Thousands of Baptists will descend on the city of New Orleans next week. It is the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. It will feature several days of worship and business sessions. Additionally, there will be meetings of other entities and related ministries.
Some of those business sessions can become somewhat contentious. The old saying is, "Where two Baptists are gathered, there are at least three opinions!" Much of that blows over, as we leave "agreeing to disagree." There have been times, however, when the SBC has been very divided. In my early days of ministry, the "Conservative Resurgence," was able to reverse the tide of liberalism, after which many liberal-leaning congregations pulled out and formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship or became dually aligned.
Yet, we must always be vigilant. Scripture tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us, but he won't go far, and he won't stay long! The snake slithers back in and waits for his opportunity to strike.
A point of controversy now is that some churches have grown squishy on permitting female elders/pastors. While those churches have the autonomy to do that (contrary to Scripture, however; cf. 1 Tim.2:11-15), the SBC has the autonomy to say, "We do not consider your church to be in fellowship with the SBC." The outcome of this will impact the denomination. It has the potential to fragment the fellowship and distract us from our mission.
So pray! Ask God to send revival to the messengers assembling in New Orleans, and for that to spread throughout all our churches. Pray that we will resist being shaped by the culture, but be conformed to the Word of God!
Dennis Thurman, Mission Strategist