Okay, today is technically not a meeting of The Convention, considering no business was conducted. Rather, today was the Pastor’s Conference – a time of encouragement and fellowship for messengers. My group decided to skip the preaching sessions and timed our arrival to coincide with the annual dinner/meeting of Concerned TN Baptists.
It was announced that CTB would be backing Ron Stewart, pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Knoxville as a candidate for office of President of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Tom McCoy of Thompson Station Baptist, Thompson Station would receive the support of the CTB in pursuit of the office of Vice President and Tim McGehee of Grace Baptist in Tullahoma would receive the same in pursuit of the office of 2nd Vice President.
There were several issues pertaining to the upcoming convention that were discussed. Of particular interest in the CTB meeting were the following matters:
1. An initiative to give the Vice President and 2nd Vice President a vote on the committees of the Convention, similar to the authority to do so granted to the President.
2. The 1st Proposed Ammendment to the Constitution which alters the ways in which the TBC’s educational institution installs its trustees. The proposed ammendment would give the messengers of the convention greater ability to influence the appointment of trustees than the current process allows.
3. The anticipated proposal by Jerry Sutton of Two Rivers Baptist, Nashville of an ammendment to the form used when questioning prospective Convention servants. If you aren’t familiar with the situation feel free to read the information linked to above. The Cliffs Notes: There is an unofficial form used by those who interview potential committee members which includes, amongst others, questions about the candidates giving to the Cooperative Program, willingness to serve, etc. Dr. Sutton would like to alter that form to include a question about whether or not the candidate affirms the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as well as requiring the candidate to answer in the affirmative to be considered for service. The issue has apparently generated enough discussion that a likely response has been articulated – apparently this motion would be referred to the Constitution and Bylaws committee which would effectively table the issue until next years convention. There was discussion as to whether the 2nd part of the proposed motion (the requirement of affirmation) would be dropped and, if it were dropped, if the motion could be ammended to include a reporting of how each candidate responded.
The discussion of these issues gave way to a discussion of a 2nd tier of issues:
1. A proposal of a review of the nomination process for prospective committee appointees. Currently there is an approximate 25% loss of names submitted for candidacy. The proposal would include some sort of confirmation to the nominating party that their nomination had been received.
2. A proposal to investigate the relationship between the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the TBC.
3 A proposal to disclose the salaries of TBC staff in written form to messengers of the convention.
These issues were left to the discretion of individual messengers to propose (or not), given as a means to encourage doctrinal accountability in the TBC.
Other potential issues of concern for conservative Baptists include:
1. Further discussion of the Belmont issue.
2. The controversy at Carson-Newman most recently expressed in a vote of no-confidence in President Netherton by the faculty of the school.
Obviously there are many hot-button issues facing the messengers. Check back tomorrow for more updates – I’ll try and blog often for those interested but not able to attend.