In the midst of all the COVID-19 posts, clips, and Executive Orders, I find it helpful to back off the media consumption and do some heartfelt, soul-edifying work. I recently finished an older book written by Robert Baker titled, The Southern Baptist Convention and Its People 1607-1972. The book covers several hundreds of years of Baptist history in more than 400 pages. It is well-researched, delightfully written, and filled with facts.

 

I enjoyed the book, but what I enjoyed was the message of the book. The Southern Baptist Convention is amazing.[1] I was saved and grew up in an Independent, Fundament Baptist church. There is a lot of difference in what this entails, and I would be more than glad to share my experiences, should you be so inclined. However, shortly after getting married to the most amazing and wonderful woman I have ever met, I became a Southern Baptist. The primary draw was the Cooperative Program.[2] We can get much more done together than we can apart. And I loved the spirit of unity among Southern Baptists. Did they disagree on matters? Absolutely! But they worked through those disagreements with a desire to do the work of the ministry, together.

 

Baker’s book is filled with fascinating stories of the men and women who made the SBC was it is today, and this all happened within the context of the local church. Toward the end of the book, however, Baker mentions eight reasons that the SBC enjoyed, what he called, “remarkable growth.”[3] They were eight reminders of why I am glad to be a Southern Baptist, and I wanted to share them with you.

 

  • “The simple biblical emphasis and democratic ecclesiology.” (447)
  • “The numerous self-sustaining ministry.[sic]” (447)
  • “Identification with the culture-patterns of its environment.” (447)
  • “Evangelistic zeal.” (447)
  • “Individual leadership.” (447)
  • “The structure of the Convention.” (447)
  • “The absence of a significant schism.” (448)[4]
  • “Emphasis on education.” (448)

All of these factors are important to me personally. They are also reasons for which I am thankful to be a Southern Baptist. If you are a Southern Baptist, I highly recommend this resource to you. If you are considering becoming a Southern Baptist, read this book of the historical development of the Convention and the churches within it.

 

What makes you glad to be a Southern Baptist? Would you add anything? Let me know in the comments below!

 

__________________________

[1] You can learn more on the SBC’s website: http://www.sbc.net/

[2] The Cooperative Program is fascinating. I encourage you to do your research here: http://www.sbc.net/cp/default.asp

[3] Robert Baker, The Southern Baptist Convention and Its People: 1607-1972 (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1974), 446.

[4] Since the book was written prior to the Conservative-Liberal split, it is not included here. However, even with that split, the Convention sided with the Scriptures. Learn more about the C-L split here: http://www.bpnews.net/18486/25-years-ago-conservative-resurgence-got-its-start

 

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