by Lauren Crane
The Southern Baptist Convention is far too comfortable in a world racing toward hell, said Alvin Reid.
Reid, professor of evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of several books, addressed the gathered men and women on the final night of the Pastor’s Conference, part of the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention.
The world, made up of lost men, women, girls and boys, is hungry for the gospel message. Reid, who often preaches and teaches at youth camps and events geared toward teenagers, said in them, he has seen a group of people who are passionate and hungry for the gospel – a far cry, he said, from the majority of those who make up the Southern Baptist Convention.
Reid said the convention has reached a tipping point from which it cannot go back, but instead, must move forward for the sake of the gospel. “We, as Southern Baptists, have tipped. There are times in Scripture people lost sight of the focus of God and he tipped them.”
Reid said the SBC has “tipped” in how it views relationships, the gospel, the future, the culture and success. Instead of seeing people as numbers and money as the goal, Reid said the thinking must be turned around so that people being saved is the goal.
“If our leadership would be so bold and courageous as to say ‘We’re going to support the gospel,’ people would support that,” Reid said. “The problem is we emphasize self-preservation over Gospel-proclamation.” This, he said, has led the SBC in becoming more focused on preserving institutions instead of maintaining a movement of God. “When we put anything above the gospel we are in error.
“Let’s be missional, contextual, and be friendly with people. But let us never forget that at the center of our faith is a bloody cross. Let us never forget that. Why would we spend our lives on anything more than the Gospel?”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.