Observations on “Great Commission Baptists”

For more info, here is the link to the BP article.  http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37224

1)  This should come as a surprise to those who thought there was some kind of pressure to force an agenda on everyone.  They studied the issue and came up with what they think is a “win/win.” Reasonable folks without an agenda came to a reasonable decision.

2)  When you see the wide range of Baptist leaders who support this (Al Mohler, Paige Patterson – about as far apart on Baptist issues as you can get) it has a good chance to pass.

3)  The name will not be a legal change or even a dba.  It’s an informal nickname – not sure exactly what to call it.

4)  I like it.  If it passes, I’m guessing churches south of the Mason-Dixon line will be SBC as always.  I’m guessing we here at SHBC will go with “Great Commission Baptists.”  It tells who we are.

5) This seems like the best solution for the sake of unity. Of course, many will find fault, but no one got everything they wanted and everyone got something.  Those who don’t like the name Southern have something to use in its place, but those who love to whistle Dixie as they find their seats in church can rest comfortably as well.  Everyone wins, and in a sense I guess, no one wins.

I’ve been guessing publicly that the solution would be something like this.  Great Commission Baptists and no legal change.  But I want to make it clear that I had not a single inside source anywhere.  It was just a guess that turned out to be correct. Most of my prognostication through the years has been extremely untrustworthy.


        • says

          From my church website:

          Parkside Baptist Church is an autonomous local church in voluntary association and cooperation with the following groups and organizations:

          Reformation Montana
          Glacier Baptist Association
          The Montana Southern Baptist Convention
          The Southern Baptist Convention
          Founders Ministries

        • Todd Benkert says

          The culture in Montana and North Dakota is quite different than the culture in Chicago, New York, L.A., or Seattle. The nice thing about this proposal is that provides an option for those of us who are not in a “so what” location.

      • MHughes says

        This is great news. Now we have permission from the esteemed executive committee to do what they have been doing, nothing.

        I can hardly believe that my family has made a sacrifice to help pay people to go to these worthless meetings.

        Dear God, please make arrangements for my refund a.s.a.p.
        In Jesus’ Name.
        Thank you

    • says

      I’m with Squirrel on this. Great Commission Baptists isn’t really a name. It sounds like a corny way for NAMB employees to refer to people in the GARB or something.

    • cb scott says

      “Everyone wins, and in a sense I guess, no one wins.”

      Dave, that was possibly the most profound statement made in the SBC-GCB today.

      • cb scott says

        One thing is for sure.

        When we are sitting in an airport or the local Starbucks or anywhere else for that matter and a lost guy, upon seeing our lapel pin, asks us, “What is a Great Commission Baptist?” We will have the most perfect ice breaker to share the gospel with a stranger that has ever been given us by any entity we have.

        So I guess we should say, Thanks Executive Committee. Now we just need to go use the new ice breaker in the market place, right?

  1. volfan007 says

    “@toddstarnes: SBC considers unofficial new name — would it not be cheaper to just buy 14 million pairs of glasses with fake mustaches?”


    • Dave Miller says

      Most of the “all that” was the whining and complaining of bloggers, wasn’t it? They appointed a task force, talked and prayed it over, studied the issue and came up with a reasonable solution.

      How is that a bad thing?

      • Frank L. says


        I’ll accept your analysis they were reasonable men. I would like to hear your opinion on the issue that such “non-solution” (or I think some called it a “half-measure) is likely to lead to more confusion than unity.

        I think that is a legitimate concern though I don’t suppose to know how things will turn out in the end.

        • Dave Miller says

          I think it points to the fact that they studied the issue and realized that a name change had legal and financial implications that made it untenable. But they still saw the value of another name which would describe our work together.

          Personally, I’d rather be known as a Great Commission Baptist than a Southern Baptist.

  2. Christiane says

    a question . . .

    there are many ‘Great Commission Baptist Churches’ that already exist . . . I wonder what the new SBC ‘nickname’ will signal regarding their existence and if there will be good to come of this ‘coincidence’ or if people will be upset by possible assumption of indirect association between the SBC and these existing entities . . .


  3. Rick Patrick says


    I know we will still officially be SBC Voices, but can we just informally, you know, refer to the blog as GCB Voices? Like when we’re just wearing jeans and a t-shirt or something?

  4. says

    Okay. It sounds better to retain the name and use the nickname, Great Commission Baptists. It is the heart of the essence of the matter, the quintessence, the theology of the First and Second Great Awakenings and of the launching of the Great Century of Missions that will lead us to prayer, motivate us to pray, induce us to commitments, stretch our minds and hearts with study of the depths of the word of God with specific reference to coping with man’s abominable situation in sin.

  5. Rick Patrick says

    BEFORE we were Great Commission Baptists who were known as Southern Baptists but NOW we are going to be Southern Baptists who are known as Great Commission Baptists.

    Why is it everyone cannot see the obvious improvement?

  6. Dave Miller says

    It is my initial observation that a lot of folks in the SBC think that snarkiness, sarcasm, and a spirit of criticism and ridicule are the way to go when confronted with a proposal like this. Frankly, I’m disappointed but not surprised.

    Some really good men and women met and studied this thing and sought a solution.

    I’m tired of the angry, bitter, snarky spirit among Baptists. Some of the critics are right. A name change won’t do much if that nasty spirit remains.

    • Dave Miller says

      Criticism of the idea? Dissent? Great.

      But I’m not seeing much of that. Mostly, I’m seeing ridicule and insults.

    • Rick Patrick says

      In fairness, some really good men and women specifically voted NOT to ask anyone to meet and study this thing. I was there. I was one of them. But in spite of my vote, they did it anyway.

      So how’s this? “Great Commission Baptists: Agree With Us Or You’re Snarky, Angry, Bitter and Nasty.”

      • Dave Miller says

        You twisted my words, Rick, and I frankly don’t appreciate it.

        I said that criticism and dissent were great. This is something to discuss. But the sarcasm and snarkiness is not helpful.

        You have the right to be against this and to vote against it.

        By the way, the positioning of my comment under yours was simply coincidence. I was not specifically replying to your comment. I had left a similar comment on Facebook and on Twitter, and brought it over here.

        But I did not say you had to agree with me or anyone else. I do not appreciate your implication that I did.

        • Rick Patrick says

          Okay Dave,

          I’m sorry I took it as a response to my previous comment.

          I guess I just don’t know what you mean by the “snarky, angry, bitter and nasty” comments you’ve been reading. Are people overreacting with anger? I think any time a half-measure like this is taken, it opens you up to criticism from both sides–the people that wanted a name change and those who didn’t.

          • Dave Miller says

            I was responding to comments I saw on Facebook, on Twitter and on blogs. Frankly, I’m kinda torqued right now at the reaction.

            I think these folks on the Task Force deserve better than to be called dumb (I saw that on a FB comment) and other names they have been called.

            If the kind of spirit I have seen in the last hour is indicative of the spirit tenor of the SBC, then frankly, calling ourselves Great Commission Baptists is a joke.

          • Todd Benkert says

            I’m with you, Dave…ridiculous! Thankfully, though, I anticipate an overwhelmingly positive response in New Orleans.

          • Lydia says

            Ok, thanks for the explanation. I was just reading this blog and thought you meant this comment thread. I have not looked at other SBC venues, yet.

      • Todd Benkert says

        Also, Rick, after the Convention if every major leader in the SBC supports the idea and it passes by 95%, the 5% will complain that it was “rammed down our throats”.

        And the next time we have a debate on an issue, we can add this one to the list of things that everyone in the SBC was against, but somehow got voted through with overwhelming support by the messengers.

        • volfan007 says


          You are sounding a little snarky in your comment. And, why are you so negative about people, who may oppose the name change…for whatever reason they’re against it?

          Love you and Dave,

          • Todd Benkert says

            I was being snarky, I guess. I don’t mind dissent at all, David. What I do mind is name-calling, motive questioning, and sour grapes. Part of the reason I can only blog in spurts is because I get to the point that the negative spirit of our discussions is harmful to my own spirit. Why can’t we aim to convince one another of the merits of our arguments instead of insult one another constantly and assign ill motives to godly servants?

            Also, I think we should really do the lunch thing in New Orleans. Building relationships goes a long way toward unity :)

        • Rick Patrick says


          95% was Louisville. 80% was Orlando. Those were pretty boring matters to the average Southern Baptist. This is our name we are talking about, I think, sort of. This one might be different.

          And I will only consider it manipulatively rammed down our throats if people suggest that my principled reasons for opposing it represent a lack of interest in spreading the gospel or sharing the Great Commission. I wouldn’t call that “snarky” on their part, just raw, below the belt, hardball politics, trying to push on messengers the decision of a committee we voted in 2004 not to have in the first place.

          • Todd Benkert says

            I agree with you that the final push for GCR was overdone. But I think we also forget the hardball tactics of the opposition leading up to and during the Convention. Does no one remember Morris Chapman’s offensive address during his EC report and his use of Baptist Press for months leading up to the Convention to politic against GCR?

            Much of what happened for GCR was influence — nearly every leader who was not on the receiving end of CP funds spoke passionately and convincingly for GCR. Many of those who spoke against GCR said it was not needed — that there was no crisis in evangelism and mission — that we did not need a resurgence in Great Commission work. Thus, the debate ended up getting framed in a way that seemed heavy handed.

            But, come on, who can vote against Billy Graham :)?

  7. Mahlon says

    I personally do not care what they call the Southern Baptist Convention, because what we really need is a revival. Only another Great Awakening will turn this downward slope we find ourselves in, not some new “non-legal” name. But, this will be discussed at a later date (New Orleans 2012). While many may be going to New Orleans to hear the great debate over whether our Convention will have a “non-legal name” of the “Great Commission Baptist,” that is not why I want to be there. The true game changer will also be taking place in New Orleans in 2012. Fred Luter is up for nomination for SBC President and if he wins, he will become the first African American SBC President in history. That single action, in my opinion, will do far more good than any non legal name change. Either way, SBC New Orleans 2012 will be an interesting place to be.

  8. Jonathan S. Jenkins says

    Dave as a follower here that really enjoys the content and its tone, I was really disappointed when your tweets earlier regarding this whole name change implied if one didnt agree with this decision that they must have an axe to grind. Isn’t this prejudging of people motives the same exact thing you had asked people to forgo in previous posts on this issue.

    I am personally underwhelmed by this whole process as I think that it will only provide another issue to divide us, and SBCGCBers as if we needed anything else. I hope and pray that I am wrong about this but given the way it looks like people are already choosing up sides and affixng motives I am afraid I wont be.

    • says

      Twitter requires brevity, not amplication or clarification. Perhaps I misworded that. I do think there were a lot of people who were going to come against this thing regardless of what was said. If they had said “No Change” they would have said it was a waste of time. If they had said, “New name” there would have been an outcry.

      But this was a solution that seems pretty thoughtful to me. Those who love the South can keep the name. Those who would rather can use the GCB name.

      What is the downside of that? It wasn’t radical, for sure.

      • cb scott says

        “Those who love the South can keep the name.”


        Earlier you made a comment about “whistling Dixie.” Now you make the one above.

        Brother, I know a lot of guys who did not have “loving the South” as a reason for opposing the name change. Some folks opposed it because of the cost involved during a time in our country when the truly poor among us are trying to figure out how they are going to get to work when gas goes over $4.00 a gallon. Others are worrying about feeding their kids when cheese has gone up $2.01 a pound and milk is over $5.00 a gallon. Some of us out here work every day with people who worry about things like that.

        So maybe some of us were “considering the cost” as a possible restraint. Of course there were other reasons some resisted the change. Naturally, not all of those reasons were anywhere near justifiable. Some reasons to oppose the name change were/are justifiable. Just as certainly, there were/are reasons to desire the name change which are justifiable. There is merit on both sides of this issue and no matter what, the committee was saddled with a hard call. So I personally don’t intend to cuss ’em much for the outcome thus far.

        You have challenged some of these folks for being “snarky.” OK, that’s fine. That’s fair. But I, for one, (And I may be the only one, but thus far in my life I have never cared if I was the only one as long as I was being honest and truthful.) am asking that you would leave your “Lovers of the South” and “whistling Dixie” comment in the snarky closet when in reference to why some opposed the name change. It is really not a fair caricature and it really is snarky. (And that is a word (Snarky) I have never used before in my life until today.)

        You know I love you brother, but I do hope you see my point.

        BTW, if we do ultimately change the name of the SBC, I think we would do well to be identified as Great Commission Baptist. That is, if we will just make a true effort to live up to the name.

      • Jonathan Jenkins says

        I completely agree the name change was not radical, but te more I think about it, I wonder if it is even close to being factual of our convention as a whole. With 85% of our churches in a state of plateau or decline are we really making disciples as we go?

  9. Rick Patrick says

    People should not call the SBC/GCB Task Force “dumb.” However, if they truly feel the idea itself is “dumb” and if they only have the vocabulary of a second grader, then that is fair.

    I would rather characterize it as “unnecessary, unwarranted, unauthorized, distracting, confusing and time consuming.”

    But not “dumb.”

  10. says

    Just got back from taking my son to watch the Mavericks beat the Celtics. Great game. I hesitate to even comment for fear of being called snarky or sarcastic. Nevertheless, a few initial observations:

    1. While the task force did not recommend a d/b/a (which I had predicted), how is the name that has been proposed or that no Constitutional name change will happen a surprise? Who can be against a confusing recommendation of a new nickname when that new nickname includes the words, “Great Commission?”

    2. Will wait to see how this plays out before I make pronouncements of greater “unity.” How will this be voted on at the Convention? What if this exposes the great divide among those who like our present name and those who want to run away from not just the word “Southern” but also the word “Baptist?”

    3. I will be waiting to read not only the full report, but the records of the meetings. Well, probably not the latter. Talking about the records was probably a little too snarky. My bad 😉 Thanks and God bless,


    • Dave Miller says

      Jerk! Hope your team lost tonight.

      More seriously, I think the full report will be a good thing.

      I’m not sure about the records, but since they didn’t do employee interviews, those might come forward. Don’t know.

    • Lydia says

      Does anyone see the possibility this will not need a vote? Presented more like: Hey, here is a nickname some of us recommend if you hate our real name?

        • Lydia says

          How will that work…. What exactly would we be voting on? The ability to use a nickname if we want to or not? I am just not clear on this. Most churches don’t have “Southern Baptist Convention” in their name or on a sign on even on their literature, anyway. How would you be using the new nickname Dave?

        • says


          The Jerk here, again :-) The reason for this “interesting” approach to name change is most likely because the Task Force knew it could not get a Constitutional or By-law change through nor were they even able to do a b/b/a. Not wanting to completely disappoint the main constituency advocating for a name change, the Task Force had to propose something NOW. My wife had the exact same word that I had to describe this, but I will refrain from repeating it, not that it’s a bad word, but it is less than charitable. I imagine that people on all sides of this issue had similar initial thoughts.

          • says

            Or, maybe they just studied it out, prayed through things, and came up with an idea they thought was best. I simply don’t think the people on this task force were cowtowing to some “constituency.”

            I just don’t see the need to put the negative spin on this, or to question their actions like that.

            Agree or disagree with the result, but could it be that they honestly studied the issue and this was the conclusion they came to?

          • says

            Men of God said not that they realized they couldn’t “get something through” but that they concluded that it was more costly than beneficial.

            I guess I just wonder why we have to assume that there is more to it than what they said.

          • says

            Sorry, Dave. I don’ know what I was thinking. Of course decisions at this level are free from political considerations. (end heavy sarcasm) I don’t doubt that they studied the issue, prayed about it and then came to the conclusion they did. I also don’t doubt that there were political considerations involved in this decision; however I’ll wait to read the minutes of the Task Force meetings and deliberations to prove me wrong!

          • BDW says

            Practically, how is this proposal any different than a D/B/A?

            Aren’t we talking about different means to the same end, here? With the D/B/A, you have a debate and a vote. The new “Doing Business As” name becomes the new name.

            With this proposal, do you even need a vote of the messengers? It seems like this proposal involves an effort to get the leadership (Exec Committee) to affirm a “nickname” which is described as “optional.”

            How is the name “optional”? In a real sense, the D/B/A change for the Baptist General Conference was “optional” too. The denomination uses the new name Converge Worldwide. But churches still list the old name – BGC – on their websites and the old name is still used in other venues.

            Any name change is going to be “optional” to an extent. Churches are always going to have the freedom to use the old name. Now, the agencies of the denomination will get the “option” to use the new moniker. I suspect they will.

            Thus, at the end of the day, you’ve got a top-down strategy that puts a bit of peer pressure on others to adopt the name.

            It’s a neat strategy that avoids controversy. I don’t see how it is practically distinct from a D/B/A change.

            They presented the issue by saying that there wouldn’t be a legal name change. Well, who thought there would be a legal name change? The resident lawyers among Voices recognized early on that a legal change was not realistic.

            So, the Task Force knocked down that possibility which really was never a possibility. They tell you that this “optional” name – a “fundamentally” different approach – is somehow very different from a D/B/A change. But, how true is that really? I mean, if all the leaders go with the new name, it’ll have a trickle down effect. This process might be more gradual than a DBA but ultimately the outcome is the same.

            Reminds me of the health care debate. Dems trotted out Mr. Weiner and others to push Single Payer. That just wasn’t politically realistic. So, most folks assumed that a Public Option was doable. What did we get? Something that was supposedly distinctly different in a “Exchange” system. But, I’m sure you conservatives will tell me that there wasn’t too much difference between a Public Option and Market Exchange. And that’s precisely the point.

          • Dave Miller says

            I’m not sure the difference between this and a dba. I wondered that, but I’m guessing this will be explained later.

  11. Christiane says

    If the nickname ‘Great Commission Baptists’ is to have real meaning in the world, then listen to the Words of Our Lord:
    “Let not your heart be troubled . . . ”

    . . . the presence of ‘the Peace of Christ’ IS the visible sign of the unity of Christians ‘in community’ with one another,
    and being the Great Commission bearers of that holy Peace of Christ is the sign by which Christians will be recognized.
    This is not something that is beyond the reach of the SBC at all.

    If people are upset over any ‘changes’, that should be acknowledge by all in community, but then it is good to remember that change needs to be put into a more eternal perspective:

    “Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you,
    All things are passing away:
    God never changes.
    Patience obtains all things.
    Whoever has God lacks nothing;
    God alone suffices.”
    (Teresa of Avila)

  12. Todd Burus says

    Blah! Two thoughts:

    (1) If you’re going to do something, do it. This is not a name change, it’s not semantics, it’s just garbage PR. If we’re really about the Great Commission (which, maybe we should clarify what we mean by that to begin with) then doing something that reeks of so much pragmatism seems like we’re relying less on the all authority that’s been given to Jesus and more on the gullibility of unbelievers who don’t ask enough questions to find out we’re really just Southern Baptists in disguise. The current generation detests inauthenticity and nothing screams inauthentic more than a make-believe moniker to hide our more “offensive” legal name. This seems like a fail on removing hindrances to advancing the Gospel.

    (2) Great Commission Baptists is just asking for a fight. So what, are all of the other baptistic denominations non-Great Commission? I agree, some of them actually aren’t, but are we the only Baptists who are interested in fulfilling the Great Commission? It’s only a matter of time before one of the other conventions/associations raises a fuss about this name.

    • says

      Of course, the best part about any disagreement is now they can bring back the argument that was used against those who disagreed with the GCR, that is, you’re really against the great commission… Sounds like a win-win for the committee.

      I am glad that this will make a difference in the northern states. The snarkiness comes when I think that all those people who were not believing in Christ because of the history of the Southern Baptists will now flood the church because we are now the GCB of the SBC… or will we have to drop any reference to the SBC for that to happen?

      In terms of the committee praying and seeking God’s will, this is just a variation of the phrase, “We believe God has led us to this leader…”

      I am sorry if this sounds bitter because it really is not. I just think this is painting the house without ever really fixing the basic problems of electrical and plumbing.

  13. Louis says

    This was the most creative and forward thinking of SBC leaders that could be put together.

    It’s pretty obvious that they concluded that to use an assumed name would create havoc with the current SBC constituency.

    You have to respect that. I think that they knew now was not the time. I think that they read the times, and wisely decided that a new name would be too divisive.

    That reflects where we are.

    What it reflects for the future is not clear.

    I get the sense that those who opposed a name change are happy not to have the world continue to shift beneath their feet. It would be one more affront to a sense of being and identity.

    And I get the sense that those who favored a name change feel like the exercise was a step backwards. If nothing had been proposed or done, those in this camp could always hope for change. Now they have been told by a collection of possible change agents that this change will never come.

    The young people I know would like to see change, and to be told that they cannot hope for that kind of change is a blow to their psyche.

    I see no large unrest or exodus as a result of this. We will just continue to see a variety of personalities and types of people and churches laboring together.

    Whether there will be more conformity or less remains to be seen. I personally believe that the times will continue to produce more church unconventional church starts and traditional churches that will look less and less traditional. To what extent that process will impact the national organization, or whether those churches really even want to impact the national organization, will be reflected over time.

    • Lydia says

      “I get the sense that those who opposed a name change are happy not to have the world continue to shift beneath their feet. It would be one more affront to a sense of being and identity”

      Louis, Just to be fair, there are several people on this thread alone who have made it clear in the recent past they had a bigger problem with the “process” used for a name change than the idea of a name change. I am one of them. I am one of those geeks who think process is important as believers. HOW we do things is as important as outcomes.

      • Louis says


        I don’t discount the process arguments at all. In fact, the way the process started may have made the committee less willing to recommend something.

        I just wanted to address the ultimate issue.

        The rancor over process really shows that there is substantial opposition to a name change, I think.

  14. Louis says

    Oh, and I should add that the part about Great Commission Baptists doesn’t really make sense to me.

    I don’t know how churches are supposed to do that.

    The folks that did not want a name change won’t use it.

    The folks that wanted a name change won’t like it.

    But I think that the task force just could not come out and say “no change.” They had to give some consolation prize.

    It’s kind of like being on Jeopardy and getting the “lovely parting gift.”

  15. Adam G. in NC says

    I hear a lot about “unity” on this blog, but as I have understood it, this was never to be “unity for unity’s sake”, but “unity” under the lordship of Jesus Christ…never to be taken as a “go-along-to-get-along” attitude.

    With that said, I want to say that I appreciate the eternal teaching of faith that our fathers have passed down to us, but all of this seems to me like a great “affection” for worldly/fleshly tradition. If we are decidedly awary (i.e. LifeWay’s study) that this human label has caused us to be a stumbling block to many millions of people who are seeking a savior…why would we neglect to change it?

    Wasnt the identity of the Pharisaical Jews tied up in the misguided human traditions that had been passed down to them by their misguided predecessors? A love for tradition over a love for God?

    To many, we are seen as the wishy-washies of the lot in evangelical christianity and to make this “compromise” is just more confirmation in their eyes.

    I hope it doesnt push even more away.

    Love you all!!!

      • volfan007 says

        So, Adam….are you saying that people, who oppose the name change are Pharisees? Are you saying that people, who oppose the name change love tradition over God?

        Wow, that didnt take very long to come out of someone…..

        Are we gonna hear this at the SBC in NOLA? like with the GCR promotion?

        Dave, and you wonder why some people get snarky? If we oppose something that the leaders that be want, then we get all of this….we’re against the GReat Commission….we’re negative…we’re mean….we’re against change…we’re against winning the world to Jesus…we’re Pharisees….we dont really love God…etc, etc, etc…

        Maybe we just dont agree with it? Maybe we just think the costs and the time spent on this is not worth it? Maybe we’re thinking that this is just a bunch of fluff, whenever we should be emphasizing on other things? Maybe we think this is a lot more than just a name change? more than just a resurgence of the Great Commission? maybe some people legitimately think this is a push to move us in a more fuzzy, evangelcal direction; and away from being convictionally Baptist in our doctrine? Maybe its one of those things, or some of those things, or all of those things…BUT, it doesnt mean that we’re Pharisees, and dont love God, and dont want to fulfill the Great Commission….


        • Adam G in NC says

          No, not calling them Pharisees, but just trying to make an observation.
          Not sure what part of our mandate calls for us to fight for geographical/politcal/traditional labels.

          And yes, this is a tradition issue.

        • says

          Pharisees may be better than “idolaters”, David. I just got a post emailed to me that says those who do not want a name change are idolaters. Hmmmmn… pejoratives will abound, I suppose. that’s okay, selahV

  16. Frank L. says

    For those that like the nickname–and I don’t personally see it as having anymore substance than what Southern Baptist has always meant–how long do you think it will take for it to catch on? How much PR money are we going to dedicate to the promotion of this nickname?

    The more I think about it, the more it seems like “rearranging the furniture on the deck of the Titanic.” I know that seems contrary and cynical and I can’t defend against that supposition.

    But, it just seems so trivial in light of the huge divides we have as SBC. It seems almost like the groanings of a dying man. I truly hope I am wrong and there’s a good chance I am (I was wrong once before).

    I haven’t done a poll, but it looks like so far this “nickname game” has not had a lot of glowing support.

  17. Frank L. says

    I’d like to see someone’s comment on how this is going to be promoted in a typical Southern Baptist Church. It has taken me a lifetime to explain the Cooperative Program to people in a way that they could “follow the money.”

    I don’t even know if I want to try to promote a “nickname.”

    Anybody else have any thoughts on how this will play out in the pew of the typical church?

    • says

      In Iowa, we would like use it more prominently. In our materials/website and all, we’d say “We are a part of Great Commission Baptists” instead of saying “Southern.”

      • Justin Kirksey says

        So the people who attend and possibly join your church who otherwise would not because of the name “Southern Baptist” are not going to be upset with you when they find out they really did join a SBC church but one using an informal name? Are not those people going to feel deceived?

        • Bruce H. says


          Those kind of people would get upset or leave if they changed the menu on Wednesday night dinners or remodeled the nursery. Never, never, never cater to that mind-set. Jesus kept the disciples purged by some of the things He said to them. John 6:63-66

          • Justin Kirksey says

            Not sure what that has to do with what I asked. The topic is using an informal name that will be less offensive. Bro. Dave believes that the informal name will help him reach those who he identifies as being offended or bothered by name “southern”. My question is about their reaction once they find out they have joined the SBC.

          • Bruce H. says


            Sorry for answering for Dave. I still think that people who join a church for reasons outside of doctrine, worship, the ministering of “their” gift and evangelism have a “virus” that will infect the church. The church itself is autonomous of the SBC anyway, as I understand it. If it is a deep rooted problem for them, they should be willing to work with the pastor to resolve it or designate their tithe and offerings to stay within the local body.

  18. Frank L. says

    I’d like to see someone’s comment on how this is going to be promoted in a typical Southern Baptist Church. It has taken me a lifetime to explain the Cooperative Program to people in a way that they could “follow the money.”

    I don’t even know if I want to try to promote a “nickname.”

    Anybody else have any thoughts on how this will play out in the pew of the typical church?

    • reformedsteve says

      It will go largely unnoitced. If I were a pastor of a church I would talk about it to inform the saints and then leave it alone. If the church wants to adopt the new aka that’s great, if they don’t that’s great too. I wouldn’t resist or endorse it, since it has no effect on the Gospel. I do feel that the average person in the pew is content without the aka. The average church just has too many more important things to worry about.

    • Brent Williams says

      As a 1yr old church plant in Alaska, we are asked all the time what denomination we are. I get some strange looks when I say Southern Baptist. Now, I will say, we cooperate with 45,000 Great Commission Baptist Churches in the US that join together to take the good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. I get to talk about Jesus a lot quicker without having to defend “southern” This is a good thing.

      • Louis says


        It is great to hear a response from someone who is on the front lines, as you are.

        I am glad that this gives you an option to avoid the Southern reference that is loved in the South, but can seem out of place in other areas.

        Still wish you could have gotten a better name.

  19. John Wylie says

    The fact that it’s just going to be basically an aka or nickname causes the proposal to have zero positive impact. I highly doubt that First Southern Baptist Church in our town is going to become First Great Commission Baptist Church. The point is that this proposal doesn’t get rid of the Southern part and that was the whole point wasn’t it? The task force would have been better off not recommending any name change than to do this.

    I mean no offense to the good people who served on the task force but this is really ridiculous. I’m sorry but they succumbed to the pressure that they had to propose something. And now if it is approved by the EC and goes to the floor in New Orleans people will vote yes because of the PR scandal that would go “SBC votes against the Great Commission”. I don’t like it at all.

    • Rick Patrick says

      The best thing I can say about the motion is that wonderful men like Paige Patterson and Jimmy Draper were involved and that their intentions were good and noble.

      On the other hand, compromise half-measures that don’t really do anything particularly great are the reason ballots are printed with both “yes” and “no” boxes.

      Think about it. If we NEVER vote “no” to anything in the convention, why even bother with the ballots? This was a committee we didn’t want giving us a nickname we don’t need. Politely and without snark, just say “no” and the foolishness will be over. Or vote “yes” if you like it.

      Either way, I can still refer to us as Southern Baptists, and my northern church planting brothers like Todd can still tell people that his church cooperates with Great Commission Baptists all over the world. In other words, it doesn’t have to pass for him to use that description.

      Thankfully, Southern Baptists are already Great Commission Baptists, even if we reject the idea of making that unofficially official.

  20. says

    My hope has always been that we who comprise the SBC would always be willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill the Great Commission since, ostensibly, that is why we exist. For years we’ve heard from people in pioneer and non-South areas that our name is a hindrance. To me, it was a no brainer that we should have been along this name change thing for a long time. It is not that a name change will bring evangelism, but a name should not hinder those who are trying to evangelize.

    In the end, I think the task force took the safe route. The name communicates to the religious community what we hope to be and communicates to the outside world nothing. “Great Commission” says about as much to an unchurched culture as “Convention” does.

    The Task Force made it clear that the word “Baptist” was not on the table, which rather limits the options for something truly out of the box. But, to be fair, without “Baptist” there was zero chance of it passing. I agree the final decision can be viewed as “win-win,” but can’t shake the feeling it’s really “no-win” compared to what might have been.

  21. Louis says


    You express the feelings of a lot in the younger generation, and you said what I thought someone like you would say.

    I am in the heart of the Bible Belt, and the story in the news paper had to explain what “Great Commission” meant. For 50 year olds and older, it sounds great. For younger folks it’s a snoozer. Too bad.

    Onward and Upward!

  22. Bill Mac says

    The name SBC honors the good parts of our history and heritage. Great Commission Baptists honors our core mission and our global focus. Keeping the official name acknowledges and avoids the very problems that all the anti-name-change folks told us would be the problems. Having a semi-official alias allows churches in areas where the SBC name does not carry positive connotations to use it while retaining a link with like-affiliated churches.

    In other words, if you don’t like it, don’t use it. But don’t begrudge others from using it if they wish to. People really can find something good in this if they want to.

    If we are going to speculate on the less-than-honorable motives of the name change committee, let me do some speculation: I think people were hoping for an official name change recommendation so there would be knockdown dragout at the convention and so they could crush the recommendation like a bug. I suspect that it might still happen, but with less rationale for righteous indignation.

  23. Bill Mac says

    I will leave you with this before I go and teach:

    I’ve often had to explain the history of Southern Baptists (ie: Why Southern?) to people who ask. While I am not ashamed of being Southern Baptist, some of our history is embarrassing.

    Now consider: Would you rather be asked: why southern?, or what’s the great commission? The first requires a history lesson with a few bad bits at the beginning. The second jumps right to the heart of who we are. I’d much rather answer the second question than the first.

  24. says

    I guess I’m not grasping how this actually helps–for example, since “Great Commission Baptists” is only a nickname or label, that new church plant in New York that is bound, legally, to NAMB and the SBC will still have to have their contracts with the Southern Baptist Convention, won’t they?

    The rest is just window dressing, which any locally autonomous body has been entitled to do all the time, just as we’ve been free to leave “SBC” off the sign or the letterhead.

    I’m not against the suggestion of a unified nickname. In fact, I’m not sure what there is here to be against because there’s not much really here. After all, the “Great Commission Baptists” website is not going to be totally isolated from the “Southern Baptist Convention” website, is it?

    The name is no surprise, but I really did expect a legal d/b/a so that contracts/agreements could use the new name. At this point, you’re still going to have to send checks to “The Southern Baptist Convention,” true?

  25. reformedsteve says

    I’m somewhat confused by the folks who think a name change would be a great idea, that it will make the Gospel spread. The suggestion is that the south has a poor history and that history needs to be seperated from the name of the denomination. How long have you felt this way? When did it become a problem for you? And if it is a problem and you feel you can reach more people in your context by dropping the “Southern”, why don’t you leave the denomination and do so? I’m not being mean spirited, I’m just asking sobering questions. And I believe in my heart of hearts, that you have many good reasons to stay. And that these reasons far outweigh any precieved hinderance of the word “Southern”.

    Southerns tend to be a proud people and they have a hertiage that runs deep. The name change has the sense that Southerns should be ashamed. Most of them are not. Don’t insult them by trying to hide the fact that God used the South regardless of the racism, that has long been repented of, to reach the Nation and the nations.

    • says

      Steve – If you are really confused as you say then it’s because you’re not informed and to educate yourself you need to live down south with a gun rack alongside a confederate battle flag which ( the flag ) has been determined to be offensive to many. If we were to divorce ourselves from that culture then those that are actively involved in the “next level up of flag waving” and also attend our churches would lose their second home on the lawns of churches that shouldn’t have anything to do with that stuff anymore . For years now new successful churches have not used the name Southern Baptist or even Baptist on their marquee because it’s detrimental to their growth . If this is “new” news to you then you are not informed . I have a solid background in the South and in the North. I’ve witnessed more real problems explaining who I was in the North attending church on Sunday there with pew sitters who are not informed – just like our pew sitters are uninformed about this proposed “name change “. If you want to grow , then get rid of the obstacles – that’s any business and just like Lifeway does. The world won’t stop moving regardless of what changes we don’t make . I give credit for a good try and don’t see it being discussed at the Convention as it is a done deal for now. I also think you are more up to date than you let on here.

      • reformedsteve says

        I grew up in the South. I know about the culture. I’m sorry that the Confederate flag has come to be the symbol of racism in the minds of those Northern Aggressors, who to this day fail to see that racism was defeated not at Appomattox, but in the hearts of men. It was the Gospel preached in the South, not bullets at Gettysburg. Those sins have long been repented of. Forgive us our debts.

        • Christiane says

          The South has not recovered from slavery . . . you can’t have people treat other people that poorly and the perpetrators not be warped by it. All that contempt for human beings has just taken a different form.

          The South, as geography, is not the ‘problem’ with racism. Racism is so poisonous that it has gone viral and does enjoy enough ‘acceptance’ by enough people to keep it in existence.

          I think it has more to do with the darkness of our natures than anyone’s skin color . . . and if another race wasn’t ‘the problem’, it would be another minority group that was targeted with venomous hatred.

          Christians are to reject hatred firmly by the command of Lord Christ.

          • reformedsteve says

            What form are you suggesting? If you mean Neo-Nazism, it seems that has taken root in the Northern Midwest.

          • John Wylie says


            I alway appreciate what you have to say, but I would like to say that racism was not limited to the South neither was slavery. The North gave up slavery faster because it was not fessible for them as there were no large plantations in the North. What about the racism that was prevalent in North in the early to mid 1800’s? What about there attitudes toward blacks and the Irish? What about the draft riots in NYC during the civil war where blacks were targeted and killed? Further some of the largest race riots occurred in the North…Chicago, Detroit, and I know Los Angeles is not North but they had two. My point is that the South is 150 years removed from slavery and 50 years removed from the civil rights movement and we need to just move on.

          • cb scott says


            “What about their attitudes toward blacks and the Irish?”

            Thanks John Wylie. Nobody ever mentions us poor Irishmen of whom the whole world owes a debt for serving as mercenaries in all of its wars.

            Yeah, all the nations picked on the Irish until they got in a fight they could not handle and then what did they do? That’s right. They called on the Irish who have always been willing to fight any where, any time if the price was right.

            So thanks John Wylie for taking up for the Irish. :-)

          • John Wylie says

            Thanks CB,

            I’m Scotch/Irish myself. And I totally agree with everything you said. Two movies that actually highlight the truth of your words well are Gods and Generals and The Gangs of New York. I know they are both just movies but they actaully are pretty historically accurate in their portrayal of the Irish.

            My whole point was that racism was not just a southern phenomenon. I personally resent that people make all sorts of accusations against the South and totally give the North a pass for their excesses. The North did not fight to free the slaves, they fought to preserve the Union. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation late in 1863 to give him the political/public support necessary to finish the war. BTW if people want to paint the North as crusaders who freed the slaves why don’t they give the same credit to Republicans?

          • Bruce H. says

            Also, add the migration of northerners to the south and the southerners to the north (east and west, too) in the past 100 years. There is no north and south anymore if you think about it. The south is just associated more with racism and the slightest comment raises the issue once again.

            Sin does leave a stain, but it is washed white as snow with the blood of Jesus. We still have to live as “forgiven” even though the world sees the south with a Confederate flag. Christians see it differently.

  26. says

    For the conspiracy theorists in us non-name changers…

    What if this is just the first step in a permanent name change? Perhaps the goal is to pass something that is hard to argue against? I mean, what’s the harm in an official “nickname?” Then, in a few years, would it be any surprise to see a drive to permanently change the name to Great Commission Baptists? The argument would most likely sound something like, “Look at the successes of the churches that have adopted the new nickname. We should all benefit from it, do away with the SBC monicker and adopt the GCB title.”

    I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but it’s one of those things that makes me go, “Hmmmm…” I trust that these are godly men seeking God’s will and guidance in this situation. I also trust that God is not exalted, honored, magnified or glorified by whatever name change should or should not come to the SBC. I’ll just be glad when this distraction passes and we can focus and debate on deeper issues. I am worried that the contention over this one thing is indicative of a much greater problem in our convention, and if we learn nothing else from the name change, it is that we need to truly rally together and realize we are all playing on the same team no matter what we call ourselves.


  27. Louis says


    You are right. People are in the convention because they want to be. There are great benefits of working together. That’s why I am in the Convention.

    The people who believe a name change is in order believe that a name selected in 1845 for the sole purpose of regional identification in the Southern United States (of the states that comprised the U.S. at the time) is not the best name to use in 2012 for a group of churches that are doing ministry across the North, the West and in places that were not even states in 1845.

    Southerners have every right to be proud people. I am Southerner and a distant relative of Gen. Joseph Johnston, who died at the battle of Shiloh.

    But Southern pride and heritage, and history (Southern or not) should not be the basis for a name for a Christian organization that seeks to have a broad reach.

    If you have followed this debate, you will see that those who work outside of the Southern United States tend (not uniformly, but there is clearly a tendency) to favor a name change because church planting and affiliations in areas outside the South are hampered on occasion (they say) by the Southern identification.

    So, the thought is remove anything from the name that 1) does not advance the cause, and 2) creates or has the potential to create any difficulties with cultural identification or affiliation.

    “Southern” fits both of these.

    I have had many people who are opposed to a name change freely admit that if we were starting the convention today, that “Southern Baptist Convention” would be a bad name.

    My response is, “Well, then let’s change it to a good name that we would use.” And the reply is “it’s our history.”

    The eventual decision by the committee was, in my opinion, a correct reading of the Convention. These men are smart. They do not want the convention to implode or for there to be rancor.

    So, as of now, there is still a strong feeling within the churches of the Convention that they want to identify and honor their Southern heritage by keeping the name of their Convention as it is.

    Again, as I have written, you have to respect that. That’s called self governance.

    But I have to say that my experience in Southern Baptist Churches since I became a Christian at age 16 has been the opposite.

    I grew up in a main-line Protestant Church. Things there were all about history. There were robes, ancient recitals that were barely understandable to me. Customs that dated back years.

    None of that made sense to me. The Baptists with whom I became acquainted basically said to me, “Look, none of that is in the Bible. The church should be about Jesus’ teachings. There were no denominations in the Bible. Jesus never taught us to keep traditions, etc.”

    When it came to ministry, the question they would ask is, “What is most effective? If it is not in violation of a scriptural command, then let’s do what’s most effective. Let’s do what will reach the most people. Nothing but the sacred should be treated as sacred.”

    That is really the way I was discipled in my late teen years.

    However, in this debate, in my personal opinion, I find that Baptists are becoming a bit like the mainline church I left long ago. The desire to follow tradition and history are a primary concern (at least on this issue), and are trumping the desire to communicate well and to break down what at least some of our brethren say is a hindrance.

    I have searched for some benefit to leaving “Southern” in the name, but cannot think of one. It is clearly a desire to honor history and heritage.

    The folks who want to keep Southern are great people. They love the Lord. They are evangelical. But the question is whether the act of honoring history and heritage is a decision that is forward thinking and productive, or whether it reflects other traits that actually hinder our progress.

    But the SBC is so large and diverse, and the SBC has no control over much in Baptist life (by design), that those who would have favored a name change will continue to plant churches and develop ministries and live a church life that does not reference or honor Southern history and culture. It means no dishonor either. It is just different.

    I suspect both types of people and churches will continue to labor together in harmony.

    I trust that this makes sense and answers the questions/issues that you pose.

    • reformedsteve says

      “But Southern pride and heritage, and history (Southern or not) should not be the basis for a name for a Christian organization that seeks to have a broad reach.”

      I agree. But the fact is that the name change regardless if you support it or are against it is motivated by history. Those who want a name change wish to distance themselves from Southern History and those against it want to honor their Southern history.

      I have to say, now that I am really thinking through the issue, the Convention reached a really good compromise.

    • Lydia says

      “However, in this debate, in my personal opinion, I find that Baptists are becoming a bit like the mainline church I left long ago. The desire to follow tradition and history are a primary concern (at least on this issue), and are trumping the desire to communicate well and to break down what at least some of our brethren say is a hindrance. ”

      If that were technically true as it relates to heritage and slavery then wouldn’t we want the name of Boyce college be changed, too? The history is always there for anyone to read about.

      • Louis says

        Colleges do change their names, but that would up to the Southern Trustees anyway. I assume that they would look to see if the name creates a hindrance in recruiting, fund raising etc.

        I wonder if someone hears “Boyce” and reacts differently than hearing “Southern”? Who knows.

        Colleges do not seem to changes their names as much as corporations do. Perhaps it’s because they project themselves in different ways.

        Harvard, Yale, Brown etc.

        But compare that to Edison Electric (now GE); Blue Ribbon Sports (Nike) etc. and hundreds of others.

  28. Joyce Hansard says

    What a disappointment and waste of time and money! We need to get the divisive name “southern” behind us. Doesn’t everyone know this name goes back to the Civil War when the South split from the North over slavery?? The Northern Baptists changed their name many years ago.

    • Bruce H. says


      On a positive note.

      “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20,21

      Please keep in mind that out of the south’s great sin came the location of our great Baptist Convention. If numbers were the measurement, success was by and through God’s grace, not our name.

      • Joyce Hansard says

        True, but the name is still divisive and regional. And from reading some of the posts, some people want to keep it that way.

        • Bruce H. says


          A couple of thoughts:

          1. In John 21:21,22 it says, “Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what [about] this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what [is that] to you? You follow Me.”

          Maybe Jesus was the only one who could get away with the direct approach on what we think we see others doing. Nonetheless, it is His principle of our individual walk of faith with Him. I hope you don’t take my presenting this the wrong way. It has taken me a lifetime to understand this truth. If the lost want to go to hell over the word “southern” it is there, at least for now, to identify their heart of unbelief. Even the rich young ruler had his priorities.

          2. The name of anything isn’t spiritual. Christians live forgiven with our past sins still active in the minds of those who knew us. Even within our own family we live forgiven with known sins. How do we live if we cannot live as one forgiven. The Christians in the south are forgiven of the slavery and racism issue. I think we see the clean slate only when we get saved. I have had to learn to see a clean slate every morning in my own life and the lives of others who have sinned against me as close as yesterday. The world will never forgive and I cannot live according to their hatred of the Christ in me. I would be living defeated everyday.

          The name will soon change. Like David, we may not be the one to build the temple, it may be our children who have a better idea as God’s grace grows in their hearts. Maybe our ministry to those who will rise in our place will come up with something even greater than we could ever do, if God is Glorified. Since He is in control we must submit to His will.

        • Louis says


          I have been dialoguing on this issue for a good while. It is a heritage and Southern pride thing. It’s really not deeper than that.

          And accompanying it is the belief that “Southern” could not be harmful or limiting in any way. That is a sincere belief, too. I truly believe if many felt otherwise, they would change the name in a heartbeat. But there is an inability to perceive that.

        • John Wylie says

          We know that the name goes back to the Civil War but does that mean that all the Southerners were racists and the Northerners were not? Do you honestly believe that North fought to free the slaves? Do you not know that the North paid black soldiers 3 dollars a month less than white soldiers and blacks were not allowed to serve as officers? If only the Southern states bear the reputation of racism then it’s because people have succumbed to revisionist history.

    • Lydia says

      Joyce, My maternal family ancestors were abolitionists who were in the SBC during those days. Explain that?

      • Joyce Hansard says

        I’m sure there were many such cases. Families were even divided. I recently read “Team of Rivals” by Doris Goodwin, a book about the times when President Lincoln was running for President. I would highly recommend everyone read it. No matter how you feel about the name, “southern” is divisive and regional, but evidently a lot of people want to keep it that way.

      • Christiane says

        I can see in your spirit that some of your female ancestors must have been among the ‘Iron-Jawed Angels’ fighting for the vote. :)

  29. volfan007 says

    I just read a great quote that pretty well sums all of this name change stuff up pretty well…

    As someone once said: “The mountain labored, and gave forth a mouse”.


  30. says

    The idea of retaining the name and have the one on the great commission sort of smacks of Solomon and the aby with two mothers, but it can also be a a bit of cuning designed to accomplish a hidden purpose. One of the bad things about attending so many schools and getting so much education is you learn to take a second and a third and a fourth and a fifth look at every thing and sixty ways from Sunday, too. Intellectualism suffers from the problem of too much analysis. The point is where should one apply a synthetical approach in order to realize the best of all opportunities.?

  31. Lydia says

    “Thus, at the end of the day, you’ve got a top-down strategy that puts a bit of peer pressure on others to adopt the name. ”

    I was thinking about this earlier in another way. It might be we see the dividing lines based on who adopts the nickname early and why. And how many. I honestly believe this was a political decision (with lots of prayer :o) yet the safe route. The trail balloons had been raised early on on blogs and using the secular media and there was lots of push back on the nerve to appoint an “unofficial” task force (with very official people), in the first place. And, of course other concerns as well. I think they realized they overstepped their bounds and will wait for better timing. They had already forgotten about the sealed records but many did not and the time was not right to pull another authoritarian ‘go around the messengers’ move.

    btw: I think it is very shortsighted to divide camps or even push that opposite camps came together based on Patterson/Mohler. I see the different SBC camps more along the lines of those who love authority and those who love autonomy.

  32. says

    What the Executive Committee has proposed is a speculative rebranding to allow those who already have a propensity for distancing themselves from denominational identification to further distance themselves. Now those churches within the SBC that already call themselves “Community Churches” or “Fellowships” or what not can avoid ever having to identify with being Southern Baptist. They now have a shield to huddle behind of “Great Commission Baptists” and further evade having to take a stand. I live and serve in Provo, Utah where being something other than Mormon puts me in a very small minority of the population. Yet, I am unapologetically Southern Baptist. I attend a First Baptist Church and see no hinderance to the work of the Gospel in this very difficult context due to the name of our convention. What the lost care about is not what we call ourselves, but how faithful we are to Christ. What this convention needs is a return to a more authentic faithfulness to the love and message of Jesus Christ, not a shield to deflect the misperceptions of a lost and sinful world.

    • Bill Mac says

      “What the lost care about is not what we call ourselves, but how faithful we are to Christ. ”

      Then why do you care what we call ourselves? Do you have any evidence to support your insinuation that churches who do not blatantly identify themselves with Southern Baptists have not “taken a stand” or somehow compromised their doctrine or values?

      Why do we continue to hear both “names don’t matter” and “don’t change our name” coming from the same mouths?

      • says

        Because this issue isn’t being raised by those who want to leave the name alone. The issue is being raised by those who think that somehow we can become more effective at reaching the lost by changing what we call ourselves. That idea is theologically dangerous since it supposes that style matters more than substance, but that is not what the Bible teaches. The statistics produced by Lifeway note that 40-44% of people have an unfavorable view of Southern Baptists, but the studies don’t reveal why that is. Until we know why people have an unfavorable opinion it is a fools errand to think that changing our name will fix that. What if they are offended for the right reasons? What if they are offended because of an erroneous opinion? Would it not be better to change perceptions by changing what we do, not what we call ourselves?

        As for churches that have already changed their names, the reasoning cited in nearly every news article on the subject cites a desire to be more appealing to the world by removing distinctives from the name, such as Baptist. The issue these churches are trying to address is one of superficial perceptions. They are trying to make themselves more appealing by obscuring their denominational affiliations. They want to have sinners think more favorably of them, not by changing what brought about offense or misperception, but, by whitewashing themselves for the sake of the sinners. They are failing to confess and repent and instead are seeking to evade and obscure.

  33. says

    Nickname should be refined. “Great Commission Baptists” seems more generic and broad does not refer to a convention or association aligned by theology or anything else that would bind us together. The SBC is different from other evangelicals, and it is also different from other evangelical Baptists. Most conventions, associations, denominations etc. in some way reflect either the geography or theology of the group. I can see the motivation for some wanting a less geography-centric name, but all but the most liberal Baptists would argue that they are “great commission Baptists.”

    Also … is this new nickname part of some concerted attempt at “synergy” with the GCR? GCR, GCB. GCB, GCR. If not, then why was such an unwieldy name chosen?

    • says

      Perhaps “generic” is part of the reasoning in choosing it. After all, some of the chatter has been over the SBC affiliating itself with other denominations with the “great commission” on their minds. Without assigning motive and intent to the Task Force, one can only consider how it all plays out should the Convention affirm the recommendation as given in June. selahV

      • Job says

        All right. I will refrain from assigning motive and intent. From GCR to GCB might have just been a coincidence or otherwise incidental.

        “Perhaps “generic” is part of the reasoning in choosing it. After all, some of the chatter has been over the SBC affiliating itself with other denominations with the “great commission” on their minds.”

        Hmmm. That might have been a reason why many were considering dropping the name “Baptist” altogether if we are going to prioritize working with infant baptizers (conservative Presbyterians and Anglicans) and those who deny eternal security (Methodists and some Pentecostals) over maintaining and strengthening a theology and tradition that best reflects Biblical revelation.

        This, of course, presumes that they do agree that the Baptist expression best aligns with the Bible, and is not instead merely one of a menu of options among people willing to assent to some spoken “evangelical creed” of some kind.

  34. John Wylie says

    Actually I think we should keep the Southern Baptist name because it is still reflective of our convention. I just looked at a list of sbc presidents and there has never been a northerner serve as president of the SBC with the possible exception of Joshua Levering who was from Maryland. I say possible exception because in the days when Mr. Levering was president of the SBC Maryland was considered to be southern. Fred Luter is a southerner.

    • Joyce Hansard says

      So you are admitting that the SBC is more for “southerners” so we should keep the name and keep us divided. I am from the south but have lived in the north most of my life and have been a Southern Baptist for more than 60 years. It is hard for me to understand why everyone has been opposed to changing the name all these years. From reading a lot of these posts, I doubt if we will ever be totally united. Jesus prayed that we would be “one” even as he and the Father are “One.”

      • John Wylie says


        With all due respect ma’am as far as I can tell it’s seems to me that you’re insinuating that it’s only the southerners that are responsible for this disunity. Our history as a Convention is rooted in the South, our conservative roots were preserved because we are primarily southern. The Northern convention went liberal a long time ago because the Northern culture is more liberal. The more conservative movements of the North like the GARBC were aided by southerners in their formation.

        I’m in no way saying that the SBC is only for southerners, if I believed that I wouldn’t support missions the way I do. I’m just saying our roots are in the South and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m not ashamed of being Southern.

        • John Wylie says

          I would add that most of the church planters in the North are southerners themselves. Should we encourage them to try their best to hide their accents? Southerners were not the only racists, I just resent how the north gets a pass on this.

          • Joyce Hansard says

            I am not ashamed of being Southern either and fully agree that Southerners are not the only racists. I lived in Detroit during the riots. But the SBC is worldwide and no matter what anyone says, the name is regional. And Southerners who oppose changing the name are being divisive, in my opinion.

          • John Wylie says


            Ma’am can you not see how those who are insisting on a name change could be characterized as being divisive? Why don’t we just come out in the open and bring it to a vote? I’ll guarantee you any attempt to change the name would be defeated. We ought to just move on. I agree we are a worldwide convention, but our roots are in the south, our missions organizations, our publishing house, four of our six seminaries are all southern.

  35. Adam G in NC says

    Whats behind the “southern” part anyway? Isnt it a positive moniker? Can someone direct me to the history so we can put it in our tracts and other publications when doing outreach to the weary?

  36. Greg Harvey says

    1. The name isn’t horrid. That’s good. Any Southern Baptist who is anti-Great Commission (which is different than anti-GCR) is, well, hardly Baptist at all, much less “Southern” Baptist.

    2. If you wish to not seem racist, it’s time to deal with the legacy of how the Southern Baptist Convention came into being. It’s not enough to just apologize. There needs to be an intentional effort to allow American blacks to be part of us and for that to not be a potentially painful experience, it is HELPFUL to create meaningful distance from that legacy.

    Or to say it simpler: if the word Southern causes a brother to stumble, we should as a matter of conscience and consideration avoid using it in a way that offends.

    3. The decision itself needed to be presented with a rough plan of attack for HOW the decision is implemented from a Convention perspective. We need a unifying campaign that addresses how the transition from Southern Baptist Convention to Great Commission Baptists happens.

    Let me give you a fer instance: in my heart, I’m not in a Convention with other Baptists because I go to the Annual Meeting (because I RARELY go, though I have been a couple of times.) That suggests to me that you can make a plan on the word Convention where you show Convention centers around the nation where the SBC has had an Annual Meeting.

    Then transition to footage of our out-of-the-building efforts in places like New Orleans and Las Vegas. Real footage of people leaving the building. Then show the building and the words Southern Baptist Convention then transition to the pictures of people meeting people and fade to Great Commission Baptists.

    Then fade to white with strong black letters: It’s not where we meet, it’s who we are.

    Then intersperse pictures of small to large church buildings with pictures around each of real people from those communities reaching out to those around them.

    Then return to Great Commission Baptists across the top fade in “it’s not where we meet” fade out, fade in “it’s who we are”.

    Something along those lines. I hereby relinquish this to the public domain. 😉

    • John Wylie says

      Greg Harvey,

      While I’m not in favor of a name change and I disagree with you on a number of points, I still think a lot of what you had to say here was pretty cool.

    • Dave Miller says

      Greg, I think the SBC has dealt with the past in terms of racism. We have publicly repented over that. There’s not much more we can do about the past.

      What we need to do is deal with the FUTURE – by intentionally including people who aren’t white in leadership and decision-making roles.

      Its about the future, not the past.

  37. Bill Mac says

    Quick poll:

    How many of you would oppose the idea of a number of SBC churches voluntarily identifying themselves as GB Baptists?

      • Bill Mac says

        John: Fair enough, but do you think it is ridiculous for everyone? A number of people have said that the current name is not helpful, and that we favor a name change. If they think it will help, why is that ridiculous? It seems to me unless one is ministering in one of those areas, just dismissing those concerns isn’t right.

        • John Wylie says

          Bill Mac,

          To be honest I just got caught up in being deeply offended by the anti southern sentiment. I should not have used the word ridiculous, my apologies. I’m all for anything that will not hinder the gospel. I personally dont think the name change is helpful, but if that’s what people want to do that’s cool.

  38. Dave Miller says

    Not sure what is going on, but a number of comments that normally would not have gotten caught in moderation are being pulled. No one has been added to our moderation list. Not sure what the problem is. I’m useless when it comes to figuring stuff like this out.

  39. Frank L. says

    Isn’t there a danger that if we only change the label but don’t change the ingredients, in a few years this present label will be as problematic as the present one?

  40. Job says

    John Wylie:

    I intend this only in the context of the nickname discussion AND NOT in the racism discussion about which we corresponded in another post. Are you a sports fan? This would be so much more helpful were you a sports fan. But get this: Tim Tebow is perfectly fine with “Southern Baptist Convention” because he is a white, homeschooled fellow from Jacksonville, Florida, which is an SBC stronghold and which the area culture feeds the majority SBC. Jeremy Lin, who is from northern California, went to Harvard, and was called a “chink” on ESPN by another evangelical Christian … not so much. There is a reason why Lin identifies more with C.J. Mahaney than Jerry Vines; why he listens to Christian rappers like LeCrae as opposed to southern gospel acts like the Gaithers.

    You yourself spoke of the paucity of evangelical churches in the northeast. Well then wow, that only increases the chances of a guy like Lin (California raised, Harvard educated, working in New York) joining a moderate or liberal church instead of an evangelical one, right? Let me repeat: I was opposed to a name change. So long as the nickname is not a Trojan Horse for a name change later, then I feel that the nickname is an excellent measure that respects the will of the majority while addressing the legitimate concerns of the minority (i.e. people who are attempting to get folks estranged from the majority SBC culture to identify with and commit to the SBC, like those southern church planters that you mentioned).

    The SBC is majority southern and traditionally southern but it is not ALL southern. Moreover, getting Christians that are not traditionally, culturally southern into the SBC strengthens the SBC. That is my position. Otherwise, where do you want these Christians to go?

    If I have to move to Seattle, Portland, Detroit or Connecticut, I want there to be a good, strong SBC church there. If this nickname helps that happen, then I am all for it.

  41. Bruce H. says

    Can we just say that this generation will not change the name today? Maybe we should consider pressing on and disciple the next generation of Baptist so they can do a better job than we when it comes to changed a name or whatever else needs to be changed or arranged to accomplish what God’s will has in store.

    • Dave Miller says

      I think the hope here was to do something so that it will not come up again for a while. Whether they succeeded in that or not is certainly debatable.

  42. Dave Miller says

    For any who are interested, the SBC Executive Committee just voted overwhelmingly to approve the Task Force proposal. One report says there were only 5 in opposition. Most who opposed the formation of the task force support its report.

    I’m guessing this will pass the SBC with 70 or 80%, maybe higher.