S.B.C. and C.B.F.

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Orvie, Aug 9, 2001.

  1. Orvie

    Orvie
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    I've been reading about these two groups and I acknowledge ignorance especially of the CBF, since I am not that nor a Southern Baptist. Both sides are claiming that they other has departed from the original purpose of the SBC, some saying the SBC is now controlled by Pharisees and the CBF by Sadducees. Any evidence for either side? ;)
     
  2. Gregg

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    Allow me to give you my view of the SBC vs. CBF issue.

    I was once very active in a SBC church (I’m now happily IFB) in the early days of the CBF. As a matter of fact, the Pastor of that church was one of the first ones in our community to get involved with the CBF. As long as the moderates controlled the convention and held most of the key positions, the conservatives were tolerated. My own Pastor, a moderate, seemed to view those who held more conservative views as less “enlightened” and needed to be brought along, so to speak. I’m not sure if his attitude permeated throughout the CBF. Anyway, things came to a head when the conservatives took control of the convention. The conservatives began to remove people from positions that held moderate or liberal views. This caused a backlash among the moderates who began to form the CBF. Indeed, our Pastor lobbied for the church to support the CBF financially. I remember in one particular deacon’s meeting when I stated that it appeared that the CBF was setting up its own convention. Another deacon (a moderate) answered that “well, is that such a bad idea?” I stated that I thought it was less than honest to financially support the possible creation of a new convention without full disclosure to the entire church body. I was hooted down and we began to support the CBF. Shortly after that we left for an IFB church.

    Now, as to the issue as to who has departed from the original purpose of the SBC. That is pretty tough to say. I sincerely think both groups have departed. Let me explain. Based on my reading of old sermons and books from SBC Pastors and leaders I would have to say that the moderates have departed from the SBC in many areas of doctrine. On the other hand, I believe that in their zealous effort to stamp out perceived heresy, the conservatives have sought to exercise authority over churches and institutions that the early leaders would have felt too closely resembled a denomination. Remember, SBC churches consider themselves to be independent Baptist churches cooperating together for missions.

    It is my honest opinion that Satan has had a very big laugh at the expense of the SBC. Just look at all the bad press they get at every convention as their fighting and arguing makes the headlines. It is my opinion that the two groups should split and go on for the cause of Christ.

    Gregg

    [ August 10, 2001: Message edited by: Gregg ]
     
  3. American Citizen

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    It is my opinion that the CBF has departed based on theology. They make claims that they have not but they would be hard pressed to find someone in the 19th century that would reflect their theology outside of Crawford Toy. Part of the problem in trying to identify them is that there are two groups now trying to control the CBF. There is the old line group and the new younger CBFers. However, neither one has much of a historical claim to the old SBC and its roots.
     
  4. RobertLynn

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    The "theology" of my church, which has been a member of the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 50 years, has not changed. Among the more than 45,000 churches that belong to the SBC, you would find similar results.

    What has changed is that the leadership of the SBC has changed from both a theological and denominational perspective.

    In theology, most SBC churches would be comfortable with the designation "conservative evangelical". For the most part, they are not "fundamentalist" in their doctrine or practice. Until 1979, the leadership of the convention on the trustee boards of the mission sending agencies and seminaries reflected this theological view.

    With the election of Adrian Rogers as SBC president in 1979, that began to change. Rogers is a fundamentalist, and his election at the convention opened the door to this theological shift. Now the leadership of the SBC is fundamentalist.

    Has this changed the theology of the balance of the churches in the SBC. No. The doctrinal position of the SBC is not binding on the churches. Even at the convention meetings between 1979 and 1990 when the final committees came under full fundamentalist control, upwards of half the votes on the floor were votes in opposition to the fundamentalist leadership.

    Two major things have changed:

    1. The doctrinal statement known as the Baptist Faith and Message has been changed to reflect a fundamentalist theology and is used as an instrument of "doctrinal accountability". This is something completely new to the SBC, and turns it into a heirarchial "top down" structured denomination and away from its long held historical position of autonomous, independent local churches. There are several statements in the new BFM which many churches consider heretical, including the abandonment of the Priesthood of the Believer and the removal of Christ as the criterion of interpretation of scripture.

    2. The structure of the denomination has gone from being one based on trust and voluntary cooperation to one based on authority claimed by the leadership. This authority is enforced by punishing churches that don't accept it. If you don't acknowledge the new BFM, then none of your church members can serve on the mission or seminary trustee boards and you have no say in what the cooperative ministries of the convention do. They will continue to take your money in support, however. This is also a major change in the way the SBC has operated in its entire history.

    Many churches opposed to the changes have loosened their ties to the SBC. A good number of them (between 1,800 and 2,200 depending on which press release you read) formed CBF, which is made up largely of conservative-evangelical churches. CBF is not a new denomination, it is a fellowship of churches who feel a common call to ministry and missions, and are asserting their independence and common opposition to the position the SBC has now taken. They are committed to principles like autonomy of the local church above any ecclesiastical body and the priesthood of the believer. From my perspective, the CBF is the group that is operating closer to traditional "Baptist" polity.

    There is another, larger, group of SBC churches who are organizing around a banner called "Mainstream Baptists" within the various state conventions. This is a group of churches who are maintaining their ties to the mission boards of the SBC, but are distancing themselves from the core group of leaders. The strongest "Mainstream Baptist" groups are in Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland-Delaware.

    As far as theology goes, it is business as usual. Few SBC churches have made any changes. This disastrous division and splintering is a political, not a theological, controversy, in spite of the fundamentalist claims to the contrary.

    The members of the church I belong to were largely fed up with this controversy a long time ago. They are truly traditional Baptists in that they resented the intrusion of a denominational body into their ministry and missionary activities. However, the church had made a financial committment to the mission boards of the SBC and several of our members were serving through those boards. So we have continued our financial support at the present time. We also began a relationship with CBF, mainly because we see a change in the direction of our mission support in the future when the current missionaries retire. We believe we can work together with other CBF churches in cooperative mission efforts without worrying about their intrusion into our local church ministry.

    [ August 24, 2001: Message edited by: RobertLynn ]
     
  5. RobertLynn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by American Citizen:
    It is my opinion that the CBF has departed based on theology. They make claims that they have not but they would be hard pressed to find someone in the 19th century that would reflect their theology outside of Crawford Toy. Part of the problem in trying to identify them is that there are two groups now trying to control the CBF. There is the old line group and the new younger CBFers. However, neither one has much of a historical claim to the old SBC and its roots.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No historical claim? No nineteenth century theologians that identify with their views? Obviously you know very little about the CBF.

    E.Y. Mullins, James Boyce, W.T. Conner (early 20th but close enough), L.R. Scarborough, George W. Truett, just to name a few. None of these are in the theological camp with the fundamentalists. They are conservative but the leaders of the SBC aren't conservative, they're fundamentalists. Goodness, they've succeeded in making a cooperating Southern Baptist out of Jerry Falwell.

    As for "historical ties", a very large number of the "founding" churches of the SBC, including the two that originally organized and conducted the first meeting in Augusta, have been among the most committed members and supporters of CBF.
     
  6. Bob Alkire

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    Robert, you can call the CBF alot of things but conservative isn't one of them. This is from a person on the outside looking in, I am not a SBC or CBF type member.
    I could be wrong but I can't see E.Y. Mullins,L.R. Scarborough or George Truett backing the CBF from my reading and studing of these men. I don't think R.G.Lee, or Hobbs or Vance Havner would of either.
    Now keep in mind the only CBF type people or churches I have run across or way to the left.
     
  7. RobertLynn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bob Alkire:
    Robert, you can call the CBF alot of things but conservative isn't one of them. This is from a person on the outside looking in, I am not a SBC or CBF type member.
    I could be wrong but I can't see E.Y. Mullins,L.R. Scarborough or George Truett backing the CBF from my reading and studing of these men. I don't think R.G.Lee, or Hobbs or Vance Havner would of either.
    Now keep in mind the only CBF type people or churches I have run across or way to the left.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Granted, there are some churches in CBF that would be out of the conservative range of theology, but there are SBC churches in that camp as well and some which remain affiliated even in the teeth of the political battle now going on. That does not characterize the entire movement. It depends on where you are.

    The leadership of CBF is most definitely in a theological camp that would be compatible with everyone I mentioned. The church where I am a member would also, and we are pretty enthusiastic when it comes to our support of the CBF. Our main impetus behind our CBF support is cooperative efficiency in ministry, not enforcement of our theology on other local churches. When the SBC leadership began acting like a college of cardinals and deliberately took steps to impose doctrine and interpretation upon local churches, we ignored the imposition and began looking elsewhere for fellowship.

    Interesting to note that one of CBF's partner seminaries is named after George W. Truett and that Herschel Hobbs' former church is among the 2,000 churches financially supporting CBF.
     
  8. American Citizen

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    Robert, Well you got two 19th century people right. The rest are 20th century. I don't think Boyce would agree with the CBF on scripture or their view of the "Priesthood of Believers" (it is plural not singular). That makes a big difference. It is a doctrine of service not interpreting the Bible as one chooses.

    The CBF does not have a written creed but they still have a creed. It is expressed often. They call for the autonomy of the local church, priesthood of believer(s)and the place of women in ministry. It is not written down but it is there just the same. They just do not want to admit it.

    I believe in the autonomy of the local church but not like "Landmarkers" or many CBFers. Both go to an extreme.

    Now back to my original point. The CBF can not find anyone who believes as they do on women and scripture in the 19th century. If you think so then give me an example.
     
  9. American Citizen

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    Robert, Sorry I looked at what you said and you only mentioned one 19th century theologian - James Boyce.

    Now another point you named Mullins. He was one of the writers in the "Fundamentals" at the beginning of the 20th century.

    [ August 26, 2001: Message edited by: American Citizen ]
     
  10. Bob Alkire

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    Robert, they can name their schools anything they want,but from what little I know of the CBF, I still don't think George Truett would be with them. Even knowing that he wasn't pre trib, etc. I'm not even sure he would be a SBC member, but we will never know.
     
  11. RobertLynn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by American Citizen:
    Robert, Sorry I looked at what you said and you only mentioned one 19th century theologian - James Boyce.

    Now another point you named Mullins. He was one of the writers in the "Fundamentals" at the beginning of the 20th century.

    [ August 26, 2001: Message edited by: American Citizen ]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Forgive me for getting the dates blurred.

    My point is simpler than that. The churches that now make up the CBF, with only a handful of exceptions, are Southern Baptist Churches. They share a common theological heritage with the rest of the 45,000 or so congregations that make up the SBC. About 85 percent of the churches that fellowship with CBF still support the SBC in one way or another, mainly through missionary support, or because individuals in the churches still want a portion of their gifts to go to the SBC.

    Your criticism of CBF just parrots the SBC leadership, and they're not the experts on CBF. I could use your logic to criticize the SBC in the same way. There are two SBC-loyal congregations within two miles of my own church that have had ordained women deacons since the 1950's. Both of them have ordained women to the ministry that are now serving as pastors (one in Tennessee, one in Georgia). Neither church supports CBF. And they are both less than four miles from the headquarters building of the SBC itself, right in the back yard. That is an issue of local church autonomy, not denominational authority.

    The guiding principles for CBF's staff are its core values, which it has adopted as a body at the general assembly and which are binding on its agency relationships and its own staff, not its churches. The main characteristic of CBF and its founding principle of organization is AUTONOMOUS LOCAL CHURCHES in regard to faith and practice.
     
  12. American Citizen

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    Robert,

    I was just wanting an example of someone in the 19th century that held the same values as the CBF today. Can you give me an example.

    Not just a name but an example of belief.
     
  13. Rev. Joshua

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    Do you mean general principles of scholarship and biblical interpretation or specific conclusions regarding social issues.

    Since the SBC was originally formed over the social issue of slavery, I doubt that there is anyone in the modern SBC who holds to the social views of the progenitors of the SBC, much less in the CBF.

    Joshua
     
  14. Bob Alkire

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    Joshua, I can't speak for others but for myself on this I would be speaking of biblical interpretation.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't there laws for slavery in the bible? Yes!! Not saying that we in this country should go back to slavery but I believe that if you change the heart, people get saved social views will take care of themselfs.
    However we can not take the bible interpretation anywhere if we don't value it in the same way. If too, one it is God's Word in parts and too someone else it is all of God's Word, they are not looking at the same thing.
    I don't believe social issues are the main reason we become ever what we become. If one is a christian his social views which are not correct with bible doctrine should change. However good people have been know to do bad things from time to time and bad people have been known to do good things from time to time.

    [ August 27, 2001: Message edited by: Bob Alkire ]
     
  15. American Citizen

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    Josh, I said the wrong thing. I said "values" I should have said theology. I don't think anyone in the current CBF holds to the same theological positions that the founders held too. I agree on slavery. Neither the CBF nor the SBC holds to that. Hope this clarifies things.
     
  16. RobertLynn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by American Citizen:
    Robert,

    I was just wanting an example of someone in the 19th century that held the same values as the CBF today. Can you give me an example.

    Not just a name but an example of belief.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Same values or same theology?

    Name any 19th century Baptist theologian and his theology will match up with 80 percent of the churches in the CBF. But again, to characterize the "CBF" as a monolithic unit with a singular theological perspective would not be accurate, since CBF, by its own definition, leaves theological perspectives up to each local church. That's about as historically Baptist as you can get, and a far cry from the tone and posture of the SBC of the last two decades.
     
  17. American Citizen

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    Robert,
    What I had in mind was how men like (Boyce, Broadus, Dagg, Manly, held to the Bible as the inerrant word. I don't think anyone in the CBF or at least very few hold to that.

    The SBC in 1845 was also very much into Calvinism. That is not held to by most CBFers.

    Now they held to the autonomy of the local church then as well. Not like many Landmarkers did then nor now. I sometimes think from what they say (CBFers) that they hold to the Autonomy of the local Church more like J.R. Graves than most Baptists.

    Just a thought. What do you think?
     
  18. Chris Temple

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Orvie:
    I've been reading about these two groups and I acknowledge ignorance especially of the CBF, since I am not that nor a Southern Baptist. Both sides are claiming that they other has departed from the original purpose of the SBC, some saying the SBC is now controlled by Pharisees and the CBF by Sadducees. Any evidence for either side? ;)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    SBC and CBF: A Look in Contrast

    In 1998, the Missouri Baptist Laymen's Association (MBLA) published a "contrast" which served two basic purposes: First, it provided a brief list of concerns that MBLA had raised about CBF; and second, it showed in a brief, contrasting format, the significant differences between the leadership of the SBC and the CBF. The contrast was based on a fully documented publication entitled: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship: Serious Questions for Serious Consideration.

    As this contrast is presented, it is important to note several things. First, we certainly acknowledge that no human institution is perfect and that the sin nature of man transcends theological labels. However, when the "celebration" of illegitimate "diversity" replaces commitment to biblical Truth as the basis of fellowship and unity, to what shall we anchor ourselves -- to what shall we look to establish acceptable boundaries for theological and moral prescriptions? Secondly, while we do not suggest that everybody supportive of CBF is "liberal," it is equally clear that liberalism has most certainly found a comfortable home within CBF. Likewise, CBF leaders who publicly identify themselves as "theological conservatives," yet have participated in the exalting of unrestrained "freedom" above biblical Truth, have not only sent out an "uncertain sound" into the world, but have contributed greatly to a growing attitude that diminishes the seriousness of sin as well as the significance and necessity of repentance.

    Lastly, while conservative Southern Baptists argued that the issue in the SBC controversy was theological in nature, it is important to note that theological liberalism does not operate in a vacuum or in a void, but that it manifests itself in various ways. This contrast demonstrates clearly that CBF is full of the manifestations of theological liberalism and provides a glimpse at what the Southern Baptist Convention would likely have looked like had the "conservative resurgence" never taken place.

    The SBC has no leaders that deny the deity of Christ, the need for His sacrificial death or the importance of His virgin birth.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no feminist theologian leaders calling for the worship of the "Christ-Sophia."

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders calling for the ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders declaring that God sometimes commands a woman to abort her unborn child for the purpose of population control.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders advocating federal funding for abortions or the elimination of parental notification and parental consent laws so minors can have an abortion without their parent's knowledge.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders proclaiming that the Bible does not condemn all forms of homosexual behavior.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders calling for the ordination of women as senior pastors.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders that have worked in "coalition efforts" with Penthouse International, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Planned Parenthood.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders who refer to God as "Mother."

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders that have signed a declaration stating that Biblical scholarship is an area of common ground between Baptists and atheistic "secular humanists."

    But CBF does.

    The SBC has no leaders that have worked for the passage of such pro-homosexual legislation as the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) granting minority-status to homosexuals/bisexuals based solely on their sexual behavior.

    But CBF does.

    The SBC does not embrace churches that ordain or "marry" homosexual persons.

    But CBF does

    The SBC is aligned with no organization whose leaders have openly declared their support of the partial-birth abortion procedure.

    But CBF is.

    The SBC is aligned with no organization that gave all of its "mission grants" (in 1997) to churches that welcome and affirm homosexuality.

    But CBF is.

    The SBC is aligned with no organization whose top leader has defended the reproduction and distribution of child pornography.

    But CBF is.

    CBF Responds
    By 1999, MBLA materials had circulated so widely across the SBC that CBF coordinator Dr. Daniel Vestal sent a certified letter to MBLA research director Roger Moran. As the author of MBLA materials, Vestal called on Moran to "issue a written retraction and a formal, public apology for the misleading and untrue statements" he had made in various publications and in a series of videos.

    In response to Dr. Vestal, Moran wrote back: "You have asked for a 'written retraction and a formal, public apology' from MBLA in part for the 'untrue' statements we have made. However, you cited no examples. Would you please provide me with a full list of those statements along with specific details about the factual errors we have made." Moran further inquired of Dr. Vestal: "...are there any concerns that we raised in our materials that you consider legitimate -- or 'honest disagreements?' If so, would you please provide us with a list of those legitimate concerns." Dr. Vestal did not honor the request. Instead, CBF issued "An Open Letter to Roger Moran," that was widely circulated by CBF as its defense against concerns raised by MBLA.

    In Moran's letter to Dr. Vestal, he directed 15 specific questions to Vestal based on a fully documented MBLA publication entitled: CBF Circle of Friends: Religious Voices Advocate Homosexuality. However, Dr. Vestal did not respond. Those questions were as follows:

    Does it not matter...

    ...that a significant portion of CBF leadership and CBF-related organizations consistently align themselves with Religious Left groups supportive of homosexuality?



    ...that the CBF-funded BJCPA played a leadership role in the production of an extreme pro-homosexuality political training manual?



    ...that the CBF-funded Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America advocates the ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons?



    ...that numerous members of the CBF's Coordinating Council serve (or have served) on the governing board of Americans United, a participating organization in the National Religious Leadership Roundtable which exists to support and affirm gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons?



    ...that the CBF's Coordinating Council includes the executive director and a board member/treasurer of The Interfaith Alliance, also a member of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable which claims that its existence confirms the broad base of religious support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons?



    ...that the president of the CBF-funded Baptist Women in Ministry served (until recently) as associate pastor of University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, which was "kicked out" of the Baptist General Convention of Texas for ordaining a homosexual as a deacon? (Kathy Manis Findley, pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a former president of Baptist Women in Ministry, received a mission grant from the Alliance of Baptists in 1997. According to Stan Hastey [executive director of the Alliance of Baptists], that church also has a "pro-gay stance." Findley is a member of the CBF's Coordinating Council.)



    ...that the CBF-funded, national, moderate newspaper, Baptists Today, operated for years out of Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia, which has ordained openly homosexual deacons, named a homosexual to the chairmanship of the deacons' board, and ordained a homosexual minister?



    ...that Wake Forest Baptist Church in North Carolina -- whose pastor, Richard Groves, served on the Interim Steering Committee of the CBF and from 1991 to 1995 on the CBF Coordinating Council -- allows its ministers to perform gay marriages and has openly homosexual members serving on the deacon board, in the choir and as Sunday School teachers?



    ...that the Alliance of Baptists, which claims to have "provided much of the leadership of the [Cooperative Baptist] Fellowship," has openly declared its support of homosexuality, giving all six mission grants in 1997 to churches that "have a pro-gay stance?" (Kathy Manis Findley's church was one of those churches.)



    ...that you, Dr. Vestal, as CBF coordinator served on the BJCPA board of directors with Carole Shields, president of People for the American Way, whose organization has been working in the courts to legalize homosexual marriages?



    ...that the BJCPA, which receives about a quarter-million dollars each year from the CBF, played a significant role in an extreme pro-homosexuality AIDS conference sponsored by the AIDS National Interfaith Network (ANIN), an organization headed up by two homosexual men?



    ...that the CBF's AIDS resource packet, which recommended ANIN as an AIDS resource, re-defines the family to include "gay families and lesbian families" by virtue of their "enduring covenants?"



    ...that the CBF's AIDS resource packet declares that: "We do not choose our sexual orientation, but rather we 'awaken' to it?"



    ...that former CBF Coordinating Council member Dr. Paul Duke (a leading Baptist advocate for biblical acceptance of homosexuality and [formerly] a professor of New Testament at the CBF-funded McAfee School of Theology at Mercer) states in his two part series entitled: "Homosexuality and the Church," that: "Having taken the time to study the [biblical] texts, I cannot with confidence say that the Bible condemns all forms of homosexual behavior?" (Dr. Duke led a CBF Pre-Assembly Institute by the same title at the 1994 CBF General Assembly)



    ...that a significant portion of CBF leadership and CBF-related organizations consistently oppose conservative Christian organizations that have stood firm regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior (organizations like James Dobson's Focus on the Family, Don Wildmon's American Family Association, Beverly LaHaye's Concerned Women for America...), referring to such groups as the "Radical Religious Right?" (In 1995, it was you, Dr. Vestal, that signed the statement published by the CBF-funded Center for Christian Ethics, condemning the "Radical Religious Right," stating that: "We are alarmed because the Radical Religious Right poses significant dangers to our churches, our political system, and our American way of life.")

    SBC and CBF: A Look in Contrast
     

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