After months of anticipation the Building Bridges Conference: Calvinism & Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has finally begun. I don’t know of any Said At Southern Network bloggers who are there. You can keep up to date and from:
- Tim Rogers is blogging from the conference – most information on the conference.
- Tom Ascol’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Building Bridges Conference
- Ed Stetzer’s updates
Since Timmy has offered his $0.02 Contribution to the Building Bridges Conference, I’ll post my initial thoughts – guaranteed to be 49% inaccurate. While a great many people are hopeful about this event, I am skeptical. This may turn out to be a watershed event for the anemic theology of Southern Baptists. Maybe God will bless this conference in ways beyond what we hope. But I’m still weary. Here’s why:
- I will be in Louisville tonight taking a final exam for Theology class. Why? Because despite all the “historic” ramifications of the Building Bridges Conference they scheduled it on finals week. Can anyone pretend they wanted the young leaders of the SBC to get involved if they don’t think, “Oh, maybe some seminary students might come to this thing.” I don’t know if this is incompetence, conspiracy or simple oversight. Either way, no one likes being left out of the party.
- The rumors that LifeWay will be selling this thing as a book is bad news. Get ready to talk a lot of Calvinism with your Sunday school director.
- Many of the most committed and vocal anti-Calvinist figures in SBC life won’t be speaking at the conference.
- Calvinism or Non-Calvinism will not be the nail in the SBC coffin. This is one messy issue among many. Despite the peace talks in Ridgecrest this week, the SBC continues to rely on pragmatic unity around shared cultural and programmatic interests. Here are some conferences that I would get excited about:
- Patching Flat Tires Conference: Southern Baptists and Membership. A conference designed to find those 10 million missing members.
- Backseat Driver Conference: Southern Baptists and Local Church Authority. A conference on the dignity of the local church and reducing denominational bureaucracy.
- Leaving The Driveway Conference: Southern Baptists and Evangelism. A conference designed to remind us that only Pharisees think the world will come to them for salvation.
- Stop Honking Conference: Southern Baptists and Pride. A conference designed to help Southern Baptist pastors and employees stop tooting their own horn.
- Improving Fuel Economy Conference: Southern Baptists and Making Mission Money Count. A conference designed to help Southern Baptists entities spend ‘missions’ money on real missions rather than administration.
So, what do you think?
Will this conference promote theological unity around the Gospel?