So here’s the deal. You are on a lifeboat carrying six Southern Baptist dignitaries other than yourself. Your ship was wrecked somewhere off the coast of Benin, West Africa. Your tiny raft is drifting toward a deserted island, and you know beforehand that your rations can only sustain five of you for 30 days. You have to decide whom you will throw overboard, ensuring your best chance of survival and hope of rescue. Assuming you will spare your own life, which two of the following six Southern Baptist higher-ups will you toss?
Comment your answers and rationales. I will post my response within 24 hours.
Anyone answering, “I’d throw myself overboard before I’d live on an island with any of them” will be disqualified.
1. Al Mohler
2. Richard Land
3. Paige Patterson
4. Bobby Welch
5. Danny Akin
6. O.S. Hawkins
So here are my thoughts about the lifeboat scenario listed above. I’m going to list my thoughts about why each person should/should not be cast overboard, then I will announce my choice:
1. Al Mohler — There is no question that Al Mohler is one of the brightest minds in the Evangelical world. He’s quick and resolved. When he sets his mind to something, he is not easily dissuaded. His tenacity would be an asset to any group, though Mohler is definitely less of a team-player than some of the other candidates. He has few intellectual equals, and he knows it. Mohler would serve better as a sniper than an infantryman. He also has children still at home, which would definitely give him a will to survive that others might not possess. That desire, and the recognition that he does have kids at home, might keep others from tossing him over.
2. Richard Land is brilliant, though largely useless when it comes to using tools or doing anything normally considered as a “man’s job.” By his own admission, his wife is far more the “handyman” than he is. Richard’s strength is, without a doubt, in leadership. He can plan and execute. He’s also an overachiever with a competitive edge, and if put in a situation where he has to compete with — say Al Mohler — he would work twice as hard to win. The only person in the SBC, however, who can rein Land in is Paige Patterson. If Patterson got tossed, Land would be incorrigible.
3. Paige Patterson is a survivor. He survived the firing at Criswell. He survived some tough spots at Southeastern. He’s surviving at Southwestern. He’s not as bright as Mohler or Land, but he’s much faster. Patterson’s aim is off, but his trigger is quick. He might miss you with the first shot, but he’ll have fired off three or four rounds before you’ve even taken aim. Not only that, but Patterson has an infectious sense of humor. When misery sets in on the little deserted island, Patterson will keep things light-hearted. If nothing else, he will pick a fight between the other survivors just to make things interesting. The downside to having Patterson is that if the food runs out, he’s likely to cannibalize you. The upside is that Dorothy is twice as tenacious as he is, and if she thinks he’s still alive out there, she will pull out every stop to find you.
4. Bobby Welch is a Vietnam veteran. He lived on boot leather for a few weeks in the Mekong Delta. His “pep talks” are tiring when you don’t think you need them. But facing certain death, Welch is probably the closest thing you’ve got to a general in Southern Baptist life. Welch stays. No question.
5. Danny Akin is courageous and resourceful. There has never been a hill up which he will not climb. There’s never been a challenge from which he ran. Faced with unsurmountable odds, Akin will find a way to surmount them. He’s perhaps the most physically fit of the group, which would serve your cause of survival well. He’s also quite disciplined personally. If an ally is what you need, Akin is among the most formidable. I really can’t think of a reason not to keep Danny Akin. He’s the youngest of the bunch, and he’ll carry his own load and then some. Akin stays.
6. O.S. Hawkins is a friend to everyman. He’s a remarkably fixed star in this shifting constellation we call the Southern Baptist Convention. You don’t have to worry about O.S. knifing you when your back is turned. He gets labeled by some as an “elitist,” but that moniker doesn’t really play out. He may wear perfectly tailored dress-shirts, but he knows how to roll up those French cuffs and get his hands dirty when necessary. He’s also among the most forgiving of the group, which means he will likely not hold it against you when you toss one of his friends. In a pinch, O.S. might even sacrifice himself for somebody else. You know, greater love hath no man and all…
So what is my decision?
If push came to shove, I’d try to assemble a team with the best chance of survival. I’d keep Welch and Akin without a second thought. Patterson would stay because he’s got the most basic survival instinct known to men. I’d keep Hawkins just because I know he’d work as hard to get off the island as he would to keep the group from murdering each other. I’d probably toss Mohler because he’d swallow the bitter pill a little easier than the others, believing in exhaustive divine foreknowledge and providential sovereignty like he does. Land would go overboard because, well, you don’t really need to vote values on a deserted island.
Of course, I’d be doing the SBC a bigger favor by keeping them all to decide among themselves who gets tossed, and jumping ship myself.
Now there’s an idea…