Jon D Wilke Profile picture
15 Sep, 43 tweets, 12 min read
Southern Baptists are in the national news this morning at the Washington Post, so I would like to create a thread with some relevant information about the history of "Great Commission Baptists." 1/
If you don't subscribe to WaPo (shame on you 🤨), you can also find the story here -…

This is not the first time this discussion has taken place.

Motions to study a name change have been presented to the convention on numerous occasions—for example, 1965, 1974, 1983, 1989, 1990 and 1998.

In the mid-1970s legendary Texas pastor W.A. Criswell made a motion to study a name change, but a study committee recommended keeping the name.…

In 1998 at the annual meeting in Salt Lake City, two messengers made motions — one proposing the possibility of a name change and another proposing the name be changed to the “Baptist Convention of North America.”

In 2004, SBC President at the time and Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist @jackngraham called for a new name saying it would "strengthen and lengthen our witness here in America and around the world."

In 2004, @jackngraham said, "People are wounded, people don’t know Jesus, and we are determined to do whatever it takes to connect with our culture and our country and the continents of the earth.”

A 2006 Center for Missional Research survey led by @edstetzer found that "22% of those who attended a church service within the past six months said they would be more likely to visit or join a church if they knew it was Southern Baptist."

However @CTmagazine reported, "1 in 4 said knowing a church was affiliated with the SBC would have a negative impact on their decision to visit or join a church."

"40% of 18–24yos said the affiliation would have a negative impact on their decision."…

In 2011, SBC President @bryantwright announced the appointment of a presidential task force to study the prospect of changing the name.

Members of that task force included:

"Starting a church in New York, or Boston, or Minneapolis, or Cheyenne, Wyoming, it's really a barrier to a lot of folks in even considering that church or that ministry," said @bryantwright.

Wright expressed hope that the unofficial task force would provide an interim report he could share with the SBC Executive Committee with the possibility of a final report in time for the 2012 SBC annual meeting in NOLA.

Dr. Jimmie Draper, former SBC President and LifeWay President from 1991-2006 led the task force, which got right to work and met in Oct 2011.

In a statement, Dr. Draper said, "We received a review of the history of the SBC name issue and are aware of the weighty matters that have been brought to light by previous studies and considerations."…

"We are driven by only one great question — how can Southern Baptists be most faithful in reaching people for Jesus. Our concern is not public relations, politics, positioning or personal agendas."

“We must ask ourselves constantly if there is anything that would help us to reach more people, plant more churches, and penetrate lostness here in the United States and around the world as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Dr. Draper also had a website created for receiving name change suggestions and commissioned @LifeWayResearch to study the issue as well.

At the SBC EC meeting the following Feb (2012), the name change task force presented a report.

The task force recommended to the SBC that the convention maintain its legal name but adopt an informal, non-legal name for those who want to use it: “Great Commission Baptists.”

With about 70 SBC EC members present, only about six members voted in opposition.

Keeping the legal name while using an informal, non-legal name would be a "win-win” situation, Draper said.…

Two task force members spoke to the SBC EC regarding the report: Dr. Ken Fentress, pastor of Montrose Baptist Church in Rockville, Md., and Paige Patterson, past president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Fentress, said, "I believe the Great Commission Baptists descriptor will have a positive impact not only for church planters but also for existing SBC churches who are seeking to make disciples of all nations."

"In the Washington, D.C., region, I can attest that Great Commission Baptists is more warmly received because it moves us beyond the painful memories of past racism and focuses us on the mission to which God has called us," said Dr. Fentress.

Read more of Dr. Fentress' statement at…

Dr. Patterson told SBC EC members he has favored a name change of the convention for a while, saying the convention is no longer regional and that “Southern” is offensive to some.

The report “satisfies my conscience on all levels to a degree I never thought possible. I support it enthusiastically,” Dr. Patterson said.

He stated 3 main reasons for his support:
1) honored the Baptist martyrs and missionaries who went before
2) focused on the purpose of the SBC
3) emphasizes "what we do before we emphasize who we are"

Full statement -…

BTW...The "Great Commission" refers to Matthew 28:16-20, in which Jesus instructs his disciples to "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

The goal from the beginning, Dr. Draper said, “was to consider the removal of any barrier to the effective proclamation of the Gospel and reaching people for Christ.”…

. @bryantwright & Dr. Draper conducted a Q&A with @SBCLIFE -…

"Can you imagine starting a Yankee Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama?," said @bryantwright.

"Folks would not be flooding in. Second, by being able to explain our mission in the name we use. It's what we are about!"

(Great quotes IMO)

The SBC EC approved the president’s recommendation and moved to bring that to a vote by SBC messengers at the next annual meeting.

. @LifeWayResearch released their survey of over 1000 SBC pastors about the name change in June of 2012 before the annual meeting…

Interesting fact: overall, 586 unique names were suggested by 1,151 individuals.

Scott McConnell of @LifeWayResearch said, "Churches have complete control over the name of their own church, but messengers will decide whether to grant cooperating churches the latitude of using an alternative descriptor when they refer to the convention itself."

At the 2012 annual meeting in NOLA, several things happened, yet the highlight and major headline was the election of Dr. Fred Luter as the first African American SBC president.

The unofficial name of Great Commission Baptists was approved with 53 percent in favor and 46 percent against.

Opinions and thoughts on this vary. The @LifeWayResearch shows the breakdown of those (at the time) who opposed or approved.
. @micahfries wrote about his experience on the task force for @SBCvoices -…

In 2018, the @AP carried this story about Baptist churches changing their name…

And the conversation continues today, @SCBaptist President, Pastor Josh Powell recently wrote his thoughts on changing the name -…

"Maybe it is time to use the name that reflects our mission. The farther we move from 1845, the clearer we must be about who we are...we must continue to do all we can to remove the barriers our history poses as we seek to reach everyone with the gospel," said Pastor Powell.

Hope you found this helpful.

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More from @jon_wilke

9 Jul
Evaluating news sources: a (common sense) thread

Ask questions about the authority of the outlet:
-Does the outlet hire real journalists?

Legitimate journalism is a skill w/ training, standards, practices and ethics...not just a GoDaddy URL & a keyboard or a mic and podcast.
-Does the outlet allow opposing thoughts?
-Does the outlet only report one side of a story?

Single sourced "stories" or one-sided articles are veiled opinion pieces.

Real stories usually contain opposite viewpoints.

-Can the content be verified by multiple sources?
Real journalists allow sources reasonable time to respond.

I've experienced radio show hosts requesting comment 5 minutes before going live or an outlet asking for interview 1 hour before hitting publish.

They go through the motions to say they tried to get both sides.
Read 9 tweets

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