Upon being nominated for President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Randy Adams accepted. Randy Adams is the Executive Director-Treasurer of the Northwest Baptist Convention. This covers the areas of Oregon, Washington, and northern Idaho. That’s a little background.
He penned a post on his website, detailing the trouble of the Southern Baptist Convention, particularly with growth. He notes that despite the fact that the North American Mission Board has received more funding, fewer churches are being planted. This is in part due to corruption we’ve previously covered. He also speaks about establishing a trustworthy system in dealing with abuse. And on many of the issues on the Evangelical Dark Web’s mind, Adams advocates a return to the mission that is in danger of decline. Here are the seven planks of his campaign:
- Prioritize the Mission – The SBC was founded to advance the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. Our primary mission must not be compromised by intra-convention politics or pet projects. Secondary issues are not unimportant, and must be addressed at times, but Southern Baptists were founded to advance the mission, not a political agenda.
- Determine to Cooperate – No single entity or group can accomplish the mission themselves. We must respect and recognize the value that every church, each association and state convention, the Woman’s Missionary Union, Baptist college ministries, and SBC entities bring to the table. People cooperate to the extent of their inclusion and we must start cooperating again. It is a matter of integrity that denominational leaders give strong evidence of cooperation. This includes an impeccable track record of Cooperative Program support which is the primary means by which Southern Baptists fund Great Commission work.
- Value Every Church – The local church is the body of Christ purchased with the blood of Christ. Whatever its size, the sphere of influence and potential impact of any church is broader than what we can see in a weekend gathering. As such, every cooperating SBC church should be valued, and strategies to increase the engagement of all churches in SBC life must be employed, including use of technology to enable remote access to voting at the Annual Meeting of the SBC. We should not be satisfied with how few of our churches participate in the Annual SBC Meeting. Cooperating SBC churches must not be disenfranchised from participation in the decision-making process because they cannot afford to travel to annual meeting locations.
- Listen to the Field – Local churches, followed by associations and then state conventions, are closest to the ministry field. Our national SBC agencies should support and work through local and state convention partners, who have local knowledge and for whom the work is most personal because it concerns the eternal destiny of their closest neighbors. There are regional differences within our nation, and within regions there are vast differences from one community to another. Knowing the particulars of a community, as discerned through prayer and local knowledge, is essential to making disciples for Christ and shepherding believers.
- Operate in the Light – The SBC should be the toughest place to hide corruption, abuse, and poor stewardship, operating at the highest level of integrity and accountability. We must eliminate organizational tools, structures and processes that help hide wrongdoing and abuse. The SBC and its entities should end the use of, and recall, all remaining Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). We must not hide corruption and we will not protect predators at the cost of harming victims. There must be transparency in how we make decisions and how we spend money. Records should be open. Property purchases and ownership should be disclosed and records made available. Annual audits of entities should be open and accessible to Southern Baptist constituents. If we choose to operate in the light, we will maximize the trust and goodwill that are essential to maximizing the Great Commission cooperation of Southern Baptists. Transparency and frank communication regarding challenges and opportunities will build trust and unity in the SBC.
- Speak Truth – We must love our neighbors and we must speak the truth. There are many lies that are told by the world, and these must be countered by the truth found in God’s Word. Just, righteous leadership engages culture with biblical truth and values, not social or political theories.
- Believe and Obey God’s Word – We must not compromise obedience to God’s Word in word or deed. The Baptist Faith and Message expresses the biblical beliefs and convictions of Southern Baptists, and it provides the theological parameters within which Southern Baptists work together.
So, let’s go through these one by one. Number one, he wants to focus on the mission of the church, and that mission is the Great Commission. He does not want the SBC to get tangled in the weeds of a political agenda. And that is something the SBC needs. What this means for the ERLC is not specified. The second one places more emphasis on shifting participation down the chain of command through CPs so that more churches and organizations can get involved.
Number three was where I start to get impressed. I’m excited to see what ideas he wants to implement in order to get more SBC churches participating in the convention. Similarly, plank four places a larger emphasis on the local church shifting influence away from the establishment of Big Eva.
Plank five deals with corruption. But this is not merely confined to sexual abuse. This is also about financial transparency which has been lacking. We fully support this plank.
Six and seven go together. They are about living and operating according to the truth which we have been called. Plank six could be taken as a thinly veiled condemnation of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. I am interested in learning more about his thoughts on that. Seven reaffirms the Baptist Faith and Message which may reference his support for complementarianism.
This announcement is exciting news and can hopefully shake up the race where SBTS President Al Mohler is considered the frontrunner based on his extensive experience. Randy Adams shows signs of being the leader the church needs to restore confidence in the orthodoxy of the Southern Baptist Convention.