Saturday, July 28, 2012

I Say We Kick Them Out. I'll Make the Motion

According to the Jackson, MS, Clarion-Ledger newspaper, the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, MS, has denied to allow a couple to get married in the church's meeting space because that couple is black. The pastor of the congregation acknowledges as much.

If something doesn't change between now and then, I personally will make the motion at our SBC Annual Meeting in Houston that we refuse to seat messengers from this church and that we declare them not to be in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dave Miller has blogged about this, and I'm thankful for that. Our other officers should vocally lead on this one. I'm not saying that President Luter should not speak to the problem as well; rather, I'm saying that it is important for the world to see WHITE Southern Baptists standing up against racist churches.

This church is acting in violation to the clear teachings of the Bible and to the clear text of the Baptist Faith & Message. The Southern Baptist Convention needs to become a confessional fellowship in which actions like this one that are in violation of the Baptist Faith & Message constitute clear grounds for removal from the convention.

I am hopeful that I'll never have to make my motion. The fact that I promise to do so if this church does not formally repent of its actions will, I suspect, make that kind of repentance more likely. They know that they'll lose that vote if the motion ever comes to the convention floor. Perhaps the fear of national shame over this will become bigger than their fear of their racist members who caused all of this to begin with. I'd bet that those members aren't numerous within the congregation, but are just monied and influential.


Jerry Corbaley said...

I could be wrong here, but probably not, so I will risk a word or two.

First, I think there is only one "race", the human race.

Second, it is unlikely the congregation (church) made the decision to refuse to allow the ceremony to be held at their meeting place. I have not read of a congregational meeting being held where the decision was made.

Third, I am confident the congregation will address the issue now. Depending on the results, the local association, state convention and national convention may address the issue.

Tim Rogers said...


Jerry makes a fine point and something I was overlooking at Voices. There has been no congregational vote on this, not that anyone has read about. Thus, until a congregational vote has been taken, or this is swept under the rug by the church with a desire to just move on, we only should have a beef with the Pastor. It was his decision not to allow the wedding to proceed within the church facilities.

That is another reason I am saying that Dave as 2VP has over-stepped his position in his call that the church "is not part of us".

Also, Fred Luter should speak out on this. Yes, he is black, but he speaks for me as a Southern Baptist.

Johnathan Pritchett said...

This feckless pastor wanted to "avoid controversy"...oops...This is exactly what happens when the Gospel is compromised.

It isn't just the pastor though.

First, how does a "small, small minority" have the power to force a cancellation of a wedding on the day before from the pastor?

Second, if Charles Wilson is correct, and the pastors' job was on the line, how does a "small, small minority" have the power to make this happen with a vote?

Third, if there was racism festering in the church, the pastor and the congregation as a whole was either ignorant of it, or indifferent to it, and that is still a failure of leadership on the part of the pastor, AND a failure of accountability and discipline on the part of the church.

It is God's name and reputation at stake in these matters. It is the church's reputation as a whole that goes down as well over things like this, even IF it is simply for the actions of a few.

In any case, that this could ever get to something like this in the church, it is on the whole congregation, and not just the few, and not just the pastor.

Yes, I am quite certain they'll address it now, but what should have simply been a stink within the church is now a huge public stink on the church.

Sweeping it under the rug is not an option. There indeed needs to be public repentance from this church. Every level of the convention should accept nothing less than this. This should be our prayer. Remember, forgiveness, charity, and reconciliation towards them are required of us, but they are meaningless without meaningful repentance.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Bart: This is one of your best posts and I agree with you.

Jonathan: These are the same questions I had and your comment is an excellent response. I stand with you on this.

Dale Pugh said...

Hopefully, this will cause each one of us to take a look at ourselves. That's the approach I took over at my own blog.
That being said, the pastor will undoubtedly be held accountable by those in his congregation who are outraged over the incident. I'd be willing to wager that the majority does not hold the minority opinion.
In addition, that minority probably pulls the strings--if they don't agree with it, then they have enough power and money to make it a problem for the pastor. The right thing for him to do would be to risk his job for what is right and godly. I would expect this to be a time when that minority loses credibility with the majority.
Let's see what the response will be as the church deals with this internal conflict. If repentance comes, then let's embrace and support that humility. If they choose to ignore it or stand by the racial prejudice of the minority, then the SBC has every right to refrain from seating their messengers at the Convention. Their association and State convention have the same right. Those rights should be fully exercised in order to send a message about such actions in any of our churches.
My appreciation to you for your stand, Bart!

Bart Barber said...

To all who were concerned about this, my "If something doesn't change between now and then…" phrase in the original post is allowing for the idea that the church takes decisive, unambiguous public action to apologize to this couple and denounce such actions and attitudes.

Richmond Goolsby said...

Assuming the 2000BFM is the expression of our (SBC) entities and churches as well as our message to the world: Article III "Man" states, "every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love." Article VI "The Church" states, "the Body of Christ includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation." Article XV "The Christian and the Social Order" states, "In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism." Bart, I know we are in agreement, and I am posting this for all to consider. If this is our faith and our message (and it is and must be), then anyone refusing these biblical principles in their practices should not be allowed to bring their unfruitful works of darkness to our fellowship.

selahV said...

Bart, you know how folks can overlook those disclaimers and declarative points in a statement of rebuke. Sometimes we jump the gun and read too fast. And I saw that you said, "If something doesn't change". You are one of the most level-headed Baptists I've encountered and I am sure you will handle this with the humility and tolerance and correctness necessary to bring about a rightful conclusion. Thanks for your post here. It was necessary. I first learned of it through Johnathan Pritchett's blog. selahV

volfan007 said...


I agree. This was a complete shame. First, Crystal Springs should make this right.


Scott Gordon said...


kws said...

Why did you delete the best comment in the history of PB?

Bart Barber said...


??? Of which comment do you speak?