Denominational Commentary

Invoking Cold Mountain . . . Again

In December I found a quote from the movie Cold Mountain descriptive. It seems that time only gives an occasion to be more audacious.

I can thank a friend of mine for sending me to a link that reminded me once again how often God is employed to build a preferential argument.

My friend asked me to blog about this. I should suggest Kent get a blog and express himself, though I realize it could jeopardize his job with any dissent. Thought he seems to have little fear my dissent will cost me. Insert laughing smiley.

Will blog in the days ahead.

Theological Liberalism and guilt by association …

The third accusation leveled at the Baptist World Alliance by the SBC regards a drift into theological liberalism. I am still waiting on the definition and description of this. I have inquired a number of places and as yet have not been given illustration save one reference.

It seems a German Baptist theologian holds some questionable positions. As a result, his participation in the BWA invalidates the entire BWA and brings the entire organization, including leadership, under suspicion.

Do we really have theological uniformity in our SBC churches? Are we sure everyone holds “all” of our positions? And, what exactly are those positions. Should they be Republican or Democrat? Greater govenerment or less? Calvinist or Arminian? Premillenial or Postmillenial? Transubstantiation, constubstantiation or symbolic presence? Literal reading of Genesis 1-11 or poetic? Pro-life or pro-choice? Do we ask that these boxes be checked along with their confession of Christ? Should it be that failure to do so sends them on down the road?

Surely in a Seminary a President can move those who are believed to be more left or right than is thought acceptable. [Personally, I am not sure this is a postive thing for the academic/theolgocial climate.] In a church where people who are on the journey with Jesus, the Christ are being formed by the Spirit into the likeness of Jesus, connecting life and faith comes in process and not at a point of confession of faith. So, now we require adherence to what before they can be part of a community of faith in which they will learn what it means to be in Christ and live in the Kingdom?

Contentious Groups … the place of vendetta …

The seminal issue in the Southern Baptist Convention move to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance was the vote by the BWA to include the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in their fraternal organization. The issue is number three on those outlined in the report of the “study committee.” And, it is said that this issue was simply the last drop of rain and so not the primary cause for action – some of us might better understand, “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

In the book of Acts, there was a meeting held in which there was great uproar over the fledgling followers of Christ. One wise religious leader replied,

“For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But, if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39)

Our feelings tend to get in the way of better judgment. We dislike the way we have been treated or the way people have talked about us. Our feelings may even get in the way of our message. We make “vindictive” decisions so we might discredit those with whom we disagree. Easeir to label the “CBF” as liberal than to turn the cheek and demonstrate graciousness in the midst of disagreement. But, a “if they are in, we are out” mentality, there is little room for reconcilation, were that desired.

I do not belong to the CBF. I am not an apologist for the CBF. I simply intend to suggest there are better ways to handle these kinds of circumstances that do not require a fracture with other groups because we have worn our feelings on our sleeves – kept a log of their wrongs. Seems like Paul describes a love among God’s people that does not keep a record of wrongs.

Be careful, or you will make the list.

I will need to help my children, young people and church understand why we expend so much energy seeking ways to keep the CBF from being viable and gaining credibility. We have done what we have done. Let it stand at that! I certainly do not want those in my care nor under my watch to keep logs of wrong and keep them from experiencing the refreshing, freeing, forgiving love of God in Christ Jesus because I have a vendetta …