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FIRST-PERSON: An open letter to our Great Commission Baptist family

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Editor’s note: James Merritt is pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., and chairman of the 2021 SBC Resolutions Committee. Merritt served as president of the SBC from 2000-2002.

DULUTH, Ga. (BP) – As we prepare to meet in Nashville for our annual convention, we do so with excitement that we are finally going to be together again physically, but our greater prayer is that we would be more united together spiritually than ever before. With that spirit, we send this letter to you today.

We are in a seminal moment as a convention, and I think we all realize it. From the election of the next president, to the business we will conduct and of course, to the resolutions that we will adopt, as much as any convention that I have ever attended, we will be making clear statements about who we are, what we are truly about, and where we are going as a convention. To that end, we are asking you fervently to pray and, as God leads you, to fast for wisdom and guidance in all that we will do and all that we will say before an unbelieving world that is watching us again with (I believe) renewed and heightened interest.

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Specifically, as the chairman of the Resolutions Committee, I ask you please to fervently call upon our Lord to give our committee discernment and insight over every resolution that we will consider and the ones we will ultimately present. I want you to know up front that regardless of what finally comes to the floor, our goal and our motive in whatever we do is “to promote the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,” (Ephesians 4:3) and to make sure that every resolution is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Ultimately, our greatest desire is to honor our heavenly Father and to glorify our Lord, Jesus Christ. Please pray James 1:5 specifically for us, that God would give us truly Solomonic wisdom in everything we do.

Please keep in mind that at the end of the day it will be you who will decide what resolutions will be adopted by this convention, not our committee. Obviously, we cannot guarantee that our resolutions will be perfect and would need no discussion nor perhaps amendments. Our pledge to you is that our heart will be pure, our spirit will be humble, and we will do our very best both in spirit and in letter to bring resolutions to the floor that will edify the body.

I ask you to join our president, J.D. Greear, for the next two Wednesdays in prayer and fasting and especially to be a part of our prayer time on Facebook at 2 p.m. CDT.

On a personal note, I love our Baptist family. I am grateful to be a part of this convention. I am humbled and honored to serve as chairman of this committee and thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to seeing you in Nashville, and I believe that once again we will all be united in our love for Christ, our desire to glorify the Lord and our passion to keep the Gospel above all.