Saturday, October 29, 2005

Baptist Misery in Missouri

Well, it's now official. There will be no more moderate Baptist churches (i.e. CBF friendly churches) in the Missouri Baptist Convention. Thanks to Bruce Prescott for pointing me to this article. According to the article, changes in the convention's rules now require members of the state organization be aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention only. The rules also established a credentials committee that can investigate churches to determine if they meet that criteria.

Local church autonomy is out the window for Southern Baptists in Missouri. Roger Moran, Paul Pressler, and Paige Patterson are probably beaming with pride. The fundamentalists are firmly in control of all the churches in the state convention. And absolute control is what it's all about for these men and the fundamentalist leadership in Missouri.

Ralph Sawyer of Wentzville, the new president of the MBC said, "I've never seen such a unity." Yeah sure, Ralph, you're going to always get unity when you have absolute control after you've kicked out all the opposition and those who disagree with you. It doesn't take a Missouri mule to figure that one out.

Paul Berner, a messenger from Cedar Ridge Baptist Church on Table Rock Lake, and an active Baptist since 1941, said he thought the reason there was so little dissension was that few of the churches that disagree with the direction of the convention attended. Said Paul, "They are the ones that pulled away, that don't believe in the Bible all the way." Yeah sure, Paul, you and the fundamentalists are the only Baptists left in Missouri who actually "believe the Bible." Baloney Cheese fourteen times over!!

Now that Missouri Southern Baptists have taken this action, look for Oklahoma to follow suit. And it could happen in less than a month. What makes me think Oklahoma will probably be the next state to affect something like this? I think this because the MBC Executive Director, Dave Clippard, went to Missouri from Oklahoma. Jordan essentially got the MBC job for Clippard. In doing so, he was exporting a brand of Southern Baptist fundamentalism that thrives on absolute control. Clippard went to Missouri in 2001 and the MBC has regressed into radical fundamentalism under his leadership. Clippard's style of leadership is a lot like that of his former boss.

I think the MBC is the first domino to fall. It will set off a lot of other dominos, with Oklahoma possibly being the second domino. There's a lot of open hatred by Oklahoma Southern Baptists toward the CBF and Mainstream Baptists. I suspect that Louisiana will be the third and other state conventions will follow suit. This is truly a sad time for Southern Baptists everywhere. Most rank and file Southern Baptists have no clue about what their leadership has gotten them into. What a shame it is that Southern Baptist fundamentalists actually believe they're the only people who believe the Bible. If it weren't so sad, it would be downright humorous. They have their heads in the sand...


Speedzzter said...

Rev. Berner said "They are the ones that pulled away, that don't believe in the Bible ALL THE WAY. [emphasis added]"

The critical point ignored by Rev. Flick is that the Conservatives who oppose diversion of Cooperative Program funds to the uber-liberal CBF or even so-called "dual alignment" (churches who foolishly split their national donations funds between the CBF and SBC*) are not the ones who blanch from explicit biblical teachings on the role of women in the churches and the family or in the unequivocal teachings of scripture on the sin inherent in homosexual conduct. They are not the ones who find common ground with those who attack the very integrity and authority of scripture. In other words, the Conservatives believe the BIBLE "ALL THE WAY!"

In contrast, the CBF ignores the teachings of 2 Timothy 3:5 to "turn away" from associating with alleged "Christians" teaching false doctrines. Instead, the CBF's liberals go out of their way to cooperate with all sorts of extra-biblical and sometimes even anti-biblical "progressives" on a host of issues.

Furthermore, the CBF does virtually nothing to purge its ranks of heretical teachers. The CBF's leaders over the past twenty-five years have opposed nearly all efforts to hold Baptist-funded institutions doctrinally accountable under traditional biblical standards. They slander and misrepresent the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as "unbiblical" and a "creed." They pervert the doctrines of "soul freedom" and "religous liberty" into de facto licenses for believing virtually anything while calling one's self a "Baptist." Thus it is the permissive CBF who gives sanction and shelter to those who apparently do not believe the Bible ALL THE WAY.

The MBC's rules do not send local church autonomy "out the window." Nothing in the MBC rules prevents any local church from associating solely with the CBF if that is their choice. Nothing in the rules dictate the day-to-day affairs of any local church. Persons familiar with Baptist polity know that the MBC has no authority over any local church.

However, the churches who make up the MBC have the right and the obligation to set reasonable, biblical standards for the affiliation with the MBC. After all, it is a BAPTIST convention, not a conclave of the UCC or the UMC or the NCC! Exclusion of "CBF friendly churches" is reasonable and minimally necessary to protect the integrity of the MBC.

Pressler, Patterson and Anthony Jordan are godly, bible-believing Christians. I doubt any of them are "beaming with pride" at the open and notorious errors of their CBF brethren.

*One could argue by extension that a "double-minded" church is "unstable" in all its ways. See James 1:8

David Flick said...

Speedzzter, you and your fundamentalist buddies (i.e. the MBC, Ralph Sawyer, Paul Berner, Roger Moran, Dave Clippard, Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, Anthony Jordan, et. al.) can spin your stuff from now until the cows come home, but every last one of you have your heads buried in the sand.

With your head buried in the sand, you sanctimoniously claim that the fundamentalists are the only people who believe the Bible "all the way." What you fail to recognize is that you don't have the only direct line to God. Neither do you have the last word on how the Bible should be interpreted. When intelligent Baptists in Missouri wake up to what has happened, the MBC will experience a mass exodus of churches. Intelligent Baptists know better than to follow pharisaical leaders over a cliff...

Speedzzter said...


Across the nation, the trend is for growth in conservative churches and for declines in "moderate", "mainline" and "liberal" ones.

Even your own new home--the ABC-- is cutting back because of budget shortfalls. The CBF is tiny and insignificant.

Certainly size and numerical growth isn't an indicator of theological fidelity. The evil cult of Mormonism grows faster than biblical sects. Secularism, humanism and radical individualism are growing many times faster. And, of course, narrow is the way to the Abundant Life and few find it (Matt. 7:14).

But the demonstrable evidence of God's Spirit moving in the world is now concentrated in the conservative, obedient, evangelizing, Bible-believing portion of the Body of Christ. It is not among those who parse Scripture for its "true" meaning, or who allow popular secular ideas to dictate doctrine, or who find the Bible as a mixture of man's error and God's word, or who invent exotic techniques to deconstruct Scripture and reassemble it according to their own notions, or who pussy-foot the uncomfortable doctrines, or who seek ecumenical acceptance and the empty praise of men at the cost of doctrinal integrity, or who preach "purr-words" to "itching ears" (see II Tim 4:1-4).

In other words, it is not found in the lukewarm "moderate" Church at Laodicea! (Rev.3:14-22).

Regardless of what the so-called "intelligent Baptists" do, godly leaders have no choice but to "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time WILL come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." II Tim 4:1-4.

David Flick said...

Fundamentalists, in Missouri and elsewhere, are stuck on stupid.

A-Rez said...

My church (one that is quite conservative theologically, but does not approve of the heavy handed tactics that many SBC leaders have used in the past 25 years) was one of those in 1990 that chose to give through the CBF. Throughout the 1990's we got along quite well with other SBC churches, and remained active in the SBC and MBC as well.

In the early part of this decade, a couple of pastors in our association (I won't name them by name, although I will say that one later became MBC president and the other is now on the Executive Board) decided to go on a witch hunt against my church and another church in the association who gave to CBF. Soon, all kinds of lies and slander were spread about my church, which resulted in the association splitting. Seven churches left and formed a new association. There are now two within the same geographical area. The churches that stayed did so not because the agreed with our position, but because they had worked with us often enough to know what out church was really like. All the same, an "inquisition" was held, with a committee coming to the church to interview the pastor, deacons and church members about theology and doctrine. I'm proud to say that the committee found there to be no cause for alarm.

To give you an idea of what was being said about us from the pulpits of other churches, I'll give this example. My mother's boss goes to one of the churches that left, and one day she confronted my mother about our church's supposed pro-gay, pro-abortion stance. Of course, my mother was shocked. We have never taken such stances, and I doubt there is a single member who would agree with them. We may not spend a great deal of time talkling about them or fighting them, but that does not mean that we agree with them.

As it stands, we may not get to stay in the association anyway, because the bylaws state that we must be a member in good standing with the MBC.

I want to say that I am sick and tired of seeing good people, good churches, and a good organization slandered and maligned. I'm tired of seeing people take isolated incidents and viewpoints and try to make them appear to be the norm for the whole of the group.

The CBF is far from perfect. There are some things I'd like to change about them and perhaps someday I can work on that. I'd like to see them get a little more excited about evangelism, for example. But this ultra-liberal activist CBF just doesn't exist. Just because we don't try to forcefeed a party line on people does not make us liberals. Despite it's imperfections, I care about the CBF, and yes, I believe God does too.

That's not something I take lightly either. I did a lot of research, searching, praying and anguishing to come to that conclusion.

Speedzzter said...

It's really easy to ignore evidence and focus on juvenile ad hominem attacks.

But, the fact is that even if a particular local church's position is pro-life, limits ordained positions to men, and preaches against homosexual conduct, SENDING MONEY TO THE CBF OR OTHER LIBERAL GROUPS, SUCH AS THE ALLIANCE OF BAPTISTS IS TACIT SUPPORT FOR AND ACCOMODATION OF SUCH POSITIONS.

"Within these BGCT leaders and their colleagues in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Texas Baptists Committed, there are those who have reached a point of accommodation with secular humanism, embraced a pro-choice stand on abortion, believe in the genetic determination of homosexuality and dogmatically oppose pro-life and pro-family programs.

The Baptist Joint Committee supported by the BGCT [AND CBF], has cooperated in efforts along with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Penthouse International, National Abortion Federation, Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Performance of gay "marriages" in Baptist churches have been defended by some in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The AB and TIA have relied on Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leaders who support the gay and lesbian agenda. The BGCT carries a link to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on its internet web page."

"Those who wish to dismiss the theological differences between conservatives and moderates as 'purely political' or just a 'fight among preachers' are simply unwilling to objectively consider the documented facts . . . ."

"One of the alliances the CBF has is with the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA). In regards to sexuality, the BPFNA has a stance they refer to as the Jerusalem Protocol. The information on this, written by Ken Sehested, Executive Director of BPFNA, may be found at Basically, this is based off of Peter's vision in Acts 10 and the following events through chapter 15. In a nutshell, if someone is a Christian and claims that the Holy Spirit lives in them, then we cannot question that and their sexual orientation is alright. The link to homosexuality is found in how Mr. Sehested interprets the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the new Gentile converts. The misinterpretation is seen in that Mr. Sehested must not believe that God changed the lives of these Gentiles."

"What is your [theological] belief [about sexual orientation]? If we believe in the priesthood of the believer, we are left with each Christian making his or her own decision with the leadership of the Holy Spirit.”
-- CBF Resource Packet HIV/AIDS Ministry: Putting A Face On AIDS

Soul freedom affirms the sacredness of individual choice. President Bill Clinton is a “real Baptist.”

“Mr. Clinton has an intensely personal faith that he applies in public and private to social issues. He has a Christian baseline from which he operates.”
-- James Dunn, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs in response to President Clinton’s 5 executive orders on his 3rd day in office including lifting the ban on abortion counseling in federally-funded clinics, providing funds for the first time for abortions in military hospitals overseas, lifting the ban on homosexuals in the military."

"We specifically reject the proposed amendments to the constitution of the United States and state constitutions that would enshrine discrimination against sexual minorities and define marriage in such a way as to deny same-sex couples a legal framework in which to provide for one another and those entrusted to their care."

"As Christians and as Baptists, we particularly lament the denigration of our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers in this debate by those who claim to speak for God. We affirm that the Alliance of Baptists supports the rights of all citizens to full marriage equality, and we affirm anew that the Alliance will 'create places of refuge and renewal for those who are ignored by the church.'"

"partners or organizations which have a philosophy consistent with that of the Alliance of Baptists.

Baptist Center for Ethics
Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
Baptists Today
Baptist Women in Ministry
Baptist World Alliance
Brite Divinity School
Candler School of Theology Emory University
Church World Service
Churches for Middle East Peace
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Duke Divinity School, Baptist House
Evangelical Church of Georgia
Furman University , Greenville, SC
Global Campaign for Rebuilding Palestinian Homes
McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University
National Council of Churches USA
Progressive National Baptist Convention
Smyth and Helwys Publishing
United Church of Christ
Wake Forest University Divinity School
World Council of Churches

"The Alliance of Baptists along with the Baptist Peace Fellowship OF north America have strongly affirmed and welcomed GLBT people and produced great literature by Dr. Mahan Siler, Dr. Millard Eiland and others to help local churches become welcoming and affirming."

(this site erroneously claims the CBF is anti-homosexual. However the official CBF stance is neutrality. "Vestal said the questions of gay ordination and same-sex unions are settled in all but a handful of Fellowship-friendly churches. Very few, he said, would ordain a gay person or bless a same-sex union.
___'We have reached a consensus in our congregations about this, but we have not reached a consensus as an organization,' Vestal said."

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