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'Great Commission' descriptor debated by messengers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
EDITOR'S NOTE: An expanded story will appear in Baptist Press on Wednesday, June 20.

NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- The descriptor "Great Commission Baptists" was debated by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention and went to a ballot vote after nearly a half-hour debate June 19 at the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans.


The results are to be announced Wednesday morning.

The measure survived some parliamentary maneuvering as a messenger called for tabling the discussion indefinitely and another asked that the convention not consider the issue at all.

Messengers considered the recommendation from the SBC Executive Committee that "those churches, entities and organizations in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention" which desire to use a descriptor other than "Southern Baptists" to indicate their involvement in the convention consider using Great Commission Baptists.

The phrase, if approved, would be commended "as one fully in keeping with our Southern Baptist Convention identity."

The legal name of the convention would remain "Southern Baptist Convention."

In February, the Executive Committee approved the recommendation brought by SBC President Bryant Wright who had appointed a task force to advise him on the possibility of changing the name of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Based on their advice, Wright brought a recommendation to the EC that the convention keep its name but adopt an informal, non-legal Great Commission Baptists descriptor, to be used by any church that wishes to use it.


Jimmy Draper, chairman of the task force, said the goal from the beginning of the study "was to consider the removal of any barrier to the effective proclamation of the Gospel and reaching people for Christ."

Erin Roach is Baptist Press' assistant editor. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press


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