Sunday, June 15, 2008

Toward a Great Commission Resurgence

Many years ago, while I was still a child and long before I was a Southern Baptist, conservative Baptist leaders began what would come to be known as the “Conservative Resurgence.” I was a late comer to this resurgence, attending my second Convention in Orlando to cast my ballot for the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message. I am grateful for those leaders who led our denomination back to a firm belief in the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture.

Over the past year, and many times at this year's Convention, leaders have been calling on the need now for a “Great Commission Resurgence.” For this resurgence to occur, however, there will have to be a different strategy. Put simply, the Conservative Resurgence occurred because the Convention elected conservative presidents who in turn appointed Conservative committees who nominated Conservative trustees. Over time, as political battles were won on the Convention floor, and with the 2000 BFM as a capstone, the Conservative Resurgence came to pass. If a Great Commission Resurgence is to occur, however, it will not be won by politics alone. We cannot vote our way to such a resurgence.

Such a resurgence will require two things. First, a GC Resurgence will require us to cooperate with each other to accomplish the larger tasks of world evangelization. To a certain extent, there is still a need for action at the Convention level. The needed action, however, is not in electing men passionate about evangelism and missions. I believe we consistently have done that in recent years. Rather, we need to return to a cooperation among the variety of conservative Baptist expressions for the common goal of Great Commission work, or, as David Dockery puts it, we need consensus and renewal. Electing men committed to such cooperation is a step, but we must each make a personal commitment to such cooperation. Second, and more significantly, a GC Resurgence will have to begin in my own life and the lives of each Southern Baptist as we renew not only our “commitment” to evangelism and missions, but actually change our practice and actually do evangelism. The problem cannot be fixed merely at the denominational level. As Frank Page stated in his president’s address, “Blame the denomination if you wish, but the problem is me.” I share in that culpability. Each of us should take a hard look at our own lives and seek revival in our personal evangelistic fervor.



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