SBC 2021

SBC 2021

Recap of the SBC Annual Meeting by our Pastor.

Manley Beasley Jr., Senior Pastor

Greetings HSBC folks. We just returned from the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention and it was exhausting. Tuesday was particularly grueling with the introduction of countless resolutions, amendments and the election of new officers. What lies in the hearts of those around us is often difficult to discern and that complicates matters even more. However, I will try to give you my take on the overall outlook, while acknowledging others that I respect may see things differently.

Even before the convention began, there was carryover from the last one held in 2019, when a resolution was passed acknowledging that the CRT (Critical Race Theory) could offer some value as a tool for Southern Baptists. Obviously, what we know of its origin and objective place those of us who are Bible believers in direct and clear opposition to this “theory” and caused a stir among many if not most conservatives. A commitment to communicate this opposition contributed to the large number in attendance. While it contributed, it certainly is not the whole story. In laymen terms, the process among Southern Baptists for addressing change begins with the President who makes appointments and certain nominations and fills various positions—all of whom are directly responsible for identifying and nominating trustees for the various SBC entities. These trustees are voted on at the annual convention each year. They then assume responsibility for the direct oversight of the agency, institution, or committee to which they are assigned. This is all significant because it shows that the presidency is the key for determining or changing the direction of the denomination. So, there were four candidates this year three of whom I feel we could move forward with—Al Mohler, Mike Stone, Ed Litton and Randy Adams. I know all except for Randy Adams, but had about ten minutes of alone time with him Tuesday morning. I didn’t gain enough insight into Randy to consider voting for him but felt that any of the other three if elected would place the wellbeing before personal agendas and seek to represent the majority view. My personal opinion is that Ed was elected because his personality lends itself to attempt peaceful solutions and many hope that is still possible. I can say that my personal experience tells me that while he does not like to fight, he will not compromise on Biblical issues. I am trusting that he will lead the charge to battle as well as show grace and statesmanship. We’ll see.

Most of the controversy seemed to stem from several issues. One had to do with the wording addressing a resolution regarding CRT (Critical Race Theory). The resolutions committee brought a resolution that was challenged with a number of attempted amendments. The concern was that CRT was not specifically mentioned in the resolution which led some to conclude that we took a weak position against it. I believe the resolution that was adopted did an excellent job of addressing the CRT in a generic way by stating that we accept the Biblical view that no theory of any kind that identifies anything other than sin as the reason for our racial problems AND we reject any theory or whatever that acknowledges anything other than redemption as the solution. Amendments were made to a number of other resolutions, which were intended to be more specific and add clarity when needed. Some were accepted by the committee without debate, others were discussed and passed by a majority vote. It did lead to a rather lengthy dialogue and required that additional time be added on several occasions. The issue of women’s roles in ministry was expected to be a hot topic but never really was discussed or debated seriously. Questions concerning financial reporting and accountability were brought up several times. One of the major debates involved accusations of a cover-up of abuse, bullying and other unbecoming behavior by SBC leaders. This  resulted in a vote to form a task force to oversee an independent investigation into the matter. Probably the most definitive statement that we made was on the matter of abortion. We called for an immediate ban with no exception, and that we identify it as murder and expect equal punishment under the law.

When we understand how the SBC operates we discover how difficult it is to determine the overall outcome of a meeting such as we just participated in. However, I didn’t see what I would call any decisions calling for us to abandon our relationship, I did see some positive decisions on several issues and hope that we can build on them. I have been disappointed several times in recent years, but there remain indications that we can rise above personal agendas and see God move in our denomination. I still think revival is our only real hope and I pray for that diligently. In simple terms I believe that the verdict remains out on where we go from here. Let’s pray together for God’s hand to do a mighty work in His people again.