Monday, January 30, 2006


Jesus saves; Southern Baptists frag

Compiled by The Erudite Redneck,
a recovering fundamentalist Southern Baptist

("Frag is a term from the Vietnam war, most commonly meaning to assassinate an unpopular member of one's own fighting unit by dropping a fragmentation grenade into the victim's tent at night. The idea was that the attack would be blamed on the enemy, and, due to the dead man's unpopularity, no one would contradict the cover story. Fragging could also imply intentional friendly fire during combat. ... from Wikipedia.)

The following is not surprising to me in the least. Fundamentalism breeds contempt for those who are different "from us" -- a group that grows larger and larger as fearful hearts and narrow minds grow more fearful and narrow.

Rachel Zoll
AP Religion Writer

After purging liberals from their ranks, Southern Baptist conservatives who won control of their denomination are now taking aim at each other.
The Rev. Wade Burleson, a Baptist leader from Oklahoma, says fellow conservatives who crusaded to only elect leaders who believe the Bible is literally true are carrying their campaign too far, targeting Southern Baptists who disagree with them on other issues.

Read all about it via the Los Angeles Daily News.

Not all Baptists are literalist-inerrantists, although the Southern Baptist Convention has run off virtually all voices of moderation.

See Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, largely refugees from the right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Key, to me, are the following:

Soul Freedom – We believe in the priesthood of all believers. We affirm the freedom and responsibility of every person to relate directly to God without the imposition of creed or the control of clergy or government.

Bible Freedom – We believe in the authority of Scripture. We believe the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, is central to the life of the individual and the church. We affirm the freedom and right of every Christian to interpret and apply scripture under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Church Freedom – We believe in the autonomy of every local church. We believe Baptist churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whomever they perceive as gifted for ministry, and to participate as they deem appropriate in the larger Body of Christ.

Religious Freedom – We believe in freedom of religion, freedom for religion, and freedom from religion. We support the separation of church and state.

And see Mainstream Baptist, the personal blog of Dr. Bruce Prescott, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Yep, he's a Baptist, God love him.


me an' jesus don't like the tone of this post....

Having been raised a Southern Baptist, I sure do hear a lot of familiar bells ringing . . . .

Such depressing foolishness. Honestly, it's a wonder to me that the entire denomination hasn't just collapsed yet.
Good to see that you and Jesus are hangin' KEv. :-)

AW, It's been 25 years since they started runnin' off the moderates and libs. That's nothin' in the overall scheme of things.

But, I think it'll be like anything else that burns itself out: it'll burn brighter snd brighter, right up to the moment the fire goes out.

And then, a once dynamic, vibrant bunch will be a shell of its former self, with its most effective days behind it, sittin' around talkin' about not how great God art, but how great they used to be. Just MHO.
I couldn't view your link to the LA Daily - I guess it's broken. So I don't know what the fuss is about.

I checked out the CBF site. I disagree with 3 of their 'core values', but we've discussed all of this before and I won't get into it again.

Hm. The link just worked for me. ... The fuss started with a conservative Southern Baptist Oklahoman's blog, in which he said just what the lead of the story says: That conservatives are turning on one another in the SBC now that they've chased away all the libs.

Dude, I seriously can't imagine you, if you are a Baptist, objecting to any of the four cores except possibly the last one, re: separation of church and state.

Strict separation has been a fundamental tenet of Baptist thinking since the first ones set foot on this continent. But hey, that's what the conservative uprising in the SBC was all about, really.

I'd like to hear yout reasoning on rejecting the other three, though. If you're a Baptist, especially a Southern Baptist, you and I share a religious history that went separate ways in 1979. I'd like to know why you went one way -- a new way -- and I didn't.

Of course, I do believe that the conservatives sprang forth from he main branch of Baptist experience, and then came back and co-opted the convention. You may very well see it this way: That the SBC had started to drift from other fundamrentals, and the conservative uprising was a resuce mission.

But that's big picture stuff. What do you think about those other three cores?
Here's the text of the article:

Southern Baptists go to 'war' internally

By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press
LA Daily News

After purging liberals from their ranks, Southern Baptist conservatives who won control of their denomination are now taking aim at each other.
The Rev. Wade Burleson, a Baptist leader from Oklahoma, says fellow conservatives who crusaded to only elect leaders who believe the Bible is literally true are carrying their campaign too far, targeting Southern Baptists who disagree with them on other issues.

These leaders, he wrote on his blog, are "following the same battle plan conservatives used to defeat liberalism," and have started a "war" for the future of the SBC.

Burleson's postings may have already cost him a leadership role in the denomination. Trustees of the Southern Baptist international missionary agency took the first step this month toward ousting him from their board, accusing him of "broken trust" for writing about a meeting on his Web site.

The seemingly minor conflict has broader significance.

Southern Baptists are trying to reverse several years of stagnation in membership growth, partly through an ad campaign called "Caring People" that is meant to soften their image. Complaints of hardball church politics would undermine that effort.

"Conservatives who loved the battles of decades past have fallen victim to a crusading mentality of bloodthirst," Burleson wrote. "Since all the liberals are gone, conservative crusaders are now killing fellow conservatives."

Burleson first rankled the board over an obscure policy change: Trustees of the International Mission Board voted in November to bar future missionaries from using a "private prayer language," or speaking in tongues in private. Previously, missionaries were discouraged from speaking in tongues publicly, but their private prayer was not monitored.

The practice is common among Pentecostals, whose spirited brand of Christianity is spreading rapidly throughout countries where Southern Baptist missionaries work, and in the United States. Many conservative Protestants, however, reject the practice.

Still, Burleson opposed the ban on speaking in tongues privately. He viewed the move as a dangerous effort to vet conservatives for purity, and said so on his blog.

"Sadly, the Southern Baptist Convention is now moving toward a time when everyone must look the same, talk the same, act the same, believe the same on the nonessentials of the faith, or else you will be removed as 'not one of us,"' he wrote in a Dec. 10 entry.

About a month later, trustees voted him out. Delegates to the annual Southern Baptist gathering in June will decide whether to approve his removal from the board, which guides the work of more than 5,000 missionaries worldwide.

Just two years earlier, a leading Baptist conservative had warned about the very infighting that Burleson is describing. The Rev. Morris Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, said conservatives must realize they have won the battle with liberals over biblical inerrancy and should now stop fighting.

"I am concerned now that we have affirmed by vigorous endeavor that Southern Baptists are people of the Book, that we will develop a censorious, exclusivistic, intolerant spirit," he said, in a speech to the denomination's annual meeting. "If this occurs, we will be the poorer for it."

Asked recently to comment on Burleson's allegations, Chapman said in a phone interview that the convention was in transition. "It is not uncommon for some who are accustomed to being in a crusade to have difficulty deciding when that period of time has concluded," he said.

The Rev. Bill Leonard, dean of Wake Forest Divinity School in North Carolina and a critic of the conservative takeover, said the Southern Baptists are burdened by competing goals: attracting new members, while creating strict boundaries between the convention and other Christians that end up making them appear "mean."

"The Southern Baptist leadership is so ideologically driven that it's almost impossible for them not to continually draw lines and narrow the boundaries," he said. "In the early stages, this was publicly evident with the moderates and liberals. Now, when the convention meets annually in June, you wonder who they're going to throw out this year. There's always somebody."

Burleson said he has received hundreds of e-mails and letters from around the world in response to his blog postings and that "99 percent of them are very positive." He said he was "deeply hurt" by the trustees' actions, but, as a matter of conscience, will continue to warn about what he sees as a dangerous trend throughout the 16.4-million-member denomination.

"If the crusaders sheath their sword, I promise, I will sheath mine. I do not want to fight my fellow conservatives," Burleson wrote on his blog. "However, the stakes of this war are too great to roll over without a fight. This war is about the future of our convention."
Thanks for printing the text. I tried the link again and it worked - go figure.

I totally agree with the tenet enititled 'Soul Freedom'.

The second one, 'Bible Freedom', I have what may seem a minor quibble, but it could be huge - We affirm the freedom and right of every Christian to interpret and apply scripture under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I believe what the Bible says. As such, improper interpretations should be corrected. We are not free to 'make the Bible say what we want it to' or to just ignore certain parts as 'irrelevant to today'. The catch phrase at the end of the statement under the leadership of the Holy Spirit tempers what I'm saying. If the Holy Spirit is truly leading you, then have at it. However, if you only think it is the HS, then you may lead another (especially an immature Christian) down the wrong road. Then that error could propogate further to the next believer and so on until you are nowhere near what the scripture says. I guess I'm saying that a strict interpretation is what I believe in.

Tenet three: 'Church Freedom' - to ordain whomever they perceive as gifted for ministry. You've got a post not too far back where this was discussed ad nauseum. I believe the scripture is very clear that only men are to be ordained. This statement allows any to be ordained - women, homosexuals, drunks, etc.

Number four: 'Religious Freedom'. I do not believe in complete separation of church and state. I do not believe the Founders thought that way either.

There are problems within the SBC. But you know, they are trying for uniformity. There comes a point when you go too far - agreed. In the case you cite, though, I don't know that somebody isn't making a bigger story out of it than it really is. I'd rather be a part of the SBC where everybody knows (or can easily find out) what my denomination's stance is than to be part of a wishy-washy group that allows the different churches to determine what they will believe/do.
(Howdy, ER. Remember me, LOL? I posted once around Thanksgiving but have been a regular reader since then.)

I am one of those raised Southern Baptist, member of a Southern Baptist church and even racked up serious college loans in order to attend a Baptist university (just in case you wanted to know where I come from on all this).

Much of the fundamentalist movement is poison to the denomination that taught me to read the Bible for myself and to rely on the Holy Spirit for discernment. It is terribly sad that the priesthood of the believer is being/has been replaced by the priesthood of the SBC.

Rem, then the mofdern SBC is definitely for you. But it is out of step with historic Baptist thinking.

I believe is loose interpretation, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit not strict. And, I believe that God could very well lead you one way, and me another, as long as both paths start and end with Jesus. The Scripture is not very clear about anything, especially on whether women should be leaders in local churches or church organizations. What's clear is what Paul wrote at a certain time to a certain group of believers. That's all.

Here's the deal: SCREW uniformity. I believe it truly is "of the devil."

After all the trouble God, through Jesus, took to throw open the doors for pitiful humanity to haver life and have it more abundantly, I will not be one to stand in the way with my pitiful understanding of God's Godness and say, "You may not enter."

But that's just me. Thanks for indulging my questions. I see a little better where you're coming from: Yer a post-1979 Baptist; I'm a pre-1979 Baptist-turned-Baptist-refugee. :-)
Thanks for delurking, MW!
Even more disturbing is the fact that frag is also a video gaming term, used by players of first-person shooters to indicate a kill, be it of one's own team mate or enemy.
How terribly sad. It sounds more and more like the SBC is trying to force a "Wal-Mart-ization" of the faith. Everyone must be exactly alike to be "right." What a pity.
Read about Roger Williams and the first Baptist church in America:

The leadership of the SBC would call him a heretic, I imagine. Pbhth.
Much as now, Baptists never believed in complete separation of church and state - Baptists were influential in the formation of the first civil government based on the separation of church and state in what is now Rhode Island. Anabaptists and Quakers also share a strong history in the development of separation of church and state.

The original objection was opposition of the monarchy or government setting religious agenda for churches or a "National Church" and did not imply a retreat by Christians from the political realm or involvement in the political process
- Also from wikipedia (Baptist).
Hey ER,

Just as an aside, you may be aware that one of the largest state conventions, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, successfully rebuffed a fundamentalist takeover several years ago and is openly defiant to SBC.

The BGCT is increasingly developing its own programs instead of using what flows down from Nashville.

This has been accomplished largely through a group of Mainstream Baptists called Texas Baptists Committed. (Web site: Executive Director David Currie is loud and proud about his own efforts to frustrate fundamentalists.

Baptists loyal to the SBC have started a much smaller state convention called Southern Baptists of Texas (SBTC), which recently kicked out one of its churches because it allowed a ministry that reached out to gays to conduct meetings there.

ER, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, ( posts the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message on its site. :-)
Doesn't sound like many southern baptists that I know.
Re, "did not imply a retreat by Christians from the political realm or involvement in the political process."

I have never heard a single perosn or organization suggest that Christians should not participate in government. That's not what "separation of church and state" means. And while the original concern was over the establishment of a national church, SCOTUS, which does, in fact, interpret the Constitution and subsequent legislation in light of present reality as well as the Founders' intent, has broadened the scope of the establishment clause, wisely.

But Rem thinks that any decision since 1803 is out-of-line.
GP, yep, Texas and Georgia are in the vanguard of the moderate remnant.

I myself am a 1963 Baptist Faityh and Message agreer-with -- not adherent, because I STILL don't take to no dadgum creeds!
Lack of computer access has prevented me from getting in on this exciting blog. Just a note it was Judge Priestley and the boys down in Texas that started this conservative take over. I would also note that the current Texas group is not allined with the other moderate Baptist but are off on the own like Texans do. This is 2006 and they have run back to a 1963 creed that wasn't acepted by all Baptist even in 1963.
Having once been a staunch Southern Baptist, I walked away from it in the mid 1970's. Now my creed is "No Creed But Christ". I am amazed that people actually believe that God would speak to one Southern Baptist louder than to another. That is throwing away 600 years of effort by all those Baptist and Ana-Bpatist that came before them. When this is all over, you'll probably see 3 to 5 different "Baptist" organizations come out of it. All summed togehter they will not be as effective for Christ as the old SBC was in 1970.
Give the Devil his due here, he's done a good job.
In about ten years the Conservative Southern Baptists will issue their own version of the Talmud, instructing their members as to God's complete law for the way they shall live their lives..
"I would also note that the current Texas group is not allined with the other moderate Baptist but are off on the own like Texans do."

Please to explain. Checking the Web site of Texas Baptist Committed (which rules the state convention), they are strongly tied to Mainstream Baptists throughout the country, Cooperative Baptists, etc.
FYI, here's portion of an article from 2002 quoting David Currie of Texas Baptists Committed, who is also associated with the Mainstream network. One disclaimer: The article appears in the SBC organ Baptist Press, which is hostile to Currie:

Currie urges CBF to have large turnout at BGCT annual meeting
by Gregory Tomlin
June 28, 2002

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--The war between moderates and fundamentalists in Texas is over, according David Currie.

Currie, the executive director of Texas Baptists Committed and consultant for the Mainstream Baptist Network, told a gathering of Texas participants at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's annual meeting June 27 that they should maintain their numbers and financial giving in the state now that moderates "have defeated the fundamentalists."

Currie also said that CBF participants should make a strong show of support for the Baptist General Convention of Texas at its annual convention.

"We really need to have a strong turnout at the BGCT. Last year there weren't 100 fundamentalists there. We need a big turnout. It really doesn't speak well of us when our numbers decline now that we've defeated the fundamentalists," he said.

While warning that membership cannot plateau, Currie said that the survival of the Mainstream Baptist Network depends on the success of the CBF, and that the survival of the CBF depends on the success of the MBN.

"We have to continue to fight fundamentalists. We have to continue to educate," he said.

Another part of the fight, according to Currie, is the redirection of financial resources away from the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. He encouraged the action.

"Richard Land has said that 'the people are voting with their pocketbooks.' He thinks people love their stupidity because we keep sending them money." Land serves as the chair of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
"No Creed but Christ."

Is that like saying, "No Jew but Jesus"?
A related story:

Back at the peak of the Conservative takeover, my pastor attended the Convention in New Orleans. Our church was still "within the fold" at the time.

During the meetings, the conservatives were actively and literally silencing dissenting voices (turning off the microphones if they disagreed with what you said) and by the end of the day, my pastor could tell it was the end of what she knew of the SBC.

As she and some comrades were walking to their hotel, she saw Adrian Rogers and some of the other architects of the take-over eating dinner at a nice al fresco restaurant. The spirit took a-hold of her and she could not refrain from hopping up on a nearby chair, pointing her finger at the men and yelling/prophesying: "SHAME! SHAAA-AAMME! SHAAA-AAAMMMMME!" over and over.

I love my pastor!
The nice thing about being an Anglican is that you don't even have to believe in God. Makes life much easier.
If the TBC wanted to make itself be mainstream then it would simple have joined CBF and added its resources to the CBF programs and missions. No, it started its own ego led Texas based organization that only affliates with the CBF because it is not the SBC, but it won't totally commit to the CBF because the CBF "has a homosexual agenda". At the same time the TSBC moved away from the SBC because the SBC wanted more controll of everything in its state conventions not because of religious principles. So that is why I say the Texans are off on their own as Texans usually do. The way to know who is really allied with whom is to "follow the money". When you do that you find Texas is basically allied with Texas.

Anonymous said...
"No Creed but Christ."
Is that like saying, "No Jew but Jesus"?
If you want to ridicule my personal religious beliefs by making it into a racial slur then have the courage to do so with some form of personal identity and not hide behind the "anon" business. Next time try some substance not just slime.
!!! Drlobo! You must be in a mood.

I didn't take that as ridicule of your beliefs as much as a silly, and probably offensive, play on words. I admit that I don't think of Judaism as a "race" either, not at first, rather as a religion -- especially within the context of a discussion of religion.

Plus it was an answer of consonance with consonance.

Hope yer walk was good!

Quiet observer: "More like answering ASSonance with ASSonance"
Everybody I know is on drugs!

(Maybe I need to be on something ... besides Rolaids, I mean ... )
Even a towering example of good humour and excellent behavior, which I am, can get in a mood on occassion. But you have reminded me that I have not taken my medications for today. shit. Ignore the snides on the Southern blog. I'm going to take my psychotropics now.
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