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FIRST-PERSON: Conviction about Southern Baptist cooperation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — In recent days, SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd has outlined a clear and compelling vision [1] for Southern Baptists that, I believe, powerfully clarifies what we can and must do together in the next five years. To know Southern Baptists is to know a people who dream big in faith.

Dr. Floyd’s vision is exactly what is needed at this present moment in our denominational life. I believe it speaks to the heart of so much of who we are as Southern Baptists. And who we are is, most fundamentally, shaped by our shared conviction and mission.

I became and have remained a Southern Baptist because I believe our cooperative efforts are stronger together than they are on our own. Here’s where I believe we all stand together:

I am certain that Southern Baptists stand together in our confessional consensus in the Baptist Faith and Message (2000). Our cooperative efforts are united in theological conviction.

[2]

I am certain that Southern Baptists are fully committed to the absolute authority and sufficiency of Scripture. All of our seminaries affirm the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

I am certain that Southern Baptists prioritize the cause of global missions in our cooperative efforts. We are a Great Commission people, committed to making sure the whole world hears the Gospel of salvation in Christ.

I am certain that Southern Baptists place our priority on the local church. We are at our best, and most effective, as a denomination because of thousands of churches that are committed to reaching the lost for Christ and an army of faithful pastors who are willing to give their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

I am certain that Southern Baptists renounce any form of racism and long to see a denomination that is more ethnically diverse, fueled by a distinctly biblical vision and the power of the Spirit.

I am certain that Southern Baptists stand together for the sanctity of human life at every stage of development, and grieve together over the evil of legalized abortion.

I am certain that Southern Baptists are united in our witness that marriage is exclusively the lifelong union of one man and one woman and that God’s design for human sexuality is clear, unchanging and for our good.

I am certain that Southern Baptists stand together in our complementarian commitments as stated in the BFM2000 and that we condemn and grieve over any form of abuse of the most vulnerable, especially children.

I am certain that Southern Baptists are united in our conviction that the Gospel is powerful to change any human heart, liberating us from our captivity to sin.

[3]

I am certain that Southern Baptists are united in our belief that those who die without saving faith in Christ alone will spend eternity cut off from God, under His righteous judgment. This fuels the urgency of our mission.

I am certain that Southern Baptists are committed to maintaining our unity in truth, even as we love one another amid disagreements on a host of issues.

More could be said than this, but not less. Our cooperative efforts over these next five years, and beyond, must be motivated by our common conviction, fueled by the urgency of the mission entrusted to us by Christ, and characterized by the unity that Christ prayed would mark His people (John 17:20-22).