NASHVILLE (BP) – According to some, especially in the secular media, funeral arrangements are being made for the once lauded Southern Baptist Convention. Mission drift has morphed into personal rancor. Division, distrust and deception seem to be the rule rather than the exception.
But is this true? Is the SBC experiment in missions, ministry and education over after 176 years of fruitful ministry? Is the SBC a cut flower disconnected from its original life source of Jesus Christ and the mission of the church?
Is the SBC dead? NO!
I paraphrase Winston Churchill when he noted that democracy is the worst form of government in the world, of course, except for all other forms of government. Like democracy, the SBC can be messy, misunderstood and misdirected at times, but it is not dead.
I’m a lifelong Southern Baptist. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, educated in SBC schools, have served Southern Baptists through local churches, in state conventions and in some of our national agencies and entities.
I have learned that many have prematurely declared the SBC experiment in cooperative, national and global missions dead, not just once but many times. I have seen leaders come and go, and issues rise and fall, yet the SBC remains.
Bolstered by 47,000-plus churches, with six world-class seminaries with 9,000-plus students, two massive mission sending agencies sending out thousands of missionaries and church planters every year, a major publishing entity in Lifeway, along with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission that speaks to the cultural and moral issues of the day, and with Guidestone Financial Resources to provide insurance and retirement instruments for pastors and other SBC servants, the SBC remains one of the largest, most formidable evangelical instrument in the hands of God on the globe.
And because of the Cooperative Program (adopted in 1925 at the SBC annual meeting in Memphis) the Southern Baptist Convention has a mission-funding process that is the envy of the evangelical, Protestant world. Missionaries and agencies heads can “get at the work” because they do not have to raise monies under the old “society method” due to the generosity of good-hearted Southern Baptist men and women in mostly smaller churches with a vision for world missions.
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Source: Baptist Press