"Leaders, activists offer hopes for Greensboro"

The Florida Baptist Witness recently asked 15 Southern Baptist “leaders and activists” to answer this question: “What do you hope will be the single, greatest outcome of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Greensboro?” All but two gave responses for publication. Some of the answers were predictable. Some were very encouraging. One takes the prize for honesty and for saying what many who were not asked are undoubtedly thinking. Among the respondents are Bobby Welch, Frank Page, Ronnie Floyd, Paige Patterson, Al Mohler, Marty Duren, Wade Burleson, Ben Cole and Steve McCoy.

Steve gets the prize for this gem: “My greatest hope for Greensboro is that I will continue to build a personal network of missional pastors and thinkers, and encourage others to do the same. My second greatest hope is that the shofar won’t work.”

Here is my answer (I am not sure if I was asked as a “leader” or an “activist;” there’s gotta be a third category in there somewhere!): “I hope that all of us attending will be struck with an overwhelming conviction that we need to repent for our denominational pride and will seek the Lord for mercy and spiritual power. There are many important issues that need to be addressed on the formal agenda for the convention and we certainly need wisdom as we consider them. But unless and until we come to terms with the systemic pride that not only allows but encourages us to boast about inflated statistics and ignore the disastrous results that come from so much of our modern, superficial evangelism, I fear that we will continue to make the disastrous mistake of believing that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ will be advanced through winning elections and passing motions. Our desperate need is for a heaven-sent, Spirit-empowered reformation and revival. An outbreak of humility and repentance could become the first stirrings of that divine work.”

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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