Wednesday, August 29, 2012

UPDATED...Calvinist Advisory Team: Make your meetings public

Baptist Press has a story today about the meeting. The story is from a press release issued by Frank Page's office.
The meeting was conducted on background rules involving no quoted statements by or attribution of comments to advisory team members. By consensus, the advisory team agreed that Page would issue a statement after the meeting.
I take it from this that Art Toalston or someone else with Baptist Press was in the meeting. I am unsure if anyone was present who does not report to Frank Page, outside of the committee members themselves was present.

Our Chief Encouraging Officer could help his effort by finding a way for these meeting to be open.
Humble recommendation for Frank Page's unofficial Calvinist advisory team: Starting today when you meet for the first time, let a Baptist Press representative sit in on the meetings. Make them public and open.

We SBCers with a stake in the outcomes have been told in the past that important people on important denominational committees cannot be expected to be free in sharing their knowledge, wisdom, opinions, and recommendations if they have to do so in public.


On this business of Calvinist/Traditionalist conflict Al Mohler has spoken and written publicly and often on it.

Danny Akin has done the same, though with less prominence and frequency than his seminary president colleague.

Paige Patterson has debated publicly on it.

Eric Hankins has recently written extensively on the subject.

Frank Page himself has a book on Calvinism and has stated that the issue is pressing and serious.

Many others have already weighed in on the matter, publicly.

So, please, don't insult Southern Baptists by saying that these are very serious deliberations which by necessity must take place behind closed doors and that the SBC luminaries, megapastors and others on the team will just not be comfortable in public.

If the advisory team slams the door on the rest of us then their credibility is instantly diminished.

I suppose we will know later today whether or not Frank Page believes that the ordinary SBCer who pays all the bills should have a seat in these meetings.


Tom Parker said...


I hope that I am wrong. But these meetings will very likely be closed.

Dale Pugh said...

They will be closed.
And we'll get a "let's all get along" conclusion to the matter.
The rank and file will never know what actually transpired at these meetings. It's an unfortunate reality of SBC politics, but a reality nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Both sides seek Cooperative dollars to fund the programs that deliver their beliefs and both sides know that some accommodations will need to be made, so as to not weaken the will of the peoples to continue supporting the convention. And the Committee members know that the peoples will support dysfunction to some degree, but another prolonged, angry fight in SBC in which the fight is about “I am more conservative than you, thus you need to go” that at its end will still ensure a good level of funding is not likely. Denominational ties are weakening as other interests are developing and another fight will increase the intensity of the former and the latter.

Thus, the question becomes to those involved on the Committee, how do we adjust the power relations in SBC, still within the bounds of an acceptable level of dysfunction, but without significant loses of power to ourselves, individually? This question can be more thoroughly addressed out of an open environment rather than it can be in one. A more rational outcome is more possible in an open environment, but such a process may also reveal that a more rational outcome is not possible with current (Calvinist and non-Calvinist) leaders in place. A closed session is not about the best good of the SBC, it is about the best good of its leaders. Don’t assume the interest of the latter must align with the former, despite the public rhetoric of the latter.

Anonymous said...

The next big fight in SBC life is going to be over open or closed meetings. The convention is not big enough or strong enough to have an opposition to such things. The lack of strength coming only from the side I am not on. If we get rid of them, then we can be stronger as a result.

It's gonna be interesting in 2025 with three people having their meeting and the doors are closed and yet there are no members remaining to keep out.

I guess they can fight over who has to shut the door.


Anonymous said...

In addition to a lack of interest among the range of Plodder's readers, an open meeting apparently is not a concern for those at either SBC Voices or SBC Today, the leading Cavinist and non-Calvinst blogs, respectively.

Plodder is to be commended for his call, along with a few others that are supporting it. As long as leaders with an authoritarian tendency continue to be tapped to lead SBC enterprises, little will change. But, Christians, for good reason, still hope.

Hughuenot said...


Lee said...

This is the Southern Baptist Convention denominational leadership in its traditional patronizing, arrogant, secretive, exclusive, backward, provincial modus operandi. Yes, it's more conservative than it was before the resurgence. But it still operates like the government of a small, rural county in Mississippi instead of like the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

I've been working for an institution associated with another conservative, evangelical denomination for going on three years now, and involved in one of the local churches. The contrast between them and the SBC in the way leadership is selected, and operates, is remarkable.