Why “Great Commission Baptists” Matters to Me

The end draweth nigh.  Well, I don’t know about that end, but the end of the discussion on whether we should accept the recommendation of the task force to adopt the unofficial moniker “Great Commission Baptists” to be used by Southern Baptists.  We’ve hashed and rehashed it and then rehashed it again.  We’ve had no shortage of articles published here (mostly against the proposal) and we’ve discussed it from just about every angle.

But now we are about 6 weeks out from the convention and the time is coming to stop talking and start voting.  Bart Barber had an article last week that spelled out the four options (the motion passes by a large margin, passes closely, is defeated narrowly or is defeated by a large margin) for the vote.   He stated his opinion that the motion would not have an overwhelming majority either way, and that in the absence of such a majority, the vote would tend to be somewhat inconsequential.

Count me as one who hopes the motion passes, and that it passes by a substantial majority. That term “substantial” is not really defined anywhere, but I have a simple definition.  When the ballots are raised on the floor, everyone can see which way the vote went – perhaps 60-40 or better might be the breaking point. So, I will be very disappointed if the motion does not pass by at least a 60% majority.

I would like to discuss what I believe are the merits of the unofficial name-change, adding “Great Commission Baptists” as an unofficial name change.  I am on vacation and won’t be able to monitor the discussion much, but I am hoping we can focus the discussion on the value of the name-change proposal itself, not all the procedural objections that have been raised and focused on so much.

The question today,

“Would the moniker “Great Commission Baptists” be a good thing for Southern Baptists in the days ahead.

I say yes, and here is why:

1) “Great Commission Baptists” is a superior name.

Flat out it is a superior name to the name Southern Baptists.  It speaks to who we are supposed to be, and what we are supposed to be doing.  We do not exist to promote the South or to protect Southern culture and heritage.  We exist to obey the Great Commission Christ gave us by making disciples.  If we were starting a denomination today, we’d choose Great Commission Baptist over Southern Baptist 99%-1%.

So, a better name, even an unofficial one, is now available.  Why not use it?

2)  “Great Commission Baptists” broadens our focus.

When the SBC formed, it was a regional convention – focused on the Confederacy.  That has not been the case for decades.  We’ve been trying to reach out in the Northeast and the Midwest and the West.  And in those regions, the attachment to the name Southern is anything but helpful.  If we want to be a North American convention, why do we want to lead with the name “Southern?”  Maybe we are still primarily Southern, but we have an intent to be national.  This name reflects that.

Do we want to be “Southern?”  Does anyone have that as a goal?  I think not.  I hope not.  Then why not have a name that people from all parts of the country can join in supporting?

3) “Great Commission Baptists” removes a racially-charged impediment.

I’m trying to tread lightly here.  I know that all Southerners are not racist, and that the South has labored in many ways to put its past in the past.  I’m not saying that the South bears an eternal stain.  But I do that the word “Southern” is an impediment to some. In fact, Dwight McKissic published a post (here and at his site) expressing his disappointment that the task force didn’t go all the way and get rid of the name Southern.  But in the absence of the perfect (and I agree with Dwight – I wish we could completely rid ourselves of our regional name), this is a great solution.

In some people’s minds, there will always be a link between our racist past as a convention and the future.  Why not have the ability to use a name that leaves that impediment behind?

4)  “Great Commission Baptists” is a uniting name.

I know, the kerfuffle surrounding it hardly gives evidence of this.  But look at the task force.  There were representatives of just about every corner of the convention.  Traditionalists. More contemporary folks.  Calvinists.  Non-Calvinists.  This group represented a wide range of the SBC.

And they joined together around this name.  Unanimously.

When the task force was originally announced, there was a lot of division about it on the Executive Committee.  When the proposal came, there was very limited dissension.

There is something in this for everyone.  The name SBC is kept.  There is another name to be used by those who don’t want to use the name Southern.

5)  “Great Commission Baptists” represents, perhaps, the best solution to a continuing problem. 

The name-change has been discussed for decades.  Why is that?  Because a lot of people see that the regional focus in our name is an impediment to ministry in some other parts of the country and with some other people.

I’ve been writing on the need to get rid of our regionally-restrictive name for years.

But the task force looked it over and realized that the legal and financial obstacles to this were not going to be overcome.  We just can’t change the name of the SBC.  Our charter makes that difficult.  The legal costs would be staggering.  But the fact remains that focusing on one part of the country is not helpful in proclaiming Christ and his gospel in other parts of the nation.

If the complete name-change is not available, and even a dba arrangement is cost-prohibitive, then the task force seems to have settled on a great, workable solution to a thorny issue.

6)  “Great Commission Baptists” shows that we are ready to move forward, not stuck in the past. 

The SBC has been a traditionalist denomination.  As the world around us has changed, we have often held onto traditions that were not rooted in the Word.  We should never compromise on inerrancy no matter how unpopular it is.  We should hold to theological and moral distinctives that are rooted in the Word – without compromise.  But sometimes our focus has been on things that don’t matter biblically.

Adopting this moniker can be a signal that the SBC is ready to adapt and grow to face the future – not abandoning those things that really matter, but lightening our load of all the cultural, regional and unnecessary baggage that we’ve often carried with us.

Boiled to the bone, I’d much rather be a Great Commission Baptist than a Southern Baptist.

Now, it’s your turn.

I won’t be around much to defend or argue these points.  I’m going to be hanging out at Cedarville helping my daughter pack up after her freshman year.  So, now its your turn.

If my desires matter to you, I’d rather not focus on those procedural issues that have been hammered on over and over again.

Here’s my question:

Would using the name “Great Commission Baptists” as an unofficial add-on to our name Southern Baptist Convention be a help to us in accomplishing our task of making disciples in North America?

Talk amongst yourselves.




  1. says

    Are we “Great Commission Baptists”? If we are, then fine. If we are not, then adopting that name would be tantamount to a lie, and would certainly make us hypocrites.

    Based on the numbers, we’re not. Not when 10+ million of the people whom God sent to us, to disciple, have simply disappeared, and we claim, ourselves, that the strong majority of our membership is not being made disciples.

    I think this is much more dangerous than simply adopting a new nickname might suggest.

    I’m afraid we’re focusing on pleasing people, not God.

    • Dave Miller says

      well, perhaps it is an aspiration. I think we are a Great Commission people, at least in part.

  2. Todd Benkert says

    I think the vote will matter whether it passes by a narrow or wide margin. It matters to those for whom the name “Southern” is an issue to give them license to use the alternative name — whether wide or narrow, the effect is the same.

    That being said, for the reasons Bart mentioned, the vote will matter much more (i.e. have wider implications) if the margin is substantial.

  3. says

    You are gonna start a kurfuffle Dave. Maybe I’ll start one too.

    I am weary of the “it’s a name, but it’s not a name, you can use it if you want, but not if you don’t want too” approach. One of the beautiful things about being part of the SBC family is I can move to any part of the country, find an SBC church and know what I am getting into. I am afraid the GCB and SBC names will eventually cause a division. Maybe one will be Calvinistic and the other will be hereti. . . I mean non-Calvinist. Just concerns me when we give people opportunity and excuse to divide.

  4. says

    I don’t suppose it would harm the kerfuffle if someone were to point out that there are hundreds and hundreds of businesses with the word “Southern” in their name, in a myriad of Northern cities, suggesting that Southern isn’t really a hindrance in the North.

    I do know there was nothing off-putting about that word, during the 37 years I lived in the North myself.

    • Dave Miller says

      There’s a difference between a business with a regional name and a gospel enterprise. There are businesses that sell southern culture (Cracker Barrel) or Southern food or such. But we proclaim a gospel that is in no way Southern and the name does not have a positive effect in non-Southern areas.

      • says

        We’re looking for a substitute for lifting up Jesus?

        Again, we’re NOT attracting people, with a menu or a show. We are lifting up Jesus! HE is drawing people to Himself.

        It is WE who are failing to make disciples, and that is not the fault of our name, or even the SBC alone. It is the fault of local pastors more attuned to tradition than discipleship, and wh9o would rather find more rhetoric to throw at the matter, than change.

        And of an SBC who, collectively, doesn’t know how to deal with that failure.

        • says

          I agree Bob, yet I don’t think we can say “this stuff doesn’t matter” because we have some responsibility in this, we are going to make disciples, and IF (I’m not saying it does, I am saying if) the name ‘Southern’ is a hinderence, then it should be removed.

          • says

            Of course, but if one believes, as I do, that the real problem stems from the fact that God has stopped sending us people because He can’t trust us to disciple more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the ones He does, then no amount of name changing is going to alter the results.

          • Dave Miller says

            I think we agree as to the big problems. I have seen the problem with the perception of the south here. I perceive enough of a problem to vote for the motion and to support it. I don’t expect it to solve all our problems.

            But it would help.

        • Dave Miller says

          I’m certainly not looking for a substitute to lifting up Jesus. I would hope that those on all sides would agree that lifting up Christ is the goal. But it is my view that the name Southern is not particularly helpful in that.

          • says

            I don’t know if any of the other commenters are from the North, but I am. I recall no negative connotations to the name “Southern” and think the perception in the North may well be one more of charm than of anything that would hinder the work.

          • Frank L. says


            You have been consistent in making this argument. I think you may be correct, though I have never found the word, “Southern” to be a hindrance and I’ve started churches in the U.S. that were 3000 miles apart in totally different geographical and social contexts.

            That being said, the greatest danger I see (and I could be overly concerned about it) is that we are putting a bandaid on a deep wound and the result is to hide a nasty infection that may kill us.

            We cannot “slogan” our way out of our apathetic condition where no more than 1 out of 10 believers ever share the gospel with even one other person. Changing the name will not change that.

            My fear is that Great Commission Baptists will find its way into the dustbin of slogans we’ve come up with over the years.

          • Dave Miller says

            I fully agree, Frank. But, look at my response to Bob above. #10 currently.

            I don’t hear anyone arguing that it will solve our denominational malaise. But it is still a helpful step.

  5. says

    In direct answer to your question:

    No, it will not help us make disciples.

    It may help marketing, but disciple-making is a function of a heart set free by the Gospel and a life driven by the Spirit of God. There’s not one bit of information that shows that disciple-making by Christians is held back by the name “Southern Baptist” or advanced by “Great Commission.”

    Changing the organization to “Great Commission Baptists” will likely help our specific group of churches to grow, it may help some church plants to do better than they would have, but disciples make disciples, whether they wear one label or another, whether they wear ties or funny hats, so the name won’t matter for that.

    Not that seeing our side of the sheep-fold increase is inherently a bad goal–and that’s what this is about.

  6. says

    And to take issue with the whole thing:

    The way you worded this post shows exactly what will happen: those of us who do not see this as necessary are described as the opposite of what you are:

    Traditionalists that do not care about anything beyond the South, narrow-minded, probably racists, who want to be divided. After all, the Great Commission Baptist name is the solution to those things–

    Which means that anyone opposed to it must be prepared to be called all of those names, and why it will likely pass by a huge margin. After all, if I’m not a narrow-minded racist who does want to reach the world, I have to agree, right?

    • says


      I was not going to comment on this post for a multiplicity of reasons, but your comment changed my mind. Go figure :-) Thank you for stating clearly and succinctly the reasons why many of us take issue, not just with Dave’s post, but with the whole “unofficial, official nickname proposal.” In the end, this will do nothing to further cooperation and unity within the SBC, but will be another step in the direction of division and disharmony. But, if there is one thing that I gleaned from this post, it was the assurance that Dave has come to“know that ALL Southerners are not racist.” I’m not sure where that puts you and me, but we may narrowly escape inclusion in the “all.” But, then again . . . ? Thanks and God bless,


    • Dave Miller says

      Doug, I do not think that I said those things, nor are they in my mind a fair representation of what I said.


  7. Rick says

    “If. You. Don’t. Know. Me. By. Now…”

    (Actually, Kerfuffle Baptist Convention is starting to grow on me. Alternatively, we could both honor Dave’s favorite team and balance out our regionalism over the NEXT 167 years by using Yankee Baptist Convention. We could justify overpaying for limited performance.)

    • Dave Miller says

      I’d love Yankee Baptist. But your humor serves to make my main point. (Besides the fact that my fingers are too fat for my Droid.).

      Many here, for reasons that defy logic, are not Yankees fans. They would not want a name that calls them that which they are not.

      I am not Southern. Why must we be known by a name that does not describe us, a name that represents us as what we are not.

      On the other hand, if you move the adoption of Yankees Baptist, I will second it.

  8. Greg Harvey says

    16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    I want to be that kind of Baptist. I’ve done some of those things, but I don’t do them all the time. And when I’m not busy doing those things, let’s just say I’m easily distracted by other things to talk about.

  9. says

    I actually like the ‘nick-name’ Great Commission Baptists. I think we have created our own issues about it however. I grew up in Colorado and have lived most of my adult life in Idaho. I’m part of a church that elected to use the name “Southern” in its official name but nearly every time our name is used in print or in the media it is simply Eastside Baptist Church.

    It is possible that the name ‘Southern’ has kept some away from our church. I don’t know this to be a fact however. But if we hear this enough we begin to believe it is a problem. I personally don’t see it as the problem I hear people saying that it is.

    I think if you’re known for being a church who calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re a bible believing, bible preaching, gospel heralding people then the people in your area who are hungry and thirsty for truth they will know who you are by your fruit not your marketing skill.

    Again, I personally like the name GCB. But I’m of an opinion that the SBC name has been posed as a problem from within ourselves and not from the outside.

    • Max says

      “… the SBC name has been posed as a problem from within ourselves and not from the outside.”

      Yep, “they” r “us”.

    • Frank says

      Excellent insight.

      It also makes one wonder if this is a “made-up” problem, what other made up problems (with their made up solutions) are growing in the SBC?

      I see the name change as nothing more than an opportunity to focus on something that really doesn’t matter in order to avoid responsibility for the really important things.

      After the name is changed, I fear we will simply “make up” a new problem to serve as a distraction from any really substantive issues.

  10. Nate says

    It is the rare unbeliever who visits a church because someone invited them and immediately wants to know denominational affiliation. More than likely that person would have grown up in a different background (Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, etc.). If that is so, here might be the conversation should we adopt the new “nickname”.

    So this is a Great Commission Baptist church? Is that anything like a Southern Baptist church because I’ve heard things about them…

    Or… So this is a Great Commission Baptist church. Whew! I’m glad because I’ve heard about those Southern Baptists….

    There is no escaping people who have already made up their minds. Furthermore I never once had a person I invited to church ask me what particular denomination I was affiliated with per se. However the Baptist name does bring up discussions. Good ones I think! I still think this comes down to the word “baptist” at the end of the day, not “southern.”

      • Nate says

        My point Bob, was there is no escaping the word “southern” from people who have already formed an opinion about us. Are churches that use the new nickname going to hide affiliation with the SBC in their by-laws, constitutions, etc? People who object to “southern” upfront will really flip their lids when they find out that “Great Commission Baptists” are really SBC in disguise. That is my point.

        The overwhelming majority of unbelievers won’t care… They embrace the people (and the church) who lead them to Christ, not denominations. As Max said, the issue is with us, not unbelievers.

        • says

          As I have been yelling for some time, it’s NOT the name. But, apparently, the collective pastors of the SBC, and SBC Leadership, are simply unwilling to address the real problem. Failure to disciple.

          And I guarantee that when you say “great commission” to somebody on the street in Chicago, they’re most apt to think of a big paycheck following a big sale.

          • says

            That’s a pretty funny observation especially since the other half of my bi-vo career is in sales. I asked a young lady that recently gave her life to Christ and joined our church, “When you hear ‘Great Commision’ what do you think of?” and she said, “Somebody made a good sale and got a great bonus.” We tend to think the lost world understands and/or cares about our “churchy” language and they really don’t. If we believe that simply changing our name is going to help us make more and better disciples we are sadly deluded.

            As I found atheism empty and began searching for answers about God I never flipped through the phone book and started marking out certain denomoniations because of their name. I ended up going to a church where friends and family had invited me. The fact that it was an SBC church meant absolutely nothing to me at the time. What mattered was that a congregation opened their doors to a person who had actively opposed their faith and had previously said Jesus was a myth. What mattered was they shared the Gospel lovingly and honestly. What mattered was that numerous members lovingly took the former atheist under their wings and discipled him in his newfound life with Christ. They could have been part of the Looney Tune Baptist Convention and it would not have mattered to me at all.

            In closing I’d like to stress – the name does not make the denomination, the denomination makes the name. We can call ourselves Great Commission Baptists all day but that does not mean we are making disciples and filling the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s all cosmetic in that case.


  11. says

    Northern Tools has a large store in Houston, Texas. I don’t know any Southerners who have a problem buying tools from them.

    Frank L.,
    I have a brother who pastored for years in the North and never saw any problem with the name Southern Baptist Convention.

    Folks said they wanted a name that appealed to non-Christians. “Great Commission” has no meaning to non-Christians or to Northerners. Only fairly committed Christians know the meaning of the Great Commission.
    David R. Brumbelow

  12. says

    I’m going to make a substitute motion that we adopt the unofficial nickname “Great Commotion Baptists.” It’ll be cathartic for me.


        • Greg Buchanan says


          there is always TREBC as an appropriate descriptor…

          And, I don’t me The Regionally Enigmatic Baptist Convention 😉

  13. Louis says


    I am not sure.

    I am for a name change and appreciate the work of the committee.

    But I don’t like “Great Commission Baptist.”

    It’s not regional, true. It’s forward thinking and evangelistic, true.

    But it’s bad. It’s one of those terms that communicates to us, but no one else.

    It’s like a church plant that was started a few years ago called “Contemporary Baptist Church.”

    And seeing that if we do this now, we won’t do it for another 100 years, I would rather vote it down now and leave it as future business, which will be taken up in a few years when the percentage of folks in favor of a change will be even greater.

    • Dave Miller says

      Oh, I actually like it a lot. And, I don’t know if we have the option to say no now and try again later.

      I’m actually a big fan of the name, but its personal preference I guess.

  14. Bruce H. says

    Great Commission Baptist will cause those who are curious about the words “Great Commission” to ask questions. That will be the opportune time to present the gospel. Then again, it is more than just the gospel of salvation we must be known for, we better prepare to also include the gospel of the abundant life through discipleship. The majority of the SBC sees Great Commission as “Soul Winning” only. If we don’t include discipleship as strongly as evangelism we will continue to decline.

    • Nate says

      Bruce, so you think that all churches are going to rename themselves? What church is currently named Southern Baptist Convention Church of ????. Unbelievers aren’t going to find out the denominational name until they actually read the by-laws of most churches. How many people actually invite people to their church by saying, “Do you want to come with me to my Southern Baptist Convention Church?”

      I know that may sound like I am being petty, but if a church wants to rename themselves Great Commission Baptist Church of ???, they have every ability to do that right now. I haven’t seen one do it yet.

      A nickname is a joke! Either vote for a complete change or live with the current. In my opinion, those who are wanting a nickname know they don’t have the votes for a full change, so they are trying an end-around, and it will cause a rift, a potential split, and further bickering.

      I pray this nickname fails HUGE!

      • says

        You are basically calling some very fine people liars, Mate. They told us why they did this. It is fair to disagree, but to question their integrity is unfair.

        • Nate says

          Dave, the original intent of Bryant Wright, way back in Sep. 2011 was to form a task force to change the name. It was never to create a “nickname”. That “option” didn’t enter the picture until the task force realized that, along with no historical evidence that messengers would vote for this, enormous legal fees would sink any passage should this come to the floor. Moreover, the task force was initiated without Convention approval, something that had never been done before.

          Furthermore, Paige Patterson in Feb. cited the “enormous legal fees” involved in changing congregational and state convention names as well as trusts and other documents. He hopes the compromise will satisfy those who wanted a name change. “I think that, if anything, it’s a case of our having our cake and getting to eat it, too,” he said.

          Who is the compromise for? The folks on the task force, baptists in the pew, or influential people in the convention who pushed for this? Since this wasn’t initiated by the convention’s messengers, it would have to be those on the task force and/or others who have made this their mission in life.

          So, while I don’t implicitly know that the Task Force knew they didn’t have the votes for a complete name change, Micah Fries, another member of the task force, said in the same article, “From a legal perspective, an actual name change was probably an impossibility.” “This is probably the best-case scenario.”

          When Patterson and Fries are saying that from a legal perspective a name change was probably an impossibility means the messengers would never approve the outlay of the money to actually change the name of the convention. What else could it mean? The name could be changed, but it would cost a huge amount of money.

          Therefore, the task force changed tactics and came up with a “nickname.” I am not calling them liars, I am simply stating, from a negative perspective, what they themselves said. They see it as a compromise/best-case scenario, I see it as a divisive issue, the “nickname” that is.

          If the messengers would vote for a name change (in two straight conventions), I would back it. But this “nickname” doesn’t have to be voted on for two straight conventions now does it, and it will be presented as you can use it or you don’t have to use it. I simply think that creates conflict.

          • Dave Miller says

            I believe that these people were honest in their words, until I have more evidence to believe they were deceptive. Do you have evidenceto back up your accusations?

            They said they were formed to study the name change concept. You said they intended to change it going in. Do you have evidence that their stated intent was not honest?

            They said after studying the concept that they agreed that the legal issues and costs were too high for a full name change. You accused them of realizing they didn’t have the votes and switching to this compromise. Can you provide evidence that what they said was not true?

            I have respect for the integrity of these men and I count one of them a personal friend. I do not appreciate your attack on their honesty. So, unless you have evidence that they were deceptive I will ask you to stick to discussing their proposal, not questioning their motives.

          • Nate says

            Dave, I am not questioning their integrity and I am not calling them liars. They believe this is the best thing for the convention, I do not. I’m not sure how you are equating my dissatisfaction with the entire proposal (name change/nickname) with me declaring them to be deceptive. But this task force was created to change the name, not create a nickname.

            When the task force emerged on Feb. 20th they had decided against a name change (legal costs too extreme) and changed their focus to the nickname approach. This is common knowledge.

            So yes, I am reading between the lines on the abrupt switch from a name change to a nickname. But I am not the only one that has thought this.

            By the way, I don’t think they are being dishonest, I think they believed in the process of changing the name, realized that it wasn’t going to happen and came up with the “nickname” as an alternative. That is not dishonesty or deception, but the task force was not charged with creating a nickname, they changed course and did that on their own. That is fine, but I think that goes beyond the original intent of the task force (personal opinion).

            I personally know one of these men as well, our kids played together, so I am not questioning their honesty. If it came across that way I apologize. I have not had the opportunity to speak personally with him concerning the task force’s decision, but will be interested to hear from him when I do.

      • Bruce H. says

        I think the way it was presented tells us that the committee was trying to be sensitive to the whole convention of churches. Some will like it, others will not. It is just that way. I am 57 years old and the name will never really change for me at this point. My preference, if they were going to change the name, is to simply call us BAPTIST. If that was the case, each church in our convention is individual, they will define what Baptist means in their area. I would hate to be called a Great Commission Baptist and never go out, win souls and disciple them. That is like a church calling themselves “The Friendly Baptist Church” and being known as unfriendly.

        • Frank says

          “””I would hate to be called a Great Commission Baptist and never go out, win souls and disciple them. That is like a church calling themselves “The Friendly Baptist Church” and being known as unfriendly.”””

          That seems like an odd statement to make. If you have identified a problem of hypocrisy then, “hating” the hypocrisy, it seems would lead to a change that would remove the inconsistency.

          The statement implies that it is better not to have a name that could challenge a church, but better to just keep a name that would allow the hypocrisy to continue.

          That just seems like an “odd” way of looking at the issue. You are not advocating changing the name to something like: Apathetic Baptist Church so the name would eliminate any hypocrisy?

          The whole point of the GCB name, it seems to me, is to set a vision for who we should be, not necessarily describe who we are.

          • Bruce H. says


            I just don’t think identifying ourselves a certain way would ever cause or influence a people to be who they should be. If we are not that way now, we are certainly not going to be that way by changing a name. If it did work, we should name ourselves Christian Baptist Convention so we all would act like Christians. That would cover every base including; family, work, community, soul winning, etc.

            If Great Commission Baptist is voted in I’m all for it and will support it for upcoming generations. I have found that arguing after the fact is fruitless.

          • Frank says


            I think you are probably right, and I will reluctantly concede the point.

            It would be nice if we had to change our name to GCB because we really already were. I DO think we are at least pointed in the right direction if we could just get some traction.

            I’m not tethered to the issue either way.

  15. John Wylie says

    I truly hope that the who Great Commision thing gets voted down decisively. Changing the name will do nothing and this is not even a name change. All the churches will still actually be Southern Baptists.

  16. says

    I will third the motion to adopt the name Great Commotion Baptists and call for the question. Why? It will indicate that we are back to our old tricks of fussin as usual, which is really just another way of saying we are free…and is the trying and proving ground for learning to take part in society and civilization. People who never raise a voice in protest or advocacy are usually dead, intimidated, or enslaved. When the Southern Christian Leadership Conference gets rid of its “Southern,” I might be willing to consider it. By the way, I am working on the idea for a sermon for the new atheists and agnostics, involving the text, Zeph.2:12 and, perhaps, Ps.68:31b, title, The Ethiopian Proof. It will involve a new way of formulating the scientific method in order to avoid the present day problem with the paralysis of analysis. All prayers welcomed.

  17. Bart Barber says


    Although none of the wording in the article is misleading at all, from the structure of it one might get the impression that I was arguing that the name itself or the question of using it is inconsequential. That impression might occur since this article postures itself as a reaction to my article and then goes on to list, not reasons why the vote would be consequential, but reasons why the use of the name would be consequential.

    And so, I just wanted to make sure that everyone understood that the point of my post concerned the significance of the vote, not the significance of the use of the name.

    Indeed, your article proves my point. This name matters to you. If the proposal were to lose by a single ballot, what would keep you from using “Great Commission Baptists” nonetheless? What would keep the Baptist Convention of Iowa from voting this Fall to use the phrase “Great Commission Baptists?” Your local association?

    Nothing. And with so much support for the name, and with you feeling so passionately about it, perhaps that’s just what you ought to do.

  18. says

    “Great Commission Baptists is a superior name.”
    Maybe, but nothing is stopping churches from using “Great Commission Baptists” as a descriptor now. Local churches are autonomous. A favorable vote by the SBC messengers would be non-binding, though most news outlets likely won’t report it that way.

    “Great Commission Baptists broadens our focus.”
    In what way? Southern Baptists, in my 46 years of experience in the denomination, have always been about teaching and applying the Great Commission. That’s not to say I’ve always observed positive results, but changing the name won’t broaden the purpose.

    “Great Commission Baptists removes a racially-charged impediment.”
    Hogwash. Changing the name doesn’t change the stereotype. People who choose to view a term as innocuous as a compass direction as a racist term aren’t going to be impressed with what they’ll consider to be a feeble attempt to “re-brand.”

    “Great Commission Baptists is a uniting name.”
    Great Commission Baptists is a excellent way for a church to state their purpose. We just don’t need an act of the SBC to describe ourselves in this manner. We can already describe ourselves with any name we choose, since local churches are already autonomous.

    ”Great Commission Baptists represents, perhaps, the best solution to a continuing problem.”
    Again, it’s a solution that has always been available. No Southern Baptist church is required to use the term Southern Baptist in their name. Each local church already chooses its own name. In fact, the vast majority of churches currently in the SBC chose their own name before they became affiliated with the SBC. If you’ll check, you’ll find that most SBC churches have the word “Baptist” in their name, but not “Southern Baptist.”

    ”Great Commission Baptists shows that we are ready to move forward, not stuck in the past.”
    Really, it only shows we’re making ourselves look busy solving a non-existent problem. We need to be busy DOING the Great Commission rather than worrying so much about how we’re labeled.

    • Christiane says

      if people watch Wade Burleson’s video in NOLA from yesterday, he asks passers-by if they knew the meaning of ‘Great Commission’ . . .

      very informative video when you realize that the average guy on the street (I know, I know, BOURBON street) did not understand the term ‘Great Commission’ in the evangelical sense of the term at all.