Friday, December 28, 2012

Top SBC events of 2012

The first listed is the top story. The others are not given in order of importance.

1. Fred Luter's election in June as SBC president. He is the SBC's first African American president. The SBC's first female president? Perhaps next millenium.

2. The SBC adopts an informal, voluntary, use-it-if-you-want new name: Great Commission Baptists. Well, the non-name change squeaked by with 53% of the vote in June. Plodder speculates that 99% of SBCers are voting against its use and that it is already mostly forgotten.

3. The Traditionalist Counter Reformation in the SBC is launched by The Traditionalist Statement. Some SBCers have had enough of Calvinists dominating the conversation in the SBC and "A Statement of the Traditional Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation"  was the first shot of the SBC traditionalists, the anti-Calvinists.  

4. Frank Page apppoints a Calvinist study committee. The committee is informal, voluntary, and meets privately. I commend Page for the effort and had hopes that it might help bring some Calvinist/Traditionalist comity in the SBC, but am less optimistic now.

5. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has a new president. After two consecutive rather high profile, and failed, presidencies MWTS trustees surprisingly picked an obscure, young, inexperienced president. He cannot do much worse than his last two predecessors and has my prayers for success.

6. The North American Mission Board launches their grand church planting effort, SEND North America. The new NAMB is leaner, more nimble, more transparent, and much more focused organization. The church planting initiative SEND NA is now their signature program. It will take a few years to see how well it works but it has a good start. Concomitant with this news was the fact that NAMB's Annie Armstrong offering was up by a significant percentage.

7. SBCers support Mitt Romney for president, though in a backhanded sort of way, and once again eschew the Christian candidate for president. We evangelicals are certainly a schizophrenic bunch when it comes to politics.

8. Our Sacred Tax Break, the clergy housing allowance, is under assault. You will not have read anywhere else but here about the Freedom From Religion Foundation's being granted standing to sue on the basis that the laws allowing ministers this tax break is unconstitutional. Baptist Press and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission may get around to paying attention to this matter, one that is more important to SBC clergy than just about any other law or public policy, when it moves along in the courts.

9. State Conventions adjust to the realities of SBC life in the 21st century. State conventions continue to downsize, right-size their staffs as the Cooperative Program languishes. While Danny Akin has now dropped the incendiary language about "bloated bureaucracies" he did identify an area that resonates with Southern Baptists. Many of the states also are yielding to their constituents' desires for more CP dollars to be forwarded to SBC causes.

10. The Cooperative Program, despite pronouncements about its irrelevancy and death, is still a huge funding engine. While it is a diminishing brand among SBCers, one should not fail to understand that it is and will continue to be a mammoth funding stream for SBC causes.

11. Richard Land announces his retirement. One of the SBC's old lions decides to retire after being heavily criticized.

12. Chicken continues to reign supreme among Southern Baptists. How else would one view the fact that four of Baptist Press' top ten most read stories for 2012 were about Chic-Fil-A? 


RLBaty said...

Regarding #8, here is the direct link to the Obama White House sponsored petition that began a few days ago and has until January 24, 2013 to garner 25,000 signatures in order to insure that the Obama administration publicly addresses the issue associated with the FFRF IRC 107 Challenge currently winding its way through the courts with a January 2014 trial date set:

Would it do any good to ask readers here to sign the petition?

William Thornton said...

Why not ask? Cannot hurt, although I'm guessing that you may be the only one signing this petition who visits my blog.

Sometime in January I will get around to the FFRF challenge.

RLBaty said...


I will be looking forward to any further consideration you give to the issue.

I think I spotted Peter J. Reilly's name on my petition.

He visits here.


OK, here goes:

SBC Plodders, please consider and sign the petition. I think you can justify signing even if you want to keep the law or reform the law.

If there's enough signatures, in time, the Obama administration has obligated itself to publicly address the issue and so the petition might be a good way to get Obama to defend the law or to get Congress to defend the law and so further set up the show-down brewing in federal court.

How better to find out where the Administration is on this important, public issue.

I tried during the campaign and couldn't get any of the candidates to speak to the issue.

Here's that link again: