Home > Christian Living, Church Issues > Woe To You, Southern Baptist Convention!

Woe To You, Southern Baptist Convention!

Hi. My name is Blake…and I’m a Southern Baptist…..[sounds of crickets]

In September of 2011, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bryant Wright appointed a task force to research the possibility of changing the convention’s name. His overall reasoning for this change was to remove any barriers (southern baptist language for “bad reputation) given by this title.


The minute I learned of this desire for a name change, I was immediately reminded of how Jesus was laying the smack down on the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” ~Matthew 23:25-26

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” ~Matthew 23:27-28

These “woes” are only two of seven found here in Matthew.

Do I believe the name SBC creates barriers? YES!
Do I believe that the convention would benefit from a name change? YES!

Do I believe there are bigger issues than a name change? WITHOUT A DOUBT, YES!

Here is what drives me to my conclusion:

1. Southern Baptists stand on the shoulders of hatred, fear, & pride.

    Racism is at the root of who we are as a denomination. Did you ever ask yourself why you are “Southern” Baptist? That’s right boys and girls; our denomination was formed out of refusal to see all humans as equal and rejected any thoughts of abolishing slavery. So just like today’s church-goers, those who didn’t like the game took their toys to another sandbox.

    I would be a fool to believe that no one feels this way anymore, but there has been some progress in the area of racism; little, but some. However, if we truly sought reconciliation and unity, the name should have been dropped after Lincoln gave the emancipation proclamation.

    As a side note, the Church is the most segregated place in America today. Unity is the responsibility of every believer! We MUST get to work in this area.

2. Our words are worthless.

    Not cheap…worthless. We live in a hyper-postmodern, post-Christian society where every claim, thought, belief and notion are subject to scrutiny. If barriers are in place between Southern Baptists and the rest of the world, a heart change is needed more than a name change. The business of the Church should be first and foremost about love. Loving God and loving people, all people, in every place, of every ethnicity.

    Also, from my seat in the SBC denominational life, it sure looks clean and sterile. Everyone knows that this is the “lipstick on the dog”, that these are some messed up, broken people who are only fooling themselves. All the world wants is to know that we don’t have it all together like we make it out to be. They just want a little transparency. That is not too much to ask.

So tonight, the task force brought their recommendations before the SBC executive committee. Here is the full article. The conclusion? To keep the Southern Baptist name in place and add an informal subtitle, the “Great Commission Baptist.” That’s a very churchy title for a group of people who desire to reach the unchurched. This is only an appeasement to those who have already been enlightened by the Gospel.

I get the thought process behind this title, but I only do so because I know what the Great Commission is! So many wise and spiritually-driven people can’t look past the end of their noses and their self-righteousness to see that they just reinforced the barriers that they set out to remove.


So what are your thoughts on a name change for the SBC? Good, bad, indifferent?

  1. Jennifer
    February 21, 2012 at 12:41 am

    Poignantly put, Blake. I have actually been thinking a lot about our transparency as Christians, not just as a Southern Baptist. Why is it so difficult for us to show that we are imperfect and need God’s grace just as much as a non-believer? Why do we reject those who may be culturally different than us when Jesus embraced everyone? Sometimes I think we are guilty of just putting on a mask and doing as others expect when being honest, open, and loving with ourselves and others would be more beneficial. That mask opens Christians up to more discord. It is hypocritical and an oft use deterrent in non-believers coming to church.

    • February 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Transparency, honesty, and openness are not commonly exercised among believers because we’ve done a poor job of opening up some room and giving support to those who would actually dare to practice it. We focus on things like food and drinks in the auditoriums while marriages and families hemorrhage out on the carpet. We focus on specs of dust while logs obscure our view. We must start learning how to walk with people through the muddy muck of life.

      • Nana
        March 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        If this were facebook, I would click ‘like’ on this.

  2. February 22, 2012 at 12:39 am

    You are spot on, bro. When our heart is repentant, then change can occur. Otherwise, it appears like blaming others for our “bad press.”


  3. James
    March 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I think you should expand your thinking. You obviously dont read your Bible with the same magnifying glass you hold on Southern Baptist. It was the same topic at the first Jerusalem council among missionaries and church leaders who though they were young believers, were passionate enough to give their lives.

    As a Southern Baptist…I’ve never seen anyone standing at the front door rejecting anyone of color or culture. As a Southern Baptist, we support and send missionaries to every color and culture home an abroad.

    Take the high road brother and share the Good news and stop pouring water on the Southern Baptist fire.

  4. March 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

    @James – thanks for sharing your thoughts. This seemingly “fire-quenching” attitude is in fact an overflow of passion that I have to see the Church be as powerful and world-changing as I know it can be. I would also say yes and amen to the fact that I could definitely spend more time studying and applying God’s Word in my life. With that said, I’m not making the connection between what was said in my post that triggered you to consider my lack of scripture reading.

    As for the SB standing in the door rejecting different ethnicities than what makes up their flock, I invite you to look around MOST congregations and take notice to the diversity. If it isn’t as diverse as the public school system OR the demographics of that particular church location, there’s a unity problem. Rejection comes in all forms, mostly apathy and passivity toward unity. Just because someone isn’t standing in the door rejecting people doesn’t automatically assume that they’re working diligently toward unity.

    Your statement about supporting and sending missionaries TO every color and culture reveals how bad we are in need of a heart change. The question that immediately came to my mind when reading that statement is, “how many colors and cultures are being SENT OUT by the SBC?” You see the difference in that thought process? Let’s stop making it “us & them” and start being ONE.

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