Once again I want to publicly state my respect and appreciation for the entire Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. The ad hoc committee remains a duly elected committee** of the Southern Baptist Convention and thus deserves respect as such from every Southern Baptist.
Most of us realize "respect for" and "questions about" are not contradictory positions or attitudes. There are occasionally a few who seem to confuse the two (I've had a comment or two which seemed to display confusion here). In addition, the GCRTF has continued to solicit input. And, I'm not unsure responses to "myths" they purport are being perpetuated is not legitimate input.
It's sad but real that we must forever disclaim our motives are not about attacking the other person's integrity; instead it is about what is being written or spoken. Why biblical people have created a sub-culture akin to the relativistic moral morass we find elsewhere grieves me deeply.
My hope, under God, is my writings reveal my inner motives at this point. If absent, then I must concede I haven't a clue how to write it any more irenic without it also being utterly vacuous. As honestly as I know, I desire to address positions, not people; deconstruct argument, not condemn character; evaluate evidence, not insult integrity.
Also, concerning my series on Danny Akin and Ed Stetzer, I've never met either man. I've never shook either man's hand (that I recall). Hence, my responses are literally based on my understanding of their words.
Below I've combined two "myths" since, from my perspective, neither seems to have much spark in the SBC as I can tell.
Dr. Akin seems to think a conspiracy theory may be driving this "myth." He writes:
"Conspiracy theories are usually entertaining. And, they often contain a modicum of truth, but not much more." I could not agree more with Dr. Akin concerning conspiracy theories, both their entertaining value as well as their containing a kernel of truth.
Akin alludes to the incident in the Florida Baptist Witness concerning Ronnie Floyd:
"Dr. Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the GCRTF said as much on behalf of the GCRTF, but amazingly some have misread or misunderstood his words as implying that we would like to influence and even direct the decision-making of some or all of the search committees. To jump to such a conclusion based upon Dr. Floyd’s statement that the presidential search committees watch and pray for the work of the GCR is unfounded and irresponsible."
Here is what the Florida Baptist Witness recorded:
"Three times in an e-mail interview with the Witness, Floyd emphasized the search committees of the respective entities should be “very prayerful and watchful of the work of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force” when asked if the GCR Task Force may be considering recommendations that could alter the structure of those entities" (//link).
I had this to say about Dr. Floyd's words as recorded by the FBW:
"The Southern Baptist Convention authorized a task force to study our situation. What the Southern Baptist Convention definitively did not do was issue a mandate to change our structure. In point of fact, Al Mohler unequivocally stated the task force was not about structural change, assuring the 2009 SBC messengers the purpose of the motion was to get a committee in place to ask the right questions of ourselves...Ronnie Floyd seems to think the search committees of NAMB (TBA), IMB, and more recently, The Executive Committee should look to them to gauge how to proceed" (//link).
Whether or not Dr. Akin had me in mind as being "unfounded and irresponsible" I haven't a clue. To my knowledge, however, no one else picked up on this and offered commentary similar to Dr. Akin's concern. The reader can make up his or her own mind whether Dr. Floyd was "flexing muscles" not authorized by the SBC in Louisville.
This will be short for two reasons. First, while I would not categorize this as a "myth" there is truth, I think, to Dr. Akin's concern that many people think the GCRTF is tinkering with the Cooperative Program. And, only when proposed changes are publicly made will the official debate begin. Hence, all the "I support the CP" assurance will really not settle anyone's concerns at this juncture until it's public what is up with the CP.
Second, Dr. Akin shot his revolver much too quickly with examples of this "myth." Citing as the very first example, Dr. Akin apparently quoted Bob Rodgers (though not mentioning his name), vice president for Cooperative Program & stewardship with the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a BP, First Person article entitled, "Why CP flies," Rodgers had this to say:
"Some leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention tell us that CP is dead or is no longer effective or efficient, or needs to be redefined. Simply stated, these leaders tell us that CP doesn't work; it's a relic of the past; it's the old way; it's a program, and programs are an anathema; and that CP is all about old denominational loyalty" (//link).
The problem is, Rodgers does not mention or even allude to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. Indeed his statement was very generic with no one particularly mentioned. For all we know, Dr. Rodgers had in mind somebody in Alaska to whom he was referring in his mind's eye. Yet Dr. Akin wrongly associates Rodgers with alluding specifically to the GCRTF's work, hence perpetuating a "myth."
I know how Dr. Akin feels. I continue my share of literary blunders.
With that, I am...
**In conversation with a friend, it was rightly pointed out to me that while the 2009 SBC messengers authorized the GCRTF
mission, the messengers did not authorize the individual selection of the Task Force. Unlike, say the Peace Committee, whose members were nominated by the SBC President, but were then voted on by the messengers of the convention, the GCRTF members were not voted on by the SBC messengers. Hence, the GCRTF cannot be
said to have been elected.
Certainly the task of the GCRTF is sanctioned by the Southern Baptist Convention. But my present language in this post that the Task Force is an "ad hoc committee" and "duly elected by the SBC" is hardly precise. Indeed my earlier language that the SBC "authorized a task force to study our situation" is much closer and more factually accurate (//link). While this may appear an insignificant distinction, I think it may prove crucial in certain contexts.