LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Relationships with a
controversial pastor who is influential among many young Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastors
drew the attention of multiple motions presented at the SBC annual meeting July 23.
The motions were among 31 motions proposed at the meeting. The only motion brought to a vote was one calling for a Great Commission Task Force.
task force proposal was the only one of 31 motions put to a vote.
Messengers heard eight motions that directly or indirectly related to a
pastor who is not even affiliated with the SBC.
focused on Mark Driscoll, pastor of 7,000-member Mars Hill Church in
Seattle and leader of the Act 29 church-planting movement.
than a week prior to the SBC annual meeting, Driscoll was the subject
of an exposé in Baptist Press, the convention’s news service. The
report focused on his preaching on oral and anal sex, use of profanity
and apparent approval of drinking wine.
Of the eight Driscoll-related motions, three were referred to boards of SBC agencies and institutions. They included calls for:
All SBC entities to monitor and report their “expenditure of funds for
any activities related to or cooperative efforts with Mark Driscoll
and/or the Acts 29 organization.” The motion was referred to all SBC
All SBC organizations to “refrain from inviting speakers … who are
known for publicly exhibiting unregenerate behavior, including but not
limited to speech such as cursing and sexual vulgarity, or who publicly
state their support for the consumption or production of alcohol.” This
motion also was referred to all SBC boards.
Trustees of LifeWay Christian Resources to investigate one of their
employees, Ed Stetzer, and trustees of Southeastern Baptist Theological
Seminary to investigate their president, Danny Akin, and evangelism
professor, Alvin Reid. Stetzer has worked with Driscoll in church
planting, and Driscoll has preached at Southeastern Seminary.
Messengers referred the motion to the boards of LifeWay and
Five Driscoll-related motions were ruled out of order. They included requests that:
SBC organizations refrain from inviting speakers who are known to be
unregenerate and curse, speak vulgarly and support alcohol.
• LifeWay remove books written by Driscoll from its bookstores.
The SBC “biblically distinguish between consuming alcohol, which is an
issue of individual conscience, and being drunk, which is categorically
SBC organizations and affiliated churches “support and partner with
other Christian agencies and individuals of like-minded primary
theological convictions for the sake of the Great Commission and the
glory of God.”
The Executive Committee invite Driscoll “to address the concerns of his
accusers and all other interested parties” when the convention meets
In addition, the convention referred six other motions to the Executive Committee. They included proposals to:
Change distribution of SBC world hunger offering receipts to be
consistent with Cooperative Program allocations, providing 66 2/3
percent to the International Mission Board and 33 1/3 percent to the
North American Mission Board.
Form a committee to study how to involve more ethnic churches and
ethnic church leaders in “serving the needs of the SBC through
cooperative partnership on the national level.”
Consider allowing churches to designate contributions to “particular
convention causes” and still consider the money part of the Cooperative
Revise how funding is allocated to the six SBC seminaries to
accommodate enrolment at extension centers away from their main
Adopt the U.S. Christian Flag “as a tangible symbol to unify the
American believers under one flag to fulfill the Great Commission.”
• Amend Article VI of the SBC Constitution to change how trustees of SBC entities are allocated and selected.
LifeWay Christian Resources received three additional referrals, including requests that the convention’s publishing house:
• Research “more affordable educational alternatives to traditional Christian schools.”
• Mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible in 2011.
• Produce only American-made Vacation Bible School resources.
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission also received three
referrals. They asked the convention’s public-policy organization to:
Join with the American Family Association in “calling on the Pepsi-Cola
Company to remain neutral in the culture war in our country by
refraining from promoting the gay/lesbian lifestyle and agenda.”
• Declare a “Sanctity of Life Year” in the near future.
Start a petition to “end abortion in America and the funding of Planned
Parenthood, along with all other abortion-providing entities.”
SBC seminaries received a motion calling upon them to publish
information regarding the “state conventions or affiliated national
conventions from which their ministerial students or master’s-level
SBC entities received a proposal asking them to “submit any action
which acts to interpret the Baptist Faith & Message … so that the
action may be approved by a majority of the messengers” to SBC annual
Order of Business Committee received a motion stipulating that the
convention post the American flag, accompanied by an honor guard, at
the convention’s annual meetings.
In addition, seven other motions were declared out of order for various reasons. They focused on:
• Prayer for “the safety and welfare of Iranian citizens.”
Banning “the Holman Christian Standard Bible and any translation that
questions the validity of any Scripture passage or verse” from use in
• Claims that the world will come to an end May 21, 2011, and the end of the “church age.”
• Banning books by pastors T.D. Jakes and John Hagee, Catholic Bibles, and 90 Minutes in Heaven and The Shack from LifeWay Christian Stores.
• Disallowing use of secular music in any promotional materials produced by the convention.
Imploring Congress and President Obama “to seek biblical direction with
respect to blessing, and not cursing, the nation of Israel.
• Condemning President Obama for declaring June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month.