Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina (who once had an extended conversation with me while we peed in neighboring urinals in an SBTS bathroom, the topic was his seminary ethics class with Paige Patterson), is rightfully bemoaning the news that the stats show the conservative resurgence of the SBC has not made us more evangelistic.
Unfortunately, his answer to the problem will never fix anything. According to the ABP article on a talk from Akin, "In light of the downward evangelism trends, Akin urged North Carolina Baptists to become 'rabid dogs for evangelism' and defend 'the exclusivity of the gospel,' which contends that salvation comes only through Jesus."
While on the surface these things seem fine and all, I'm afraid it's just more of the same. Don't you think the SBC President's bus ride for the cause of gaining like a zillion new baptisms should do the trick? Maybe we need more SBC leaders to take more tours of the country in more unique vehicles. Like Mohler in a new H3 looking for "Deeper Theology by 2133" and Akin on a train with his campaign "Riding Along Till Marriages are Strong."
Sorry, I'm just a little frustrated. Akin's a great bathroom conversationalist, a passionate guy, and a man of God. But once the "rabid dogs" line doesn't really make a difference (like all the other lines before it) someone will just think of another, like "Let's crap the truth like a diarrhetic goose!" You get the picture.
Hey SBC'rs! How about this. Maybe we need to be more missional. Maybe our problem isn't that we should say the gospel more (and more like sick dogs), but that we should say it better. Not with better words, but in better ways, like people and families and churches that are incarnated in the culture. Healing and suffering and loving speaks! We have too long divorced the spoken gospel from the lived gospel in the SBC. That's the real key to fixing our statistical nightmare. And that means we should just admit our cute sayings and bolder thrusts and clever tricks and canned evangelism just isn't good enough and actually encourage our people to live out the gospel. We need to live redemptively, missionally, incarnationally.
Maybe we need more thoroughly missional people who live and breathe and eat the gospel. Maybe we need more people joining book clubs or bowling leagues or knitting classes and building relationships there that will lead to helping and serving and loving and redeeming.