I am currently at the North Carolina Baptist Convention in Greensboro serving as a messenger of my church, and as a young Southern Baptists, I am currently filled with hope and excitement about the focus and vision of the Southern Baptist Denomination. To be honest, many in my generation do not share the same excitement and enthusiasm about the SBC. Many see a bloated bureaucracy guided more by methodological tradition rather than passionate Gospel mission. I wanted to briefly take an opportunity to share with you why I am excited to be a young southern baptist.
Over the past two decades Southern Baptists have fought the difficult battle for Biblical faithfulness and theology. Baptists have stood boldly on some of the more controversial beliefs of Christianity, such as the exclusivity of Christ, the biblical definition of marriage between one man and one woman for one lifetime, the inherency of the Bible, and many more important issues. While many mainline denominations have faltered and allowed our current culture to compromise their theology, Baptists have stood strong on the Bible for all matters of faith and practice. That kind of dedication to Biblical fidelity is not only something I admire, but a movement I want to join.
A Baptist View of the Church
Baptists have historically held to a distinct view of the church. Local church autonomy, regenerate church membership, baptism by immersion, and freedom of Religion have all been Baptists distinctives. These distinctives are truths I've come to discover within the Bible and hold as personal convictions. As a result of these truths, I am not only a Baptists out of convenience, but because I am convinced that a baptist view of the church is a biblical view of the church. As a result, I am proud to stand with a people who hold and cherish these distinctives.
Although in recent years, it seems that these baptists distinctives have been watered down with bloated church membership, I see a healthy desire for the purity of the local church. Many leaders are being reawakened to those convictions that have made us unique as Baptists and are beginning to implement them with greater precision.
A Passion for Missions
The Southern Baptists Convention is a missionary juggernaut. As a convention we send out thousands of missionaries to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Even at the convention, their is such a passion for taking the Gospel to the nations no matter what the cost. Their is a healthy evaluation taking place to see how as a convention we can be more effective in the advancement of the Gospel.
I am a firm believer that we can do far more together than we could ever do apart. The Southern Baptist Convention has done a remarkable job of taking even the smallest congregations and getting them involved in supporting missions with the Cooperative program and special mission offerings such as the Annie Armstrong Offering and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This enables churches who would never be able to support a missionary on their own to be involved in the greatest missionary machine the world has ever seen.
The exciting thing is that Southern Baptists have never been more excited about taking the Gospel to the nations. The resources of the SBC makes them a powerhouse for taking the Gospel around the globe so that people from every tribe, tongue, and nation can come to know the grace of God found in Jesus Christ.
For you younger guys, I'd encourage you to not give up on the SBC. There is incredible potential for the advancement of the Gospel. Although the ship might be off track, we shouldn't abandon the ship, but redirect and focus it for the sake of the Gospel. I am excited to be a Southern Baptists, and I am excited to see what God will do through the SBC over the next several decades.