Manley Beasley preached his last message to the Southern Baptist Convention in June of 1990 in New Orleans. In that powerful and prophetic message he made this statement: "Long before we have a funeral, death sets in. We seem to have the idea that death only occurs when we have a funeral." Manley was right; we miss the fact that death is a long-term process in the life of an individual, a church or a denomination.
How can we as Southern Baptists make needed corrections if we keep missing this point? Our denomination is in a state of death and decay. Must we, as some suggest, ignore the signs of dying in the Southern Baptist family? Must we wait until the funeral to admit we are in the throes of death? Please do not say that our problem need only be solved with money. Our deepest need cannot be fixed by money. Money is one of the leading symptoms of our dying. Other symptoms are disunity, character assassination of brothers who don't toe the line, control and cynicism, to name a few. Dying is our process but revival is the sovereign work of God. Who among us will believe God for revival?