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Danny Akin says SBC future dependent on change
Keith Hinson, Baptist Press
December 30, 2009
4 MIN READ TIME

Danny Akin says SBC future dependent on change

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

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.”_ÑŒHe 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.”_ÑŒ

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.”_ÑŒAkin 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.’”_ÑŒ 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._ь

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