Letter to the Editor of the Baptist Messenger

In his January 22 column, John Yeats seeks to justify the Southern Baptist Convention's break with the Baptist World Alliance in part by pointing to the SBC's defunding of the Baptist Joint Committee in 1990.  He contends that differences over "the sanctity of life and religious liberty for all" left the SBC "no option but to respectfully withdraw from [Baptist Joint Committee] membership."  The record needs to be set straight on three counts.   First, there was nothing respectful about the SBC's defunding of the Baptist Joint Committee; it was altogether acrimonious.   Second, the BJC -- as mandated by its board has never taken a position on the issue of abortion.  The BJC has always focused solely on religious liberty issues.   Third, it is utterly ludicrous to suggest that the BJC does not support religious liberty for all.   That is its only mission and, outside the SBC, its clear and consistent stand for religious liberty for all is widely respected.

The truth is, like its dissatisfaction with BWA, the SBC's disaffection with the Baptist Joint Committee has a lot more to do with its inability to control the BJC and dictate its policies than it has to do with the reasons suggested by Mr. Yeats.

Bruce Prescott

First Baptist Church, Norman


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