Have you heard the news?
The Southern Baptist Convention is now considering a name change. At the linked to article points out, this isn't the first time. Motions have been entertained at the annual convention multiple times before. However, this may be the furthest into the discussion we've ever gotten.
I definitely support this idea. "Southern Baptist" is too regional. Nearly as bad as something like "Church of England in South Africa" or "The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod South Korea". It always has felt kind of silly to be planting "Southern Baptist" churches in Chicago, particularly among diasporas (migrant peoples). I don't even bother trying to explain "Southern Baptist" to most of the people I work with. It is difficult for me to imagine what this would be like in other nations. In particular, what is it like to be a "Southern Baptist" missionary in Northern Sudan or North Korea?
Further, I support the choice of bringing Pastor Micheal Allen on to the task force that will study the possibility of changing the name of our denomination. Micheal was a fellow on-site participant at Cape Town 2010 and is the pastor of the inner-city and multi-cultural Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago. I have a tremendous respect for Micheal and the ministry he leads and believe that he had a very good handle on what is going on both within our local and national denominational life as well as in the global body of Christ as a whole.
Now, what names will be suggested, if any, remains a mystery. I have read: "Orthodox Baptist Church" (which is kind of dumb), "Evangelical Baptist Convention" (which is better), "Worldwide Baptist Convention" and simply "The Baptist Convention." "International Baptist Convention" has actually been proposed and rejected in the past.
One person quipped in support of the name change: “I think they ought to change the name to the International Baptist Convention,” he said. “Then at some point - when we get ready to start mission work on other planets - we could switch to the Interstellar Baptist Convention. … That way, the initials would stay the same and we wouldn’t even have to change the logo.”
Well, the process should be interesting. If the name is going to change, it must be approved by two consecutive Conventions. That means the earliest possible change wouldn't be until after the 2013 annual convention. That's only if a proposed name is suggested and approved in 2012 -- which, let's face it, isn't going to happen. My prediction is that the name will change but not until 2015.
Here's the link to the news article:
Illinois Baptist State Association: Home: BP: IL Baptist appointed to SBC name change study committee