The Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro produced some interesting news. The election of Dr. Frank Page as SBC President proved somewhat of an upset in that he was selected by rank and file Southern Baptists rather than handpicked by the current power brokers. Page appears to be a fundamentalist like his predecessors but doesn’t want to be mean about it. It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact this selection will make.
Even more amazing is the fact that there are things left to argue about after all the “moderates” were exiled about 25 years ago. Out of the blue comes this resolution on alcohol. It would ensure that no trustee of a Baptist institution touches a drop of the stuff while serving in that capacity. I guess it’s okay to drink as long as you’re not aspiring to be a trustee of something in the SBC.
Now I’m not an advocate of using alcoholic beverages and will take a Diet Coke over a beer any day. Abstaining from the beverage is a good thing and you don’t need the old Church Covenant to tell you that. My questions are “Why stop with the ban on drinking alcohol?” and “How can you enforce it?”
I guess the “refrigerator patrol” will be out in full force to check what is being chilled in the homes of trustees from now on. Perhaps the honor system would work. But, trust doesn’t seem to work well in the SBC. What does it say that there has to be a resolution on this matter at all?
There are so many other vices to consider that I’m surprised they stopped with just one. I mean, tobacco has to be among those at the top of the list. I’ve buried more people who died of cancer than by consuming too much alcohol. Cancer is such a dreaded disease it would have been a logical choice. Of course, the convention was in North Carolina and that wouldn’t have been popular on tobacco row.
How about obesity? Food is one subject that all Baptists know something about. Nothing wrong with eating and meeting. Honestly, can you think of an easier stipulation to enforce? All you have to do is look at somebody and say “you’ve tipped the scales too much big boy!” Plus, the consumption of alcohol and use of tobacco can be easily done in secret. You can do these vices in the privacy of your own home but overdo it on the sweets and you are in real trouble. You can put down a beer can somewhere but that pouch stays with you all the time. Of course, the obesity rule may have been unrealistic because it would have made finding eligible trustees even more difficult. You’d have to have a picture of them before voting them in and finding someone to verify the percentage of fat would have been a real chore.
There are biblical references to avoiding alcoholic beverages and specifically against drunkeness. Yet, Jesus turned water into wine (Jn 2:9) and the Apostle Paul advised Timothy to “use a little wine because of your stomach and frequent illnesses (I Tm 5:23). Folks who claim to know so much about the Bible ought to realize this. A better approach could have been to adopt Paul’s principle that that our bodies are “the temple of the Holy Spirit” and each one should “glorify God with your body” (I Cor 6:19-20). This principle would have covered the whole range of behavior for trustees and other Southern Baptists alike. The way things are now, even Jesus and Paul wouldn’t qualify for service in the SBC.