by Jason Keith Allen
Southern Baptists do not call councils; those are the pope’s business. Throughout our history, however, there have been times when wisdom demanded that Southern Baptist leaders come together to consider our collective work and how best to conceptualize our future together.
That is why I invited key Southern Baptist stakeholders to gather in the fall of 2015 on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a symposium entitled The SBC and the 21st Century: Reflection, Renewal, and Recommitment. This gathering was the first of what will be a triennial symposium on the Southern Baptist Convention hosted by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The presenters provided insightful assessments of the Southern Baptist Convention’s past and present and hopeful exhortations for our future. As each person spoke, I was encouraged by the thoughtfulness of their work and became increasingly confident that the symposium—and this book—would contribute to the future of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Not every invitee was able to come to Kansas City for the symposium, but I am grateful that many additional SBC leaders were able to contribute a chapter to this book even if they could not attend in person. Collectively we have undertaken this responsibility with the hope that God’s greatest work through Southern Baptists is before us—not behind us—and with the prayer God will use our meager contributions in this book toward this great end.
Southern Baptists do not call councils, nor do we issue encyclicals. Contained within this book are descriptions of, and prescriptions for, our denomination’s future—not dictates. Nonetheless, I pray God will use this book to enhance his glory among and through Southern Baptists and that our churches will be pleased to receive the counsel and encouragement contained herein.
Editor’s note: This is excerpted from The SBC and the 21st Century: Reflections, Renewal, & Recommitments.
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