Just a couple short weeks before the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, one of their most visible and influential leaders, J.D. Greear, posted a video commenting on all the turmoil the SBC has faced lately. Greear points to what he believes is the Lord’s attempt to correct and purify the convention and outlines the things the convention must do to move forward. In particular, Greear believes the convention needs a cultural course correction from tolerating sins such as abuse, inequality, disunity and immorality in its midst.
“God brought a day of reckoning to us,” Greear says soberly at the beginning of his Facebook Live video. Greear, who is running for the office of SBC president this year, says the current president, Steve Gaines, has asked all the leaders to be in prayer leading up to the annual meeting.
“A dizzying amount of revelations have come forward that reveal a deep problem in the heart of our leadership and the heart of our convention,” Greear offers as an explanation for the call to prayer.
Greear has a theory about why all the “revelations” have come up now, and so publicly with int he SBC. He believes God’s judgment is starting exactly where the Bible told us it would start: at the house of the Lord. “Whom the Lord loves he chastens…but it is fearful and it is sobering,” Greear says.
“Our doctrine and our mission are solid…but I think we need a new culture and a new posture in the Southern Baptist Convention,” he says. “There are things in our culture that grieve the Holy Spirit” and the convention must work to change them, Greear believes.
He then outlines these “cultural” things the convention needs to re-commit itself to in order to thrive in the future.
The 8 Things J.D. Greear Is Asking the SBC to Recommit To
On equipping women: A complementarianism that “recognizes the gifts that God gives to women of the church and seeks to empower them, that honors our sisters in Christ as equal in salvation, equal in value and equal in spiritual giftings.” While Greear makes it clear he believes God has given men and women different roles in the home and in the church, his point is we need to be equipping and leading women to develop their gifts “as much as we do our sons.”
On racial diversity: A representation of people of color in the “highest levels of our leadership in a way that’s proportionate to their presence in our convention and in our community.” Additionally, the failure of the SBC in the past to include women and racial minorities in the top levels of its leadership has hindered “our ability to see sin and injustice and call it out.”
A people committed to protecting the vulnerable and exposing the abuser. “We have to make it absolutely clear that we are a place that realizes that God hates abuse.”
A culture that insists on transparency in leadership. Greear says plainly the convention must refuse to turn a blind eye to abuses of power and that more transparency is required when big decisions are made for the convention.
On those seeking to cause division: Mark those in our convention of a divisive spirit who seek to create division over secondary and tertiary things and keep away from them. Greear cites Romans 16:7 as the instructing Scripture in this situation. Whether we agree with them or not over these secondary and tertiary things, Greear says there are some in the convention who have elevated these things as primary to the exclusion of others. Agreeing on the Gospel, the mission of the SBC, and the Baptist Faith and Message should be primary things, Greear says, everything else is secondary or tertiary.
Refuse to tolerate those who slander others.
Speak the truth about one another in love. Greear says it’s important to call things out in one another and speak the truth about one another, but it must be done in love and absent of a divisive spirit.