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Great Commission Resurgence emphasis flows through all sessionscomment (0)

June 24, 2010

The Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) is a “natural and spiritual outgrowth of the conservative resurgence,” Danny Akin told participants in the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference, held June 13–14.

Akin, a member of the GCR Task Force and president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., was one of several speakers who either explicitly endorsed the recommendations of the task force or more subtly underscored their importance.

In the final Pastors Conference session, President Kevin Ezell introduced the members of the task force. The group’s chairman, Ronnie Floyd, pleaded with pastors to get firmly behind the measure. While this was the most overt GCR promotion, each session featured a GCR Challenge brought by a task force member.

Akin, who preached Monday afternoon, said, “The conservative resurgence was never just about affirming an inerrant Bible. It was also about getting an inerrant gospel to the nations so that they might be saved.”

Preaching from Hebrews 12, Akin outlined the elements needed and those that need to be discarded to run the Christian race well, whether as individuals, churches or denominations.

“We must guide our people to run in faith unhindered the race God has put before us,” he said. To run with endurance means staying focused on Jesus, Akin said.

Staying focused only on the essentials means “getting rid of any excess baggage, anything that can weigh you down, even in the denomination.”

“Pride can become a weight about what we’ve done in the past and who we think we are today,” Akin said.

“Territorialism can be a weight. God forgive us if we are territorial … if we don’t see the whole world as our missions field,” he said.

While weights can be sinful things, they can also be good things that become bad, such as the Cooperative Program (CP), Akin told pastors. “You take a good thing like the CP and turn it into a god thing and it will be a bad thing.”

Floyd, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark., and The Church at Pinnacle Hills, Rogers, Ark., echoed Akin in linking the GCR to the conservative resurgence, a movement he said was bolstered by the Pastors Conference.

“Historically the Pastors Conference has played a major directional role in SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) life,” he said. “In recent days, I’ve developed an overwhelming appreciation for the men that have fought for the infallibility of Scripture. “Where are the leaders for the GCR?” he asked. “It appears we are more into playing it safe than risking it all [and] more committed to keeping our reputations than shouting that we are willing” to proclaim the gospel to the nations. “We have won the battle over liberalism, but we are losing the fight over lostness,” he charged.

In a reference to the GCR presentation, Floyd said, “Tomorrow is an urgent hour; people are lost and dying, and their eternal destiny is hell. Tomorrow is a day about change.

“Will you rise up and will we be the generation that will do all we can and give all we have to extend the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth and present the gospel and make disciples of all nations?” he asked.

And while the conference’s headline preacher, David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, didn’t actually mention the GCR or the task force report, he referenced aspects of the debate that has surrounded the GCR.

“In the next two days, many will speak on behalf of people in my state of Alabama, in my home state of Georgia and other states … where, by the grace of God, there is relatively universal and unhindered access to the gospel,” he said. “Tonight I want to speak on behalf of the people for which our convention was formed.

“We stand at a crossroads, and our participation in the global mission of God hangs in the balance,” he said. “We have a holy obligation to take the gospel to people who have never heard it before.

“The Word of God is calling us to sacrifice,” he said. “[But] God help us if we cannot sacrifice percentages and programs when He has asked us to sacrifice our lives.”

David Uth, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., described the convention as a defining moment “that will determine [our] legacy.”

“We must hand to the next generation a convention that is fully committed to the Great Commission, fully committed to go to the ends of the earth for our Lord,” he said.

“When we hear 4.5 billion do not know Christ … does that bother you?” he asked. “All the pretending and imagining and wishing and wanting doesn’t get you there.”

Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Ga., said many Southern Baptists are merely flirting with the Great Commission. “You believe the Great Commission, preach the Great Commission, celebrate it when someone becomes a believer, but the organization is not organized around it,” he said.

“Are you going to continue to be in love with a model of ministry and simply flirt with the Great Commission, or are you willing to fall in love with the Great Commission and let go of the ministries that aren’t making a difference?”

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn., said while he is for the GCR, what is really needed is “a red hot Holy Ghost revival from God.”

The church is not excited about its ministry like it once was and members “dabble instead of do,” he noted. It is time for churches and the SBC to wake up, Gaines said. It’s not about living off the momentum of the past, he said, noting what once had life is now lethargic and what once was real is now deceptive. “The passion we once had has been turned into a program.”

Others preaching were C.J. Mahaney, president of Sovereign Grace Ministries; Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church, Flower Mound, Texas; David Landrith, senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tenn.; Francis Chan, founder of Cornerstone Church, Simi Valley, Calif.; Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas; Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.; Ken Whitten, senior pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, Fla.; Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; and Russell Moore, dean of the school of theology, Southern Seminary.

A new president was also elected. Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Las Vegas, was elected president over Troy Gramling, lead pastor of Flamingo Road Church, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Dean Fulks, lead pastor of LifePoint Church, Columbus, Ohio, was elected vice president.   (Editor’s Network)

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