NASHVILLE?Morris Chapman told the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee Feb. 21 he is “more optimistic about the state of the convention and cooperation therein” than he’s been since coming to the job as Executive Committee president and chief executive officer in 1992. But he also warned the committee that SBC cooperation stands at a crucial juncture.
In his quarterly address, Chapman said the Southern Baptist Convention and its mission structure works not because of a system but because of the integrity of those who serve. Baptists must be forever vigilant in protecting the biblical and doctrinal integrity that leads to a heart for missions, he said.
In praising the varied efforts of Southern Baptist entities, Chapman called for a renewal of biblical stewardship teaching, “including the giving of the tithe to the storehouse, the local church.”
“God help our people to learn biblical stewardship. God help our people to come to a new conviction of tithing to the local church so that not only can Christ be preached in that place, in their Jerusalem, but around the world and to the ends of the earth.”
“The task will not be easy,” Chapman insisted, “because a large contingent of members in our local churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention have little or no knowledge about the huge significance of the Cooperative Program in supporting our mission efforts around the world.”
Chapman said a portion of local church tithes support the missionary vision of Southern Baptists to world evangelization and subsidize seminary costs for students in SBC seminaries.
“No day in our history has it become more important to stress the significance of working together in a cooperative spirit. We’re today’s leaders, and few of the names will change in the next decade. It’s now or never for us. Yes, should Jesus tarry, they’ll be other generations, but the question is, ‘What shall we do for the glory of God in this hour?'”
Citing the Psalm 119:105 description of God’s word as a lamp and light, Chapman reminded that the Bible teaches the way man should live.
“Shall we lead this convention from the foot of the cross? Shall we finish well? Or shall we fade into the sunset having abdicated the leadership necessary to pave the way for an outpouring of God’s Spirit upon this nation?”
Southern Baptists, Chapman noted, have established a profound conviction about the authority of God’s word. “But as we stand vigilant at the gate, we also have the responsibility to use that lamp, God’s word, as that light for our path that would lead us in our attitudes and our lifestyle and what we say and how we say it.”
“God help us as Southern Baptists to be a catalyst for God’s Spirit to fall mightily not only upon our convention but upon these United States of America and to the ends of the earth.”