W-a-a-a-y back in 2011, the Southern Baptist Convention confronted the fact that it has a branding problem. Thanks to Calvinist fundies like Albert Mohler, Boss Hogg-types like Richard Land, and opportunistic sexual predators like … well, on and on, it had gotten so bad that churches were actually changing their name to eliminate the word ‘Baptist.’
Deep thought culminated in this solution: Let’s call ourselves Great Commission Baptists! The idea created a week-long splash, and died. Now, the denomination’s head, J.D. Greear, wants to revive it.
Back in the dark ages, we appointed a name-change committee to see about the possibility of changing from being the SBC to something more reflective of who we had become – a nationwide Baptist convention. We ran into two problems.
All the good names had been taken. American Baptists. National Baptists. Conservative Baptists. I don’t think any of us wanted to go with trendy names like Converge.
The biggest obstacle was our founding charter from Georgia which locked us into the name SBC. I don’t remember all the ins and outs, but the only want to change the name is to nullify the charter and redo everything – costly and unwise.
So, what the name-change task force came up with was the idea of a moniker, a DBA that we could use. That motion was approved (in 2012, I think) and then it drifted into oblivion. No one followed up on it. Recently, a group of people began to advocate for using it and our president, J.D. Greear has seen the wisdom of it. That is his announced theme for 2021.
I share the view that the brand has gone bad, but am extremely skeptical that a new name will resolve anything; more likely, it will simply soil a second name.
After all, it’s going to be the same ignoramuses with shaky character sitting in the pews. Christianity is an innately degrading religion; you can shake your head, get all red-faced, and stamp your feet — but you can’t make that fact go away. Why, after all, does Christianity claim that you need salvation? Because you’re no damn good!
The Southern Baptists are the low end of that degrading religion — the most poorly educated, the most troubled, the most unstable relationships. If you take a look at any map of the distribution of virtually any family– or social-pathology that has a name, you’ll see that it invariably is most acute where the Southern Baptists are strongest. That’s not a coincidence; it is the direct and predictable consequence of the systemic degradation embedded within Southern Baptist culture.
Changing the name won’t change that.