Southern Baptist Convention president Frank Page told denominational leaders Monday night the nation’s second-largest faith group needs God’s help to solve its problems.
Page, pastor of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />FirstBaptistChurch in Taylors, S.C., challenged members of the SBC Executive Committee and heads of various SBC entities attending meetings in Nashville, Tenn., to join him in praying for God to send a “Holy Ghost revival” to energize churches, unite factions and bring about true repentance and confession of sin.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
“We have become an arrogant people, and we must acknowledge our undeservedness,” Page said.
Elected as a dark-horse candidate in a three-way presidential race at the June convention in Greensboro, N.C., Page said he is thankful that the battle for inerrancy of the Bible was fought and settled. “But we must understand that battle is not the only battle,” he said. “While we must forever be vigilant in that area, it is not enough to be right. We must ask with equal passion, ‘Are we relevant?’ We must be relevant in our ministries, understanding our culture and our ability to relate to this world.”
“Not only must we be serious about rightness and doctrinal purity, not only about relevancy,” Page said, “but we also must deal with the issue that only a sovereign Lord can bring about a revival,” Page said.
“I challenge you Executive Committee. I challenge you entity presidents, to hear the word of the Lord. I’m not talking about clever gimmicks. I’m not talking about philosophies or personal opinions. I believe Jesus Christ is mighty to save, and I believe the Holy Spirit wants to do a work in our convention.”
Page said Southern Baptists must ask themselves “Are we merely and uncaring, past-tense bureaucracy?” or “Is the day of our convention a great day to come?” He said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the denomination’s future, despite problems.
“In the minds of many, whether you know it or not, we have become an archaic and burdensome bureaucracy that no longer has any relevancy for today or the days to come,” Page said.
“There are all kinds of factions out there,” Page said, “pitting themselves against each other.” Page prayed the God would “bring us together,” despite “serious and significant differences,” around cooperative missions.
“That’s why Greensboro happened,” Page said. “That’s why I was elected, because the Cooperative Program does matter. It can pull us together.”
Page said revival can “bring us together despite differences we will not ignore.”
“We should not give up on the Great Commission, and we should not give up on the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.