On the heels of the last post about the SBC, I want to quickly add my own conviction why that denomination has been blessed as it has despite the internal-battles of the last 50 years. Frankly, it is what keeps me identified with this wing of the Church.

It is simply that it has been able to keep the world mission as the unifying task of what the Convention is about year after year. By the way, SBC stands for Southern Baptist Convention, a fellowship of autonomous local churches.

To give you a taste of how important this is to me and I believe to the cause of Jesus Christ on earth, I want to quote from an outstanding missionary to Islam in another denomination-the oldest continous protestant  denomination in the USA-the Reformed Church in America:

Over the entrance of one of the university buildings in Upsala (Switzerland) is the inscription- ‘Free thought is great but true thought is better’. There is great freedom of thought on missions today. The globe-trotter, the newspaper reporter, and the man on the street do not hesitate to express their opinions on missions and missionaries. The youth of today, untrammeled by the older traditions or conventions, is free to express its conclusions. A leader among the present generation of students, when cautioned regarding the humanistic trend and syncretistic philosophy in missions wrote: “I am personally not the least interested in modernist propaganda. The battle has passed wholly beyond that front for me. Modern life and my own life crack the universe clear open to its very core and make me face issues a thousand fathoms beneath those of the modernist and fundamentalist controversy. . .as a teacher I am not at all concerned with what any man thinks but only that he thinks.”

This is a familiar attitude and there is considerable truth in the contention. But if “the universe is cracked clear open to its very core” and we are to think at all correctly, conclusively, and creatively regarding it and the Kingdom of God, we need first of all to gird the loins of our mind with truth. In the battle against error there is no weapon so powerful as the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. – Samuel Zwemer, Thinking Missions with Christ (1934)

My personal message to fellow members of the SBC would be along the above lines-in the 21st century, the only safe way forward is to think missions exactly as Zwemer is advocating here, as the unifying purpose of our continuing partnership.

Read an excerpt from an earlier book (1911), The Glory of the Impossible

Zwemer biography at HISTORY of MISSIOLOGY, Boston University