William Shakespeare once wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The Blogosphere is a buzzing about the Southern Baptists chasing after the fickle mistress of being relevant to appease the consumer driven church [they helped create] by rebranding themselves.
Al, Danny, and the boys decided after looking at the legal and the financial ramifications of an official and legal name change, that the denomination should retain the legal name of the SBC, but to adopt the informal name of Great Commission Baptists to call themselves.
As a new believer in 1989, I really didn’t know much about the different churches and denominations. I only knew one thing about Southern Baptists that they were The People of the Book. I knew that because I heard the late great Dr. W.A. Criswell say that as he helped lead his denomination in the fight against liberalism towards the middle and late twentieth century.
Unfortunately for the SBC, the men that took up the next watch weren’t as equally diligent in protecting their denomination from the Pragmatists. The SBC went from The People of the Book to the people of the latest fad or gimmick.
Southern Baptists could change their name to the Jesus’ Super Cool People it wouldn’t begin to solve their problems and the cancer eating away their denomination. The problem isn’t their name. The problem is the methodologies they allowed through their church doors.
My suggestion to them is they should jettison their madison avenue experts, their Druckerite gurus and their missional hipsters and look towards their past. When their pulpits were full of men who were Pastors. Men who actually knew and loved their flock. Men who faithfully served out the Ordinary Means of Grace, week in and week out. Men who loved and served their churches, men who weren’t looking and waiting for the call of the Church of the Greener Pastures. Men who weren’t looking at programs or multi-sites that use lay people to shepherd their people for them, while they built their media empires. They were men who unashamedly expository preached The Word of God, not Life Coaches who lecture on self help and felt needs.
The name Southern Baptists isn’t the reason the turnstiles of their churches back doors are turning as fast as their front doors and their denomination is in decline.