I think it's pretty cool that a Southern Baptist Convention task force should embrace one of my rebranding ideas and recommend that Southern Baptists henceforth be authorized to call themselves "Great Commission Baptists." Of course, as Jeff Weiss suggests over at RealClearReligion, it's not as if other churches aren't also down with Jesus's injunction in Matthew 28:16 (and elsewhere) to baptize all nations. The only Christian groups I can think of that go with what's known as the Limited Commission are the Messianic Jewish ones, which focus their proselytizing attention on Jews per Jesus' instruction to the disciples in Matthew 10:5-6: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
So it seems a little, well, chutzpahdik of the SBC to claim to be the Great Commission Baptists. That is, until you realize that for Southern Baptists, the whole Great Commission thing understands "all nations" to be "non-Southerners." For while the "Southern" in "Southern Baptist Convention" may be a drag on the brand outside the South, in Alabam' it's all about the Promised Land (apologies to Paul Harvey and Hank Williams, Jr.) To grow the shrinking denomination, it can never more be said, "Go not into the way of the Yankees, and into New York City enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Dixie."
Photo by Brian Byrnes. Licensed under Creative Commons.