I’m in the River City (Louisville, KY) for vacation. My trip has coincided with a number of fun events: first, the annual Southern Baptist Convention, and second, the 150th anniversary of Southern Seminary, my alma mater. The SBTS extravaganza is tomorrow, so I’ll talk about that then. For now, here are a few thoughts from the last couple days of the SBC:
1. There’s a movement afoot in the SBC, if you haven’t heard. It’s called the “Great Commission Resurgence”, and it’s centered around restructuring the Convention to funnel more money to the work of missions and specifically the International Mission Board. See a very helpful Tim Brister recap post for more.
2. This movement is exciting because it’s drawing together established men of God like David Dockery, Danny Akin, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Johnny Hunt, and younger future leaders like Jonathan Akin, Jedidiah Coppenger, Ben Dockery, Nathan Akin, Trevin Wax, Tim Brister, and more. It’s great to see an older generation reaching down to a younger generation and to see a younger generation honor its elders (and betters) even as it seeks increased influence for the cause of the gospel.
3. Because of its diverse, gospel-centered nature, this is one of the most encouraging movements I have seen in a long time. For me, it’s on the same level as Acts 29, which has launched an advance of similar ambition and Christocentric focus. I can’t really think of a negative aspect to the GCR. If it works–and it will take much time and effort for that to happen–it will transform the SBC, make it lighter and faster, and devote millions more dollars to the work of domestic and international missions.
4. 9Marks is holding a series of panels at the SBC, and last night’s attracted hundreds of pastors and future leaders. They’re partnering with Baptist21, the group of young SBC guys interested in promoting the GCR. In years past, 9Marks has struggled to find a footing in the SBC. It’s great to see them connected to other groups and gaining a wider hearing. If the SBC is going to thrive and reclaim its confessional heritage, it sorely needs the influence of groups like 9Marks.
5. Pray for all of these developments. Tonight the Convention votes on a motion related to the GCR. Whether or not you’re a Southern Baptist, whether or not you’ve ever had any contact with the SBC, pray for the success of the GCR. Southern Baptists have fought the battle over the authority of Scripture. Now they are fighting a battle over the sufficiency of Scripture. They are working to drive the Word and the gospel to the very heart of the Convention, to root their convention in the word of Christ like a house to concrete. Praise God for this. Pray to God for this. Thank God for this.
6. In other news: Denny Burk is a chair-stealer (and a terrific college dean). Mark Dever has lost 35 pounds. David Platt and my friend John-Michael LaRue (who sometimes comments on this blog) are, I think, twins separated at birth. Java Brewing Company (still) makes a delicious Irish Mocha (it’s not on the menu–you have to ask for it). The Baptist21 panel featuring Mohler, Dever, Platt, Ed Stetzer, Danny Akin and pastor Daniel Montgomery of Sojourn Community Church (Louisville) was terrific. Lots of candid, constructive dialogue.
I’ll be back tomorrow with thoughts on the SBTS sesquicentennial celebration. Louisville is an exciting place to be right now, and I’m excited about all of these developments. May God continue to purify the churches of the SBC to accomplish even greater things for His glory and renown.