Home Christian News Greear Says Jesus Wasn’t a ‘White Southerner’, Advocates Use of Great Commission...

Greear Says Jesus Wasn’t a ‘White Southerner’, Advocates Use of Great Commission Baptists

On Twitter, Finn writes that the GCB name isn’t about being “politically correct or woke.” Rather, he says, it “reflects the best of our heritage and calls us to greater faithfulness.”

All 13 pastors on the SBC’s National African American Fellowship board approve of using GCB, says president Marshal Ausberry. Although “skeptics” might say the name change is merely an attempt to “whitewash history,” he says now is “a good time” for the move. “There’s a sincerity,” he adds.

Focusing on Missions

South Carolina Pastor Marshall Blalock, who leads the oldest Baptist church in the South, was an early advocate for the GCB name, which he calls “both convictional and aspirational.” GCB was approved in 2012, he says, because of its focus on missions and its potential to break down barriers.

In August, Blalock announced his intention to “identify more with our mission than our past,” and fellow pastors followed suit, according to Greear. “Many prominent South Carolina pastors” are making the switch, says Greear, and “in the last month, we started receiving emails from around the country with pastors and leaders asking about using the [GCB] name.”

Promoting the use of GCB and making it the 2021 Annual Meeting theme isn’t an attempt to “minimize the significance of our past, either its accomplishments or its failures,” Greear says. Instead, it’s “simply one more step to make clear we serve a risen Savior who died for all peoples, whose mission is not limited to one people living in one time at one place. Every week we gather to worship a Savior who died for the whole world, not one part of it. What we call ourselves should make that clear.”

Paul Chitwood, president of the SBC’s International Mission Board, tweets: “As I’ve been saying for years, when the #GreatCommission isn’t the lead topic of conversation in the SBC, the other topics divide us.”

What’s in a Name?

Some Baptist pastors insist the actual name isn’t a big deal. “I think we live in a post-denominational age,” says Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. “Churches are less and less concerned about being defined by a group they can’t control.”

Not all Baptist leaders are on board with the shifting name. Some claim it’s part of a “liberal drift” occurring within the denomination. Former SBC president Jerry Vines, a leader in the Conservative Resurgence, says he’s “old school” and wants to be “upfront” about his religious identity. “I do like truth in advertising,” he says about maintaining the SBC name.

On social media, people opposing a name shift have commented that the denomination is merely “pandering to the mob” and that it must deal with “underlying issues” before it can make any significant progress.