At special forum, Frank Page discusses SBC issues, says local church is God’s plan to attack the gates of hell

Communications Staff — August 17, 2012

“The local church is God’s plan to attack the gates of hell,” said Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee to a special forum, Aug. 16. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the seminary, hosted Page in a discussion of major issues in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

Among the many issues surrounding the convention, Page emphasized that the most important issue is not doctrinal, but rather the relevance of the SBC to the 21st century. He suggested that this methodological divide in the convention could even threaten the growth of Southern Baptist churches in the future.

Page celebrated the consistent desire among Southern Baptists to promote and expand the Great Commission. “I think Southern Baptists have grown weary of slogans and programs, but believe in the power of the gospel.”

Page explained that the Executive Committee is lowering its costs so that more Cooperative Program funds go directly to missions, but noted that the CP still depends on churches giving to support missionaries who are ready to serve. Mohler and Page discussed the challenges of a generation in which there are more missionaries ready to go than the SBC has the resources to send.

Speaking directly to those in attendance, Page encouraged Southern students pursuing church planting to consider ministry in traditional church settings noting that an aging pastoral pool is making it so that some churches aren’t able to find pastors. However, he communicated clearly a vision of healthy churches planting healthy churches.

“We don’t need more churches in America, we need more healthy churches,” Page said, promoting traditional churches and church plants working alongside each other.

Concerning the issue of Calvinism, Page stated that he envisions unity in the convention in spite of differences concerning soteriology.

“I challenge the students and faculty at Southern Seminary to be sensitive to our convention and respect those who may not have the same theological positions you have,” Page said, desiring to “establish a dialogue that is Christ-like and filled with the Spirit of God.”

Page also called for unity around the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, believing it “sufficient to pull people of various soteriological beliefs together strategically and practically.”

He said he hopes the BF&M 2000 continues to promote unity rather than arguments around theological issues.

A full video of Thursday’s forum discussion with Frank Page is available at sbts.edu/resources (here).

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