Thursday, January 19, 2006

Baptistic stuff, but for the masses

From the Baptist Joint committee (you know the one's subscribing to historic Baptist principles, unlike today's SBC) comes the Top 10 lies about Church and State. Be informed about a historic Baptist and American view of the separation of church and state, not the revisionist history of many of today's Baptist and Christian leaders. Call me old fashioned if you want... I can handle it.

Wannabe Baptist leader disses True Baptist leader (I call it like I see it, not like I want it to be or care about) last week. It seems Mohler does not understand why Warren would lump Christian fundamentalists in with other fundamentalists when stating that all are motivated by fear. He must be kidding. For a smart guy, he cannot look in the mirror and understand that Fear is the motivator for any type of fundamentalism (even his), whether religious, national or political (yes, I know Liberal Secular fundamentalists who are motivated by fear of Christians and Republicans).

Someone needs to take Mohler back to school on this issue.

Although I no longer attend a Baptist church and am no longer an official preacher, I am still an ordained Baptist minister with much of that baggage (good and bad). I still care deeply for the denomination of my roots and have many friends in it. For some reason, I actually want it to adhere to principles it taught me as a child and student and want it to be a relevant expression of Christianity. I even still consider myself Baptist on good days (in a much broader sense than today's SBC). That said...

Some things in the SBC world never change. In the late 1970s the "conservative" faction of the SBC used political means that many outsiders considered mean, spiteful and "evil" to rescue their denomination from "moderates." While they may have felt strongly that they had no other course of action, their means were less than Christian. They continued this form of influence during the 80s and 90s, thereby seizing control of every seminary, agency and most conventions.

In the early 90s, while at a Baptist Seminary, they used less than ethical means to wrestle control from the well-liked and conservative President of my seminary. Although they had every right to have the president they wanted, trustees lied to students and press, acted in secret (sinister) means and locked the President out of his office before informing him of the action, not allowing him to go back to his office to retrieve his things. They did not act in good faith and damaged their witness throughout Fort Worth (I will never forget my discussion the next day at the law firm I worked at with a VERY prominent leader of the Fort Worth business world. He came up to me and said, "what the hell is happening at that school of yours. I know Dilday and he is a good man. It is a damn shame to see Christians doing things like that to each other." I said, "yes, Sir. Can I get you anything?")

They have since done a wonderful job kicking out the moderates and taking charge of the agencies and schools, thereby influencing a generation of younger pastors who march in lock step with the leadership of the convention (brilliant moves politically- even Karl Rove would have to applaud) and turning the tide to a conservative resurgence (even if most pastors follow Rick Warren more than the convention leaders) and changing an entire denomination in under 25 years.

However, in the past few years many of the ultra conservatives in the denomination have had very little to fight (besides Democrats, Evolutionists, Secularists, Disney- before Narnia, the Supreme Court, Muslims, on and on and on- in fact, where do they get the time to turn on each other?) inside their own denomination and needed to make up new enemies, you know the type- other conservatives that might think for themselves, befriend a gay person, drink a beer, like to question and debate the status quo, etc.

My blog friends Alex Forrest and Steve McCoy have been following the story of a group of conservatives in the SBC using even more underhanded shenanigans to add (more) extra-biblical requirements to international missionaries, embarrass the leader of SBC Missions (who has a private prayer language) and purge the seminary board of any dissenters (through despicable tactics honed over the past few decades).

If this type of stuff interests you (I wish it did not interest me, but it is my heritage and it gave birth to much of my faith journey), here are some interesting links to follow the story.

McCoy's frustration with the mess in the SBC
links to much for the story from McCoy, McCoy, Missional Baptists (which carries much coverage and debate, including links to press coverage) and Alex.

thanks to the underrated and always stimulating Jesus politics for the first 2 hits.


pete said...

I've heard good things, though, about the moderate Baptists, such as those who started the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship or Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond (

Rick said...

I have many good friends in the CBF. They have a lot of good qualities. My biggest concern is that much of the leadership is older and still whining about losing the SBC and wanting to return to the glory years and not enough time looking forward.

I pray they spend more time thinking of the future than past.