Reflections on the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention

May the Lord continue to do good work in the SBC.

The Southern Baptist Convention met two weeks ago. It was an eventful week, in case you didn’t notice; Baptists in general are proficient at making things interesting. There is rarely a dull moment in Baptist life. This was true in Phoenix.

I am thankful that the SBC worked out the much-discussed resolution on the “alt-right” and racism. Evangelicalism in general is seeking unity in Christ along racial lines. This is not an easy process, particularly in a country with a great jagged gash in its history, a scar that still burns. The divisions of the past do not easily heal, and we have more work to do to strengthen what remains. It was good to see many leaders in attendance, with boots actually on the ground in Arizona, who did their part to help.

The resolution that many hoped would be the focal point of the annual meeting centered on defunding Planned Parenthood. If you blinked, you missed it in the convention proceedings. It is my hope, with the Resolutions Committee and many others, that Southern Baptists will continue to stand together for life, for the unborn, for those who cannot defend themselves.

It was an honor to write the atonement resolution with Malcolm Yarnell of Southwestern Seminary. The resolution drew no opposition in public and was affirmed by the messengers of the SBC. I praise God for this. Our work, edited in committee, is now an official part of the SBC record. It drew some attention online (here’s Baptist News Global and Christian Post), and will likely draw more in days ahead. I sense that some corners of the evangelical world have gone soft on the atonement. This we cannot do. The glory of God is increased when the fullness of the atonement is seen, believed, and preached. Magnifying divine love as the answer to just divine wrath is not an optional theological vitamin boost for conservative types; it is the heartbeat of every true preacher of the cross of Christ.

The SBC also affirmed the resolution on university ministry that I cowrote with Dean Inserra and Jeff Dodge. It is our collective hope that we will see a continuing resurgence of gospel work on our college and university campuses, some of the toughest and neediest fields of ministry there are.

Midwestern Seminary held a For the Church micro-conference in Phoenix. It was quite an experience to behold speakers accustomed to hour-long messages giving seven-minute talks on high-level themes. FTC went well, by God’s grace, and you can watch them all here. (I gave one on “Why Biblical Manhood Matters,” given that I am such a robust specimen of the subject in question.)

It was great to see many friends in Phoenix. May the Lord continue to do good work in the SBC.