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FIRST-PERSON: What if Southern Baptists ceased to exist?


[2]More and more, I’m hearing people talk about the slow death of the SBC. Some are even saying last year’s presidential election shows a three-way separation between Traditional Baptists, Reformed Baptists and so-called Moderate Baptists.

I pray these folks are wrong. Without any inkling of pride, I remember God has used Southern Baptists to touch the world with the Gospel. Two months ago, we were told that Southern Baptists have given more [3] than $5 billion to the cause of international missions! That’s amazing! I often run into people from all over the world who say they came to Christ through the efforts of Southern Baptist missionaries. Somehow, God has been honored to use a simple and sinful people called Southern Baptists.

But God doesn’t need Southern Baptists; He has used us because we have consistently prioritized a commitment to the Gospel and the Great Commission. As independent and autonomous churches, we have often set aside our lessor priorities to proclaim together the Gospel here in North America and to the world.

Today the cooperative nature of the SBC is threatened every day by real and exaggerated issues. We must always “contend for the faith,” but we must also be careful not to “give the devil a foothold” and “bite and devour one another” and thus be “consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:15). There are always differences in a denominational family as large as ours. Issues do arise that must be worked through. Errors can arise that must be corrected. But unscrupulous blogs can exaggerate and mislead many. The ferocity of their charges draws attention that increases their power. Some of these voices seek not to correct and reconcile, but instead to demonize and destroy.

Over the years, I’ve seen Southern Baptists make mistakes. In every case, when the facts came in and things were sorted through, Southern Baptists acknowledged their error and got back on the right track. It’s often a slow process due to the complications of our polity, but there is a commitment to ultimately getting it right.

However, in this day of blogs and social media, disingenuous or exaggerated attacks can be destructive. Such innuendo can undermine the trust necessary for a voluntary association of churches to exist. Such could ultimately undermine a denomination.


If we were to the lose the Southern Baptist Convention, God’s work would go on; people would continue to be saved, and Jesus would still return. But something significant would be lost:

Brothers and sisters, our predecessors passed on to us a heart for God, a commitment to the Scriptures and a passion to share Jesus with the world. I pray we don’t drop the ball.