-- (2 Corinthians 2:4, NIV).
In recent months, a group of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) critics has been attempting to dissuade Southern Baptist churches in Texas from their longstanding, faithful, and generous support of Southern Baptist missions and ministries through the Cooperative Program. This is a cause for concern that merits your special prayers and attention. As a Southern Baptist leader, I am compelled to try to give you and your church information you need to counter misinformation that could lead to decisions that would harm our very necessary and fruitful work together as Southern Baptists. Our concern is not only for the health and success of the SBC but also for the health and success of our partner churches.
These SBC critics have made statements like the Southern Baptist Convention is no longer Baptist and that it has adopted practices that are untrue to our Bible heritage. Some are suggesting that the theological education and/or missions programs of the SBC are somehow corrupted and, therefore, not worthy recipients of missions gifts from Southern Baptist churches in Texas. These assertions are false and the information in this series of articles responds to these accusations.
The truth of the matter is that the work of Southern Baptists, thanks to the grace of God and the faithfulness of the churches, is more effective than ever. By every objective measurement criterion, the Southern Baptist Convention has proven that it is your faithful partner to carry out Great Commission ministries on your behalf across the United States and around the world. SBC ministries consistently train ministers, send missionaries, publish the gospel, and influence the world for Christ at levels unmatched by any other denomination.
Some SBC critics have hinted at a new national convention to do these ministries. They want Southern Baptists to divert funding from institutions with a long, effective history, a current record of success, publicly stated confessional commitments, efficient administration, and absolute accountability. What is needed is not a new convention; rather, what is needed is the people called Southern Baptists confirming the authority of Scripture and banding together to reach the world for Christ.
What are we asking you to do?
- Be informed. Don't be misled by any who would encourage you to abandon your longstanding, fruitful partnership in the gospel with the Southern Baptist Convention.
- Urge the Baptist General Convention of Texas to reject these anti-SBC sentiments and affirm the partnership between the BGCT and the SBC.
- Challenge your Southern Baptist family in Texas to vigorously promote traditional support for the SBC Cooperative Program.
- Pray for reconciliation.
We felt it was important for you to hear from our perspective. My heart's desire is not to be unkind to anyone, especially fellow Baptists. But when someone is drilling holes in the boat, the crew must both bail water and try to repair the damage. Our common mission is too important to let untrue, damaging statements go unanswered. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our concerns and join us in praying God will give Southern Baptists divine wisdom and guidance in these days. May God continue to use Southern Baptists and our churches greatly for Jesus' sake.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Dr. Morris H. Chapman, President
Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention