SBC president releases ‘Great Commission Resurgence’ declaration
Published May 7, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—A declaration released by SBC President Johnny Hunt calling for a “Great Commission Resurgence” among Southern Baptists drew more than 1500 signatures in the first week of its introduction.
As of May 4, 100 Floridians had endorsed the declaration, including John Cross, the current president of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
Jim Law, senior associate pastor and administrator of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock where Hunt is the senior pastor, told Baptist Press in an e-mail that the declaration is “a collaborative effort of men whom Dr. Hunt respects greatly. It has been in his heart and mind for months and he has discussed it with a number of people.”
Hunt “will be presenting this to the [June 23-24] convention in Louisville and asking the messengers to consider appointing a task force to study this document and bring back appropriate recommendations on it,” Law said. “The purpose of this is so that we may be a more effective people to carry the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”
In an exclusive interview with Florida Baptist Witness, Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, acknowledged he was the principal author of the declaration, although he has relinquished ownership of the statement to Hunt.
(For more on the history of the document and Akin’s objectives for the declaration, see, “Akin discusses GCR history, intent, revisions.”)
The 10-point declaration calls for 1) A Commitment to Christ’s Lordship; 2) A Commitment to Gospel-Centeredness; 3) A Commitment to the Great Commandments; 4) A Commitment to Biblical Inerrancy and Sufficiency; 5) A Commitment to a Healthy Confessional Center; 6) A Commitment to Biblically Healthy Churches; 7) A Commitment to Sound Biblical Preaching; 8) A Commitment to a Methodological Diversity that is Biblically Informed; 9) A Commitment to a More Effective Convention Structure; and 10) A Commitment to Distinctively Christian Families.
The declaration resembles the 12 “Axioms for a Great Commission Resurgence” Akin set forth in an April 16 chapel address at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
As of May 4, among the key Southern Baptist leaders whose names appear as online signatories are seven of 11 SBC entity heads, seven of the 14 living former SBC presidents and two state executive directors.
A version of the declaration was posted April 27 and circulated through several blogs before its official release April 28.
Law told Baptist Press in his e-mail, “A copy of an original statement was sent [April 27] to state Executive Directors, State Presidents, Seminary Presidents, Agency heads, past SBC Presidents and current SBC officers to give them the privilege to have input on it. The Great Commission Resurgence web site was released before comments could be made.”
The online declaration’s similarity to Akin’s 12 axioms includes such emphases as the lordship of Jesus Christ, “Gospel-centeredness,” biblical inerrancy and the Baptist Faith and Message.
The difference in the new wording from the original posting and Akin’s address includes a softening of some language.
Both Akin’s address and the version originally released on the declaration’s Web site had called for Southern Baptists to “rethink our convention structure and identity so that we maximize our energy and resources for the fulfilling of the Great Commission,” saying Southern Baptist methods are aimed “at a culture that went out of existence years ago” and that structures at every level of denominational life are “bloated and bureaucratic.”
The revised document reads, “Some of our denominational structures at all levels need to be streamlined for more faithful stewardship of the funds entrusted to them. We must address with courage and action where there is overlap and duplication of ministries, and where poor stewardship is present.
“We are grateful for God’s gift of Cooperative Program dollars to both state and national entities. Both state and national entities must be wise stewards of these funds, and closely examine whether the allocation of Cooperative Program dollars genuinely contributes to Kingdom work or simply maintains the status quo. We are grateful for those churches and state conventions that are seeking to move more Cooperative Program dollars beyond their respective selves, and encourage this movement to continue and increase in the days ahead.”
The full text and current list of signatories of “Toward a Great Commission Resurgence” declaration can be viewed at www.greatcommissionresurgence.com.
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