Thursday, January 3, 2013

Predictions for 2013

I would have made these earlier but wanted to wait and be sure the world wasn't going to end in December. Guess we are OK until Jesus comes.

1. Fred Luter will be reelected. Nothing big to happen here.

2. There will be contested SBC vice president elections. Some of the Traditionalists are upset that mild Calvinist blogger Dave Miller, a fair and reasonable man, was elected VP over their Traditionalist standard bearer, Eric Hankins, and may nominate someone for this or the other VP slot. We usually get some additional nominations for these anyway.

3. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will get a new leader. Whomever he is will have some work to do to restore credibility. 

4. Frank Page's Calvinist Advisory Team will issue a report early this year. I was optimistic about Page's effort here last year but lost a good bit of that after the group's meetings were held off the record. What we needed was some open discussion. What we got was luminaries unwilling to have honest, open discussion. Whatever they end up with will probably be quickly forgotten. Too bad.

5. I predict that Calvinism in the SBC will look back on 2012 as their high water mark and that SBC Calvinist news for 2013 will be mostly unhelpful to their movement. I have always thought that Calvinism has an inherent ceiling in Southern Baptist life and think we may have reached it.

6. Some SBC agencies will hire senior level staff who are African American. The SBC has a soft underbelly (about which more later) in race relations but agencies and institutions will make good faith efforts to be less white at senior levels.

7. In contrast to the above, the only high profile females in SBC life will be wives of prominent pastors. There will be no hiring of female senior level administrative staff unless it is to ghettoized positions oriented towards women.

8. The Cooperative Program will continue to be flat, which is a welcome improvement.

9. State conventions will continue to feel the most pressure financially and more churches will use various methods to fund NAMB and the IMB directly without diluting their giving to these through the Cooperative Program.

10. What is euphemistically termed "complementarianism" will have a bad year, mainly due to a few high profile Calvinist churches.

11. GuideStone will finally accede to political realities and get around to addressing the reality of Obamacare as it relates to their comprehensive health insurance for ministers. The outcome will not be good.

12. Southern Baptists my age will continue to lament the absence of Adrian Rogers or anyone of his stature.



Anonymous said...

"12. Southern Baptists my age will continue to lament the absence of Adrian Rogers or anyone of his stature."

Should not be difficult to find SBC demagogues of his stature. Actually, pretty common among the brethren.

William Thornton said...

...and a Happy New Year to you.

David Rogers said...

Not quite sure what Dave thinks about being labeled a "mild Calvinist blogger," though I get your point. I think he may be more happy with the "fair and reasonable man" label.

... oh, and a Happy New Year to "Anonymous" as well.

Anonymous said...

If you wish to make a case for those with compelling presentation skills, I would not fault you, but such people are not in short supply among baptists of most stripes. Simply a case of exposure and preference.

Baptist theo-political hacks then and now and were and are plentiful, unfortunately, and bombast may be experienced anew: SBC Calvinism Pro and Con. It's all the same at a higher level of abstraction: fundamentalism. But there are signs that the SBC is maturing away from this theological malady. Leadership is the biggest impediment to growth and change, however.

Nonetheless, Happy New Year to each of you, too, especially given this pleasantry was issued in and is the emphasis of "Prediction 2013," correct? Might be best not to think that your civility covers the incivility of the past, even among those that you might perhaps hold dearly?

Daniel W said...

Can you explain #10? I understand all the others, but I really don't get what you mean by that one.

William Thornton said...

While most SBC churches agree with the BFM provision that the senior pastor should be a man, it is my observation that the issue of the role of women in both church and home is addressed in much more detail in some Calvinist churches and there are some sites that specialize in highlighting some of the more puzzling views here.

Lee said...

12. "Southern Baptists my age will continue to lament the absence of Adrian Rogers or anyone of his stature."

I'd edit that to read, "...the absence of Adrian Rogers or anyone of his stature, integrity and wisdom." Dr. Rogers could be a fist in a velvet glove when he thought he needed to be, but he also knew when to back off, and when to get out of the way, and it was never about him. There are several individuals in the SBC now who have his stature, or at least equal stature to his, but they lack the other characteristics.

Your optimism that things will change in state conventions is refreshing. But each state convention gives a whole group of Baptist bantam roosters a place to strut and pose. I don't see much changing. They will get pinched financially, and they'll get selfish.