B21′s Jon Akin was recently interviewed by Todd Starnes about the possible name change of the Southern Baptist Convention. Check out his thoughts and other’s in this article written by Todd Starnes entitled, “Task Force Considers Southern Baptist Convention Name Change.”
SBC President Bryant Wright has formed a task force to study a name change for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This announcement immediately brought passionate arguments, tweets, and Facebook statuses on both sides of the question.
Baptist21 believes there is no harm in forming this task force to ask the tough questions about our identity and mission. There is no harm in them bringing a recommendation to the floor of the SBC annual meeting and allowing messengers to discuss and vote on it.
No doubt there will be passionate rhetoric used on both sides as we move towards the SBC in New Orleans. Our prayer is that the discussions will be done in a spirit of humility and with an eye toward our kingdom cause in the world. Along the way, here are some of the main questions we think the task force, and ultimately the whole convention of churches will need to answer about our identity:
1. Identity and Heritage- Can we change the name of our convention without destroying our great heritage?
Baptist21 wants to be clear that we love the heritage of the SBC. There is much to be grateful for here. In fact, if it weren’t for faithful Southern Baptists we would not have received the gospel, at least from a human perspective. Also, there are plenty of recognizable men in the line of Southern Baptists for us to be grateful for… we stand on the shoulders of giants like Boyce, Broadus, Mullins, Truett, Lee, Criswell, Rogers, Patterson and more. These men have passed down to us the gospel, a love for theological education, and a passion for the nations. We have plenty in our heritage to be grateful for… and we would never want to jettison the good things in our heritage. Would a name change threaten that?
On the other hand, there are also some black-eyes in our heritage particularly when we think of the moniker “Southern” in SBC and recognize that slavery was at the heart of our origin. What are we to make of that?
2. Identity and Origin/Purpose- Does the name SBC best fit the purpose for which the SBC was started in the first place?
The heritage question is an important question, but we think the more important question is this one about purpose and mission. The SBC started with one purpose, the propagation of the gospel to all nations. Does a regional identity marker like “Southern” best position us to propagate the gospel among all nations and people groups?
3. Identity and North America- Does the name SBC hinder church planting and evangelism efforts outside of the South?
Almost weekly we have conversations with planters or pastors outside of the south who say something along the lines of “I love the SBC and our heritage, but people around here who are not southern don’t want to be associated with a southern convention.” The truth is that we never intended to be a geographically locked convention because we recognize the call of our King to advance the gospel into places where it is not.
Almost immediately on Twitter last night we saw pastors and planters in the North cheering this announcement as something that will lessen confusion and help them. Freddy Wyatt, Pastor of Gallery church in NYC (@FreddyT) tweeted, “When I tell people in New York City that we are Southern Baptist the typical sentiment is ‘Well go back’.” These matters need to be weighed carefully.
Does the identity “Southern Baptist Convention” create an unnecessary roadblock to kingdom efforts in the cities of North America where there is little gospel witness?
Conclusion- This task force has a gigantic assignment on their hands and many difficult questions to answer, not to mention legal and financial issues that need to be considered. Does the current name hurt our mission? Will a change threaten our heritage? As much as we love our heritage, we think the most important question to be asked and answered by this task force and the convention is, “Does the name SBC best position us to reach this nation and all nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ?”
What do you think?
Harran is an ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia that was the center of trade, travel & commerce in its day. It was also the ancient location where God initiated the Abrahamic covenant which ultimately resulted in the Messiah, Jesus, and His Church’s mission to spread the Gospel to all peoples. Jon Akin, of Baptist21, and Micah Fries recently visited that site and offer for us a few thoughts in this video to challenge us in light of God’s original promises to Abraham.
**UPDATE** Further intercession has been requested for Iranian pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani who received a death sentence for apostasy (i.e. leaving Islam) in September 2010. Recall that he appealed to the Supreme Court who instructed the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province to review the case, specifically to verify whether Yousef was previously a practising Muslim. Yousef claims that, although raised in a Muslim home, he was never a Muslim by choice, conviction, belief or consistent practice, and that he should therefore not be regarded as an apostate.
It is reported that the first hearing has been scheduled for 25th September.
If the Tribunal concludes that Yousef was previously a Muslim and so is now an apostate, the Supreme Court’s ruling makes clear that he should then be executed, unless he recants his faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
Recall that Yousef is a pastor within the Full Gospel ‘Church of Iran’ denomination in the northern city of Rasht. He has been detained in prison since October 2009. Yousef and his wife, Fatemeh, have two young sons, aged 9 and 7. Fatemeh was detained for four months in 2010.
Another ‘Church of Iran’ member, Behnam, has been detained in Karaj since 31st May. Five others, for whom we requested prayer in April, have been summoned to serve a one-year sentence in Shiraz, following unsuccessful appeals against the sentence passed in March. They are considering how to respond to the summons.
We are pleased to report that two believers, Vahid and Reza from Tabriz, were released on bail on 21st August, having been detained on 15th July. Other believers remain detained for their faith in Iran. There is no further news of Noorallah from Dezfool, Farshid in Tehran, or Leila in Tehran, all of whom remain detained.
Iranian Christians thank us for our prayers. They request our continued intercession that:
a. Yousef will be declared not to be an apostate, or that the death sentence will otherwise be lifted
b. Yousef will remain firm in his faith and know the presence and peace of Jesus each day
c. His wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort and hope of Jesus, and that the family will be reunited soon
d. Others detained for their faith, including Noorallah, Farshid, Leila and Behnam, will know the presence, peace and provision of Jesus, and be released soon
e. The five summoned to prison in Shiraz will know the Spirit’s wisdom and guidance at this time
f. Vahid and Reza will know the Lord’s presence, healing, and restoration following their release from prison
g. Christians throughout Iran will not be intimidated but will know the Lord’s enabling and guidance
h. All officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him
Clearly, Yousef is still in danger of martyrdom for his faith. Please continue in prayer for him and the others mentioned in the MEC note, as well as all Christians living in such intolerant places.
Recently B21’s Nathan Akin had an opportunity to sit down with Matt Papa and talk about his life, theological education, the state of Christian music, musical worship leadership, his new album, and more…
In part 3 Matt talks about Corporate Worship and unbelievers…
This interview will be released in segments… with the entire interview released at the end.
Switch to our mobile site