In the ebb and flow of the ever changing tides of influence in the Southern Baptist Convention; Fundamentalism, with it ridged set of qualifications for acceptance in SBC Leadership circles, appears (Thankfully) to be fading.
DISCLAIMER: “For those of you who do not truly know me; I am a Biblical Conservative, a 100% supporter of the Conservative Resurgence, and have been for over 20 years now! Additionally, I do not equate the Conservative Resurgence with Fundamentalism as some of the critics of the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC often do."
The influence of Fundamentalist ideology has certainly found fertile ground and expression among some members of the Conservative Resurgence over the last twenty plus years , perhaps hitting its high-water mark with the disastrous IMB policies that sought to regulate the private devotion of our missionaries and the baptism policy of the autonomous churches that make up the Southern Baptist Convention. Be that as it may, the Conservative Resurgence as a whole cannot in any reasonable discussion be considered a Fundamentalist movement. The battle cry of the Conservative Resurgence, around which the autonomous churches of the SBC rallied, was the inerrancy of Scripture (Solo Scriptoria) and not conformity to the leaders of the Conservative Resurgence idea of a “Baptist Identity”.
Some bloggers have tried to equate the work of the GCRTF with the end of the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC and have even ask if the adoption of GCRTF recommendations will actually amount to a takeover of the SBC and an end to the Conservative Resurgence itself. In a recent Blog post titled "GCRTF Takeover of the SBC?", Les Puryear lays out the argument that the passing of the GCRTF recommendations will mark the end of the “Conservative Resurgence” and sweep prominent members of the Task force into key leadership positions within the SBC.
“Word on the street is that after the GCR recommendations are passed in Orlando and the controversy dies down, that Ronnie Floyd will be the next NAMB President. Also, word on the street has it that Danny Akin will take the IMB Presidential slot. If Ted Traylor wins the SBC Presidential election in Orlando, then the GCRTF will have their members in all four key positions in the SBC. Thus, the transition from the "old guard" Conservative Resurgence will be complete and the Hunt/Akin/Floyd/ coalition, who can arm-twist with the best of them, will be in power.“
I am not that well connected to the political network inside the SBC to be able to say whether or not Les knows what he is talking about here, and really I don’t want to be that connected. Regardless of that, I do think that Les is correct in that clearly a transition is in the making. Les appears to believe that this transition will mark an end to the “old guard” Conservative Resurgence (whatever that is?), and that this will be a bad thing for the SBC.
I, on the other hand, believe that in the passing of the GCRTF recommendations we will be witnessing the passing of the baton from one generation of Conservatives in the SBC to the next generation of Conservatives in the SBC, and far from being something bad for the SBC, this will be something very positive for the SBC. Why? Well, for without fanfare or applause the passing of the GCRTF recommendations, and the selection of new leadership that will surely follow, will mark a turning point in the SBC… and a defeat (at least in part) of the Fundamentalist Ideology that has caused so much harm to our cooperation in the last few years.
Honestly, I am not sure (and I don’t think anyone else is) exactly how the adoption of the GCRTF recommendations will impact the various ministries of the SBC… But one thing I know for sure is this; the adoption of the GCRTF recommendations will be a huge blow to the Fundamentalist Ideology of the Baptist Identity Movement in the SBC. And this is a very good thing for the future of cooperation in the Convention.