Are Southern Baptists the best denomination ever?

1407866235000-Southern-Baptists-health-care-101413I grew up as a Southern Baptist. My grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher in Clinton, Arkansas. My other grandfather sang in the choir of First Baptist Church Hamburg, Arkansas every Sunday. Both sets of grandparents were faithful to their local Southern Baptist church until their deaths. I attended Southern Baptist churches from the time I was conceived to… today.

Even today, I lead a Southern Baptist church in Blacksburg, Virginia. Many of those who are guests at our church are surprised that we are affiliated with the Southern Baptist denomination because, well, they like us. 😉 We have tried to make a bigger emphasis on being followers of Jesus than our alignment with a denominational body.

Do I think the Southern Baptist Convention is the best denomination ever? No. But I would be hard-pressed to identify which one was.

Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church Farmersville, Texas, wrote a post a few years back detailing why he thinks the Southern Baptist denomination is remarkable. I’m going to outline it here, but I’d encourage you to read it if you’re dubious. Warning: Bart likes to use unnecessarily big words – like lugubrious.

  1. The Southern Baptist Convention is in the top tier of unifying forces within Christianity.
    • Soteriologically
    • Racially
    • Methodologically
  2. The SBC is among the denominations most open to your ideas.
  3. The SBC works:
    • Chaotically
    • Person-to-person
    • Convictionally
    • Slowly

imb-logoWith all that said, I’m extremely grateful for both my Southern Baptist heritage and the privilege of partnering with over 50,000 churches and church-type missions to proclaim the depth and breadth of Jesus’ love for humanity. Two of the best things that the SBC has going for it are the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. These entities help mobilize, train and send missionaries and church planters around the world. In addition, the SBC seminaries are top-notch; disaster relief agencies are rapid-response, and their publishing division of Lifeway provides incredible resources.

If you’d like to know more about the SBC, I’d encourage you to begin here to learn who we are, what we believe, and what we do.

On this day...

2 comments

  1. Kevin Wieser says:
    It just depends! Depends on which era you are talking about. There is little doubt that the Cooperative Program was the best engine that when hitting on all it’s cylinders, did a fantastic job is getting the gospel out! It was truly a remarkable vehicle to dispense the gospel.

    Just about the time SBC were popping their proud buttons about just how wonderful they were, the enemy pounced upon the exposed “cracks” in the helmet, and head injuries began to take their toll. Oh, it was subtle, like the frog getting boiled in the pot, started out warm and before you knew it, something died.

    In my over 25+ plus years serving on SBC staffs, I have seen sites that left me needing therapy. Oh, God has been faithful and always great, but sad to say, he uses people. Just as I am, we are all flawed. Some more than others, but I guess it boils down to failed leadership. From the top down, for now too many years.

    Baptisms are down, missionaries encouraged to take early retirement, SBC selling off assets (Glorieta) and rank and file SBC members filling the seats at non-denominational or other similar denominations throughout the land. Bottom line, giving has dried up. It is amazing how many former church staff member’s own adult children are no longer Southern Baptists. Hmm, what that could be about?

    Best denomination ever? Just depends!

  2. Gene Ziesel says:
    I never knew the Southern Baptists were a denomination. I always thought they were an association as each church is independent and are allowed to run their church affairs apart from the other churches?

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