Friday, March 31, 2006

Wade Burleson's Dream for the Future of the SBC

One of the most encouraging things I have read in recent days is Wade Burleson's post I Have a Dream for the SBC. If you have not read this, I strongly encourage you to do so. Wade lays out a vision that, if realized, would free us from many of the petty squabbles that consume much of our time and effort and would allow us to focus more on our Kingdom mission. Here are some excerpts from his post (be sure to go to his blog and read the post in its entirety):

My dream for the Southern Baptist Convention is a threefold vision or desire:

1. Liberty for the People within the SBC. . .

I have a dream where we have a convention that is characterized by liberty; liberty of conscience, liberty of dissent, liberty of the soul.

The privilege of dissent is especially vital for the health of our convention. It is possible for the majority to make decisions that are not healthy for the convention in the long run, but through patient, loving dissent, there is the very real possibility that unhealthy decisions may be reversed. . .

It is liberty of dissent that sharpens us. It is the liberty of dissent that strengthens us. I have a dream that we have a convention that is not fearful of dissent, but embraces it as part of our heritage, welcomes it as a vital member of our Baptist family, and sees it as a blessing and benefit in the longrun. . .

Yes, we need our confessions. However, let's be slow to tamper with our confessions. And we must absolutely not allow anyone to narrow the parameters of fellowship and cooperation beyond our confessions. And let's hold sacred the principles of liberty so that we do not become a creedal people, a denominational sect, and in the end, a people more concerned about jots and tittles than God and people.

2. Love for the World outside the SBC.

The Kingdom of God is bigger than the Southern Baptist Convention. God's kingdom includes all the elect from every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue, and it transcends any one denominational boundary.

I have a dream that Southern Baptists see the hand of God at work in other evangelical venues, and where possible, join in the efforts of those of like faith to win the world for Christ. In many cases we will be the forerunners of the gospel, reaching into nations, peoples and lands where the gospel has little presence. Where we lead the charge, I pray that we will welcome the support of other evangelical witnesses who follow. The world is too big, the time is to short, and the lost are too many to believe that we Southern Baptists can do it alone. . .

When we as Southern Baptists are more concerned for the lost than we are that we get the credit for the new church plants, then we will truly be Kingdom minded. When we are more concerned for the lost than we are that we separate from any other evangelical who is not called a Southern Batpist, then we will be truly Kingdom minded. God has called all his disciples to be Great Commission disciples and to the extent that we participate with other Great Commission discipoles all over this world to fulfill our Lord's command is the extent to which we will be fulfilling that Commission given to us.

3. Loyalty from the churches in the SBC.

I have a dream that every Southern Baptist Church will be loyal and faithful to contribute to the Cooperative Program, and all our agency offerings, particularly the Lottie Moon offering.

I am of the opinion, however, that to demand loyalty without allowing freedom to dissent or exhibiting a love for others outside the SBC will be like putting the cart before the horse.

Loyalty to the SBC from the younger generation must be earned. It doesn't happen automatically.

What do you think of Wade's vision? Is this vision one that you would support? Do you believe that it will ever come to fruition? Do you think that things would be different if this vision were to become reality?


art rogers said...

It's a great dream. Seeds that will bear this dream as its fruit are planted in Greensboro.


Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Tim,

Dr. Corbaley has posted and invited comments. Have you given him a try yet?

Love in Christ,


Tim Sweatman said...


Let's be praying that the ground will be prepared for the seeds.


I commented over there earlier today (I guess actually yesterday now), but it was on his March 15 post. I'll check it out.

Villa Rica said...

Brother Tim,

I am praying with you. I have not been so encouraged in many, many years.

You guys can see this in your life time. I hope to see it in mine. If I do not see it in mine I know my sin is under the Blood of the Lamb and I will watch you guys take care of things from my new home.

Win people to Jesus. Preach expository sermons. Build up the body, and most of all love Jesus and your family.

I am praying for you, your family, and your ministry. Ask Jesus to help me if you think of it when you pray tonight.

Villa Rica

Tim Sweatman said...


Thank you for your words of wisdom reminding us of what is most important.