Thursday, May 27, 2010

Four candidates...four distinct approaches to the SBC future

Baptist Press has interviews with each of the four SBC presidential candidates. We're all busy, so I distilled the essence of each below:

Leo Endel: The CP sky will fall if the GCRTF report is passed and we put a stat in the Annual Church Profile for “Great Commission Giving.” Endel said, "the GCRTF may accelerate the crumbling of the CP funding system that holds our mission work together."

Glad to see a denominational employee that recognizes that the CP is ‘crumbling’ (his choice of words, not mine), that it has been declining as a percentage of church gifts for a couple of generations. How any new label will accelerate that, I don’t see that anyone knows.

He also says, “The [GCRTF] conversation has had the unintended consequence of undermining trust in the Southern Baptist family.”

I can’t see how, unless putting the obvious issues up for discussion somehow undermines trust.

Endel has zero, zip, nada chance of being elected, IMO.

Jimmy Jackson: The GCRTF was an illegitimate deal to start with.

He didn’t say it like that but he did say, "A plan that has shown signs of recommendation born out of anger and creating discord should not be imposed upon the vast majority of churches and pastors -- the bill payers."

Huh? The SBC voted overwhelmingly to establish the Task Force. Jackson calls this an imposition? He says he is against the recommendations which means, I presume, that he will vote against the report.

I agree with him that the composition of the GCRTF, about two-thirds megachurch people, was a mistake.

Jackson gets the counter-reactionary SBC vote next month.

Ted Traylor: Likes the GCRTF (he has to, since he is on it) and wants to call a “solemn assembly” next year.

The “solemn assembly” has been mentioned from time to time. Sounds so nineteenth century to me. We just did one on January 31st of this year. Johnny Hunt called for it. Maybe nobody noticed.

Traylor hints that the criticism of Great Commission Giving is somewhat demagogic.

Bryant Wright: GCRTF recommendations are a good “first step” but “radical” change is needed. He says, "keep less in the state and send more dollars to the IMB and to other areas of the country where lostness is so prevalent."

He continues, “I have a hunch that the average man or woman in the pew has no idea that the IMB currently receives only about 17 percent of Cooperative Program dollars, or that many states keep more than 60 percent of receipts at home.”

I have a hunch that he is exactly right and that CP promotion is designed to be sure the average pew-sitter does not know that nickels on the dollar get to the IMB.

Bryant Wright gets the vote for change, not status quo.

I have no idea who will win this thing. I would be shocked if anyone had a one ballot victory.


Blake said...

The fact alone that I know Leo isn't in the pockets of Akin, Mohler and Patterson draws me toward him. Wright does get the status quo vote. It's just a different kind of status quo. Leo is the only unpredictable candidate here because he isn't a part of the good ol boy system. The fact that he might be able to put a dent in the elitist Southern power structure I think makes it worth the chance to vote on him. He may do nothing with the GCR, but the embedded political power structures in the SBC are a far greater problem than CP giving and NAMB structure.

William Thornton said...

Thanks for the comment but I don't think any of the candidates are in anyone else's pockets.

Wright has people all over him about his plan for radical change. He surely isn't a status quo candidate, not of any kind.

I doubt that any of them will put much of a dent into the system - takes too many elections, to many appointments, to much time.

Blake said...

William, what is the difference in positions between Ted and Bryant with regard to the GCR or other things? They seem to be on the same side, which means a vote split if my impressions are correct.

William Thornton said...

Ted Traylor's church gives 10% undesignated to CP. That is way above average (although reduced by about one-third during Traylor's pastorate). Wright's is below four percent.

Clearly, they approach missions differently. Wright's church gives huge amounts directly to the IMB, while Traylor's gives huge amounts to the CP.