I am happy to be a Southern Baptist because I believe SBC doctrine is biblical. I am pleased that this is worked out in effective international missions.
I am not pleased that Southern Baptists, at least at the denominational level, always seem to be fighting or arguing about something. Quite honestly, all the bickering just gets tiring after a while. Current acrimony exists over alien immersion (not baptism of Martians, but baptism in churches of non-Baptist denominations), speaking in tongues, women's role in ministry, Calvinism, Baptist identity, support of the Cooperative Program, and inflated church membership numbers. Even the latest Lifeway report showing a decreased number of baptisms has led to arguments. I'm sure there are other issues people are fighting about that I haven't even mentioned here.
We must get past all of this in-fighting. First, it does not please God. Jesus made it abundantly clear that He wants His church to be united (see John 17). Second, it gives a black eye to the church when we fight. The world just looks and laughs. Third, it keeps us from focusing on the purpose of the convention: missions.
Let me be clear: the purpose of the church is to glorify God. One way this happens is through missions. However, the sole purpose of the SBC, as far as I can tell, is to glorify God by helping local churches in missions work. If not for missions, we might as well do away with the SBC as a whole.
I propose a simple solution for all this SBC in-fighting. First, let's agree on core doctrinal issues such as are stated in the Nicene Creed. Let's agree on the truth of scripture. Let's agree on the importance of believer's baptism. Let's agree on the sanctity of both marriage and human life. Let's agree on the autonomy of the local church.
Second, let's let the local church decide what it wants to believe about other issues. The local church, after studying scripture, should decide what it wants to do about issues that we are currently fighting over in the SBC. With about 45,000 churches, we are far too large of a convention to agree on everything. Let's leave it to local bodies to decide, for example, what they should believe about speaking in tongues, Calvinism, and inflated membership numbers.
We must remember that the SBC is not a denomination like many others. We purposefully have no structure above the local church that can tell it what to do. It will decrease arguing at the denominational level if we will simply leave some of these secondary issues to the local church.
Understanding, then, that there will be differences in some beliefs between SBC churches, could we not still work together to take the gospel to the ends of the earth? Do we all have to believe exactly the same thing in order to share the gospel with people who have never heard?
As a convention, we must stop fighting. It is an insult to God. We must strive to work together for the spread of the gospel. Leave the secondary issues to the local church. We must trust the local church to seek God's will through the scriptures, and then make the right decisions.