Dr. Draper has written another article, "Can Anything Good Come From The SBC?" In it he addresses part of the problem in our Convention, affirms the need to change, argues the big issue is refocusing, and explains what is good about the SBC (read it here). I like what he has written, and ultimately agree with him even though I still have some questions. He writes,
It does us no good - and actually does us harm - to dwell on our size, numerical goals and our heritage. We can’t live in the past. Our heritage is only as meaningful as its most recent application, meaning that all we have been in reaching the nations for Christ does not guarantee us relevance in the future. Being “Great Commission people” and “people of the book,” means daily seeking opportunities to engage the world with the power of the Gospel but in humility and with a heart of service.
This is a great paragraph, and I wont add a thing. Good words for us all, and hard words for many. Think that one through. As he argues what is good about the Convention he says,
We have developed the most effective theological training anywhere in the world through our seminaries, with more than 15,000 students enrolled this year. Men and women are formally being developed to impact the world with the Gospel and that impact will be felt for generations to come.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this part. I love our seminaries, especially my alma mater, but I believe theoogical education should offer more than what we have. That is a whole new topic, and I don't want to get into it here. I agree with Dr. Draper here when comparing what we have to most other institutions. Certainly in the case of Southern Seminary you can get an amazing biblical/theological education for little money, and meet some great people.
Southern Baptists have expressed leadership in addressing the relevant cultural issues of our day to the point where our perspective is now being sought both in our nation and around the world. We are providing a much-needed biblical worldview in an increasingly relative world.
I have two thoughts about this. On the one hand we have guys like Al Mohler and Richard Land and Ben Mitchell (do we still have him now that he's at Trinity?) who can speak to the issues with great insight and undertanding. But on the other hand I think the media likes to book us on shows because we are the entertainment factor; the hardcase nuts who actually believe in God, the Bible, hell, etc. I think they seek us out more from a desire for ratings than because they respect our thoughts. And sometimes when we do speak to the issues as a Convention or as representativs we often speak with very few redemptive words and wind up scolding the culture instead of holding out hope; talking at it instead of with it.
In the end, the outgoing President of Lifeway is right. Good can and does come out of the SBC. After all, it totally funded our church plant and we have been labeled "hard-core Calvinists" by some, "progressive" by others, "emerging" by a few, and one even called us "fundamentalists." I am sure some have called us "liberal," though not to my face. I dig labels, but none of those are on our letterhead. The truth is our Convention allowed us to become an indigenous church, one that is confessional, missional and relational, and we have experienced no resistance from local or state institutions.
As far as usefulness, change and refocusing is needed, check out the man's last paragraph. It would be a great article to discuss with friends.