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Rick Patrick


As you may know, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama also passed resolutions on the Sinner's Prayer, preserving the original language as written by Dr. Eric Hankins. I believe the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention was scheduled to consider it as well.

It is interesting to note that in our state conventions, the "original" wording is being passed, while at the national convention, an "edited" version was necessary. I believe this only provides further evidence that, at the national convention level, a much higher percentage of messengers are reformed than at the various state convention levels.

Also, it is worth noting that, while the "Calvinized" Sinner's Prayer Resolution at the national level passed 70% to 30%, the "Traditional" Sinner's Prayer Resolutions at the various state levels passed by margins like 98% to 2%.

In light of the remarkable differences, perhaps we should introduce these two groups to each other.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. I was aware of other states possibly getting "Sinner's Prayer" proposals but unaware any state taking Dr. Hankins' resolution verbatim. When you say three other states passed resolutions "preserving the original language as written by Dr. Eric Hankins" do you intend to imply verbatim as did Tennessee?

With that, I am...

Ron Hale


Thanks for covering this story and the balance you gave.

I got to attend the Tennessee Convention and was present the morning that Dr. Steve Gaines spoke to the resolution that he had submitted earlier. After several minutes of good and gracious discussion (for and against), the question was called and the vote was taken. Overall, we had a wonderful convention this year and Tennessee Baptists are excited about the leadership and vision that Randy Davis, our Executive Director is providing.

peter lumpkins


Thanks brother. I rejoice with you about what God is doing among Tennessee Baptists...

With that, I am...

Rick Patrick


Yes, I can confirm that the Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama resolutions consisted of the Hankins Resolution verbatim. I cannot yet confirm that about Texas, but I consider it likely.


peter lumpkins

Thanks Rick. I updated the piece acknowledging what we now know was apparently a much more influential rendering of the "Sinner's Prayer" resolution that Eric Hankins penned than we had first anticipated...



the 'original' Sinner's Prayer is found in the Bible:
"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’" (Gospel of St.Luke 18:13)

It was shortened to this, in Greek:
“ Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, Υιέ του Θεού, ελέησόν με τον αμαρτωλόν. ”

“ Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. ”

This 'sinner's prayer' has an even shorter form:
the acronym
"Iesous Christos Theou Uiou Soter
– which translated means
Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

You may know it as
the 'ichthus' symbol: the fish


The 'Sinner's Prayer' also is represented in an early Christian hymn known as the Trisagion (The Thrice Holy):



"I believe this only provides further evidence that, at the national convention level, a much higher percentage of messengers are reformed than at the various state convention levels. "

So, do you all think the national convention is comprised of quite a few entity employees whose churches send them as messengers. Or, do entity employees get to vote without being messengers from a church? I meant to ask this question long ago.

Rick Patrick


Yes, I believe a large percentage of the national convention is comprised of entity employees, board members and committee leaders. But I think the discrepancy is primarily a matter of our reformed wing simply doing a better job of showing up at the convention. If their influence is out of proportion to their numbers, it is because they make a special effort to attend.

Regarding your second question, I do not believe entity employees can vote without being messengers from a church. I believe their church families must elect them as messengers.


Thanks Rick. I always wondered about SBC members who were also there manning booths. I have seen some going into vote and wondered if only messengers from churches could vote. of course a person could be sent as a messenger by a church, an entity employee and man a booth at the same time! Whew!


Does anyone know the theological leaning of Jimmy Scroggins, SBC Resolutions Committee Chairman, who had oversight in reworking Eric Hankins' resolution?

Tim Rogers


Don't know hie theological leanings. He is a FBC Jax guy that Dr. Vines considers one of his "preacher boys", he went to SBTS and was the Dean of Boyce College before he went to his current position in West Palm Beach.

So, you tell me his theological leanings. :)

Rick and Lydia,

I believe that if you sit on the Executive Committee the you get messenger credentials as an Executive Committee member. I am not really certain of this on the national level, would have to do more research, but in NC I know that is the case.

Jon Carter

I should have proposed it at the KBC in Lexington...oh the reality of a fried brain of a college student...

Good article Peter!


The sinners prayer led me on a way one ticket to hell. Praise God that Hw effectually have me a new heart since then! Oh the foolishness of the sinners prayer


Thomas, the problem is not with the sinner's prayer, but with the sincerity of the sinner's heart praying it. As O.C.S. Wallace once said "Salvation comes to the soul that comes to salvation. Forgiving Saviour and penitent sinner meet." Genuine repentance always finds forgiveness and redemption in Christ.

Hobart M. Tucker


It is silly to condemn "the sinner's prayer" as it is being discussed here. When the Holy Spirit finally convicted your heart, you, too, had to confess your sins and profess Jesus as Lord. That is simply a "sinner's prayer." I prefer to call it "the former sinner's prayer" because if you pray such a prayer in earnest it is because the Holy Spirit already has caused a change in your heart. But that's just my preference for preciseness and not a doctrinal distinction. You should be mature enough now as a Believer to know that the Bible clearly states "if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom. 10:9) -- with which a sinner's prayer (spoken as the result of a believing heart) comports ["Godly grief" as discussed in 2 Cor. 7:10 pertains.]

-- 'Bart

Hobart M. Tucker


Just to be blunt, Jimmy Scroggins is a Calvinist.

As for his Christian character, I think he revealed something about his maturity (or immaturity) during the annual meeting in Louisville. After Morris Chapman spoke in part about the brashness of New Calvinists, Scroggins tweeted a statement to the effect that he felt like he had "just been backslapped by my senile grandfather."

-- 'Bart


Thanks Hobart - I suspected that might be the case. I'm not familiar with the selection process for SBC committee members. Any idea who appoints the resolutions committee chairman amongst numerous Southern Baptists qualified for that role? That obviously is a key position at SBC annual meetings - a keeper of the gate to establish formal statements of decisions before they are presented for vote/adoption by the messengers.

I understand that it is often necessary to rework resolutions to put them in proper order and format prior to vote, but Dr. Hankins' resolution was REWORKED! Southern Baptists in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee obviously felt that to be the case as they adopted Dr. Hankins' original document. In doing so, they preserved the integrity of his resolution in line with majority SBC belief and practice that the Sinner's Prayer is "a biblically sound and spiritually significant component of the evangelistic task of the church" (words that were deleted in the SBC-New Orleans resolution).

Hobart M. Tucker


The Resolutions Committee Chair is appointed by the SBC President (Bylaw 20), but as you can see Al Mohler has had the most influence on these choices since 2009 (coinciding with the election of Johnny Hunt and the blitzkrieg to implement Danny Akin's 12 Axioms as a "GCR").

Here is the lineup from 2007 through 2012.

non-Calvinist chairs
2007 F. Page Gerald Harris
2008 F. Page Darrell Orman

Calvinist (or Calvinist-influenced) chairs
2009 J. Hunt Danny Akin
2010 J. Hunt Russell Moore
2011 B. Wright Paul Jimenez (FBC Taylors via Johnson Ferry)
2012 B. Wright Jimmy Scroggins

-- HMT


Bart, Thanks for sharing the list. It is illuminating.


Lydia writes "It is illuminating."

Not exactly the word I was thinking about Lydia, but it fits. The light continues to shine on dots to connect. I, for one, am getting sick and tired of SBC agendas and political maneuvers within our ranks while a world dies in darkness.


This is an interesting discussion. I was in New Orleans. Great convention this year. The convention should be in New Orleans every year, as far as I am concerned. New Orleans is a great convention city, and the food is unbeatable.

I can't remember how I voted on the resolution about the "Sinner's Prayer." I think that I voted against it, and would have voted against Dr. Hankins', as well, inasmuch as the framing of the debate does not matter that much. I realize that sides formed on this, and that I should be on a side, but I just wasn't. At least that's the best I can remember.

I was also against a super committee to study Calvinism. I say we stick with BFM and what we have now and leave well enough alone.

Trying to figure out who attends the national SBC meeting, and who attends the State meetings is interesting. They are, and have been groups that differ somewhat. The Texas convention, for example, was always able to stave off the CR in Texas, even when SBC meetings held in Texas had pro CR results. And then, just when you think that moderates were going to rule Texas, the SBTC starts and Baylor becomes more conservative. Go figure.

In my state, Tennessee, I have never been to a convention. I don't think that I have much interest, frankly. Randy Davis is a great improvement over our prior leadership. The TBC just gave Belmont College away. It was really sad. The TBC took an awfult hit in the PR department when it reminded Belmont that Belmont needed to live by its contractual commitments when Belmont became independent (a self perpetuating board) by filing a lawsuit. Then, after everyone in Nashville yelled at the TBC for being "unChristian" for filing a lawsuit, but did not yell at Belmont for being "unChristian" for violating a contractual commitment, the TBC hung in there - for about a year.

Then some guy on the TBC appointed committee who was negotiating with Belmont said that God told him to work out the lawsuit. I think his name was Joseph Smith. Anyway, Mr. Smith convinced others on the committee that God was telling them to end the lawsuit. So, Belmont simply dismissed the lawsuit and tore up the contract (which said the TBC was entitled to $65 million), and rather than accept Belmont's initial offer of $3 million up front, the TBC accepted $3M over time, which meant that the TBC took less than Belmont's original offer.

So, now we are down to Union (great school) and Carson Newman (Have no idea, but I bet the religion department is bad.)

The TBC also wanted to sell the BSU (now called BCM) building at Vanderbilt because it was a hassle to maintain. They were just about to do that when Vanderbilt announced its "all comers" policy. If you have read about that, Vanderbilt has kicked all of the religious groups off campus who have a charter or bylaws that require any belief or lifestyle that results in the exclusion of others. The BSU in owned by the TBC and sits right in the middle of campus. Fortunately, because the TBC owns the property, Vandy can't kick them out. The TBC may be the only religious group in that position.

Finally, the TBC is selling its building. This is not a bad idea, really. The building is huge, and the TBC staff has dwindled over time. They can now fit into a much smaller space.

For these reasons, and others (these things simply demonstrate the problems), our church for the last 20 years has givne a majority of its gifts directly to the SBC. This was way before the GCR stuff. We still give to the TBC. It has improved. But most of our emphasis is on the IMB, NAMB, the seminaries etc. and not state organizations.

Also, the Tennessee bylaws are written in such a way, I understand, that there is not as much of an opportunity to have an influence on policy making in Tennessee as there is at the SBC level.

For years after the CR was up and rolling, the majority of Tennessee Baptists were conservative, but the TBC leadership was very moderate. That is not the case now, thankfully.

But there is just a disconnect.

That's how Tennessee breaks down from my perspective. It's a combination of CR days, conservative/moderate influence, the opportunity to make change, the TBC missteps, rural vs. urban, and what ministries the TBC still runs.

It does not appear to me to be a Calvinist/non-Calvinist thing.

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