So, Southern Baptists, what now? I must confess that I am more uncertain about the future of the denomination than I have been in some time. Our churches have been in a period of decline, the culture is becoming increasingly hostile, and the drift away from sound doctrine is always a danger.
Am I saying that the sky is falling? I am not Chicken Little! Yet, to say that after yesterday’s meeting that I am brimful of confidence in the future of the Southern Baptist Convention, would be an exaggeration. We have not crossed the point of no return, but we are closer than we were, in My opinion.
Yesterday, the man I thought was the most conservative choice to lead the SBC into the future lost on the second ballot. Mike Stone led all the candidates for President during the first vote. I was surprised that the second choice was Ed Litton. I would have ranked him last among the four who were running. But, since over 50% of the tally is required, a runoff vote was taken, and Litton narrowly won.
Now, he is not some raving liberal. I have heard him preach solid, Scriptural sermons. Yet, I wonder if he is going to be more quiet in confronting a culture that is set against the church, and direct the denominational structure and entities in an increasingly pragmatic way. Theological integrity will not be denied, but will it be set on the back burner for other issues that the culture thinks relevant?
I may be wrong. I pray I am. We ought to pray for the new captain of the ship. I am not ready to abandon the ship, yet. There are many good things that are taking place—particularly among our missionary force overseas.
The future of God’s church is glorious. Denominations will all be buried some day—not to be resurrected in heaven. There are local churches that will be faithful witnesses, but make no mistake, these are going to be challenging times in which to serve our Lord.
There was a generation of faithful soldiers who were used of God to plant the flag of doctrinal integrity on the Southern Baptist hill. Those folks are aging and passing from the scene. Another generation has arisen, and they have a different set of priorities. We best be concerned for the generation of leaders that will follow them. Once the camel gets its nose under the tent, the whole camel usually ends up under the it eventually.
So, my wife and I will head over to the final day of meetings this morning. We will see how things develop. Watch and pray—that is what Jesus calls us to do.