I’ll chime in just for the sake of discussion. It seems that Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has convened an elite study group to consider the need or possibility of changing the name of our convention. I will start the discussion with a couple of disclaimer-type statements:

  • I’ve been Southern Baptist since riding in the womb. My father has been an SBC pastor for his entire adult life. I’ve served in a variety of ministry capacities in Southern Baptist Churches or ministries for the last 30 years. I was educated at several different Southern Baptist institutions of higher learning. In short, if you cut me I would bleed blue (or whatever color it is that Southern Baptists bleed).
  • With this in mind, you should know that I really couldn’t care less one way or the other what the convention decides to call itself–as long as it has something to do with the building up of the Kingdom of God.

I have heard some (if not all) the reasons for changing/not changing the name of the old behemoth we know as SBC and have found sound reasoning behind arguments on both sides of the issue. As a matter of fact, this isn’t the first time such a suggestion has been made, and so far those who desire the tradition behind the old moniker have prevailed in keeping the name the same.

My reason for jumping in is not to tell anyone what he or she should think on the matter (as I’ve said, I don’t really have a strong opinion one way or the other), but just to drop a couple of cents into the bucket as they were voiced to me by a couple of the members of my church. Understand that these men are not ministers (as I understand most – or all – of the study group to be) and that their reactions would be considered knee-jerk reactions–saying what they thought in immediate response to hearing that someone is even suggesting that our convention change its name.

First reaction of one man: “Why?”

First reaction of another in the room: “It seems to me they’d find better things to talk about.”

I don’t know if these statements will have any bearing on the committee’s study, but I think it would be good to note that these men are members of a Southern Baptist Church that is over 100 years old and has always been a Southern Baptist Church. The church is located outside of the region designated in the name of the convention to which we belong, and is in fact located in a part of the nation where to identify your church as Baptist garners an assumption that you are to be identified as American (not Southern) Baptist.