"Conservative Baptist" gives the wrong idea?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by superdave, May 6, 2003.

  1. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Read a letter and a sheaf of documentation sent to my church by CBInternational, a mission board somewhat affiliated with the CBA.

    They want to change their name for a list of reasons, While I agree with some of their observations, I think that in attempting to be "all things to all people" their goals and purposes may be pointing in a direction that my church is not willing to go.

    I already have some reservations about any affiliation with the CBA, so the lack of good solid biblical reasons for getting rid of the words Baptist and Conservative from their name seems to smack of ecumenism. Anyone familiar with the CBA, CBI, or their home missions board Mission to the Americas?

    If they drop those names, for the reasons they cited to our church, we will probably be dropping all support for our missionaries under that board.

    I will outline the specific bullet points they are justifying their name change with in a later post if anyone is interested
     
  2. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2000
    Messages:
    9,652
    Likes Received:
    312
    Please do. It will be a change from the intramural (who cares that Manchester United beat Arsenal for the English Premier Soccer League Cup) bloodletting that passes for SBC politics.

    At least, I know something about the CBA (and no I am not refering to the Continental Basketball Association).
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,145
    Likes Received:
    25
    Superdave, I would also be interested in their reasons for changing their name, as well as to what they will change it.
     
  4. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Executive Summary:

    1. Motive: The Great Commission The primary concern in addressing our name is that it open rather than close doors for ministry. Paul's appeal in I Cor. 9 is that we do all in our power to be all things to all people that by all means we might win some, and that we get rid of all that hinders that progress.

    2. Safety and Security: In the increasingly hostile environment in which we work, a name that communicates globalization and world vision without religious connotations would be a great asset as we place people in harm's way

    3. Honesty: A name should represent what an organization truly is. While some may say that we are trying to decieve and camouflage who we are with a name change, the opposite can also be claimed. In American culture, both the words "conservative" and "Baptist" are understood differently than they were a half century ago. We need a name that represents what our mission is today.

    4. Conservative: "Conservative" is perceived as a political and social word in many contexts. It means "to conserve" and to many that means conserving the values of the 50's. It also communicates conserving old traditions and legalism. In urban settings it means conserving the "white" values of the past. This is not who we are or how we want to be percieved.

    5. Baptist: While we are proudly Baptists in doctrine, that name means something different to us than it does to lost people we are trying to reach, as well as potential mission recruits. Charles Spurgeon, prince of Baptist preachers said, "I will say of this Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ's name last forever. I look forward to the day when there will not be a Baptist living." While he may have overstated the point, he still has given a good reminder of whose name is most important.

    6. Image: Yes, our image is important. Many CBI'ers today are embarrassed by the name when talking to those outside the CB family. We must explain that we are not what those two names imply to many Americans. We need a name that says who we are and what we do in a positive way to non-Christians, and potential recruits. When American news agencies call Jerry Fallwell the "head of conservative Baptists in America" we are identified with a mindset and movement that is not who we really are.

    7. Acronyms: Are always a problem. It is time we had a name for the mission that we can be proud of instead of an acronym we have to explain.

    8. Post-Denominational America: It is now over three decades since Lyle Schaller wrote boldly about the end of denominations in our society. His predictions have come true as we are witnessing the decline of nearly all denominations and the rise of non-denominational movements. Even those churches that are affiliated with denominations are changing their names to be more attractive to lost people. Our name and our structure must be assets rather than liabilities to the process of making disciples around the world.


    This is the summary, it was followed by three pages of detail on each point, plus an appendix, any questions you have I can answer from that info, I will try to get an electronic copy in case anyone wants the whole enchilada. The above is quoted verbatim, I am not making this up, point #2 gets the ol' spine chillin a little, don't you think?

    [​IMG] Longest post I've done in a while
     
  5. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, I forgot, as to your second question, they don't have a new name, or even a list of possibles

    It is quite clear from the above, that neither Conservative, nor Baptist will be part of it
     
  6. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2000
    Messages:
    9,652
    Likes Received:
    312
    I can see one of my Pastor's dictums at work here.
    From this proposal, I can see why Dr. Cedarholm, the Wenigar Brothers, M.J. Hollowood, Chester Tulga, et al. left the CBA back in the mid-60s. They weren't the excusing types.
     
  7. JonathanDT

    JonathanDT
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Messages:
    496
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with this decision, depending of course on what the new name is. They make some good points, even if they're points that some don't want to think about.

    As for #2, they're right. Missionaries to China can't exactly come out and say they're working for the Conservative Baptists International, that's obviously religous and they would not be met with open arms by the Chinese or Arab governments.
     
  8. PJ

    PJ
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    Messages:
    3,952
    Likes Received:
    0
    </font>[/QUOTE]So true!
    PJ [​IMG]
     
  9. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Another step down a slippery slope. I was involved in the CBAofA and attended the CBA of Wisconsin "split up" - with the conservatives forming the new Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches and the new evangelical faction retaining name and allegiance to the national CBA.

    We withdrew fellowship in 68 because we saw the trend - away from "baptist" distinctives; away from "conservative" values; away from "separation" or "standards"; away from even using the name "baptist" in the church.

    35 years later and, voila, it has all happened. We have no missionaries from the CBFMS or CBHMS (foreign and home missions) as those have compromised and lost their distinctiveness decades ago.

    Run, don't walk, away from the CBA.
     
  10. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    JonathanDT

    They do make some valid points, I agree, they also have some rather shaky scripture interpretation in the details, and really seem to place more value in the reasons that I view as minor. They allude to a changing of their mission and goals as well, with no details.

    Perhaps I will post the detail in pieces and we can discuss the reasons.

    Squire
    Yep, Growing up in close proximity to MBBC, and because of the influence Dr. Cedarholm and Dr. Weniger had on my Parents and eventually myself, the core of what I have understood to be his concerns with the CBA, and Northern Baptists in general is right here in this document, just advanced to another level
     
  11. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Full CBI Name Change Rationale - Part 1

    1. It's all about the Great Commission

    In I Cor 9, the apostle Paul explains that for the sake of the gospel, he had become all things to all men so that "by all possible means I might save some" (v. 9:22b). To relate to those living under the law he lived as one under the law. When among those not having the law he lived free of the restrictions of the law. Paul realized that the gospel message was what counted, not outward observances or the omission of observances relative to any particular cultural or religious expression. He knew that in Christ Jesus God had already nullified the importance of these issues.

    And so it must be with the outward labels that represent denominations and groups today. Like Paul, we must understand that it's all about the Great Commission. We want the offense, it there is any, to come from the gospel message and not from misperceptions about the name "Conservative Baptists" by those on the outside. A label that is a barrier closes doors for ministry. The clear message of I Corinthians 9 is that there are Biblical reasons to remove barriers to ministry if they hinder the gospel.

    A name change does not indicate a weakening of doctrine or becoming less evangelical. Changing an outward label says that we are a mission first with our identity as Christians focused on God's kingdom, rather than an organization that serves Conservative Baptists only. A name change means that we are thinking in terms of the unreached and unchurched and not just of ourselves.

    A Story from the Southern Baptists: For years the Southern Baptists here in the U.S. have had bookstores across the nation called "Baptist Bookstores". Several years ago they changed the name of their bookstores and their publishing entity from "Baptist Books" to "Lifeway Christian Stores" and "Lifeway Books". They were increasingly running into the problem of people not darkening the door of their stores because of the offensiveness of the label "Baptist". People felt that if they weren't Baptists, they shouldn't go into the store. The term, according to the Southern Baptists, went from positive to neutral to negative over the last few decades. Why did they change these labels? Because of the Great Commission. They want to cast the net as wide as possible to bring people into their stores to buy good Christian materials. The change in the label has dramatically increased their opportunity to share good Christian literature with a wide audience.

    2. Provide Security, Safety, and Prudence

    Our intention is to develop a name for the mission which is somewhat neutral in religious connotation. In the increasingly hostile environment in which we work, a name that communicates globalization and world vision without religious connotations would be our greatest asset as we place people in harm's way. We want to be prudent and think of safety as we come up with a name that would not unnecessarily antagonize those hostile to Christian missions.


    To Be Continued... [​IMG]
     
  12. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes Dr. Bob, I had forgotten the birth of the WFBC, how could I forget that? :eek: Easy, I was what negative 2 or something :D

    The CBFMS merged with some other group and became CBInternational

    The CBHMS is now Mission to the Americas I think

    There is a little more on those groups later in the document, I only want to drown y'all a little at a time
     
  13. Circuitrider

    Circuitrider
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/circuitrider2.JPG>

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2000
    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    0
    Superdave, you were negative 5 as the name change for the WFBC took place in October of 1970. You were there in the "loins of your father." :eek:

    This choice of compromise by the CBA is simply the continuation of a direction and commitment by fellow Baptists to reject biblical separation and uphold truth. The Apostle John at least indicates the direction of such movements when he said, "they went out from us....." [​IMG]
     
  14. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    I knew it was somewhere in the 70's :D

    Here is some more detail

    3. Recognize that the original context that birthed the name "Conservative Baptist" is no longer an applicable context of our world 60 years later.

    The designation of believers as "Baptists" originated in 1609. Disturbed with how the reformation doctrines of justification by faith, the authority of the Scriptures, and the priesthood of the believer were being applied in the church, Baptists developed the following six distinctives, each of which is supported within the broader doctrinal statement of CBInternational:

    1) The Bible is the supreme authority by which believers are to live

    2) The church is a fellowship of true believers in Jesus Christ.

    3) The church is a priesthood of believers. All members occupy the same relation to Christ, regardless of special gifts or offices.

    4) Believers are to participate in two gospel ordinances: Believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper.

    5) The local church is autonomous, directly related and unified to Christ and free to determine its own destiny under God.

    6) The church consists of "a free people" in "a free state" (ie. free from religious states and state religions)

    The term "Conservative" as used by the Conservative Baptist movement was the direct result of a denominational disagreement between two groups within the Northern Baptist Convention (NBC). In 1943 a group of fundamentalist leaders formally separated from the Convention after its leaders refused to modify the "inclusive policy" that allowed NBC missionaries to deny such biblical teachings as the virgin birth of Christ and His substitutionary atonement for our sins. To distinguish themselves from the Convention and its teaching, these fundamentalist leaders called themselves "Conservative Baptists," meaning that they held to these fundamental truths of biblical teaching and the six historical Baptist distinctives.

    A comment from Dr. Jack Estep, former General Director of CBHMS/MTA: The reason the name "Conservative" was chosen for our association was that we wanted to "conserve" the basics. We wanted to be the conservationists of the basics of Christianity. It was not intended that we conserve traditions, or even non-essentials, or even have a conservative approach or stand on every issue. There is no need for a conservative, party line, answer for every question. The term did not have political or social implications.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Am I the only one SCHOCKED at this "doctrinal" statement? I've seen better doctrine in a Catholic Missal! :eek:

    1) The Bible is the supreme authority by which believers are to live sounds good, but what ever happened to SOLE AUTHORITY FOR FAITH AND PRACTICE? Or INSPIRED? INFALLIBLE? VERBAL PLENARY?

    2) The church is a fellowship of true believers in Jesus Christ. It is a "fellowship"?

    4) Believers are to participate in two gospel ordinances: Believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper. All of a sudden it changes from "the church" to "believers". What happened to the church? Who baptizes? Who does the Lord's Supper? Where is IMMERSION? Where is SYMBOLIC?

    Just a couple of really really really weak and wishy-washy. I grew up Conservative Baptist and am ashamed at the compromise doctrinally that is now so evident.
     
  16. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's some more

    4. Admit that the label "Conservative Baptist" does not convey to many people today what we wish to convey about who we are.

    The Words most commonly associated with "Baptists" by those who know nothing about Baptist history or distinctives are "legalism", "negativism," "holier-than-thou attitude," and "hard-sell approach" to faith. Many of these people believe that Baptist churches have been established "for their own people" and state that they would never consider going to "that kind of church"

    Whether we like it or not, God's people who are baptistic in their historical view of the role of the church, have been unfairly stereotyped, and these stereotypes can build walls between unbelievers and Baptist Christians who desire to present the gospel message

    Similarly the term "conservative" has come to describe those who avoid extremems, prefer tradition over free inquiry, support individual effort and competition over community, and value wealth, capitalism, and the prevailing distribution of power, all while following a "conservative political agenda."

    We have heard unbelievers say "Isn't that redundant, the words Conservative and Baptist?"

    A Conservative Baptist is often seen as a legalist whose agenda is to make others conform to a particular view of what the world should be. The Conservative Baptist label implies that unbelievers cannot be accepted without conforming to a set of rigid behavioral standards to which the lost cannot and do not want to adhere.

    To believers who are equally unfamiliar with Baptist distinctives and the Conservative Baptist movement, (including potential missionary recruits), being associated with a group called "Conservative Baptists" implies an alliance with an organization the espouses strict conformity to a particular viewpoint, resulting in a loss of personal freedom and joy in the expression and experience of their faith.

    In today's society the true attraction of Christianity is, generally speaking, no longer tied to a denominational distinction. In fact many young people today are anti-denominational. More and more, where there is a high level of religious interest there is a low level of denominational loyalty. People today are searching for churches that are more concerned for people and community, and they actively resist being defined by a denominational label.

    A story from an African American : Here is the perspective of an African American pastor on the East Coast. In discussing with him the question of how we could improve our relationships with African American churches, he centered on our name. He said, "What do you think of when you think of conservative?" We answered, "Our doctrinal heritage" He said, "In the black community that word immediately reminds people that they are trying to conserve their heritage, generally the heritage of the 40's 50's and early 60's. What you are conserving to us means the social conditions of the 40's and 50's when people like me were being abused and denied their civil rights."

    From a survey conducted by a church on the streets about the reaction to "Baptist": One of the things that firm did was compile a list of religious words and ask people to rank them from most positive to most negative. Of the nineteen words they studied, "Baptist" came in last, the most negative. This was the reaction of people in malls and stores around their area, not the people in their church.
     

Share This Page

Loading...