I have been very encouraged about the committee that was established to explore the idea of a recommended name change for the SBC. This has been long overdue in my opinion. The name “Southern Baptist” is one that causes confusion in many and anger in many others. I am proud to be a Southern Baptist, not because of the name but because of what Southern Baptists stand for.
The name suggested by the committee is fitting for what we as Southern Baptists believe. The suggested name is Great Commission Baptists. I love it. The issue I have is not with the name, but with the idea of now having two names (see details here). I know that this was done as a compromise to make those on both sides feel like their thoughts were considered. However, this compromise falls short in my opinion.
It’s been said that this helps avoid legal and financial matters. I guess I should talk to a lawyer first, but I don’t understand this. Surely companies or organizations can change their name and still keep their assets, pledges, and contributions. It has also been stated that the name “Southern Baptist Convention” carries a good name in areas such as disaster relief, so we should keep that name. Do they really mean that we could not explain to people that we have close ties to that we changed our name, and they would understand what we mean? Is this for real?
I feel like some common sense is lacking here. Let’s just call it what it is. We’re trying to make everyone happy here. The problem is, sometimes difficult choices just have to be made. If it’s worth changing, then it’s worth changing (I believe it is). If it’s not worth changing, then live it alone.
This idea of having too names is also extremely confusing. I can imagine sitting by someone at a local coffee shop and getting into a conversation about church. “I go to a Baptist church.” They ask, “Is it SBC?” I would respond, “Well, yes and no. We’re now called Great Commission Baptists, but we’re also SBC.” With a puzzled look they ask, “So, you’re no longer SBC?” “No, we are,” I respond. “But, you’re also Great Commission Baptist?” “That’s right.” They seek clarification, “Is that a dual alignment?” “Nope. Just two names for the same thing.” I’m not looking forward to that conversation.