A question about your beliefs.

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A question about your beliefs.

Postby Sharon » Sun May 15, 2005 9:23 pm

I notice that one of the administrator's websites said that they left the SBC because of the fundamentalist takeover. May I ask what parts of the SBC doctorine and/or methods seem to be a concern for you?

I'm only asking so I can get a more clear idea of what you believe.
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Re: A question about your beliefs.

Postby David Flick » Sun May 15, 2005 11:19 pm

Sharon wrote:I notice that one of the administrator's websites said that they left the SBC because of the fundamentalist takeover. May I ask what parts of the SBC doctorine and/or methods seem to be a concern for you?

I'm only asking so I can get a more clear idea of what you believe.

Hi Sharon,

First of all, welcome to BaptistLife.Com. Glad to have you aboard.

Secondly, I'm not sure which of the administrators you might be talking about. All three of the administrators are out of the SBC now. We are all three affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Ed and I are formally aligned with the ABC-USA, leaving the SBC after serving many years therein.

Both Bruce and I have personal websites. Were you referring to Bruce or to me when you mentioned websites? Bruce has several. I have two. I'll let Ed explain for himself why he is no longer a Southern Baptist.

I am no longer a Southern Baptist for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I was excluded (somewhat) and lost my job as a Director of Missions. But the primary reason that I became an American Baptist is because an ABC church called me to be their pastor. It's a long story and probably not worthy of being told here.

Regarding the SBC "doctrines and methods," I'll offer the short version...
    1) The SBC has changed drastically over the past quarter century. The fundamentalists in the SBC staged a takeover of the denomination in 1979 and the "methods" of the changed in a major way. The power in the denomination has gravitated to the top. The current SBC leadership runs a tight ship and does not look favorably toward diversity of thought and theology in the denomination. Prior to 1979, the SBC leadership allowed diversity in the denomination. That is to say, conservatives and moderates worked together in a cooperative fashion.

    The leadership, prior to 1979, did not demand absolute conformity on all doctrinal and ecclesiastical issues. Both moderates and conservatives shared leadership in the denominational agencies and boards. After the takeover, the conservatives became fundamentalists who demanded absolute conformity on everything. They refused to allow moderates (whom they labeled as "liberals") to serve in agencies, boards, and seminaries in the denomination. The fundamentalists wrested absolute control of the denomination and literally hundreds of moderates were excluded and/or fired from boards, agencies, and seminaries.

    The results of the actions taken by the fundamentalists was the birth of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). Initially, the CBF was a large group of Southern Baptists who were excluded from participation in the SBC. As time passed, the CBF became more like a denomination inside a denomination. They formed their own mission-sending/supporting councils. They partnered with seminaries other that the six SBC aligned seminaries. Today, the CBF functions as a denomination apart from the SBC. At this point, however, the CBF has not formally declared themselves to be a denomination separate from the SBC. I expect that in a few short years, the CBF will formally declare themselves to be a denomination separate and apart from the SBC.

    2) In 2000, the SBC formally changed theology by revising the Baptist Faith and Message (the confession of faith). Most churches in the CBF preferred the 1963 version of the Baptist Faith and Message. The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message functions as a creed for Southern Baptists. Missionaries, denominational employees and seminary professors are required to sign the 2000BF&M in order to keep their positions and remain in good standing with the denomination. Refusing to subscribe to the 2KBF&M will result in being fired. Hundreds of missionaries and many seminary professors have been fired for refusing to sign the 2KBF&M.

Part of the reason I am no longer a Southern Baptist that I disagree with the ecclesiastical methodology of the SBC. Another part is that I disagree with the changes made in the confession of faith. Consequently, there is no place for me to serve in the denomination. I am not welcome. I am considered to be a "liberal" because I do not conform to the current theological standards set by the fundamentalists.

It's a very long and complex story, but this may be a start. I would be happy to discuss this further if you desire. Perhaps the best way to discuss this is for you to ask specific questions about doctrine or ecclesiology...
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Thank you, David

Postby Sharon » Sun May 15, 2005 11:36 pm

Thank you, David,

It was your website I visited. I didn't realize "Bruce" was a moderator, and I didn't see a website for Ed.

Wow, what an eye opener. I've been in the SBC churches for most of my life, and I've "felt" some of the changes, but I wasn't aware of much of what you told me. For instance, I had no idea that the "new" faith statement was mandatory. It makes sense though. I moved in 1979 and thought the changes I saw were "location" related.

When you say you were head of Missions, are you talking about in the convention itself? And if so, foreign or home?

What are they calling "liberal?" I mean, where do men like Dr. Ralph Smith, or Dr. Prince, or Dr. D.L. Lowrie, or Hayes Wicker fall into the picture? What became of Bob Ed Shotwell? These men were both very scripturally conservative, but they worked tremendously to reach the groups that many people unltra-conservative would have considered throw-aways. They worked for intrafaith causes and such?

What are the changes in regards to ecclesiastical teaching?

I was very aware of some issues in the BGC of Texas, and aware that there was something serious going on in the management levels of the SBC, but the "details" didn't trickle down to the congregations, and in the church I recently left behind there was no way I'd have been sent to represent the church. I didn't have the proper "this is a private country club," attitude.
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Re: Thank you, David

Postby David Flick » Wed May 18, 2005 2:19 am

Well, Sharon, I'm back after a 24-hr hiatus. I went out of town on business... A day around BL.Com has a way of stretching. :D Anyway...

Sharon wrote:Thank you, David,

It was your website I visited. I didn't realize "Bruce" was a moderator, and I didn't see a website for Ed.

David: Technically speaking, Bruce is the chief "Administrator." Bruce is the owner of this discussion forum. Ed and I have been moderators from day one, which was a fine day back in March of 2000. All three of us were regular participants on a discussion forum that existed on CompuServe back between about 1995 to 2000. (William was also a participant on SBCNet. I think there may be a couple of others who were regulars on that discussion forum) The older discussion forum was known as SBCNet and was run by the SBC out of Nashville. I had an occasion to visit the offices and two moderators of the old SBCNet. I went to a writers conference at the BSSB back in '96 and walked over to the basement of the BSSB building and had a nice visit.
. . . . .SBCNet closed at midnight on December 31, 1999. There are several theories about why SBCNet closed. No one outside of Nashville has the definitive story on the demise of the discussion forum. I have a personal theory. Even back then there were several moderates who spent a lot of time discussing the issues. I was, at the time, pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in Dewey, OK. I was serving a very conservative church that wasn't what you could call a "fundamentalist" church but it certainly wasn't a moderate church either. I claimed to be conservative (and still am theologically speaking). But I was very much opposed to the takeover movement. I was quite a brash and mouthy character back in those days. Looking back on it, I was closet moderate. I didn't come out in the open as a moderate until after I was "dismissed" from my job as DOM of Grady Baptist Association. After that experience I signed on with the moderates and became active in the CBF and Mainstream Oklahoma Baptist organizations. But I'm drifting from my point here.
. . . . .Why did SBCNet close? I believe that the SSB, which was sponsoring the discussion forum, couldn't handle the heat they were taking from those who disagreed with the takeover movement. As you are aware, the SBC can't handle public or private criticism. They have the attitude that they are right about everything on God's green earth. To criticize the direction of the SBC is to incur the wrath of the powers that be. I believe the SBC couldn't handle the opinions of those who disagreed with the leadership. I also believe the SSB closed SBCNet as a means of sweeping contrary opinions under the rug. The SBC didn't want a forum that allowed opposing viewpoints to be publicly expressed. That's my theory, FWIW..
. . . . .On March 10, 2000, Bruce opened BaptistLife.Com for business. He knew that SBCNet was going to close several months before it left the internet. (We all knew the end was coming during those the last couple of months.) Bruce had the wisdom and insight and wisdom to purchase a number of internet domains. As he was formulating plans to begin BaptistLife.Com, he invited Ed and me to become Moderators for the forum. (Smart guy wasn't he... :wink: )
. . . . .BL.Com has been through a couple of format changes and has experienced a massive wipe-out (in which we lost hundreds posts and threads which vanished out into thin cyberspace). The first format was a weak and the software wasn't too desirable. The same is true for the second format. We finally settled on the one we have now and the rest is history.

Wow, what an eye opener. I've been in the SBC churches for most of my life, and I've "felt" some of the changes, but I wasn't aware of much of what you told me. For instance, I had no idea that the "new" faith statement was mandatory. It makes sense though. I moved in 1979 and thought the changes I saw were "location" related.

No, the changes had widespread implications. There are a goodly number of books that have been published through the years about the changes. The changes were originally targeted at the seminaries but spread quickly until the entire denomination became embroiled in controversy. I have a shelf full of books that speak to the SBC controversies. Bruce himself wrote one of the best books published on the subject. I would encourage you get a copy of it. I have about 30 copies of the book and would send you one but I packed them away in the last move I made (---from Chickasha to Enid) and can't locate them. Here's a link to get a view of the book. You can also order the book from this site.

When you say you were head of Missions, are you talking about in the convention itself? And if so, foreign or home?

Actually, I wasn't the "head" of much of anything. I was a Director of Missions, i.e. "DOM" (which is a mid-level denominational worker.) I coordinated the work of an association of 26 churches in the Grady Baptist Association of Oklahoma. I lasted 20 months and had a run-in with the fundamentalists. (Long story that some of the fundamentalists herewith are tired of hearing :wink: )

What are they calling "liberal?" I mean, where do men like Dr. Ralph Smith, or Dr. Prince, or Dr. D.L. Lowrie, or Hayes Wicker fall into the picture? What became of Bob Ed Shotwell? These men were both very scripturally conservative, but they worked tremendously to reach the groups that many people unltra-conservative would have considered throw-aways. They worked for intrafaith causes and such?

What are the changes in regards to ecclesiastical teaching?

Dr. Smith, I think, was a moderate. He was a close personal friend of Dr. James G. Harris (who served Ft Worth University Baptist Church from 1954 until his death in 1977.) Dr. Harris died before the takeover began but was what one would call a solid moderate. Dr. Smith was in Austin at the time. Dr Lowrie didn't get involved too much in the controversies, but I think he stayed with Southern Baptists until he retired. Hayes Wicker is on the fundamentalist side. I don't hear much about him, but he's pretty big in the Florida Baptist Convention, which is a decidedly fundamentalist convention. I don't know Bob Ed Shotwell so I can't say anything about him. But I do Know Wesley Shotwell and he's squarely on the moderate side of the picture. Lowrie was pastor of the Northside Baptist church in Ft. Worth when I was a student at Southwestern back in the early'70's. I loved to hear Lowrie preach. He preached on the radio and was a masterful preacher...

I was very aware of some issues in the BGC of Texas, and aware that there was something serious going on in the management levels of the SBC, but the "details" didn't trickle down to the congregations, and in the church I recently left behind there was no way I'd have been sent to represent the church. I didn't have the proper "this is a private country club," attitude.

The BCGT is one of the two major conventions that steered clear of the fundamentalist takeover (Virginia being the other). If I were still a Southern Baptist, I would do my best to become affiliated in some fashion with that convention. From top to bottom, the BGCT faced off with fundamentalists and won big-time. There were a few prominent fundamentalists that made a big splash in Texas. (Namely, W. A. Criswell, John Bissango, and Ed Young et.al) But the SBC break off in Texas (the SBTC) failed miserably in their effort to pull off the coup.

--Hope this answers some of your questions. There's probably more here than you wanted to hear...
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Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed May 18, 2005 8:55 am

Ed: The reasons I left the SBC are very much like what David has written above. In short it came to a point when I no longer trusted many in SBC leadership and I began to look for a place to move.. The Church that I Was a member of in Florida Was one of the first to support CBF. About the same time (1989) I felt compelled to return to Seminary. I had dropped out in 1954 to feed my family and allowed myself to get to busy with other things. Ended up divorced and immediately found myself un needed by a number of So. Baptist Churches in Indiana. (My home state, to which I had returned when I left School) I drifted in and out of several churches until I retired from my state job in 1985. But I did learn a good bit about singles Ministry from the inside. Through one United Methodist and one Wesleyan Church. I went to Florida and had the good fortune to become involved in a moderate SBC church. Then I moved again and was in a solidly conservative church with a great pastor who would be called moderate today. That pastor retired and they hired a first time pastor who was very conservative and who pandered to the most conservative in the congregation. His Idea of singles ministry was a vehicle to get all the singles in the church married off unless they where at least 60. I left there to get out of his way. I then became very involved in The FBC Ft Myers which was moderate. There I was part of starting a Singles Ministry. 6months before I left for seminary a woman came to our 4th of July picnic who I immediately saw as potential leader for that group, some one to take my pace, if you will. We got to know each other well and after I had been in Louisville for nearly a semester she came up to visit. She fell in love with Louisville and Moved up there. Eventually she fell in live with me and we where married in the spring of 91. in 92 We went back to Florida for her to compleat her undergraduate degree . We attended FBC in Ft Myers again unto she finished a 2nd A.A then moved to Tampa where she attended the University of SO. Florida. There we made a point of getting into a moderate church. In 95 after she received her B.A. Magna cum Laude, we returned to Louisville for her to do an M.Div. But she did not plan to be involved in a church vocation, she planned to go on for a Ph.D. and return to a State School religion department similar to USF, to teach Hebrew and O.T.. So being a female at Southern 95-98 was not nearly a uncomfortable for her as it was for many women planing on church vocations, generally requiring ordination. After she Graduated with honors in 98. We moved to Cincinnati for her to attend Hebrew Union College-Jewish institute of Religion. In Cincinnati we found no SBC church of interest to either of us. But God led us to visit an ABC church where we immediately felt at home. There I began to learn that The ABC is not nearly a liberal as I had been led to believe for most of my life.. After two years at HUC and being active in our church Trudy began to feel that God was leading her in a different direction. She began working as an unpaid assistant to the pastor but at that time she was still of the opinion that Women could not be preachers. In a short time she was invited to take a paid position in another ABC church. The pastor was a very controlling sort. For one thing he insisted that she preach a the churches Back of the Track program.
She loved it. A short time later he told her she would be preaching both services one Sunday when he would be away. She was VERY reluctant but again she loved it and was forced to begin reexamining he stance on Women in Ministry to day we are in Upstate NY, the Adirondacks to be more specific, where she pastors two ABC churches. As David has said I am still involved in CBF, being on the coordinating council of the NE Baptist Fellowship.
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