The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the USA. But we did not begin this way. We began n the early 17th Century, both general and particular Baptists, emphasizing confessional life and freedom.
Affirmed ancient creeds.
General Baptists and particular Baptists came together to support missions.
By 1730 to 1740, 8 congregations in America.
1751, Charleston association.
Then the Sandy Creek association formed.
1812, Adoniram Judsun helped to form the modern missions movement.
In 1840s, there was a conflict arising over several things. One of those was whether slaveowners could be missionaries. IN 1845 the SBC began in Augusta, GA.
Boards elected to manage entities. State conventions preceded the establishment of the national entity. They were truly committed to the advance of the gospel.
1859, Southern Seminary was founded.
1870, there was an effort to rejoin the North and South, but the convention model vs the societal model was the sticking point.
1891, the BSSB was launched.
1908 SWBTS was launched out of the religion department at Baylor.
- From 1845 to 1875 – the birth and infancy generation.
- from 1875 to early 20th Century – the establishment generation.
- 1910 to 1950 movement toward Cooperation generation
W.O Carver, in Southern Seminary, began to teach a more liberal view.
Older Southern Baptists are separated by only 3 generations to the founders.
- Fourth generation. 1950 to 1980 – Expansion and Efficiency
Initial steps to becoming more than a regional denomination.
Began as a way to reach displaced southerners in postwar era.
In 1969, WA Criswell, SBC president wrote a book on the literal preaching of the Word, and Broadman included an editorial note that this did not represent the opinions of Broadman Press.
Baptist heritage and identity being challenged by theological drift.
South was emerging from cultural isolation and it affected the SBC. Diversity. Racial tensions. Old South values being disturbed. The desire of the SBC to be more like the mainline denominations was being challenged.
- A renewal movement began. “CR.”
1991, the New American Commentary being published to replace the Broadman Commentary.
First step to address the race issue. Racial reconciliation issue in 1995.
- Generation 6. Revisioning
Southern Baptists are now multiethnic
Not as parochial, isolated, regional
Now, in 2015, with a new generation coming along, 12 things this generation must wrestle with.
Alliterated in memory of Adrian Rogers.
SBC is characterized by:
1. the Convention Model.
2. Controversy and Conflict.
landmarkism. Calvinism. Rural vs urban. Evolution. Centralization works. Ecumenism. Stylistic issues.
4. Colleges and Seminaries.
Education has always been key to SBC life.
5. Commission – from day 1, the SBC has expressed a focus on the Great Commission.
6. Confessional – though we did not have a confession until 1925, we were always confessional. Thru associations.
7. Congregationalists. Autonomous churches. Regenerate churches and congregational polity.
8. Communion. Affirm importance of communion. Rejected transsubstantiation and consubstantiation.
9. Calvinism. We are Calvinist. We are not Calvinist. We have had a modified Calvinism that has been influential. Calvinism does not control, but it influences.
10. Chiliasts. We are largely premillennial. Historically, SBC was post mill early, then amill. At the seminary level, most are historic premill.
11. Culture. We distinguish church and state. We neither place church above or below culture. Either church apart from culture or church engaging culture.
12. Compassionate. Relief agencies gain much from Southern Baptists.
These have been a part of Southern Baptists.
To the Next Generation…
1. International and Global.
2. Interagency collaboration. We cannot duplicate…
3. Interconnected with other denominations and networks. We must be convictional but cannot be parochial.
4. Intercultural. We cannot be tribal anymore or insular. We must engage the culture.
5. Interracial. This stain on our history must be completely wiped out. We’ve made progress, but more needs to be done.
Look around this room. It’s almost all white.
6. Intergenerational. We need to reach beyond the generational identity.
As we reenvision a future for the SBC, we must know these things do not happen in a vacuum. We must understand the value of tradition, but also think strategically as we face the future.
We need a new spirit of trust on tertiary matters while we pull together on the issues that matter.
We need both orthodoxy and orthopraxy.