Well...we're still in the news. The Southern Baptist Convention remains a somewhat trending topic among Baptists, evangelicals, and even those outside the church.
We are now experiencing an internal tragedy of our own making. Left to our own devices, pride, self-preservation, ego-driven decisions, and more things less than positive, we find ourselves in dire straits.
In the sermon I preached Sunday from Matthew 24 (which has nothing to do particularly with our current SBC issues) a truth was revealed as Christ addressed the religious leaders and crowds. He reminded them that tough days were coming and it would get worse before it would get better. I understand that the passage is not contextual to our current denominational situation, so will not err by trying to force that, but the thoughts that things likely will get worse before they get better continues to resonate with me.
I don't like that.
But, that makes it no less true.
Even now, positioning is happening among some SBC leaders and potential messengers. There is likely an orchestrated plan in the works regarding Dr. Paige Patterson's potential convention sermon. As of this writing, from what I know, Dr. Patterson has yet to recuse himself from the sermon. Yet, I hope that he does.
Furthermore, I hope that no other pastor is given the position of bringing the convention sermon.
There should be no sermon at this year’s annual convention. Leave the pulpit vacant. Let the room be silent and call the messengers to prostrate themselves in repentance. #SBC18 https://t.co/8213b6bTkP— Sam Rainer (@SamRainer) June 4, 2018
A silent assembly - a true silent assembly calling for prayer and repentance would not simply be an amazing statement to those watching, but if truly repentant and heart-felt, would, in my opinion be a step in the right direction for our convention. Ultimately, it could be the only step for the One watching and calling us to repentance.
What The Potential Silent Assembly Must Not Be
- This must not be designed to give the SBC a public relations win (It wouldn't work anyway.)
- This must not be designed to create a moment that will trend for half a day on Twitter or other social media platforms.
- This must not be akin to the "moments of silence" at ballgames and other public events used in lieu of prayer.
- This must not be political (SBC or otherwise).
- This must not be believed to be enough to heal the very real wounds of women and others who have been abused by misplaced counsel.
- This must not be a "top-down" mandate with a prepared graphic, video intro, or specially designed hashtag like #SBCSilentAssembly, otherwise it will not only seem, but be less authentic, regardless how heartfelt and intentional.
What The Potential Silent Assembly Must Be
- This must be authentic.
- This must be prayer.
- This must be repentance.
- This must be humbling.
I have church members and friends who are asking what is going on. I have some who question our continued participation in this machine known as the SBC. Some have declared their disdain for the entire denomination at this point. There truly is a problem. It goes beyond (or deeper) than simply what has occurred at Southwestern the past month. This must be acknowledged.
Maybe Sam will make the motion. He should.
I'll vote in affirmation.
It is clear that there's more going on in the world than our annual meeting in Dallas this year. Nevertheless, in this little corner of what is happening, we, the messengers of the SBC and members of cooperating churches have been put on notice - we cannot ignore what God is doing. In case you misread that and thought I was referring to a great awakening moment, I am not. I am referring to that which precedes great awakenings - repentance (authentic, humble, maybe humiliating, repentance), prayer, and restoration.
I have no idea how our SBC Annual Meeting will end this year. I do believe it must begin well. And, that starts now. <TWEET THIS>
BTW - If this motion is made and this silent assembly happens, I also think (and this is radical, I know) we should shut down the convention booths, the CP stage, and all the other things that happen as well for that time. Otherwise, those who wish to not join in prayer will just go over to one of many booths, pick up free books, pens, candy, T-shirts, and other specialty marketing stuff.