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The Current State of The SBC

Arthur Gonçalves & Jeremy Toro

Jun 14, 2023

We had the privilege of attending this year's Southern Baptist Convention Annual meeting for the first time. We didn't know what to expect, but what we experienced was both encouraging and a matter of ongoing prayer.  

There were two significant matters of SBC business that needed to be resolved. The first had to do with the Presidency of the SBC. Two candidates were nominated- Bart Barber, the current President, and Mike Stone. The other important matter on the floor was regarding the vote on disfellowshipping Churches that have failed to adhere to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Statement of Faith as it specifically regards to Article six of the BFM (Baptist Faith and Message). 

Let's start with the Presidency. President Bart Barber, the current SBC president, has led this last year with dignity, honesty, humility, and biblical fidelity. 

There have been questions about Bart taking action concerning an SBC college and a staff member. Yet Bart has been fair in his dealings with the convention and his role as the President.

We voted for Mike Stone because he was the more conservative candidate looking to reform the SBC practices on sexual abuse. The SBC has been using an organization called Guidepost, which was tasked with investigating the sex abuse allegations in the SBC. The reports have shed light on sexual abuse in the SBC and have led to the removal of pastors from leadership positions. This has allowed an avenue for abuse survivors to be heard and cared for. While the report helped in these different areas, churches are concerned with the organization's affirmation of LGBT ideologies and the influence that might play in their reporting. Mike Stone desired to sever that relationship with Guidestone and establish a system from within the convention that holds to biblical values. The other issue that many SBC messengers raised was regarding the unsustainability of Guideposts services. The SBC cannot financially sustain the partnership with Guidepost. Something must be changed so that our cooperative program dollars will not be drained and, more importantly, go towards the mission of the SBC, which is to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth through global missions and Church planting. Bart Barber stated he would also be interested in an alternative option to Guidestone. We are thankful to the Lord for that! Both candidates saw the need to address these issues and ensured survivors were given the consideration they deserved. Other trusted leaders, such as Dr. Albert Molher, supported the nomination of Bart Barber. As Pastors, we are hopeful for the leadership of the SBC and the work that proceeds from the convention in the coming year. 

Another primary concern on the SBC cutting floor was the decision to disfellowship two churches that affirm women to operate in the office of Pastor. The BFM states, 

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the Church, the office of Pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. (

One of the churches, planted by the well-known Pastor, Rick Warren, appealed the SBC decision to disfellowship his Church. This appeal was voted on Tuesday evening, and the results were given Wednesday morning. We do thank God that SBC messengers made the right decision to follow biblical doctrine to correctly identify the office of Pastor solely for a man (2 Tim 3:1-4; Titus 1:6-9). They identified this in their disfellowshipping of these churches and added an amendment to Article 6 of the Baptist Faith and message. This amendment highlights the biblical view of the qualifications for the office of a Pastor and elevates the supremacy of the word of God. We cannot stress enough the importance of Church polity and biblical ecclesiology. There is a serious spiritual attack on ecclesiology; we believe this is just one attack on God's Word and Church among many in our day. Where did this attack come from? Within the Church? Or outside the Church? From within! Stay alert, dear loved ones. 

We cannot stress enough the importance of Church polity and biblical ecclesiology.

We want to warn you that secular and liberal news organizations will formulate this as an attack on women. Some SBC people claim this will cut our evangelism and great commission efforts. We must know that Women not serving in the office of Pastor doesn't deter them from being encouraged to evangelize and teach the word of God where the Bible permits. We attended a 9marks mini-conference on Monday and Tuesday night. In this conference, Mark Dever gave a superb example that proves the point of the impact of women's evangelism in the Church. He asked everyone in the room who was saved at age eleven or older to stand up. Almost more than 80% of the room stood up. Then he asked the people standing, "If your mother had nothing to do with your salvation, please sit down." Then a small number of people sat down. He asked us to look across the room and see the impact of women's evangelism. This small example was overwhelming.

We thought of the work being done in our children's ministry by the faithful women in our Church. One day kids will recount how the faithful work of the women in our Church lead them to the Lord. We also think of the women who go out to evangelize with our Freeway ministry team on Thursday nights and bring the Hope of the Gospel to Sanford. What about our women teaching the fundamentals of the faith class at Seminole Gardens? The last example is our Empowered and Equipped workshop this past May. We had a room full of women from multiple Churches learning to interpret Scripture to fulfill the great commission of making disciples. You need to know that men and women can evangelize, teach and glorify God in the way he calls us to do it. We are proud complementarians because we believe that is what the Word of God clearly teaches. For more on biblical complementarianism, visit Gospel Coalition and 9Marks

We are proud complementarians because we believe that is what the Word of God clearly teaches.

We are proud to be Southern Baptists. We are greatly encouraged by the concern for biblical fidelity amid the SBC. Let us join 50,000 other SBC Churches and hold fast to "Sola Scriptura," Scripture Alone. If the Bible says it, we will believe it, live it, and die for it if the Lord wills it! All for the Glory and Honor of God! You are dearly beloved, Church family by your under-shepherds, and more importantly, by the great Shepherd of the sheep "who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude 24-25)


For more information on the SBC 

Baptist Faith and Message 2000

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