James MacDonald and Jack Graham the Face of SBC Pastors’ Conference 2016?

The Southern Baptist Convention’s 2016 Pastors’ Conference will be held in St. Louis, MO on June 12-13. This year, the theme is a repeat from last year–a promotion of President Ronnie Floyd’s prophecy of a Great Awakening. Already announced is a plethora of dubious speakers, including James MacDonald and Jack Graham.

Last year, at the 2015 conference, James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago announced that his church would be joining the Southern Baptist Convention. This came only a few short years after he blogged that congregationalism (which is what Southern Baptist are) is from Satan. Among other questionable things MacDonald has participated in, he became closely allied with the fallen Mars Hill pastor, Mark Driscoll, and the well-known Word of Faith modalist, T.D. Jakes through his invention, the Elephant Room. MacDonald also advocates a mandatory first-fruits or storehouse tithing, which teaches that not tithing (before taking care of your household) will summon the wrath of God, and bring a financial curse on you. He also regularly aligns himself with and promotes mysticism within the church. This will be the third year in a row that MacDonald has taken the stage at the Pastors’ Conference.

However, another prominent figure on the scene this year will be Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Prestonwood recently made the news for it’s lavish, worldly, and rave-like Christmas program in December. Graham also aligns himself with Word of Faith pastrix, Christine Caine, of Hillsong, and has been a follower of Brian Houston. He also aligns with Steven Furtick, Perry Noble and Mark Driscoll.

Some of the other noted speakers at the conference are Ed Stetzer, director of Lifeway Research, David Platt, president Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board, Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, FL (who advocates for Baptists changing their “tone” on homosexuality), and Byron McWilliams, pastor First Baptist Church in Odessa, TX. The conference president this year is John Meador, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Euless TX.

On the Conference website, Meador states,

The Apostle Paul acknowledged this as he exhorted Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:5, “But you, be sober, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” If we have a great conference but fail to engage and radically encourage, challenge, and equip the hearts of pastors, we will have failed—and I do not believe we will fail.

If he truly believes this, then why is he inviting people like James MacDonald to address…again…the pastors of our denomination? What is it that they see in these people, that they keep getting invited year after year to the conference? Is it any wonder why the SBC is becoming less and less relevant today? BPnews.com says that Meador is “hoping to draw millennial pastors to the conference to exhort them to press on.” The conference is quickly becoming a leadership cult that revolves not around the Great Commission, Scripture, or Jesus Christ, but around your ability to be able to draw a crowd and build numbers. And this is what Southern Baptists are paying for.

[Contributed by Jeff Maples]

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