The 21st Century SBC: Conclusion

(By: Danny Akin & Bruce Ashford)

The great crisis of the SBC in the late 20th century was that biblical revelation itself was being attacked. The churches of the SBC met that challenge and will continue to do so. The challenge of the 21st century is not only to hold the ground won in the Conservative Resurgence, but to foster a Great Commission Resurgence. Evangelical Baptist theology goes hand-in-hand with mission. There is an inherent connection between them. Without this connection, we lose God’s blessing and its attendant spiritual power.

What is a Southern Baptist? Surely we are more than merely an indiscriminate collection of communities practicing immersion. Indeed, we are believers who by conviction stand in the Baptist tradition of historic Christianity, who believe that regenerate church membership and local church autonomy are not only biblical marks of a healthy church, but also the natural extension of the gospel. Why cooperate? We cooperate because we believe that our combined efforts are better than our efforts alone. This union is premised upon a certain doctrinal consensus, centered on the biblical gospel and underlain by Baptist ecclesiological distinctives. Toward what end? We partner together for the sake of mission, to reach the nations, including this nation. If the Conservative Resurgence does not lead to a Great Commission Resurgence, it remains incomplete.

The 21st Century SBC: Interlude

Note: The “21st Century SBC” series will resume on Monday, with four final installments. Below is a brief synopsis of what to expect.

Aspect 6(a): A Mission Centered on the Gospel (Factionalism, Non-Fellowship, Theological Triage, Liberalism, Fundamentalism, Calvinism, Contextualization): This post speaks about the dangers of liberalism, fundamentalism, and factionalism. It speaks about unnecessary infighting, and about using “theological triage” to help sort out controversies.

Aspect 6(b): A Mission Centered on the Gospel (Spats & Kerfuffles, Straw Men, Infighting): This post continues to speak about essentials, non-essentials, and methodological disputes. It is premised upon the belief that our infighting often distracts from, and contradicts, the proclamation of the gospel.

Aspect 7(a): A Mission Based on Local Church Initiative (National Convention, Seminaries, IMB): This post argues for the primacy of the local church, over entities, institutions, and associations. It raises some questions and makes some suggestions about the future direction of the national convention. the seminaries, and the IMB.

Aspect 7(b): A Mission Based on Local Church Initiative (NAMB, State Conventions, ERLC, Local Associations): This post raises some questions and makes some suggestions about the future direction of the NAMB, the ERLC, state conventions, and local associations.

The 21st Century SBC: Seven Crucial Aspects of our Mission

The 21st Century SBC: Six Crucial Aspects of our Mission

(By: Danny Akin & Bruce Ashford)

In light of recent debate and discussion about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention, this series of posts delineates seven crucial factors for the success of our cooperative mission as we move forward together in reaching the nations with the gospel. Our mission must be one that is (1) revealed in the Christian Scriptures, (2) based upon God’s mission, (3) focused on the nations, (4) focused on this nation, (5) driven by biblical theology, (6) centered in the gospel, and (7) based on local church initiative and supplemented by entities and associations. The series provides a joint reflection upon these factors, applying them to the life of our churches and entities, calling us to action, and addressing in concise fashion some of the major issues in convention life.

Southern Baptists are more than merely an indiscriminate collection of congregations who practice believer’s baptism by immersion. We are churches who by conviction stand in the Baptist tradition of historic Christianity who cooperate because we believe that our mission will be more effective if we combine our efforts rather than if we “go it alone.” However, cooperation does not, in and of itself, ensure the success of our mission. In the 21st century, our success or failure as a Convention will depend, in part, on these seven aspects of our mission.

Our exposition of these seven aspects is divided into approximately fifteen installments, which we will release over the next three weeks. We pray that they will be helpful for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.