In America itself another split had already occurred earlier, after the American Civil War, when most freedmen set up independent black congregations, regional associations, and state and national conventions, such as the National Baptist Convention, which became the second-largest Baptist convention by the end of the 19th century and the National Primitive Baptist Convention. Even then, the racial issue proved to be a sensitive and tricky point in the American Baptist movement.
At the beginning of the 21st century it seems the organisation that created the problems in Europe is now itself also in crisis. Christian denomination Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) based in the United States of America has become the world’s largest Baptist denomination, and the largest Protestant and second-largest Christian denomination in the United States, smaller than the Roman Catholic Church, according to self-reported membership statistics.
The publication of an extraordinary February 24, 2020, letter by the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Russell Moore pointed to a breach caused by the stands Moore had taken against sexual abuse within the SBC and on racial reconciliation, which had infuriated the executive committee.
Unbelievable that he was attacked because he did not defend racists and sex abusers, though one would think a Christian organisation would be totally against such an abomination.
According to pastor Mike Stone Russell Moore’s back-door press release of June 2, 2021, was filled with characterisations of who Southern Baptists are. For Stone the release of the letter was clearly an attempt to influence the upcoming presidential election in the SBC.
The problem with many main churches or big organisations, like SBC is that they are afraid when their dirty laundry is hanging outside. As we have seen in the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, here too we see an attempt by that great Baptist association to sweep the dirt under the carpet and keep it out of public view.
It is now nearly three years since the scandalous evil of sexual abuse by multiple Southern Baptist pastors came to light (as well as the egregious mishandling of these allegations in some of their churches over the past two decades). While many churches have taken steps to improve their procedures and systems to protect the vulnerable, and despite good signs here and there in the SBC census numbers (as reported through the Annual Church Profile), the overall picture of numerical decline for their Convention is discouraging, especially the number that should mean the most to Baptists who adopt the moniker “Great Commission” — baptisms.
It has come so far in this world that the confession managed to provide doctrinal parameters for their seminaries and other entities, of which they say that they would not be binding on any particular church. Although last century they gave proof that they did not let any place for another doctrine than theirs, which is not the Biblical doctrine of there only being One God and Jesus to be His beloved son. Because for them there is no place for non-trinitarian Baptists, those all had to flee to other denominations (most of them going to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and masses going to the Church of God and the Abrahamic Faith Church, whilst others found smaller denominations to connect to, like the Nazarene Friends, or to a group of Bible Students (like the Russellites, the International Bible Students, the Thomasites or Christadelphians).
But the SBC also seem to have excluded some churches deemed not to be in “friendly cooperation,” usually for denying Christianity’s sexual ethic, tolerating or engaging in racism, or failing to take seriously sexual abuse.
Normally Baptists should be open-minded people who follow the teaching of the Bible, and not set human doctrines. They should consider all people equal and should be active in promoting peace, justice, and religious liberty. But those last three points seem to be long forgotten by that North American organisation.
It comes down firmly on the side of traditional Christian teaching regarding human sexuality, gender, and the role of men and women in the church and the home.
In the original movement of Baptists, in Europe there was simply no Trinitarian creedal formulation “one God in three persons” because they believed in Only One True God Who is One and not two or three. Though, by spreading in the nations that would become the United States, by the years more and more Trinitarian thoughts entered the belief group and became the cause of the 21st century crisis.
The last few decades we also could see several pastors trying to please the public and, worse, also playing on the hands of political people. Instead of not being of the world, they clearly presented themselves and their faith group as willing to support political figures in their movement to climb higher or to support their candidatures to become senators or even presidents.
No wonder that several believers, who used their common sense, choose to leave that church for what it was, making that denomination-wide weekly attendance dropped about 27% between 2006 and 2020. In the previous years we could see how far SBC members wanted to go to get more church members. Several accepted to baptise babies, which is totally against the original idea of the Anabaptists and original Baptists.
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- Andrew McWilliams-Doty looks at evangelicals
- How the term Evangelical has grown to blur theology and ideology
- God’s forgotten Word 6 Lost Lawbook 5 Heretics
- A Society pleading poverty
- Edward Wightman
- Jesse Hemery and the The Goshen Fellowship
- Charles Price Jones better known as C. P. Jones
- Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles
- Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles
- Not according to legal description of a cult
- Breaking up with a cult
- Religions and Mainliners
- Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
- From those preaching the Gospel and Baptism in Jesus name
- Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news (Our World)
- Not all Christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture (Our World)
- A Hebrew-Christian movement
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- Marty Duren’s Plea against Westboro Baptist Church
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- the Just Gospel conference (Our World)
- To remove the whitewash of the Jehovah Witnesses as being the only true Bible Students and Bible Researchers
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- Those willing to tarnish
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- What would you do if…? Continued trial
- Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study
- Andrew Bryan – Savannah, GA, Historical Marker
- Examining the Baptist Church and Its OriginsA First-Hand Report on the Southern Baptist Convention 2021
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- Teach No Other Doctrine
The SBC is in crisis. That’s not hyperbole, that’s not being overdramatic, that is fact. The denomination is facing it’s biggest threat ever, bigger than the conservative resurgence of the 80s. It needs prayer. Since my last post, two letters written by Russell Moore were leaked detailing his investigation by the SBC Executive Committee and the personal attacks he endured by the Executive Committee’s leadership. The shocking part of the letter to me was that Moore claimed that his criticism of Donald Trump was not the reason for these attacks. No, Moore claimed the reason for these attacks stemmed from his pursuit of racial reconciliation and justice for victims of sexual abuse within the SBC. He was attacked because he did not defend racists and sex abusers. This is way worse than politics. The SBC is at a crossroads, with its witness and identity in the balance.
During all this…
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