Press Release

March 7, 2002

Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists will promote and receive offerings from individuals and churches in Oklahoma who wish to contribute to the “Missionary Transition Fund” established by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.  Funds are being gathered to assist Southern Baptist missionaries whose positions are jeopardized by their refusing to endorse controversial changes to the faith statement that were approved at the 2000 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).   Funds collected in Oklahoma will be given with the understanding that, when the funds are distributed, priority be given to meeting the needs of Southern Baptist missionaries from Oklahoma who must leave their positions because they refuse to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. 

Baptists from churches around the state of Oklahoma have already given more than $262,000 to this cause.  Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists guarantees that 100% of the funds received for the “Missionary Transition Fund” will be distributed to transitioning SBC missionaries.  Individuals and churches who wish to contribute to this cause can send checks made payable to “Missionary Transition Fund” at P.O. Box 6371 Norman, OK 73070-6371. 

The following individuals launched the fund drive in Oklahoma and gave the first $262,000:  Dr. Lavonn Brown, Manning Close, Bill Duncan, Dale Geis, Dan Hobbs, Jerry Hobbs, Kay Holladay, Rick McClatchy, John Parrott, Bruce Prescott, Bob Stephenson, and Bud Vance of First Baptist Church, Norman; Don Lassiter of Bethel Baptist Church, Norman; Brown Hudson, Jim Huff and Dr. Jeff Zurheide of First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City; Brian Brewer and James Kirkendhall of Spring Creek Baptist Church, Oklahoma City; Dr. Gary and Linda Cook of  First Baptist Church, Lawton; Wayne Morris of Commanche County Memorial Hospital, Lawton; Darryl DeBorde of Braden Park Baptist Church, Tulsa; Jerry and Denise Dillon of First Baptist Church, Tulsa; Beth Davidson and Debbie McDaniel of South Tulsa Baptist Church, Tulsa; Rusty Brock and Chad Fetzer of Northwest Baptist Church, Ardmore; Eldridge Rose of First Baptist Church, Ardmore; Terry Jackson of First Baptist Church, Arnette; David Flick of Sharon Baptist Church, Chickasha; Susan Unruh of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Enid; Boyd and Martha Christensen of First Baptist Church, Ponca City; Darrel Witten of Romulus Baptist Church,  Romulus; Bob and Elaine Allison, Tim Youmans and Betty Woodward of First Baptist Church, Shawnee; William and Drexell Malone of University Baptist Church, Shawnee; Pat and Mary Clement of Main Street Baptist Church, Stigler; Bryan Glass of First Baptist Church, Stillwater; Mrs. Kyle Yates, University Heights Baptist Church, Stillwater; and Dr. Richard Kahoe, Watonga Indian Baptist Church, Watonga.

For more information contact Dr. Bruce Prescott,

Executive Director, Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists

Office:  (405) 329-2266

Email:  bprescott@mainstreambaptists.org

Website:  www.mainstreambaptists.org

 

Background

 

In June 2000 Southern Baptists approved controversial changes to the Baptist Faith and Message confession of faith which summarizes beliefs held by Southern Baptists. 

ABP -- Southern Baptists divide over focus of revelation

http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=2164

Southern Baptists in Texas, Virginia, and Mainstream Baptists throughout the country have refused to endorse the changes to the Baptist Faith and Message.

ABP -- Wade vows Texas Baptists won’t be coerced

http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=2189

ABP -- Jimmy Carter renounces Southern Baptist ties

http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=2412

ABP – Wade cites SBC’s ‘rigid limitations’ as cause for rift with Texas Baptists

http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=2436

ABP – ‘Mainstream’ network mobilizes Baptists against fundamentalism

http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=2600

In late January 2002 Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the SBC, wrote a letter to all IMB missionaries requesting that they sign a statement endorsing the 2000 BF&M by March 15th.

http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=3078

On February 26, 2002 the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas established a “Missionary Transition Fund” to assist IMB missionaries who cannot sign the 2000 BF&M in good conscience and are thereby in danger of losing their place of service.

http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=3116

For more information and news stories visit the Mainstream Baptist Network website at http://www.mainstreambaptists.org

Objections to the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message

The Bible vs. Jesus

The most unconscionable change in the 2000 BF&M is its promotion of the Bible at the expense of Jesus.  In 1963, the Bible was described as  “the record of” God’s self-revelation.  God was understood to have supremely revealed himself by incarnation in Jesus.  The Lordship of Christ over the process by which every believer interprets scripture was acknowledged by the affirmation that, “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

In 2000, the description of the Bible as a “record” of God’s revelation has been deleted.  The affirmation that Christ  is the “criterion” by which the Bible is to be interpreted has also been removed.  Jesus has been demoted and the Bible has been promoted.  Now the Bible is understood to be the supreme revelation of God and Christ is merely “the focus of divine revelation.”  The Lordship of Christ over the process by which believers interpret the Bible for themselves has been replaced by a process in which believers adhere to the interpretations provided for them by the 2000 BF&M.

Hierarchy vs. Autonomy

Historically Baptists have stood in the free church tradition.  We have understood churches to be autonomous and free from ecclesiastical control.  Decisions about who the congregation called as pastor and/or ordained as deacons was determined by how the congregation felt led by the Holy Spirit.

The 2000 BF&M decrees that “the office of pastor is limited to men” and ignores the biblical examples of God calling women to lead men in worship and service (Ex. 15:20; Judges 4; 2 Kings 22:14, Micah 6:4; Joel 2:28-29; Luke 2:26-28; Acts 2:16-21; Acts 18; Acts 21:9; 1 Cor. 11:5; Rom. 16:1,7).  There can be no doubt that the 2000 BF&M has been designed to authorize the hierarchical exercise of ecclesiastical control over those churches that feel led by the Holy Spirit to call women as their pastors.

Husbands vs. Wives

The 2000 BF&M advises only wives that they must “graciously submit” to their husbands and neglects to tell husbands that they must submit with as much or more grace than their wives.  The 2000 BF&M’s interpretation of Eph. 5:22 ignores the grammatical (in the Greek) and logical priority that must be given to the command to mutual submission in (Eph. 5:21). It makes the husband “lord” of the wife rather than acknowledging that Christ is Lord over both. Adding to these errors is the view that the metaphor “head” (Eph. 5:23) should be seen as an image of a proud and powerful “military ruler” rather than as an image of a self-sacrificing and humble “suffering servant” who voluntarily sets aside power and glory and gives his life for his family (Phil. 2:3-8).

Creedalism

Early Baptists were opposed to anything that “emboldens people to judge the liberty of other men’s consciences.”  Sentiment against creeds was so strong in 1845 that the Baptists who founded the Southern Baptist Convention refused to write a statement of beliefs.  They would follow “no creed, but the Bible.”

To allay fears about the danger of creedalism, when in 1925 the SBC adopted the first Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M) statement, its non-binding character was made clear by the assertion that it has “no authority over conscience.” Later, in the 1963 revision, an explicit statement was added declaring that BF&M statements were not “official creeds carrying mandatory authority.”

The revisers of the 2000 BF&M deleted the 1963 statement denying that the BF&M carries “mandatory authority” and replaced it with the assertion that BF&M’s are “instruments of doctrinal accountability.” (See Preambles)

 

 

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