Proponents of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention — that began in 1979 — often claimed that Southern Baptists needed their efforts to “get back to evangelism.”
Ironically, their political maneuvering throughout the ’80s did irreparable damage to Bold Mission Thrust — the ambitious, and admittedly arrogant, effort to take the Gospel to every person on Earth.
Now, many years after gaining full control of the denominational structure, there is still a cry to “get back to evangelism.” It must be a hard course to navigate.
In a Baptist Press column, SBC President Frank Page noted that a new 10-year evangelistic strategy would be forthcoming this summer when the North American Mission Board report is given at the annual SBC meeting.
Page said, in part: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see our baptism numbers turn around? The reasons for decline are many and varied. Part of the reason is because of the society’s increasing negativity toward the church. Part of the reason is our own lethargy, laziness and waste of energy in fighting the wrong battles and the wrong people. Turning the situation around cannot happen easily nor even quickly. However, I am convinced that God does want the situation to turn around!”
Who knows what the latest effort — to “get back to evangelism” — will be. One suggestion: Stop alienating virtually every segment of the population from women to Jews to Disney-goers — who are not exactly like you.