“We need a Great Commission Resurgence” was the catch phrase at the Southern Baptist Convention this year. After a year that saw a drop in total membership and baptisms there is cause for concern. Personally, I am very thankful to hear our leaders talk about a renewed commitment to living out the Great Commission. Since then I have been surprise to read several Baptist pastors and seminary professors questioning the need for such a commitment. Before your jaw hits the floor, they believe this focus on the Great Commission could take away from our commitment to the inerrancy of scripture and could move us away from what it means to be a Southern Baptist. Even though they have valid concerns, my heart is burdened that some of our Southern Baptist leaders would criticize a movement to focus on the Great Commission. I have an even greater burden, no matter how you fell about the Great Commission Resurgence, I fell it is doomed to fail.
Many who support the Great Commission Resurgence are promoting it like the new Conservative Resurgence. This mindset seems good on the outside, but upon closer look there are several things to be concerned about. Let me say that I believe that the Bible is inerrant and that change was needed in 1979. Many of my friends and heroes were and are a part of the Conservative Resurgence, but the Great Commission Resurgence must be different. In the Conservative Resurgence the issue was about your beliefs about the Bible. The goal wasn’t to change a leader’s views of the Bible, but literally to remove men from positions of power that held opposing views. We labeled them liberals and blamed them for the decline in the Southern Baptist Convention. The Conservative Resurgence was a battle among brothers and we still see the scars. If the Great Commission Resurgence is a battle like the Conservative Resurgence then we only hurting ourselves.
The Great Commission Resurgence must be different if it is going to be effective. This movement is about what you practice as well as what you believe. It starts with a commitment to the authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus begins the Great Commission revealing that all authority belongs to Him. There is no other position for Christ to hold in our life except that of Lord if we are going to be committed to the Great Commission. This isn’t about battling our brother, but praying that God will ignite a fire within our hearts for the lost world so that they may acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In the Conservative Resurgence we sat at the doors of our churches guarding who got in, now we have to bust down those doors as we realize we are the church and proclaim Christ in our communities. The Great Commission doesn’t do away with inerrancy, but it puts feet to it. The Great Commission Resurgence must bring change in our hearts and inspire us to boldly spread the goodnews of Jesus Christ. In the Conservative Resurgence we as Southern Baptist were the defenders of God’s Word. If the Great Commission Resurgence is to succeed we must realize that we are dependent on God to bring the changes needed. If the Great Commission Resurgence becomes a style, a program, a battle ground, a measurement, or a source of pride then we will fail. I pray that God will allow us to experience a Great Commission Resurgence for His glory alone. As I finish this article my sense of doom is gone and my burden is lightened because with God all things are possible.