The SBC Name-Change Proposal’s Coming: What’s Gonna Happen?

The SBC world was shaken pretty dramatically last September when our president, Bryant Wright, appointed a task force to study the feasibility of changing the name of the SBC.  As someone who lives outside the South, I’ve favored such a thing for a long time, so I welcomed this blue ribbon panel to study the issue.

They were tasked with answering four questions:

1. Is there value in considering a name change?
2. If so, what would be a good name to suggest?
3. What would be the potential legal ramifications of a name change?
4. What would be the potential financial implications?

I have no doubt that this very capable team will adequately explore the last two questions.  These are not the kind of people who will ignore legal and financial issues.  But I also expect that if there is a desire to change the name, these folks will also find a way to make it happen.

Is there a value in considering a name change?  I’ve written extensively on my belief that there is.  Others have said that there is not.  I think that if Bryant Wright and the others did not see that there was some real value to the idea, they would not have undertaken the effort.

That leaves the second question – finding a good name.  That has always been a sticking point for me.  As much as I rue the regional focus of our current name, I’ve never been able to find one that is better.  It would have made sense 30 years ago to use the name Cooperative Baptist Convention, but that was taken by a certain left-leaning splinter group.  That one’s gone.  There aren’t a lot of great names left out there.  So are the names National Baptist and American Baptist.

Suggestions such as “International Baptist Convention” or “Worldwide Baptist Convention” sound great but they actually violate Baptist polity.  Baptist work in other countries is not overseen by the SBC, but is affiliated with it.  Our effect extends to the ends of the earth but our organization and authority stops at the borders here.

I sure hope they don’t come up with something silly like Guidestone or Lifeway.  Nothing against those organizations, but I don’t want us using some name like that.

Maybe the committee will come up with something.  I hope so.

What Is Going to Happen?

So, now I will put on my prophet’s cap and try to figure out what is going to happen.  Unless they delay, the report of the Task Force is due at the February 20 Executive Committee meeting.  The Executive Committee will act on the proposal, then it will be reported to the SBC Annual Meeting, if the Executive Committee approves it.  That is not a done deal, many on that committee were upset by the proposal and the way it was presented.

I’m going to take a stab at what I think is likely to be the proposal of the task force.  I have no inside information, nor am I often good at predictions.  But here’s what I think will happen.

1)  The Task Force will bring a recommendation to change the name of the Convention.

2)  They have already said that they are not going to remove the name Baptist as some were concerned they would do.  We will be a Baptist Convention or Baptist Fellowship.

3)  The greatest likelihood is that the name will be something like Great Commission Baptists, focusing not on our region or geography, but on our mission.

4)  The recommendation will likely be a “dba” arrangement.  We will legally remain the Southern Baptist Convention, but will be doing business as “Great Commission Baptists.”  This will avoid the legal issue of changing the charter and allay some of the financial concerns.

5)  The proposal will narrowly pass the Executive Committee – by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.  Several of those guys were torqued about the way the proposal was made, so there may be some resistance.  But opposing a blue ribbon group like this will be hard and eventually the proposal will pass.

6)  The Convention in New Orleans will NOT be poorly attended and the debate on this proposal will be incredibly lively.

7) I suspect that there may be a full-court press as there was for the GCR.  As a GCR supporter, I was bothered by the pressure put on at the Pastors Conference and at the convention itself.  If something is of God it does not need human manipulation.  I hope that Bryant Wright will just make the proposal, make the case and eschew the pressure tactics that the GCR guys used.

8.) I hope we can have a reasoned discussion, but I suspect that this will become a festival of bloviation. “I’ve been a Southern Baptist all my life and they are trying to ruin this great convention.”  “If we don’t change the name, the lost will die and America will fall into the dustbin of history.”  This discussion may set an all-time record for dogmatic and blustery discussion.

9)  I would not put the chances of the proposal passing at greater than about 1 in 3.  There is an institutional momentum and change comes slow.  I’m not saying that opposition to the name-change is just obstructionist traditionalism.  I’m just saying that the burden of proof is on the name-change proponents and I’m not sure they will meet the burden.

10)  The Phoenix convention was pretty tame.  New Orleans will be an e-ticket ride.  (You young whippersnappers can either google that or ask your parents what it means.)

Those are Davenac the Magnificent’s insights into the future.  What do you think will happen?


  1. Dave Miller says

    I realize that when I post an article, I almost immediately lost all control of the discussion. But I would like to focus this on the future – what do you think is going to happen? What should happen?

    I’m not really interested in further rehashing of the past – the wisdom of the proposal or the process used to bring it forward. I’m trying to foster discussion on what will happen and what should happen.

    Fact is, there is a name change proposal coming. What’s it gonna be and what should it be?

  2. says

    My guess on what will happen will be a name something like Guideway (or Lifestone :-) )Baptist Fellowship. And it will really just be called by the first name and last name and leave unsaid the name baptist. That way you don’t have the battle of doing away with the name “baptist” and can just let churches fellowship together rather than using convention which implies some sort of cooperative ministry.

    • Dave Miller says

      Man, I hope you’re wrong, but who knows. I don’t want to be the Lifestone Baptist Convention.

      They have been pretty clear that whatever name comes will have Baptist in it. Will we use the name? I don’t know.

  3. John Wylie says

    Given the media exposure of the annual meeting of the SBC I hope that the meeting will at least be charitable. I personally think that the messengers will not vote to change the name. I also think that the validity of recommendations coming from an unofficial task force will be debated vigorously. Otherwise, there would be no difference between an official and an unofficial task force. It is my opinion that any recommendation coming from an unofficial task force should be tabled for one additional year in order too dissuade future presidents from commissioning task forces that are not approved by the messengers.

    • Dave Miller says

      John, I would hope we would discuss the proposal on its merits, not on the basis of the process. But I think you are right, there will be people who will oppose the proposal based on the way Wright brought the proposal.

      I agree with you in two points for sure. 1) The discussion needs to be charitable. (will it be? Well…) 2) The proposal has a better chance of failing than succeeding.

  4. says

    I like calling it the Alliance of Baptist Conservatives Doing Everything For God’s Holy Infinite and Just Kingdom – or the ABCDEFGHIJK for short.

  5. says

    IF the Executive Committee decides to place whatever the proposal is on the ballot…

    it will be voted down. (after a few months of internet tar-and-feathering by each side)

    I just can’t see the majority of messengers in a Southern city going for it. Especially since some will interpret this as a chance to strike back against the GCR stuff.

    I would love a better (less regional) name. I’m from the Midwest and moving to the Northeast. But the lack of super-compelling alternatives and general resistance to change by human beings makes it dead in the water most likely.

    • Dave Miller says

      “Especially since some will interpret this as a chance to strike back against the GCR stuff.”

      I hope not, but I think you might be right.

  6. Dave Miller says

    One of the things that we will find out in New Orleans is exactly how strong the “traditionalist” movement in the SBC is. We have had group after group of more traditional SBCers desribe themselves as grassroots or majority Baptists.

    This will certainly be a test of how strong that group is. If, in a Southern state, the proposal passes to change the name of the SBC, it will be an indication that the former traditionalist majority has become a minority.

    I’m not trying to distribute white hats and black hats here, just making an observation.

  7. says

    The name change debate after the proposal is offered will be interesting.

    Many Southern Baptists will want to make the debate about whether “southern” is too regional in name to describe a denomination that is doing a good bit of work beyond the southern borders.

    I think the “regional” issue will ultimately take a distant second-place (at least in terms of narrative and how others beyond the SBC perceive these changes) to the issue of race.

    At the same time the SBC is voting to change its name, the SBC will likely be voting to elect its first African-American President.

    The name-change and race will naturally be connected.

    Also, I don’t really see how a DBA name-change for an institution as big and as old as the SBC will really work. To the 40% of folks with an unfavorable view of the SBC, this will just be a Lipstick on Pig thing.

    The most fascinating part of that Lifeway survey was the finding that folks view the SBC unfavorably at a greater percentage in the South than in either the Midwest or Northeast.

    In fact, out in Dave Miller country, the SBC is viewed more favorably than in the South and has a lower unfavorable rating than in the South. Lotta love for the SBC in the Midwest compared to elsewhere.

    The argument that the “Southern” part of the name is a detriment beyond the South doesn’t really hold up. There are some legitimate issues naturally on the Left Coast, but statistically the numbers between the Midwest-South-Northeast aren’t too significant. Perhaps it is southerners who have the best argument for a name-change?

  8. Bruce H says


    I do not have a problem with removing “Southern” from our name. If we do not change the content and only look at a name, we are not very wise. We are a group of “free willers” and a group of “sovereignty types” that make up all of what Baptist are about. We need to focus on “The BAPTIST” and group us all together without making an issue of only a one-sided doctrine. Our doctrinal issues about salvation should not be the main point in our name but in how we believe. We are a church of Baptist and should realize that we are part of the body and none should be excluded except on grounds of biblical heresy.

    We have grown and need to consider the name change. We must realize that the bottom line is how we live more that the difference in if God does everything or not. Sometimes it doesn’t matter up front who gets the credit. It was ultimately the work of the Spirit that changed my way of thinking and I have to assume that most believers that claim that God does all the choosing belives that also. I didn’t believe it up front and praise God I didn’t. I know it was a work of God since my thinking changed due to His work in lieu of mine.

  9. Heath Lloyd says

    Is the name change like changing your shirt because you stink — but all you have is a new shirt on, you haven’t dealt with the BO.

    • Christiane says

      perhaps the name-change project is more representative of an effort that is more like taking out a thorn . . . ?

  10. Rick says

    My prediction is that, even if it passes, I will continue referring to our denomination as the Southern Baptist Convention, and I’m absolutely certain all of my church members will. (We still talk about the Annuity Board and the Sunday School Board!)

    This is a pretty big waste of time and money for an organization that claims to be interested in saving both.

  11. says

    I have been mildly surprised at the number of influential pastors/denominational leaders interviewed in the past several months over at SBC Today who have said they favor (or at least are not opposed to) a name change. In the end, this may be a sign that it will end up passing.

    Who knows, though? The best scenario, in my opinion, will be a compromise agreement that everyone (or at least a significant majority) can live with. If the name change is voted down in a controversial and acrimonious convention, that will be a lose-lose outcome for everyone. If it is approved in a controversial and acrimonious convention, some may consider it a victory, but there will be lots of loss all around as well.

    I think this needs lots of prayer, and that those planning on attending the convention (on whatever side of the issue they stand) will need to do a lot of soul-searching and heart-checking before getting involved in the public debate.

  12. says

    I’m still in favor of SBC International. We all call it SBC anyway, and could continue to do so.

    I know another mission society that faced similar issues and made a similar change. It worked fine, and kept the identity intact for a yet later change.

  13. Frank L. says

    A name change is inevitable. The cat’s out of the bag. It will happen. It will cause a lot of heat, but don’t see it bringing much light.

    Switching the label on a medicine bottle does not enhance the contents curative powers — in fact, it could be deadly.

    On the other hand . . . if a new generation of StoneWay Baptists get fired up and take hold, then the result of a name change could be the harbinger of a great awakening.

    Either way, the LifeGuide Baptist Convention will be smaller than the Southern Baptist Convention. A name change will most likely result in at least some splintering.

    It will probably not affect our church much at all. We are one of a couple dozen churches in a very small convention in a very large sea of humanity in the L.A. Basin. Our challenges are a lot bigger than changing the name.

    A name change: Good–maybe? Bad–some challenges for sure? Inevitable–Most certainly.

  14. bill says

    The Executive Committee and the Task Force will claim that they have nothing to hide…

    …and promptly seal all their records for fifteen years.

    • Dave Miller says

      Not sure whether to applaud you or this or chide you for your cynicism.

      Gotta give you credit on this one, Bill.

  15. says

    May I suggest two more questions that the panel should consider, on top of the original four:

    5. What are the missional implications of the name change? If the name should reflect the great commission conviction of the SBC, then the missionary implications of that name should be considered (e.g. the missional reasons for the name change of the Baptist General Conference from that name to, “Converge”)

    6. What is the long-term international implication of the name change? For so long, many baptist conventions around the world have looked to the SBC as their structural, organizational, and theological model. They even copy the name, “Baptist Convention.” What are the long-term implications of the name change to the wider southern baptist brethren around the world?


  16. Smuschany says

    The tone of the convention at NO was set, at least in part, at the 2011 Missouri Baptist convention, when a motion asking Missouri Baptists to send the committee members their thoughts, and to pray for them and the convention as a whole. The motion was not in favor of one side or the other, simply asked for people to give their imput and to pray. And it was contested, the debate according to some was heated and ungodly, and in the end the motion was listed as . Then again Missouri has been at the forefront of the anti-anythingthatmightbeacalvinistconspiracytotakeovertheSBC. So there is a chance what happened at the MBC will not happen at NO this summer.

  17. reformedsteve says

    My suggestion for the new name is “Fried Chicken Baptist Fellowship”.

    Do we not have anything better to do with the these mens’ time? I’m against this whole thing, not because I fear that we’ll loose something, but because I fear we have nothing to gain.

    • cb scott says


      Tough enough to stay with his wife even when she is sick.

      • cb scott says

        I left out the “S.”


        Tough enough to stay with his wife even when she is sick.

      • Bruce H says

        Mr. Magoo,

        I’ve already repented to my God. He didn’t mention your name among the people I was to apologize to because you were not involved. You are taking up an offense that does not concern you. I am amazed that no one on this line or sbcvoices has taken you to task on your continued ankle biting. Maybe that is what the SBC is made of now and a name change “should” be in order. If you were a pastor of a church and held sins over people’s head like you do me you ran off some sincere people in your day and damaged many lives. You know no forgiveness and should be taken to task scripturally. Here is a few you could consider:

        “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15

        “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Matthew 18:33-35

        Your way of thinking is that Christians should curl up in a corner and never serve God again when they sin. That is not what God’s forgiveness is all about. That IS what the blood of Christ was shed for; for my past, present and future sins. You need to go back to the basics and begin again because you have certainly lost your first love. I’m not allowing you to destroy what God has restored in me.

          • Bruce H says


            You are very observant. Mr. Magoo was a cartoon character that wandered around wreaking havoc and too ignorant to realize it. I’m sure the person it is intended for knows about Mr. Magoo and realizes now how he is viewed by me and possibly others on this line who keep a tight lip because he is in the “circles”.

          • cb scott says

            Jack Wolford,

            Only the dim-witted would play with a 1911 under the covers or without the covers. 1911s are not toys. That’s why some folks (and maybe you would be included in that group. I don’t really know for sure, but I do wonder sometimes) should be restricted from the ownership of thereof.

            For such dim-witted people who would play with 1911s are the reason those of us who actually know what a 1911 is for and and how to use one and why they are a necessary tool in a fallen world are constantly under attack from the also dim-witted politicians who are trying to take them from us.

            Here is my lesson for you today Jack Wolford: Never play with a firearm. You might kill yourself, or far, far worse, someone else.

        • cb scott says

          To repent is one thing. To make excuses for one’s behavior is quite another. To try to demand that everyone who ever divorced a spouse is no different than you is even another thing.

          All who repent of sin are forgiven. All who say they have repented, but present vain and unbiblical excuses for their sin have not truly repented.

          All who demand that anyone who have been through a divorce no matter the circumstances has committed sin is simply a hypocrite.

          • Christiane says

            if Southerners are looking for understanding of who they are from those on the outside, I don’t think it’s to be had.
            The South is a cultural ‘event’ in time, very rich in its experience and tragedy and wisdom.

            My favorite Southern author speaks to this a bit:

            “Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.
            To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological.

            That is a large statement, and it is dangerous to make it, for almost anything you say about Southern belief can be denied in the next breath with equal propriety.
            But approaching the subject from the standpoint of the writer, I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.
            The Southerner, who isn’t convinced of it, is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God. Ghosts can be very fierce and instructive. They cast strange shadows, particularly in our literature.
            In any case, it is when the freak can be sensed as a figure for our essential displacement that he attains some depth in literature.” – Flannery O’Connor

            C.B., Northerners and others can expect to comment on the South, but they can never fully fathom its mystery and complexity; its tragedy and its beauty.

          • Bruce H says

            Mr. Magoo,

            Your new name says it all. You wander around wreaking havoc and too ignorant to realize it. You continue to accuse me falsely based upon your “prejudice” ways and vent it continuously and always off subject. I’m not leaving and you need to figure out how to act like a Christian publically and deal with it. No one has jumped on your bandwagon of “accusations” and you are too ignorant to realize it. You don’t even allow scripture to speak to you when you are obviously and absolutely wrong. Based upon how you brag about, “(You know that if I did think you of that ilk, I have no reservation in stating as much.)”, it tells me something about you. There is a stubbornness about a person who doesn’t care if he ruins a person’s name or condemns without regard to the facts.

            “For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, And “stubbornness” [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from [being] king.” 1 Samuel 15:23

            You are a true Mr. Magoo and have a trail of sins that follow you.

          • Bruce H says

            One more thing, Magoo.

            If you are allowed to continue to disgrace people like me who come here and are open and sincere with our comments then this blog is, “just a little Payton Place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites”.

            Maybe someone needs to do a post on, “How Do We Treat Christians Who Have Sinned and Repented and Are Not In Our Circle of Bloggers But They Are Still Of The Baptist Faith?”

            My patience has run thin since a Mr. Magoo can continue to bully people around openly without rebuke. I turneth my cheek no more gentlemen.

          • cb scott says

            A reality check from Mr. Magoo to you Bruce H.

            It was not Magoo who brought about the disgrace. It was he named Magoo “Magoo.”

          • Bruce H says

            Just stay on subject, Magoo.

            Harper Valley PTA” is a country song written by Tom T. Hall that was a major international hit single for country singer Jeannie C. Riley in 1968.

          • Christiane says

            And don’t try to feed Northerners grits when they want home fries with onions . . .

            they don’t understand the grit thing either

          • cb scott says


            Do you remember a couple of years ago when the two of us and another guy had that long dialogue about Flannery O’Connor?

          • Christiane says

            Hi C.B.

            I can’t quite remember it. Was it on Debbie’s blog and did I quote her ‘truth doesn’t change because . . . ‘ saying ?

            I seem to remember that you like Southern authors, as I believe you have mentioned Faulkner, another favorite of mine. Have you ever read any of Eudora Welty’s writing, C.B. She’s up there with the best of the Southern writers.

          • cb scott says


            You are right. It was on Debbie’s blog. O’Conner wrote a book entitled: A Good Man is Hard to Find.

            I find it funny that you mention her in this specific and most particular section of this comment thread.

            You may have to reflect on that for a moment. But when you get the humor, I think you will not be able to resist shaking your head and having a smile of irony come across your face. And you will be right in thinking of me; “You mean rascal.” :-)

          • Christiane says


            I’m going to see if Debbie still has her blog set up for archival use . . . if she does, I’ll find the ‘conversation’, C.B. . . . you know I will. :)

  18. volfan007 says

    My feelings are that this is a total waste of time and money, and it’s stirring up unnecessary strife and division.

    That being said…if we’re gonna change the name…how about Galactic Baptist People? And, we’d call ourselves the “G” for short?

    Or, how about the “Cool, Hip, Fellowship of the USA, but
    dont Offend Anyone People?” And, we’d just refer to ourselves as the “People?”


    • Rick says


      I’m normally with you, but what about potential life on other galaxies? If our name only references the Milky Way galaxy, what does that say to all the people who may or may not live on Snickers or Baby Ruth? Surely they will never be reached for Christ, because our name practically tells them they don’t matter.


      • volfan007 says

        True, Rick…I hadnt thought of that. :)

        I guess I’ll head on down to the KFC for lunch…even though I live in Tennessee! Aint that a dilemma for me? How in the world can I go to a place that’s just for Kentuckians? I guess I just like their chicken.


        • Dave Miller says

          The KFC thing is funny, but the name itself implies, “something we do really well in Kentucky.” The south is known for their fried chicken – like New York or Chicago-style pizza or Kansas City Barbeque (or Memphis, or whatever) or Iowa sweet corn.

          The name implies where the thing is from. Hopefully, our “product” is not Southern, but biblical, universal and eternal. Our name should be the same.

          Sorry, I’ve just seen that KFC thing often. I had Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch. Didn’t know buffalo’s had wings. The one who rammed our van this summer had horns, not wings.

  19. L. Claire Cantwell says

    The powers that be may change the name, but Jesus will know who we are anyway. Everything is marketed, even Christ these days. I am southern by birth and by God’s grace. It makes no difference to me what the Convention will be christened. I think the debate is rather ridiculous. There is much name recognition that will be lost. If there’s something negative about being a denomination that was raised up in the South, then shame on the PTB (powers that be). After all, I am a Christian first and foremost and no one will re-name that unless it’s over my dead body.

    • Bruce H says


      I am from Conroe, TX (north of Houston) and think the name change is fine. I would prefer a reorganization and restructure before a name change though. It sounds more like a marketing ploy or “compromising” to some people’s concern with the name. Get-r-done and let’s move on!

  20. Bill Mac says

    I’ve said this repeatedly. In a denomination dominated by Southerners, dropping Southern from the name is not going to fly.

    • cb scott says

      Bill Mac,

      I don’t really think you are bigoted against people from the Southland.

      But in case some are, I just want to state something here as a gentle reminder.

      LifeWay does not have to research my gentle reminder either, because the historic data is as plain as is the fact the the SBC is a para-church and religiously political entity, populated by imperfect people, some of which have been born again and some of which have not.

      Those missional people from the Southland of this nation known as Southern Baptists have supported, educated, financed, and sent more missionaries with the gospel of Christ to the nations than any other group of people in the history of the earth and continue to do so.

      If any group of people ever took the Great Commission seriously, it was a bunch of American, southern born people who did truly become followers of Christ and did truly take the mandate of the Great Commission as a way of life for those who name the name of Jesus as Lord.

      • volfan007 says


        Amen, Bro. And yet, we seem to have a generation, who doesnt understand this? or, who doesnt want to acknowledge this? Or, doesnt value it?

        Southerners carried out the Great Commission like no other group in the world, and most certainly continue to do so…even with Southern in the name….

        How remarkable.


      • Bill Mac says

        CB: All I’m saying is that I think (at least some) Southerners are seeing a proposed name change as a slight against them. I might feel the same way if the situation was reversed.

        • Bill Mac says

          It is a difficult thing for those of us who minister in the north and are of the opinion that the word Southern might possibly make our job harder, without it sounding like we are casting aspersions on our Southern brethren.

          • cb scott says

            Bill Mac,

            Trust me. I don’t see the effort for the name change of the SBC as a slight against me. I see it as something else entirely.

            The point in my comment was that from time-to-time here and elsewhere in Baptist blog threads, I read comments that imply that the “Southern Brethren” are less, and have been less all along, than biblical in their approach to missions, evangelism, worship, and soteriology. I consider that mind-set to be one of historical and contemporary ignorance and grossly bigoted, not to mention just plain rude behavior….with just a little stupid thrown in for flavoring.

            Again Bill Mac, I don’t think you are of that ilk. I have been reading your comments and interacting with you for a while now and I do not direct my comments to you personally. (You know that if I did think you of that ilk, I have no reservation in stating as much.)

            But there are individuals who comment here and elsewhere who have no real concept of what life is here in the Southland, but they make statements as if they know the “landscape” and have concluded it lacking in all things. That is just not true, and I have no reservations calling those who do such short-sighted, bigoted and rather stupid.

      • cb scott says

        Bill Mac,

        As you can see, those thing are so foreign to me that I cannot even keep up with the proper identification. You can take the boy out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the boy.

        • Bill Mac says

          You folks don’t eat potatoes for breakfast? Or do you just call them “friiiiiiiied taters” 😉 ?

          • volfan007 says

            Bill Mac,

            Fried taters is the word we use…but, with IHOP’s and Huddle Houses and Waffle Houses and McDonalds being so prevalent across the South now, hashbrowns is a word that’s being used more now.

            But, I sure do like fried taters with onions in them, when cooked in a cast iron skillet….


      • Frank says

        CB, a good anecdote to support your premise is none other than Charlotte Moon. She was not only a Southerner, but a lady. She not only embraced missions, she embraced one of the most spiritually dead (and dangerous) fields in the world.

        So, I think your analysis has much to support it.

        • cb scott says


          The first time I met Ms. Charlotte Moon was about six months after I had married another born and reared Southern Baptist lady. She discovered I had a healthy sum of ill gotten gain hidden away. She informed me that she was a Christian and could not receive benefit from such an ungodly acquired revenue. She made this revelation with many tears and much conviction. I informed her that to return such ill gotten gain might be problematic for some former acquaintances and also for the man who was not the same man as before he was converted and she had recently married.

          She did not falter. She declared that I could give the ill gotten gain to Ms. Moon and that would somewhat purify it although not really. Begrudgingly, I did as she “requested.” After a couple of years and a missions class or two in a Southern Baptist college, I came to the conclusion that Ms. Charlotte Moon’s cause was worthy of my “sacrifice.”

          You are right Frank. Ms. Charlotte Moon was a fine Southern Lady and her cause is one of great value to the advancement to the Kingdom. But my first meeting with her was very costly. :-)

          • Frank says

            CB, you made me think deeply about what things (discussions) I get caught up in. For example: you point out how Lottie Moon rallied a force for missions going into the second century “after” her death (not counting nearly half a century of life).

            Yet, I do not know of one reference she ever made (and I’ve read some but not all the books about her) in regard to Calvinism.

            There’s a point to this post, but I’m not sure I know what it is.

          • cb scott says


            I have read a couple of books about Lottie Moon. I studied her life in a couple of missions classes. My wife knows far more than I do. My wife was a Sunbeam (I don’t know why they did not call them “Moon”beams.) in a Southern Baptist church and caught Lottie fever early in life. Before she got too sick, she always led the promotion of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in the churches we have served.

            So Frank, maybe you are right. I don’t really know bout Lottie Moon and her views of Calvin or the Tulip. But, I do think this:

            I think Lottie Moon was a woman who took Jesus seriously when He called her to take up the cross, deny herself and follow Him. Yep, I think she had that part down pretty good.

  21. says

    Sadly, this reminds me of something I experienced. The EFCA held various ministerial conferences during the revision to their statement of faith. In large part, the changes were very good and served as a “proactive rather than reactive” stance to face things like Open Theism and such before they became issues.

    However, one of the proposed changes was far and away the elephant in the room, and one that I wholeheartedly supported (and would have even if I were not amillennial) – dropping “premillennial” from the statement about Christ’s return.

    Here is the “original” point:

    “We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.”

    Here is how the proposed point read:

    “We believe in the personal and glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with His holy angels, when He will establish His kingdom fully and exercise His role as Judge of all. This coming of Christ at a time known only to God requires constant expectancy and should motivate the believer to godly living, sacrificial service, and energetic mission. This is our blessed hope.”

    Personally, I thought the proposed statement was better, but you can guess the fallout. Churches threatened to leave the movement, people were accused of throwing away solid exegesis for some liberal method that denied the sufficiency of the bible, that we were paving the way for a liberal take over, etc. Charges even flew that we denied the belssed hope of the pretrib rapture! Say it ain’t so!!!

    The funniest quotes were from people like Doug Moo who said something like “If you think your statement of faith will prevent heresy from creeping in, you’re mistaken. It doesn’t do that now, and it won’t do that in the future.” I even asked a couple of pastors “So, a person can affirm things like salvation can be lost and transubstantiation and be a pastor of our denomniation, but God forbid if he’s an amillennial.” You can guess the response to that as well.

    The way I’ve heard how this proposed name change is framed reminds me of that. Granted, I’m an outsider to the SBC, and I’ve only heard clips and phrases about this, but some things I have read about this from various places make me think that the SBC will fall into liberal heresy and become desolate and defunct if the name changes.

    Very much like what we were told would happen if we dropped “premillennial” from the EFCA statement of faith.

    Long story still a bit long – the original wording for that statement stuck. The vast amillennial heresy was once again stopped dead in its tracks, and life as we knew it went on.

    So, maybe a word of advice to y’all is to receive this name change proposal with eyes not set on “those higher up punks trying to ramrod this change down my throat” but think of it in terms that many of you are already doing “What are the reasons a name change was proposed? Are they valid reasons? Am I holding on to a name because it’s comfortable for me?” There was much heat and very little light from the peanut gallery during the conference I attended about the name change. People’s hearts were called into question and their motives were called sinful and wrong. My pastor even warned me that those things would happen, and he advised me not to become soured on the ministry because of a conference like that.

    What a sad commentary on Christian brotherhood, eh? Don’t be like that. Be passionate, but understanding as well. The ministry behind the SBC will continue no matter what happens to its name – at least it should.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. :)

    • John Wylie says

      Jeff Meyer,

      The one disagreement I have with your assessment is this, as you well know the Evangelical Free Church was founded on premillennialism. Such a change would be a fundamental drift from it’s foundation. I’m not a EFCA guy but I’ve met guys like Dr. David Larson, and that kind of change would have forced people like him out of your denomination. In the SBC we’re not talking about a doctrinal shift just a name change. We are talking about changing the name but not the fundamental tenets we were founded upon. BTW, I’m against the name change but I can live with it provided it’s not some cool, hip, market driven nonsense.

      • says

        John – I agree with your assessment, and the hope that the name, if changed, is actually one that will stand the test of time and not some trendy marketing gimmick.

        Thread-jacking a bit – I have always wondered why removing “premillennial” was seen as such a big deal by a certain set of leaders in the EFCA. Almost everyone I knew supported the change. In my experience, it was tied to what seminary they associated with – most Dallas guys fought the change, most TEDS guys supported it.

        In fact, the history of the EFCA shows that the original framers were more concerned with pre-trib than pre-mil. I think it was in the 70s when post-trib was accepted within the ranks that the thoughts started on why the EFCA was holding onto the “premillennial” phraseology since there is nothing in that statement that requires a “premillennial” hermeneutic. It was like pulling teeth to get people like Doug Moo tenured as a historic premillennial guy – even that form of premillennialism was rejected for a long time because of tradition, even though he held to the SOF verbatim.

        So, I totally agree with a denomination’s ability to define it’s own beliefs, but it doesn’t take long to see that a bunch of leaders in the EFCA think the SOF is inspired (or at least behave like it is.) It’s almost as if you can’t even question what is written in it.

        Sorry for the gap – as this thread was. 😉

        • Dave Miller says

          “…hope that the name, if changed, is actually one that will stand the test of time and not some trendy marketing gimmick.”

          Tru dat. Amen. Amen. Oh, and amen.

          • cb scott says


            LOL. Yeah, ….”and such” No doubt “and such” will be a major factor. You are just too sly Vol. 😉

  22. sbc in pioneer state says

    You described the SBC exec discussions very well and very close to what happened.

    This could be propossed to go to the exec and studied amongst the vavious work groups before it gets to the convention or maybe sent back to the exec from the convention.

    just my 2 cents worth…..

  23. Bruce H says

    Politicians don’t like changes. They would rather rename something and leave the practices and policies alone. If we are not presently working to make our overall business lean and productive to allow more money to flow to ministry and missions we need no new name. A new name would mean that we are different (focused) and better (precise in mission) and more productive (evangelistic/disciple balanced). Changing the name without changing the practices and policies within is the same as “doing the same thing and expecting different results”; and the world knows what that means.

  24. Lydia says

    “if Southerners are looking for understanding of who they are from those on the outside, I don’t think it’s to be had.
    The South is a cultural ‘event’ in time, very rich in its experience and tragedy and wisdom. ”

    I just don’t get this thinking at all. The “South” has not been the “South” since air conditioning was invented. Please explain this to me since I know so many people who are first generation “Southerners”. In other words, their parents moved here at some point and this could be someone 20 or someone 80. There was a huge migration to the South in the 1980’s due to economic growth and another several more before that when AC was invented. (Think business not just homes. Think the 1930’s and the TVA, etc, etc.)

    • Christiane says

      Hey, Lydia

      well, I am one-half very old South, my dear lady. My mother’s people. I have the photographs going back to the family of my great, great grandmother Collins in Plymouth N.C. I know all the stories. I’ve visited the family home which is on the historical tour in Plymouth . . . it has bullet holes still in it by the upper window where a sniper was stationed. He was eventually shot and killed. He staggered down the stairs and died in the main hallway . . . his blood stained that flooring and has never been able to be removed. I’ve seen letters written by a great uncle from the Confederate front, asking for ‘a suit of clothes made from a blanket’, very humble, and haunting.
      Truth is, the search for the roots of my own grandmother’s Southern Baptist faith have been a continuation of my own examination of the history of my family, lived out from the time of wealth and privilege through the time of ‘the recent unpleasantness’, as the Civil War was known. If you’re interested, look up the Ausbon House, Plymouth NC, and you can read a bit about where my grandmother lived as an infant.

      There is no way people from other parts of the country can know what those in the South went through and how it has left its scars, Lydia. Very historic, very sad legacy in my mother’s family.

      • Lydia says

        “There is no way people from other parts of the country can know what those in the South went through and how it has left its scars, Lydia. Very historic, very sad legacy in my mother’s family.”

        That is one of many reasons why Jesus went to the Cross, Christiane. Scars. New Birth and New Creatures in Christ. We do not have to inherit “legacies” of our ancestors, thankfully.

        The South is not the South of even 50 years ago. Much less 150 years ago. Why do people try to perpetuate ancient history? Where do you think most of the population of Atlanta came from over the last 100 years with it’s huge growth? The North, West, etc… Did they move there and become part of the sad legacy of the South?

        • cb scott says


          You are right about the South not being the same as it was even 50 years ago.

          At the Mayor’s Christmas prayer breakfast last year, he shared with us that there were 113 known languages in daily use within the city of Birmingham.

          Of course, shortly after that pryer breakfast, the jury who found the Mayor guilty of corruption and sent him to a federal prison in Kentucky all spoke English when they gave their verdict to the Judge. So I guess there are a few things here in the Southland have not changed, especially among our politicians. :-)

      • Lydia says

        On the other hand David, I once read a pretty good article showing the fast growth of government coinciding with the installation of air conditioning in the Capitol and other parts of DC. Before that, no one could stand the place for the summer months so nothing got done. (yea!)

  25. volfan007 says

    Peter Lumpkins has some interesting news on the name change over at his blog..


    • cb scott says


      I just read Peter’s post. If that post is accurate, this is just not a good thing any way you look at it. it makes a guy want to say, “When will we ever learn?”

      Baptist Press should pick up on the content of Peter’s post and investigate it. If Baptist Press ignores Peter’s post, it may speak volumes as to the reality of what is going on with the proposal to change the name of the SBC.

      Lastly, I have known Peter for a while now. He is sharp as a tack. He does his homework. Thus far, when Peter Lumpkins cries “Fire in the Hole” the warning is valid. This Peter is not the one who called “wolf.”

      • says

        CB, Baptist Press answers directly to the EC, so you are not likely going to see any form of independent investigative journalism from that angle.

        Peter’s analysis looks pretty good on this one, that’s for sure.

        • cb scott says

          Doug Hibbard,

          You are correct.

          That was the purpose of this statement:

          “If Baptist Press ignores Peter’s post, it may speak volumes as to the reality of what is going on with the proposal to change the name of the SBC.”

          If the goose is already cooked, the chefs will not allow the secret sauce revealed.

    • David T says

      Not wanting to get in the way of a good conspiracy, I would interject that there is a less sinister (conspiratorial) possibility for what Peter describes. There are those who make a practice of registering potentially usable domain names, with the sole purpose of negotiating the sale of the domain name to a person, business, or entity that might have a legitimate desire for it. This could easily enough be the work of a media-watching “domain squatter” as it could be an inside fix. Conversely, if those on the inside were concerned about that practice, they could indeed have pre-emptively registered potential domain names (the ones mentioned – perhaps others as yet undiscovered) to hopefully avoid having the domain names “held hostage” for profit.

      • volfan007 says

        David T.,

        But, even your scenario shows that these are the possible names for the SBC; does it not? Which is what Peter was basically saying. That these names were being registered, because maybe a new name is already in the making…AND, these seem to be the ones they’re looking at; right?


        • David T says

          The thing is, other David, that potential new names for Southern Baptists can be speculated quite easily. It has happened in this blog several times. In my first scenario, the media-savvy squatter could readily formulate a list of, say, 10 possible combinations that would be reasonable alternatives. Domain names are not all that expensive to get; a 10 name investment for a potential buy-out of one would be the calculated investment part. Likewise, in the second scenario, media-savvy SBCers could readily do the same as a defensive move.

          I’m not arguing that Peter’s insinuation could be true, just that there could be legitimate other scenarios that don’t contribute to the feeding frenzy.

  26. bill says

    List of things going on here:

    Politics. Lots and lots of Politics.

    The only problem is that we have far too many idiots who refuse to either admit or notice that politics is what drives the convention. They just get a larger group than the other group, shout out, “God wills it!”, and then everyone (to the point that Pavlov just smiles) follows their conditioning and just goes along with it.

    This is all political maneuvering. Every. Single. Bit.

    But since its the leaders of the perceived majority acting, they couch it like its divine inspiration.

    But it is politics.

    You can tell that it is politics by how many leaving our seminaries act when talking about those already in charge.

    You can tell that it is politics by how we’ll bring the entire fury of the convention down on faceless pastors and churches who might let a woman lead but let our celebrity pastors promote sex rather than the gospel and no one says a word.

    You can tell it is politics from how the GCRTF acted when people started questioning the actions of that task force. Hitler had a better concept of transparency than some of these people. These men met at resort hotels while so many of our churches struggle week to week. But amidst all the statements that there is nothing to hide, for some reason we won’t get to see any of this for fifteen years.

    Of course, in fifteen years it won’t matter.

    We just have a new generation of people who knew what Patterson, Pressler, et al knew thirty years ago. People are sheep and they’ll follow as long as there is power to be had and hopefully someone will find a way to tie it to God’s will and it’ll all be okay.

    There’s just one difference. The Conservative Resurgence was necessary (though some actions weren’t) and this whole snafu isn’t necessary.

    The Southern Baptist Convention is hated for the same reason that The Boy Scouts of America is hated. We haven’t compromised. We haven’t folded in the hopes of getting people in our doors AND THEN trying to change their hearts and minds. We have toed a line in the sand that is inherent with truly sharing the gospel.

    I would rather be hated because I hold firm to my beliefs and convictions rather than have the world love me because I compromise to fit their standards.

    We have a politics in play and we’ll get watch it all play out.

    Probably to the sound of thunderous applause…

    • Dave Miller says

      It is impossible to avoid politics – that is the art of getting things done in a big group.

      But I do not agree, if by your statement you mean to imply that people do not care about God’s Kingdom or God’s Work.

      • cb scott says


        The “Hitler” statement might be a little strong there, don’t you think? And Dave is right. Politics cannot be avoided in the human enterprise. Personally, I don’t think ‘politics’ is an evil word. I think politics is a tool. We can use that tool in a right manner or a wrong manner. It is true that we SBC folks have used the tool wrongly at times. It is also true we have certainly used it properly also.

        The absence of politics is anarchy. In my experience, I would rather have the politics.

        • John Wylie says


          I really appreciate your comments and believe them as well. I’ve said the same, we don’t need polls or public opinion surveys to know why the SBC is hated by some. For some it’s because our stand on the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For others it’s our focus on grace as opposed to works. For others still, it’s our stand against obvious and blatant sin (which shall remain nameless, but everyone knows and it begins with the initials “welcoming and affirming”). Jesus in Matthew 11:16-19, and Luke 7:31-35 contrasted His ministry methods with those of John the Baptist and His conclusion was this, it doesn’t matter what method you wrap the message in some will not like the message no matter what. I don’t think that changing the name will advance the kingdom whatsoever, but if it must happen to please some of our brethren my only request is please don’t make it the “Spiked haired skinny jean wearing fellowship of limp wristed Baptists”.

          • cb scott says

            “Spiked haired skinny jean wearing fellowship of limp wristed Baptists”.

            I would love to hear John Wylie preach. I think it would be a good thing if he preached at the SBC Pastors’ Conference.

          • John Wylie says

            Wow Brother C.B.,

            That comment was way kinder than I deserve. And I suspect that I would be considered a bit of a loose canon and wouldn’t make the long list let alone the short list for consideration. But thanks anyway.

        • says

          I find myself agreeing with Bill, Dave, and CB on certain points. Of course politics is involved in this process. To say that it is not is to either be grossly naive or willfully blind to the facts on the ground. As both Dave and CB point out, politics can be beneficial on some levels. At its core, politics is the art of persuading people. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that concept.

          However, politics, as “practiced” by Christians, should be guided by the Holy Spirit in accordance with Biblical principles. That being said, I agree with Bill that it is not sufficient to just say “this is God’s will; shut up and don’t question what we are doing.” In the age of the internet and blogs, that will not work anymore. And, whether or not it’s in the SBC or in the Halls of Congress, process does matter, regardless of what some might say. When the process is fundamentally flawed (as was the case with the GCR and with the unofficial official Name Change Task Force), then politics takes on an ugly dimension.

          I don’t know how much of the Name Change stuff is politically motivated as opposed to Kingdom motivated. It may not be 100% as Bill surmises, but I tend to think (based on the recent past) that he’s in the infield of the ballpark with his estimation, his Hitler analogy notwithstanding (using Obama would have been more on target). We will begin to get the answer to the politics question in the next few weeks and then leading up to the Convention in New Orleans. Thanks and God bless,


          • cb scott says

            Cousin Howell,

            I trust your end of the tree is green and fruitful.

            By any chance have you read the recent post of Peter Lumpkins on this matter of the name change? I would be most interested on your take on the content of that post. Your analytical abilities are usually pretty good at shaving off the fat and getting right down to the lean meat of the beast.

            I made a comment on Peter’s post up in this thread between 111-113. Nonetheless, your input would be weighty in my opinion. So give Peter’s post a glance or two and let us know what you think if you are so inclined.

          • Lydia says

            As usual, Howell sums things up quite well. How we do things in the SBC is as equally important as what we do.

          • says


            Things are well here in New Mexico and, yes, the tree is still green and fruitful, cuz :-) I did read Peter’s post yesterday, but went back and re-read it again in light of your comments on this post. If the facts that Peter reported in his post are accurate (and I have every reason to believe that they are), then this would be major news indeed. It would not be surprising news, but news nonetheless.

            I do not expect Baptist “Press” to report on this story at all. BP is becoming less Baptist and less Press with each passing day. If one were so inclined to go to the website — which is where I believe people were encouraged to enter a new name for the SBC — one would find no place to register that the current name is just fine and does not need to be changed.

            I have written extensively on what I believe was an unconstitutional abuse of power by the SBC President, and Peter’s reporting just confirms that some of the SBC elites did not want a study so much as to ramrod this through like they did the GCR (which is still not playing well out in my neck of the woods). I fully expect more parliamentary shennanigans in New Orleans when a motion is made to do a “dba” arrangement, which would probably only require a simple majority vote instead of the 2/3 super majority at two consecutive conventions. New Orleans should be a hoot! Hope all is well with you. God bless,


          • cb scott says

            Thanks Howell,

            I appreciate your taking the time to respond. And truthfully, I fear you might be right. As I stated earlier, Peter does his homework. A lot of folks do not like the finished product of Peter’s diligence in tracking down sources, but it generally hard to refute him when he does expose something.

            Yet, I had hoped that he would be completely in left field about all of this. I had hoped you would have a completely different perspective on the issue. I guess I had hoped those things because I want to think we are better than that. I want to believe we always seek a higher standard.

  27. John Wylie says

    If indeed Peter Lumpkins is correct and this name change is going to cost a minimum of $20,000,000 that should be enough to give anyone pause. I mean I don’t know where that figure came from, but could you imagine the amount of missionaries that could be funded with 20 million dollars? What possible benefit could come from a name change that warrants such an investment?

  28. Louis says

    1. Don’t believe all the hype about the cost. It will not cost that much for the SBC to use an assumed corporate name.

    2. The SBC should change its name. Having a 150 year old name that was selected for and to emphasize regional purposes no longer make sense. Those that want to hold on to the name do so because they like the history of the name and cultural identification that goes along with it. I am among those who believe that history and culture should be secondary considerations. I would prefere a name that matches our current situation (and yes, I know that we are still largely “in the South”, but we do not desire to be only in the South. So it’s not a percentage type argument).

    3. The “Brand” issues are largely overblown. People will not be confused, as churches will continue to use the names they use now. The LifeWay change is a great example. I don’t think people are confused and can’t find a Baptist Bookstore, so we lose them as customers.

    4. There are enough people in the Convention who do not want to change the name such that the name will not be accomplished at this time, and that’s o.k., really. Eventually, the name will change. Churches continue to change their names, new churches have new kinds of names. This trend is not going to abate. It may take another generation, but eventually, the changes on the church level will influence the convention – and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

    5. If by some miracle the name is changed, what is proposed at this time will probably be clunky and awful sounding. “Great Commission Baptists” sounds awful to me. It’s like the word “lostness” that keeps getting tossed around. These words need explanations to the uninitiated. Southern Baptist Convention is actually a more clear and understandable name than “Great Commission Baptists. This is why waiting to change the name will be good. The suggestions will get better in years to come.

    6. When the name change is defeated, the Press will write stories galore about the SBC being the last bastion of the Confederacy etc. I believe that those who do not want to change the name are not at all racist. They want to hold on to the good parts of SBC history and identification with Southern culture, which I can understand. The press will unfairly take it further, and we’ll have to endure the insults. Maybe it won’t be that bad, but I doubt it.

  29. John Wylie says


    I really appreciate your well reasoned remarks. But I have two questions for your consieration.

    1.) Concerning the costs, even if the 20 million figure is overblown, is pushing for a name change ever worth 10% of that? Even 2 million is enough to give me pause.

    2.) This question corresponds to your sixth point, If what you say is true and the press will have a field day bashing the SBC for contrived connections to the old Confederacy, why would the name change proponents want to hand such a field day to the press? I mean they would be at least just as responsible as those who were against a name change. Why even fight that battle now? I personally don’t believe it’s necessary.

  30. Louis says

    Thanks, John. I really enjoy reading a lot of what you write, too.

    1. I don’t even think it would take 2 million. Where are these numbers coming from? I may be terribly naive, but the only tasks I perceive are – 1) the necessary convention votes (we are meeting anyway so there’s really not much extra cost there), 2) any ad/pr type consultants (I am not a big proponent of this, but am throwing that expense in for good measure), 3) filing an assumed name paperwork at the Georgia Secretary of State (probably $50 to $100), 4) filing whatever may be required with the IRS, if anything ($1000, 5) changing stationery at corporate headquaters (minimal). Hopefully we buy stationery on “as needed” basis, and we don’t have 5,000,000 sheets stored.

    Again, I am naive, I’m sure. But for those who are proposing these huge costs, I have never seen a breakdown. And most of the people that I hear bring that up do not appear to have a background in the corporate world. Even if they did, I would like to see an itemized cost estimate.

    I would be glad to look at an itemized cost estimate, but until then, I just see that as a smoke screen, much like the claim that this issue is not the most important issue on the table – so let’s not deal with it, or something along those lines.

    2. Well, your argument is this – that even though using a different name than the one that was selected 150 years ago would be appropriate and a good thing, that because it will be voted down, and that bad press will follow, that we should not try to do a good and right thing.

    It would be unfortunate, but my belief is that the people who vote against it should be put in front of the camera to explain why. I suspect that 20 years hence, they will wish they had not been around.

    I know that I would hate to appear on national local TV saying that we should keep the name because of our Southern history and heritage. That does not make sense to me. I would rather a name be based on mission and where we are headed.

    I just don’t believe that even if a majority of a deliberative body is committed to a particular course of action that I think could be used by detractors that we should not do what make sense.

    I really can’t believe this wasn’t done 50 years ago.

  31. Sheila Simmons says

    If it ain’t broke…and it ain’t…why can’t you all just quit meddling with tryin’ to “fix it”? I was born and raised a SOUTHERN BAPTIST. I left the denomination a long time ago but it sure wasn’t because I was ashamed of my heritage.