Baptists plan meetings on salvation theology for annual convention in Baltimore

Meredith Flynn —  April 15, 2014

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Two separate gatherings will address theological differences within the Southern Baptist Convention at this year’s SBC annual meeting in Baltimore. The breakfasts – both scheduled for 6:30 a.m. on June 10 – signal that the discussion over Reformed theology continues in the convention, following last year’s presentation by a Calvinism study group.

One of the breakfast meetings is hosted by Connect 316, a newly formed group of “theologically driven traditionalists,” according to their website. The group’s executive director, Rick Patrick, has acknowledged Connect 316 is an alternative to Calvinist-leaning groups. “But in another sense,” he said, “we are quite reticent to define ourselves merely in relation to Calvinism.” The Connect 316 breakfast will feature a panel discussion with Adam Harwood, Richard Land, Malcolm Yarnell and Brad Whitt.

At another breakfast meeting sponsored by LifeWay’s “The Gospel Project,” panelists Ed Stetzer, David Platt, Frank Page and Trevin Wax will talk about “Salvation and the Mission of God.”

“In recent years, Southern Baptists have been involved in numerous discussions related to Calvinism, its rise among young evangelicals, its place in Southern Baptist life, and how it affects our mission,” Wax wrote in a blog post about the breakfast. The meeting, he continued, will address “how differing views of salvation impact the way we do mission.”

Reformed theology figured prominently in the discussion at the last two SBC annual meetings, especially in Houston, when a group appointed by Executive Committee President Page presented its findings to messengers. The findings of the study committee, which included thinkers across the theological spectrum, didn’t bring the SBC to a consensus. Rather, Page encouraged Baptists to cooperate despite their differences. “We need to start acting like believers,” he said.

Oklahoma City pastor will be nominated for SBC’s 2nd VP post
Baptist Press reports Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, will be nominated for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the annual meeting in Baltimore. The nomination was announced by Johnny Hunt, a former SBC president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga.

“He has a great experience as a leader and pastor, a strong passion for the Great Commission, a sweet love for Southern Baptists and an unyielding commitment to denominational unity,” Hunt said of Dilbeck. Read the full story at

Ohio will recognize same-sex marriages
Another state on the marriage map changed colors Monday, as a federal judge ruled Ohio will now recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Judge Timothy Black could issue a stay on his ruling, the Associated Press reports; attorneys are expected to present their arguments today. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told AP last week it’s his job to defend the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

“Every state is having a lively debate over this and I think that’s a proper thing to do,” DeWine added. “I think it’s pretty obvious that all these issues are going to be resolved by the 6th Circuit and some cases are going to get to the Supreme Court. They’re going to have a decision in the United States Supreme Court and we’re all going to have to accept that.”

Louisiana lawmakers take a step toward making the Bible official state book
A Louisiana House committee has voted 8-5 in favor of designating the King James Bible their official state book, reports The Times-Picayune newspaper. The bill, which has gotten pushback from many legislators, now goes to the full State House.

Bubba celebrates Masters win at Waffle House – with Justin Bieber’s pastor
Late-night diners at a Georgia Waffle House got quite a surprise after the Masters Golf Tournament finished up Sunday, The Christian Post reports. Champion Bubba Watson and his wife, Angie, celebrated his victory there with Pastor Judah Smith and his wife, Chelsea. Smith, a spiritual advisor to pop star Justin Bieber, also is the Watsons’ pastor at City Church in Seattle and counseled the golfer to read Philippians 4:11 leading up to his win at Augusta. “As a kid, you dreamed about playing on the PGA Tour,” Smith told Watson, according to an ESPN story. “You dreamed about playing in the Masters. You’re doing that. Why don’t you just go ahead and rejoice in the circumstances of your life?”

And if those circumstances are served smothered and scattered, even better.


Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.