Reformed vs. Traditionalist: Southern Baptists to Choose New Leader

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Jim's picture

https://religionnews.com/2018/06/06/j-d-greear-is-ready-to-give-southern...

J.D. Greear preaches an uncompromising faith in a straightforward, unapologetic fast-clip monologue.

“Is it possible to be a lukewarm Christian?” he asked his listeners on a recent Sunday morning at The Summit, his North Carolina megachurch.

Standing onstage in gray jeans, a polo shirt and a scruffy stubble, he likens halfhearted Christians to lukewarm coffee. Hot is good, so is cold, he said. But lukewarm coffee makes you want to spit it out.

“There’s no middle ground,” he implores. “You’re either committed to the mission and living all in for Jesus, or you’re not.”

Greear’s sermons draw crowds of nearly 11,000, including an enviable number of college students and young adults, to hear a bracing Christian message he calls a mixture of truth and grace: Sin is real. There’s no salvation outside of faith in Jesus. God’s grace is amazing, but may not last.

It’s the same kind of unvarnished evangelical message he now hopes to parlay into what may be his new role, as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant group.

Jay's picture

It sounds like both men are quality candidates.  I am a little surprised that the Presidency of the SBC is only a one year term.  You would think that it is three years at a minimum.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jonathan Charles's picture

From the outside looking in, I don’t see why it is a big deal who they elect as president. The president maintains another full-time ministry. It seems more like a ceremonial position, like being British royalty. 

I’d like to know from someone on the inside what  the president’s duties are and how they significantly affect the welfare and direction of the SBC. 

Andrew K's picture

Jonathan Charles wrote:

From the outside looking in, I don’t see why it is a big deal who they elect as president. The president maintains another full-time ministry. It seems more like a ceremonial position, like being British royalty

I’d like to know from someone on the inside what  the president’s duties and how they affect the welfare of the SBC. 

Hmm.... "King of the Southern Baptists." Actually, it kind of works.

Donn R Arms's picture

It is a very big deal. The president appoints members of the various committees, including those who serve on the seminary boards. The resurgence was only possible when conservatives got serious about uniting behind conservative men like Adrian Rogers and --- Paige Patterson.

Donn R Arms

Ben Howard's picture

To echo what Donn said, the SBC president is huge! Yes, much of it is ceremonial, but the one thing the President gets to do is appoint the board members and committee members that oversee our seminaries and mission boards. Who gets on these boards will determine what direction those entities will go in the future. Right now, we are having somewhat of a struggle between Calvinists (like myself for full disclosure) and Traditionalists, and this election has made it come clearly to the surface if it was not before. We have a big tent, and have always worked together to meet in the middle on secondary issues, but it seems like that is not going to be the case this year in the way this election has been framed. I am praying for my brothers and sisters gathered in Dallas, that they will be able to come together in unity and show a commitment to love, concern and unity to a world that has seen a denomination publically struggle with sin issues over the last several months. It will only happen by God's mercy and grace upon that meeting.

Jay's picture

So for my SBC brethren on this site, who do you prefer as SBC President?  Greear or Hemphill? 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Ben Howard's picture

I would prefer Greear, but Hemphill is a Godly solid choice. 

I also said that the SBC president appoints the board members and committee members that oversee the seminaries etc. That is not technically true. I was reminded today that the President appoints the committee on committees that then nominates the members of the committee on nominations who are then elected by the convention. It is that committee that then nominates all the trustees and board members for consideration by the messengers to the annual convention. It is still a powerful appointment role though, since those 68 members of the committee on committees will usually not get a lot of push back from the convention floor on their nominations, since it is difficult for any person to know all the people they nominate.

Jim's picture

http://www.wacotrib.com/news/ap_texas/some-facts-about-the-southern-bapt...

  • 47,272 churches with a total membership of about 15.2 million
  • 39,094 of the churches are predominantly white, 3,228 predominantly African-American, and 2,103 predominantly Hispanic
  • operates six seminaries with a total enrollment of more than 21,000.
  • The SBC was formed before the Civil War in defense of slaveholders and has been trying to overcome its racist history. In 1995, on the SBC's 150th anniversary, the annual meeting adopted a resolution apologizing for condoning and perpetuating racism, and committed to eradicate racism in the SBC's ministry.
John E.'s picture

I prefer Greear.