This is a very interesting post by Tony Kummer. Last week Thom Rainer conducted a “straw poll” where he sent out this question on Twitter: “What do you think when you hear Southern Baptist?” Tony put together a Wordle to capture the answers:
Read more at SBC Voices, Timmy Brister’s blog, or Thom Rainer’s original post.
In case you are not familiar with Wordle, the size of the word indicates its frequency. A few things leap out at me.
1) Southern Baptist are seen as legalistic. This could legitimately be legalism or it could be perceived legalism by those that are repulsed by holiness. Sadly, I think it is legitimately legalism. If it were perceived legalism then I don’t think you would see “Disney, boycott, tradition, and controlling as big (or bigger) than Jesus.
2) Jesus is smaller than Pharisees. And I think, sadly, this could be a tad accurate. Remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves”. If we had some of their sermons and Wordled them I think missions would be large…right alongside Law. Perhaps Southern Baptist are still very big on missions—lets just hope that it is to proclaim the grace and redemption of Jesus.
3) Maybe…just maybe…the reason why Jesus is not bigger is because denominationalism is more in line with a fallen world than a redeemed one. Maybe …just maybe…Jesus is not bigger because our mission is to create more Southern Baptists and our goal is to preserve a Baptist Identity more than passionate followers of Jesus. Maybe…just maybe…Jesus is not bigger because our fellowship is more centered around Fried Chicken than the Gospel.