Next week Midwestern Seminary will be hosting The SBC & the 21st Century: Reflection, Renewal & Recommitment. This event, slated for September 28th and 29th, is the first installment of a triennial symposium series intended to engage issues vital to Southern Baptist identity, heritage, and future.
Joining Midwestern Seminary as cosponsors in this initiative are The SBC Executive Committee, the Missouri Baptist Convention, The Southern Baptist Convention of Texas, and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
The symposium presentations will offer insights and assessments on the SBC and its future. These will be hopeful presentations of where the Southern Baptist Convention is, and where we must go.
We gather next week fully aware that the SBC as a denomination faces significant challenges and is confronted with many questions:
Will we grow more unified around shared convictions and mission or will we fragment over secondary concerns and tertiary doctrinal differences?
Will we see the generational transition that is upon us as an opportunity to seize or a change to resist?
Will we be able to maintain a distinct Baptist identity while we engage and partner with the broader evangelical community?
Will we be willing to reimagine our structures, programs and efforts to most effectively reach the world for Christ or will we retrench and risk being a past tense denomination?
Will we recommit ourselves to funding our collective Great Commission work through the Cooperative Program or will we choose endlessly downsize?
These questions, and many more, will shape our time together as key SBC leaders will engage them. Indeed, the symposium is intended to produce content by key SBC stakeholders for the broader SBC constituency.
Nothing quite like this event has been held in SBC life in recent years. The most recent and similar events were the conferences on Southern Baptist identity hosted by David Dockery and Union University in 2004 and 2007. We believe the need is keen and the opportunity is ripe for this symposium to make a substantial contribution to the SBC.
We also are grateful B&H Publishing has chosen to partner with us for a book project comprised mostly of presentations delivered at the symposium. In addition to symposium presentations, other contributors will include Collin Hansen and Justin Taylor who are co-writing a chapter on the SBC and the broader evangelical world, Danny Akin and Walter Strickland who are writing on the SBC and ethnic diversity, and David Platt on the future of Southern Baptist missions.
And yes, as a seminary that exists for the church, you can count on this entire project emphasizing Southern Baptist churches and how to strengthen them, not how to perpetuate denominational machinery. That is what SBC servants must be about, and that is what this symposium will be about.
As mentioned, Midwestern Seminary intends to host this symposium on a triennial basis, with this year being the first installment. In fact, initial plans are already underway for our 2018 symposium. We will foreshadow it this fall.
We trust the forthcoming symposium will make a helpful contribution to SBC life, and that it will propel forward our collective Southern Baptist work. There are still a few open slots remaining. You can register for the symposium here. Additionally, the sessions will be live streamed at mbts.edu and Dave Miller will be live blogging it at sbcvoices.com.topicsMidwestern Seminary, SBC, SBC Symposium