Published August 12, 2004
In your editorial of July 15, you sought to celebrate the “conservative resurgence” within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) while attempting to discredit the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). In his Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14), Jesus taught the peril of establishing one’s own moral superiority at the expense of others. Clearly, he did not approve of such tactics.
The thrust of your editorial seems to be that Cooperative Baptists are theologically weak and morally reckless. Those same allegations were made by certain Southern Baptist leaders against the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). Yet Baptists of the caliber of Rick Warren, Billy Graham, and Billy Kim strongly identified with the BWA in the face of such attacks. Surely you don’t mean to suggest such men failed to “boldly and bravely stand for truth and righteousness,” just because they supported a Baptist body disowned by the Southern Baptist Convention.
So too with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Some of the finest pastors and lay people I have ever known are in CBF. They are not the monsters our critics would have folks believe.
Please recall that in 1845, Southern Baptists withdrew from the national Baptist convention, rather than continue fighting to have a voice in the affairs of their denomination. In 1991, some Southern Baptists did the same and formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Instead of continuing to attack them, I encourage you to consider Gamaliel’s counsel to religious leaders incensed by the early church: “If this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case you may even be found fighting against God (Acts 5:38-39)!”
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