The following occurred during the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
1. We voted for the resolution on the abolition of abortion, with a very important one-word amendment.
2. We voted for the motion to make sure a third party investigates the SBC Executive Committee and reports their findings to a group other than the Executive Committee, which has power to reject the counsel of the Executive Committee attorney, to be sure we now are treating with respect and genuine concern all who come forward with allegations of sexual abuse.
3. We voted for the resolution that sexual abuse offenders are permanently disqualified from the office of pastor or other church staff, because they obviously are not above reproach.
4. We also made it clear, at a very minimum, we expect the Executive Committee to investigate all sexual abuse allegations and report its findings to messengers so we may exercise our right to disfellowship any congregation who knowingly harbors sexual predators or does not report the matter, enabling predators freedom to skip on to the next church and keep getting church staff jobs.
5. We deliberately were thwarted by the Committee on Resolutions the right to vote on any resolution that might possibly even mention directly critical race theory.
6. We voted for the most diverse slate of candidates in the history of the SBC, with one white, one Black and one Hispanic in the presidential and both vice presidential slots, and elected the first Hispanic to give the convention sermon next year.
7. We passed Vision 2025, which includes five original components on increasing evangelism and baptisms in various ways, while adding a sixth component that insists we must fight simultaneously against sexual abuse and racial discrimination in any and all of our churches.
8. We voiced our concern that some entities may have overstepped their bounds in making or trying to make major changes without the voted approval of the sole member and then sought approval of their decisions after the fact, now confusing some of the assignments of Lifeway and NAMB, until better recommendation(s) can be brought next year.
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9. We heard excellent messages from both our SBC presidential address and the convention sermon that exhorted the good and rebuked the worst in all of us, calling us up to higher and better.
10. We heard from six seminary presidents who are doing an excellent job standing strong on Scripture and working together to train the next generation for ministry and missions. This is the real story of the results of the conservative resurgence: SBC seminaries standing for biblical truth and remaining happily accountable to our individual local churches for what they teach.
This cat—the SBC—landed on its feet, despite the way it was flipped in the air several times and had us all concerned. We came wondering and left encouraged.
Kevin Mitchell is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Pecos and is a member of the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board. The views expressed are those of the author and not intended to represent any institution or entity.