20,000 people (messengers and guests) at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting

On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 15–16, 2021, the Southern Baptist Convention (Great Commission Baptists) convened its an annual gathering. Two years between meetings (the 2020 meeting was cancelled due to COVID) and some tension around issues of racial justice (and “Critical Race Theory”), failures to deal with instances of sexual abuse, and a tight presidential election had many of us on pins and needles about the direction our network of churches might turn. In my estimation, the convention made the right decisions at nearly every turn. Here are 10 takeaways from our 2021 Annual Meeting.

  1. Prayer matters. Many people for…

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Despite about a decade as a student of racial issues and a practitioner of multiethnic ministry, I had not heard about Critical Race Theory (CRT) or Intersectionality (I) until a few years ago. And I have had no desire to read or write about CRT, saying off-hand a number of times that I do think this moment will pass, much like the brouhaha about the emerging/emergent church fifteen years ago. That said, we are still in this moment, and I have felt compelled to engage more deeply than I initially wanted. After pastoring a majority-black church for almost a decade…

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Kevin DeYoung has developed a taxonomy for addressing the splintering of the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” (YRR), “New Calvinist” movement, the quasi-cohesive group of young Christians subscribing to generally reformed theology for the last decade and a half. He explains this movement has been splintering recently, which anyone who is even loosely associated with the movement will acknowledge. (I have considered myself a part of this movement since the mid 2000s). DeYoung attributes this splintering to socio-cultural and political dynamics more so than to theological ones. …

Despite all of its bitterness, 2020 also shared its slice of sweetnesses. For me, I thank the Lord for concentrated time with our little family and extra bandwidth for reading and reflection. I enjoyed, learned, and grew through reading a number of books this year, and here are my top choices from 2020. Five were published in 20202, and six were books I read this year (several of which I wish I had read much earlier!).

Top 5 Books Published in 2020

Katerine Sonderegger, Systematic Theology, Volume 2, The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity: Processessions and Persons. In full disclosure, I am reading this one slowly…

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In my paper for this year’s annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, I argue that a Protestant principle of sola Scriptura can provide a methodological guardrail against tendencies toward what I’m calling either cataphatic “indulgence” or apophatic “indigence” in constructive theological labor. Here I draw from Kevin Vanhoozer’s essay on sola Scriptura in Biblical Authority After Babel, which defines Scripture as clear, self-sufficient, and self-interpreting, yielding a canonical “practice of using Scripture to interpret Scripture” which nevertheless avoids a narrow biblicism (solo or nuda Scriptura) and engages robustly with the catholic tradition. I argue that this tradition functions like…

2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama

In a recent article, Florida pastor Tom Ascol argues that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) should elect a local church pastor for its next President. Ascol pushes back against the selection of a denominationally employed “bureaucrat.” The article implies or asserts a number of problems with a denominationally employed leader.

Ascol argues that denominational bureaucrats (by which he largely means the administration and faculty of the SBC seminaries) traded orthodox theology for something unbiblical, leading to the need for the reformation of the SBC in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Ascol also correlates the bureaucratic organs in Washington (what some…

Actions follow faith. Everything we consciously do follows our beliefs about that thing. Every person believes something about every conscious action in their life. Those beliefs may be largely subconscious, they may form almost instantaneously, or they may simmer slowly and deliberately in our hearts and minds. But whether it’s changing lanes on Federal Highway or giving our life to Christ, we choose any specific action because we believe that it provides the best option for us. We enroll our kids in school, because we believe they need to learn, grow, and make friends. …

On September 11, 2001, as waves of terror from the collapse of the twin towers pulsed across the continent, my friend Shawn and I packed up his 1987 Honda Civic to start the drive from Northern California to the Canadian border. No, we weren’t fleeing for fear. We had long been planning a gap year at Capernwray Harbor, a small Christian training center embedded on an island in British Columbia’s cold Pacific waters. At Capernwray, I lived in a cabin with half a dozen other men. Sean was from Seattle, Thomas and Marcus were from Germany, Cyriac was from India…

Sepiaed pages
now faintly dappled by spots,
backgrounded a decade times five;
this cloud of witness would testify
to a life’s time labored
in the shadow of friends,
once fresh and now weathered
some folded and stained,
spines cracked (despite care).
Ears attentive could overhear
old discussions in marginal marks.

Except they all lay now in boxes
for flesh, paper, and bone;
buried in dirt or the dust of a room
unwanted by any,
but God.

The heartbreaking story of Ahmaud Arbery broke over the nation this week, with millions seeing a video of him being shot by two white men in February. These men, father and son Greg and Travis McDaniel, claimed that Arbery looked like someone who had been caught burglaring on home security video. They saw him running through their neighborhood, armed themselves, chased him down, and when he tried to defend himself, they shot him and killed him in the middle of the street. The video is sickening, as Arbery stumbles and collapses, breathing his last.

A wave of outrage and lament…

Danny Slavich

Walking with Jesus, @LauraSlavich, our kids, and the @CrossUnitedSFL fam in the warm breezes of sunny SoFla

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