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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Demonization of Moderates: NC Baptists Oust CBF

Messengers to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina decided today that Churches will no longer be allowed to support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship through the BSCNC beginning in 2010. Check the Biblical Recorder for the story later today.

One NC Baptist fundamentalist had this to say about the decision over on his blog, Southern Baptists in NC:

The reason this amendment passed is that NC Baptist are Southern Baptist they are not CBF Baptist.  (This statement is something the Baptist General Convention of Texas would do well to heed.) NC Baptist are trying their best to say that we do not want anything to do with CBF.  If there are churches that desire to be CBF then have at it.  However, do not try to tell the world that you are Southern Baptist and be part of an organization that was organized as a result of being disgruntled with doctrines Southern Baptist believed and held dear. What does this mean for BSCNC?  It means that the churches that were bypassing the convention are now going to need to stop.  It means that we are in this together and thus we need to support the budget together. 

Also, there needs to be a call now to the head offices in Cary that NC Baptist have clearly stated we are not CBF. Thus, an employee at the convention offices should be a member of a NC Baptist church not one that is dually aligning themselves with the CBF and the BSCNC.  We had the clarion call today during the budget vote that we will not even give you an opportunity to send funds through us to the CBF.  We certainly should be able to say we want you attending a BSCNC church.
And here is a response to the BSCNC's decision from a moderate North Carolina Baptist. The blog post is appropriately titled Demons.

I am sitting in my office after spending the last day and a half at the Baptist State Convention of NC.  I witnessed a historical moment, and it breaks my heart.

The Baptist State Convention has, for about 18 years, provided 4 giving plan options for churches to contribute their missions giving through the state convention.  One of those plans, plan C, provided for 10% of our total giving to the state to go to CBF national.  For years now, the multiple giving plans have been under attack, with the primary focus being on plan C.  In the last couple of years, the state had determined that the 10% apportioned to CBF would not count as NC Cooperative Program giving.  Last year, the state formed a committee to investigate a single giving plan that would preserve multiple options.  That committee brought its recommendation today.  There would be a single giving plan, and churches could check a box on their giving form if they desired a portion of their proceeds to go to CBF.  An amendment was brought from the floor to remove this check box.  After a secret ballot vote, the amendment passed.  After years of efforts, plan C was officially dead.

This isn’t what broke my heart.  Anybody with a brain has been able to see this handwriting on the wall for years.  There are going to be those who argue, as there were today, that churches can just send their money directly to CBF and negatively designate the SBC out of their missions giving.  CBF churches are still welcome in the Baptist State Convention of NC, they will say.

They are lying.

Those who spoke in favor of the amendment based their arguments on 2 points:  CBF doesn’t affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, and CBF isn’t true Baptist.  There were calls for the convention to “take a stand”.  And so they did.  They thought they were taking a stand against some faceless organization.  Instead, they took a stand against Christian men and women I serve and work with every day.  They called me, my church members, and my peers in ministry enemies.  They demonized us.

That is what breaks my heart.  They made people I love and respect into demons in order to get what they wanted.  I could have lived with a decision that said, “We are SBC, and we want a plan that says we are SBC only.”  I would not have agreed with it, but I could have respected it.  I can’t respect this.  Especially when I know it is going to be followed by somebody saying, “We aren’t kicking you out.  You can still send your money to us.” 

When the announcement of the vote was made, there was no comment or response.  A couple of folks clapped, though not as many as I honestly expected.  The President just moved on to the next item of business.  The convention moved on and left behind Christ-loving, Christ-serving people who had just been accused of not being true Baptist or even true Christians, people and churches who have been a part of the state convention for decades.  I’m sure some will say it was just an example of the convention saying, “Get behind me, Satan.”

Funny, Jesus said those words to Peter, the rock upon which he would build his church. 
To those CBF pastors, laypeople, and churches who winced at being made to feel like demons, my heart hurts with you and for you.  My prayer for all of us is that we will be able to put aside the hurt and anger that rises in our belly at being called a demon so that we might fully concentrate on being the rocks upon which Christ will build His kingdom.
 Texas Baptists should pay attention to the fundamentalist from North Carolina cited above and the actions taken today by the fundamentalists in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.  What happened today in North Carolina is just one of MANY examples which demonstrate that Cooperation with Fundamentalists is not possible.  It just ain't.  

Fundamentalism by definition seeks power and control.  First, the state convention cuts the CBF option off.  Second, the state convention decides to tell its employees which Baptist churches are OK to attend and join.  Power and Control. 

We can be nice and drop the fundamentalist tag and just call 'em Southern Baptists - as if a good many of those Southern Baptists are not fundamentalists.  That what some folks here in Texas are doing.  They pretend that somehow moderates and fundamentalists can work together under the same roof.  They pretend that somehow a Baptist organization can be supportive of both Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and George W. Truett Theological Seminary.  They pretend that a Baptist organization can support programs which affirm Women In Ministry while also accommodating an institution that wants to keep women out the pulpit and in the home; baking cookies, cleaning, and birthing babies, Quiverfull style. 

Naive?  You Bet'cha.  That's putting it charitably.  Why any person who eschews fundamentalism would want a better relationship with a Baptist group completely controlled by fundamentalists is beyond my comprehension.  Some Texas Baptists need to pay attention to what happened in North Carolina and Georgia this week.  They need to read a book or two.  A primer on fundamentalism is apparently needed.  Or, just keep that head in the sand.  

The ONLY Way to Cooperate With a Fundamentalist Is To Obey Him.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

Your readers might be interested in this article in today's AJC:

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/living/stories/2008/11/11/georgia_baptists_women.html

2:02 PM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

BDW,

I think you can expect to see these kinds of actions continue in many, or any, states which still are clinging to one state convention. Virginia and Texas were years ahead of the curve in seeing that separating was inevitable.

North Carolina and Georgia will soon.

But remember, it runs both ways on both sides. Texas and Virginia formed breakaway conservative conventions. Looks like N.C. and GA will have breakaway moderate conventions.

BGCT consolidated and ensured its power by messenger-allocation changes. Apparently, N.C. and GA will do it through policy-making also.

5:56 PM

 
Blogger Danny said...

This happened in MO a few years ago and our church was involved in being invited out. Although it might be emotional, being voted out can be a liberating thing for churches who want to move on with their mission and ministry.

Send your money elsewhere

7:14 PM

 
Anonymous Lee said...

There's a significant difference between what has happened in North Carolina and Georgia, and what has been transpiring in the BGCT. David Lowrie represents a group of churches and individuals who are conservative, but not fundamentalist. That has not been the case in North Carolina, where the organized effort to control the convention was made by fundamentalists. The Georgia convention has been under fundamentalist control for quite some time. The BGCT group represented by Lowrie is not an organized political movement of fundamentalists. There is not now, nor will there be, any move from these churches to oust moderates from the BGCT. Rather, the efforts of moderate leadership to control the BGCT and prevent a fundamentalist takeover has used similar rhetoric. Statements from TBC leaders and other moderates that they just can't see how a church can support the BGCT and the SBC have caused many of the more than 4,000 churches which do exactly that to feel disenfranchised. So they've chosen leadership that has clearly demonstrated a willingness to do whatever it takes to hang on to the Baptist cooperative spirit. No one has even come close, in the BGCT, to suggesting that the CBF or Texas Initiatives option in the CP giving plans be eliminated. Comparisons do not work in this case.

6:25 AM

 
Blogger Tom Parker said...

Big Daddy:

I have attempted to blog a little bit with the the first blog item host you mentioned in your post and I encourage you and the others to go look at the exchange between me and him. It is beyond mind boggling. The mind set of this man is unbelievable--to me it borders on contempt and hate for the CBF.

If I read him right he wants people who work at the NCBSC who do not worship at non-CBF churches to be removed from their jobs. I have suggested to him that he help fire these people so that he can see himself the devestation wrought on these innocent people.

I am beyond angry. I really do not know what is happening to what I once considered a great denomination. I just do not recognize it any more and when the fundamentalist get through with it it will be unrecognizable.

5:25 PM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

Tom,

The BGCT is barely recognizable from what it was 10 years ago, and this is due to moderates consolidating and excluding, not conservatives or fundamentalists. Perhaps a name change will do the convention good.

Lee is correct--TBC showed they were just as efficient at excluding as the SBC takeover group.

7:09 PM

 
Blogger Tom Parker said...

cat's dad:

Just so that you will understand me, it is wrong when both sides exclude each other.

7:24 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the articles and as a Southern Baptist Pastor with no axes to grind or sides to take. I feel that I represent most of our Churches in North Carolina. We are not interested in all the politics that go on. I have not one thing bad to say about the CBF or those who support them. I wish that organization well and those who are a part of it. My feeling is as it has always been what does the CBF have to do with us. It is a separate organization whose entire existance seems to be to oppose the SBC. I feel the CBF brought politics into our convention unnecessarily. This is from a non-aligned, neutral party. I think both sides have acted ridiculous at times. It is time for the CBF to go on about its business and I pray that is being an outreach for Jesus to the world and it is time for us to do the same. The CBF should never ever have connected itself to the state convention to begin with. That is why the vote passed. I don't have any ill feelings toward my brothers in the Lord. I love them and all the CBF people. Just try to see it from a "mainline" baptist perspective. We want politics out so we can focus on what we are supposed to do. Chris, NC

6:23 AM

 
Blogger Tom Jordan said...

Chris, NC, just asked, "what does the CBF have to do with us," or, in other words, what does an organization dedicated to preserving Baptist freedoms and inclusiveness have to do with an organization that has become an exclusive fundamentalist group that dictates credalism while purporting to be Baptist? Well, let me tell you. The CBF believes that, by definition, Baptist means that the unbrella of Baptist is big enough for all noncredal Baptists who believe in the basics and Baptist freedoms. Isn't that what being Baptist is all about?

12:50 PM

 
Blogger Arce said...

The BGCT did not tell anyone that their participation or contributions were unwelcome. That is not the approach of the TBC.

However, the TBC did help to recruit and promote candidates that would not contribute to a fundamentalist takeover of the BGCT, but would resist such a move.

3:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're to young to remember, but the older Baptists feel a heart-felt connection to the SBC, and while their churches remained moderate and joined the CBF, they continued to send money to the Lottie Moon Mission Fund.

Ask any of the faculty at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, and they will say they didn't change, the SBC did. (Faculty who were fired from other seminaries because they refused to sign loyalty oaths.)

It’s curious the SBC counts an entire congregation in its membership even if it’s just a few old ladies sending in $30 a year to the mission fund.

Perhaps with this change, the numbers, in NC at least, will reflect the true membership of the SBC.

9:33 PM

 
Blogger Josh said...

What do you think will happen to the CBF/SBC churches in NC? Which do you think they will completely align up with? I believe that the churches that support both will eventually break ties with the SBC, especially after this decision.

11:24 AM

 

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