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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rev. John Killinger Responds

Back in June, the Rev. John Killinger caused quite a ruckus with his remarks during the THREE workshops which he led at the annual General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

I won't rehash that here. But here is the column by SBC Baptist Press reporter David Roach titled "CBF Presenter Questions Christ's Deity"

A week after Roach's column, James Smith wrote an op-ed for Baptist Press which concluded that "there can be no doubt the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is now un-Christian and un-Baptist."

Three weeks after the original Baptist Press story, Daniel Vestal, Executive-Director of the CBF, responded to Killinger's remarks and James Smith's ridiculous column in this article with the Associated Baptist Press. According to ABP reporter Jim White, Vestal "denounced the theology Killinger expressed" and "regretted allowing Killinger to challenge such christological views at a CBF event." Referring to James Smith's op-ed, Vestal was quoted as saying "for some editors to write and insinuate that we are not Christians is very painful for me."

Shortly after Killinger's remarks were made public Keith Noren, a Baptist layman from Alabama, e-mailed Rev. John Killinger and asked: "Do you in fact 'deny the deity of Christ?'"

A few days ago Killinger responded to Noren's e-mail and gave him permission to post it online.

Here is Killinger's response:
Dear Keith,

Sorry to be slow in responding. We were in Canada for several days and since returning to NY I've been swamped with engagements and assignments.

I'm amazed at the hullaballoo over what I did or didn't say and did or didn't mean at the CBF conference in Memphis. The curious thing is that I have not been asked a single time, except for your e-mail, either at the conference or since returning to NY, what I said or what the context of anything I said actually was. It's almost amusing to see all the church politicians scrambling to score points or defend their goal posts. And it's a bit dismaying to me to see that the people at the top of the CBF ladder are just as touchy about defending their orthodoxy as the old SBC leaders were. I thought CBF stood for Christianity Beyond Fraudulence or something like that.

Without intending any comparison of myself to Jesus, I can imagine that the leaders of the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees scrambled in similar fashion over things Jesus was saying or reported to be saying in Jerusalem.

I'd like to see a full text of what I did actually say at the conference so I could respond more accurately. For some reason, the CBF chose not to post my remarks on the web site. Nor did they post those of my son Eric, who was doing a couple of breakouts on ministers' emotional and spiritual health. I think a lot of the ones who were in my group should have been in his.

As well as I can recall, though, my remarks were in the context of answering a question about biblical literalism and how most Christians have now grown up enough to understand that the Jesus of the synoptic Gospels is different (humbler, less divine, certainly not transcendent) from the Jesus of the Gospel of John, who is clearly pre-existent, omniscient, and transcendent. While I didn't agree with all the decisions of the Jesus Seminar, I applauded the intent of their work, which was to get back as nearly as possible to what were the original teachings of Jesus and what were the additions of the early church for either bureaucratic or propaganda purposes. I myself am committed to knowing and understanding all I can about who the real Jesus was and what he intended for his followers, as opposed to who the church's press-release Jesus became. I happen in my elder years to believe that's very important, and I shall continue to press forward in that direction.

One of the things I've noticed across the years is that many people who crow the loudest about other people's heresies and misdeeds are not themselves very convincing proof that God is love and that his self-proclaimed children are unmistakably chips off the old block.

Thanks for caring and for writing.

God's best, John
BDW: Note that Killinger never actually answered Noren's direct question. I think it's safe to read between the lines.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Pray for Cecil Sherman

Thanks to Mike Ruffin for passing this on.

From Daniel Vestal:

We received word today that Dr. Cecil Sherman, founding coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, has been diagnosed with acute leukemia. He is in M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, for tests and possible treatment options. His wife, Dot, continues to be in failing health in Richmond. Please join me in prayer for Cecil and Dot as well as their daughter Eugenia Brown during this difficult time.

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More Baptist World Alliance Coverage

Both Robert Parham (EthicsDaily.com) and Tony Cartledge (Campbell University, Baptists Today) have provided excellent coverage of the 2008 gathering of the Baptist World Alliance. Below you'll find snippets from Cartledge's posts on the BWA and the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education (BICTE):

Newsblog: BWA Looks Inward, Outward (7/25)

Read Tony Cartledge's overview coverage of the 2008 BWA Gathering.

What Makes a Baptist? (7/27)
The Prague-blogs continue, now from the seventh Baptist International Conference on Theological Education (BICTE), which got underway Saturday afternoon on the campus of the International Baptist Theological Seminay (IBTS). The stately campus is located in a peaceful setting on a ridge of the Sarka Valley, on the outskirts of Prague.

The opening session sought to look both backward and forward, with Ian Randall of IBTS offering a paper on “Tracing Baptist Theological Footprints over the Past Four Hundred Years.” He was followed by Daniel Carro, an Argentian theologian who currently teaches at the John Leland Center for theological studies, who spoke on “Anticipating Kairos Moments that Await the Baptist Theologian of the 21st Century.”
What makes a good theological education? (7/28)

Dominion or Stewardship?
Participants in the seventh Baptist International Conference on Theological Education focused on practical – but often neglected – theological issues during a lengthy morning session July 28. About 135 educators and interested persons are meeting at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, the Czech Republic. Two papers were designed to address ecological issues and a proper understanding of creation. Three others dealt with the rampant exploitation of women and children, serious issues on which churches have largely remained silent.

John Weaver, dean of the theology faculty at Cardiff University in Wales, is trained both as a geologist and a theologian. Addressing the global environmental crisis, he reviewed examples of present and looming ecological catastrophes and advanced a theological position that humans are called to be channels of God’s redemption for the earth as well as humanity.

David Gushee, who writes widely and currently teaches at Mercer University, discussed a paper with the provocative title “Can a Sanctity of Human Life Ethic Ground Christian Ecological Responsibility?” Gushee emphasized that the “sanctity of human life” is a much broader topic than the abortion issue, with which it is most commonly heard. Appreciating the sanctity of human life is something of a two-edged sword, Gushee said, because “the more we elevate the sacredness of humans, the more we downplay the rest of creation.” He called for “a radically reframed approach to God, humanity, and the rest of creation.”
Also check out the following articles and blog posts on the BWA:

Baptist Pastors in West Face Decline and in South poverty (7/27)

(Christianity Today) The biggest problem a pastor faces depends on where the minister is located. That was the message from speakers at the Baptist World Alliance annual conference in Prague last week. For pastors in North America, the greatest challenge is the cultural shift away from Christianity, said David Laubach, the North American presenter at the BWA workgroup about church health and effectiveness.

BWA Meeting in Prague (7/24)

Read the thoughts of Jim Hill, Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. Hill is also reporting for the Associated Baptist Press while in Prague.

May It Ever Be So (7/24)

Read the thoughts of Campbell University professor Glenn Jonas: "There is a lot of common ground between Muslims and Christians. Let's celebrate what we have in common rather than fight over our differences. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." May God give us the grace and strength to be peacemakers in this violent world!"


Coverage of the Baptist World Alliance

Below is a list of links to articles on the 2008 annual gathering of the Baptist World Alliance held in Prague.

Global Baptists Gather Next Week in Prague with Record of Growth, Organizational Change (7/18)

(EthicsDaily.com) When the Southern Baptist Convention voted in June 2004 to withdraw from and defund the Baptist World Alliance, a tiny body stepped up a month later at the BWA's annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea, with a commitment to help rebuild the world's largest organization of Baptist conventions and fellowships....Despite dire predictions about its future, the BWA has had a record over the past four years of numerical growth and successful change—electing new leadership, responding to a horrific natural disaster, restructuring the organization, and making a commitment to new programming. BWA now has an estimated 157,149 churches and 36,943,113 members, compared to 140,538 churches and 31,459,071 members in October 2004.

Baptist World Alliance Aims for Greater Global Representation (7/21)

(EthicsDaily.com) One of the most important topics at the gathering in Prague, Czech Republic, is the matter of restructuring the BWA...."It has become clear to us that neither the General Council nor the current Executive Committee are able to exercise appropriate quality oversight (governance) for an international mission-oriented ecclesial organism in the 21st century," reads the report from the 18-member committee that included BWA President David Coffey and General Secretary Neville Callam.

Baptist Leader Raises 10 Questions About Ordination (7/22)

(EthicsDaily.com) In a document outlining the three sessions of the Church Leadership Commission, Brian Winslade, commission chair, noted that one Baptist distinctive is egalitarianism expressed in principles such as "priesthood of all believers" and "soul competence." These principles set Baptists apart from other historical Christian communions which held to "systems of ecclesial hierarchy." Yet over the centuries, "most Baptist Unions/Conventions have developed (or adopted) systems of credentialing Ministers that appear similar to other historical denominations," wrote Winslade, national ministries director for the Baptist Union of Australia.

Bangladeshi Baptist Leader Receives Human Rights Award

(EthicsDaily.com) Dennis Datta stood at the cutting edge of Baptist moral leadership in 2002, criticizing worldwide Baptists and calling them to support a bold plan to halve global poverty by 2015. The Bangladeshi Baptist leader did so two years before the Baptist World Alliance passed a resolution supporting the Micah Challenge, a campaign to pressure governments to keep their pledges to fund the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. His advocacy came four years before the Baptist Center for Ethics' pastoral letter supporting the Micah Challenge and six years before the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship pledged to support that initiative.

BWA Meeting in Prague Begins with Prayer, Praise (7/24)

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (ABP) -- Nearly 400 delegates to the Baptist World Alliance's annual gathering in Prague, Czech Republic, raised their voices in prayer and singing as the July 21-25 meeting began with a rousing worship service. The three-day gathering enables Baptists representing many of the 214 national and regional Baptist groups that make up the BWA to gather for worship, fellowship, study and planning.

Pastors' biggest differ by region, BWA Speakers Say

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (ABP) -- Global Baptist pastors' problems are as different as the countries and regions in which they minister, according to speakers at the July 21-24 Baptist World Alliance annual gathering in Prague. Over the past year, the worldwide Baptist umbrella organization's church health and effectiveness workgroup has focused its attention on the health of pastors. Three presenters provided glimpses into the particular difficulties pastors experience in North America, Bulgaria and Chile.

Baptist World Aid Seeks to Become Baptist Hub for Disaster and Develop Initiatives (7/25)

(EthicsDaily.com) BWAid proposed "to coordinate Baptist responses to global poverty by connecting Baptist aid and development agencies around the globe," to act "as a broker to ensure speedy and appropriate responses," to facilitate "coordinated emergency responses to disasters situations" and "to educate and challenge our constituency to live justly and promote change to address global poverty."

BWA Leaders Pledge to Tackle Climate Change, Address Zimbabwe (7/28)

(EthicsDaily.com) Baptist World Alliance leaders repeatedly addressed the issue of climate change last week at their annual gathering in Prague, Czech Republic, even extending deliberations in the final session to strengthen a resolution on the issue....Other adopted resolutions included one on Zimbabwe, in which the BWA general council lamented the events there which "have led to economic crisis, social unrest, political uncertainty, and a deterioration in human rights."

Global Baptists Voice Fear, Call for Positive Dialogue with Muslims

(EthicsDaily.com) One U.S. Baptist leader said that it was important for Baptists to respond constructively since some Baptists had made such harmful comments about Islam. Pointing out that Baptists had a rich tradition of living respectfully with others, he offered that Baptists would not compromise their core Christian convictions.

The Lessons of the BWA's Emerging Leaders Network

(texasbaptists.wordpress.com) Blake Killingsworth of Dallas Baptist University shares some his thoughts on the subject. Blake is part of the Baptist World Alliance Emerging Leaders Network, which seeks to encouraged and develop leadership skills among younger Baptists.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

David Gushee & Path to Discernment on Homosexuality

Baptist ethicist and Associated Baptist Press editorial-writer David Gushee recently put out his third article in the past four months on homosexuality.

Gushee's first article was appropriately titled "On homosexuality, can we at least talk about it?"

Gushee stated his purpose for this series up front:

...to begin a dialogue in this column by simply calling for the rudiments of Christian love of neighbor to extend to the homosexual. And the place to begin is in the church -- that community of faith in which we have (reportedly) affirmed that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Gushee called for the following Christian commitments:
  • -- The complete rejection of still-common forms of speech in which anti-homosexual slurs (“queer,” “fag”) are employed either in jest or in all seriousness
  • -- The complete rejection of a heart attitude of hatred, loathing, and fear toward homosexuals
  • -- The complete rejection of any form of bullying directed against homosexuals or those thought to be homosexuals
  • -- The complete rejection of political demagoguery in which homosexuals are scapegoated for our nation's social ills and used as tools for partisan politics
  • -- The complete rejection of casual, imprecise and erroneous factual claims about homosexuality in preaching, teaching or private speech, such as, “All homosexuals choose to be that way.”
  • -- The complete recognition of the full dignity and humanity of the homosexual as a person made in God's image and sacred in God's sight
  • -- The complete recognition that in any faith community of any size one will find persons wrestling with homosexuality, either in their own lives or the lives of people that they love
  • -- The complete recognition that when Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, that includes especially our homosexual neighbors, because the more a group is hated, the more they need Christ's love through us
All good commitments. I can't tell you how many times I've "heard" hateful slur terms like "sodomite" used in a certain segment of the Baptist blogosphere...by pastors. But I digress...

Gushee's second article was titled "On homosexuality, whose narrative do we believe?"

Gushee concludes:

The deeper question is posed by the competing narratives presented above. Either homosexual behavior is by definition sinful, or it is not. If it is sinful by definition, then presumably it must be resisted like any other sin. If it is not sinful by definition, then the homosexuality issue is a liberation/justice struggle for a victimized group. Probably the right answer to this question will be very clear to everyone (that is, to 99% of all reasonable Christian human beings) in 100 years, as the proper positions on slavery and Nazism and civil rights and Apartheid are to modern-day Christians. But in real time, right now, it is tearing churches and denominations apart here and around the world.

Now, in his most recent article on homosexuality, The Path to Discernment on Homosexuality, Gushee writes:
I have sought to suggest in a handful of columns in recent months that a rethinking of the church's stance on homosexuality is needed. Reading in the scholarly literature, one sees that some very fine Christian minds are at work on this issue. Moving well beyond old clichés and prejudices, these scholars, many of them quite conservative both methodologically and theologically, are wrestling with the idea that Christians may need to revise centuries-old teaching about homosexuality. Some of these thinkers are concluding that in fact a revision is needed; others are not persuaded. It would be a significant ethical-doctrinal change, though such change is not unprecedented in Christian history (e.g., slavery, segregation, sexism, state killing in the name of Christ, etc.).
And Gushee concludes:

We need a careful, unhurried process of Christian discernment related to scriptural teachings, our theological understanding of homosexuality, and church practices in relation to homosexuals, undertaken by those who are committed unequivocally to every (other) dimension of the classic Christian sexual ethic -- in which sex belongs within marriage (lifetime, exclusive, covenant partnerships), marriage is for life, and the church is a disciplined countercultural community in which these norms are both taught and lived.

The question on the table would be whether Christian homosexuals who live according to these norms should be treated as faithful members of the Christian community.

Gushee promises to continue this much needed conversation in his future columns. If you haven't already, catch up on this important series. The new, nice layout at Associated Baptist Press now allows readers to leave comments. Check that out too.

Also, my theologian friend Michael Westmoreland-White has just completed a 17-part series on homosexuality over at his blog called Levellers. His must-read series is titled GLBT Persons in the Church: A Case for Full Inclusion.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baylor University Board of Regents Fire President

According to the Waco Trib, President John Lilley was fired today by the Baylor University Board of Regents. President Lilley was a good friend to Baptist causes like the New Baptist Covenant. This decision from the Regents comes just two weeks after Provost Randall O'Brien announced that he was leaving Baylor to become the President of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Follow the WacoTrib for more details.

Here's the Press Release:

And a snippet from Marv Knox of ABP:

GRAPEVINE, Texas (ABP) -- The Baylor University board of regents has fired President John Lilley.

A statement released by the university the morning of July 24 said the board “voted today to begin the search for a new university president.”

The statement cited board chairman Howard Batson as saying the vote “was necessary in order to unite Baylor’s many constituencies and move the university forward in its next period of growth and renewal.”

Lilley’s removal “represents the regents’ acknowledgement of a need for unifying leadership as Baylor strives to achieve its goals under Baylor 2012,” the statement cited Batson as saying, referring to the Texas Baptist school's long-range plan.
The statement did not cite specific reasons for removing Lilley, who has been president since January 2006.
E-mail statement from President John Lilley:

Two and a half years ago I was invited unanimously by the board of regents to come to Baylor. I did not come to Baylor to advance my career. Gerrie (his wife) and I were reluctant but finally were persuaded to come because of the unanimous vote and the promised prayers of the regents...We felt that we could help to heal the wounded hearts left in the wake of the conflict that preceded us. Despite the board’s unanimous vote, it became clear immediately that the Baylor board of regents reflected some of the deepest divisions in the Baylor family...I am proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to bring the Baylor family together and to help the university achieve the ambitious goals set forth in our mission and vision 2012, documented in our annual report just presented to the regents...I deeply regret the action of the board, and I do not believe that it reflects the best interests of Baylor University.
Dallas Morning News: Baylor University Fires President John Lilley
Christianity Today: President of Baylor University Fired
Baylor Lariat: Regents Oust President Lilley

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Baptist Prof in Ch-St Lawsuit Against KY Baptist Homes

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union haved filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of Kentucky taxpayers against Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children. The lawsuit, Pedreira v. Kentucky Baptist Homes For Children Inc., asserts that (from AU press release) "Kentucky Baptist Homes has no right to accept public funding while imposing religious dogma on the children in its programs, and that the Homes' religion-based anti-gay employment policy violates civil rights laws. One of the plaintiffs to this lawsuit is Dr. Paul Simmons - a former professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

From the lawsuit:
Baptist Homes is funded primarily by state and federal tax money. The Commonwealth of Kentucky sends juvenile offenders and other vulnerable youths in state custody to Baptist Homes. Baptist Homes then indoctrinates the children in its religious beliefs by, among other things, pressuring the children to attend Baptist church services, forcing them to say prayers before meals, enrolling them in bible studies, and requiring its employees to act consistently with its religious beliefs...Among the "core" religious values that Baptist Homes inculcates in the youth in its care is a belief that "the homosexual lifestyle is [not] one God intends for the human race."
According to the lawsuit, Baptist Homes in 1998 fired their "exceptional" "valuable" and "very honest and hard working" social worker, Alicia Pedreira, upon learning that Pedreira is a lesbian. The plaintiffs allege that the state's provision of government funding to Baptist Homes violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for several reasons, including that Baptist Homes was a thoroughly religious institution, that the funding supported religious indoctrination of the youth in Baptist Homes' care, and that the funding was being used to finance staff positions that were filled based on religious criteria. Pedreira, the former employee, alleges that Baptist Homes discriminated against her based on religion in violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act by requiring its employees to conform their sexual orientation to Baptist Homes' religious beliefs.

The lawsuit provides numerous examples of public financed religion. On the one hand, Kentucky Based Homes took from Uncle Sam's cookie jar. And on the other hand, they forced the children to attend "mandatory" Baptist church services while consequently denying non-Baptist children the opportunity to attend other religious services. Some children of non-Baptist backgrounds felt that were being "pressured" into "giving up [their] religion." Read more here.

Tomorrow's post will feature a brief survey of where Baptist organizations have historically stood on such issues as government funding of human service activities of pervasively sectarian religious organizations (i.e. Kentucky Baptist Homes). I'll briefly mention the Baptist Joint Committee, the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Buckner International.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Baptist Senator & McCain's BFF Calls For Less Whining

Phil Gramm and I have a couple of things in common.

We both lived in Georgia, 100+ miles south of Atlanta to be precise, for well over a decade.

We both are University of Georgia alums.
-Gramm = Uga I era
-BDW = Uga VI era, RIP

North Campus guys.

I went the Poli Sci route and Gramm became an Econ Ph.D.

We were both Georgia Democrats.

We both left Georgia for Texas.

He's a Baptist. I'm a Baptist.

Gramm is now a top adviser to John McCain - a top economic adviser to John McCain.

During a recent interview with the Washington Times, Gramm - downplaying the idea that our economy is in a recession - declared:
You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession...We have sort of become a nation of whiners, you just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline...We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today."
I'm just wondering whether Gramm has checked the status of his Portfolio lately. My "low risk" Portfolio has been tanking, little by little, each day. It's somewhat unbearable. Up a few Benjamins at close Monday and Down a few months rent by Wednesday. Painful.

So Pardon Me Phil Gramm while I whine and complain just a bit!

And I didn't even lose my home or my job to a crappy economy.

Here's Karen Finney of the DNC:
“What John McCain, George Bush, Phil Gramm just don't understand is that the American people aren't whining about the state of the economy; they are suffering under the weight of it — the weight of eight years of Bush-enomics that John McCain and Phil Gramm have vowed to continue.

“How dare john McCain and his advisers so callously dismiss the challenges the American people face? No wonder voters feel John McCain is out of touch. He and his campaign don't even understand the everyday issues Americans are dealing with.”

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Baylor Provost Named President of Carson-Newman

From Baylor University:

Dr. J. Randall O'Brien, who has served Baylor University for 17 years as a faculty member and administrator, was introduced today as the 22nd President of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. For the past three years, O'Brien has served as Baylor's Executive Vice President and Provost. He will leave this position effective Aug. 1.

In his capacity as Baylor's chief academic officer, O'Brien has worked closely with Baylor President John M. Lilley during a period of tremendous progress at Baylor.

"Randall has served Baylor admirably in a variety of positions over a period of nearly two decades," Lilley said. "I have deeply appreciated the important role he has played as Executive Vice President and Provost, overseeing our academic programs and helping to lead the university as we've confronted a variety of opportunities and challenges. Baylor has benefited enormously from Randall's talent and dedication over a number of years, and the university has prospered as a result of his efforts."

"Baylor is flourishing under the leadership of President John Lilley," O'Brien said. "It has been my privilege to serve alongside President Lilley and to work daily to continue our forward progress in every area of university life. By almost every objective measure, Baylor is on a powerful upward trajectory. We are seeing the bold vision of Baylor 2012 come to pass, and the university's prospects for future success couldn't be brighter."

A popular choice of students, O'Brien's academic courses were often oversubscribed, and he has been honored by Baylor students with numerous teaching awards. He also has been active as a scholar, publishing four books and more than 70 scholarly articles. O'Brien also has retained his love for preaching, currently serving as interim pastor of Trinity Baptist Church of San Antonio, while also preaching at conferences, conventions and universities across the United States and abroad.

Currently, Lilley is consulting with officers of the Board of Regents, his Executive Council, the Dean's Council and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate regarding the choice of an interim appointment to succeed O'Brien. He is expected to make an announcement within the week. In addition, Lilley will be naming a representative search committee to help with the selection of a new Executive Vice President and Provost, and he will launch a national search immediately.

Click here for the Statement from O'Brien.

And the announcement from Carson-Newman.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Moderate Baptist Church Holds Jesse Helms Funeral

The funeral for North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms - described by NPR as a conservative purist - is being held tomorrow (Tuesday) at Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, a decidedly moderate Baptist congregation. In an article published in Commonweal titled "The Right Hand of God: Jesse Helms's Political Theology," Hayes Barton is described as:
A church where the theology is as moderate and mainstream as its red-brick, tall-steeple architecture.
Hayes Barton is a dually-aligned congregation that list links on its resource page to the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina, Baptist World Alliance, Smyth & Helwys Publishing, and Acacia Resources (publishing division of EthicsDaily.com). Basically, the only "moderate-related" organization not listed is the Baptist Joint Committee!

The pastor of Hayes Barton Baptist Church is Dr. David Hailey. Before his call to Hayes Barton, Hailey served as pastor of the moderate Highland Hills Baptist Church which is another congregation affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hayes Barton also has on staff an ordained female. The Rev. Julia Ledford, a Campbell University Divinity School graduate, serves as the Minister of Christian Education at Hayes Barton Baptist Church. Many members of Hayes Barton are also actively involved in the ministries of the organizations listed above.

It's quite interesting that a true political fundamentalist/purist like Helms known best for his utter disdain for "liberals" and his inability to "agree to disagree" chose to remain a faithful member of a moderate Baptist church that understands quite well the importance of "agreeing to disagree" and supports with its time and money organizations that have been characterized by many (if not most) of his fellow conservative cohorts from the Christian Right as liberal at best and not-Christian at worst!

**Read testimonies from long-time Hayes Barton members here. According to this website, Helms served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher prior to his election to the United States Senate.
**Anne Graham Lotz is a former member of Hayes Barton. Lotz stated that she thought it was fitting for a "patriotic man" like Helms to pass away on Independence Day with "an exclamation point on his life."
**Her father, Billy Graham, described his long-time friend Jesse Helms as a "man of consistent conviction to conservative ideals and courage to faithfully serve God and country based on principle, not popularity or politics."

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Al Mohler Burns Down Atheist Straw Man

From Jeffrey Weiss of the Dallas Morning News via the DMN Religion Blog:

"Dr. Albert Mohler, one of the more interesting of Southern Baptist theologians, has a new book upcoming that looks to waste his power on a less-than-robust foe. According to my e-box:

"In his new book, Atheism Remix, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary examines atheism's surge in popularity."

And yes, there's statistical evidence for a "surge" in people saying they're atheists, in the same way that those "ocean in a bottle" desk doo-dads might contain a tsunami. According to last year's Pew Forum survey, the percentage of Americans who say they're atheists has soared all the way to -- wait for it -- 1.6 percent! And a fifth of those say they believe in some kind of god.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"


Most Messed Up Quote Of The Week

From Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands:

And husbands on their parts, because they're sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged--or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches

-Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

For more check out:

The Strange Sexual Obsessions at Southern Seminary


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