I grew up as a Southern Baptist. However, over the years I served in various churches. I have pastored three Southern Baptist Churches, served as a youth pastor at an Independent Baptist Church, and pastored one non-denominational church. As a result of my journey in ministry, I do have an interesting perspective on being a Southern Baptist.
In recent weeks you may have heard of some of the turmoil taking place in the Southern Baptist Convention. I am firmly opposed to the infiltration of Calvinism amongst our SBC leadership. I am saddened by the news that came out concerning Dr. Paige Patterson. I believe the things he said in the past was unwise and I do not agree or approve of the things he said and did. However, the timing of the attacks against Dr. Patterson and from whom most of those attacks have come, does seem very peculiar. It breaks my heart to see all of the politics and division in the convention. I encourage all of us to pray that as Southern Baptists we would focus on what makes us who we are, and that is Jesus. Focus on our purpose, the furtherance of the Gospel.
However, with all of the issues facing our convention, I still believe that the Southern Baptist denomination is the most effective organization when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel and making a difference around the world. The International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board is still the number one mission agencies in the world. Without those organizations and without the Cooperative Program, millions of people would never know about Jesus. There are many countries that would have no missionaries at all if it were not for Southern Baptists. There are Southern Baptist missionaries working in dangerous places around the world that we cannot even mention due to security concerns. Then there is the disaster relief ministry. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief still remains the top disaster relief ministry in the world. Those who serve with the disaster relief ministry are also trained in how to share the Gospel with those going through a crisis. There is also seminaries and colleges that train the next generation of Christian workers. Without Southern Baptists thousands of churches would have never been planted, millions would still be hungry and homeless, millions would never hear the Gospel, and the list goes on and on.
Are there things I do not like about the Southern Baptist Convention? Absolutely! Will I continue to stand for what I believe and join those who hold to traditional Baptist beliefs and fight against any and all false teaching that may arise in Southern Baptist life including Calvinism? Absolutely! However, the good far out weighs the bad. The potential of reaching even more with the Gospel is far greater through Southern Baptists than through any other organization. Therefore, I remain a Southern Baptist. I call on all true Southern Baptists who holds to true doctrine and who believe that the Southern Baptist way is the best way to pray for this year’s convention. Pray that the SBC will survive, yet another battle. Pray that in-spite of all the troubles that our purpose and our mission would not fail. May we rise to the occasion and work together to make the SBC better than it has ever been. For the sake of the Gospel and for the Glory of God!