What happened at the 2016 SBC Convention----what can we expect in 2017?

Watching the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, I was struck that the nation's largest protestant denomination is striving hard towards social justice, political correctness, and a kinder, gentler version of Christianity.  And in a masterpiece of bad timing, delegates voted to disassociate themselves from the Confederate Battle Flag, along with the incessant penance of sackcloth and ashes, and public apologies and meaningless, vain aggrandizing grandstanding, designed for the sheer publicity of it.  All while overlooking the misuse of Cooperative Program funds to support the building of an Islamic Mosque. So, while the SBC officially judged the Confederate flag to be potentially a "stumbling block," no resolutions were considered about Russell Moore's behavior, effectively aligning the Convention with the flag of Islam. 

Then there was Ronnie Floyd/SBCs "National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership, Revived Churches Nationwide, and Global Awakening"  which looked like a Brownsville pentecostal, charismatic, revival-lite, with "name it, claim it," "raising dry bones," "praying hedges of protection," people in the audience screaming out randomly.  In all, the event resembled nothing that one might remotely view as "Southern Baptist," but could, much more accurately, be considered appropriate to the doctrine-less, false fodder promoted by a Benny Hinn-type, coat-swinging, miracle-inducing charlatan show on TBN.  What can we expect at the 2017 Arizona Convention?

I'm not sure what we will expect, especially after I received my issue of "SBC Life" which gives the schedule and program for the 2017 SBC Convention in Phoenix.  It was on page 5, that I found that the Convention had invited a man who's theology is very much suspect, and certainly raised my eyebrows: Greg Laurie.  They plan to give him a prime-time slot from 7:00-8:30 PM, billed as: "Celebration Service--Greg Laurie, pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside, California."  These eyebrow-raising concerns have not gone unnoticed by news outlets and other Christian groups.  In particular:  Greg Laurie's endorsements of the "Azusa" anniversry and teaming up with NAR's (New Apostolic Reformation) Lou Engle, Catholic mystic Roma Downey; introducing "Contemplative" advocates Gungor and David Crowder, and leading a Joint worship with a Catholic Priest. Then, Laurie's endorsement of Calvary Chapel pastor Steve Berger's book "Have Heart" containing false teaching about necromancy, which the Bible prohibits.  (Full discussion on webpage: "SBC 2017 Annual Convention")

The pastor of the church we attend preaches sound Biblical sermons; but it seems that several other pastors I know, and now it seems, some of the Southern Baptist Convention leadership, seem to think otherwise....and it is very unwise to politicize theology and political issues of the day, in a public forum, whether it be in a church or at the annual Southern Baptist Convention.  One can only hope that things will be different at the 2017 SBC meeting in Arizona.

It is unfortunate that some who currently lead our Convention are ignorant of our American history.  A careful examination of the historical facts of our nation prior to and during the War Between the States might have tempered last year's dust up at the SBC meeting, which was filled with racist rhetoric, as detailed on the webpage: "SBC Annual Convention a Tribute to Social Justice and Political Correctness."

The SBC has been passing resolutions asking for "prejudice forgiveness" since at least 1995, that I know anything about.  That was when Richard Land who held the Ethics position now filled by Russell Moore, made the resolution; but then had to resign over his own racist remarks!!!!  And now Moore is under understandable criticism for his support of Islamic Mosques!  Time for him to go too!

It's time to stop beating the dead horse of prejudice/racial apology, and move on to more important matters.  Clearly, former SBC President Ronnie Floyd (who spoke at the known heretical International House Of Prayer, as detailed on the webpage: "SBC President Ronnie Floyd, Featured Speaker at New Apostolic Reformation's IHOP, which teaches Heresy") and Russell Moore, who chairs the SBC Ethics Commission, are the latest to become sidelined from the most important issue: reaching the lost in this country and overseas for Jesus Christ.

The 1850 Census clearly reveals that 98.8% of people living in the North before the War Between the States were White.  And if you add in the border/slave-holding states that stayed with the Union during that war, the percentage is still 96.5% White.

What Ronnie Floyd and friends may find to their dismay and shatter their modern sensibilities, is that virtually all these Northerners prior to and during the War Between the States, were "racist."  Any desire for Northern whites in the 1850s to end slavery did not equate with a belief in racial equality.  The Blacks might be freed, eventually, but they would not be welcome to remain.  Also, the first slave owner in this country was black (lived in Virginia); Native American Indians owned Black slaves; the largest African American Slave Owner and Breeder lived in South Carolina who was the wealthiest Black man in South Carolina, the 4th wealthiest slave owner in the South, and wealthier than more than 90% of Southern Whites; and Lincoln had plans to colonize freed slaves by sending them out to other countries. (Full discussion on the webpage, "The Old South.")

I have several Confederate Soldiers and Sailors on my family tree and have no intention of renouncing my love and respect for them.  One of them was awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor. One of them became the first Doctor/Surgeon on the Texas A&M Faculty, College Station, TX. One of them became a Presbyterian missionary to Native American Indians in what was then called Indian Territory (Oklahoma). They are part of my heritage.  In all my years of preaching, I never once found it necessary to bring politics into the pulpit.  This was sound advice to me as a young man, from my preacher-father, who said on more than one occasion, that there was enough in the Bible to preach on without bringing in politics.

There is a need for a return to civility amongst the SBC clergy.  There is a need for the SBC leadership to return to the main business at hand: Reach, Teach, Win, Develop the people of God.  Too much of the culture, political correctness and entertainment, has been dragged into the church house.....it is no longer the Lord's House....it has become a fun house.  The pastor has forgotten that preaching the Word of God is his primary business....not the social gospel and certainly not politics.  And with the latest (June 2017) San Antonio Baptist Association of Texas newsletter endorsing heretic Richard Foster, (full discussion on "Contemplative Prayer Heresy" webpage) one doesn't have to look too far to understand why so many pastors are going off the rails in the Convention.

Many of my Confederate ancestors went on to do great things for the Lord....working in the vineyard of the lost and unsaved multitudes....witnessing, preaching, and winning souls for Jesus.  I once heard my Mother pray for my Father, saying, "Lord, give him souls for his hire."  Isn't that what we should be about?

-Rev. Joe Hughes