Initial Reflections on GCR Victory

I have been at the Southern Baptist Convention this week, and today was a big day. Outsiders watching it all unfold probably thought the process looked positively Byzantine, but it really wasn’t. Southern Baptists adopted the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report and thus took the first step in what I hope will be a long journey of renewal for our denomination.

I won’t take the time here to narrate everything that happened during the deliberations on the GCR (for that read here and here), but I will make a few observations.

There were numerous attempts to kill the GCR Task Force report by amendments or motions. Such attempts to kill the report were all defeated—except one. One messenger suggested amending Component #3 of the report. Ironically, after some parliamentary wrangling and compromises, the amendment ended up having the effect of unifying the messengers in favor of the report. I would not have predicted such an amendment to strengthen support for the Task Force’s work, but it did. I think the amendment was a big reason that the report passed overwhelmingly.

Dr. Johnny Hunt’s leadership through the whole process was sterling. His convention message and his work as chair were critical in bringing about this positive result. My respect and gratefulness for Dr. Hunt is in the stratosphere right now.

The entire Task Force did an amazing job in producing a report that SBC messengers could unite around. I am grateful for all of them. In particular, I am grateful for Danny Akin’s catalytic role in getting the Great Commission Resurgence on the radar screen of Southern Baptists. None of this could have happened without his leadership. Also, Albert Mohler’s careful work in front of and behind the scenes was absolutely foundational for this report. History will show what a pivotal role he played in today’s happy result.

There’s much more that could be said and certainly more people to be named and thanked, but I will leave it at that for now. I’m looking forward to what will be happening in the years ahead as the GCR Report gets fleshed-out in the churches and agencies of the SBC.

Today was a great day for the SBC, and I am grateful to God to have been here to be a part of it.


  • Freddy T. Wyatt

    It was a very good day. I feel the same way about Dr. Hunt’s leadership. Thanks also for reminding us of the critical roles Dr’s Akin and Mohler have played in the GCR journey. May God continue to grace us in the days to come!

    Freddy T.

  • Donald Johnson

    I see this as just another step in the process of SBC setting up a Magisterium issuing creeds, which I think would shock historic Baptists.

    And adding non-egalism to the gospel is something that should not have been done.

  • Nate

    Donald, your stretching to scratch your constant itch. Calling on fathers to take primary responsibility for their families spiritual leadership is not adding anything to the gospel.

  • Donald Johnson

    I am egal but would never think of adding egalism to the gospel, as it is a secondary doctrine, not in the core of faith in Jesus as Messiah.

  • Nate

    Donald, you didn’t really address my point. How is calling on fathers to man up adding to the gospel. Or, where else in the GCR did you believe it to say the gospel is complementarian?

  • Donald Johnson


    We are a convention of churches with a missional vision to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations. With all of this in mind, we wish to put forth the following as challenges for the future of the SBC that we might bring greater glory to the Lord Jesus as we seek to disciple all nations in the fulfillment of Matthew 28:18-20.

    Challenges for Individual Families

    Emphasize biblical gender roles with believing fathers taking the lead in modeling Great Commission Christianity and taking the primary responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their families.

    Perhaps I am misreading it, but it seems to me to say that the way to spread the gospel is to meet all the challenges, including the non-egal ones.

  • Nate

    Donald, I really think you are reading far too much of your ideology into this.

    Stating a desire to have fathers lead in modeling Great Commission Christianity and taking the primary responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their families is a far cry from saying that it is an addition to the gospel. The very next statement: “Recognize that parents have the primary responsibility of educating their children and helping them to cultivate a Christian worldview way of thinking and living” speaks of a duality in parental responsibilities.

    There are far too many statistics showing that if the father is only nominally associated with the church the children will be more likely to not be involved at all. Eph 6:4 is a verse that could have been attached to that statement.

  • RD

    So, now that this “task force report” has been adopted, what does that actually mean? On Sunday morning, in SBC churches around the country, what’s going to be different?

  • Matt

    RD, I am glad that the GCRTF was passed.

    Your question— what will be different for our churches on Sunday morning—

    Most likely nothing detectable for a large number of church members and churches.

    The change desired by the leaders of the GCRTF, like Dr. Akin (whom I sit under as a student at SEBTS)— is a change that reflects a heart of desiring to take the Gospel to the world and make disciples.

    Many of our churches and church members don’t give a rip. Many do.

    For those that don’t give a rip, things will be business as usual (emphasis on the “business”).

    For those that do care, I believe in time we will see a higher percentage of money given to missions and we’ll see more money going overseas or to unreached areas on our continent.

    But without our churches being on board with being truly Great Commission, the GCRTF will be unimportant and insignificant to many churches.

    Our job largely now, as laymen and as leaders, is to pray that the eyes of our members and pastors be opened (and hearts stirred) to the need we have around this world.

  • RD

    Thanks for the clarification, Denny. When I came back and read my question it struck me that it sounded a bit “snarky”. I didn’t mean it to sound that way (part of the flaw of leaving quick comments, I suppose).

    I guess I just don’t understand the notion of having to turn the Christian journey into a “program” or “initiative”. I grew up in the SBC and was a member of SBC well into my 20s. I currently attend a Nazarene church (though I am no longer much concerned with denominations; if the fellowship is Spirit-filled then it’s a community I am comfortable worshipping and sharing in). When I read your post about the GCRTF I emailed a friend of mine who has been the pastor of an SBC church for the past 17 years. I asked him what his take was on the GCR intiative. He replied, “I don’t keep up with SBC politics or initiatives…each day I get up and try to follow God. [The Great Commission]: Me following him. My life is good. I share.”

    On first reading his statement seems almost flippant, but there is really great truth and simplicity in what he says. Do we make things more complicated (and, perhaps, divisive) than we need to when we programize – is that a word?? – everything? Why can’t we just be salt and be light wherever we happen to be. Follow God. Life is good. Share.

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