Nathan A. Finn

Historian, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher



May 2013



Bart Barber on the Nature of the SBC

Written by , Posted in Ministry, Missions, SBC, Theology

Bart Barber is a Texas Baptist pastor, a credentialed church historian, an influential blogger, and a trustee of Southwestern Seminary. He is consistently among the most insightful commentators on the Southern Baptist Convention. Even when I disagree with Bart, which isn’t all that often, I appreciate the depth of his analysis and the spirit in which he offers it.

In a recent post at the blog SBC Voices, Bart offers one of the best short summaries of the SBC and our work that I’ve ever read. I’ve copied his first two paragraphs below.

At its formation in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention was consecrated to the cause of “the propagation of the gospel.” The convention existed to enable local churches to expand their common reach in the tasks of calling sinners to repentance and organizing new congregations of disciples. “We can do more together than we can do separately” is not just a Southern Baptist slogan; it is the Southern Baptist raison d’être.

Dare I suggest that the health and value of the Southern Baptist Convention must be calculated along these same lines? Dare I opine further that the Southern Baptist Convention—with its history of scandals and schisms not hidden from view but laid bare to the world’s eyes and amply considered, with the lugubrious pre-obituaries some have published near and far for it notwithstanding, with the changing fads and fashions of ministry given their full accounting—nevertheless remains a healthy and effective part of a Great Commission strategy for local churches? Should I enumerate the specifics, not only why our convention’s strengths empower it but also why its weaknesses do not successfully overcome its strengths? I think so.

I would highly encourage you to read the entire post. And then, if you haven’t already, make arrangements to attend the 2013 SBC Annual Meeting in Houston on June 11–12.

(HT: Micah Fries)