Several leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention are considering a name change with an alternative, Great Commission Baptists, in light of the recent racial unrest as well as the SBCs past endorsement of slavery.
Speaking with the Baptist Press, SBC President J.D. Greear explained that despite the name being initially proposed in 2012, it wasnt until recently that many leaders within the convention have expressed greater interest in using it.
Our leadership affirms the decision made by messengers in 2012, Greear said. We believe now is a good time to use it due to the fact that the primary reason we are part of the convention is for the Great Commission.
The alternative name will be used as the theme for the 2021 Annual SBC Meeting, We Are Great Commission Baptists.
By making this our annual meeting theme and encouraging the use of the alternate name, we do not in any way want to minimize the significance of our past, either its accomplishments or its failures, Greear said.
By using Great Commission Baptist, Greear noted that it makes clear we serve a risen Savior who died for all peoples, whose mission is not limited to one people living in one time at one place.
Every week we gather to worship a Savior who died for the whole world, not one part of it. What we call ourselves should make that clear, he asserted.
According to The Christian Post, the SBC Executive Committee had published the new logo on its website in August.
Pastor Marshall Blalock of First Baptist Charleston in South Carolina, had served on the 2012 SBC task force when Great Commission Baptists was first proposed.
Will you opt to use this mission-focused name rather than the regional name (SBC) rooted in the past? We honor Christ most when we are truly Great Commission Baptists. #optforGCB, he wrote.
The Exec. Committee (SBC) published this new logo on their website. Will you opt to use this mission-focused name rather than the regional name (SBC) rooted in the past? We honor Christ most when we are truly Great Commission Baptists. #optforGCB pic.twitter.com/J37wsmJhn9
Marshall Blalock (@BlalockMarshall) August 11, 2020
The SBC is considered to be the worlds largest Baptist denomination. The convention was initially founded in 1845 by Baptists in the South who had endorsed the practice of slavery as they dissented from Baptists in the North.
On the 150th anniversary of the SBC in 1995, a resolution was passed in which they apologized for their past support of slavery as it hindered their relationship with African Americans.
The SBC stated that they “unwaveringly denounce racism, in all its forms, as deplorable sin;” “repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest;” and “apologize to all African-Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime; and we genuinely repent of racism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
Photo courtesy: Southern Baptist Convention Facebook
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.