i have been a southern baptist my whole life, my great-grandfather and grandfather were southern baptist ministers, as is my father. but as a 4th generation baptist minister, this was the first convention i have attended.
over 7,000 messengers attended the convention from all over the country. it was a sight to see... but made me wonder what an overwhelming sight the convention must have been in the past, when their have been upwards of 30 and 40,000.
from an informal "visual" survey, i would say that at least 60% of those attending were over 50 years old. that should say something about the state of involvement (attitude of apathy?) of the younger sbc generation.
my resolution on the public disassociation with fred phelps and westboro baptist church (full text here) did not make it through the committee and onto the floor, but some of the westboro folks showed up at the convention.
[of all of the sad things about these people who have been deceived and are so filled with hate, one of the worst is the children in these photos... being raised to believe this venom... lord please open their hearts... (2 thes. 3:5) ]
my wife and i were able to meet up with my dad, her aunt and uncle, and several friends and also made some new acquaintances. dr. tom nettles, who has been a great professor, mentor, and friend for several years now, graciously gave us tickets to the southern seminary luncheon and asked us to be guests at his table. we were glad to accept and while at the table we were able to meet and converse with, among others, tom ascol and his wife donna, and bill and karen ascol. it was a wonderful lunch filled with both serious discussion and laughter (some of which was due to my knocking my water over.)
dr. ascol's efforts to have an sbc resolution calling for repentance for the failure to maintain integrity in church membership finally came to fruition as an estimated 2/3 of the messengers voted to accept this much needed resolution. i encourage everyone to read the resolution in full and spread the word to your local church and pastor.
read the full resolution here.
other resolutions were made and passed. those can be found here.
there were 23 motions made, which can be found here, some of which were passed on to committee, some of which were not.
i did not agree with everything said, done, or decisions to affirm or decline (like the decline of my own resolution!)- but what i did come away with was a desire to see more southern baptists, especially those under 50 yrs. old involved in the process.
next year's convention will be in louisville, ky. i encourage anyone who is a member of a southern baptist church ask to be a messenger to the convention for your church or at least to make sure that your church sends its full number of messengers. it would be wonderful to have 40,000 in louisville in 2009 as southern baptists seek to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.