JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 20, 2011– Union University President David S. Dockery has been appointed to a task force that will study the possibility of changing the name of the Southern Baptist Convention.
SBC President Bryant Wright, senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., announced the formation of the 19-member task force Sept. 19 at the SBC Executive Committee meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
Dockery said the SBC’s name “represents a marvelous heritage and great tradition” and that Southern Baptists have asked themselves many times over the past 45 years whether the convention name should be changed to more accurately reflect the convention’s identity.
“It is an important question and worthy of serious study and prayerful consideration,” Dockery said. “Because of the legal and financial issues involved, and important aspects associated with the heritage itself, we should consider this matter carefully before making changes. We must, however, at the same time be open to finding what name will best represent the commitment of the convention in this 21st century to take the gospel to the nations.”
Union University alumnus Kevin Ezell, president of the SBC’s North American Mission Board, was also appointed to the task force.
According to a report from Baptist Press, Wright emphasized that the task force’s role is to advise him on the questions he has given them to consider.
“Obviously, this is not an official committee empowered by a vote of messengers to an SBC annual meeting,” Wright said in the BP story. “It is a task force I am asking to advise me as president on whether this is a matter we should bring forward for convention action.”
Wright said he hopes the task force will have a final report ready by the 2012 SBC annual meeting, scheduled for June 19-20 in New Orleans.
SBC messengers would have to approve any name change at two consecutive annual meetings, according to the SBC constitution.
In 2009-2010, Dockery served on the SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, a group charged with studying the denomination and making a proposal about what should be done to ensure its effectiveness in the future. Messengers to the 2010 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., adopted the task force’s report and recommendations.