SBC President's Page - Issues of Importance
of the Southern Baptist Convention 2006
Issues of Importance:
I believe that the Cooperative Program is an object of great worth!
In 1925, God led Southern Baptists to come together with a methodology
that would do the work of God through the churches locally, nationally,
and internationally. It was a marvelous concept. Obviously,
it is falling from favor in the eyes of many. There are many
reasons for this lack of support. However, I believe that
it is time to restore our hearts and minds to the cause of cooperating
together to do the work of God. For me personally, I believe
that I have a moral obligation to give strong support to our wonderful
entities and most of all, to our mission sending agencies as we
have voted to send out over ten thousand missionaries across our
continent and around the world.
I encourage all churches to give sacrificially an amount that shows
a serious commitment to the Great Commission and to supporting the
work which we have voted to do. Does your church's giving
pattern show selflessness? Are you supporting the belief that
we can do more together than we can do separately? I urge
each of you to restore to your own heart and to your church's mission
methodology a belief that the Cooperative Program is an object of
am deeply concerned that the attitude of selfishness is creeping
into many lives and churches. This is accompanied by a
spirit of isolationism. One of my reasons for being a
part of a denomination such as the Southern Baptist Convention
is the belief that we are a part of a greater work than just
our own. We need to cooperate with brothers and sisters
in Christ across the world. Let us be people of cooperation
I also have a deep concern about the issue of ownership. For
many years, I have heard people complain that they have lost control
of their denomination. I have heard yet others rejoice that
they have finally taken control of their denomination. I
know of many groups within our Convention now that are seeking
control of their denomination.
I think it is extremely important to realize that the Southern Baptist
Convention belongs to the Lord! It belongs to no group.
We must confess our sin of presuming ownership. Matthew 16:18
is clear about who owns the church. Our Convention is a part
of God's church and we must confess His ownership, His leadership,
and His agenda.
Many people ask me about this issue. I readily affirm my belief
in the doctrines of grace, but as I have stated over and over, I
believe the doctrines of grace include the issue of free will.
I have written a book about this issue. I do not hold to the
traditional five points of Calvinist theology. I believe that
while salvation will not be universally accepted, it is universally
offered and atoned for by our Lord Jesus Christ! I believe
that human beings can accept or reject the Holy Spirit's call for
have made it abundantly clear that I believe that this argument
is a family argument. In fact, almost every Calvinist with
whom I have spoken has a high belief in the integrity of Scripture. Therefore,
I have stated clearly that I will open the table of participation
to anyone who (1) has a sweet spirit and (2) who has an evangelistic
heart, (3) has a belief in the inerrant word of God, and (4)
has strong belief and support in the Cooperative Program.
must deal with charismatic issues and theology as a part of their
own autonomous structure. I think that many charismatics
function well within traditional Southern Baptist churches. In
fact, we have several in our church. Some are more vocal
and sometimes disruptive. Churches must deal with those
kinds of attitudes on a case by case basis. Trustee bodies
must do the same.
One of the most significant issues for the SBC in the next ten years
is how to teach our people to expand ministry and church outreach
to all generations. Far too many churches have become "one
generation" churches. These will die quickly.
must continue to encourage our churches to become sensitive to
outreach to various ethnic and socioeconomic groups. We
must also encourage our churches to reach out to all generations. We
must come to understand who they are, why they react the way
they do, and provide ministries and opportunities for service
for all of them. Our nation is changing, and our churches
must do the same. While the precious message of Christ
and His precious infallible Word will never change, if we do
not find new methodologies to reach new groups, then we are doomed
to become a convention full of churches who were rooted in the
past and will die.
issue of women in ministry is one of great contention and discussion. While
some Southern Baptist churches have had women deacons for decades,
some are violently opposed to such a practice.
I certainly affirm that God does call and utilize
women in His service. My belief about women in ministry is
consistent with that which is found in the Baptist Faith
and Message 2000, in Article VI, The Church.
This document states, "that while both men and women are gifted
for service in the church, the office of Pastor is limited to men
as qualified by Scripture." I concur with that statement.
This does not mean that women cannot serve in a variety of capacities
and roles. I believe that all God's people should affirm this