July 2023 Mind of the Missionary

 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

Mark 3:24 – 25 KJV


Normally, my themes for the month relate to an event or an activity within the association. However, since Claren and I attended the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans on June 13 – 14, I felt the need to review some of the key issues that were important to us as the Pickens Baptist Association as well as the Alabama State Convention and the SBC. Many of my thoughts for this month’s MOM were well stated by Brother Derek Allen, Pastor of Tillman’s Corner FBC, Mobile. He expressed them in a more orderly manner than I.

Here are some of those themes:

  1. The SBC affirmed its conviction that the office of Pastor is limited to MEN as qualified by Scripture.

Many Southern Baptists as well as other conservative denominations and leaders believed that the SBC would fold on this issue especially under the pressure of Dr. Rick Warren and Saddleback Community Church. Well, it did not. The vote was 88% to 12% to not allow them in fellowship. It was even more convincing the vote against the female pastor-led Fernwood Baptist Church. The vote was 91% to 9%. Again, God’s Word was upheld.

  1. The SBC renewed its commitment to respond to sexual abuse righteously and without wavering.

Fern Creek Baptist Church after many appeals from its local association, state convention (FL), and the SBC removed its sexually-accused pastor from the pulpit in May 2023. The Convention body voted 96% to 4% rejecting its appeal to be in fellowship with the SBC. Also, the body affirmed the updated report of the Abuse Response Implementation Task Force report. It was heard with compassion and commitment that this team continue its difficult responsibility of preventing sexual abuse within our churches and entities.

  1. The SBC elected a conservative president committed to the Great Commission and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

Usually the second year of an SBC President is run unopposed, but for some reason that was not the case this year. Dr. Bart Barber won 68% of the vote to the other candidate who received 32%. Despite this bit of awkwardness, Dr. Barber “moderated the meeting with as much grace and style as anyone.” (Allen) One messenger made a motion that the 2028 SBC meeting be held in her native state of Hawaii. The room roared in laughter, and Dr. Barber said, “Why did you not make that motion for this year, so  I could attend?” Also, Dr. Barber has been labeled a liberal ‘drift’ within the SBC. This is hard to believe noting that after last year’s election he stated, “The most readily observable ‘drift’ in the Southern Baptist Convention is a drift away from fairness in making accusations and from civility in discussing differences. I would like to lead us to make our fellowship healthier….”

I could write more, but it’s not necessary. These were the main areas of discussion which most SBC churches, pastors, and leaders were concerned about. I, personally, believe that our convention has not ‘drifted’ to a liberal side, but that doesn’t mean that all is perfect. As Southern Baptists, we have many areas in which we need to improve. However, in the areas of sound doctrine, morality, and leadership, we appear to be headed in the right direction.


Until Next Month,

Bro. Lyle