Southern Baptists: Bringing the Light that changes lives

By Barrett Duke
Jun 20, 2013

Last week Southern Baptists held their annual meeting in Houston, TX. Yes, I know, “Why would anyone hold a national meeting in Houston in June?!” All I can say is it’s better than holding it there in August. And fortunately, there’s that wonder of modern technology called air conditioning.

In the comfort of our air conditioned meeting space, Southern Baptists spent four days together listening to Spirit-anointed preaching and making Spirit-led decisions. We made many very important decisions during those days. The easiest of all was re-electing Dr. Fred Luter to a second term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Luter exemplifies all that it means to be a godly Christian man. I am proud to be part of a denomination that would select such a man to represent us in the world.

Listen to the audio of this commentary. (MP3)

And no one should miss Southern Baptists’ clear intent to continue to engage the world. Our missions and evangelism efforts are in full stride. The reports of people coming to faith in Jesus and of churches started here and around the world were moving and invigorating. And our efforts to evangelize, while the most important, are just the beginning of all that Southern Baptists are about. Just consider some of the resolutions we passed with overwhelming support. We passed resolutions on human trafficking, care for those with mental health challenges, religious liberty, sexual abuse of children, the Boy Scouts, prison overcrowding, and prayer for the president and all governmental leaders.

The range of issues addressed in these resolutions demonstrates the broad interest of Southern Baptists in the life of our nation and our entire world. We take seriously Jesus’ declaration that His followers are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We believe the Lord Jesus expects His people to engage every area of human life and bring it closer to God’s design. As light we are to expose error and point to truth. As salt, we are to stop cultural decay and improve the quality of life for all as a testimony to the restorative power of Christ’s Kingdom. That’s part of what it means to be disciples of Jesus.

If you are looking for a group of Christians who are committed to making a difference in the world, let me suggest that you prayerfully consider visiting a Southern Baptist church in your community. If you want to know more about Southern Baptists go to If you are looking for opportunities to help influence the culture, I encourage you to visit the web site of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. You’ll find many extremely helpful resources on issues like marriage, abortion, homosexuality, drugs, gambling, human trafficking, religious liberty, and many others. You can also sign up to receive our free, weekly electronic newsletter. It will help you stay aware of what is happening right now in our nation’s capital and provide you a way to get involved as God’s salt and light.

My friends, the darkness is all around. Remember, it was dark at the dawn of creation, too. But God spoke and there was light. God has also spoken into the darkness of human sin by His Son, Jesus Christ, and the spiritual light He brings dispels human darkness wherever it shines. May we all make our ourselves available to the God in whom there is no variation or shadow to bring the light of His truth into all the world.

Listen to the audio of this commentary. (MP3)

Dr. Barrett Duke is Vice President for Public Policy and Research for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and also serves as Director of the Commission’s Research Institute of the ERLC. Read more of his work here. He is also a regular contributor to the For Faith and Family radio broadcast.

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