The Southern Baptist Convention Must Change or Die

Yesterday Dr. Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave an address to students on the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Mohler’s analysis is very instructive. He compares the SBC to General Motors, which had its heyday in the mid-20th century and, because of a failure to adapt to a changing world, saw its fortunes decline to the point of bankruptcy.

I encourage every Southern Baptist to listen to (or watch) this address. For some, his words will resonate as a welcome addition to what has been voiced from various sectors of the SBC for years. For others, what he has to say may be eye-opening or even alarming. Though I could wish it were otherwise, there will no doubt be a few who try to dismiss his warnings as extremist and somehow disloyal to all things conservative in the SBC.

The winds of change are blowing across the SBC. Those who recognize the need for change must stand with and encourage those denominational leaders who are trying to point the way forward with a renewed commitment to the centrality of the gospel. In his address to SBTS students, Dr. Mohler is doing just that.

I have tried to explain these issues for a broader audience of readers in a different forum. At the suggestion of Marty Duren (who has also written on this issue), I have recently agreed to write for examiner.com, a new online news outlet that features local writers for most of its news. My assigned area is “Christian Spirituality Examiner” for the Tampa Bay area. Most of my articles there will be broader than the SBC world and will seek to address issues from a gospel-centered, Christian perspective. If you are interested in knowing more about this new venture, email me.

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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