SBC name change talk ‘interesting’ discussion 

This talk of a new name change for Southern Baptists is interesting. I am as sentimental as the next man for our traditions, but wish to point out that the name “Southern” has more than merely regional connotations – it is a relic of the Civil War, of old Dixie Land, and as such, one of the better things to result from the Confederacy. Unlike the states of the Union, however, the Southern Baptists never rejoined the Northern Baptists from whom they had separated at the time of the war. We have thrived since, thank God. I definitely think that our name should at least have the word “Baptist” in it because it refers to one of our denomination’s major contributions to the Reformation, of moving beyond infant christening back to the believer’s baptism by immersion of the first century apostles. To change the word “Baptist” would be moving into the new nondenominational craze, it seems to me. Why would we want to just be another new-fangled church? I hope that God will reveal a good name change for us, if He so desires one, to some prominent pastor in a vision or dream. Then, give that pastor a lie detector test. 

Stephan Allsup   
Little Rock


Name good for 166 years

I totally agree with you about changing the name of our Southern Baptist Convention (“What would you change the name of the SBC to?” ABN, Oct. 8). What is our purpose – to squabble over a name or to spend our time and energies presenting the gospel to people? If the name “Southern Baptist Convention” has stood for 166 years, it should work for another 166. Let us give it a try, and then we can talk about it.

Kaye Adams


Grateful to have served

Arkansas Baptists are among God’s chosen, and I say this with a heart of gratitude to each of you for allowing me to serve on the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) staff for nine years. Without reservation, I am able to say that the churches across Arkansas will find no better servants in God’s kingdom on earth than are found in the offices of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. 

Nothing that comes from the ABSC offices is accomplished without a great deal of prayer and preparation. Many hours of prayer and meetings are involved in every strategy. There is a great sense of God’s presence in the work of the ministry teams, and Arkansas Baptist churches should be grateful to God of His servants in those offices.

These teams that serve under the direction of Dr. Emil Turner are committed to the Great Commission – which begins at the local church where you worship and serve. All mission efforts certainly begin at the local church, but without the support and direction of the staff at the ABSC, the local churches would not be as successful in reaching Arkansas and our world with the gospel message. 

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention has another annual meeting coming up on Nov. 1-2 at First Baptist Church in Little Rock. The 2011 meeting will happen because each of these folks began planning this year’s meeting the moment the closing prayer of last year’s meeting ended. I will be there this year, and hopefully, you will be, too.

“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:26, NASB).

Bob Williford


Applying Scripture

We must diligently study and apply Scripture in order to defeat Satan and fight the good fight of faith. Each application must be in harmony with the total meaning and message of Scripture, not from an isolated verse taken out of context.

Knowing what the text is actually saying, (from a) historical context, word study, etc., is helpful. The Bereans were commended for searching the Scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul said agreed with what was in the Old Testament. Meditation on the text is necessary so God may reveal underlying principles or application and to imprint the text in our memory. Still, if necessary, the Holy Spirit can recall to our mind any Scripture we have heard or read. 2 Timothy 2:15 says study to show yourself approved unto God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed knowing how to rightly divide the Word of truth. King David said, “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psa. 119:99).

Just as Jesus withstood Satan with Scripture when He was tested in the wilderness, so too, we will stand in the evil day when the Holy Spirit uses us to wield the Sword of Scripture we have diligently meditated and studied. For such a time as this, we have been called. Let us by faith be faithful.

Katherine Gossien
Little Rock


Name change perspective

I don’t know what would be the best name to rename the Southern Baptist Convention (“What would you change the name of the SBC to?” ABN, Oct. 8). Having served for over 14 years in what began as a church plant in Maryland, let me share a perspective.

For suggestions, why don’t we rename the SBC the “New England Baptist Convention” or the “Mid-Atlantic Convention”? If you are from the Northeast, are unchurched and someone comes presenting themselves as a “Southern” Baptist, you may ask the following: “Are we New Englanders so deficient that you are importing your culture here? Did it not work out for you in the South? ... Why are you here?” 

What if we started a New England Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.? Would that not seem odd to you?

The glaring point that I think you are missing is that “Southern” is a regional term and not an international one. We as “Southern” Baptists say that our mission is to reach the world for Christ. This implies that many of us must go to the world. It would also imply that we would not seek to import and impose a regional way of thinking represented by a name that is perceived as regional to all except those from that region.

You are an articulate guy not without insight. From my side of the fence, a progressive guy would grow to view the name change of the SBC as more than a “Red Wolves” type of move.

By the way, I am with you on the Red Wolves thing. And the logo is truly hideous to boot.

Darrell Bridges