Opinion: Baptist sexuality conference is misguided
Smith expresses his concern that a "few loud and persistent voices" are driving the issue in the CBF,
Rather than modeling dialogue on important issues of the day, I fear we as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are modeling how to allow a few loud and persistent voices to derail cooperative alliances.
I believe the voices that are orchestrating this conference do not represent most churches. I think it is important to resist allowing the framing of the issues to be set by people acting independently of their local congregations. Denominational meetings are often hijacked by persistent voices that have little or no influence in their local congregations.
In a time when all religious organizations are experiencing erosion of support, the national CBF organization being among those whose long term existence is questionable, he writes,
If my assessment is accurate this presents a great challenge to the CBF leadership. So long as individuals are allowed to set the parameters of such discussions framed principally from their own assumptions not born out of the local covenanted communities of which they are members, then inevitably the dialogue will be disconnected from the local church.
The CBF often emphasizes a respect for local church autonomy. This is undermined when individuals act independently of their local congregations.
Not to leave the matter there, Smith has yet a second opinion piece on ABP, Opinion: How firm a foundation
in which he says the following:
The conservative take-over in the Southern Baptist Convention left me and many others feeling like our home had been taken. Battles couched in language of the authority of Scripture were in our view really over interpretation of Scripture.
Now I find my bearings once again swirling, but this time from a different direction. Repeatedly I hear young ministers, and even distinguished elder statesmen, dismiss the centrality of Scripture for negotiating our shared conviction about moral issues. The dismissal is usually some variation upon the theme you can make the Bible say anything.
I am concerned the discussion over the upcoming sexuality conference doesn’t reveal a difference over interpretations of disputed passages as much as it reveals a different conviction with regards to the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Has God the Spirit inspired these words for the people of God? Or are these words simply a compilation of writings of a few loosely connected but disparate Jewish splinter groups from the first century?
Statements like this makes me want to ask someone to confirm that Luke Smith isn't a ringer, a stealth SBCer. I'd bet that Dave knows him.
The sexuality conference is about a month away. I’m guessing it will be closely watched if not heavily attended.