In this collection of essays, sixteen Southern Baptist leaders address key issues of theology, polity, and practice to ascertain the future of the Southern Baptist Convention in particular and evangelicalism in general.
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About the Author
David S. Dockery (PhD, University of Texas) is the president of Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, following more than eighteen years of presidential leadership at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He is a much sought-after speaker and lecturer, a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and the author or editor of more than thirty books. Dockery and his wife, Lanese, have three sons and six grandchildren.
R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues.
Gregory A. Wills (PhD, Emory University) is the dean of the school of theology and the David T. Porter Professor of Church History at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Timothy George is the founding dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, where he teaches theology and church history. He serves as general editor for Reformation Commentary on Scripture and has written more than twenty books. His textbook Theology of the Reformers is the standard textbook on Reformation theology in many schools and seminaries.
Russell Moore (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. A widely-sought commentator, Dr. Moore has been called "vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate" by the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including Onward, The Kingdom of Christ, Adopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried, and he blogs regularly at RussellMoore.com and tweets at @drmoore. He and his wife, Maria, have five sons.
Daniel L. Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Nathan A. Finn (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the dean of the School of Theology and Missions and professor of theological studies at Union University. Nathan lives in Jackson, Tennessee, with his wife, Leah, and their four children.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Southern Baptists in the Twenty-first Century David S. Dockery 13
Part 1 Theological and Historical Perspectives
1 Southern Baptist Identity: Is There a Future? R. Albert Mohler Jr. 25
2 Southern Baptist Identity: A Theological Perspective R. Stanton Norman 43
3 Southern Baptist Identity: A Historical Perspective Gregory A. Wills 65
4 Is Jesus a Baptist? Timothy George 89
5 Learning from Nineteenth-Century Baptists Russell D. Moore 105
6 Learning from the Anabaptists Paige Patterson 123
7 The Roots of Baptist Beliefs James Leo Garrett Jr. 139
Part 2 Ministry and Convention Perspectives
8 Axioms of a Cooperating Southern Baptist Morris H. Chapman 159
9 Toward a Missional Convention Ed Stetzer 175
10 The Future of the Traditional Church Jim Shaddix 203
11 Evangelism and Church Growth in the SBC Thom S. Rainer 217
12 The Future of State Conventions and Associations Michael Day 223
13 A Free Church in a Free Society Richard Land 243
14 Priorities for a Post-Resurgence Convention Nathan A. Finn 257
Conclusion: A Future-Directed Proposal for the SBC Daniel L. Akin 281
General Index 299
What People are Saying About This
"Libraries are replete with books on church history, reflections of renowned theologians and analyses of past culture and society. However, few volumes apply historical developments to an understanding of contemporary challenges and their implications on the future. Southern Baptist Identity is a valuable compilation confronting this formidable task. With contributions from notable denominational leaders, this volume acknowledges the phenomenal growth of Southern Baptists but recognizes the impact a changing world and postmodern society will have on the future of its churches and collectively on the Southern Baptist Convention. While readers will not necessarily agree with the insights and conclusions of each writer, they will find the diverse perspectives valid as they grapple with the contemporary realities of denominational life and trends."
—Jerry Rankin, Former President, International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
"The Southern Baptist Convention is preparing for a new generation of global witnesses. To understand the purpose and passion of the world's largest cooperative network of evangelical churches, read this book. I am grateful for this scholarly insight and spiritual challenge as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission in the twenty-first century."
—Jack Graham, pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church; former President, Southern Baptist Convention
"All Baptists should draw water from these wells of provocative essays and lectures in order to avoid historical amnesia or political euphoria. We are reminded that we dare not be content with kicking the convention can further down the road; instead, we must be forward-leaning, asking the hard questions about present and future. This work calls us to a rigorous and serious mapping of the contours of our convention road."
—Hayes Wicker, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Naples, FL