January 26, 2004
BWA Withdrawal Part of Southern Baptist Leaders’ Anti-Baptist Political Agenda
By Bruce Gourley
In October, the fundamentalist leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention quietly decided to pull the SBC out of the Baptist World Alliance. In December, they made their decision public, citing liberalism within the BWA. The BWA promptly refuted the charge of liberalism, exposing the lies of Southern Baptist leaders. By the end of January, Baptist leaders from Russia, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Bulgaria, South Africa, Ukraine, Italy, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and other Latin American nations (as reported by the Fort Worth Star Telegram), not to mention the United States, had publicly criticized the Southern Baptist Convention.
To longtime observers of the 25 year fundamentalist makeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, the departure from the BWA comes as no surprise. Southern Baptists’ fundamentalist leaders have long been marching the SBC out the door of Baptist life and onto the threshold of their own little kingdom. Core Baptist principles are systematically being discarded in place of policies designed to shore up the new fundamentalist order. The Priesthood of all Believers has been dismantled and replaced with strict pastoral authority. Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State have been jettisoned in favor of the myth of America as a Christian nation. The Authority of Scripture has been buried under layers of creedalism, of which the frosting on the cake is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Faith in Christ alone now plays second fiddle to homage to that same BF&M 2000. Local Church Autonomy has been rejected in favor of Roman Catholic-like, hierarchical conformity.
In short, Southern Baptists’ fundamentalist leaders have been intentionally dismantling the “Baptist” in Southern Baptist Convention for more than two decades. In its place they have been crafting a southern coalition of inerrantist-spouting, Republican Party-loyal evangelicals which now reaches throughout the nation. This far-reaching coalition which the SBC is morphing into has one central goal: to save the world by regulating family life and purifying doctrine, an agenda outlined last summer in the Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative (http://www.sbc.net/ekg). Read the EKG materials closely on the website, and you will notice that it is a global, non-denominational initiative designed to lead theologically and politically conservative evangelicals in creating a male-dominated fundamentalist Christian world order. In light of EKG, there simply is no place at the table for the diverse, spiritually-minded, servant-oriented Baptist World Alliance.
Ironically, fundamentalist Southern Baptist leaders seem oblivious to the sins and dangers of the ever-increasing (and well-documented) web of lies and deception they have so freely spun in their ongoing efforts to save the world. Apparently, they are under the impression that God has exempted them from obedience to the Ten Commandments in their tireless efforts to force their kingdom vision upon the world.
Then again, fundamentalist Southern Baptist leaders have no interest in being “Baptist.” Their commitment is to their own agenda, their loyalty to their own kingdom. And although the BWA will be better off without the dictatorial SBC leadership, millions of Southern Baptists in the pews, deceived by the lies of their leaders, are blindly being led away from the Baptist faith into religious-political legalism. It is only right that Baptists throughout the world stand up in protest of the lies and deception. But in the end, it is only biblical that the Baptist World Alliance refuse to betray the legacy of Baptists by embracing the false gospel of legalism preached by fundamentalist SBC leaders.
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