Danny Akin says SBC future dependent on change
    December 30 2009 by Keith Hinson, Baptist Press

    Southern Baptists’ future rests on redirecting resources from the Deep South, abandoning racism and remaining committed to biblical orthodoxy, expository preaching, the lordship of Christ and sound doctrine, declared Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, during his address Oct. 8 at Union University.

    Naming a statistic that has become a refrain during the work of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force on which he sits, Akin told conferees that $12 billion was given through the denomination’s local churches in 2008 but “only 2.75 percent ever left the borders of the United States.”

    Church planting in “unreached and unserved areas of our nation is little more than a trickle,” Akin said. “Why we plant more churches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee than we do in New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington and California is absolutely incomprehensible to me.”

    Photo by Morris Abernathy

    Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, talks with students from Union over breakfast who are interested in going to Southeastern.

    Every Southern Baptist congregation should be “a church-planting church and every church a Great Commission church,” Akin added. “This must be more than a slogan. It must be a reality.”

    Akin called for a church planting strategy “that assaults the major population centers of North America.”
He said if Southern Baptists continue to neglect “the great urban centers such as New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle … we will face a future of irrelevance and insignificance.”

    Akin, who believes strong state conventions in the south utilize too much Cooperative Program money in their own states, said, “We must streamline our structure, clarify our identity and maximize our resources. A younger generation wants a leaner, quicker and more missional convention that pursues the unreached and under-served in our nation and around the world.”

    “That is where they are going and our leadership at every level will either get on board or be left behind,” Akin added. “In other words, we will change the way we operate, whether we like it or not.”
Akin warned against nostalgia for the status quo of past decades, which could be an obstacle to revitalization.

    “Many Southern Baptists are trapped in a time warp,” Akin stated. “They are aiming at a culture that went out of existence years ago. They use mid-20th century methods and pine for a nostalgic golden age. They are convinced if we would just go back to the way things were, we would experience a spiritual renaissance that would restore the good old days. ... We are not going back. We will move forward into the future, whether we like it or not.”

    With everything up for consideration Akin even said the name “Southern Baptist Convention” needs to be changed, because it isn’t “best for identifying who we are and want to be in the future.”

    One key to a positive future for the SBC would be the abandonment of racism and an increasing diversity, Akin said.

    “Until we get right about race, I am convinced God will not visit us with revival,” Akin said. “The plea for a Great Commission resurgence will not move heaven, and it will be scoffed at by the world as a sham. Starting at home, we must pursue a vision for our churches that looks like heaven.”

    Akin told conferees that his remarks at Union represented the fourth time in five years he had “addressed some aspect of the future of the” SBC.

    He expressed dismay that more attention had not been paid to the first axiom of a chapel message delivered in April at Southeastern Seminary in which Akin had called for churches to “be committed to the lordship of Jesus Christ in every area.”

    The axiom, Akin said, “has been passed over and quickly dismissed with the wave of a hand and words like, ‘We all believe that.’”
 But, Akin countered, “I fear we do not and as a result we too often devolve into petty quarrels, territorialism, turfism, defensiveness and personal agendas that find the Savior nowhere in sight.”

    Southern Baptists must continue to make clear their commitment to the Bible as inerrant, infallible and sufficient, he said.

    Related stories

    Union event examines future of denominations, SBC

    Unite around gospel essentials, Dockery urges

    Al Mohler urges young Baptists to save Convention

    Editorial: Are Southern Baptists evangelical?

    12/30/2009 12:52:00 AM by Keith Hinson, Baptist Press | with 10 comments

Gene Scarborough
The proof is in your court. My eyes and personal knowledge uphold my case!
1/11/2010 7:09:39 PM

Thomas Kiker
So really no real proof. Thanks.
1/11/2010 1:14:38 PM

Gene Scarborough

Just check out how many NCBSC churches have left and have joined CBF. They know where Autonomy still has a place. The SBC tries to continually discredit CBF and dares not tell the real story. The last NCBSC meeting was at the Korey Center which is 1/3 the size of the old places they used to meet. Their statistics clearly show the decline. Baptists are a communal people and those who used to attend are going---you know where!

If you buy their balony, I feel sorry for you. When I attend the next CBF meeting, I will see more old friends and churches represented than last year. That is proof enough for me!
1/10/2010 5:53:47 PM

Oops... typo above. Sorry. I meant to say, "we are not justified by works of the law, but we are justified by works of *love*. James makes that clear."
1/10/2010 4:53:17 PM

I see a lot of good intentions in the SBC. However, I also think the first Christian denomination (the believing Pharisees of Acts 15:5) also had good intentions. I see the current SBC as somewhat similar to that first denomination. The Pharisees were conservative for their time, wishing to do things the way their fathers in their faith had done them (Luke 11:48). They also were very evangelical (Matthew 23:15). They placed rules on God's children that did not come from Scripture (Mark 7:9). I don't have the space here to go into how the SBC does this, but you can read more about it on my website.

Most importantly, the Pharisees also preached a distorted version of the gospel that came dangerously close to closing the kingdom to people instead of achieving good result intended (Matthew 23:13). The SBC does this with the gospel of "faith alone." The gospel of faith alone, without mentioning the realities of salvation and justification by works, poses the same danger (see James 2). "Faith alone" is a distortion of Paul's teaching, which was that we are justified apart from the law of Moses (Acts 13:39). We are not justified by works of the law, but we are justified by works of law. James makes that clear.

In 15 years as a Southern Baptist, I never once heard Romans 2:7-11 explained in any sermon, much less in any gospel presentation. This leads many continually sinful believers to think they are going to heaven, effectively shutting the real door to heaven on them. To live with Christ we *must* walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). The SBC desperately needs to wake up to this reality and start preaching the whole truth. May God do this.
1/10/2010 4:48:45 PM

Thomas Kiker
I would love to see any real statistics that show the CBF is growing. I seriously doubt it.
1/9/2010 10:53:40 PM

Gene Scarborough
It sounds, to me, like Dr. Aikin is describing the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship!!!!

Those wanting a quick return to SBC basics should look them over carefully dispite all the false rhetoric attempted to debunk them. They are growing. The SBC is stagnant.

I wonder why?????
1/9/2010 4:10:11 PM

Dr. James Willingham
And I thouht I was being thoughtful by a brief paragraph. What will we ever do with with a William Faulkner sentence? The lawyer for my dad's estate (sounds big but wasn't) was a drinking buddy of Faulkner. We laughed at the idea of one of Faulkner's novels began with a sentence that was 8 pages long. Paul had a sentence somewhat like that, Ephs.1:3-14. Normally I write paragraphs of about four/five lines, but for some reason I can't seem to think of leaving any blank spaces in these comments. I shall try, repeat, try to improve.
12/30/2009 4:32:21 PM

Brent Hobbs
Dr. James, I appreciate your comments and they would be easier to read if you inserted a paragraph break every now and then. :)

I truly hope our convention will hear and heed the words of Dr. Akin here. From dealing with racism to urban church planting to making sure our priorities are proportionally funded, he's exactly right. I really look forward to seeing some of the GCR Task Force recommendations in February.
12/30/2009 4:22:56 PM

Dr. James Willingham
Dr. Akin hit the nail on the head with his reference to the need to get right on the issue of racism. Having done my project for the Doctor of Ministry at SEBTS in '75-76, it seems obvious to me that racism has been one of the major problems that Southern Baptists have never really faced. This might be due in part to the need to deal with it on the local church level and in the lives of individuals. People have to be persuaded that this is one of the issues that they must resolve before they can expect God's richest blessings. What got me was the fact that God had in mind a events twenty years later. At the time I was disappointed that the project seemed to accomplish so little. 20-30 years later, I saw in part God's greater aim, namely, to help His people in dealing with integration in family situations. I wish I could relate the story. Another area that Dr. Akin touched in passing was sound doctrine/biblical orthodoxy. We might assume that we have that as people who voted for the Book in the battles over inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility, but the truth of the matter is at variance with the actual situation. We suffer from inordinate fear of the truth, especially as it sounds so ominous at times. That fear is one of the factors in our tendency to dilute and explain away truths that seem to threaten us. There is a pressing need to go back and look at our splits and the theological understandings that preceded them which had worked so well and accomplioshed so much. One of the things I have been trying to point out on various blogs is that the Lord evidently makes use of paradoxical interventions in order to restore control to the individual. Another area of difficulty is that of intellectualism. We have been so brainwashed with the idea that the mind is not required, that feeling is the way to go, that we have basically tossed out much of the Bible. Consider, for example,the truth of repentance which has been reduced to the thoughtless and therefore meaningless idea of simply turning around, when the truth of the matter is that repentance is a change of mind based upon reflection, upon thinking through all the factors involved and coming to a consequent conclusion of the necessity to turn rom sin to the Savior. In the 1700s and into the 1800s Baptist knew repentance was more than just turning around. Moreover, the nature of our doctrines is not understand. One of the things I discovered in 6 years of reearch in Baptist church history covereing more than 250 sources is that the doctrins of the Bible are all two-sided and apparently contradictory, that they are not meant to be reconciled but held in a tension in the mind (which seemingly corresponds to the right-side/left-side brain configuration). This tension in the mind enables one to be balanced, flexible, creative, and magnetic. Biblical orthodoxy enables one to have a more liberal approach to things, problems, and situations without causing one to feel like he or she has compromised convictions. That is why Baptists were able to secure religious liberty, support the founding of the greatest nation in history, lay the foundations of our educational institutions, enable educated and uneducated ministers to work together, to see other Protestants as their pedobaptist brethren, grow in quantity and quality at the same time, and help to launch the Great Century of Missions...and all of this while fussing to beat the band about everything, the ferment of leaven that permeates the whole with a new lease on life. We need to return to that attitude and spirit and put our people hard by one another, get them to work together until they began to appreciate God's purpose in raising up one another. A friend of mine was run out of Southern Baptists about 50 years ago over preaching Sovereign Grace even though leading ministers like Carlyle Marney and Charles Trentham said very plainly, "He's preaching the Gospel." Our liberals back then still knew the Gospel. Today it is the orthodox who must find out once more and take up the mantle of true liberalism which is that liberty of spirit that comes from having the truth in a spirit of humility that says the Lord is in control and I'm glad He is. Dr. Akin is near the point of a Great Awakening. God grant that he might see his way through.
12/30/2009 12:31:00 PM

 Security code