Home Christian News SBC Should Be Known for Love, Firm Convictions, Barber Says

SBC Should Be Known for Love, Firm Convictions, Barber Says

Bart Barber
SBC President Bart Barber preaches at the SBC Executive Committee meeting on Sept. 19 in Nashville. (Baptist Press/Brandon Porter)

NASHVILLE (BP) – Southern Baptists need to uphold and support Scriptural truth while maintaining love and cooperation, Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber said in addressing the SBC Executive Committee Sept. 19 in Nashville.

“You are just as much a defender of the truth when you argue for cooperation, as you are a defender of the truth when you argue for (Scriptural) purity,” Barber told the EC as it convened for its fall session Sept. 19-20.

Both 2 John and 3 John were his primary texts, focusing on the call to Scriptural truth in the second epistle, and the call to love and cooperation in the third.

“And I want God to make us a family of churches who know how to hold firm convictions about the truth of Scripture, while feeling the obligation to bring everybody that we can who’s in agreement with our statement of faith and with our movement to go and reach the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ, to bring everybody that we can on board into that journey,” he said, “so that together we can fulfill the mandate of both of these books.”

Barber took time to announce the theme and Scripture for the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting set for June 13-14 in New Orleans. “Serving the Lord, Serving Others,” will be the theme, supported by 2 Corinthians 4:5.

“I wanted to have a theme that really just ties together who we are as Southern Baptists,” he said. “And the other thing I love about that theme is that if any community has seen what Southern Baptists are like, serving other people in the name of Jesus, it’s been New Orleans,” he said, referencing Southern Baptist rebuilding efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in subsequent disasters.

In his first presidential address since his June election, the rural cattle farmer and fulltime pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, told the EC he discovered the meat of his message while on a mission trip to train pastors in Senegal.

“What happened in that moment in Senegal in that little mud house with those teachers, is that I found the Southern Baptist Convention in the Bible,” he said. “We live in this crack here of the pages between 2 John and 3 John.

“It is good and right that we be vigilant against doctrinal deviation. It is good and right that we be on guard against those who would work evil in the midst of the company of good.

“It is good and right that we be watching for sexual predators who would come into our flocks and destroy the hearts and the bodies and the lives of precious children of God. …

“It’s good and right for us to be on guard against people who are being led not by the truth of God’s Word, but by the convenience of the moment, who are being led not by the inerrant Word of Scripture, but by the fleeting opinions of the day.”

He described both epistles as written in the defense of truth, one focusing on supporting only adherents of God’s Word; the other extolling the church’s faithful love.