I know that many other SBC bloggers have already posted on this event while I was busy off fighting the Driscoll-MacArthur war once again, but I finally did get a chance to listen to Dr. Danny Akin’s chapel message entitled “Axioms for a Great Commission Resurgence” and yes, it is worth the hype.
So often today we hear this phrase “Great Commission Resurgence” (or GCR) bantered about, but it seems like it’s just another one of those ideas that everyone wants to claim they are working on, but no one every wants to bother to define. Well, in an attempt to avoid such infamous ambiguity for the GCR, Dr. Akin sat down, penned out a sermon, sent it to his good friends and colleagues Johnny Hunt, Al Mohler, and Thom Rainer, and then delivered the final product to his students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the rest of the world through podcast. This was a really good message, maybe even a pivotal moment in our generation, but of course it is too early to tell. What it certainly is is a more descript call to arms for Southern Baptists than we have seen in a long while, and, thanks to the glorious interweb, blog fodder for all of us starving keyboard theologians.
In an effort not to add too much commentary to an already waterlogged happening, I am simply going to point out the axiom of the 12 that I found most novel, that being number 8, recognizing the need to rethink our convention structure. In the end I had heard all 12 of these ideas expressed individually at one time or another, but this was the first time I had ever heard someone of Danny Akin’s stature bring up this axiom in such a prominent setting. Discussing it he listed six questions in particular that we should focus on in restructuing the SBC:
- Is there not a way to have annual meetings on the national and state level that are attractive, inspiring and worthy attending?
- Is the name “Southern Baptist” best for identifying who we are and what we want to be heading into the future?
- Do we need all the boards and agencies we have, or could there be healthy and wise mergers?
- Do we have a healthy stricture and mechanism for planting churches that will thrive and survive past a few years?
- Do we have a giving program that fairly and accurately reflects the gifts many SBC churches are giving to the work of our denomination?
- Are we distracted by doing many good things but not giving our full attention to the best things?
Beyond these six questions Dr. Akin also questioned the necessity of having so many levels of bureaucracy inside Southern Baptist life. By this he meant, Do we need to have state and local associations? This is such a pertinent question. I see it in my own area, where the local association entertains ideas of ordained women, fully open communion, and militant anti-Calvinism more and more with each passing meeting. This is both unhelpful and unnecessary. It would be much better to dissolve this local association and to let the churches work more closely with the state and national conventions which, though not perfect, tend to avoid such wildly useless fruitless (and heretical?) ventures. Still, to stand up and say this does take some courage, and I am glad that Dr. Akin decided to do it.
So, anyways, if you have not already heard it, here is a link to this message. It is well worth the time it takes to listen to, and as I said, it may be that several years done the line we look back on this as the message that led a revitalized SBC (or whatever I name may be then) into action. Enjoy!