Paige Patterson-Chaired Evangelism Task Force Declares That Social Justice Is Not Gospel Priority

A task force appointed last year by the Southern Baptist Convention, and chaired until recently by Paige Patterson, has concluded its year-long study on evangelistic renewal by concluding that social justice is not a Gospel priority, among other declarations.

The full report, released on Monday, features 12 affirmations and denials about evangelism, along with eight recommendations.

“We are convinced that these suggestions can be heartily embraced by all gospel-loving Southern Baptists,” the report states, according to Baptist Press, “regardless of differences in theology, methodology, or generational preferences.”

SBC President Steve Gaines, senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee, made known his intention to appoint such a task force in June 2017, in order to challenge a reported decline in memberships and baptisms.

Gaines and J.D. Greear, a candidate to be the SBC’s next president, are also members of the task force.

The 12 articles of affirmation and denial largely emphasize the importance of all believers leading others to Jesus Christ, insisting that salvation is “by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”

It rejects the notion that there are any Christians that can be excused from evangelizing.

Article VII states that “We Affirm that the Great Commission mandate is for believers to share the gospel verbally with all unbelievers so that they might repent of their sins, trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, be baptized (immersed) as witnesses to the truth of the gospel, and learn to obey all of Christ’s commands (Matt 28:18-20).”

It adds that “We deny that the gospel is primarily concerned with social justice, political engagement, or secular aims resulting in the call to personal repentance and faith being minimized or ignored.”

The report does not single out or identify particular social justice issues.

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Source: Christian Post