Response to an e-mail concerning BWA from Branko Lovrec.
Dec, 30, 2003
Dear Bro. Lovrec,
Thank you for taking the time to write me about your concerns with regard to the possible withdrawal of the Southern Baptist Convention from the Baptist World Alliance. We have a strong desire to continue maintaining old relationships and building new ones with our Baptist brothers and sisters throughout the world. The SBC/BWA Study Committee believes the Southern Baptist Convention, a founding member of BWA, should now concentrate upon expending finances and energies relating more directly to our Baptist brethren around the world.
The Baptist World Alliance strongly promotes "unity" among the brethren.
While Southern Baptists certainly believe one of our objectives should be to promote unity in the body, we also wish to concentrate upon other matters critical to the spiritual well-being of every nation in the world, including our own.
Though we know not the time or season of our Lord's coming back to earth, we do believe in His imminent return and believe our Convention must focus all energies toward fulfilling the Great Commission through missions, evangelism, theological education, and spiritual growth. This recommendation is not intended to convey to our Baptist brothers and sisters that we no longer wish to have fellowship with them. Exactly the opposite is true. We wish to build stronger relationships.
Our heart's desire is to allocate the funding that has been going to the BWA for the purpose of coordinating conferences in other countries if and when the Lord should guide other Baptist leaders to invite us. In our missions, publishing, and seminary education organizations we have a host of people who are trained to lead conferences on a variety of topics including Bible study, evangelism, church growth, etc.
We simply hope to make ourselves available to our fellow Baptist leaders who may wish to invite Southern Baptists to participate in conferences wherein Baptists pastors, teachers, and church members may engage in studying particular areas of Christian growth and personal witnessing. At no time do we want to be any other than invited guests, because there is much we can learn from our brothers wherever we may go.
I hope you will see that while we may withdraw from an organization named the Baptist World Alliance, the last thing we want to do is to separate from the fellowship of like-minded believers around the world. We wish nothing but continued success for the BWA in every endeavor it undertakes for the Gospel. We will continue to pray and work in harmony with the BWA. At the same time, we have come to the conviction that funds previously allocated to the BWA should be directed toward the promotion of missions and evangelism. The fellowship will come along the way as we work together under God's guidance.
I have shared with you our thoughts. As you can imagine, the vision I have shared with you has not been planned strategically. First, we will determine if Baptists of other nations wish for us to work with them in a similar way to what I have descibed. We do not envision an organization as much as coordination among Baptists for the propogation of the Gospel. We do not wish to "compete" with what BWA is doing. We pray continued success for the BWA as its leaders also assess those matters of greatest importance to the organization and its members for the coming years.
If the vision develops similarly to my description, it will be in addition to our normal mission work through the International Mission Board. In fact, it is presently thought that this emphasis will be coordinated by the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist
May God bless you and keep you in His care. Please convey to all our friends the content and spirit of my response to your email.
For His Kingdom's sake,
Morris H. Chapman
President & Chief Executive Officer
SBC Executive Committee
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37067
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