NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A declaration released by SBC President Johnny Hunt calling for a “Great Commission Resurgence” among Southern Baptists has drawn more than 700 signatures since it was posted April 27 at www.greatcommissionresurgence.com.
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.”
Law said Hunt would be releasing a list of the original signatories, those who helped craft the declaration, at a later date.
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.”
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 full text of the document can be read below.
The declaration resembles the 12 “axioms for a Great Commission Resurgence” set forth in an April 16 chapel address by Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
Akin and Hunt were among the first to fix their signatures to the online document.
Among the key Southern Baptist leaders whose names appear as online signatories are three of 11 SBC entity heads and four of the 14 living former SBC presidents. No state executive directors had signed the declaration at press time:
A version of the declaration was posted on www.GreatCommissionResurgence.com 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 on Monday 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. Therefore, the web site was updated today with the revised copy of the document.”
Law also reported, “There was much response received on the document as a whole. The convention structure was only one of the items. Many encouraging responses were received. As a matter of fact, over 700 individuals have gone on the web site in two days and signed on to support the entire declaration.”
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 GreatCommissionResurgence.com 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 online document as revised 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.”