First let me say that all other motions, I believe, have either been referred or ruled out of order, so Resolutions tomorrow and Ed Stetzer’s sermon tomorrow night will be the highlights, in my view.
I believe the BFM motion passed at about a 60/40 split. David Troublefield cited some numbers in a comment section earlier, though I am unsure where he got them. Here are a few thoughts.
It is a majority, but not a “slam dunk.” Nevertheless, the Convention has spoken definitively on the issue of narrowing our parameters beyond the BFM. We should be very precise, from this point forward.
Several people had lists of items not covered by the BFM that agencies and institutions had rules about, which they now felt were contrary to the report and the motion, such as divorce, homosexuality and others. I was asked, after the vote, if a similar situation were covered in the BFM. I said, “yes.” The BFM, in Article I, affirms the Bible as authoritative and, therefore, to those things clearly defined in Scripture, the BFM does cover doctrinal statements not listed in other articles. On those things that are not clearly addressed, our agencies and institutions should not establish doctrinal qualifiers on which the convention has no consensus. It is dismissive and arrogant to say there are tons of other things that these institutions adopt as policies that aren’t in the BFM. Behavior restrictions aren’t doctrines. Clearly defined Biblical doctrines are a part of the BFM and are covered. It is only the things around which we have not all gathered upon which our institutions should remain silent. Insert Morris Chapman’s quote from Boyce here, or his own blog article Leading by Example!, or read this applicable article: Boyce answers the bloggers of his day – 3 tests for Doctrinal Unity.
On a practical note, while I don’t want places like SWBTS to have an extra Biblical, extra BFM doctrine as adopted policy, I don’t think it inappropriate for cessationist professors to teach the Bible as they understand it. This statement from the convention does not limit that.
Another practicality is that this motion has the weight of a resolution. The Boards of Trustees can not be instructed by the convention to do a thing. The Boards will continue to vote their conscience before God. If their conscience is bound to represent the convention’s action on this, they will do so. If they feel so firmly that the convention is wrong, they will not change and it will be up to the convention to remove them if they see fit, change its mind on the issue, or live with that of which they say they do not approve.
In other words, this is not over. Those on the Boards who feel that the extra Biblical, extra BFM parameters are not appropriate will point to this motion as leverage to attempt to move their Board back to the place where the restrictions are absent. Success is yet to be determined.
Finally, it is time for the leaders who have indicated that they are in agreement with these sentiments to come out and lead. It is incumbent on leaders to take heat and to address issues that are uncomfortable. Leadership is a responsibility, not a door to privilege. Morris Chapman did this without hesitation today, and Frank Page did so as well, in the introduction of his sermon this morning. Everyone else, to the line, please. Several of our statesmen addressed these issues at the Baptist Identity Conference this year. We need them to make their way to the mic. When I am the one at the mic to defend these issues while men of far greater leadership and academic prowess are absent, the future of our denomination is in jeopardy.
Leaders, you must pick up the issue and be the ones to make of the situation we have revealed something that will be a positive future for all Southern Baptists. You can not continue to allow bloggers or those opposed to our ideas be the ones setting the agenda on these issues.