Thousands of Southern Baptists are gathered this week in Nashville for their annual convention.

A number of controversies and conflicts look to make for a challenging week.

“Southern Baptist” is big tent that has strongly divided constituencies over issues like Critical Race Theory and the handling/mishandling of abuse victims.

Since Southern Baptist churches function with lots of autonomy, and since there are deep divides on many issues, I am thinking we should call the Southern Baptists what they really are: a very loose affiliation of Protestants who have some semblance of agreement about the gospel…though that may now be in jeopardy as well.



  1. Tim Taylor

    I’m not sure there has been a “real” Southern Baptist Church” since most dropped Sunday night services, training union, Tuesday night visitation and Wednesday night church, GA’s and RA’s. Many even dropped the name “Southern Baptist”. They are just individual versions of evangelical church.

  2. David Safely

    Seems a bit of a misnomer now, depending on your geographic. Many Baptist church’s have relaxed their traditional roots of biblical study and mid week fellowship. Their are others who have not. They’ve been morphing into the “evangelical” church movement. They need to encourage strong / definitive structures. Too much autonomy will lead to a further fracturing of the church community.

  3. Mike F.

    Good points, Dave! Are there any distinctives left that identify Southern Baptist churches vs. those not so affiliated?

  4. Mark Daymon Cotnam

    I grew up in a mega Southern Baptist Church in San Antonio and I watched this crisis with interest. There were many great things about the church and many not so great things and the “not so great things” are coming home to roost now I fear. A past of racist, segregation mentality was at the core of this denomination’s founding and trying to move away from that without letting go of their Biblically based core values is causing much of this schism. But the same thing is happening in many other conservative branches of Christianity here in the US. Like America herself, Southern Baptists have had high, admirable ideals but they were founded on a horrible tolerance for slavery, extermination of Native peoples and greed. What will they become going forward? Great question.

    1. Dave Post author

      Hey Mark,

      You lay out some of the critical issues very well.

      The two top vote getters for president each have strong supporters and strong opponents.

      It does seem like the SBC is a microcosm of our country.


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