President’s Perspective: We Are Great Commission Baptists

Baptist identity has always been rooted in our shared beliefs. The discussions around Baptist identity over the last few decades have centered around “Baptist distinctives.” While Baptists share a majority of their beliefs with other Protestant Christians, they also hold to certain beliefs that set them apart. Baptist distinctives include believer’s baptism by immersion, regenerate church membership, congregational polity, and local church autonomy. Baptists have consistently been confessional, convictional, and champions of religious liberty. They believe that the Great Commission is the work of the church, and they have cooperated together to advance the gospel to the nations.

I am a third-generation South Carolina pastor. My grandfather grew up in the central part of the state. The church that he grew up in was a mill village Baptist church. In the late 19th century, South Carolina Baptists strategically targeted the many textile mills throughout the state with the gospel. It was one of many great cooperative efforts to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ. He pastored a small rural Baptist church for the last 25 years of his life and preached the last Sunday before he went to be with his Lord. My father grew up in the same mill village church, was called to ministry in his early 20s, and preached at the same church for 34 years. Both were men who taught me the Baptist distinctives and the urgency of the Great Commission.

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