Myth #7: The GCRTF is about diluting our Baptist identity and distinctives so that we begin to look more like the American Evangelical Convention than the Southern Baptist Convention.

This myth was unknown to me. I had not heard about it. However, a member of the TF for whom I have great love and respect assured me it was out there and that is would be helpful if it were addressed. As it relates to the GCRTF the fear was we would bring recommendations for partnerships and alliances that could compromise our Baptist identity and distinctives. In a sense this concern is similar to the one expressed earlier about the SBC turning over to or partnering with Acts 29 in our church planting efforts.

As best I can tell, every member of the GCRTF is a committed and convictional Baptist. Each of us gladly confesses without mental reservation or hesitation our commitment to the BF&M 2000. Each of us applauds and rejoices in the Conservative Resurgence that made it possible for us to even be at a point where we are discussing how we can be more effective in fulfilling the Great Commission. We are passionate about planting Bible believing Baptist churches around the world and across North America.

Now, we are thankful for our non-Baptist brothers and sisters wherever they might be as partners in the gospel and fellow soldiers of the cross. We rejoice in every good thing they are doing for King Jesus, and there are occasions when we can join hands with them for the saving of souls. We have in mind things like BGEA, FCA, CCC, T4G, the Gospel Coalition, and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Still, we are Baptists in general and Southern Baptists in particular. We believe Baptist doctrine. We plant and hope to build Baptist churches. We will not compromise on issues like believers baptism by immersion, eternal security of the believer, and congregationalism just to name a few. We gladly profess evangelical convictions rooted in historic, orthodox Christianity, but we equally confess our Baptist heritage rooted, as some of us believe, in the evangelical wing of the Anabaptists movement of the Swiss Brethren, while acknowledging others of our brethren see our origin in English Separatism. This is our history and our heritage. It, I believe, will also be our future. If there were to arise in our nation an American Evangelical Convention, I do not expect to find Southern Baptists as a tribal member. I am certain that the GCRTF has nothing like this on its radar screen.

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  9Comments

  1. Les Puryear   •  

    When did “elder rule” become a baptist essential? What happened to congregational polity?

  2. Louis   •  

    This trend is already happening. It has been happening for years.

    But I don’t think that the GCR task force will get close to any of these issues.

    I am one who does think that the SBC should change its name so that it has more of a national, rather than regional name. That was actually discussed decades ago for the first time, but it has never gone anywhere.

    But the doctrines of believer’s baptism etc. should be maintained.

    Louis

  3. Tom Bryant   •  

    So “elder rule” is a baptist distinctive? Thought maybe it would be congregational rule?

  4. Daniel Akin   •     Author

    Tom and Les,Sorry about that skip of the pen! That should read congregationalism, not elder rule.

  5. Les Puryear   •  

    I received a text message that the phrase “elder rule” was a typo. The post has been changed to “congregationalism” instead of “elder rule.”

    Les

  6. Stephen Roberts   •  

    Thanks, Dr. Akin for your work on discussing these rumors and shedding some light on what this is really about, THE GREAT COMMISSION! You and the GCRTF keep up the good work, I am praying for you.
    About the elder vs. congregational thing, it’s a word game for the most part. Pastor(s), Elder(s), Staff ect. led (in the sense of vision, direction and leadership. Congregational rule, each church is autonomous and is free to set up any voting guidelines, decision making process they believe is biblically faithful and wise. And both of these are done under the Lordship of Christ.

  7. Danny Akin   •  

    Thanks guys. Been traveling and had to phone in the correction. Meant “elder rule” was not an option for us as Baptist but got it turned around in the various drafts of the article. Appreciate your grace and understanding. I assure you all that there is no Presbyterian blood running thru my veins! You all have a great week serving King Jesus, and pray for our GCRTF meeting.

  8. A.J. Metcalf   •  

    The “leadership of the congregation”, what does it mean? What doesn’t it mean? How has the Biblical Illiteracy we’ve heard so much about impact the health and determine the direction of a local church? With the mish mash of doctrinal beliefs held in our congregations, it’s a wonder that we’re in as good a shape as we’re in!

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