Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here's a Christmas Blessing for You Southern Baptists

Jesus said:

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

So, if you are a Southern Baptist, you should feel really blessed after spending a little time in the comment stream of this Washington Post story.

You know, we've just got to firm our resolve against this kind of criticism. It is our calling to do what is right, not necessarily to do what is popular.


Anonymous said...

Blessed does not completely describe my feeling, but close. The funniest thing about the whole stream is the constant accusation that baptists are hateful and arrogant; those are exactly the 2 words I would use for 99% of those comments.


Alex said...

However, we are foolish not to recognize the difference between that comment stream and the reactions of ordinary people to Jesus and the apostles.

There is no virtue, it seems to me, in being generally regarded as bearers of negativities. A healed person will rarely criticize their doctor, a rescued person their coastguard or a thirsty person their well.

On the other hand the well-meaning folk at SBC Today chose to put out as part of their Christmas offering a Seminary sermon - as sound as a debunking of Santa Claus, I'm sure - about Hell.

Are you sure it's our integrity and faith that's being attacked, or is it our stupidity?

Stupid or not, may God bless us all this Christmas as we worship him!

Bart Barber said...


No, we're not foolish at all. Ordinary people do not react differently to Jesus and the apostles; they react differently to the caricatures of Jesus and the apostles that they have created—the selective redactions of Jesus and the apostles created by namby-pamby Caspar Milquetoast Christians who send the Bible through a Madison Avenue makeover before releasing Christ to the public.

Show the public a Christ who preached about Hell year-round with an unabated ferocity, who met a devout and sincere seeker with stringent demands and then without the slightest angst let him walk away, who chose to spend the Passover season proclaiming the destruction of the Temple, and they'll react to Him precisely as they react toward Southern Baptists.

That is, except for those whose lives will be changed by Him.

Southern Baptists are generous. I can tell you that the vast preponderance of money donated to help the poor in Farmersville comes from Southern Baptists. The same has been true in other communities where I've lived. But that comment stream labels us as greedy.

Southern Baptists are compassionate. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is the third-largest disaster relief agency in the USA. And, by the way, we're the only one of the top three who aren't on TV every five minutes appealing for money. Why? See the paragraph above. But that comment stream labels us as hard-hearted.

Southern Baptists are inclusive and loving. More ethnicities meet in Southern Baptist congregations each Sunday than in any other denomination of churches. Yet that comment stream labels us as bigoted and hate-mongering.

So, Alex, these are precisely what Jesus was talking about—lies and insults. And the reason why they come against us is pretty simple. We support the biblical teachings that homosexual activity is sinful and the murder of babies is wrong and extramarital sex is wrong and you-name-it. Jesus supported the truthfulness and authority of the Bible just as we do; indeed, He is its author.

Thus, the hateful screeds posted at that link are not the fault of the Southern Baptist Convention at all. Not at all. Not one bit. They hate us because they hate our Master. Period. Paragraph.

And therein lies the blessing. That comment stream is a reassuring sign that we're doing exactly the right thing. And we get the blessing of knowing that, when we suffer the slings and arrows of the world, we're sharing something with Jesus.

Bro. Robin said...


You said, "On the other hand the well-meaning folk at SBC Today chose to put out as part of their Christmas offering a Seminary sermon - as sound as a debunking of Santa Claus, I'm sure - about Hell."

That sermon was not our Christmas offering. You may want to recheck the blog.

Joe Blackmon said...

Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb here but isn't truth by its very nature exclusive? I mean, if we preach the gospel and say "This is the truth" that is narrow-minded in that we're saying "Anything that is not in line with this is false". If people can't deal with that I fail to see how that's my problem. I am responsible to speak the truth and I do so because I love people enough to do just that-tell them the truth.

CB Scott said...

So now, we are in error to preach the terribleness of hell at Christmas time?

Yeah, right. And some tell me the battle for the Bible is over also.

I am glad David Mills preached about hell in chapel.

I think I might invite him to come to Birmingham and preach about hell here. I preach about the horror of hell every week and the great majority of the city is still going there as fast as they can go.

I wish every preacher in Alabama would at least mention hell every time they preach.

I hope David Mills gets a raise for preaching on hell and I hope he gets fired if he don't.


bapticus hereticus said...

Perhaps I begin with a different set of assumptions than other posters here but I at least do not see WP being about hating the Master or the SBC. It seems the piece is far more descriptive of realities than is evaluative of SBC; that is, SBC, like other religious groups, is functioning in a changing national environment in which the Christian faith is denied by many its once former place of prominence among various faiths, and it is a fact that the SBC from at least one focus group was perceived quite negatively. Given these realities, the question becomes: what will SBC do in light of these data? And let us not fault WP for asking about measures of success and a possible need to reconceptualize what it may (also) mean for such has also been a conversation item among baptists, liberal and conservative alike.

I agree that SBCers are generous, compassionate, loving, and inclusive (although the latter item is not entirely problematic, it would require, nonetheless, a more lengthy discussion to tease out in what way we might speak of inclusiveness), even if their leaders are sometimes perceived to model these attributes less than those, in general, that occupy the pews. The data are telling a story and whether the story they are telling is true or not is largely beside the point; it is the data that SBC must confront if it wishes to be relevant to the needs of the American people. Let’s be clear that the gospel is in no danger of being irrelevant, but the same may not be said of any religious group, including the SBC, that seeks to bear witness to it.

CB Scott said...


You are in great need of someone to preach about the horror of hell to you. According to all you say in comment threads it seems obvious you do not believe the biblical gospel.

Do you believe the first 11 chapters of Genesis are perfect in every way?

Do you believe the Bible is perfect in every way?

Do you believe Jesus is God?

Do you believe the Trinity is reality?

Do you believe the fact Jesus was born of the virgin Mary?

Do you believe man is sinful in all his way and can do nothing to save himself?

Do you believe the biblical gospel tells the only way a person can be reconciled to God?

Have you personally had a salvation experience with Christ that you could articulate within a biblical model?

Heretic, I have read many of your posts and comments. You speak as a man who does not know Christ as Savior and Lord.

Bart can delete this comment if he wants. It is his blog. Yet, that may give you some solace for your bruised ego, but it will not change your lostness.

Heretic, please find a biblical pastor somewhere and ask him to help you know the biblical gospel. I have spoken of your need to be saved before and I will not stop. I am going to confront you every time I see you in Blogtown. I am going to call you to repent and become a Believer in Christ every time I see you in any comment thread. I also have you on my prayer list of lost people. I am praying for you, heretic, my friend.

I pray you become miserable. I pray you get flat on your back if necessary. I pray you go broke. I pray you end up in the hog pen of life if necessary to bring you to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.

I am praying for you to be saved. I do not want you to go to hell.

You need to get away from all this liberal garbage you read and spew and get into the Word of God and learn the gospel which is the only thing that can help you right now.

Forget religion, forget politics, forget economics, forget the SBC, forget everything else right now and get hold of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therein is the only hope you have.

Believe it or not, Heretic, I am your friend. But not even a friend can save you. You need Jesus.


Tom Parker said...


You said"And therein lies the blessing. That comment stream is a reassuring sign that we're doing exactly the right thing. And we get the blessing of knowing that, when we suffer the slings and arrows of the world, we're sharing something with Jesus."

I read most of the comments and do not draw the conclusion that you did. I do not see this as reassuring at all or as a blessing. The SBC has an image problem. We are declining in many ways. I do not believe that Jesus would use the approach the SBC has--fire missionaries-turning back the clock on the treatment of women-not being more agressive in the area of race relations, having a battle over the Bible-I could go on.

People simply do not want to be a part of an organization that operates this way.

We are not doing the right things in the SBC and it is way past time to wake up to the reality.

Tom Parker said...


If you witness to other the people the way you did to Bapticus Hereticus please share with us the results.

It appears your way to win this man is to attack him. WWJD? I do not hink he would use your approach.

You may be doing more to drive people away from Jesus than you realize by your tone.

Just something to think about.

Bart Barber said...


I never suggested that the WP article was anti-SBC. I directed everyone to the comment stream. That's where the vitriol broke out.

Bart Barber said...

Tom Parker,

First, I don't believe that bigger always equals right. Let us do what is biblical and right, and let us be whatever size that makes us.

But second, even if I were to concede the first point, if we ceased to defend biblical truth, mindlessly embraced contemporary gender roles, sexual practices, never fired anybody for anything, etc., then…let's see…that would basically make us the United Church of Christ.

What do their statistics look like?

Bart Barber said...


Instead of playing WWJD, maybe we ought to play WDJD (What DID Jesus Do?).

He was always nice and polite to everybody, wasn't He? :-)

Bart Barber said...

Joe Blackmon,


Bart Barber said...


Take down the other post. Keep "Hell" up as your Christmas post. You guys are about to get in the way of a good argument over here.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Unless you can show me in scripture differently, the only ones that Jesus was angry with were the Pharisees and the money changers. He ate with sinners, talked with them, and even forgave their sins, which infuriated the Pharisees

Debbie Kaufman said...

Preach hell, it is in scripture. But do it with a lump in your throat and tears in your eyes, while not being able to wait for the part where there is a way of escape, and that way is Jesus Christ, who is the King of King and Lord or Lords, praying that all hear and receive. Weeping for those who don't.

Tom Parker said...


I pointed out some truths to you and you choose to ignore them.

For example--you said--"First, I don't believe that bigger always equals right. Let us do what is biblical and right, and let us be whatever size that makes us."

I assure you if the SBC took aggressive action to remove those SBC members that come twice a year or less from our rolls we would move closer to the smaller I think you and others desire.

Keep doing what you are doing and we will get smaller.

And by the way I'm not suggesting we play WWJD--I'm simply saying let's put it into practice.

For only the conservatives left in the SBC:

Who is trying to change the truth that it needs to be defended?

Who is trying to change the gender rules--I think it is the SBC with teaching homemaking as a degree.

Who is trying to change sexual practices?

So, you agree the missionaries were fired?

r. grannemann said...

What did Bapticus Hereticus say that caused others here to consign him to Hell?

I don't know what he has said elsewhere, but he said here:

"Let’s be clear that the gospel is in no danger of being irrelevant."

Didn't he just affirm his belief in the truthfulness/relevance of the Gospel?

He even said "I agree that SBCers are generous, compassionate, loving, and inclusive."

All this nastiness toward him by some SBC Baptists tarnishes the reputation of all.

Read his post carefully. He makes a thoughtful analysis of the reason for the comments to the WP article.

Bart Barber said...

Folks, you can look all day long for the reason why the people in that comment stream hate us. But the fact remains: The reason is spelled out right in the Bible. We're not even supposed to be surprised at their hatred. They hated our Master. The more that we are like Him, the more they will hate us.

Bart Barber said...

And I hasten to add, I'm not saying that we're exactly like Him. In many ways I've recommended improvement among Southern Baptist churches. But I'm clarifying that our failure to live up to the example of Christ, whatever the degree of that failure, is simply not the reason why the people in that comment stream despise us. Those proclaiming that the progress of human "illumination" is putting an end to religion, those who decry our "hatred" of naming homosexuality as a sin, the better we get at being like Jesus, those people are only going to hate us more.

These, my friends, are the word-for-word predictions of Jesus Himself.

Tom Parker said...


In your reading of all of the comments on the WP article do you see one or more legitimate concerns for the SBC and what would you say they are?

r. grannemann said...

There may be reasons other than the fact we follow Jesus that "they" hate us.

1) Ever notice how stupid television preachers look? (These aren't SBC preachers, but unknowledgeable people lump us with them.)
2) Consider SBC support (through some leaders paid by its agencies) for George's Bush's Iraq war?
3) The SBC has identified with one political party (think they are going to invite Obama to speak to the next SBC Convention?) Align with one political party and those aligned with the other may "hate" you.
4) With the conservative takeover the SBC has increasingly dismissed science (cosmology, global warming, earth science). Right or wrong (and I believe we are often wrong), this causes some people to "hate" us.

Yes, some hate us because of our biblical moral convictions or simply because we say Jesus Christ the Son of God came in the flesh.

It's our own inability to reconcile biblical truth with modern knowledge is causing us to lose the younger generation of Americans who often see us as mean spirited (read one of the comments in this threat), ignorant, irrelevant right-wingers. I wouldn't get a persecution complex over that.

CB Scott said...


It was me who said Heretic is lost. I have been reading his posts and comments and he speaks as one who does not know Christ as his Savior and Lord.

I have also been reading your comments for a while now.

You are either a theological liberal or you also are lost and in need of the truth of the gospel.


Bart Barber said...

Tom Parker:

Here are the accurate items that I see mentioned in anti-SBC rants in the comment thread:

1. People accurately observe that a great many Southern Baptist churches WERE just as racist as the broader society was FOUR DECADES AGO. That was indeed a grievous sin, and one that has cost us dearly.

2. Somebody mentioned the whole scandal with the Baptist Foundation out in Arizona.

3. There is the suggestion that, among 16 million (purported) Southern Baptists, there might be some hypocrites. ;-)

4. Southern Baptists are correctly identified in the piece as being conservative politically.

So there you have it. The first item, were it at all demonstrably true today or in any recent memory, would be a forceful argument for you. Item #2 is a legitimate complaint. Item #3 is demonstrably true, as it item #4.

But are any of them the reasons for the rants? Would a reversal of course on any of them result in our simultaneously becoming more Christlike and more beloved?

1. We have changed, becoming less racist, more Christlike, and LESS beloved in the period subsequent to the 1960s. In the 1960s, by the way, the Democrat Party was equally racist as the Southern Baptist Convention. Those folks in the thread are all Republicans, right?

2. Only one of the people commenting even knew about the Arizona scandal. I'll be glad to concede for the sake of argument that he has a legitimate gripe. That's one.

3. There's not an organization on earth with more than four people in it that wouldn't fall under the same scrutiny. When people choose to focus on the stories of the least committed rather than the most committed in an organization, then they have come to the discussion with their mind made up already.

4. I'm convinced that Southern Baptists have shown a great deal more balance in their few years as a Republican-leaning group of people than they did in their 130 years as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party.

The number of comments over there has grown significantly since I put up this post. I tried to keep up, but will concede that I haven't read each individual post with great care. I can volunteer these bits of information, however: I do not believe that Southern Baptists should be any less conservative politically or theologically than they are today. I do not believe that we should just fold over into Pentecostalism. I do not believe that we should set aside the teachings of the Bible and endorse women as pastors. I do not believe that we should set aside the teachings of the Bible and condone homosexuality, adultery, or any other sin. Our ranks should be full of people who have struggled with these things are are overcoming them, but we should never stop proclaiming that they are sins and traps of Satan. All of these items mentioned in the comment thread over there are false insults against the SBC and give rise to my original post.

And I'm still feeling blessed by it all.

CB Scott said...


Well said in your last comment to Tom.


CB Scott said...


I have asked you if you were involved in the SBc years ago. You have always refused to answer. Yet, you make statements as if you have knowledge of events. Actually I think you do not have knowledge of those things. You just quote a "party line" about situations you have only heard about from one side.

You ask me; "What would Jesus do?"

Tom, not long back I shared the gospel on Wade's blog with a lost woman called L's Gran. I did it in a completely different way. You were on that thread. So was Debbie. Yet, neither of you made any effort to help that lost woman. You were both silent.

Tom, The question is not "What would Jesus do?" The question is will we do what He has mandated us to do? We are called out to be salt and light.

Being salt and light involves telling the truth in love. See, I actually care about Heretic. I do not want him to go to hell. I do not want L's Gran to go to hell. You are constantly making these mamby-pamby statements about love that are as hollow as a tinkling brass and a sounding symbol.

When was the last time you risked anything to share the gospel with a person?

Tom, you have a distorted view of the gospel. You need to deal with it. You also have a very distorted view of Baptist history. It would help you to get some balanced information. But, the most important thing is for you to get the truth of the gospel and the Great Commission right before you tell others how to do what you are not doing in your own life.


CB Scott said...


Read the sixth chapter of John. Jesus ate with many sinners that day. He did not forgive them all of their sin. As a matter of fact, many of them turned away from Him that day due to the "narrowness" of His message.


Debbie Kaufman said...

CB: I believed L's is a Christian, based on her own testimony, she puts some here to shame with her graciousness in line of fire. As I told you in our emails to each other, I don't think everyone has to jump in on her. You were doing fine without anyone jumping in. So if you want to crush someone, don't come after me. It's difficult for me to remain silent and just let you keep punching.

Debbie Kaufman said...

CB: How do you expect unbelievers to act? It's still no reason to war with them.

Yes, some turned away, but many came to Him. Christ attracted crowds, some out of curiosity. But He wasn't crucified for not healing and not foriving sins. In fact it was for the opposite.

Tim Rogers said...

Sister Debbie,

But He wasn't crucified for not healing and not foriving sins. In fact it was for the opposite.

Would you not agree that according to Matthew 26:63-65, Jesus was crucified because he told the High Priest who he was?

Yes he did heal and he did forgive sins, but they were only done because he was the Messiah. He then told the High Priest that he was the Messiah and that is the reason he was crucified. It had nothing to do with healing or forgiving sins. There were many charlatans around in Jesus' day probably doing the same things, but the High Priest had nothing to do with them. Why? Because they knew there was no truth to what they were doing. Jesus, however, was a different story. He was not only doing these things but he told the High Priest where his authority came from for him to do them. Rembember He told them he was God, in John 8:58

While SB have much to do in order to make an impression on the world, it does seem that according to the article Brother Bart has directed us, some seem to desire that we change our belief about Scripture in order to reach them. That, I believe is something that you would not advocate us doing.


Tom Parker said...


You are a very funny man--all you ever do is attack, attack, attack. Is that all you know how to do? You are so convinced of your rightness!! I think some of you CR guys really like playing hardball. Your're very good at it. I also think you like playing games with people. You constantly make statements about me that have no factual basis, they are just your guess. I wish you very well with the rest of your life as this is my last post to you. I have much better things to do with my time.

Those of you that orchestrated the CR will never be satisifed--The Battle for the Bible will never be won in your minds--the fear of women pastor's will continue, but you guys have shut them out of that possibility--the fear of Democrats, particularly that they are now in power. It will be a long 8 years for you.

You constantly make statements that are nothing but attacks against other people and I for one am through with you.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Tim: The fact that Christ told the High Priest who he was, was the straw that broke the camel's back. The beginning was who he was with, ate with, and whose sins he forgave. It was the type of people he forgave, the fact that only God could forgive sins, that they hated the most. Jesus shocked them by disobeying their laws, and doing what he did to who he did. He spoke to women that were forbidden to be spoken to. He showed compassion, that ate them like acid inside.

No, I don't think we should change the teaching of scripture, I do think need to examine the attitude of how we present it. Most times SB's do think they are better and that turning up our noses, while presenting the gospel is OK. It's not.

My question again is how do you expect an unbeliever to respond? To behave? They are without the HS. And they are right to point out our hypocrisy. We do have pedophiles, adulters, homosexuals, heading churches, being star evangelists. We have hid their sin from the public. They are absolutely right we are a mess.

We bring them the gospel, put them into SB churches, and then for the rest of their time in these churches we hand them a list of do's and dont's, all the while telling them they don't have to fear hell now that they are a Christian, they just have to fear God's wrath if they don't do the list. That is the false. And until we clean house, what others say outside shouldn't be the focus.

CB Scott said...


Thank you for clearing things up. Now I know for sure you are just another mad and bitter old liberal.

If you ever get a chance and get down this way, give me a call. Lunch is on me and we can talk about old times when things were rotten.


CB Scott said...


L's has plainly said she did not believe the gospel as we do.

You can't have it both ways. Either she is lost or we are.

BTW, I would never let anyone punch you. You are just a girl and we don't let any guys punch girls. Now, Tom? Well, that's another subject. :-)


Debbie Kaufman said...

CB: L's never said that. She didn't understand some of the words we used. Many don't. Which is why we need to rethink how we present things. As I said, I believe her. She articulated the gospel very well. She showed more grace under fire than even I do.

CB Scott said...


What words did she not understand?

Yet, you are right in the saying she did not understand something. What she did not understand was the gospel.

Your testimony was that I was doing fine alone. If you felt she was not understanding; why did you not help with the words you have rethought for us to use?

Again, Debbie, you cannot have it both ways.

Also, after that comment thread several have commented she did not believe the gospel.


debbiekaufman said...

CB: There is no talking to you. Reread my comment instead of rewriting it.

debbiekaufman said...

She articulated the gospel very well. She claims faith in Christ alone, I believe her. She writes very well, and I agree with most of what she posts. The people who agreed with you, have the same mindset as you do.

You cannot go around challenging people's Christianity that you do not agree with. You have done it here as well. Christ alone is the path to salvation, not your little checklist.

CB Scott said...


I rarely have ever agreed with you have I?

Yet, I have never challenged your faith, have I?

I don't challenge the faith of all I disagree with. If that was thew case I would challenge everyone in Blogtown. Illustration-I have disagreed with Bart Barber many times. Have I ever challenged his faith?

I have challenged no one's faith. I have simply called a couple of people's attention to the fact that they had none. L's is not a Christian. If writing well made a person a Christian, Hemmingway would have been one of the most recognizable Christian in the last 90 years.

Nice does not make one a Christian. If that was the case I would go to hell, right?

Debbie, being a Christian is accepting the biblical gospel. L's does not know the biblical gospel. She does not accept the biblical gospel. She actually refutes the biblical gospel. For that matter so does Thy Peace.


volfan007 said...


Thank you, Brother for being a voice of reason and truth.


Thank you for this post. You are very correct in saying that the world will hate us when we stand on the truth of God. It always amazes me that some people who claim the name of Christ think that the answer is to conform to the world and appease the world, rather than to keep on being who the Lord wants us to be.

And, thank you, thank you, thank you for saying that big is not always better. Joel Osteen's Church is a good example of this. I'd rather be small and right with God, than large on going against God. Anyday!


debbiekaufman said...

I think CB that you and I have two different meanings for the word Gospel. The divide seems to be getting wider and wider between you and I.

Anonymous said...

There is hardly anyone in the U.S. that dislikes the religious doctrines that the SBC believes than Jon Meacham (sp?). This guy could write this same article about other traditional Christian groups or denominations. He is nice personally, but if you know anything about him and his background, this article is no surprise. Read his recent piece in Newsweek about the Bible, combine that article with this one, and you have his religious world view.

I agree with Bart. We have to expect this sort of thing in this world. All of the naval gazing "why do they hate me" type of talk is EXACTLY the response the writers of articles like this crave. People that have that reaction think that they are being sensitive to the criticism and that will earn them points. Wrong. It will only confirm that you are weak.

But - and with me, there's always a but, there are some other things to be said.

1. The SBC and SBC churches should not be oblivious to cultural perceptions, how they are formed, and what that can mean to an organization's effectiveness in the broader culture.

2. There is a concerted effort to marginalize traditional Christianity in this country by some. The proper response is both a spiritual one (be faithful, God is in control, we will suffer for Christ) and a practical one (think, strategize and act). Far too many Christians believe that as long as the are faithful, that's all they need to do. Moreover, some seem to believe that the more obnoxious and backward they are culturally, the more godly they are.

3. The Church has both a fellowship or 'ghetto' aspect as well as a command to engage and be part of the broader culture. And by engage, I don't mean put up signs in the ghetto so that they can be seen by the world outside, or have evangelistic raids or "blitzes" (why some churches use Nazi words to describe their programs is beyond me). I mean live, work and play with people in the world. This is a tough balance. If we don't do this, we risk becoming insular and too separated.

The Church and its members should constantly be thinking of ways to be part of the broader culture. I can't help but believe that if Jon Meacham had an Baptist or evangelical on his editorial board that he would have a harder time characterizing biblical Christianity as he does. But the problem may be that not enough Christians are going to the top journalism schools in the U.S. and are not trying to work for Time, Newsweek, ABC, NBC, CBS etc. It may be that in our churches we do not value such careers and we don't help our young people catch a vision for how God might use them in such a place. Vocation is just one example.

4. I could go on all day, but for one final comment about cultural engagement (and, again, I don't just mean preaching at the culture), here is a question that I like to ask my pastor friends.

Can you name me one secular club, hobby or organization in which you actively participate that brings you into regular contact with people in the broader culture outside your church or Christian circles?

You would be surprised at how few pastors can answer that.

And that attitude can permeate a church and a denomination.

We may be too insular, and I think that deserves some serious consideration.


debbiekaufman said...

Louis: You bring up an important point about being insular.

Anonymous said...


Thanks. You often make great points, too.

I finished college at an independent baptist school. I have a great deal of respect for the founders of that school and many of the people who worked there.

The independent movement has really gone down in recent years. I believe that their strategy was to create a parallel culture or universe that was "separate from the world." As long as they were in the cultural mainstream, their churches and programs grew. But over time they became obsessed with some cultural trends and became so separate, that they were removed from the culture to a very large degree. That reduced the extent to which these folks spent time with people outside the independent culture, unless it was part of an organzied evangelism effort or incursion into enemy territory. And it changed the impression that the broader culture had of them.

The result is that their numbers have declined substantially. They are still orthodox and believe the scriptures. They still believe in fervent evangelistic acitivity. In many places, they seem so foreign, however, that they are viewed the way we would view the Amish.

And add to that that their obsession over certain cultural practices (which are not prohibited in the Bible) caused them to alienate a good portion of their kids. So, they haven't done a good job of winning the next generation.

I am as orthodox as the next guy, but I am concerned about the SBC becoming like this. Cultural engagement is a tricky but necessary thing.


CB Scott said...


Do we really have "two different meanings" for the word gospel?

Do you realize what you are saying?

Would you consider your "meaning" of the word "gospel" more like that of L's Gran?


How much time have you spent among the Amish to be able to make the comparision with Independent Baptists?


From the Middle East said...

Brother C.B. & Sister Debbie,

I am very interested in these different gospels floating around out there. Could you two please direct me to where I can read what "L's Gran" wrote about her understanding of the Gospel?

Peace to each of you,
From the Middle East

PS - I have no interest in getting involved in your conversation. I am only interested in what this person wrote.

Anonymous said...


I am not saying that the Amish and independents are the same. I am saying that they can be viewed the same by others - a separate and distinct culture that seems foreign.

That's what I am referring to.

There are certainly big differences between the Amish and independents.