Hunt's solution to the problem in the SBC is to offer a document entitled The Great Commission Resurgence Declaration” which offers a 10-point plan for rekindling fervor in SBC life for Jesus’ missionary mandate and “shock” the SBC out of apathy and infighting.
Two prominent SBC leaders, Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, have signed the GCD "with caveats." These two men should be commended for wishing to identify with the majority of Southern Baptists and current leadership of the SBC and signing the GCD - while at the same time maintaining their integrity by issuing caveats. Dr. Vines explains the need to sign the GCD "with caveats":
I agreed to allow my name to be added to the Great Commission Resurgence Document “with caveats” for two reasons.
First, I want to affirm my trust in the intentions of our president, Dr. Johnny Hunt, and Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I join them in a desire that the Southern Baptist Convention have a resurgence of winning people to Christ. As a past president of the Convention, a member of the Peace Committee and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Committee, my motivation has always been to keep us true to the Bible and faithful to carry out the Great Commission.
Second, I added “with caveats” with a specific definition in mind. I mean “with caveats” in the dictionary sense of “with reservations” or “with explanations to prevent misunderstanding.” I do not sign a document carelessly, nor without a careful understanding of the meaning of its wording.
Is it possible that the fact Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines signed the GCD "with caveats" means the Southern Baptist Convention is becoming a kinder, softer Convention? Just a decade ago, these two men were at the forefront in removing from SBC service anyone who wished to affirm the basic tenets of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message with caveats.
Were the same spirit of a decade ago to be prevalent at this year's Convention in Louisville, Kentucky both Dr. Patterson and Dr. Vines, because of their refusal to sign the GCD without caveats, would be:
(1). Removed from SBC service, including the Presidency of SWBTS, and
(2). Called "anti-evangelistic" or not true Southern Baptists, and
(3). Labeled "liberal" and "un-cooperative," and
(4). Given no opportunities to ever speak on platforms across the SBC, and
(5). Encouraged to leave the SBC and begin their own Convention.
Maybe the SBC is changing. We should allow Dr. Vines and Dr. Patterson to express their disagreement with the GCD by signing it with caveats. The SBC is big enough to handle any signee who wishes to affirm the major intent of a Convention approved document while making known certain "caveats." We are not a creedal people. We are a cooperative people. Were the SBC to affirm President Hunt's 2009 Great Commission Declaration, I will oppose any attempt by Southern Baptists to remove Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines for their refusal to sign the Great Commission Declaration without caveats. Loving these two men, in spite of their reservations with the GCD, is the sign of a healthy cooperative Southern Baptist Convention.
In His Grace,