Let me first come out and say that I have signed the Great Commission Resurgence. Maybe, I need to clarify even more, I signed the GCR without “caveats.” At the same time, if there were indeed some document stating a renewed emphasis on our Baptist distinctives I would sign that as well. I caught myself yesterday thinking, “Well shoot, I like Bart Barber and Timmy Brister. I like being Baptist and I like the Great Commission.” Then I started to contemplate the supposed “competing” views within the Southern Baptist Convention, the GCR and Baptist Identity. Soon after I started thinking about the “competing views” I ran into a comment by my friend and fellow blogger Trevin Wax,
On another note, I am not convinced that the Baptist Identity and Great Commission Resurgence movements are “competing.” Could we not choose to see these, at least at some level, as complementary? I don’t know of any GCR guys who want to do away with Baptist distinctives. Nor do I know of any BI guys who are against the Great Commission.
All I am saying is… theologically, I find too much in common between someone like Bart Barber and Danny Akin to label them as “competing” in some way.
Do these camps disagree at times? Yes. But I believe there are plenty of us who want to see a Great Commission Resurgence of a distinctly Baptist flavor, and do not like being forced neatly into political camps within the SBC.
I think Trevin is right. Theologically, I do not think they are really in “competition.” Timmy Brister responded, “Regarding competition and political camps, I do not like to see the division, but it is what it is.” My response to Timmy is, “Isn’t it what you make it?” There certainly seems to be some “competing” going on and yet, theologically, I do not think the BI and GCR have very much that they don’t agree on. So what is the competition? It saddens me to say that it isn’t the theological camps themselves, but rather the only thing “competing” is the people within those camps. It is a power struggle.
No one in the BI group doesn’t want a Great Commission Resurgence. I also don’t know of anyone in the GCR camp that wants to lose all of our Baptist distinctives, as Trevin pointed out. Therefore, the only conclusion seems to show that it isn’t the camps themselves that are in competition, but rather the leaders. This greatly saddens me because, in my opinion, it shows a lack of humility and willingness to work with the other camp. What has happened is some on the GCR seem to have the attitude and demeanor, that if you don’t sign the GCR you are somehow just being a ‘dissenter’ that wants to hold the power(veiled under the head line of Baptist Identity). Any time this sort of thing happens the other side(BI) are not going to get enthusiastic about joining the ‘Resurgence.’
What I am saying is this: pride is again, the problem. I encourage my BI friends to sign the GCR because I do think it is a positive direction for the SBC. I also encourage my GCR friends to put the guns down and stop shooting at the BI guys as if they are enemies of the Great Commission. What we need is a unified vision for the SBC. Some say, “We are Baptists, impossible.” When pride is in the way, I agree. When we humble ourselves and understand that our vision alone might not be the best for the SBC, but rather if we draw the strengths from our vision and join them with the strengths of competing visions we might actually get somewhere.
Seriously, do we not need a a Great Commission Resurgence built on our Baptist principles? We are Baptist for a reason. We also believe in reaching the nations for Christ. Theologically, there isn’t and shouldn’t be competition. This leaves only one thing to cause division, if not theology, it must be people. I am an Identified Baptist that has signed and believes in a Great Commission Resurgence. I support Hunt as our current president and a couple of months ago I already stated who I think will be the best next president. While I endorse, Hunt for now and Akin for later, I will not be upset if someone else gets elected, as long as they are distinctively Baptist and have a passion for the Great Commission. When the theology is there on both sides we do not need to fight over which camp “has the power.”
I encourage everyone to quit using “competing” language between the two camps. I encourage the leaders of both camps to quit caring “who has the power” and enjoy the fact that the SBC wants both Baptist distinctives and a Great Commission Resurgence. We are in a good place. It isn’t to long ago that we had to fight for theology, now we are merely fighting over who leads. Leaders are important, but when all the suspected leaders are similar theologically we ought to be encouraged of where we are as a convention.