Myth #4: The goal of the Great Commission Task Force is to dismantle if not destroy the Cooperative Program as we know it today.

Recently a Baptist Press article lamented that, “Some leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention tell us that the CP is dead or is no longer effective or efficient, or needs to be redefined. Simply stated, these leaders tell us the CP doesn’t work; it’s a relic of the past; it’s the old way; it’s a program, and programs are an anathema; and that CP is all about old denominational loyalty.” Then just a few days ago, I was told that the word was being spread in one of our state convention buildings that I, personally, was “trashing the CP.” Each of these is a sad example of straw men, hyperbole and outright misrepresentation as applied to the GCRTF. Here are the facts.

First, I affirmed the CP and countered this myth just last week when I spoke on the future of the SBC at Union University. If you like you can access the address at http://apps.sebts.edu/president/?p=1471. Further, you will look in vain to find any place where I have trashed the CP. I thank God for the CP. It helped put me through seminary and has paid a significant portion of my salary since 1992. Without it, Southern Baptists could not receive an outstanding theological education at the very best cost in the world. Without it we could not send missionaries around the world. Thank you Southern Baptists for giving through the CP.

Second, the GCRTF believes the CP is alive and well. We believe it is effective and that it is working. We believe it has a wonderful past and pray it has an even more wonderful future.

Third, does the GCRTF believe we should carefully examine and study the CP in light of the assignment given to us by the Convention in June? Yes we do. Do we believe we should see if there are ways to improve and make even more efficient the CP? Absolutely! To not do this would be irresponsible as a TF. So, have we had healthy and honest conversations about the CP? Yes.

Have we studied and analyzed a lot of data as it relates to the giving of local churches, giving through state conventions, and giving to national agencies and entities? Yes. Are we concerned about the decreasing giving patterns of our churches? Yes. Do we believe we need to find a way to cast a compelling vision that will encourage and move our churches to give more? Yes. In particular, are we asking God to help us find a way to get more resources to the nations and our nation where the gospel witness is weak or non-existent? Yes.

The CP is a good giving mechanism that allows Southern Baptists to work together. It is a good giving mechanism that allows us to do more together than we could ever do alone. It is a servant not a master. It is to be a tool and not a tyrant. It should be used to bring us together, not divide us. Pray that our Lord will guide us to find ways to make the CP even more useful for the advancement of His Kingdom as we move ahead for the glory of King Jesus.

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  6Comments

  1. Louis   •  

    Amen!

  2. Brian   •  

    I have been surprised at the amount of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) being thrown about in regards to the GCRTF. Thank you, Dr. Akin, for addressing it, though it saddens me that you must spend the time necessary to do so.

  3. Bryan Rabon   •  

    Dr. Akin,
    This is probably more of a rhetorical question than anything else but is there anything that can be done to get more balanced coverage of the GCRTF from Baptist Press? Practically every article I read from them has a negative spin like the article you quoted above. I am unsure as to whether or not that is coming in response to pressure from the state conventions or from the ExComm.

  4. Debbie Kaufman   •  

    I believe many of these rumors may be squashed if there was a lot more openness in exactly what the direction of the GCR is.

    This same closed door approach was used in the past five years, and it ended up that the closed doors were producing unsavory and unbiblical dealings.

    Once again we are being told to trust our trustees, but the past shows that more disclosure and openness needs to occur as trusting the trustees was not the answer. The Convention works for the churches, yet the churches know nothing that is happening right now. When nothing is heard, rumors spring up. It’s not right, but that is what happens. Speculations rise up.

    I respectfully submit that sharing more information as the task force does it’s job and beginning by telling what the task force’s job is. What are they doing? I signed the document, but now I’m not sure what it is I signed.

  5. Debbie Kaufman   •  

    Moved: That the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 23-24, 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky, authorize the President of the Southern Baptist Convention to appoint A Great Commission Task Force charged to bring a report and any recommendations to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 15-16, 2010, concerning how Southern Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.

    This is what was voted on by the Convention and it is to this that I agreed when I signed the document. I trust this is the direction of the GCR task force and the only direction.

  6. Spencer   •  

    My understanding of what I signed was a request for a Task Force to be assigned to develop a report and recommendations based on the research that they did. It really isn’t reasonable to expect a daily status update on every issue that was discussed and every data point that was considered.

    At the end of this I expect the Task Force to submit a report which we, as members of supporting churches, can read, understand, and evaluate. We will then act on some, all, or none of the recommendations as a whole convention.

    These guys aren’t going to make any decisions, they are going to make recommendations. The least we can do is give them the elbow room to do the job they were assigned. If at the end they come up with something ridiculous, we can just say “No!”

    Maybe people need to back off the alarmist rhetoric, pray that God guides the Task Force and disciplines them to remain faithful to the Word, and do something productive like carrying out the Great Commission. That’s just my recommendation.

    R/,

    Spencer

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