CBF boat unlikely to float without doctrinal sturdiness

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Chris Temple, Aug 2, 2001.

  1. Chris Temple

    Chris Temple
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    FIRST-PERSON
    CBF boat unlikely to float without doctrinal sturdiness
    By James A. Smith Sr.


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)--The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship seems to see their
    organization as a kind of modern-day Noah's Ark of disgruntled Baptists. The
    creatures on the boat come in all doctrinal stripes and shapes. The recent CBF
    General Assembly in Atlanta reveals just what a challenge it must be to keep
    this boat afloat.

    In some rooms of this ark, you'll find Baptists who differ little from
    grassroots Southern Baptists. By the time you've turned the corner, however,
    you see a theological menagerie bearing almost no resemblance to anything you
    have ever seen in a Baptist church.

    In one room, you'll find radical feminists worshiping "Mother God" and talking
    about how hard it is to call God "Father" or "Lord." In another room, the dean
    of a CBF partner school joins with a Jewish rabbi to argue that Jews do not
    need to have faith in Christ in order to be saved. Walk to the next room and
    you'll find the head of yet another CBF partner school arguing that Baptists
    shouldn't try to "convert" Jews, Muslims and Hindus since non-Christians can
    "experience the divine" even without Jesus. And, he notes, don't pray in "Jesus
    name" in mixed company.

    There's yet another room on the CBF ark. That's where David Currie, a leader in
    the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the "Mainstream Baptist Network"
    charges the troops to take control of the Baptist state conventions. Currie
    says Texas Baptists ought to divert their support for the Lottie Moon Christmas
    Offering for SBC missionaries giving money instead to the BGCT or CBF. Who
    needs Lottie Moon, Currie reasons, when the CBF and BGCT could spend the $14
    million Texas Baptists gave to the offering last year to fund 100 missionary
    couples of their own? After the BCCT dumps the North American Mission Board
    funding this year, any question about their target for 2002?

    (Sources for the references in the preceding two paragraphs are listed below.)

    The belligerents for the homosexual lifestyle can be found in many rooms,
    including the main hall where the CBF managed in a close vote to keep its
    "welcoming but not affirming" statement on hiring practicing homosexuals.

    Crying "creedalism," CBFers take great offense at the notion that the 2000
    Baptist Faith and Message should be used as an "instrument of doctrinal
    accountability" at SBC agencies, especially our seminaries. But less than a
    year later, the CBF adopted its controversial "Organization Personnel and
    Administrative Funding Policy" on homosexuality. Why? Because Baptist Press
    exposed pro-homosexual literature in the exhibit hall at their 2000 General
    Assembly and the leadership feared a loss of financial support from churches.
    This year's CBF meeting (including the same literature, this time with the
    explicit approval of the CBF leadership) was consumed in a battle to keep the
    policy, while attempting to mollify a growing radical faction.

    It took three votes to sustain the policy. Only a swing of 100 votes and the
    CBF would now be in the midst of a yearlong study on homosexuality. Although
    the CBF kept the policy, coordinator Daniel Vestal was careful to note, "This
    statement was not intended to force conformity or stifle debate on
    homosexuality. It was not intended to offend our gay and lesbian brothers and
    sisters in Christ."

    The debate was filled with cries of "creedalism" from the homosexual-friendly
    contingent. I can see why they are confused. As Currie argued, "Any
    organization that sends out missionaries must define itself." That's what the
    churches of the SBC decided a long time ago -- over the objection of those who
    now inhabit the CBF.

    Note the contradiction: It's "creedalism" for the SBC to have a confession of
    faith our denominational servants are expected to embrace, but it's not
    "creedalism," CBF seems to argue, to "define" oneself.

    The pragmatism and near absence of an appeal to Scripture is most remarkable
    about the debate on homosexuality. The anti-policy side argued from modern
    medical and psychological claims about homosexual "orientation," with civil
    rights rhetoric thrown in for good measure. The pro-policy side contended that
    failure to uphold the policy would mean CBF's financial ruin. The pro side
    carried the (last) day, but must fear what the future holds for the group.

    This result is not surprising when the passengers on the CBF boat have in
    common only their distaste for the SBC and an appeal to Baptist "freedoms." All
    Southern Baptists cherish our biblical freedoms of believers' priesthood, soul
    competency, local church autonomy and religious liberty; but most Southern
    Baptists reject their libertine distortions. And that's the gaping hole in the
    side of the CBF boat -- confusing proper ends with necessary means. Freedom is
    a necessary means by which we pursue the proper end: worshiping God in Spirit
    and truth. Freedom is not, however, the ultimate goal of the Christian life.
    The glory of Christ and his truth are.

    All the pragmatic arguments in the world cannot save the CBF from
    disintegration. Apart from a sturdy doctrinal structure, the CBF boat just
    can't float.
    --30--
    Smith is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness newsjournal.
    Sources utilized in paragraphs 3 & 4:
    -- Baptist Women in Ministry annual meeting, Atlanta, June 28, 2001 (Baptist
    Press, June 29, 2001).
    -- "Jewish/Christian Dialogue and Cooperation," 2001 CBF General Assembly (tape
    #190, Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications, 1-410-796-0040).
    -- "Being Baptist in an Ecumenical/Interfaith Setting," 2001 CBF General
    Assembly (tape #180, Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications).
    -- "Why Protect Our Baptist Identity?" 2001 CBF General Assembly (tape #110,
    Chesapeake Audio/Video Communications).
     
  2. BWSmith

    BWSmith
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    Don't SBCers have better things to do with their time than to bash the CBFers?
     
  3. TomVols

    TomVols
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BWSmith:
    Don't SBCers have better things to do with their time than to bash the CBFers?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Of course. But I have always wondered why CBFers had nothing better to do with their time than to bash SBC folks. :D
     
  4. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    I for one sure don't call myself a SBCer but the CBF'ers sure do alot of hitting on the SBC'ers. I'm not much into mother god.
     
  5. Joseph_Botwinick

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    When those of the CBF persuasion speak about the SBC, at least they provide some evidence...like transcripts and such... http://www.bgct.org/communications/ss1.pdf

    Chris...if you would be so kind as to provide a word for word transcript of the conference instead of a BP article written by someone who is anti-CBF and part of the Council for "Biblical" manhood, maybe I could take your allegations a little more seriously. Maybe you might even try to go as far as CRI does and even try to talk to Daniel Vestal and get a response from him before you misrepresent him and his organization's views. At least when CRI talks about false doctrines within the church, they make every attempt to contact the person and get a quote from them. I guess they realize that there are people who still slander others in the Church today. Or maybe you might even go back under denominational discussions forum and re-read the response from Vestal that I posted a few weeks back. Or have you already read it and decided that it wasn't as scandelous as you longed for it to be? Is that the reason you totally ignored it and started a new thread about the very same thing in a new forum?
    http://www.baptistboard.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=25&t=000014

    Joseph

    [ August 04, 2001: Message edited by: JBotwinick ]
     
  6. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    There are so many things that are objectionable in the BP piece that it's hard to list them all.

    First, there's the charge that Baptist Women in Ministry are "radical feminists" just because they pray to God as Mother is absurd. Presumably, if BP correspondents read historical theology at all, they've never read Julian of Norwich.

    As to the portrayal of those who opposed the CBF's internal hiring policy as militant homosexual activists, that's absurd. Even those of us who are militant homosexual activists were not lobbying for the CBF to affirm homosexuality. We simply wanted the CBF to continue its practice of not making theological statements.

    Finally, any comparison of a hiring policy to the strident orthodoxy of the new Southern Baptist Convention is silly. Churches which ordain and/or hire homosexual clergy are still fully participating members of the CBF, and the CBF has not intention of emulating the behavior of the Bigoted General Convention of Texas.

    Joshua
     
  7. Pennsylvania Jim

    Pennsylvania Jim
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