SBC or GCB? February 24, 2012

From CT:

Name change, at this remove from origins, won’t convince everyone or most or even many. But the Southern Baptist Convention is now made it possible for churches instead to call themselves either SBC or Great Commission Baptists.  Great Commission Baptists is (sorry) better than the BGC’s change to “Converge” and, since there are already 100+ kinds of Baptists, the options are limited. But this sort of move is agonizing and distracting and sometimes needed and no fun. My hat is off to the SBC for the process.

The task force appointed to study a possible name change of the Southern Baptist Convention is recommending the convention maintain its legal name but adopt an informal, non-legal name for those who want to use it: Great Commission Baptists.

The report Monday night ended weeks of speculation by Southern Baptists and fellow evangelicals as to what the task force would do. The convention was formed in 1845, and a name change was first proposed in 1903, although one was not adopted then, or since.

The task force was appointed by Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright.

“This is an issue that just won’t die,” task force chairman Jimmy Draper said in presenting the task force’s recommendation to the Executive Committee, which will consider it Tuesday.

The name “Southern,” Draper said, is a barrier to the Gospel in some regions of the country.

If the Executive Committee approves it Tuesday, then convention messengers will consider it in New Orleans in June at the SBC annual meeting.

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  • DRL

    Rose is a rose is a rose….

  • RJS

    Converge Worldwide …

  • MattR

    Sorry to my SBC friends, I’m sure a change in name might be needed… but a lot deeper change is needed if SBC is to be ready for Post-Christendom mission in America. Especially in areas outside it’s reign in the South.

    A few years ago, an SBC church in my (urban, West Coast) neighborhood took ‘Baptist’ off it’s sign, and changed it’s name. An un-churched person who lives nearby said, ‘they’re not fooling anybody… the sign has changed, but the management’s the same!’

  • Ron

    As a “SBC Friend” I think a name change is about time. Three of the main agencies have changed their names: IMB, NAMB, and Lifeway. Everyone has survived it. I am not particularly fond of “Great Commission Baptists.” Personally I like “Global Baptist Convention.” Just sayin’

  • nathan

    The barrier is the word “southern” and not “baptist”?
    In my experience “baptist” is a word loaded with cultural baggage that has short-circuited many a conversation over the last 15 years of vocational ministry.

    It might have just been the cultural settings and the specific people, but…

  • What are you talking about I love the Converge Worldwide name. I’m not sure I would have planted with them if they were called baptist anything.

  • “and, since there are already 100+ kinds of Baptists, the options are limited.”

    I’m not Baptist, the problem certainly isn’t limited there. I’m still a bit annoyed that the folks making a new denomination out of the PC(USA) chose “Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians,” without so much as acknowledging that there’s an unrelated “Evangelical Covenant” denomination out there already.

    (I’m annoyed at them for other reasons, too, but that one could easily have been avoided with just a little care…)

  • Pat Pope

    I don’t know, Great Commission Baptists just sounds kinda self-righteous to me. It’s probably just a visceral reaction based on my own baggage.

    Also, what or who are the BGCs?

  • Blake

    Evangelical Baptist was/is an option, but they chose to go with the catchphrase of the week.

  • scotmcknight

    Baptist General Conference …

  • Maybe the problem is not the name itself but the system that divides the Body of Christ into competing denominations and local churches in the first place…

  • RJS

    Baptist General Conference was the Swedish Baptist Conference and is now Converge Worldwide (mostly – I think BGC is retained for some legal reasons in some circumstances).

    We are a rather broad and hard to pin down group. Who else can boast both Greg Boyd and John Piper? (And Leith Anderson … as well.)

  • Peter

    At first I thought this post was about the new show on ABC called GCB. Means something different in this case. They may want to consider the similarities.

  • There is a Global [Ind.] Baptist Fellowship already.

    “Great Commission” is offensive? Or somehow a new catchphrase with Southern Baptists? I just don’t think so…

  • DRT

    Does anyone remember the Life of Brian scene….

    Francis Thanks, Reg.
    Brian Are you the Judean People’s Front?
    Reg **** off.
    Brian What?
    Reg Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea. Judean
    People’s front, caw.
    Francis Wankers.
    Brian Can I join your group?
    Reg No. Piss off.
    Brian I didn’t want to sell this stuff. It’s only a job. I hate the Romans
    as much as anybody.
    PFJ Sssh. Ssssh, sssh, sssh, ssssh
    Judith Are you sure?
    Brian Oh. Dead sure… I hate the Romans already.
    Reg Listen. If you really wanted to join the PFJ, you’d have to really
    hate the Romans.
    Brian I do.
    Reg Oh yeah? How much?
    Brian A lot!
    Reg Right. You’re in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the
    Romans are the ********* Judean People’s Front.
    PFJ Yeah
    Judith Splitters.
    Francis And the Judean Popular Peoples Front.
    PFJ Oh yeah. Splitters.
    Loretta And the peoples Front of Judea.
    PFJ Splitters.
    Reg What?
    Loretta The Peoples front of Judea. Splitters.
    Reg We’re the Peoples front of Judea.
    Loretta Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
    Reg Peoples Front.
    Francis Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
    Reg He’s over there.

  • Tom

    Wouldn’t it be great if GCB stood for Greatest Commandment Baptist?

  • EricG

    Thanks DRT – I had forgotten that – hilarious.

  • DRT

    I still think the Church of Baptist Southerners would be the best.

    Rick W. – I think I would be a good member of the Church of Baptist Southerners.
    Al M. – But Rick, you have to really hate the Arminians. Do you hate the Arminians?
    Rick W. – Well, it is not about me, it is all about ….
    John P. – We need to be together and not split! How about the Glory of Southern Calvinists.
    Al M. – No! It just looks like a bunch of Southerners but it is not! I don’t know why god made it look like that. Now Glory of Cosmic Calvinists, that would work.
    Rick W. – Only if the Californians are properly represented.
    Al M. – Yes the Californian Cosmic Calvinists…the , er, CCC?
    John P. – You mean we are going to change from the Southern Baptists to the CCC, really?
    Al M. – the CCC, and we are not going to where any stupid pointy hats like the pope….

    I should stop now.

  • DRT

    …wear, not where, that is…

    amazing how the brain can do that.

  • Phil

    It seems to me like this name was designed to appeal to both those who wanted a name change and those that didn’t… I think a name like Converge (totally disconnected from the original name) gives a bit more freedom to churches who don’t want all the cultural baggage that goes along with the words “Southern” and “Baptist”, even if they are baptistic theologically.

  • Zach

    There was a great article on this on the patheos portal. Whatever they change their name to (I liked BUBBA, very fitting) they still have to deal with the fact that they’re much more about being “Southern” than about being Baptist in any real, historical (or Biblical) sense of the word. When you apologize for your central role (it defined the denomination) in racism and segregation in the 1990’s, something has gone seriously wrong.