SBC too liberal?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.abpnews.com/www/1342.article

    SBC too liberal? Baptist group ousts Ohio college for SBC ties

    By Hannah Elliott

    Published: September 6, 2006

    CEDARVILLE, Ohio (ABP) -- Although the Southern Baptist Convention has established itself as a stalwart among conservatives, one group of Baptists thinks it's not conservative enough.

    The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches recently broke ties with Cedarville University, a school affiliated with the association since 1953, according to an Aug. 29 Christianity Today article. The move came at the association's national conference, when GARBC messengers ratified a dissolution statement by a vote of 311 to 283.

    Although GARBC no longer approves partner ministries, it has allowed Cedarville to have displays at the denomination's annual conferences and provided the school with funds for a scholarship program.

    Then, in 2002, the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, which is affiliated with the national Southern Baptist Convention, approved a relationship with Cedarville. GARBC then declined Cedarville’s application to display at its 2005 national conference, and the rift emerged.

    At the June GARBC annual meeting, officials said Southern Baptists permit the presence and ministry of liberals within the national convention, an offense warranting "biblical separation."

    “In an age of religious inclusivism and worldliness, I urge that we recommit ourselves and our churches, as we have repeatedly done throughout our fellowship’s history, to biblical separation -- from sin and error and unto holiness and truth,” said John Greening, the GARBC national representative.

    Greening commended Southern Baptists for their “well-publicized conservative resurgence” but said the move toward conservative theology was only “a good step forward, though it did not win unanimous support.”

    He criticized the SBC for honoring Billy Graham, saying there was “no one in evangelical circles who has done more to blur the lines of distinction between evangelicals and Catholics than Billy Graham.”

    Greening said the debate over Cedarville is an issue of “primary versus secondary separation” -- that is, should the school be held responsible for its theology alone or for that of its friends, such as Southern Baptists.

    “Cedarville’s announced partnership has led to increasing involvement with the SBC as evidenced by speakers, board members, SBC meetings hosted at the school, and the president attending an SBC church,” he said. “That is a broader set of parameters than those of the GARBC.”

    “There are individual SBC churches that are endeavoring to take a stand for truth and a historic Baptist position,” he said. “Notwithstanding, it is obvious the SBC is a work in progress.” He pointed to the election of Frank Page as new president of the SBC as cause for concern, since Page reportedly acknowledged the practice of tongues.

    With 1,359 churches worldwide, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches is one Baptist organization that embraces the term "fundamentalist." It has no centralized authority that governs the actions of its churches, which are fiercely independent. Each church decides what to support, so many GARBC churches view the SBC's Cooperative Program, or centralized denominational budget, with suspicion.

    “In their attitudes toward convention machinery and toward people who deny fundamental doctrines, the SBC conservatives and the GARBC are basically incompatible,” said Kevin Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis. “Furthermore, if pressed to change its position, each side would quickly insist that its view was too important to abandon.”

    Cedarville University, with more than 3,000 students, insists the new relationship with Ohio Baptists signifies no change from its historical direction. A statement on the school’s web site says Cedarville has no official ties to the SBC. Neither the GARBC nor the SBC gives the school any financial support, according to the site.
     
  2. Joseph M. Smith

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    "Southern Baptist" and "liberal" do not even belong in the same sentence. This situation, and others like it along the separation debate, remind me of the old joke about the Quaker who said, "Nobody is right except me and thee, brother, and sometimes I wonder about thee." Eventually you can find some sort of bond-breaker with almost anyone. Meanwhile there are millions who need to be reached and touched with the Good News.
     
  3. deacon jd

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    SBC is absolutely too liberal, and is heading down a dead end road. There is so much money , formalism, and false doctrine in the Southern Baptists it is scary. Independant is the only way to go in my opinion.
     
  4. Pipedude

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    That sentence, understood in its context, puts the matter in proper perspective. When two principles are incompatible, calling for union is the same thing as calling for the abandonment of principle. Principles cannot be compromised, they can only be abandoned.

    Let each bid the other a fond farewell and then get on with the work.
     
  5. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    This is what our church did when the vote was taken to w/d from the SBC and become IFB.

    Are they too liberal? IMO, in some areas, yes. OTOH, in some areas, IFB's are too strict.
     
  6. saturneptune

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    Agreement is complete Joseph. Huston Smith, in his book "Religions of the World," says, "If we could make one denomination today, there would be two tomorrow." How is it in the book of Acts we have one church, and today, thousands, when the same Holy Spirit leads us.

    Each of us thinks we are right in the eyes of God. For an Independent or Fundamentalist Baptist to say Southern Baptists are liberal or off key is comical. That is YOUR opinion, which is about as valid as the millions of other Christians. Southern Baptist may not be the closest that God have a church be, but it is where God put me, and they seem quite Biblical to me.

    If you want opinions, then how about this one. Some other sects of Baptist, especially those who do not believe in missions and evangalism, those who deny eternal security, well to me, that is out of the ball park enough, that if the Southern Baptist church disappeared today, and what was left was Baptist churches with those beliefs, then I would be looking for a conservative Presbyterian church.
     
  7. tinytim

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    Exactly! I wish I had said that.
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    I wonder if we'l ever get past pointless disputes over old wives tales in our denoms, haggling over every little issue, and start working together for the Kingdom.

    Sad...but I'm not surprised
     
  9. SBCPreacher

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    Well, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. I think you're worng, but that's OK. It's just your opinion.

    To label the entire SBC as liberal is a mistake. Are there liberals in the SBC - sure. Are we all liberal - No! But, do you hear this SBC bashing all the IFB's? No, and you won't.

    I'm sure that Baptists calling each other names is a great help for advancing the gospel (sarcasm intended).

    Fire away!
     
    #9 SBCPreacher, Sep 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2006
  10. menageriekeeper

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    Absolutely ridiculous!

    I guess then we shouldn't have a Baptist Board, because some Baptist groups are too liberal to be associated with.

    All ya'll GARBC's out there better scat cause I'm an SBCer and ya'll need to separate! :smilewinkgrin:

    We Baptists have taken separation a bit too far. :(
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    Who do you think is a "liberal?"
     
  12. Jack Matthews

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    The "Southern Baptist Convention" exists only as a group of messengers elected by churches which gathers once a year for a couple of days for the purpose of conducting business related to the various cooperative missions ministries it operates, including two mission boards, six seminaries, and some other commissions. It is supported by the voluntary cooperation of more than 40,000 churches in the US.

    As a denomination, the SBC has no authority whatsoever to determine the theological position or doctrinal statement of any local congregation. Each church that voluntarily agrees to cooperate with the SBC is independent and autonomous in all matters, including whether or not it will cooperate with the SBC, and to what extent it will cooperate. To talk about the "SBC" as some monolithic body is to exhibit a complete lack of understanding about what it is.

    The "Cooperative Program," which is the financial instrument that the convention has developed over the years to channel the support from the churches, is a system of voluntary relationships between several different organizations. State conventions, which are groupings of churches either within a particular state, or within several states in a particular area, are also independent and autonomous. They meet once each year to conduct their business, and they decide how they will divide the financial gifts from their churches with the national body. Associations, which are smaller groupings of churches in a given area, are also independent and autonomous.

    Each state convention has its own relationship with various educational institutions within its state. This ranges from "fraternal" relationships, which is sort of a "recommendation" of the university and its programs, which is what the Ohio Convention of Southern Baptists has with Cedarville University, to providing scholarships to ministerial and missions volunteers at particular schools, to actually owning and operating the colleges and universities and selecting their trustees from among the churches of the state convention.

    As far as doctrine goes, when you have 40,000+ churches, independent and autonomous, and responsible for their own doctrinal position without interference from any denominational level, you are going to have a wide variety of theological perspectives and doctrinal views present. Doctrine and theology, no matter how much people on this board screech and scream and holler about how much their view is "lined up with scripture" or is "biblical" is all a matter of human perspective, which falls short of being exactly right or perfect. If "right doctrine" is the only standard that you accept for cooperating with someone else in ministry, and you keep insisting that your view is better than anyone elses, you are going to find it difficult to cooperate. You might as well just stay separate and independent and refuse to acknowledge any other church as your brothers and sisters in Christ. Of course, appointing yourself as the doctrine police and separating yourselves out like that is neither Christlike nor Biblical, but at least you are out of the way and not hindering the rest of those who do want to work together, as the Bible calls us to do, to advance the Kingdom.

    Perhaps the seeminly increasing insistence on doctrinal purity, and particularly the claim by some Baptists that "we've got it right" and anyone who doesn't agree with us is a hellbound sinner, disqualified from grace is the reason why 80% of Baptist churches are in decline and why the blessings of evangelism seem to be moving to Christians of other stripes.
     
  13. gb93433

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    When I read James I am convinced that almost every denomination and convention is leaning towards liberalism in its practice because it moves from a position of obedience and loving God to a political position in an attempt to simply survive.

    It reminds me of the story "The Lifesaving Station" at http://www.fcclighthouse.com/
     
  14. El_Guero

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    Too Liberal?

    That is how I read the question.

    I would not say that the SBC is too liberal. But, there are elements that are not as conservative as I would have thought we would be after a 30 decade struggle to become "fundamentalist".

    IMHO.
     
  15. Jack Matthews

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    The struggle in the SBC wasn't to "become fundamentalist." It was fundamentalists struggling to control the six seminaries and mission boards as the "conservative resurgence."

    As I see the various accounts of what happened in the SBC, long before I became a Baptist, the minorities are the extreme ends of the spectrum. There was a small group of "fundamentalists" on one side, and a small group of "liberals" on the other. In between you have "conservatives," who are generally those who are not fundamentalist, but who do not feel that cooperation in missions should be extended to "liberals." You have "moderates," who have few theological differences from conservatives, but who are generally not against the cooperation of "liberals." It is depicted as a battle over the authority of scripture, but as can be seen clearly by reading authors on both sides, the vast majority of moderates do not disagree with the conservative view of Biblical authority.

    During the heated days of the conflict, when half the churches were sending messengers to the convention to vote, the moderate candidates for the presidency of the SBC got between 45 and 48% of the vote, in one case there was actually a dead heat percentage wise, with the conservative resurgence candidate winning by just a handful of votes. It is well known that many of the fundamentalist and conservative mega-churches in the SBC would send their full contingent of messengers, so you can easily say that at least half of the churches represented at the conventions were moderate congregations. They haven't left the SBC since that time. Even a lot of the churches in the CBF today haven't actually cut ties to the SBC. These churches are still part of the SBC. They are simply exercising their preferences through other means, including designating their Cooperative Program gifts. The number of churches doing this, rather than giving a straight percentage to the CP over the last 20 years has increased significantly. Forty percent of SBC congregations today designate their mission giving, rather than just give without designation, as opposed to just 8 percent of the churches in the early '80's.

    The only thing that has changed in the SBC is that one small clique of people who used their power to put their friends in influential places has simply been replaced by another clique who does the same thing.
     
  16. Baptist Believer

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    I have to disagree with this part of your analysis. A number of things have changed in the SBC:
    • There is an incredible amount of cynicism about the current leadership because of the culture of mistrust that they have created
    • Fewer churches want to be publicly identified with Southern Baptists
    • Younger SBC leaders are starting to recognized and expose the tactics and powerplays of the SBC leadership that were previously used on those they unjustly maligned as “moderates” and “liberals.”
    • Cooperative Program gifts are down
    • Seminary enrollment (of graduate students) is down
    • The so-called “conservatives” are turning on each other to create even more divisions in unity and fellowship
    • A very large number of people are alienated from the Convention and Convention causes, and are pursuing other ways to fulfill the Great Commission (for instance, through the Baptist General Convention of Texas)
     
  17. SBCPreacher

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    With 40,000 plus churches in the SBC, there are bound to be some liberal pastors. But on the local level, that doesn't concern me at all. IMHO, it's not worth the effort to try to convince non-SBCers who have convinced themselves that all us SBCers are liberals that we aren't. I don't care what fundamentalists might believe about the SBC. That doesn't concern me at all. I also don't care what the GARBC (whoever they are) thinks of the SBC.
    My concern is to preach the gospel to my church and teach them the truth of the Word of God.
    My concern is to hold the hand of the little old lady whose husband is about to die and all she can do is sit back and watch.
    My concern is for the kid whose mom and dad are getting a divorce and it breaks their heart.
    My concern is that there are lost folks all over our community.
    My concern is that there will be lost church members in our church on Sunday who need a relationship with God through Jesus Christ instead of their name on the church roll.

    So, I just don't care one bit what the GARBC thinks of the SBC. That isn't even on my radar!
     
    #17 SBCPreacher, Sep 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2006
  18. Baptist Believer

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    So you don't actually know of any.

    When I went on camping trips with the Boy Scouts, the older scouts would say, "There's deep forest all around us for over 100 miles. There's bound to be some snipes hiding out there..."

    In all my years being in the middle of SBC politics, I've only met about three real liberals in any sort of leadership position. And they were out of leadership well before 1990. But I have known quite a few people, especially those who were not widely known outside of Texas (and sometimes not well known even in Texas), who had their character assaulted and their reputation maliciously and dishonestly trashed in the name of the "resurgence." They were labeled "liberals" by those same folks who attack Wade Burleson and company today, and the alleged "Bible believers" were believed because 'with 40,000 SBC churches and dozens of institutions out there' there must be some liberals.'

    The willingness of most Southern Baptists to believe the worst about people they don't know, without any sort of evidence, is how the current SBC leadership abused their way into power.

    EDITED TO FIX PUNCTUATION
     
    #18 Baptist Believer, Sep 7, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2006
  19. PeterM

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    My pastor gave me some good advise once, "You can't play the ball, until it's in your court." You sir have identified many "balls" that are most certainly in your court, I pray that you continue to keep your eye on the ball.

    I appreciate the reminder of what is truly important in the context of the kingdom.
     
    #19 PeterM, Sep 7, 2006
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  20. SBCPreacher

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    Removed post - changed my mind!
     

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