I’ve been to so many conventions in my life, I can’t even count them all. I use to go every year, but now, I only make it every 2 or 3 years. Many of my friends don’t go, it’s too expensive, and there are too many roosters strutting around obsessed with their self importance for my peace of mind. I can only take so much haughtiness and then I get nauseated.
I’ve served on several resolutions committee’s at the state level. I have vowed, to never – never – no never – do that again. Some folks seem to just look for issues to fight about. It seems to me, we have the same resolutions every year. It’s not enough to say we believe the Word of God to be inerrant and infallible (thus pretty much defining what we believe and what we stand for), we need resolutions.
Several years ago, my denomination voted to affirm the infallibility of Scripture. Apparently, for some of us, that’s not enough. Now, we have to vote on the Bible line by line, verse by verse. I wish we would at least do it by topics or sections, it would save time.
One year, we had to vote on wives being submissive. I personally didn’t believe we needed the resolution. If we did, we also needed to have one on husbands loving your wives as Christ loves the church. Tell that to a couch potato with chips and salsa in hand, totally ignoring his wife on a Saturday afternoon.
The Word is clear on bishops and elders. That being the case, why have there been no resolutions regarding pastors who clearly violate those standards in their ethics and morals.
My position is, let the Word speak. Quit writing resolutions and resolve to do a better job obeying what we already know to do. It’s not the parts of the Bible that we don’t understand that is at issue. It’s the parts we do understand but don’t seem to get it, or live it. We don’t need a resolution to resolve this issue, we need repentance and obedience.
There are a number of issues where we slow dance and don’t really take a stand, although we pass a resolution and get media attention (most of it negative). We’re against Disney but we have no resolution to my knowledge boycotting Sea World and Universal. One is owned by the liquor industry, the other is an offense to Peta and all the liberals who worry because fish have feelings too.
At one convention, a pastor who pushed for the boycott said he wasn’t giving up his season passes to Disney, but he wasn’t going to buy anything when he went. Can you say ‘hypocrite’ boys and girls? No wonder the world laughs at our ‘resolutions.’
Instead of writing resolutions, might I offer another suggestion? We could take the time to write a personal letter (don’t get me started on form letters and petitions). If it matters to you, spend the time, write your own letter and buy a stamp. If those we boycott received several million personalized, gracious but firm letters, I think they would pay attention. You can’t judge the effects of a boycott on an organization that doesn’t release attendance figures. But, I contend a letter carries more weight than one piece of paper voted on at a convention by people who haven’t even read the whole thing.
Most folks who vote on resolutions haven’t even read them. I would wager you could submit a resolution on, ‘The ethical treatment of gnats’ or ‘A refusal to eat meat offered to idols’ or ‘No more leisure suits at Conventions’ or ‘Why Bob the Tomato ties are not appropriate at funerals’ and get a unanimous vote from the sleepy conventioneers who are just trying to get to the next item on the agenda, so they can go to bed.
The reason resolutions are meaningless is we rarely have one on issues that really matter or situations that might bring embarrassment to the body of Christ. Have you noticed how often we are silent on certain issues?
One of the most widely respected pastors and teachers of the last thirty years divorced his wife a few years ago. He was a leader in my denomination. We were strangely silent. While still qualified to be a teacher, I personally believe his divorce disqualifies him from being pastor of a local church. I realize that is an unpopular position, but everyone is entitled to their own. At least I’m willing to say what mine is. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.
What does this have to do with resolutions? In 1998 my denomination called on states to revoke ‘no fault’ divorce laws. It has been reported when this leader told his church of his decision to stay, even though divorced, he received a standing ovation. Yet, the Bible says, God hates divorce. Apparently it’s okay to applaud it today. Do we need a resolution on that?
Resolutions are words without power. They carry no weight. They make the one writing them feel better, but they are quickly forgotten. Quick, name two specific resolutions submitted at the last denominational meeting you attended. That’s what I thought.
We have resolutions because we aren’t preaching the Word with power. We depend on man made statements instead of preaching the truth without apology. Until we take the Word seriously and obey what it says, we are wasting our time with resolutions. They lack power. The Word, God-breathed, has power to change lives.
I have a suggestion regarding resolutions, let’s stop them. Let’s seek revival instead. There is nothing wrong with America that a resolution will solve. There is nothing wrong with America that a revival won’t cure.
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.