L.R. Scarborough’s Reflections on “The Great Convention” and a Prayer for the Return of the Southern Baptist Cooperative Spirit in Nashville 2021

At the 1919 meeting of Southern Baptist messengers in Atlanta, GA there existed a prevailing “unity of purpose and a solidarity of conviction.”1 In the air was “a most brotherly and glorious spirit of co-operation.” Lee Rutland Scarborough was so convinced of the Holy Spirit’s activity among the messengers that he believed “This Convention should go down in history as one of the most wonderful gatherings of God’s people in all Christian records.”

“No groups of men had gotten together and framed a program. No individual in the Convention can be named as the originator of the Campaign. The great movement seemed to come out of the very soul of the messengers.”

“The Atlanta Conference was marked by a spirit of prayer, conquering faith, unbroken unity and glorious Gospel fellowship and high purpose to do the whole will of God… a deep compassionate spirit for a lost world and a desire to glorify God in putting over for Him and a lost world one of the greatest religious movements inaugurated in the history of Christianity moved their souls. The members of this Conference went back to their fields of labor with high hopes and optimistic spirit, confident that God was leading and that victory was assured. The members attending the Conference will ever remember it as a time when the good hand of God was manifest among His people. The clear leadership of the Divine Spirit was never more marked.

The general secretaries and state secretaries went back to their fields to call their boards together and to adjust their whole programs according to the policies and plans of the Campaign and to throw themselves and their organizations full length in co-operation with the Commission and general director to carry out the program evidently set to hand by the Spirit of God and a united and co-operant people.”

Do it again, God. We have heard the report about you, Lord, and we stand in awe of your deeds; do it again, Lord; make it known in these years (Hb. 3:2).


A PRAYER FOR THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION 2021 IN NASHVILLE, TN:

May our gathering be marked by a spirit of prayer, conquering faith, unbroken unity and glorious gospel fellowship.

Moved by a deep compassionate spirit for the lost and a righteous hunger for the glory of God, may we come together with the unified purpose to do the whole will of God.

May the messengers of the convention return home with high hopes and confidence in the cooperative work of the churches.

May the Spirit of God clearly and compellingly take the lead in the gathering spaces, hallways, and meeting rooms.

Upon the conclusion of our meeting together, may agency heads and convention leaders leverage all of their influence to throw themselves and the organizations they represent at the full length in cooperation with the work of the convention.

May we once again be a truly united and co-operant people.


Called by the Father, on mission with the Son, and filled by the Spirit, there is no reason this assembling of God’s people should be anything less than “one of the most wonderful gatherings of God’s people in all Christian records.”

Called by the Father, on mission with the Son, and filled by the Spirit, there is no reason this assembling of God’s people should be anything less than “one of the most wonderful gatherings of God’s people in all Christian records.”

May it be so of our time together in Nashville 2021.

Grace and Peace,
Tony


FOOTNOTES:
1. All quotes are taken from Chapter III of L.R. Scarborough’s, Marvels of Divine Leadership, 1920.

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