in the high 90s carries weight that a simple majority does not bring, and these proposals need all the weight behind them that they can accumulate.

    A decision looms before those of us who support the GCRTF recommendations: How important is the third recommendation to us? Is it worth it to us to let Great Commission Giving lay down a bunt, allowing the other six recommendations to score, but running the risk that it itself will be thrown out at first base in the process? Would it be worth losing Great Commission Giving in order to obtain 80%-plus endorsements of the other components of the plan?

    For my part, I think that's a good trade. In the defenses of Great Commission Giving, "It doesn't really change anything substantial" makes for a great reason not to oppose it, but it makes for not much of a reason to defend it. Indeed, of all of the excellent articles that I have read endorsing the Task Force's report, I have yet to read one that gives a good reason as to why we need to adopt Great Commission Giving. I've been persuaded by the many good reasons why we shouldn't be afraid of the Great Commission Giving proposal, but I still don't know why we should be enthusiastically in support of it.

As a result of these factors, I think that I will vote in support of severing the Task Force recommendations from one another, not so that I might oppose any of them, but in the strategic hope that the more important recommendations—the ones that actually will accomplish some things that I believe will be substantively important for the future of the SBC—might pass by overwhelmingly decisive numbers that will not be possible otherwise.


Tim G said...

Very astute observation!

Les Puryear said...


I agree that if the GCRTF would drop the Great Commission Giving proposal, the report would receive many more positive votes.


Doug Hibbard said...

Has anyone else contemplated that this vote should be taken on paper, not so much just for "secret ballot" issues (I actually think we should do away with those in church. If you prayed about it and are convinced the Lord has guided your vote, sign it), but rather for an accurate count?

I'm concerned for a "it seemed like 80% to me" situation. This sort of happened, at least to my eyes, in Georgia when they moved to the 2000 BF&M. The room looked close to evenly divided on a show of hands, and it was reported as "overwhelmingly" passed. Now, it was honestly not as close as I saw it, but it was far from "overwhelming." There was much bitterness among the people I dealt with at the time, though I'm sure time has healed those wounds.

Or maybe it hasn't, but I'll hope so.

Anyway, just a small, non-verifiable story to back my opinion that we should vote on this on paper so it can be counted.

As to the separation, I think that's a good idea. I think each point will likely still pass, but it would help demonstrate the support for each level. Since we're actually only passing these ideas to the respective boards in hope of their action, it would be more effective to be able to say, for example, to the EC that 90% of the SBC voted you should make this adjustment, while allowing for another recommendation, like the Great Commission Giving part, to go a tad slower for receiving a less convincing vote.


peter lumpkins said...


Thanks for the post. Your tightrope, tippy-toe notwithstanding ( ;^) ) I think you make some salient points.

I am convinced, though, the GCG component is a non-negotiable component to the report, so far as the TF itself is concerned. If it loses, the TF would, from my perspective anyway, interpret the single loss as a complete failure for the report.

Indeed one is not unreasonable to assume that's precisely why the TF is uninterested in breaking the report up into bite-sized chewies. Far too many fat cats have meow meowed against it.

Grace, brother. I hope to post some of my thoughts soon. Presently I'm still hooked on 'White lighnin' :^)

With that, I am...

Anonymous said...

Good observations.

I believe that Peter is correct. The Great Commission Giving proposal is important to the committee, I believe.

I agree that we need an 80-20% vote. But I am not sure we will hear the speeches that may be necessary to produce an 80-20% vote.

But, as I have already said, the only thing Great Commission Giving proposal does is recognize what churches are already doing. If we decide not to recognize that, the churches will continue to give as they have, in my opinion.


Bart Barber said...


It is the privilege of any messenger to move that the vote be taken by ballot. This item itself requires a vote, and a majority of the messengers must vote in favor of taking the vote on the main motion by ballot.

Or, if you were a real stinker, you could call for the taking of the yeas and nays. ;-) This would require the chair to poll each messenger individually for his vote. I don't know whether the convention's adopted rules of order explicitly exclude this method, although I doubt that the messenger body would go for it. Congress does this a lot.

So, Doug, if you want a ballot vote, you ought to go to a microphone during the debate (you'll be about #17 in line, I predict) and call for a ballot vote. You'll get the satisfaction of jumping to the front of the line (since you'll have a motion rather than discussion), and all of the other people standing in line will give you the evil eye for preempting them. :-)

Bart Barber said...


I look forward to reading your thoughts. I agree that the Task Force obviously desires the passage of the whole enchilada. This is to be expected. I'm sure that the "whole enchilada" represents a position delicately negotiated among the members of the Task Force. I'm guessing that the abandonment of any of the recommendations by the Task Force would force a renegotiation of all of their work de novo.

That's entirely me speculating, there. No gossip. No basis in observed data.

But allowing for even that possibility, I don't require that the Task Force carve up their own recommendation. Let them ask for it to be considered as a whole. The messengers have the wherewithal to sever the recommendations and do with them as we will. That's how the process works. That's how the process should work.

Bart Barber said...


I agree with all that you have stated.

Doug Hibbard said...

Taking Yeas and Nays sounds like fun...lots of fun.


Paul S said...

Bart, I have enjoyed reading your posts. Though I still remain undecided and prayerful, I am leaning towards voting for it. Your rationale with the BGCT example pretty much swayed me.

I did just think of a question. If the GCRTF motion passes and I want to plant a church in Houston to whom would I apply? IMB or NAMB or both? I assume I would get a higher salary with the IMB. Would I have to "target" a people group? If it is Anglo I go with NAMB or ethnic I go with IMB? Houston is so diverse it can easily be a multicultural church.

Maybe this question is juvenile, but it is something I was just thinking about. Maybe it was addressed in te GCRTF document and I missed it. What are your thoughts?

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bart,

You and your parlimentary knowledge just caused Barry McCarty sleepless nights between now and the vote. :)

Seriously, we must be thinking alike. I have a post today over at SBC Today asking the Task Force to consider removing Component #3 for the sake of unity.


Bart Barber said...


WWJD. :-)

Bart Barber said...


I'll be EXTREMELY surprised if the IMB gets involved AT ALL in domestic church planting. I'd say that you'll still be looking at NAMB support.

Bart Barber said...


Two important differences between our great minds:

1. I don't think that the Task Force ought to be expected to carve up their own recommendation. If that is going to be done, the messengers ought to have to do it.

2. I'm not so much predicting that component #3 will not pass as I am predicting that it will obtain far fewer affirmative votes than the remainder of the package. I think it just might pass nonetheless. But I think that it would be helpful to allow the other recommendations to obtain as much as a mandate for themselves as is possible.