Southeastern participates in Baptist21 panel for eighth consecutive year

During this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary participated in its eighth consecutive year of the Baptist21 panel. This year’s title was, “Fault Lines in the SBC,” discussing issues that have caused divisiveness within the convention and how some pastors and leaders have sought unity.

The Baptist21 lunch was held June 12 and was moderated by Jedidiah Coppenger, a pastor and member of the Baptist21 leadership team. Six leaders within the SBC were involved in the panel discussion, including Danny Akin, Matt Chandler, J.D. Greear, Kevin Smith, R. Albert Mohler and Steve Gaines.

The majority of the panel discussion revolved around the balance of political engagement in the Christian faith and addressing minority issues concerning the convention.

Akin, president of Southeastern noted that humility is needed in order to make strides toward reconciliation among brothers in Christ.

“You never fail if you recognize you made a mistake and apologize. You never lose ground for humbling yourself and acknowledging you made a mistake,” said Akin.

Danny Akin speaking at the B21

For Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Christianity has been misunderstood among those outside of the faith.

“A lot of our neighbors who don’t believe what we believe assume that Christianity is really just a political agenda and Jesus is a good ornament on the top of that,” said Moore.

However, Moore said that Christians should bring hope in the gospel and not make politics all consuming.

“One of the great gifts that we can give to America right now as we proclaim the gospel is to say, ‘His kingdom is not of this world,’” said Moore, “which means that politics really isn’t the most important thing about your life.”

In keeping the gospel central while politically engaging the culture, Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, said that Christians need to have shared principles.

“At a foundational level, all of us believe that the things we want, the government can’t do it, the economic system can’t do it. All we have is the Spirit of the living God to make men new again and that’s what we want,” said Smith.

Akin spoke about how students at Southeastern gave one another personal freedom in their political views

“We gave room for one another to see the issues differently, to express their convictions differently,” he said.

Smith also addressed how the convention’s actions and words are interpreted to minorities.

“The largest Protestant denomination in America desires to share the gospel with anyone and everyone,” he said.

Baptist21 is a network of SBC pastors who desire to keep maintain gospel centrality while communicating clearly about current events within pastoral life. For more information about Baptist21, visit

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