Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Disfellowship and Dismay

The decision of the Southern Baptist Convention to find Broadway Baptist Church not in friendly cooperation is a missed opportunity for the denomination to reverse its regressive slide and take a small, safe step in the direction of inclusiveness.

For a year now, both Broadway and Southern Baptist leaders have worked diligently to maintain its historic, 127 year relationship. The ties that bind the church and denomination are strong and numerous, particularly given Broadway’s close relationship with Southwestern Seminary. Though archaic today, the Southern Baptist Training Union was launched in Broadway Baptist Church. (Anyone who has ever actually had to endure Training Union classes might conclude Broadway deserves to be ousted for introducing such an uninteresting program to Baptist life.)

Last summer a motion was made by a North Carolina pastor to remove Broadway from the Southern Baptist Convention on the grounds that the church was in violation of Article III of the SBC Constitution which prohibits churches from taking any action “to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.” How he concluded such a thing is a mystery; he has never had any formal communication with the church.

Nevertheless, the motion was referred to the Executive Committee of the Convention which opened up a dialogue that was largely respectful and gracious. A spirit of concord and mutual understanding prevailed in our conversations and correspondence. A number of Southern Baptist leaders were helpful and constructive in behind-the-scenes ways to bring the matter to the positive conclusion of Broadway’s continued friendly cooperation with the SBC.

It became clear early on that the Executive Committee did not wish to disfellowship Broadway. They seemed painfully aware of the negative, intolerant image of the SBC in American public life, and were determined not to do anything more to contribute to that image. Furthermore, the Committee appeared to embody more diversity and complexity than I had imagined.

We explained before the Committee that Broadway has never entertained any formal order of business before the congregational body that constitutes an endorsement of homosexual behavior. We further explained that church membership and congregational service in no way denotes ratification of the behavior of the individual holding that membership and performing that service.

Discussions were candid and thorough. More conservative voices on the Executive Committee wanted Broadway to do something clearly not required by the SBC Constitution: take formal congregational action to condemn homosexual behavior. This extraordinary measure has not been required of any other SBC church. It would be unprecedented and unauthorized. Such requirement repeatedly surfaced in our deliberations, and each time the Executive Committee backed off it.

Our presentations were thoughtfully and hospitably received. A spirit of Christian reconciliation emerged. Several Executive Committee members privately questioned the SBC’s authority to pursue the matter. I felt we had a historic opportunity to move the denomination in a progressive direction. It seemed that the Committee was prepared to receive our direct, good-faith testimony of continued cooperation rather than scurrilous allegations from unnamed sources outside our congregation. (Perhaps when we finish purging our church roles of homosexual persons, we can get to work on weeding out the gossips.)

The breakdown came when those advocating the more rigorous constitutional test won the day. It became clear several weeks ago from the Executive Committee that Broadway would have to implement measures to identify, isolate, and distinguish our gay and lesbian members from the rest of the congregation in order to be found in friendly cooperation. Of course, conscience, congregational autonomy, and common decency prohibit us from doing so.

Now, it appears that the constitutional language as presently stated in Article III is not sufficient. It is not enough for cooperating Southern Baptist churches simply to take no action to affirm homosexual behavior. They must now take formal action explicitly to disapprove such behavior.

Every Southern Baptist church of any size has homosexual members. These friends pray with us, sing with us, give with us, serve with us, and take the Body and Blood of Christ at the table of the Lord with us. Will the test imposed upon Broadway by the denomination now be required of all the churches?

The recommendation to disfellowship Broadway was unanimously passed in the Executive Committee. It was approved by the Convention without discussion. Not even one lone solitary dissenting voice. Such uniformity of thought and silence of conscience means that the SBC remains Baptist in name only.

The moral legalism inherent in the Southern Baptist Convention’s decision indicates the spiritual disease infecting and destroying our Baptist body today. Instead of focusing our energies of love on a lonely and hurting world, we are obsessed with endlessly parsing out arcane legalities designed to assert our own moral purity and superiority.

It is a sound and fury signifying nothing.

66 comments:

James Aydelott said...

Very well put. This was a both a sad, and yet hopeful day in the history of Broadway Baptist Church. I think the sadness rests with the dark and imploding that is the future of the SBC, and the hope lies with Broadway, who will continue to grow into the church that God needs. Despite the distractions, sharing the hope and love of God to ALL people is a 24/7 job.

James

Ryan said...

For the life of me, I cannot work up an ounce of pity or empathy for the sad body that is the Southern Baptist Convention. My heart used to break for the denomination that was my spiritual home for so many years. No more.

Now my heart breaks for the lesbian and gay Christians at Broadway and other Baptist churches who have once again been attacked for wanting nothing more than to worship and serve God in their local congregation.

Anonymous said...

The SBC has not been baptist since it passed it's first "Statement of Faith" or whatever they called it--a creed by any name smells the same.

Those self-righteous xxxxs have simply moved farther and farther away from what it means to be a baptist.

Broadway is well rid of them. They are now to the point where they will cut off their nose to spite their face. Ah, moral certitude is a wonder to behold.

Anonymous said...

This means the the southwestern faculty members of broadway will have to leave doesnt it?

How despicable. It hurts my heart all over again to see that the SBC is still not willing to practice their radical belief in soul competency... Baptist in name only indeed. What a shame.

subaruman said...

As a former member of Broadway, let me first say how much I love that church. Good luck and God bless! If I remember correctly back at the hight of the conservative movement in the SBC there was talk of disfellowshipjsut because Broadway was Braodway. There were the same fears, What about Lotty Moon!? What about the SWBTS profs? I feel bad for all the professors that will be forced to leave or quit their job but such painful days must occur in order to move on. I pray that Broadway now can move forward and find their new identity. This probably should have happend 15 years ago. Maybe today is Broadway's best day.

Robert flynn said...

Guilt by gossip? Don't Southern Baptists believe the Bible? The Bible requires at least two witnesses. Should we start a rumor about Judge Pressler and Paige Patterson?

The Bible explicitly describes the process for proving the virginity of a young woman. I believe Southern Baptists should follow the biblical plan and test the virginity of young women before they are accepted in the church and baptized. Perhaps also before they can be married in the church. That one requires a bit more thought.

Rae Rae said...

Amen! I am so sorry this has happened. I am proud of you for standing up, serving, and all of your hard work.

Rigo Downey said...

It's sad that the SBC are more interested in being good Baptists than being loving Christians. Broadway truly is a house of prayer for all people, and all who profess faith in Christ are welcome. I love Broadway because the spirit of God is alive and well. I feel it every week! The SBC are the misguided ones in this situation, not us. Perhaps they could try to show more of God's love towards others, including homosexuals, instead of trying to discredit and slander such a wonderful faith family. God bless you, Charlie, for all you have done for us, and may God bless Broadway Baptist Church! Amen.

Dr Randi Fass said...

Charlie when I first read your post, I was struck by the semblance of this and the Nazi first steps toward rounding up the Jews. Are we now going to require our Christian brethren to wear the patch of their particular sin? Since when does God have a sliding scale of what sin is worse than another? Where is the sinless Southern Baptist? This is an outrage! This just fuels the fire of militant groups who see this sort of ridiculous action as the norm for Christianity in general. No wonder there is so much animosity. God Himself does not sow the seeds of chaos and it pains me to see Satan getting so much done through who should be reaching out, as Jesus Christ did, to every sinner everywhere.

I will be taking a copy of this to my pastor and will be writing the the SBC myself. This cannot stand unopposed by the body of Christ!

Jackson said...

Interesting. Would the manager of a local strip club, openly living in an adulterous relationship, be afforded the treatment that openly unrepentent homosexuals are afforded at Broadway? Because the two situations are a whole lot closer, by Biblical standards, than some might care to admit. We ALL sin, but most believers can acknowledge that "these" things are right, and "those" things are wrong. To ignore the plain, clear, repeated teaching of the Old and New Testaments that homosexual behavior (not desires, but actions) is sinful, is to depart sharply from the only basis that "Solo Scriptura" Protestants have for their faith. I fall short, in greed and lust and anger and other areas besides, but I make no excuses that such things are really okay. Those who live in ongoing adulterous relationships, or who earn their living from a sinful business such as prostitution or drug dealing, or who are openly homosexual and would claim that "there's nothing wrong with my lifestyle choice" are living in sin, claiming that what is wrong is in fact right, and have no business being admitted as members of a Church. Let them in to listen and learn, most certainly, but to accept them to membership would be to accept their sinful lifestyle as allowable, and that is unacceptable according to the Bible. Your church is apostate, those who endorse your actions are heretical, and the SBC was absolutely right in what they did. If anyone I loved attended Broadway, I would urge them in the strongest terms to seek authentic Christian teaching elsewhere. Perhaps Mr Johnson should concern himself slightly less with "social justice and inclusiveness" and considerably more with the clear teaching of God's Word.

Dr Randi Fass said...

BTW, Charlie, Martin read this and agrees except for your closing line. He says it doesn't signify "nothing." It signifies a cancer on Christianity, an evil and degrading influence.

Anonymous said...

It was only a matter of time before some good ole bible is the inerrant, inspired word of God came casting down from the self appointed moral high ground.

Oh, and paragraphs are good too.

Jackson said...

You're correct, paragraphs are good, and I'd forgotten that this software supports them. My bad.

If the Bible isn't inerrant, if it isn't the inspired Word of God, if if isn't the authority for Christian life and the Christian church, then what possible basis does one have for faith in anything eternal, anything unseen, any higher notion of right or wrong beyond what seems right to me or to us?

You want to be a "church of the open minded?" Fine, but that gospel doesn't hold much promise of eternal life. I'll take the Gospel of Jesus Christ in that regard. For all its narrowminded intolerant old-fashioned notions of right and wrong. If it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

This isn't the best forum for a discussion on inerrancy, but if the bible isn't inerrant, then why in one gospel was Jesus crucified on Passover, and why in another on the day before Passover?

One is clearly wrong.

Jackson said...

Anon,

If it was as simple as that, everyone would have punted inerrancy about 19 centuries ago. If someone is out to find seeming contradictions, you'll find 'em. If you're interested in seeing if they're REALLY contradictions, that takes a bit more work, but the answers you get will show you that there is a strong case to be made that the Bible does not contradict itself at all.

For an example of the discussions on the topic you mention, see here:
http://katsyfga.wordpress.com/2008/03/21/when-was-jesus-crucified/
Not to suggest that any particular answer there is the end-all, but it gives you a sense of what's out there to be considered.

If you can't rely on the Bible in the historic details (and I firmly believe that, with appropriate study, we can), then how do you rely on it for the eternal? And if you don't ascribe the authority of God to it, using it as the measuring rod of your life, rather than measuring it by your standards, what authority does it have in anything else? Either God is God and the Bible is how we know Him, or we're off in the weeds inventing our own religious and moral systems. If the leadership at Broadway wants to punt on the authority of the Bible to tell them how to run their social club, fine, but don't pretend that it's still a Christian church after they have!

JX said...

It's too bad this can't be a moment where Broadway can be affirmed for it's bravery and courage in standing up for the rights, dignity, and love of gays and lesbians. Broadway has really done nothing here, which makes the declaration of the SBC all the more ridiculous. Broadway comes out of this situation only looking impotent in the face of a challenge. I would feel thrown under the bus if I were a gay member of Broadway at this time. BROADWAY should have been the one to take a stand for their members break ties with the SBC long ago.

Cal said...

My heart aches for you. The SBC doesn't sound like they should have Baptist in their name anymore. May you feel the comfort of Christ as you lead your congregation and may you remember that Christ too was put out of the synagogue for being faithful to God rather than the hierarchy.

Dr Randi Fass said...

Jackson, my only question is do we now ask people when they come for membership "Are you in a gay relationship?" Because as I read it, that's what the SBC would have us do. A gay person is not any more a sinner than the alcoholic, but we don't ask people if they drink when they come for membership. I agree that openly and actively gay people ought not to be teaching and preaching, but if you don't want them in your church, where do you want them?

Kevin Woodson said...

This situation is one of many different problems in the church body itself not just the SBC. We have half of the members believe this way and the other half of the church believe that way. When this and other situations can all be solved by READING THE WORD OF GOD.
Sometimes including myself, we tend to be independent and say "oh I will think of something to get out of this mess." This is using our own theology by trying to fix things ourselves, thus relying on or own form of righteousness and morality. In this situation a lack of communication is partially at fault and the other is an example of breaking the first and second Commandments, "You sall have no other God's before me." and "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything..." Exodus 20:2-3
Anything means anything wheather it be sexuall immorality or Lust of Power.
Both in which is the main point in the disfellowship. On one hand you have the gays and lesbiens who may or may not want to give up that sin and on the other hand you have the Executive Committee, who are in love with Power and is not LISTENING to the Pastors of this church.
Reading the bible and communication needs to be in order here, to rectify the situation.
My prayers ae going out to all involved.

Kevin Woodson said...

BTW: communication at the Church or at the Executive Committee in the SBC means read the BIble, re-read the bible and then go to GOD in prayer.
In God all things are possible.
AMEN!
AMEN?

JoeBumbulis said...

Thanks Charlie for posting this. So sorryto hear about the break from Broadway, but I commend y'alls strength and willingness to stand as Baptists should on freedom and priesthood of believers.

It seems the SBC is the most priestly and bishop ran denom next to the catholic church. I hope this decision doesn't hurt the BBC community too deeply.

Jim Ray said...

As a Baptist from conception, I am dismayed and disheartened by the ignorance being displayed by my follow Christians. My Bible tells me that God loves everyone -- including those whose lifestyle and beliefs may not agree with mine. What would Jesus do? We know what he did do -- he reached out to everyone to share the Good News. What are we as Baptists doing? It appears to me to be just the opposite! Not only is this sad -- it occurs to me to be the proverbial millstone that is being cast around the neck of our "leaders." I would not want the lost soul of even one of these brothers or sisters on my hands because of some mis-guided homophobic selfrightousness. Have we lost our minds?

Charlie Johnson said...

Helpful responses and I'm grateful for them. Let me see if I am hearing correctly:

First, I hear the moral indignation in most of your comments, and I share it. The core understanding of any morally heightened worldview is best expressed by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans; "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Second, we are feeling things that "grief" is a word for-- shock, dismay, disbelief, anger, sadness-- that Baptists have so forsaken their convictions of freedom of conscience.

Jackson, you call us to a Scripture-centered ethic about homosexuality and I couldn't agree more. But, our varied interpretations of Scripture leave us at odds. Broadway holds to biblical authority as much as the SBC. I find Kevin's call to the spiritual disciplines of Scripture and prayer to be timely for a situation like this.

JX, believe you me, I fully appreciate the sentiment that Broadway should have left the SBC a long time ago, but one does not easily break off a 127 year relationship. BBC has sought to have the fruit of the Spirit in this matter: longsuffering, patience, kindness, etc.

What we have tried to do is hold our own inclusive stance while at the same time bringing the SBC along to a more open position on inclusiveness. Such an effort is what followers of Christ try to do. Jesus was sad and angry about the hypocrisy and moral compromise of his religious institution, but he always remained a part of it.

Our homosexual members have embodied this Christlikeness also, a very important witness to me.

Dr. Fass hits the nail on the head with her allusion to Nazi scapegoating. Who will be next?

Once again, Bob Flynn, you rub our nose in our hypocrisy and split our ribs with humor at the same time!

Thank you all for taking the time to read and engage this issue.

Charlie Johnson said...

Several of you have taken issue with my Shakespeare quote at the end that this is "sound and fury signifying nothing." Perhaps this is an inaccurate assessment. I was applying the quote to the attempt to put ourselves in a morally superior position above others, and do not mean to imply that the SBC's decision has no signficant consequences for them or for Broadway. You are correct to note that this unfortunate decision signifies much that is important, maybe even critical.

tikesbestfriend said...

Broadway Baptist Church is in my prayers. I believe this can be a great moment for your church. Yes, there can be great grief at the demise of long standing relationship. That is understandable. However, with a new pastor coming in gives you a chance to chart a new course.

I pray that you will more whole heartedly embrace the missional lifestyle. Let this downturn invigorate your loyalty to Christ, and your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

Tim Dahl

Anonymous said...

More than 300 members of Broadway were told: "Broadway accepts everyone -- but not you -- because you believe homosexual behavior is a sin. Find another church."

When the news of the SBC vote reached the church offices on Tuesday morning, there was loud rejoicing in the halls. Broadway staff and deacons NEVER wanted to stay part of SBC. The whole effort to not get kicked out was so the music staff who teach at Southwestern would not have to move their memberships.

Broadway is a two-faced, unChristian bunch of people.

James Aydelott said...

Wow Anonymous,

Baseless allegations of 300 memebers being told to find another church?
Someone told you to find another church?

Baseless allegations of loud rejoicing in the halls?
Were you there to hear this?

Interesting that some people think that spreading lies, questioning other people's relationship with God and laying out a good dose of judgment is biblical. I sincerely feel sorry for those types, and I pray that I might understand how to help minister to them, as they are obviously wounded.

This is a world full of hurting and the love of God needs to be shared with all-not just the heterosexual, upper/middle class, white Americans.

j

Charlie Johnson said...

James, I started to do something I have only once done on this blog: remove the mean and anonymous comment preceding yours. But, then your wise, loving, firm response appeared and I decided to let the anonymous comment stand. Thank you for your correction. Perhaps your example of responsible, reasonable speech will inspire this person to communicate likewise.

Lyn said...

Since I wrote my own blog about this sad situation, I really was not planning to comment here, but I am struck by the number of commenters on Charlie's excellent blog (on both sides of the issue) who are certain that those on the other side have either lost their Bibles or have intentionally chosen to disregard them. This is the great sadness in all of this - people on each side who have decided that they have a corner on the only reasonable interpretation of scripture and that those who disagree are by definition heretics. I think the real point of Broadway's stand is that two can read the same particular scripture sincerely and with the same educated earnestness and be led to different understandings. It does not mean they are both right - they cannot both be "right" - but they are both worthy of respect and have to find a way to live with each other. Some scriptures are not open to varied interpretations, but many, many are. I certainly do not agree with many of the interpretations, and I defend my right to discuss and debate the issue and try to convince you that I am right; but, I want to do that within our church if you profess the same Lord and want to serve along side me. I am sorry that there are those who do not want to have that debate within the church walls and will not accept my right to disagree about the disputables.

Well done, Charlie.

Dr Ralph said...

Once I learned I was no longer a Southern Baptist I promptly went and drank a beer at a public place where men and women openly smoked cigars together.

Lordy, it felt liberating!

Phillip Senn said...

The issue is not whether or not Broadway has homosexuals among its membership, nor that they serve in leadership positions. The issue is, "does the Broadway Baptist Church do what the Apostle Paul, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, direct the church to do?"

When there are people, that it is COMMON KNOWLEGE that they are involved in immoral acts or relationships, are seeking to be members of a church, or to continue to be members of a church, how does the church respond?

Paul's admonition to the church at Corinth was clear, "put them out from among you."

Can they still attend services? Not as long as they are unrepentant.

The issue is not how "negative" Southern Baptists show themselves, as the article indicates. It is a positive action taken by the body of messengers at the convention to disassociate with a church that does not seek to be in "friendly cooperation" with that body. The negative image is presented by those that are sympathetic to the homosexual agenda. Southern Baptists have clearly spoken that we, as a denomination, are in need to "be not conformed by the world", but to "be transformed by the renewing" of the mind.

When a church seeks to be more "inclusive", oftentimes it reaches beyond the scope of Scripture to do so. When that happens, it is time for those that seek to honor the Lord to first seek reconcilliation, then if necessary, to separate from those that refuse to hear them.

Prayerfully Submitted With Love In Christ

Charlie Johnson said...

Philip, I appreciate your appeal to church discipline according to Paul's teaching, but I'm not sure I know of any institutional church that adheres to these tests of fellowship. The church of Paul's day was small, intimate, family centered and home-based. These circles of faith were under great persecution and had to maintain the highest standards of moral bearing. Furthermore, they were marked by levels of trust and love required to hold each other morally accountable. Our churches today are public institutions that are not characterized by these trust levels, and cannot apply these moral tests without violating other clear biblical principles of love. As a result, we have made certain accomodations in applying Paul's rules. Every institutional church I know has done this accomodation.

Charlie Johnson said...

Lyn, you hit the nail on the head with your eloquent appeal to mutual respect and understanding. This is clearly the way of Christ, who engaged the religious teachers and leaders of his day in the interpretation of Scripture without rancor or animosity. I have appreciated your character and deportment in this regard, friend. You model this kind of respect for others, and it is about as fine a witness as a Christian can have in a mean world like ours.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I am proud of you for making this post, and for your responses to the comments, especially the not nice ones.

and i hope to see you Sat back at Trinity for our anniversary celebration. I am so thrilled and happy that Dr. Hollon has asked you back.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I'm struck as I read by the similarity between the situation our churches face as we welcome sinners (Of any type) into fellowship with the rest of the sinners in the church. If we study the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by Philip we find a man being welcomed into the faith (by Philip who was as strict a Jew as could be found, at least given what we know of his bringing) He was 1. not whole, 2. Not circumcised, 3. not capable of being circumcised. Yet when confronted with the question "What hinders me from being baptized right now?" Phillip answers "nothing." For a strict Jew, particularly before the major discussions Paul leads later with he Judiazers, there should have been a list! Perhaps this is unwelcoming and judgmental on my part but I have to think those who built walls around a welcoming Christ will not hear "Well Done" when that day comes.

(Apologies and thanks to MR. Bell for my theft from his book))

Dr Randi Fass said...

The Express-News carried a brief article today about this and they referenced the church directory. I gather that rather than publish pictures of gay families, BBC opted to publish with any pictures. How does this add up to the church condoning a gay lifestyle?

John Lowry-King said...

I grew up the son of a prominent Southern Baptist minister ( & "endured" many a Training Union meeting), I married the daughter of a Southern Baptist Home Missionary, I have a degree from a Southern Baptist seminary, and served for 20 years as a Southern Baptist minister myself. It is because of the continuing actions such as the one described in the article that we now both describe ourselves as "Recovering Southern Baptists." These actions are based on nothing but hate, fear, & false moral superiority. Blessings on Broadway Baptist for having the courage to embrace God's Amazing Grace and Wide Wide Mercy!

Anonymous said...

A few of you, along with the SBC, seem to be "blessed" with moral certitude. How nice!

Here is a haiku for you:

Ah, the SBC
Self-righteous and excluding
God loves even you

Kansas Bob said...

My heart sank when I read this:
.
"implement measures to identify, isolate, and distinguish our gay and lesbian members from the rest of the congregation"
.
My God have mercy on the SBC.. the future will be a dark one if they continue to travel this evil path.

Arce said...

When the SBC gets honest, it will either apologize to Broadway or it will start disfellowshipping churches that tolerate lust for power and money (greed) in the pastorate, and kick most of the mega-churches out of the convention. OH, I forgot, those are the ones making major financial contributions to the convention. Guess that money in the till offsets moral weakness.

botwinick said...

"Every Southern Baptist church of any size has homosexual members. "

This is a very deceptive statement for you to make. Not every Southern Baptist Church has OPENLY Homosexual MEMBERS. That distinction seems to belong to your church at Broadway. There may be homosexual guests and visitors, but they are not members if they are openly Homosexual. There is a difference and for you to gloss over it is very dishonest.

botwinick said...

"Jackson, my only question is do we now ask people when they come for membership "Are you in a gay relationship?" Because as I read it, that's what the SBC would have us do. A gay person is not any more a sinner than the alcoholic, but we don't ask people if they drink when they come for membership. I agree that openly and actively gay people ought not to be teaching and preaching, but if you don't want them in your church, where do you want them?"

This is a silly and desperate argument on several levels.

1. Nobody has asked you to ask the sexual orientation of your membership. It is my understanding that you didn't have to... they were open about it and saw nothing wrong with it. apparently, neither did you. The Southern Baptist Convention does and so does the Bible.

2. They should be in Church, but they ought not be considered born again Christian members of that Church. Their embrace of their sinful lifestyle makes it clear that they are not Christians.

botwinick said...

"on the other hand you have the Executive Committee, who are in love with Power and is not LISTENING to the Pastors of this church."

This is not true according to the interim pastor of this Church himself. They listened respectfully and tried to bring about restoration. That didn't work. They listened to what Broadway had to say and disagreed with it and rejected it.

Leland Bryant Ross said...

Regarding the Candace's treasurer, Philip was quite right to baptize the poor fellow, but would have been out of line to put him on a committee, and would of course have had to label his directory photo "N" (for neutered—not "the N word"!).

And to return to the issue of intact hymens à la Scripture, there's no Biblical basis for virginity as a condition of baptism, but again it might be an issue as far as the dangers inherent in putting the impure gals on committees (though since I don't allow women to speak in church, this would be a danger of lesser proportions, since they could not participate in voice votes)...

Lee said...

Reading your account of the events, I am left hanging with what you describe as a sudden and unexplained turn of events that led the executive committee to move from listening to the church leaders and giving favorable consideration to what they had to say, and a sudden turn based on a "few conservative members" opinions, leading to a unanimous recommendation to disfellowship the church. Something happened in there somewhere. Did a former, disgruntled member get to the executive committee with some evidence that contradicted what the church had to say? Or perhaps a current member not happy with the way things are turning in the church? Or do you think that the EC had someone get "inside" the church and gathered information that contradicted what the church leaders were saying?

Dawn Darwin Weaks said...

I grow weary of the energy spent on defending the name "Baptist." The dying world around us doesn't care about "Baptist" or any other church names. Not one single bit. The only name worth saving is that of Jesus Christ. Let our various denominational nomenclature go to hell, as one day it surely will. Let Jesus Christ be praised, that the world may hear the good news through his church!

botwinick said...

Stop defending it. Either embrace it or reject it.

Charlie Johnson said...

Lee, my sense is that the Executive Committee at this point in the SBC is fairly uniform, even unanimous, in most of their decisions. They would likely have voted all together either way.

Charlie Johnson said...

Dawn, your eloquent word captures my convictions precisely. Thank you for all you do to lift up the "name which is above every name." I was at Brite the other day-- those folks honor you!

Texan said...

Charlie,

This is the very best blog post on this issue that I have seen. Thank you for your kind, loving, accurate, and Scriptural viewpoint.

Personally, I am ashamed to be a Southern Baptist after this vote. Not only the actions of the Executive Committee but also the vote of the convention.

I just wonder what we are now going to do with all the other sinners in Baptist churches?

andrew said...

So sad the division in the church today. And they were all together united in one accord...that is why the Holy Spirit fell and that is what the church misses today.

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