Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Great Compassion Baptists...

Recently, at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, our body of Baptists voted to keep the name "Southern Baptist Convention" but give the option for folks to use the qualifying descriptor, "Great Commission Baptists" to refer to ourselves. I thought that it might even be more fitting to call ourselves, "Great Commission" and "Great Compassion" Baptists. Because, no matter what we call ourselves, what we do and who we are is far more important. And, in my humble opinion, we are noted  as a missions and a compassionate people. Southern Baptists: People who care for people, both spiritually and physically.

This Sunday, I'll be pinch hitting in Sunday School and teaching our class here in Mt. Juliet. I have decided to talk about Baptist distinctives and a bit of Southern Baptist history. When I shared this with the regular teacher (who'll be out of town), I think he was glad that he wouldn't be there. :)

As I've gone over materials this week, I've reread parts of "Global Mission" by Winston Crawley. I just finished chapter 13 (one of my favorite of all time) entitled, "What About Human Need?" Dr. Crawley states,...

"From the beginning, Southern Baptist foreign missions ministries have been holistic; that is, the have addressed the whole person in an actual life situation, not just the soul. Even though there has sometimes been a tendency in the United States to polarize evangelism and ministries to physical or social needs, as if they were opposed to each other, that has seldom been the case in overseas missions. Compassionate attention to all kinds of human need has been more typical. Note, for example, the school for girls started by Henrietta Hall Shuck in Hong Kong, the appointment of a Southern Baptist missionary physician in 1846 (My note: the SBC was formed in 1845), and the sharing of food with famine-stricken people by Lottie Moon (and many other missionaries). Missionaries quite naturally reached out in Christian love to relive the intense physical and material suffering of those around them."

More recently, growing up at Trace Creek Baptist Church in New Johnsonville, TN, I can remember two distinct "mantras" of Southern Baptists: "Bold mission thrust" and "Southern Baptist, people who care." In retrospect, these are a couple of major things that shaped my early theology and Baptist identity. We are a missions people and we care about people.

I tell people that I have the best job in the world. By the grace of God and the good support of Southern Baptists, I get to help people and help them hear about Jesus. And to me, in my frame of reference, you can't get any more Southern Baptist than that!

Helping people; making God known....

Great Compassion and Great Commission Baptists...

Makes sense.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I have been a Southern Baptist 'since birth' and became a member of the local church when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. BUT - I think sometimes we give too much attention to the 'name' over the door and not enough to Christ's Mission Statement - 'Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel' If we don't portray this in our everyday life - we are missing the mark. It really doesn't matter to me what name is taken - as long as we continue to be mission minded (Personally, I like the way the Cooperative Program works.) Even though I am on a fixed income - I know a portion of my tithe is going into many parts of the United States and around the world. Again - Thank you for sharing this and allowing me to voice my opinion!