Baptist21 exists to contend for “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).We embrace our past, believing this faith has been proclaimed in our Southern Baptist heritage. We work in the present, believing the Kingdom effectiveness of Southern Baptists will be in proportion to our fidelity to the Gospel. We cooperate for the future, believing the only hope for the people of the world is the Gospel of King Jesus.

 

Explanation:

The Faith: The Bible exhorts us to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the Saints (Jude 3). Often time’s faith is made to be subjective as in “my” faith or “your” faith. But, the Bible many times speaks of the faith in objective terms as a body of doctrine that is true and is passed down through the generations of the church. Indeed, the faith is built upon the foundation of prophets and apostles, and is the true story of God rescuing the world through His Son, Jesus of Nazareth. We are called in every era of the church to preserve this testimony—this blog is dedicated towards that end. And yet, in one sense, this “faith” is more than a body of doctrine. It, rather He, is a person with flesh and blood, holes in His hands, holes in His feet, and a scar on His brow. Because our fathers have passed down this faith we are able to see, hear and touch him (1 John 1:1-3), and we are able to fellowship with them, with Him, and with His Father. This is the faith for which we will contend.

 

Southern Baptist Heritage: We are grateful to God for the Southern Baptist Convention and the heritage that has been given to us as Southern Baptists. We do indeed stand on the shoulders of giants, men and women of God, who have persevered in contending for the faith and declaring Jesus to the nations in cooperation with one another. We are distressed by the arrogance and dismissal of the past that we perceive in some quarters of the SBC, particularly in some of its younger leaders. We wish to promote a spirit of humility and to affirm that without the faithfulness of great Southern Baptist leaders of the past we would not be here today. We do recognize, however, that there are some elements of our Baptist history that have not been beneficial to the Kingdom; we do not intend this blog to be an endorsement of all things Southern Baptist. Nevertheless, we are proud to be Southern Baptists, we embrace our godly heritage, and we hope to be good stewards of the legacy that has been passed down to us.

 

Kingdom Effectiveness of Southern Baptists: One of the major purposes of this blog is to thoughtfully consider and critique current Baptist approaches to Kingdom work. While we celebrate our Baptist heritage (as discussed above), we do realize that in one sense there will be no “Baptists” in heaven; what will last forever is the Kingdom, not a particular denomination. We believe, however, that Southern Baptists have worked to build up the Kingdom in the past and we hope that Southern Baptists will continue to have an impact on the Kingdom in the future. This continued impact is only possible if Baptists remain faithful to the Gospel and committed to the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20). Baptist21 hopes to analyze the faithfulness of Southern Baptists to Gospel witness in our cultural context. We hope to cast a vision for the future work of Southern Baptists and to call our denomination back from theological or methodological error when we fear that such error is encroaching. We pray that this vision will be compelling to younger Baptists who have left or are contemplating leaving the SBC, and that Baptists of all ages will continue to cooperate together in the cause of the Gospel. We believe the Gospel is relevant to every man and woman in every culture, as it calls all to repentance of sin and faith in Jesus. Our goal is to bring the gospel to bear on contemporary issues in the church and the world. This will mean engaging culture, using culture, rebuking culture and redeeming culture.

 

Missions: Believing that Jesus is the only way to the Father (Jn 14:6), we pray that everything that is done here would ultimately be useful for the exalting of King Jesus so that He might gather all the peoples of the earth into His body, the Church.

 

Concluding Remarks:

 

Baptist 21 is grateful for a Southern Baptist heritage where the Gospel has been faithfully passed down and effective Great Commission ministry has been undertaken. Many believe there is a crisis ahead for Baptists, particularly Southern Baptists, in the 21st century. Our commitment is to work diligently in the present by honoring the Gospel faithfulness of the past, contending for the Gospel, engaging current cultures with the Gospel, and cooperating toward future Kingdom effectiveness among Southern Baptists in the 21st century and beyond.

 

Jonathan Akin, Nathan Akin, Jedidiah Coppenger, Nick Moore, Ronnie Parrott, and Scott Wilson