Archive for March, 2012

SBC Name; Is It Offensive?

Months ago the president of our Southern Baptist Convention formed a task force asking four questions about the possibility and feasibility of changing our name: “1) Is it a good idea, that is, is there value in considering a name change? 2) If so, what would be a good name to suggest? 3) What would be the potential legal ramifications of a name change? 4) What would be the potential financial implications?”

The task force told members of the SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville Feb. 20-21 it proposed retaining the SBC’s legal name but adopting the descriptor: “Great Commission Baptists.” The Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly to advance the recommendation to messengers to the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans this June.

So what have we really done?  I believe we are like a cat chasing its tail and once we catch it, we have no idea what to do with it.  Are we doing nothing more than just doing something to say we have done something when actually we have done nothing?

I am not a Southern Baptist because I was born in the south and still live in the south.  I am a Southern Baptist because at one point they were known as “people of the book” and we would not compromise with this world over anything.  I am Southern Baptist because of the great men that stood in the pulpits and preached the whole counsel of God with unwavering conviction and uncompromising virtues.

We are now told it is not easy to go outside the normal southern region and plant a Southern Baptist Church because of the perception that is associated with that name.  Being on the executive board of our local association, I have seen this trend right here in Jacksonville Florida simply in the names of the churches that apply to come under the association and be a part of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Yet, in this process, I have seen 90% of the new churches applying not even putting the name Baptist in the name of their church.  We are now family churches, community churches, or just simply a one named church with no outward reference to being Southern Baptist at all.

So what happens when they come to that church and find out they are associated with the SBC?  Do they get even more offended because they feel deceived by not knowing this before hand?  Or do we tell them that while we are associated with the SBC, we are really only “SBC lite”, or maybe “reformed SBC”?  No, now we tell them (if this recommendation passes at the convention in June) we are “Great Commission Baptist” and that should keep them happy and not offend them.

But wait a minute aren’t Southern Baptist already Great Commission Baptist?  According to our Baptist Faith and Message we are:

XI. Evangelism and Missions:  It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

 

So what have we really done?  Nothing but catch our tail and now we have no idea what to do with it.  I am Southern Baptist and because of that I am proudly a Great Commission Baptist.  I do not need a task force to tell me that, nor do I need to wait for the convention to vote it.  The only thing that wins the lost to Christ is for believers to first follow the Great Commandment and fall in love with God, then the Great Commission will mean more to them than a “descriptor” of how we are.  May God help us get back to being who He called us to be with our actions and not just our words.

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