For those of you new to my blog, you may be wondering how I chose the name “fromlaw2grace.” As it happens, I studied political science at George Washington University and then went to law school at Florida State University where I graduated with my Juris Doctorate degree in 1991. After practicing law for three years, God changed my life, calling me out of MY lifelong dream of being an attorney, to following HIS plan for my life, that of pastor and preacher.
Although I no longer practice law and though I believe the Gospel — not government or politics — is the true power of God unto salvation (i.e., the only real hope and change), I have never regretted attending law school or practicing law. In my role as a pastor, I have found that my past experiences with law and politics have given me a different perspective that most other pastors simply do not have.
Those experiences — for good, bad, and indifferent — shape who I am today. These same experiences also provide me with my own unique view of Southern Baptist life, both at the local church level where I serve as a pastor, but also at the state and national levels of SBC life. While some may not agree with my opinions or perspectives, I will continue to call them like I see them, especially with regards to the politics of the Great Commission Resurgence.
And, if you do not believe that there are politics involved in what has happened in the past year and what continues to play itself out in today’s SBC world, then you have not been paying attention. Regardless of which side of the language divide you find yourself on, you must pay attention to what is happening today because it will affect the tomorrows of our Convention and how we partner together to carry out the Great Commission through our churches, associations, state conventions, and the national SBC.
In what must come as a shock to those who led the Conservative Resurgence over the course of 30 years beginning in 1979, there are actually pastors and lay folks, state convention executives and national leaders, who are on the same page when it comes to questions and opposition to the GCR Task Force Recommendations (not the Great Commission itself) that were “overwhelmingly” approved in Orlando this past June. Who knew that there would be people who believed and thought that the SBC was headed down the wrong path who would begin to ask the same questions and even to network with one another? I know. This kind of thing happening within the SBC is just mind-boggling!
In what should not come as a surprise to anyone who dares question the wisdom of the GCR Recommendations, the pushback against the pushback has begun. The arguments being advanced against those of us who question the establishment’s plan for the SBC are no doubt designed to brush back the opposition. One recent commenter at SBCVoices, in response to my post, The SBC & CP: What Language Do You Speak, said the following:
I have it on good authority that “Someone in the SBC”, who shall for now go unnamed, is organizing bloggers to write negative articles (Hit Pieces) attacking the general direction of the SBC as outlined by the GCR task force, and the new leadership of our agencies. I can’t begin to express to you how “Utterly Disgusting” this sort of behavior is to me!
How horrible! Political organizing in the SBC. Someone, quick, please go tell Paige Patterson and Judge Pressler and the other CR leaders that this sort of thing is now frowned upon in the Convention, at least according to this commentator from Voices:
I, also, believe that you are right about the efforts of some who blog. If that effort is coordinated, that’s a pity. But there is nothing to do about that.
Now, let me ask a few questions to those who are conservative inerrantists who believed that the CR was a good and necessary action. Was it utterly disgusting to organize fellow Southern Baptists, who believed that the Convention was headed in the wrong direction, so that the Convention could be turned back to its conservative roots? Was it a pity that conservatives back in the late 1970s and early 1980s were coordinating their efforts to implement a conservative resurgence within the SBC?
If there would have been no organization or coordinated effort by certain leaders, then there never would have been a CR! Just because we have blogs and the internet and text messaging (oops! I wasn’t supposed to mention that one) today does not mean that any organized or coordinated efforts by those who question or oppose the GCR is somehow wrong or “utterly disgusting.”
I cannot speak for any other blogger or pastor or leader within the SBC. But, what I can tell you is that, as of my writing this post, there has been no effort to coordinate or organize the opposition to the GCR. That, my friends, is happening naturally, all across the Southern Baptist Convention. Can anyone in Nashville or Alpharetta or Richmond say TEA PARTY!
That does not mean that there will be no organized or coordinated efforts to oppose some of the elements of the GCR in the future. However, when I can be on the same page with folks like Peter Lumpkins and Tim Rogers and Les Puryear and David Hankins and David Crosby and a whole host of people that I have never met before and some of whom I may not have even agreed with on some issues before, then I think that speaks volumes about a grassroots movement within the SBC that is building naturally, from the bottom up.
Those within the SBC establishment, including those who support the establishment, can certainly dismiss out of hand those who criticize or question the GCR. They can chalk it up to nothing more than a bunch of sore losers complaining about a lost vote in Orlando. They can feign shock at grassroots Southern Baptists talking amongst themselves about the direction of the Convention. They can do any and all of the above. But, just like liberals did with the election of President Obama, they may seriously overestimate their mandate!And, just like liberals did with President George W. Bush, they may seriously misunderestimate their opposition!