If you’ve done any look into the history of Southern Baptists, the sacred effort hasn’t always been a neat and tidy one. Our convention’s founding was under the auspices of allowing and protecting slave owners during the contested period of abolition. Many of the early statesmen in the SBC actively served in their states’ secession from the Union and actively served in the Confederacy (Williams and Jones book Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention goes into much detail about the worldview of white supremacy and slavery). Since then, whether it’s been embezzlement, theological controversy, a Disney boycott, accusations of liberalism (and actual theological liberalism in the 1950s-1980s), near bankruptcy, and more conflict. If there’s anything that our Convention enjoys as much as the Cooperative Program, it must be drama.
President Litton’s announcement wasn’t surprising, and I for one am glad that he has served this year as SBC president. He oversaw the formation of the Sex Abuse Task Force, advocated for the will of the messengers with the Executive Committee, will leave his footprint in his appointments that will be felt for years, and most of all has allowed Southern Baptists to get to know the better Litton, his wife Kathy. I’m also glad that he chose not to stand for reelection. I would gladly raise a ballot for him in Anaheim, but his decision puts the Convention ahead of himself. I don’t believe his decision was a capitulation to the Twitter mob, but rather an earnest desire to not be in the way of the SBC moving forward.
However things shake out in Anaheim, and the messengers will speak and their voice will be heard, the one sacred effort will continue as we see churches planted, missionaries sent, and the Kingdom expanding. These are the five things I’m hoping and praying will happen out of our time in Anaheim:
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.