Throw out more churches, please


Much has changed as a result of the Fundamentalist takeover the Southern Baptist Convention that began nearly three decades ago. But one thing has been consistent for a long, long time.
During the SBC annual meeting, anybody can — and often will — go to an open microphone during a “miscellaneous business” session and make a motion.
The motions can range from well-crafted and relevant to venting about something that got stuck in one’s crawl while walking over from the hotel.
The motions are either ruled out of order or referred to committees. A few make their way back to the convention floor for debate and vote.
Two motions this week (that were referred to the SBC Executive Committee) related to throwing out churches.
A pastor from Wendell, N.C., wants a Ft. Worth, Texas, church bounced for being too friendly to gay and lesbian persons. The other calls for booting the few Convention-related churches with female pastors.
Most moderate churches with minimal SBC connections would be done a favor if the Convention tossed them out. It would save them from having to explain again and again to their congregations about the nonsense that permeates that organization.
Give fundamentalists 50 percent plus one and they will gladly impose their agenda on the remaining nearly half of a congregation. But I’ve consistently watched more moderate churches retain minimal relationships with the SBC and state conventions for the sake of a very few members.
For most of these churches, dismissal from the SBC would be as painful as the brier patch was to Brer Rabbit.
Of course, the irony is that the SBC Executive Committee declined a call to create a database of Baptist ministers found guilty of sex crimes. The information could be helpful to congregations searching for a new minister.
The reason given by Executive Committee leaders: local church autonomy.
However, many current Southern Baptist leaders (as evidenced by the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message and other actions such as these motions) don’t trust churches with the basic freedom to call their own pastor or minister to all persons as they feel led.

4 Comments

  1. It has been my experience that very few members in a Babdiss church can raise holy hades if they get those phone trees working and hummin.
    Usually the godly women that get the ball rollin; what was it Criswell said about them; My these women…..
    Here’s a notion. Consider doin a two pager in Baps today on big churches whose members want to appear savvy in their status, but continue to bankroll the SBC Coop Program; as an example FBC Montgomery and Dawson Memorial in Bham; even FBC Nashville.
    See if you can get some members and staff in those churches to talk openly about why they still do what they do

  2. John D.,

    You said:

    “However, many current Southern Baptist leaders (as evidenced by the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message and other actions such as these motions) don’t trust churches with the basic freedom to call their own pastor or minister to all persons as they feel led.”

    Unless you are being dishonest in your analysis, you totally misunderstand the purpose behind withdrawing fellowship from a church. The purpose is not to dictate to a church what they can or cannot do. The purpose is for an association of churches to make it clear what they do and don’t condone.

    I’m glad you keep making these sort of commentaries on Baptist life. It keeps before the public eye just how far to the left the so called “moderate” Baptists really are.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

  3. The selective nature of the fundamentalist quest for “doctrinal purity” is so goofy.
    Are churches with female pastors and open ministry to gay and lesbian persons really such a threat to the SBC’s purity?
    This selective focus on a couple of issues just adds to their growing irrelevance. But, as I said, my hope is that their sadly ignorant efforts of exclusion continue.

  4. John D.,

    You said,

    “Are churches with female pastors and open ministry to gay and lesbian persons really such a threat to the SBC’s purity? This selective focus on a couple of issues just adds to their growing irrelevance.”

    Yes these issues are a threat to the purity of Baptist churches – most definitely. And the issues were not selected – they were forced by those intent on pushing an unscriptural agenda. If there were churches out there openly condoning adultery or lying, then those would become the issues.

    Really, I think your commentary on this issue is either childishly naive or deviously dishonest, but I haven’t quite figured out which.

    Mark Osgatharp
    Wynne, Arkansas

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