Monday, March 26, 2007

Akin's 8 Theological Essentials for the SBC

Dr. Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke today at the "Theology Driven Ministry" conference hosted by the seminary. Other speakers include Sinclair Ferguson and Paul Tripp. Following is the handout that accompanied Dr. Akin's talk.

The eight points that he emphasizes are matters that must become the subject of serious dialogue and reflection if we hope to see spiritual health return to the SBC. One cannot read through this outline without coming away with great respect for Dr. Akin. He is both insightful and courageious to speak plainly about the problems that plague us and to call us back to submission to the teachings of God's Word. This is the kind of leadership that Southern Baptists desperately need at this time.

The issues that he raises ought to be taken to heart by every pastor and church member who longs to see Christ honored in our local churches. I look forward to hearing the audio of this message when it becomes available.


By: Daniel L. Akin

The Conservative Resurgence gave Southern Baptist a second chance but it did not secure our future. Has there been a Resurgence? Yes. Has there been a Restoration? Doubtful. Have we experienced genuine Revival? Clearly the answer is no.

Eight Theological Essentials for Southern Baptists in the 21st Century

1) The non-negotiable of a regenerate Church (John 3; Rom. 3; 2 Cor. 5; Gal. 3)
  • First, we need to make it clear that church membership is a privilege, not a right.
  • Second, we must preach against easy believism and reject any form of a compromised gospel.
  • Third, we must be careful with respect to our own theological integrity concerning infant or early adolescent baptism that lacks a clear understanding and confession of the gospel.
2) The essential nature of believers baptism by immersion with a biblical appreciation for its significance. (Matt. 28; Acts, Rom. 6)
  • That baptism involved a particular member (a believer), mode (immersion) and meaning (public identification with Christ and the believing community) is grounded in New Testament witness and has been a hallmark of Baptists throughout their history.
  • We must see evidence of regeneration for those we baptize. The baptism of young children must be administered with the greatest possible care.
  • Baptism should be viewed and emphasized as a first and necessary step of discipleship and obedience to Christ. We will reject as inconceivable the idea of admitting anyone into our membership without believer’s baptism by immersion.
3) The recovery of the lost jewels of church discipline and genuine disciple-making as essential marks of the Church.
  • Church discipline is clearly and repeatedly taught in the New Testament, yet most do not preach on it or practice it. Jesus addresses it in Matt. 18:15-20 and Paul does so several times in 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; Gal. 6:1-2; and Titus 3:9-11.
  • Theologically it is to disobey the plain teachings of Scripture and ignore the necessity of church discipline in maintaining the purity of the church.
  • First, we must preach and teach our people what the Bible says about church discipline.
  • Second, we must begin to implement church discipline lovingly, wisely, gently, carefully and slowly.
  • Third, we must apply discipline to areas like absentee membership as well as the specific list provided by Paul in 1 Cor. 5.
4) The emphasis and practice of a genuinely Word-based ministry (2 Tim. 4:1-5)
  • For those of us who profess to believe in both the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, there must be in our churches what I call “engaging exposition.”
  • We must advocate an expositional method with a theological mindset under an evangelical mandate. It is preaching that models for our people how they should study, interpret and teach the Bible.
5) The vision for a faithful and authentic biblical ecclesiology (Acts. 2; Eph. 4; Pastorals)
  • First, there must be the 4 marks of 1) a regenerate Church membership, 2) the Word, 3) the Ordinances and 4) Church Discipline. Second the local church should be elder/pastor led and congregationally governed. Here, in my judgment, there is room for flexibility in terms of patterns, structure and implementation.
  • As we move forward in this century, Pastors will need to give particular attention to a theology of stewardship and discipleship.
  • The members of our churches must move from being shoppers to buyers to investors.
6) The continued nurturing of a fervent missionary and evangelistic passion that is wedded to a healthy and robust theology (1 Thess. 1; Eph. 4:11-16; Jude 3-4; Rev. 5)
  • No church will be evangelistic by accident.
  • First, there are multiple ways churches can do missions and evangelism. That we do it is the key.
  • Marketplace evangelism which can reach into the workplace is an area needing attention, strategizing and training.
  • Youth and student evangelism needs renewed emphasis.
  • Theologically and biblically, we must challenge our people to evangelize without bias or prejudice, loving and going after the exploding ethnic and minority groups where we live.
7) The teaching and preaching of a 1st century biblical model for church planting (Acts 17)
  • The 21st century is more like the 1st century than has ever been the case in our Western culture.
  • We are losing America and the West because we are losing the great metropolitan areas where there is a concentration of people.
  • First, explore creative methods, but make sure that they are faithfully filtered through the purifying waters of Holy Scripture.
  • Second, be wise fishers of men.
  • Third, we must ask God to raise a new generation of godly and gifted church planters and missionaries.
8) The wisdom to look back and remember who we were so that as we move forward we will not forget who we are
  • The Southern Baptist Convention today is not the Southern Baptist Convention of your parents, and certainly not your grandparents.
  • We now have several generations who know almost nothing of William Carey and Adoniram Judson, Bill Wallace, Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. They do know nothing of Boyce, Broadus, and Manly; Carroll, Robertson, Frost, Mullins and Truett.
  • They have never heard Criswell, Rogers or Vines preach, and they are not really sure who they are.
  • In creative and dynamic avenues fitting a 21st century context, we need to retell the Baptist History story in a way that will grab the attention and stir the hearts of our people. And we need to do it, at least in part, from the pulpit.
  • The North Carolina evangelist Vance Havner said, “What we live is what we really believe. Everything


David B. Hewitt said...

Dr. Ascol,

Again, I find myself greatly appreciating your post, and naturally in this case, the words of Dr. Akin. Thank you for reposting them and may what he advocates come to pass in our convention!


Scott said...


Thanks for sharing this paper with us. Dr. Akin has really " Hit The Nail On The Head" ! Dr. Akin is bold and we need that today in the SBC and not one that worries about what others think when it comes to the truth.
I do disagree with his view on Dr. Vines. Make no apologies about it. I say this only because of the things Dr. Vines has been preaching against at times lately. He would not be a model that I would hold up today on remembering our SBC theological roots and his views on the doctrines of grace. However, Dr. Vines did help the SBC at a time and for that I can rejoice about that in his ministry.
Dr. Akin would make a fine SBC president. I really believe he sees things we need to fix in the SBC.Since he is president of SEBTS he has a great opportunity to teach the present students what to major on when they pastor churches.
I'm thankful for Founders because the things I read in the article are some of the very things Founders has been preaching for years. Thanks Tom !

DoGLover said...

Excellent post, Tom. Was something left off at the end, though? Thanks.

Jason E. Robertson said...

Right on

Joel said...


Thank you so much for posting this. This really encourages my heart. May Dr. Aiken's tribe increase!


Arthur Sido said...

Thanks Dr. Ascol for posting this. Dr. Akins opening comment was especially important...

>>The Conservative Resurgence gave Southern Baptist a second chance but it did not secure our future. Has there been a Resurgence? Yes. Has there been a Restoration? Doubtful. Have we experienced genuine Revival? Clearly the answer is no.<<

Too many in the SBC have assumed that the victory is won, and to the victors go the spoils. The truth is that the conservative resurgence was just the beginning of the struggle to return the SBC to our roots and Biblical fidelity, and not an end unto itself.

GUNNY said...

Excellent stuff. Thanks for sharing, Tom.

I plan to share it with my students at SWBTS as I think they need to hear it as well.

Tom said...


This is just a handout. It is an outline of Dr. Akin's comments. I am sure he elaborated his conclusion, but this is all that appeared on the paper distributed.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. A,

Thanks for publishing this. What an excellent list! It's great to see one of the seminary presidents not only thinking, but teaching along these lines.

Love in Christ,


Weston "Hank" said...

thanks brother tom,

wise and timely words from Dr. Akin.

i'll be passing it along...


scripturesearcher said...

Amen and amen and amen!

His outline is excellent and makes me anxious to read the entire manuscript!

DoGLover said...


I thought this sounded familiar. I'd heard Dr. Akin deliver a simlilar address at a pastors conference in '05. Here's a link to the full paper:

If that doesn't work, go to Click "Articles & Lectures". Click "The Future of Southern Baptists: Mandate for What We Should Be in the 21st Century," Wed. Feb. 16, 2005.

David said...

Great post. One rabbit trail to introduce.....

"We will reject as inconceivable the idea of admitting anyone into our membership without believer's baptism by immersion."

One question: Would/should this statement apply to people who were baptized as believers, but not immersed? (For example, my daughter was baptized as a believer in a Presbyterian church. Should she be re-baptized in order to get it done correctly?)

Tom said...


Good question. In the situation you describe I would suggest (without any malice and with a desire to be respectful and humble) that your daughter was not properly baptized and should be baptized according to the New Testament order, ie. by immersion.

A question was raised in my mind on this point, as well. What about a person who simply cannot be immersed? Should a bed-ridden quadraplegic who desires baptism be denied membership? We have faced these kinds of unusual, but real, questions in our church over the years. To date we have been able to resolve them without leaving a person un-immersed (including some with hydraphobia), but I can envision some extreme circumstances where immersion is not an option.

Of course, this demonstrates the old adage that "the exception proves the rule."

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear David,

(Ah-choo!) I'm sorry, but I've developed an allergy (scratch, scratch) related to the non-word "re-baptize" (cough, cough). Every time I hear or read it, I get sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, and I can't rest.

If it was baptism the first time, then any subsequent immersions are not you-know-what. And if it was not baptism the first time, then the subsequent immersion of the believer is just "baptism," not you-know-what.

Love in Christ,


Tom Bryant said...

To have a regenerate church being first on his list shows that some progress is being made.

J.D. Rector said...

All of us should respond with the comment... "AMEN!" I am greatly encouraged by these recommendations for such essentials.

James said...

I am simply curious as to a recent illustration of the use of church discipline. Seems to me folks really enjoy the prospect yet lack much of a clue to its actual application.


David said...

Re: Baptism
I guess I am currently at the point of believing baptism is preferably by immersion, but not mandated to be so. (But I am open and willing to learn otherwise.)

I do appreciate your kind responses.

Thank you.


David said...

Re: "re-baptize"

Jeff, thanks for your response. As someone else who tends to be picky about the words I use, I really hadn't thought through the ramifications of the word "re-baptize". I will have to stop using the word now.

PS: I went to your blog and read more about your allergy to the above term.