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Updating to Shag Carpet?

When the news broke yesterday that the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention had a recommendation on the name change AND it hadn’t come via the normal fighting, backbiting, hysterics that normally follow the SBC dealing with issues of change, I gotta admit – I was hopeful. I mean – this is a big deal for the SBC and to get this far in the discussion without WW III is a major accomplishment.

It’s refreshing to hear a majority in the convention finally understand that “Southern Baptist” is incredibly limiting and carries with it significant racist and religious baggage. It is an unnecessary stumbling block – so let’s deal with it.

Then I heard the recommendation – too many legal issues with changing SBC on top level, use a informal title instead. I understand that. I can live with that. Makes sense. Other companies do that all the time. What’s our informal label?

Great Commission Baptists.

This is the alternative to Southern Baptist? Really? Facepalm, moment. This feels like being told we are updating our house! We are so excited to update our house!! We’ve got the whole 1950’s look going on and it’s time for a makeover!! And the big update is …..

Putting in shag carpet.

Before somebody goes all “WHAT??? Are you anti-Great Commission??” on me, I am NOT anti-Great Commission. It’s just that 95% of the world has no idea what those words mean. And before the SBC starts patting themselves on the back – according to our stats on church-planting and baptisms – neither do most of our churches. Instead of removing a religious baggage term, seems like we’ve just swapped one for another.

The SBC is ‘updating’ to 1970’s shag carpet.

Big sigh….

I guess it’s an improvement. I’m not sure that anyone outside the South will use that one either. I’m glad that as a convention we are not at each other’s throat in the middle of this conversation. So, that is an improvement.

But “Great Commission Baptists” just further proves the point of what most people think about SBC anyway: we mean well and have great hearts, but are completely culturally clueless.

Maybe this will open the door for SBC churches to drop the labels and just focus on being the church.

That’s my prayer, anyway.

5 thoughts on “Updating to Shag Carpet?

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. Similar thoughts crossed my mind and my heart sank as I heard the “goodish” news. What a great sign that the SBC recognizes that the word “Southern” carries with it a stigma that just leaves too many people on the outside looking in.

    Too bad they remain blind to the existing divide between the church and culture. Their best compromise for a name change encourages churches to pick up a name that does nothing to bridge that divide. In their attempt to extend an olive branch they inadvertently extended a branch filled with thorns. This new name suggestion is just as unapproachable and confusing to the dying world we desire to reach.

    So in my humble opinion, raising the banner “Great Commission Baptist Church” will confuse and deter lost persons who might otherwise turn to our churches in search of hope. Ironic much?

  2. I agree, also. My fears about the distance between parishoners hearts and the name was confirmed this morning when, while at Lifeway, is heard two women justifying themselves for not giving a few bucks to a guy looking for gas money. I could say more, but I probably shouldn’t.

    • Stetzer just wrote a post saying the same thing – changing the name will do no good if there is no change in action. It’s a good write up. I think he’s a bit off in his assessment of what the ‘name change’ really does and mean. I think he’s a bit…generous on that front.

  3. Alden – on one hand it’s the great big Cop-Out. On the other it’s a start. Not sure where the emphasis should be. SBC has been one of the most rewarding and frustrating entities to deal with.

    No one else does missions or relief work like SBC. Nobody. That requires incredible flexibility and willingness to go to the messiest of places. That’s so good.

    On the other, nobody seems more stuck and offensive when it comes to other issues such as women in ministry and “Southern Baptist.”

    The Church (God’s idea) is larger than SBC and will last longer than SBC. We are temporal, the Church is eternal. I still pray the Church gets larger, I get smaller.

    • I think SBC needs to reconsider this change. ABC has a new tv show coming out called GCB or Good Christian B—- word known for a female dog.  With this new show and the timing of the
      name change, it makes the SBC look like a joke.  I really hate to see that. Christians are beaten up enough in the media. Now Great Commision Baptist will be laughed at taking away the focus on Christ.  Unless, they can come with some humorus way to turn this into a positive, they need to reconsider the name.

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