A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

BWA President Addresses CBF

Live from the Hotel.

Great General Session tonight.

After the missionaries were commissioned and songs were sung, President David Coffey of the Baptist World Alliance addressed the General Assembly. Coffey was introduced as THE Global Baptist leader who pushed and pushed for the CBF's membership into the Baptist World Alliance. Indeed an excellent preacher, Coffey challenged Fellowship Baptists to have an anointed ministry like Jesus' in Luke 4. He said that we should know the World like Jesus knew Nazareth. We should know the Bible like Jesus knew the Scriptures. Coffey pointed out that Jesus' reading of Isaiah 61 focused on mercy rather than vengeance. An anointed ministry would produce transformation and be prophetic.

Affirming the need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, Coffey was not afraid to to speak a positive word about the Charismatic Movement. In fact he adamantly stated that...

Baptists should not be afraid of charismatic practices!
Also during this portion of the sermon, Coffey declared that...
Some people are more concerned with loyalty to following their denominational guru than to the Kingdom of God.
Good words indeed.

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Live From The CBF....

Enjoyed a nice (but pricey) breakfast this morning with Bill Leonard and BDW Sr. at the Renaissance Hotel. Always great to share a meal with the esteemed Historian. I even got some great advice/tips from Leonard (and Dr. Shurden just a bit ago) for my thesis on James Dunn that I'm working on.

It's hot and the walk back and forth from Hyatt to Convention Center ain't making it any cooler....

Not too much to say - other than the changes Dr. Rob Nash is instituting concerning the way CBF does Global Missions is pretty radical. His move from the old missionary model to the proposed missional church paradigm looks exciting but won't be without a handful or two of critics.

I've met one blogger thus far - Dr. Michael Ruffin - pastor of The Hill Baptist Church in Augusta (formerly a Religion Prof at Belmont). I hear Bruce Prescott live blogged the Ethics Conference yesterday with Campolo, Wallis, Boyd, and Rogers - although we haven't bumped into one another yet.

Lauran Bethell just received the Whitsitt Courage Award. Her ministry to prostitutes and pimps is truly remarkable. I'll have more to say about Bethell and the Global Sex Trade later on.

Tonight, the President of the Baptist World Alliance - David Coffey - addresses the General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. My cousin works for the BWA here in DC so I'm interested to hear what Coffey has to say.

More later...


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards Confronts Ann Coulter

It happened on Chris Matthew's Hardball earlier this evening.

Just three months - before a mostly Christian audience - Ann Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot." Her invective (which I wrote about here) was following by much enthusiastic applause.
But that wasn't Coulter's first attack on Edwards. Back in 2003, she wrote a column claiming that Edwards drove around with a bumper sticker saying "Ask me about my son's death in a horrific car accident."

And just yesterday on ABC's Good Morning America, Coulter said, "{I}f I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot" (video)

So, Elizabeth Edwards phoned in and confronted Ann Coulter during a live interview on Hardball.

Here is a snippet from Think Progress...
During an hour-long interview with Coulter today on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews announced that Elizabeth Edwards was on the line. Edwards referenced the attacks above, saying, “I’m the mother of that boy who died. These young people behind you…you’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that is based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues, and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.” The live audience cheered.
Watch the video below or read the transcript.

Ann Coulter is a disgrace - plain and simple. But when will shows like MSNBC's Hardball and ABC's Good Morning America STOP giving Coulter an outlet to air her HATE?

Why must the Mainstream Media work so hard to mainstream Ann Coulter?

Geez how many more Time covers is this hatemonger gonna get?

Unfortunately, Coulter is popular in conservative Christian circles especially among those who embrace the agenda of the Christian Right.

It's time (way past time..) for Christians of all stripes to denounce Coulter and the message of hate that she spreads...

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Monday, June 25, 2007

My CBF General Assembly Itinerary And Much More

Thursday marks the official beginning of the General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This year the General Assembly is being held in Washington D.C. And on Friday evening, the CBF and the American Baptist Churches USA will convene and worship together. For more on this historic gathering and celebration of Baptist unity - see here.

Since The Big Daddy Weave will be present for the Assembly and Celebration, I have provided a list of notable events and workshops sponsored by the CBF. To see a complete list of auxillary events and workshops - click here.

Wednesday, June 27

The Minister and Politics: How To Be Political Without Being Partisan

Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Greg Boyd, and Melissa Rogers (blog) will speak to this question at the upcoming The Minister and Politics conference hosted by Christian Ethics Today and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. For more details, please see my previous post.

Thursday, June 28

Morning Events

Freedom from Hunger and Poverty
(sponsored by Bread for the World, CBF, Baylor)
We are called to be the presence of Christ for those who suffer from extreme poverty, hunger and disease. As a follow-up to last year’s HIV/AIDS Summit, we’ll hear from members of Congress, Hill Staffers, and religious leaders whose collaboration across party lines has created new and effective U.S. policies to address the root causes of hunger and poverty.
Alan Larson, former undersecretary of state, will join Congressman Artur Davis and Bread for the World president David Backmann on this discussion panel. For more info, see here.

The New Global Mission w/ CBF Global Missions Coordinator Dr. Rob Nash
Local Congregations and Mission in the 21st Century
Come share in an open and honest discussion of the challenges facing congregations as they seek to engage in global mission in the 21st century. As we enter into the “Century of the Congregation,” discuss implications for sharing the gospel with the world!
Nash is expected to unveil a new Global Missions strategy that will restructure the way that the CBF does missions. I'll be there. For more info, see here.

Prosperity Gospel: Revisiting Stewardship or Selling Indulgences?
w/ Bill Leonard
Explore the current “Prosperity Gospel” phenomenon and its implications for individuals, congregations and popular religion in postmodern America. Questions include: What is the “Prosperity Gospel,” how did it evolve, and what does it suggest about biblicism, materialism, and spirituality in today’s church? Not for the theologically squeamish!
It's Bill Leonard - better come early to get a seat...

Caring for God’s Creation
w/ Melissa Rogers
Discuss current threats to our environment and how these threats affect the poorest of the poor. Practical suggestions will be offered regarding the roles religious communities may plan in addressing these issues. We are all responsible for God’s created order!
Jim Ball, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network will join Melissa Rogers for a workshop on religious activism and environmental issues. For more, see here.

Afternoon Events

William Whitsitt Society – Ministry to Victims of Global Sex Trade
Everyone is invited to this meeting, which is sponsored by the Whitsitt Society. Lauren Bethell will be given the Whitsitt Courage Award, after which she will describe her ministry to victims of international sex trade and answer questions about the ministry.
Of course I'll be there since I did write an article for the latest issue of the Whitsitt Journal.

CBF HIV/AIDS Network and the Missional Church
w/ Ronnie Adams

Hear from individuals, churches and CBF field personnel who are working with HIV/AIDS communities around the world. Discover ways your church can reach out to the 39.4 million persons infected with HIV and make a difference in their lives and in your own. For more, see here.
The State of Women in Baptist Life 2006 Report
w/ Eileen Campbell-Reed and Pamela R. Durso

Attitudes about women in society, the professions and ministry have changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Hear survey results of Baptist attitudes toward women in society and the latest statistics about women’s leadership in the second annual State of Women in Baptist Life report commissioned by Baptist Women in Ministry.
You’re in Washington: Be an Advocate!
J. Brent Walker and K. Hollyn Hollman (Baptist Joint Committee)

Being an effective advocate requires planning, preparation and follow-through. Hear practical tips for making a difference on issues of concern (especially religious liberty) through contact with elected officials and other political activists. Read more about additional BJC events.
Friday, June 29

Morning Events

8 a.m. Baptist Unity Rally for Religious Liberty (sponsored by BJC)
In May 1920, George W. Truett, a Baptist preacher from Dallas, Texas, climbed the east steps of the U.S. Capitol to address a throng of some 10,000 onlookers. His purpose in addressing the crowd was to rally support for religious liberty and its constitutional corollary, the separation of church and state. Religious, political and educational leaders will celebrate our Baptist heritage by reading excerpts of Truett’s speech. Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas, Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, William Underwood, Pam Durso, Jeff Haggray, Stan Hastey, Daniel Vestal, Amy Butler, Julie Pennington-Russell, Curt Lucas and Rob Marus are among those scheduled to participate.

The event will be held at Fountain Plaza at Upper Senate Park, adjacent to the U.S. Capitol and Russell Senate Office Building, between Delaware and New Jersey avenues.
Last Friday I blogged about this historic event. Count me in.

The New Baptist Covenant Explained
w/ David Emmanuel Goatley and Alan Stanford

President Jimmy Carter has initiated a new covenant among North American Baptists calling them to work together across racial and organizational lines to express a positive and prophetic Baptist voice. Come learn more about it. Make plans for a historic gathering in January, 2008!
Christian Ethics and Immigration Policy
w/ Melissa Rogers

How should Christian ethics inform our understanding of and responses to immigration policy? What can our churches do? Join leaders who are expert in Christian ethics and immigration policy to discuss these questions.
The speakers at this workshop will be Albert Reyes, president of Buckner Children and Family Services and a member of Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform; Suzii Paynter, director of the Texas Christian Life Commission; and Jenny Hwang of World Relief. Melissa Rogers will moderate. For more see here.

BCE Film Series and Panel Discussion Always...Therefore: The Church's Challenge of Global Poverty
w/ Robert Parham
Learn ways Christians can engage in feeding a hungry world. The Baptist Center for Ethics is sponsoring a screening and discussion on this movie. Following the film, a brief panel discussion will explore the biblical mandate to feed the hungry and ways to be faithful to that mandate.
More info can be found here.

The Churches Response to Genocide
w/ Gregory Stanton

Hear a Christian response to genocide with a focus on genocide both past and present. You’ll leave with a motivation to be the presence of Christ to a world crying for help.
BCE Film Series and discussion Faith and Politics
w/ Robert Parham
The Baptist Center for Ethics is sponsoring a screening and panel discussion about authentic Christian values, how Christians should express their faith in politics and how to live faithfully in a pluralistic society and a world of competing interests.
Bono and Billy Graham: Ministering to All without Losing Me
w/ CBF Leadership Team
An intergenerational panel from CBF’s young leader organization will dialogue and share in Q & A. Where are young people in CBF life? How does the church need to change? Vocational direction, the importance of Sabbath, being single or married in the church, cultural issues, and many more issues will be explored.
CBF/ABC Partnership Work in New Church Starts
Come see what CBF and ABC are accomplishing together in the field of New Church Starts. Hear about current successful church starts and prospects for future work together.
Keeping Baptist Distinctives from Being Baptist Extinctives
w/ Bill Tillman and Stacy Conner

Baptist distinctives carry a soft underside which can be and have been exploited. Address of social issues and wholesome evangelism becomes stunted and perverted. Suggestions will be made toward a healthy projection of these distinctives.
And last but not least - come join friends of the Baptist Joint Committee as they celebrate religious liberty at the annual RLC Luncheon.
Author/professor Randall Balmer will deliver the keynote address at the annual Religious Liberty Council luncheon to be held in conjunction with the overlapping meetings of CBF and ABC USA in Washington, D.C. The event is scheduled for 12:15-1:45 p.m., June 29, in Independence Ballroom A at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

Balmer is a professor of American Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University, a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School and the author of Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical’s Lament.
Stephen Fox of BaptistLife.com fame pestered me daily last Fall until I purchased Thy Kingdom Come. I admit - it was money well spent. My sister even made use of Balmer's work in her freshmen English essay about Michael Farris, the homeschool movement and reasons why we should fight to preserve our public school system. Needless to say, I'm excited about hearing Randall Balmer while enjoying yet another chicken plate.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Testimony of Senator Barack Obama

In my last post, I wrote about Barack Obama's inspiring remarks to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. Unfortunately, the media only covered Obama's brutally honest comments regarding the leadership of the Christian Right.

Senator Obama's personal testimony was lost along the way....

Fortunately, Obama's message wasn't lost on David Brody of the CBN (Home to Pat Robertson's The 700 Club). Brody writes....
The headlines from Barack Obama’s faith speech this weekend centered on how he ripped leaders of the religious right. We’ll get to that in a moment. But this speech was a lot more than just that.

Let’s first start with this. Besides Obama, how many times have you seen a presidential candidate get up in front of a large crowd and talk in depth about his salvation? I’ll give you the answer: Zero. For Obama to stand up and talk about how Jesus changed his life, my friends that takes guts. You may disagree with everything he’s about, you may disagree with his policy goals but as Christians, shouldn’t we like it when someone talks about Christ being the missing ingredient in his life? Read the text of Obama's speech.

At the end of the day, Senator Obama’s most important line didn’t have to do with any issue. It had to do with Jesus.
There’s a hunger that’s deeper than that – a hunger that goes beyond any single cause or issue. It seems to me that each day, thousands of Americans are going about their lives – dropping the kids off at school, driving to work, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets, trying to kick a cigarette habit – and they’re coming to the realization that something is missing. They’re deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness, is not enough.

They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives. They’re looking to relieve a chronic loneliness. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them – that they are not just destined to travel down that long road toward nothingness.
In his life, Obama says that somebody is Jesus. And as Christians, that’s something we can all agree on.
Senator Obama's speech was both refreshing and remarkable. Rarely if ever do we hear our elected officials be both unifying and uplifting in their speeches.

Click here to watch Obama's 2006 Call to Renewal speech which has been hailed as the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Audacity of Hope: Obama's Address to the UCC

Today, Senator Barack Obama addressed the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. His message is powerful and I invite all my readers to take a few moments and read Senator Obama's remarks. You can also watch the speech here.

Senator Obama's testimony....
So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called “The Audacity of Hope.” And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works...................

Yet what we also understand is that our values should express themselves not just through our churches or synagogues, temples or mosques; they should express themselves through our government. Because whether it’s poverty or racism, the uninsured or the unemployed, war or peace, the challenges we face today are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten-point plan. They are moral problems, rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness – in the imperfections of man.

And so long as we’re not doing everything in our personal and collective power to solve them, we know the conscience of our nation cannot rest.

Our conscience can’t rest so long as 37 million Americans are poor and forgotten by their leaders in Washington and by the media elites. We need to heed the biblical call to care for “the least of these” and lift the poor out of despair. That’s why I’ve been fighting to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and the minimum wage. If you’re working forty hours a week, you shouldn’t be living in poverty. But we also know that government initiatives are not enough. Each of us in our own lives needs to do what we can to help the poor. And until we do, our conscience cannot rest.

Our conscience cannot rest so long as nearly 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance and the millions more who do are going bankrupt trying to pay for it. I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2500 a year. That’s not simply a matter of policy or ideology – it’s a moral commitment.

And until we stop the genocide that’s being carried out in Darfur as I speak, our conscience cannot rest. This is a problem that’s brought together churches and synagogues and mosques and people of all faiths as part of a grassroots movement. Universities and states, including Illinois, are taking part in a divestment campaign to pressure the Sudanese government to stop the killings. It’s not enough, but it’s helping. And it’s a testament to what we can achieve when good people with strong convictions stand up for their beliefs.

And we should close Guantanamo Bay and stop tolerating the torture of our enemies. Because it’s not who we are. It’s not consistent with our traditions of justice and fairness. And it offends our conscience.

But we also know our conscience cannot rest so long as the war goes on in Iraq. It’s a war I’m proud I opposed from the start – a war that should never have been authorized and never been waged. I have a plan that would have already begun redeploying our troops with the goal of bringing all our combat brigades home by March 31st of next year. The President vetoed a similar plan, but he doesn’t have the last word, and we’re going to keep at it, until we bring this war to an end. Because the Iraq war is not just a security problem, it’s a moral problem.

And a big hearty AMEN to that message!

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Tony Blair's Journey To Rome & Rudy's Pedophile

According to blogger extradordinaire Andrew Sullivan and The Guardian (UK), outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair is preparing to make the journey to Rome....
Tony Blair will tomorrow travel to the Vatican to meet the Pope in preparation for his conversion to Roman Catholicism as sources in London and Rome said the outgoing prime minister had taken the decision to seek admission to the church.

All that remained uncertain was the timing of the announcement. It was not intended that it should take place in Rome, and might be made either before or after Mr Blair left office next week.

According to informed sources, Mr Blair has been readied for this milestone in his spiritual life by a Royal Air Force chaplain, Father John Walsh, who for the past four years has been quietly slipping into Chequers, the prime minister's country residence, to say mass for the Blair family on Saturday evenings.

Read the rest here.
In other Catholic-related news and much much more troubling - Salon.com has reported that America's Mayor (aka Rudy Giuliani) employs his childhood friend Monsignor Alan Placa as a consultant despite the disturbing fact that a grand jury accused Placa of molestation and his diocese has suspended him!
Giuliani employs his childhood friend Monsignor Alan Placa as a consultant at Giuliani Partners despite a 2003 Suffolk County, N.Y., grand jury report that accuses Placa of sexually abusing children, as well as helping cover up the sexual abuse of children by other priests. Placa, who was part of a three-person team that handled allegations of abuse by clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, is referred to as Priest F in the grand jury report. The report summarizes the testimony of multiple alleged victims of Priest F, and then notes, "Ironically, Priest F would later become instrumental in the development of Diocesan policy in response to allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests."

Five years after he was suspended from his duties because of the abuse allegations, Placa is currently listed as "priest in residence" at St. Aloysius Church in Great Neck, N.Y., where close friend Brendan Riordan serves as pastor, and officially lives at the rectory there with Riordan. In addition, Placa co-owns a penthouse apartment in Manhattan with Riordan, the latest in a half-dozen properties the two men have owned in common at various times since the late 1980s.

Placa has worked for Giuliani Partners since 2002. As of June 2007, he remains on the payroll.
The Suffolk County grand jury report released eight months after Placa's suspension, includes evidence from three alleged victims...
It states that in Priest F's first assignment, "he appears to have made feeble attempts at abusing a boy who was an alter [sic] server. ... He pulled up a chair next to the boy and put his right hand on his thigh. Slowly his hand began to creep up towards the boy's genital area. Alarmed, the boy covered his crotch. … The conduct repeated itself within a week.

"After his first assignment," the report continues, "Priest F was transferred within the Diocese to ... a school. Priest F was cautious, but relentless in his pursuit of victims. He fondled boys over their clothes, usually in his office. Always, his actions were hidden by a poster, newspaper or a book. ... Everyone in the school knew to stay away from Priest F."
And Andrew Sullivan has the money quote:
Why would Giuliani still employ a priest credibly accused by a Grand Jury of abusing boys, described as "cautious but relentless" in pursuing child victims in 2003, a man who was also integral to the conspiracy to protect child abusers from justice or accountability in the upper echeleons of the Catholic church? Because he was Giuliani's childhood friend, best man at his first wedding, baptized his son, smoothed the way for his divorce annulment, and buried his mother. In Giuliani's world, family is family. Loyalty is loyalty. And the children can go to hell.
Loyalty is indeed loyalty. Just like the loyalty of Steve Gaines pastor of FBC Bellevue to minister and molester Paul Williams. But I digress...

Sullivan is correct. The attitude that too often prevails is one that says "to hell with the children." And frankly, I don't think this attitude is acceptable for any elected official and definitely not a potential Presidential nominee....

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Baptists and Religious Liberty

Baptists and others who love religious liberty will gather on the steps of the Capitol next weekend to to show support for the separation of church and state. This rally will be held in conjunction with the General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and is sponsored by the Baptist Joint Committee. Don Byrd of Blog from the Capital has more:
On a Sunday afternoon in May 1920, a 53-year-old Baptist preacher from Dallas, Texas, climbed the east steps of the U.S. Capitol to address a throng of some 10,000 onlookers in town for the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. His purpose — to rally support for religious liberty and its constitutional corollary, the separation of church and state.

The crowd heard a masterful call for true religious liberty, not the veiled contempt expressed in the “mere toleration” of others’ religious views. “Toleration is a concession, while liberty is a right,” the speaker said.

That sermon delivered by George W. Truett has continued to have a profound impact on Baptists and others for decades, including Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, who received the text of the sermon from a friend more than a decade ago. The sermon “haunted” and “inspired” Edwards and caused him to change his political priorities. Edwards is now one of the fiercest champions of religious liberty on Capitol Hill.

Edwards will be on hand, as well as Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va., and a host of other religious and educational leaders representing an array of Baptists, as the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty hosts a Baptist Unity Rally for Religious Liberty at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 29. The event will be held at Fountain Plaza of Upper Senate Park, adjacent to the U.S. Capitol and the Russell Senate Office Building.

Leaders from across the country will celebrate Truett’s contribution to religious freedom and the Baptist distinctive of religious liberty for all by reading excerpts of Truett’s sermon.

For text of the sermon, titled “Baptists and Religious Liberty,” visit the Baptist Joint Committee Web site at http://www.bjconline.org/resources/pubs/pub_truett_address.htm .

Count me in! I'll likely be worthless and half-awake at 8am. But I'll be there.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Black Baptist Group Takes Up HIV/AIDS for 1st Time

According to the Christian Post....
The nation's largest African American religious organization this year has for the first time placed HIV/AIDS on its conference agenda.

More than 45,000 delegates of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., have convened in St. Louis this week for their 102nd Annual Congress of Christian Education. And among the highlights of the June 18-22 event is the first Annual HIV/AIDS Conference.

Read more here.

The Nashville-based National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., founded in 1886, claims an estimated membership of 7.5 million.

A big crowd in St. Louis! Not even the largest Protestant denomination can command even 1/4 of that number!

Down here in Waco, folks might say that the *LIGHT* has gone out. Or perhaps some faithful members of the largest Protestant denomination have reached the conclusion that we do indeed live in a post-denominational world. Big Bureaucracies are of yesteryear...

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The Golden Hour To Save Soul Freedom

This is the sixth post in the Recovering E.Y. Mullins and Saving Soul Freedom Summer Project. See all past posts here. As E.Y. Mullins, J.M. Dawson, G.W. Truett, and James Dunn said time and time again - the freedom of the individual conscience is the cornerstone that precedes and demands religion liberty and her essential corollary the separation of church and state.

The writings of Mullins, Hobbs, Gaustad, Dunn, and most recently Underwood have infected me with the "soul freedom bug." Instead of dabblin' in the latest warm & fuzzy theological trends, perhaps it's time for younger Baptists to recommit themselves to the most basic of our Baptist distinctives...now is the "golden hour" to Save Soul Freedom.

So, I leave you with excerpts from The Wit and Wisdom of James Dunn...
"Freedom is not absolute. No one is 'free as a bird.' Only a bird is free as a bird. We are not free to deny basic freedoms to others. When anyone's freedom is denied, everyone's freedom is endangered."

"We are not free without responsibility. Freedom and responsibility are like two sides of a coin, inseparable. No matter how thin it is slice, the coin of responsible freedom still has two sides. God made us able to respond, response able, responsible, and if responsible, free."

"The competence of the individual before God does not demand and in fact precludes Long Ranger religion. No matter what critics left and right may say, autonomous individualism...does not mean that everyone's church is one's own hat...The longing for community and social Christianity presupposes voluntarism. Without individual autonomy, there can be no authentic community, for folks to be herded together by some sort of semi-sacramentalism or joined in a crusade for social justice does not community make."

"This Baptist belief in religious liberty is not just 'doctrine,' or First Amendment or a political elective. It is, rather, THE baptist basic: soul freedom. Each individual comes immediately to God. All vital religion is voluntary. Even God will not trample the freedom to say 'yes' or 'no' to God."

"There is not such thing as 'required religion,' no such thing as 'forced fellowship' or 'coerced community.' All those phrases are oxymorons, and folks who force, coerce or require are ordinary morons.

"Believing in the separation of church and state doesn't make one a Baptist. But it is hard to believe that one could be a Baptist and not cling tenaciously to that baptistic doctrine. How else do we protect and defend those seminal beliefs in freedom of conscience, the priesthood of all believers, the right of private interpretation of Scripture, real religious liberty for all believers, as well as those who refuse to believe, a free church in a free state?"

"No pastor or priest, no doctrine or disciple, no book or belief, no church or creed comes between the individual and God."

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Recovering E.Y. Mullins - Part 5

In an interview with Louie D. Newton in 1955, Karl Barth stated: "How I thank God for E.Y. Mullins. Mullins gave the world a mighty phrase - the competency of the soul." While Mullins did not invent the idea of "soul competency" - he invested energy and meaning in the phrase, placed it at the center of a coherent cluser of beliefs that define Baptists, and explored its religious, social, and political implications.

So, we return to Mullins writings on "soul competency" to explore our Baptist principles...
"The Biblical significance of the Baptists is the right of private interpretation {of}, and obedience to, the Scriptures. The significance of the Baptists in relation to the individual is soul freedom. The ecclesiastical significance of the Baptists is a regenerated church-membership and the equality and priesthood of believers. The political significance of Baptists is the separation of church and state. But as comprehending all of the above particulars, as a great and aggressive force in Christian history, as distinguished from all others and standing entirely alone, the doctrine of the soul's competency in religion under God is the distinctive signficance of the Baptists.
For more posts from this series - see p1, p2, p3, and p4.

Who was E.Y. Mullins?

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Tribute to Al Mohler & Other Young Earthers


The Minister and Politics

How to be Political Without Being Partisan?

Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Greg Boyd, and Melissa Rogers (blog) will speak to this question at the upcoming The Minister and Politics conference hosted by Christian Ethics Today and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

This exciting ethics conference will precede the CBF General Assembly and will explore the prophetic role of ministers in non-partisan politics.

A brief description of the event follows:
Set for Wednesday, June 27, from 1-5 p.m., the conference’s featured presenters are author and speaker Tony Campolo, Sojourners founder Jim Wallis, Minneapolis pastor Greg Boyd and Melissa Rogers, former general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty.

"The conference is designed to assist religious leaders in the complex and difficult area of working for moral values and social justice," said Joe Trull, editor of Christian Ethics Today. "Christian Ethics Today has enlisted four speakers, widely sought and weekly quoted, who are considered by most to be the very best evangelical voices on this topic."

Campolo, a former Eastern University professor and founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, will speak to the overall conference theme. Wallis, CEO of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and author of "God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It," will talk about the minister’s role in social justice. Rogers, a Wake Forest University Divinity School visiting professor, will focus on the minister’s role in regard to church and state issues. Boyd, recent author of "Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church," will speak on the role of the pastor.

"These are four people who have spoken forcefully to this issue of the role of the minister in politics," said Philip Wise, president of the board of Christian Ethics Today. "It’s an issue that continues to challenge ministers. As a pastor myself, it’s a difficult line to walk. Ministers need help with this, and here are four people who are certainly qualified to talk about this."

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bill and Hillary's Sopranos Parody

For you Sopranos fans, check out Hillary Clinton's parody of the series finale.

And what tune was chosen as Hillary's campaign theme song?

"You and I" by Canadian superstar Celine Dion....Yuck.

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Ordained. Baptist. Dancer. Feminist.

Those four words describe Angela Yarber.

Angela is a doctoral student in Art and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where she concentrates on dance in comparative religions. She received her M.Div from McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta. Angela has ministered in local churches for eight years (though barely my elder, she was my youth minister during my 12th grade year at FBC Lyons, Georgia).

Angela currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Arts and Education at Shell Ridge Community Church, an American Baptist congregation. As a feminist and professional dancer, she delights in defying popular Baptist stereotypes and embracing the core and historical Baptist principles, like the separation of church and state, priesthood of ALL believers, and the autonomy of the local church.

All that said to announce that Angela has put her kid's sized foot into the blogosphere to promote a little "unity amidst diversity" and the upcoming Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant.

So, check her first post out at Rev. Ang's House.

Editor's note: I take credit for the crappy blog design. I also take credit for the blog title which was inspired by an afternoon of reruns of MTV's only family-oriented reality show - Run's House - starring Rev. Run, former frontman of the rap-group RUN DMC and also an ordained Prosperity Gospel minister.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

BDW Sr. Makes Baptist Blogosphere Debut

Well, I'm here today to announce that my dad has officially put one foot into this thing called the Baptist Blogosphere. You can find him below or at http://drweaver.blogspot.com

His first post is a response to Al Mohler's "tragedy" comment regarding FBC Decatur, Georgia's decision to call Julie Pennington-Russell as their pastor. It's also a plug for the upcoming Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. Here's a snippet...
The Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in January 2008 gives the wider Baptist fellowship an opportunity to show the American public (or anyone looking at us) that the calling of women is not a tragedy but indeed is a triumph of the liberating, equalizing Good News of Jesus. The meeting of cooperative Baptists will be a demonstration that pastoral ministry is based on calling and gifts rather than gender. What should be clear is that the calling of God means “sons and daughters will prophesy.”
So, check it out.

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The Harvard Whooper - Dr. Charles G. Adams

Next January 28 - February 1, thousands of Baptists will gather in Atlanta for the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant. I have blogged extensively about this historic Celebration HERE.

Under the theme "Unity in Christ," this three-day Celebration will feature quality preachin' from some of the most gifted Baptist ministers including Dr. Joel Gregory, Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, Dr. William Shaw, and the subject of this post - Dr. Charles G. Adams.

So who exactly is this man that some call the Harvard Whooper?

According to Ebony magazine, Charles G. Adams is one of America's 15 greatest Black preachers and among the top 100 most influential Black Americans. Ebony describes Adams as...
"America's most unique preacher, an essayist who reads from a manuscript and makes people weep and shout. The Harvard-trained preacher has been called 'the Harvard Whooper.' He 'reads from a manuscript,' a fellow minister said, 'but in a way that does not depreciate the art form.' Another minister said he has an electrifying style and 'the unusual gift of setting a manuscript on fire.'"
Since 1969, Adams has been the Pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. Before his tenure at Hartford Memorial, Adams served as Pastor of the historic Concord Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts, New England's largest African-American congregation.

Charles G. Adams is recognized worldwide as a leader in the fight for social justice. In 1989, he was invited to speak before the United Nations on South African apartheid. Adams also spoke before the World Congress of the Baptist World Alliance in Seoul, Korea. He has devoted much time and effort to combating racism both here in the United State and abroad through his work with the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches. In October 1994, Adams accompanied President Clinton to Jordan to witness the signing of the Peace Accords between Jordan and Israel.

A past President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Adams has served on boards and committees of numerous organizations most notably the Baptist Joint Committee and the Baptist World Alliance. For more biographical information, please see here.

Time and time again, Charles Adams has stated that "if you read the Bible right, you will see a concern for the poor."

I agree. And I'm ecstatic about having the opportunity to hear Dr. Charles Adams preach next January at the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant.

If any person can reignite our concern for the poor - it's the Harvard Whooper...

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Leaving On A Jet Plane....

Heading back to my alma-mater this weekend to be a groomsman in the wedding of my high school best friend turned college roommate. It will be my first Catholic wedding.

So, no posts or comments until Monday...
From the hills of Georgia's northland
Beams thy noble brow,
And the sons of Georgia rising
Pledge with sacred vow.
'Neath the pine trees' stately shadow
Spread thy riches rare.
And thy sons, dear Alma Mater,
Will thy treasures share.
And thy daughters proudly join thee,
Take their rightful place,
Side by side into the future,
Equal dreams embrace.
Through the ages, Alma Mater,
Men will look to thee;
Thou the fairest of the Southland,
Georgia's Varsity.

Alma Mater, thee we'll honor,
True and loyal be,
Ever crowned with praise and glory,
Georgia, hail to thee.

Al Mohler Gives SBC The Finger

Straight from the Annual Meeting of the SBC in San Antone, Wade Burleson writes...
These four men, led by Dr. Mohler today, gave to our convention the proverbial finger and said, "We do not care that you have told us the Baptist Faith and Message is the only consensus confession of the Southern Baptist Convention and is sufficient to guide us. We will draft any confessional statement, policy or guideline we desire because the hiring of seminary professors is critical to the future health of the SBC and the Baptist Faith and Message 'does not say enough' doctrinally to give us good hiring policies and guidelines."

Paige Patterson has already recommended to friends the disbanding of the SBC Executive Committee. Chuck Kelley said last night the adoption of the Executive Statement would have no effect on his institution and Richard Land has already angrily chastized two gracious SBC theologians who wrote an excellent book on grace and unity around the essentials and freedom in diversity on the nonessentials - a book given to all registered messengers in our SBC packet. These four men might best be considered as the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Left to Right: Patterson, Mohler, Kelley, Land

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Portrait of a Paranoid Fundamentalist: Paige Patterson

As reported by Southern Baptist blogger Art Rogers....
Paige Patterson was interviewed by the Criswell College radio station. In that interview he said that every 25 years the SBC has to throw out Liberals and that it was time to do it again. When asked if these men might be Conservatives who disagree with methodology, he replied that they were Liberals who knew not enough Baptist History to fill a thimble.
And a picture of PP meeting with another man who also throughout his career was accused of being paranoid, secretive, and manipulative.....Yasser Arafat.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Saving Soul Freedom w/ James Dunn

This is the fourth post in our newly launched Recovering E.Y. Mullins and Saving Soul Freedom Summer Project. See here, here, and here. Our inspiration for this Project is none other than Bill Underwood, President of Mercer University and New Baptist Covenant organizer, and his Baptist Summit speech given in January, 2006.

Without further ado, I give you James Dunn in his own words excerpted from Charles W. Deweese's Defining Baptist Convictions: Guidelines for the Twenty-First Century.
Soul freedom is the fire that burns in the innards of every true Baptist. From Thomas Helwys' insistence that "the king is not the Lord of the conscience" to this day, the identifying mark of the breed called Baptist is that dogged determination to be free.

No proof text is needed, because the passion for freedom is rooted in the person and nature of God in whose image all humankind is created. Before any constitution, any social contract, even before the biblical revelation lies the way in which we were all made - responsible to God and free to respond (and take the consequences).

If that is the biblical and theological principles driving religious liberty, then the ethical, moral, and social implications of that transforming idea demand that same freedom for every other human being. If we do love our neighbors as ourselves, if we do unto others as we want them to do to us, if indeed, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, we want religious liberty for everyone.

Anyone's religious libety denied is everyone's religious liberty endangered. Firmly rooted in biblical belief and the ethical demands coming directly from those convictions, Baptists have stood for separation of church and state since we were first labeled "Baptist."

The same King James whose name is in the front of your Bible is the one who ordered the death of Thomas Helwys, the first Baptist pastor in England. Helwys' crime was simple: the king was not his spiritual master. Government, however good, could not be God.

One does not go to the Bible for instruction as if it were a political science textbook. Yet, the Bible speaks to the relation of religion to political life. Baptists who slight the distinctive of church-state separation deny their birthright.

Some today cannot see that clear biblical teachings inform one's estimate of humankind, sin, righteousness, and redemption. Biblical doctrine fuels and empowers believers to seek spiritual libeation for all. The Bible has shaped our best insights and noblest traditions as "people of the Book." The universal freedom of religious conscience is taught in the Bible.

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U of L Reporter Ejected For Live Bloggin

Ripped straight from Si.com...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A reporter was ejected from an NCAA baseball tournament game for submitting live Internet updates during play.

Brian Bennett, a writer for The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, was approached Sunday by an NCAA representative in the bottom of the fifth inning and told that blogging from an NCAA championship event is against NCAA policies. Bennett had done live blogging during Louisville's super regional games against Oklahoma State in the previous two games of the three-game series. The representative revoked Bennett's credential Sunday and asked him to leave the game.

"It's clearly a First Amendment issue," said Bennie Ivory, the newspaper's executive editor. "This is part of the evolution of how we present the news to our readers. It's what we did during the Orange Bowl. It's what we did during the NCAA basketball tournament. It's what we do.
The newspaper said the university circulated a memo on the issue from Jeramy Michiaels, the NCAA's manager of broadcasting, before the first super regional game Friday. It said blogs are considered a "live representation of the game" and blogs containing action photos or game reports are prohibited until the game is over.

"Any reference to game action in a blog or other type of coverage could result in revocation of credentials," the policy said, according to a copy provided to The Associated Press. Bennett consulted with his editors and continued to blog, submitting the first report at 4:12 p.m. EDT Sunday, the newspaper said.

"It's a real question that we're being deprived of our right to report within the First Amendment from a public facility," Fleischaker said. "Once a player hits a home run, that's a fact. It's on TV. Everybody sees it. [The NCAA] can't copyright that fact."
I was born in Louisville. I'm a U of L fan - though mostly for basketball. But ejecting bloggers?

That's just silly to say the least.

Oh, and Louisville won the game - 20 to 2 - to advance to the College World Series in Omaha.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Re-Sectarianization of the SBC - Calvinism Attacked

Ah, the Southern Baptist infighting may have just reached a new level in Florida...

From the Associated Baptist Press...

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (ABP) -- Some Baptists in this state say the Florida Baptist Convention is intimidating and demonizing churches that believe in Calvinism -- and doing it with the churches' own money.

Convention executive director John Sullivan last week sent recordings of sermons by Sullivan's former pastor Jerry Vines to every church in the state, apparently at convention expense, that identify Calvinism as a threat to Baptist life.

A week earlier, Sullivan sent one of his associates to a rural Panhandle county to confront local pastors about alleged "conflict" created by Calvinists in the Holmes Baptist Association. Sullivan's emissary, Cecil Seagle, was at times "angry and mean-spirited" and tried to intimidate the pastors, according to the pastors' detailed notes from the meeting, warning that Calvinism "is dividing the Florida Convention and a split is almost inevitable."...........

Tom Ascol, the most prominent Calvinist in the 1 million-member state convention, blasted Sullivan's tactics in his blog. (www.founders.org/blog)

"This much is clear: The mailing of Dr. Vines' sermon on Calvinism is a clear indication that the executive director of the Florida Baptist Convention has an agenda to demonize the ministers and churches in our state who believe what the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention believed regarding the grace of God in salvation," wrote Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral and executive director of Founders Ministries, which promotes Calvinist or Reformed theology.

"This is a serious matter," he said. "Very serious."

In his sermon, Vines said Calvinism "kills" churches because it neglects evangelism by teaching that salvation is only for those whom God "elects," not for everyone. He said Calvinistic pastors tend to be divisive, dishonest and prone to "intellectual pride."

Read more from the SBC's Chief Calvinist Tom Ascol HERE.

Another outspoken Calvinist, Southern Seminary student Timmy Brister, reports on efforts by John Connell - a Savannah megachurch pastor - to remove all Calvinists from God's Country, er Georgia.

Who didn't see this fight brewing? Well, Bill Leonard did...

Back in 1993, Bill Leonard wrote:
Bringing Reformed theology back into mainstream SBC life may be a battle which will make the fundamentalist-moderate confrontation seem like a minor skirmish. A great many very conservative Southern Baptists are shocked when they learn that the founders believed that only an elect group of sinners, chosen before the foundation of the world will be saved.
Southern Baptists are beginning to reap what they have sown....

The Re-Sectarianization of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Militant Fundamentalists vs. Moderate Fundamentalists.

Maybe - just maybe - fundamentalists will finally realize that the source of "cooperative unity" in the SBC has never been doctrine and doctrine alone....

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Our Teetotaler-in-Chief

The Associated Press caption reads:

U.S. President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, enjoy a cold drink in historic Heiligendamm, Germany, Thursday, June 7, 2007. The leaders of the G8 nations are holding their annual summit in the sea resort on June 6-8, 2007. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Read more here.

UPDATED* - According to reports, Bush got a little sick on the last day of the G8 summit. Our Teetotaler-in-Chief had to miss some meetings. Some say it must have been something he ate. Others say it was something he drank. However, his trustworthy advisers have insisted that Bush, a self-professed alcoholic, was sipping on non-alcoholic beer.

Caption reads:

President Bush drinks a beer as he jokes about his non-plans to reduce carbon emissions with German chancellor Angela Merkel and British prime minister Tony Blair
. Later Blair and Bush lamented the non-success of their war in Iraq. How they laughed!

And the video....

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Blogs For Your Reading...

Let me point all of my readers to several exceptional posts pertaining to the upcoming Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant.

James Hassell, a young West Texas pastor writes...
Although (and I must admit this!), I’m skeptical of some politically charged personalities involved on both “red” and “blue” sides of the aisle, I sense a strong thirst among many Baptists to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). It is, indeed, the pattern of Christ for all of us to be both salt and light in the world. In fact, I agree with Herschel Hobbs when he indicated that one of our greatest evangelistic efforts as Baptists is to “believe in a spiritual gospel which has social implications”* In other words, the proof will be in the pudding as we cooperate to the extent that our consciences dictate.
And Michael Westmoreland-White over at Levellers writes...
I am excited about the upcoming Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta, GA 30 January-1 2008 not only because of the number of different Baptist groups that will be represented–crossing old divisions of race, region, ethnicity, theology, and worship style. I am also excited because the agenda for the meeting is the agenda Jesus adopted in his Nazareth Manifesto (Luke 4:18-19). Imagine Baptists gathering to focus on Jesus’ agenda instead of our own narrow agendas, adopting the priorities that Christ announced in his hometown as the reason for his mission–and ours....

We Baptists are good at disagreeing with each other and dividing over our disagreements. I am excited about the possibility of uniting for once–and uniting around Jesus’ Nazareth Agenda. This gathering might not only be “genuinely Baptist,” if it isn’t careful the world might actually see it as “genuinely Christian” and glorify the One Jesus called “Abba, Father.” I wouldn’t be surprised if all heaven didn’t break loose!
Afterwards, check out Tony Cartledge's, editor of the NC Biblical Recorder, take on Frank Page's recent criticism of the New Baptist Covenant.

Cartledge chimes in...

I had hoped that Page didn't write the words attributed to him, but he recently told the Baptist Courier that it's his statement and he stands by it.

Through most of his presidency, Page's gentle demeanor toward others has been refreshing. Sadly, that is not the spirit shown in this recent critique of the New Baptist Covenant initiative. Let us hope the comments reflect a momentary lapse of weariness or frustration, and not the signs of a long-term change in spirit.

I don't necessarily recommend this - but for a laugh and a giggle (maybe) head over to the blog of Tim Rogers - blogosphere resident conspiracy theorist and a very conservative (being generous here) Southern Baptist.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

David Currie Pays Tribute To Herb Reynolds

David Currie of Texas Baptists Committed has posted a tribute to the late Herb Reynolds - former President of Baylor University.

Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds died on Friday, May 25, 2007. Over 1,300 people attended a celebration of his life at First Baptist Church, Waco, last Wednesday. It was a wonderful tribute to his life, highlighted by his three children speaking about their father; and Paul Powell talking about all that Dr. Reynolds meant to Baylor University and all true Baptists.

Sitting between Loretta and my son Lance, I listened, feeling very much like a family member, because that is how I felt about Dr. Reynolds—he was another father to me. I hope that doesn’t bother Kevin, Kent, and Rhonda, but I sort of feel like a stepbrother to them because of all that Dr. Reynolds and I have shared these past 20 years. I sense that they understand.

In his eulogy, Paul Powell said that someone had described Dr. Reynolds as “pure courage and pure class.” That is how I had described Dr. Reynolds in my statement to the Baptist Standard, and I was honored that he quoted me in his eulogy, for I meant it with all my heart, and I believe it.

I learned my motto—“Leadership Solves Everything”—from Dr. Reynolds. I don’t recall him ever saying those exact words, but he lived them in front of me. Dr. Reynolds modeled courage for me over and over and over. He never doubted that he had to stand up to radical fundamentalism because it was the right thing to do. He did what he thought he had to do to protect Baylor, and then—rather than walk away from the fight—he led the fight to save Texas Baptists as well. He was part of the “trinity”—along with Phil Strickland and John Baugh—who led all of the work that TBC did over the years. I now feel very alone, having lost all three of them and Foy Valentine in just over a year.

Read the rest here.

It truly is sad that so many great Texas Baptist leaders have passed away in the past year. David Currie may not have included himself among that "trinity" of Texas Baptists - but he deserves a place alongside Strickland, Baugh, and Reynolds. All four men plus other great Texas Baptists like Dunn, Valentine, and Allen who lead at the national level have devoted their entire lives to defending our historic Baptist principles and distinctives against the onslaught of fundamentalism and "creeping creedalism." We owe them our sincere thanks.

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People Of Faith For Barack

Barack Obama's campaign has launched a new website for its religious supporters. The Obama campaign created the page in response to the large numbers of "people of faith" who had been visiting his MySpace page. Obama's new website includes a blog and testimonials from religious folks who support him. A few testimonials below:

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor and Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL writes...
I’m concerned with healthcare; the war in Iraq; the high rates of recidivism in our criminal justice system; the poor condition of the Illinois public school system. Many of the resources that go to support programs such as for those living with HIV/AIDS are now being spent to fund the war. We have to communicate…I support Barack because of his incarnated faith – his faith made alive in the flesh. He reaches across all faith communities and even to those who have no faith at all. He is building a community where everyone has worth. That kind of faith is not easy to find in 2007 and a man like Barack is a rarity.
Rev. Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, Jr. - President, Progressive National Baptist Covention writes...
Important issues to me include the rebuilding of New Orleans; the prison-industrial complex; preserving the middle class; universal health care. As people of faith, we must follow the prophet Micah’s directive to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. I support Barack because he has an inter-generational appeal and I trust he will be true to his word. He is quite open about his strong ethics and values and the moral relationships we have with each other. He’s a man I can support.
The Rev. Chuck Currie, a popular blogger, recently declared his support for Obama. He writes..

Christians, Jews, Muslims – all people of faith in America – share in a deep and abiding love for this nation. But many of us, as William Sloane Coffin would have said, have a “lover’s quarrel” with America. We know things can be better. We know all Americans need health care. We know that no one should be homeless in the world’s richest nation. We know that global warming threatens God’s own earth and that as the stewards of creation we are called forth to protect this planet. We are also called to be peacemakers in times of conflict.

Barack Obama shares these values and when elected president will embody them as he makes decisions in the Oval Office. When that day comes we will be a better nation.

Unlike Chuck, I'm not ready to jump on the Obama bandwagon just yet. It's too early. However, I am indeed impressed by the junior Senator from Illinois. He's real and genuine. But so is John Edwards - who had my vote in '04. No rush to decide but either way, my car will eventually be sporting either an Obama or Edwards bumper sticker...

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A Response To New Baptist Covenant Critics

Mitch Randall, pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Oklahoma has posted a response to critics of the New Baptist Covenant. A snippet below. Be sure to check out the NBC blog and leave a comment or two...
In my opinion, herein lies the different perspectives of what it means to be Baptist. For critics of the Covenant, they continue to offer rhetoric that promotes the “go-it-alone” mentality. They also, for some reason, cannot conceive the idea that reaching out to the hungry and calling for social justice is a grand attempt by concerned Christians to reach out to those who do not know Jesus. The very essence of the Covenant will be evangelical, proclaiming the entire message of Jesus to the world and making it applicable for those to participate. What can be more evangelical than that mission? So, while some still try to commandeer the identity of being a “true Baptist,” the North American Baptist Covenant participants will work on feeding the poor, demanding justice for the inequalities of the world, and being the presence of Christ to a world that needs hope.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Al Mohler, FBC Decatur, and Julie Pennington-Russell

"Gay-baby curing" Al Mohler is the recipient of the highly prestigious Quote of the Day...

Mohler recently wrote...
A look at Julie Pennington-Russell's education, experience, and related qualifications would appear to qualify her for a major pulpit . . . except for the fact that she is a woman.
Yuck. Too bad the 1984 Al Mohler who took out an ad in the Louisville-Courier in support of women in ministry is long gone...

Mohler concludes....

Would the election of Julie Pennington-Russell as pastor of this church make history? Of course it will. This development would set a precedent that, until now, has eluded those pressing for women in major pulpits. First Baptist Church, Decatur, is in the heart of the South, has a proud place in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention, and can claim a legacy of prominent pastors. For a church of this stature to call a woman as senior minister is undeniably historic.

What does this mean? Only time will tell. Advocates for women as pastors will hope to see this precedent followed in other historic moderate pulpits. Any number of factors may play into this equation, including a generational shift and a relatively small number of male seminary graduates from moderate schools headed for the pastorate.

One prediction is an almost certain -- Julie Pennington-Russell will quickly become one of the most prominent leaders among moderate and liberal Baptists.

One additional development is just as certain. This move increases the visible distance between the Southern Baptist Convention and the constellation of moderate Baptist organizations disaffected from the denomination. The distance is theological, cultural, ideological -- and growing.

The Decatur church is set to vote on Pennington-Russell as Senior Minister on June 17. By all accounts, the church is indeed set to make a statement -- and to make history. The distance between those who hold to different positions on the question of women in the pulpit is most evident in the fact that while some will see this move as a triumph, others will see it as tragedy.

Read the entire article here.

Al must not pay close attention to moderate Baptist life anymore. Julie Pennington-Russell is and has been a prominent leader in moderate Baptist life for quite some time. Weeks before being called to FBC Decatur, Pastor Julie was named as a speaker at the upcoming Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant. That's kinda a big deal, Al.

This is much ado about nothing. Through its involvement with the CBF, FBC Decatur has been preaching for years that God actually does call women to preach and pastor. So, how big of a statement is Decatur making now that they've been given an opportunity to practice what they preach?

Oh well.

To me at least, Al Mohler's recent quote is the real tragedy.

Next time he's in the ATL, maybe Brother Al should stop by Decatur for an hour of worship and high quality preaching.....might do him some good.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

New Baptist Covenant's Blogosphere Home

Announcing A New Baptist Covenant Weblog!

Thanks to Dr. Prescott, we now have a home in the blogosphere devoted solely to the New Baptist Covenant and the upcoming Celebration. Here's Prescott's plan...
Every day between now and Jan 30th I will be scouring the blogosphere and the web to see what people are saying about the New Baptist Covenant. Then, I'll be writing blogs about it on my unofficial weblog for the New Baptist Covenant.

Once a week, I will post a round-up of the news in the blogosphere. Blogs like this one On the SBC's Vendetta Against the New Baptist Covenant.

Mostly, I'll just be scouring the web to see what people are saying. Then I'll be making it easy for readers to view the broad range of opinions about the possibility that some Baptists could rise above their differences and work together to share the good news about God's love for all people.
Also, check out the latest post at the NBC blog - On The SBC's Vendetta Against the NBC

American Baptist minister and leader Tim Bonney recent wrote: "I believe {the Celebration} will be one of the most important meetings of Baptists in recent history."

I do too. And that's one good reason to track this story in the upcoming weeks/months leading up to this historic Celebration.



Sunday, June 03, 2007

They're Booing Herschel Hobbs!!!

Yes. It's that time of year. Time for the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This time it's in San Antonio - not too far away from the "hotbed of Baptist liberalism" where I reside.

Ben Cole has summed up SBC Life over the past 12 months with a concise 47-point timeline.

And here's his #45:
Julie-Pennington Russell becomes the first woman to pastor the First Baptist Church of Decatur, GA, further evidencing the “vast feminist conspiracy” of the Baptist left.
In more news, the SBC recently announced the creation of the Ministry to Homosexuals Task Force. The director of this Task Force, Rev. Bob Stith of Carroll Baptist Church in Southlake, Texas, will "speak the truth about homosexuality being a sin, while reaching out in redemptive ways to those who struggle with same-sex temptation."

Why Stith?
According to, James T. Draper Jr., immediate past president of LifeWay, said it was extremely important for the person selected to direct the ministry to have a pastoral background.

"As a pastor he dealt with this issue, ministered effectively in this area, and confronted critics," Draper said of Stith.
However, in an interview with the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Stith admitted that no one in his church or family had "struggled with homosexuality."

Stith is indeed the man for the job. Ah, I digress.

Back to the Annual Meeting.

The days of messengers booing elder statesmen like Hobbs are long gone. Just last year, messengers cheered and celebrated the death of one of God's Creations.

So here's to tacky!

Perhaps even William I. Gay Jr. (NC) will reintroduce last year's motion to "refrain from using the word 'gay' when referring to homosexuals in sermons, publications and in the media."

One can't make this stuff up...

-"They're booing Herschel Hobbs. Am I at the Southern Baptist Convention?...They're booing Herschel Hobbs. What is happening to us??" - Marse Granted, editor Biblical Recorder, 1980.

The patriarch of the 1963 Baptist Faith & Message was booed at the 1980 Annual Meeting held in St. Louis after warning the crowd to "beware the lures of creeping creedalism."

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

On Being An Authentic Baptist And More...

How to recognize a "real" Baptist if you see one

By James M. Dunn

1. If soul liberty is important.

2. If the priesthood of all believers is more than a slogan.

3. If one insists on interpreting the Scriptures for themselves.

4. If one defends the right of each person to come to the Bible and, led by the spirit, seek its truth.

5. If one believes that one must accept Jesus Christ personally.

6. If the church functions as a democracy.

7. If in the fellowship of churches each one is autonomous.

8. If there is no pope or presbyter, president or pastor who rules over you.

9. If religious liberty is the password to public witness and the separation of church and state is its essential corollary.

10. If no mortal has the power to suppress, curtail, rule out, or reign over the will of the local congregation.

In addition to all the fundamentalism-fightin' and random posts about all-things Baptist , we here at www.thebigdaddyweave.com will be Saving Soul Freedom and Recovering E.Y. Mullins slowly by steadily over the next months.

Also look forward to more posts on the upcoming Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant. To help celebrate the upcoming gathering, several new bloggers are about to make their blogosphere debut - including an ordained American Baptist minister who is both female and employed! So, see, some of us do practice what we preach!

With the CBF and ABC hooking up in just a few short weeks, expect pre-coverage and quasi-live coverage straight from ChinaTown. And to plug the William Whitsitt Baptist Heritage Society one more time, I will be posting a fascinating story on American Baptist missionary Lauran Bethell and her fight against the Global Sex Trade. So, stay tuned.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Priests and Prophets: Saving Soul Freedom

Back in February, Dr. James Dunn, former Executive-Director of the Baptist Joint Committee and current visiting professor at the Wake Forest University Divinity School, delivered the Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State.

Below is a snippet from his lecture entitled "Priests and Prophets"
“If soul freedom is important,
If the priesthood of all believers is more than a slogan,
If one insists on interpreting the Bible for himself/herself,
If one defends the right of each person to come to the Bible and led by the Holy Spirit seek its truth,
If one believes that she must accept Jesus Christ personally, freely or not really …
If in the fellowship of churches each one is autonomous….
If religious liberty is the password to public witness and the separation of church and state is essentially corollary,
If no mortal has the power to suppress, curtail, rule out or reign over the will of the congregation,
You have probably been baptistified.”

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