Dr. Bryant Wright on the SBC Name Change (Part 2)

Recently, Jonathan Akin had the opportunity to interview SBC President Bryant Wright over Skype. President Wright responds to pressing questions and offers clarifications concerning the recent SBC name change proposal. This interview will be released in 3 parts over the next week. Part 1 was released last week and you can watch it here. The following questions are answered in part 2, which is posted below.

  • Any thoughts on how to prevent the name change from developing a “Two-party system” in the SBC (SBC vs. GBC)?
  • Did the Task Force feel like this proposal was a “win/win” for everyone in the SBC?
  • Some have said the proposed descriptor is a way to quiet anyone who disagrees with it. After all, who would want to say “I’m NOT a Great Commission Baptist.” How would you respond to that?
  • We heard that minorities across the convention requested a name change. Can you explain the rationale behind that desire?
  • When we say we are “Great Commission Baptists” does that imply that other Baptist groups are not about the Great Commission?
  • Are you not proud of your Southern heritage?
  • We dropped the name “Southern” out of the descriptor because of negative connotations (regional, slavery, racism, etc.). Why did we keep the name “Baptist” that can also carry negative connotations like fundamentalism, judgmentalism, etc.?


Comments 0

  1. I have been serving SBC churches over 20 years. I have never had anyone that has come to join the church or that I have led to Christ ask if it was a SBC church. It has never been an issue. I know others around the USA that feel the same way. The name does not need to be changed. “A rose by any other name is still a rose.” Why are a few making such a fuss over the SBC name? Changing the name will not make a difference. If we would just serve the Lord, preach the Word, evangelize the lost and build up the saved, we would be too busy to worry about a name.
    John Sullivan

  2. John,

    Good to hear from you.

    I think the Task Force in part agrees with you b/c they didn’t propose actually changing the name. Rather, the proposal is to add a descriptor that churches/entities can voluntarily use if they want to.

    I have not pastored as long as you so I don’t have as much experience in this. I’ve been a pastor for 6 years now, but I have had folks ask me whether or not our church is SBC.

    I think Pastor Wright answers some of your questions in this video about why fuss over this and what difference does it make. One thing he mentions is that minority pastors said that their peers and people they’re trying to reach ask them often or criticize them, “Why are you Southern Baptist given their history w/ slavery and racism?” So, part of the reasoning behind this descriptor proposal is to help our minority brethren.

    Also, I have friends who have planted in the North and people have asked them who they’re affiliated w/ and when they say the Southern Baptist Convention, one man said to my friend “Why don’t you go back to the south then?”

    I think this proposal is helpful b/c it gives the freedom to churches that are in areas where this might be an issue to use the descriptor. In areas where it’s not a problem then folks are free to continue as if nothing has changed.

    Hope that helps some. I agree that the name is not as important as what we do (evangelism, missions, discipleship, etc).


  3. Is the above commenter, John Sullivan, the Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention, or another John Sullivan? Just curious. If not, it should probably be clarified for those of us here in Florida.

  4. So Nate, are you suggesting that Lakewood Church in Houston is a helthay church ?While I agree that helthay churches grow, let’s keep things in perspective here. The shepherd of a church in Dumont, TX is NOT going to grow the same as the shepherd of a church in Dallas, TX. Not because the church isn’t helthay but because there aren’t many more than 40 people in Dumont (but it IS a great place to be!)The SBC is dominated by the mega-churches because they’re the ones who have the budgets to send the messengers to elect their people.By the way, I am not saying that all mega-churches are bad or unhelthay. I just don’t agree with your premis that smaller churches are that way because they’re somehow unhealther than the larger ones.Grace Ya’llWes

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