DALLAS — Engaging the topic of unity within the Southern Baptist Convention, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen moderated a panel discussion during the fourth annual For the Church Regional Conference June 12.
More than 1,000 people filled the room to hear a discussion by J.D. Greear, Thom Rainer, Mark Dever, H.B. Charles Jr., Vance Pitman, Noe Garcia and Micah Fries during the SBC annual meeting at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Allen queried the panelists on four points: the general state of the SBC’s unity; whether social media can be used in a healthy manner in creating unity; the state of unity in the local church; and whether the denomination should be hopeful about unity.
Fries, pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, noted two trends he finds troubling regarding unity within the SBC.
“There has been an emphasis on performance over piety,” Fries said. “As a result of this, I feel we’ve lost our moral and ethical center to some degree. … What ultimately results is a lack of Christlikeness in our lives, and particularly in the way we engage with one another.”
Also of concern, Fries said, is that many at the national level engage one another in a way they would never do at the local church level. “We treat each other differently, again, because of a lack of a moral and ethical center that needs to be reclaimed through a commitment to holiness and piety.”
“There are some 6,400 unreached people groups,” Greear added. “This means the greatest days of God’ s movement are in front of us.”