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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Russell Moore - Confused?

I'm a fan of Russell Moore, Dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

No, BigDaddyWeave is not joking. I'm a fan of Big Russ for the same reason I enjoy FoxNews. Both are entertaining and I love to laugh.

Insightful? No. Outrageous? Yes.

Big Russ & Company may be a wee-bit confused based on his latest "commentary."

Moore writes...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Focus on the Family's Family News in Focus reports on the "New Baptist Covenant" confab of former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. At the same time, Chuck Todd and John Mercurio of Hotline TV find the place and timing of the gathering to be rather suspect: in South Carolina right between the state's Democratic and Republican primaries. Todd and Mercurio seem to think this has less to do with the prospects of Lottie Moon than with the prospects of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Tune in here.

Last time I checked, Atlanta had not relocated to South Carolina.

Georgia, Big Russ. The gathering is being held in Georgia - Atlanta to be precise.

The Gathering is suspect because it is held during the 2008 Presidential Primary season? But the primary is being held in South Carolina not Georgia? Oh please.

Keep floating those conspiracy theories, Big Russ.

We all need a healthy diet of laughter in our lives.


Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Notice the complete paranoia about Hillary, too. A South Carolina meeting, IF it had anything to do with Democratic politics, would be more likely trying to boost SC son, former Sen. John Edward--who is considerably to the left (that is more biblical) than Hillary on fighting poverty and making peace in the world.

As far as I know, no Georgia Democrats are even rumored to be running for '08. I don't think Russ believes this meeting is designed to be a boost to former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is pondering a presidential run, now does he??

I knew fundamentalists avoided science, but I had no idea they were this bad at geography.

7:09 PM

Blogger Robert said...

Big Daddy Weave,

Hello from Louisville! I hope this finds you doing well. I had a couple of questions for you after reading this post.

Atlanta is, at most, a mere two-hour drive from South Carolina. Do you not, Big Daddy Weave, see anything at all suspect about the timing and location of this "New Baptist Covenant" event? Surely you do not think that political commentators Chuck Todd and John Mercurio are in on this "conspiracy theory"?

What do you think about Bill Clinton's involvement with all of this? Are his religious views generally representative of your own?

Thank you in advance for your answers, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Also, thank you for actually providing the link to the original Henry Institute commentary in your post. There has been at least one time before when you quoted Dr. Moore out of context on this blog without a link to his original post, so that your readers could put the comment in its proper context.


11:13 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Thanks for your comment.

I'm a Georgian and have lived in Atlanta.

Atlanta is but a hours drive from Alabama (2 to Birmingham) and 2 hours from Tennessee. What's your point?

Moore quotes commentators who state the Celebration is being held in South Carolina. Correct?

Atlanta is the Capital of the South. Atlanta is also home to both the Carter Center and Mercer University. This Celebration has been in the works for quite some time. Last April the Covenant was signed at the Carter Center. President Underwood of Mercer and President Carter are the two men most responsible for both the Covenant and upcoming Celebration. Holding such an event in Atlanta makes the most sense.

Now to address the issue of timing. I suspect you are a Southern Baptist? Then you should know that national Baptist organizations such as the CBF hold their Annual Assembly during the summertime. State Baptist Conventions meet during the Fall. The timing makes sense as well.

Currently, Clinton is not listed as a speaker. According to Clinton himself, his attendance at the meeting was only as a "cheerleader." Clinton is a Baptist with a SBC background. Other than that, I don't know much about his specific beliefs. All I know is what Baptists such as Campolo and Hybels have said about Clinton's faith.

As you should know, many of the Baptist groups which align with the North American Baptist Fellowship are in fact theologically conservative. I'm just excited that such a diverse group of Baptists are willing to work together to alleviate poverty and assist those with HIV/AIDS. The event is not partisan.

As for Hillary Clinton, she's not my choice for President. And I don't think she's the popular pick for many Mainstream Baptists that I know.

1:16 PM

Anonymous rc said...

Oh come on! I believe a reasonable person should look at this and at least -wink- at a degree of 'Democratic Baptist' design. The 'Baptist faith for Democrats' thing is not the only thing at work here, but it exists to some degree. Do you disagree?

BDW said: "I'm just excited that such a diverse group of Baptists are willing to work together to alleviate poverty and assist those with HIV/AIDS" Is that really what's at work here? Because I bet you could do more to feed the hungry by using the people and resources of the SBC rather than excluding them. CLinton and Carter could have easilly put pressure on the SBC to do more for poverty and aids. But they don't want to work with the SBC, even though the SBC shares the goal of helping the poor. There's a reason for this, and it's not because of an overwhelming desire to feed the poor.

'Diverse goup of baptists'? No. The group's first act was to exclude the largest group of baptists around. That's a strange thing to do, if one is truly interested in diversity.

Instead, this has to do with abortion and homsexuality and women's roles and the accuracy of the bible... it has to do with wooing values voters to the democrats. These are the points of difference between the new covenant and the sbc, and they're the reason why they're making a new covenant rather than working within the SBC.

If my primary goal was TRULY to fight poverty and aids, I would not start out by excluding a historic, well-thought-of, organized group of over fifteen million members that shares that goal, and start competing for members, money, and publicity.

This isn't about feeding the poor, this is about democrats feeding the poor. It's just too bad they couldn't go out on their own, and instead had to make competition and insist on glomming on to the fundamentalists.

Don't know what I mean about that last part- 'glomming on'? Ask yourself why the covenant is still called Baptist. New Baptist to be specific: just enough of the old to be associated with the good history and tradition, and just 'new' enough to avoid those uncomfortable rough spots.

Why not just call themselves 'democraptist' or something completely new? I'll tell you why not. While Carter and the whiners are out criticizing the worst parts of old and proven traditions, they immunize themselves from that same criticism by saying 'we're new.'

Yeah, just precisely old enough to glom on to the tradition and good history and people of the Baptists, and just 'new' enough to not have to be accountable for any of the wierdness that occurs when a doctrine actually exists and is subject to scrutiny.

10:58 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Your whole argument is based on the premise that the New Baptist Covenant folks somehow excluded the largest Baptist denomination in the world.

Hello? Wake up. The New Baptist Covenant is a product of the North American Baptist Fellowship. The North American Baptist Fellowship is one of the six regional bodies of the Baptist World Alliance.

The SBC is not a part of the NABF. Why? Because they willingly pulled out of the BWA. The SBC was not excluded. They left on their own accord. Only groups affiliated with the NABF/BWA signed the Covenant and organized the Celebration.

So much for your premise. I await your response...

11:39 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

The problem is that people such as yourself associate Baptist with Southern Baptist.

Explain to me how the Southern Baptist Convention has sought to include Baptist bodies (particularly Black Baptists) in recent decades?

I haven't seen the Southern Baptist Convention working to unite Baptists for common causes such as fighting poverty (etc.).

11:43 PM

Anonymous rc said...

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss. Fair warning- at times I can be shrill and sarcastic. After all, this is the internet! But enough of that- time to dazzle you with my bulletproof logic.

"The SBC was not excluded. They left on their own accord." That's just like saying that the SBC 'doesn't exclude anyone.' If someone disagrees with the SBC's stance on wives submitting to their husbands, for example, they are free to leave 'on their own accord.' Heck, how dare Carter say he felt excluded by the SBC? He left on his own accord!

"Your whole argument is based on the premise that the New Baptist Covenant folks somehow excluded the largest Baptist denomination in the world." The whole premise, on which Carter, Clinton, Underwood (of Mercer and the NBC) and I agree, is that the SBC, rightly or wrongly, commands the perception of what a Baptist is. The NBC wants to redefine that.

"Only groups affiliated with the NABF/BWA signed the Covenant and organized the Celebration." The key word there is 'only.' The NBC wouldn't exist if: 1) They weren't significantly different than the SBC, and 2) the SBC didn't command significant say over the perception of who a baptist is.

But the NBC doesn't just want to add to church choices, they want to take the baptist name away from the SBC, and leverage the word's meaning for themselves. That's what Underwood means when he says that 'we need a real baptist voice.' In other words, the SBC is not a 'real' baptist voice. This is exclusionary talk.

Other choices are fine, but what the NBC is trying to do is distance themselves from the conservatives, while simultaneously claiming their legacy as their own. That's their real trick- to be called both 'new' and 'baptist.'

Here's a counterexample to my whole problem with the NBC. When the Calvary Chapel came out of the baptist church or pentacostals or whatever, they had the balls to call it something new. And their popularity rose and fell on their merits.

"Explain to me how the Southern Baptist Convention has sought to include Baptist bodies (particularly Black Baptists) in recent decades?" I don't think they have tried very hard. Conservative conventions do a better job at defining than they do encouraging diversity. The purpose of any convention is to define where you stand. And a 'conservative' convention is by its nature a well-defined one. That a well-defined and conservative convention can still have 16 million members may not be a spectacular statement of diversity, but they're down on paper, tested through time, and they must be doing something right. (Otherwise, how would they have a stranglehold on the word 'Baptist?')

I'm not defending the SBC beyond the point that their established 16 million person democratic convention and their prominant recognition gives them a better claim to the name 'Baptist' than do some johnny-come-latelies who want to claim the name by fiat. If the NBC wanted to decry the negative effects of exclusion and conservatism, then they shouldn't have started a convention.

The progressives couldn't win in the last convention, now they're trying to beat conservatives on their home turf (doctrine and convention), and they're already 16 million members behind. Tell me again why I should believe Underwood when he calls the NBC the 'true Baptist voice'?

The accusation is that the SBC is not acting properly, but the response is nothing but a war of words. Convention vs convention is a war of words, and anyone truly interested in action would not have hamstung themselves by walking into this trap. That's how I know the NBC is more about doctrine than about serving the poor.

Habitat for Humanity is a fantastic organization (that Carter is vaguely familiar with) that does great works for the poor. One of the reasons it is so successful is because it focusses on Christians loving their God and their neighbor, and does not pick nits about doctrinal issues.

A convention, on the other hand, MUST pick nits. And the NBC's very existance and words says that the SBC is wrong. Sure, they say that certain issues that SBC has ruled on are 'still open to debate'... but the NBC wouldn't exist unless they believed that the SBC's rulings were wrong. 'Still open to debate' are weasel words that progressives use to hide the fact that they're just as political as their conservative alter egos. I can't be a member of the SBC and the NBC at the same time. That's divisive by definition.

The NBC may look different than the SBC, but they still look a lot more alike than either one of them resembles Habitat for Humanity, a true ministry that's truly helping the poor.

"I haven't seen the Southern Baptist Convention working to unite Baptists for common causes such as fighting poverty (etc.)." And I haven't either. Until I took ten seconds to google '"southern baptist" katrina'. Of course, I'm sure folks would say the NBC would do more. But that's just another case of 'If I had a million dollars, I could do better.' Great. Go get a million dollars, then we'll talk.

3:23 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

A few thoughts...

You can't compare the "Controversy" or "Takeover" with the SBC's decision to pull out of the BWA. After the CBF was granted admission into the BWA, the SBC decided to leave the organization that they founded. Their decision. They hoped by defunding the BWA it would eventually crumble leaving the SBC to begin their own organization. However, that did not happen and the SBC is not currently working to create a rival to the BWA. They seem to be content with their decision to not work with other Baptist bodies. You've highlighted the SBC mindset throughout your response. They're the biggest, the baddest, and do not need unity with other diverse groups. They are THE Baptists.

You and others are "hung up" so to speak on Underwoods words (i.e. "real Baptist witness, true baptist witness, etc.). If I was Underwood, I likely would have left the rhetoric in Macon. His words come from the perspective of a Moderate Baptist. History lies behind those words. I hope the NBC will give a voice to Baptists who are rarely heard from.

Perhaps the perception of what a Baptist is needs to be redefined. Baptists like Falwell don't help our image. Baptists are now perceived as a group of folks closely aligned with the Religious Right. That picture is just not accurate. Should the SBC have a monopoly on what it means to be a Baptist?

You write that the NBC is trying to "distance themselves from the conservatives, while simultaneously claiming their legacy as their own." The NBC is distancing themselves from the fundamentalists. Read my posts. Groups like 7th Day, BGC, and the 4 black baptist denominations can not be considered moderate/liberal. They are clearly theologically conservative.

I honestly don't think you understand the history of the SBC. To refer to moderate Baptists as Johnny Come Latelies is historically inaccurate. Many of the organizers to this event used to run the SBC - President Jimmy Allen included. Baptists are a diverse group - and many of the groups included have existed longer than the Southern Baptist Convention. What exactly does it mean to be Baptist? Surely American Baptists and National Baptists are owed a voice? Still, the purpose of the NBC is to unite millions of Baptists together for the purposes of alleviating poverty (etc.).

People have questioned (maybe not you) why Clinton was involved. Clinton has helped to get black denominations excited about the NBC. Jimmy brought together the moderate Baptists. Big names are often needed to unite large groups of people.

By the way, are you Baptist?

4:33 PM

Anonymous rc said...

"They seem to be content with their decision to not work with other Baptist bodies." I think the SBC is as 'content' to not work with other baptists as Jimmy Carter was 'content' to leave the SBC. "You can't compare the "Controversy" or "Takeover" with the SBC's decision to pull out of the BWA." I don't see why not. Both events have to do with disareements regarding who is baptist.

"By the way, are you Baptist?" I'm United Methodist, by baptism and confirmation. Though if you were to ask me the differences between UMC, SBC, and WBA, I couldn't tell you.

"You and others are "hung up" so to speak on Underwoods words." Maybe. But I don't think his words were a mistake- I think they were a point of clarity. The bottom line is that you can't be a member of the SBC _and_ the NBC. The SBC is 'free' to join the NBC, just as the NBC is 'free' to join the SBC. They're comprably sized groups, and could possibly merge. That they don't signals that there are fundamental differences... and they're both vying for the title 'baptist.'

In the meantime, if I really wanted 'Baptists' to serve the poor, I'd start with my strongest teammates first. This is common sense in the world of fundraising and team building, and Clinton and Carter know this.

Organized and unified as the SBC is, it has more pull in its pinky finger than the NBC will have for years. 16 mil organized people with an established mission group is a great start to help feeding the poor. Unless of course, those 16 mil aren't 'real' baptists. That those 16 mil weren't invited to the party is a sure sign that something is more important than serving the poor. After all, you yourself said that serving the poor is a common cause between SBC baptists and other folk like the WBA. That leads me to conclude that the primary goals of the NBC are not common causes, but differences.

The thing is, progressives don't want to work with the SBC because the SBC's beliefs are repellant. And it's true that the SBC doesn't do enough to help the poor,but luminaries like Clinton and Carter could certainly help whup their butts into gear.

Carter and Clinton are overlooking the largest Baptist vehicle for service, precisely because they don't want to be associated with a bunch of pro-life, anti-gay, anti-woman-pastor fundamentalists who believe the world was created in seven days. Even if the group could be convinced to hand out free meals left and right.

We've already agreed that the envoronment, caring for the poor, etc, is common cause. And yet Jimmy Carter, Peace Prize Laureate, and Bill Clinton, one of the most charasmatic statesmen of our time, dont't think it's worth going after the SBC- the group that everyone admits most represents what is thought of as Baptist in America.

An explanation by metaphor: If I was a democrat and wanted to make an issue known, I would jump at Pres bush's suport, even if we're not pals. Pres Bush represents America, and has a lot of power, even if not everything he is or does best represents America. But if you're an American and you need to get something done, you still would welcome the help of the president. Unless, of course, if the 'something done' you need done is to undermine the president and boost the democrats. Then Bush wouldn't be invited.

I don't get it. Carter and Clinton struggled hard to get the Palestinians and the Isrealis to come to agreement, find common cause, and work together. What does it say that they're not even reaching out to the SBC? Seriously, which challenge would be more difficult?

Carter and Clinton, two hugely successful stateesmen, are saying that it's time for New Baptists. Don't tell me the SBC shouldn't feel sidelined and threatened.

9:38 PM

Blogger D.R. said...


Wait one moment here. You said,

"After the CBF was granted admission into the BWA, the SBC decided to leave the organization that they founded. Their decision. They hoped by defunding the BWA it would eventually crumble leaving the SBC to begin their own organization."

Please tell me where you get this idea that the SBC "hoped by defunding the BWA it would eventually crumble leaving the SBC to begin their own organization." That was never part of the discussion when the decision was made to pull out of the BWA. The discussion centered strictly around the fact that the BWA was moving in a direction that the SBC felt was incorrect, that the BWA was including the CBF and other moderate to liberal groups and funding missionaries the SBC believed did not reflect their soteriology, missiology, or cultural viewpoint. Thus it was believed that the $300,000 would be better served by funding more missionaries from the IMB, many of which were waiting at the time for deployment to the field (which, BTW, was a situation created in part by the continual defunding of the IMB by many CBF-affiliated churches that had previously given to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering and to the Cooperative Program).

I really don't see how this is any different from the CBF-affiliated churches defunding the cooperative program. What makes their motives so alturistic and the SBC's so diabolical? Additionally, do you have any concrete proof (in the form of quotes or a white paper, or whatever else) that substantiates your opinion in this matter or were you only speaking off the cuff and assuming no one would call you to account on this false accusation?

I can understand that you have an opinion, but that is not how you worded it and it is quite an accusation to make in and of itself without any proper evidence to back it up. I may be wrong and you may have such evidence, but I think you should bring it to bear here for all of us to consider.

7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didnt the president of Mercer write a book on the Blood of Jesus is not important and not sufficient? Whoever he is hooked up with, I want no part...

9:30 AM


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