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Southern Baptist Convention
04-12-2011, 05:27 PM (This post was last modified: 04-12-2011 05:33 PM by Visqueen.)
Post: #1
Southern Baptist Convention
After some conversation with Alison I thought I would start a thread about this organization - or perhaps federation is a better word.

The purpose is just for any discussion whether it might be regarding doctrine or organisation or political power or history. I am also interested in any thoughts of those who are either part of it or have been part of it - or yes, even those pesky non-relevant atheists.

Here is a page from their own site that lays out the basic beliefs held by the convention, although I understand that not every member church has to hold strictly to every single piece:

http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/basicbeliefs.asp

I was hoping for something shorter to copy/paste and so will include this list from wiki if it is alright, I apologise if it is too lengthy but I don't want to exclude anything:

Autonomy of local church — Affirms the autonomy of the local church.
Church and state — Supports a free church in a free state. Neither one should control the affairs of the other.
Cooperation — Identifies the Cooperative Program of missions as integral to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Creeds and confessions — Statements of belief are revisable in light of Scripture. The Bible is the final word.
Missions — Honors the indigenous principle in missions. The SBC does not, however, compromise doctrine or its identity for missional opportunities.
Priesthood of all believers — Laypersons have the same right as ordained ministers to communicate with God, interpret Scripture, and minister in Christ's name.
Sanctity of life — At the moment of conception, a new being enters the universe, a human being, a being created in God's image.
Sexuality — Affirms God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy—one man and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a valid alternative lifestyle.
Soul competency — Affirms the accountability of each person before God.
Women in ministry — Women participate equally with men in the priesthood of all believers. Their role is crucial, their wisdom, grace and commitment exemplary. Women are an integral part of Southern Baptist boards, faculties, mission teams, writer pools, and professional staffs. The role of pastor, however, is specifically reserved for men.
With a claim as the largest Protestant body in the US at over 16 million members, this federation has the potential to, and does, wield a lot of power. I am hoping that Alison as a devout Christian will help me start this thread by discussing the parts or a part of the doctrine that she is not comfortable with, as we had been discussing privately.
But of course any comments by anyone are welcome!
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04-13-2011, 09:39 AM
Post: #2
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
I've long said that religion is Big Business ...

I don't have problems with the statements of faith, but I do have problems with a woman's role in the church, abortion and homosexuality.

I grew up in a small country church. Families (generations) were founding members and still account for the majority of members. The women taught sunday school, excep for the men's class, cooked, cleaned, kept the books, handled the majority of the outreach programs and all that. I can remember many, MANY times when the congregation was all women and children, with the exception of maybe three or four men - enough to handle the offeratory time and benediction. Basically, chicks did all the work.

In more recent years (the last 25 years), the roles have changed and things are more ... progressive ... I guess. It may be that we were just a country church and that's the way they go, but it still struck me as exclusionary in a lot of ways.

I'm not a feminists, in the strictest sense of the word, but neither am I 'belle-like' in my ways. One of my burrs is the fact that all throughout the doctrine, women are equal with men, except in times where they may have to be in some crazy view of 'authority' over a man, such as a teaching role. Women can minister, just not from the pulpit.

I have more ... but I'm in the middle of a project and have to get some things handled. I'll be back!!

Justice -- When you get what you deserve.
Mercy -- When you don't get what you deserve.
Grace -- When you get what you don't deserve.
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04-13-2011, 10:06 AM
Post: #3
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
(04-12-2011 05:27 PM)Visqueen Wrote:  After some conversation with Alison I thought I would start a thread about this organization - or perhaps federation is a better word.

The purpose is just for any discussion whether it might be regarding doctrine or organisation or political power or history. I am also interested in any thoughts of those who are either part of it or have been part of it - or yes, even those pesky non-relevant atheists.

Here is a page from their own site that lays out the basic beliefs held by the convention, although I understand that not every member church has to hold strictly to every single piece:

http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/basicbeliefs.asp

I was hoping for something shorter to copy/paste and so will include this list from wiki if it is alright, I apologise if it is too lengthy but I don't want to exclude anything:

Autonomy of local church — Affirms the autonomy of the local church.
Church and state — Supports a free church in a free state. Neither one should control the affairs of the other.
Cooperation — Identifies the Cooperative Program of missions as integral to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Creeds and confessions — Statements of belief are revisable in light of Scripture. The Bible is the final word.
Missions — Honors the indigenous principle in missions. The SBC does not, however, compromise doctrine or its identity for missional opportunities.
Priesthood of all believers — Laypersons have the same right as ordained ministers to communicate with God, interpret Scripture, and minister in Christ's name.
Sanctity of life — At the moment of conception, a new being enters the universe, a human being, a being created in God's image.
Sexuality — Affirms God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy—one man and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a valid alternative lifestyle.
Soul competency — Affirms the accountability of each person before God.
Women in ministry — Women participate equally with men in the priesthood of all believers. Their role is crucial, their wisdom, grace and commitment exemplary. Women are an integral part of Southern Baptist boards, faculties, mission teams, writer pools, and professional staffs. The role of pastor, however, is specifically reserved for men.
With a claim as the largest Protestant body in the US at over 16 million members, this federation has the potential to, and does, wield a lot of power. I am hoping that Alison as a devout Christian will help me start this thread by discussing the parts or a part of the doctrine that she is not comfortable with, as we had been discussing privately.
But of course any comments by anyone are welcome!

It was difficult for me to see this post and not make at least a passing comment or two.

I am a former Southern Baptist, and was brought up in this faith from the time I was a toddler, until I reached my 20s. I won't go into the details, but I no longer consider myself a Baptist, and I suspect most Baptists would no longer even consider me a Christian.

What I have recently found is the some (at least a few) Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Churches, have gone into "stealth mode". Where I live here in the Southeastern U.S., some SBC churches have removed the term "Baptist" from their signs in front of their buildings, and have renamed their churches in order to look more inclusive. For example, one Baptist church a few miles from here renamed themselves from Fellowship Baptist Church, to simply Christian Fellowship Church. If you get close enough to their sign to read the small print, near the bottom of the sign it says, "An SBC Church". If you don't know what SBC stands for, you are none the wiser.

I am not saying that it's a bad thing, but it does appear that some SBC churches fear they are perceived as too devisive and too fundamentalist. However, I have three Baptist ministers in my family and all I can tell you is that I would classify them as fundamentalist when it comes to the role of women in the church. (i.e. women should be seen, but not heard). In some cases, women should not preside over Bible study classes, much less teach scripture.

This is one reason I gave up on most "Christian-based" churches and have gone my own way in terms of theology and spirituality.

I apologize if I sound harsh or critical. I have the utmost respect for the men in my family who are ministers, just as long at they don't try to convert me back to a belief I can no longer abide. Angelic
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04-13-2011, 10:19 AM
Post: #4
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
Great comments from both Alison and Digi - this is what I was hoping for. It's one thing for me to discuss it as a non member and one who has never and will never be a member, and another to have people who experience it to add to the discussion.

Obviously for me the first two things that jump out are the concept of one man/one woman, the denial of homosexuality and the labeling of it as a lifestyle choice. The other is what both Alison and Digi touched on - the accepted role of women within the convention, always 'valuable' but never pastor.

It is very interesting to read of the stealth mode Digi mentioned - it does seem that if you as a church body decide to rename your church in order to get rid of the word baptist, you as a body recognize that there is a problem currently with that name and what it has come to mean.

I don't think you sound either harsh or critical Digi, instead I find your response to be very calm and reasoned.
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04-13-2011, 10:35 AM
Post: #5
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
(04-13-2011 10:19 AM)Visqueen Wrote:  Great comments from both Alison and Digi - this is what I was hoping for. It's one thing for me to discuss it as a non member and one who has never and will never be a member, and another to have people who experience it to add to the discussion.

Obviously for me the first two things that jump out are the concept of one man/one woman, the denial of homosexuality and the labeling of it as a lifestyle choice. The other is what both Alison and Digi touched on - the accepted role of women within the convention, always 'valuable' but never pastor.

It is very interesting to read of the stealth mode Digi mentioned - it does seem that if you as a church body decide to rename your church in order to get rid of the word baptist, you as a body recognize that there is a problem currently with that name and what it has come to mean.

I don't think you sound either harsh or critical Digi, instead I find your response to be very calm and reasoned.

Thanks, Vis. I do look forward to more comments from Alison from the female perspective. Especially with regard to where women fit into the role of everything but a pastor, and in some cases, everything but a teacher where men are involved.

My wife's cousin (I'll call her Beth) is a devout Baptist, and she was asked to teach an adult Sunday School class where there is a mix of both women and men. Some of the men refused to attend the class when they found out Beth was teaching because they felt it was inappropriate to place a female in the role of teacher, especially since she was "teaching" men. I was truly p1$$ed about this because I know Beth and she is an excellent student of the Bible. She ended up teaching the class anyway, but one or two of the men simply stopped attending the class on Sunday mornings.

Traditions die hard, but some headway is being made, I think.
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04-13-2011, 10:36 AM
Post: #6
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
I once brought this up to a woman that I know to be a southern baptist. That part in the bible where it talks about a woman not speaking in public, or in church, and if she has questions, she needs to ask her husband at home, and if the answer is not known, then the man brings it up at church or in public. She was upset, but, not sure if she was upset about what the bible says, or that I was able to point it out to her. She seemed to get more upset, when I told her to ask about it at church and her auto response, was, I will talk to my husband about it.

I told a story about my past once. About a girlfriend that I had, and how I went to her house for dinner, helped set the table, and even said the prayer. However, when the topic of where I went to church, and them finding out I was a Pentecostal, I was told to leave. Her family were Baptist. Not sure if they were Southern Baptist or not.

For some things though, I think in order to keep a faith, or a religion rather, you have to bend reality to fit your beliefs. If you take homosexuality for example, in order for your faith to stay where it is, you have to accept that it is a choice, because for people to be born that way, would force you to question your beliefs. For some people, having to question their beliefs would be worse then death. Lets take sexuality. You have to curve reality by saying that women are equal, even when they are not treated like it. If you treat them like equals, and they have the same powers of men, then it would force you to question, why would it be said they should be quite? Not sure if this is really adding anything to the discussion, but, just a few thoughts.

If everyone was thinking the same thing, then no one would be thinking at all.
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04-13-2011, 10:38 AM (This post was last modified: 04-13-2011 10:39 AM by Visqueen.)
Post: #7
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
Taken from their basic beliefs page:

"Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. ... The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation... Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage."

Some contradictions here, surely one can't claim that 'the husband and wife are of equal worth before god' and follow that with 'a wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband'.


Sorry Equal , made this post before I read your's.
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04-13-2011, 10:41 AM
Post: #8
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
I don't see anythign wrong at all with women having roles of authority in the chruch. I know that it's backed scripturally, but in those days, very few people were educated and unable to read. Women and men were also separated during temple time. I'm not sure why or how I know this, but I think it was so that there were no distractions. I just think that women are equally as capable, across the board.

I have personal opinions on abortion and homosexuality that don't jibe with the SBC and the bible but rather than venture OT in this, I'll leave it at that.

I would say that the bulk of my issues come down to the community level, the autonomous church. Breaking faith with members is a hot button topic, because really, isn't the church about helping others? Jesus was a friend and mentor to prostitutes, thieves, criminals ... as well as the upstanding citizens of the day. Show me where it states in the bible that if you don't like 'em, kick 'em out. It speaks regularly of accountablity, guidance and correction ... but you have to make sure that your own glass house is sparkly first.

I have always loved my church and loved the people, but have discovered as an adult that Christianity without a denomination attached has much more meaning and fulfillment for me. I understand that the church is for fellowship with like-minded people, but I'm not always like-minded, so rather than harbor malcontent, I worship within.

Justice -- When you get what you deserve.
Mercy -- When you don't get what you deserve.
Grace -- When you get what you don't deserve.
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04-13-2011, 10:43 AM (This post was last modified: 04-13-2011 10:54 AM by Visqueen.)
Post: #9
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
(04-13-2011 10:36 AM)EqualAtheist Wrote:  I once brought this up to a woman that I know to be a southern baptist. That part in the bible where it talks about a woman not speaking in public, or in church, and if she has questions, she needs to ask her husband at home, and if the answer is not known, then the man brings it up at church or in public. She was upset, but, not sure if she was upset about what the bible says, or that I was able to point it out to her. She seemed to get more upset, when I told her to ask about it at church and her auto response, was, I will talk to my husband about it.

I told a story about my past once. About a girlfriend that I had, and how I went to her house for dinner, helped set the table, and even said the prayer. However, when the topic of where I went to church, and them finding out I was a Pentecostal, I was told to leave. Her family were Baptist. Not sure if they were Southern Baptist or not.

For some things though, I think in order to keep a faith, or a religion rather, you have to bend reality to fit your beliefs. If you take homosexuality for example, in order for your faith to stay where it is, you have to accept that it is a choice, because for people to be born that way, would force you to question your beliefs. For some people, having to question their beliefs would be worse then death. Lets take sexuality. You have to curve reality by saying that women are equal, even when they are not treated like it. If you treat them like equals, and they have the same powers of men, then it would force you to question, why would it be said they should be quite? Not sure if this is really adding anything to the discussion, but, just a few thoughts.

Of course you are adding!

I will put one more thing here from their basic beliefs page which I find to be jarringly contradictory, so much so that I can't understand how anyone can be comfortable with this:

" in the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography."


(04-13-2011 10:41 AM)Alison Wrote:  I don't see anythign wrong at all with women having roles of authority in the chruch. I know that it's backed scripturally, but in those days, very few people were educated and unable to read. Women and men were also separated during temple time. I'm not sure why or how I know this, but I think it was so that there were no distractions. I just think that women are equally as capable, across the board.

I have personal opinions on abortion and homosexuality that don't jibe with the SBC and the bible but rather than venture OT in this, I'll leave it at that.

I would say that the bulk of my issues come down to the community level, the autonomous church. Breaking faith with members is a hot button topic, because really, isn't the church about helping others? Jesus was a friend and mentor to prostitutes, thieves, criminals ... as well as the upstanding citizens of the day. Show me where it states in the bible that if you don't like 'em, kick 'em out. It speaks regularly of accountablity, guidance and correction ... but you have to make sure that your own glass house is sparkly first.

I have always loved my church and loved the people, but have discovered as an adult that Christianity without a denomination attached has much more meaning and fulfillment for me. I understand that the church is for fellowship with like-minded people, but I'm not always like-minded, so rather than harbor malcontent, I worship within.

Great post!


(04-13-2011 10:35 AM)digipixel Wrote:  
(04-13-2011 10:19 AM)Visqueen Wrote:  Great comments from both Alison and Digi - this is what I was hoping for. It's one thing for me to discuss it as a non member and one who has never and will never be a member, and another to have people who experience it to add to the discussion.

Obviously for me the first two things that jump out are the concept of one man/one woman, the denial of homosexuality and the labeling of it as a lifestyle choice. The other is what both Alison and Digi touched on - the accepted role of women within the convention, always 'valuable' but never pastor.

It is very interesting to read of the stealth mode Digi mentioned - it does seem that if you as a church body decide to rename your church in order to get rid of the word baptist, you as a body recognize that there is a problem currently with that name and what it has come to mean.

I don't think you sound either harsh or critical Digi, instead I find your response to be very calm and reasoned.

Thanks, Vis. I do look forward to more comments from Alison from the female perspective. Especially with regard to where women fit into the role of everything but a pastor, and in some cases, everything but a teacher where men are involved.

My wife's cousin (I'll call her Beth) is a devout Baptist, and she was asked to teach an adult Sunday School class where there is a mix of both women and men. Some of the men refused to attend the class when they found out Beth was teaching because they felt it was inappropriate to place a female in the role of teacher, especially since she was "teaching" men. I was truly p1$$ed about this because I know Beth and she is an excellent student of the Bible. She ended up teaching the class anyway, but one or two of the men simply stopped attending the class on Sunday mornings.

Traditions die hard, but some headway is being made, I think.

I just didn't realise that Beth's experience might be something that happens more often than not within SBC churches. I didn't know it was like that - I am learning.
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04-13-2011, 11:04 AM (This post was last modified: 04-13-2011 11:07 AM by Alison.)
Post: #10
RE: Southern Baptist Convention
I've never really thought about the majority of Baptists being fundamentalists. I kind of alwasy thought it was just the Fringers that were fundies. Again, it may be because I'm from a rural area, in a rural state.

Since Vis pulled it out, I won't consider this OT ... my take on homosexuality is similar to Equal's post. We believe in the omniscience of God, that all things He has made are exactly as He wants them - perfect in His eyes. Four of my dearest friends (two women, two men) are gay. Their relationships are stronger and more solid than most hetero marriages I know. We love who we love ... We will accept a woman who randomly sleeps her way through downtown Chicago but not the lesbian (l e s b i a n ) who has spent all of her adult life committed to one woman, in every way? Seriously? We will accept a man who beats his wife and runs around on her but not the man who has committed himself to one man, through thick and thin, sickness and health? Really?

This is where my biblical translation questions come into play and where my 'Religion is MAN MADE' argument comes into play.

As for women ... seriously, there are brilliant minds on both sides of the equation. Who cares which box is checked on your driver's license, as long as you can teach and share? Women being unable to 'teach' a man is all ego. (IMO)

Digi is right ... traditions die hard, but they are changing. They have to, otherwise 'church' as we know it, will cease to exist. I know more and more people who have left the building, but not the faith. More and more families practice at home rather than the building. God isn't in a building. Jesus rarely spent any time in any temple.

My posts today are somewhat random ... I hope you all understand! Smile

Justice -- When you get what you deserve.
Mercy -- When you don't get what you deserve.
Grace -- When you get what you don't deserve.
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