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Southern Baptists kick out group that tolerates Broadway Baptist

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2011

Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, takes a bit of a don’t ask, don’t tell approach to its gay members. The church avoids taking theological positions on homosexuality – saying that they neither condemn nor condone it – and gay members are fairly open.

But the Southern Baptist Convention has no room for anyone who does not actively condemn gay people and seek to make their lives miserable. To be a Southern Baptist Church in good standing, it is not adequate to delegate such matters to individual conscience. Rather, opposition to homosexuality must take on the importance given to matters of faith such as the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, and redemption from sin.

So in 2009 Broadway Baptist Church was booted from the General Baptist Convention of Texas, the a statewide affiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention. Baptist organization.

But it seems that the SBC is a lot like a sixth-grade girl who is seeking to control who is popular and who is not. Not only have they banished Broadway Baptist from the ‘cool kids’ clique, but they will kick out anyone who dares be their friend.

And the Tarrant Baptist Association, the Tarrant County group of Southern Baptists, dared to be friendly with Broadway Baptist. In fact, they allowed them to be part of the 395 churches that worked together in the county to provide support, outreach, and growth. How dare they?

So the Tarrant Baptist Association, in turn, was kicked off the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I’m not kidding. The official county association of Southern Baptist Churches was booted from their office in the Southern Baptist seminary because they didn’t ostracize one church who wasn’t adequately anti-gay. (Christian Post)

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has asked an association of churches to leave its Fort Worth, Texas, campus because the seminary says the group has a member church or churches that tolerate homosexuality.

A 1997 affiliation agreement between Tarrant Baptist Association and the seminary for use of an office building on the campus requires that the two organizations remain in “theological harmony.”

The seminary, which is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, contends that the association has violated the agreement for retaining fellowship with a church or churches that don’t adhere to the denomination’s position that homosexuality is a sin.

From time to time some prominent Southern Baptist leader will rhetorically ponder, “Why do the homosexuals think we hate them? We don’t hate them, we love them and want them to live according to God’s Plan for their lives.”

Stop pondering.

Here is why we think you hate us. Because if one congregation is willing to let gay people even sit in the congregation, you kick them out of fellowship. Because if one collective of churches dares let such a congregation participate in ministry, you kick them out of fellowship.

We think you hate us because if you demonstrate rejection to a group whose only crime is to allow a member church whose only crime is allowing gay individuals to worship, then we KNOW that your animus, your contempt, your derision, and your rejection of gay individuals is of a level that if it is not truly hate then it is impossible to distinguish from it.

Comments

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Throbert McGee
January 15th, 2011 | LINK

Clearly, tolerance for homosexuality has to be aggressively quarantined and rooted out to prevent it spreading, like hoof-and-mouth disease.

tristram
January 15th, 2011 | LINK

Thanks for the excellent post. The only thing that surprises me is that this sort of thing still surprises me.

One typo/correction (caps below):

The official county association of Southern Baptist Churches was booted from their office in the Southern Baptist seminary because they didn’t ostracize one church who wasn’t adequately ANTI-gay.

Timothy Kincaid
January 15th, 2011 | LINK

thanks tristram, fixed it.

L. Junius Brutus
January 15th, 2011 | LINK

The real Jesus would not be caught dead (raised or not) inside a Southern Baptist Church – except maybe to

By the way, these lowlifes have no business having contempt for anyone. I know good Southern Baptists, but the leadership of this denomination is rotten to the core.

tony
January 15th, 2011 | LINK

SBC, a failed effort, by a stupid people.

BlackDog
January 15th, 2011 | LINK

The first Christian denomination I was raised in was the Northern Baptists, from whom the Southern Baptists split over the issue of slavery.

The Southern Baptists theology seems to require hatred of somebody or other, it truly seems like they can’t be happy unless somebody else isn’t. They aren’t ALL like that of course, but the leadership has mostly been like that since at least before the civil war.

The basic Baptist tradition is all about free will. If you don’t make the choice to believe on your own then it’s not a choice. I learned this probably even before I could *understand* what it meant, but it’s always stayed with me.

The Southern Baptists however are all about forcing their beliefs on people. There have been times when they were more in line with the other Baptist groups but these are the exception, not the rule.

Brian
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Anyone else notice that the uproar is over a congregation that isnt even a true ally? No rainbow triangle on their marquee I’m sure.

Once again reinforcing my disgust with groups that are so concerned with afterlife burning that they feel justified in starting the punishment now.

Tone
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Didn’t their messiah liken these types of people to whitewashed sepulchres? They strive to be pretty and pious on the outside but they’re stinking like open graves on the inside? Just saying.

Throbert McGee
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

After reading the story again, I have to concede that there’s one sense in which the Southern Baptist Convention may have a point:

the Tarrant Baptist Association, the Tarrant County group of Southern Baptists, dared to be friendly with Broadway Baptist. In fact, they allowed them to be part of the 395 churches that worked together in the county to provide support, outreach, and growth.

The story doesn’t make it clear, but were these “395 churches” ALL Southern Baptist, or was it officially a multi-denominational group (though under the auspices of the Tarrant Baptist Association) that cooperated to provide services to the county?

If participation in the group is supposed to be limited to Southern Baptist congregations “in good standing,” then however much we may dislike the results, it’s rationally defensible for the SBC to be pedantic sticklers about the rules — because there’s a “Control Of Brand” issue at work. It’s like McDonalds being strict about how much individual franchisees are permitted to vary the prescribed corporate formula.

(Of course, the SBC would probably say that their concern is with blocking the gradual encroachment of moral heresy within SB churches, rather than “maintaining brand consistency” — but the principles aren’t that different!)

ON THE OTHER HAND, if the group of 395 churches is open to participation by Pentecostal churches and Methodist churches and Catholic churches and other Christian congregations who make absolutely no pretense of subscribing to every point of Southern Baptist theology, then to single out the gay-friendly congregation that happens to have “Baptist” in its name is a totally a**hole-ish move.

Regan DuCasse
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

They did the same thing to those who supported integration and killing Jim Crow laws.
They were highly critical of MLK and JFK having any SCLC delegates to the White House, let alone that JFK was a Catholic.
And they weren’t too reserved during the Red Scare and virtually totally backed Joe McCarthy and HUAC.

Their members who were in opposition were a minority that got shut out just like this.
Apparently so many of these groups easily forget such recent history as that.
A history with far more accuracy that isn’t up to as much interpretation as the Bible or Constitution.
It’s written in our plain language and which side of history eventually favored what.

It’s arrogant of some Christian groups to expect acceptance without challenge and judgment.
When it’s their ACTIONS that ultimately speak the volumes that deserve to be heard and then decent human beings will judge accordingly, as they should.

Throbert McGee
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Regan — I’m not sure the issues are the same here, because dictating what self-identified “Southern Baptist” congregations are permitted do is quite different from trying to dictate what Christians may do, or what “Real Americans” may do.

Again, “maintaining consistent brand identity” is a valid concern, even if I personally dislike the brand and wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.

L. Junius Brutus
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

Let’s not forget SBC’s biggest sin: it actully split from the national Baptist organization because of anti-slavery sentiment among the national Baptists.

Throbert McGee
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

I used the example of McDonalds limiting how much an individual franchise can depart from the corporate template, but a more pungent hypothetical has subsequently occurred to me:

Suppose that the San Diego chapter of PFLAG had become gradually taken over by NARTH and Exodus groupies who heavily promoted ex-gay therapy even while they paid lip service to gay rights from the other sides of their mouths — and all the while operating publicly under the PFLAG banner.

Wouldn’t you expect that PFLAG, at the national level, might push for the de-recognition and ouster of PFLAG-(San Diego) as a “member in good standing,” unless and until PFLAG-SD had repudiated the ex-gay jive?

And would you be totally surprised if National PFLAG cautioned local chapters in San Francisco and Los Angeles and Reno, etc., that they should distance themselves from PFLAG-SD?

lklouise
January 16th, 2011 | LINK

A little correction: The Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT, or “Texas Baptists”) is NOT a subsidy of the Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, a good many schools and seminaries that are BGCT outright disagree with the SBC (Baylor University, Truett Seminary, Logsdon Seminary). The BGCT takes a forward view of women as preachers (Baylor Religion& Seminary especially) although they’re still very much in the wrong (morally speaking) about their animosity towards LGBTQ people & baptists.
The BGCT allows any baptist church in texas from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Missionary Baptist (predominately African American baptist group) SBC, North American Baptist Peace Fellowship, or non-affiliated baptist churches to claim membership.

When the Southern Baptist Split (the Fundamentalist Takeover) happened, Texas Baptists hauled their asses out of there.. and became just conservative of moderate. This is why, for instance, Baylor teaches Evolution along with it’s poor stance on sexuality. Getting there, but not quite. There are a lot of mainstream and liberal baptists pushing towards a full inclusion of LGBT individuals. A lot of them are only CBF or Rainbow Baptist affiliated congregations, but they exist in Texas.

Anyway, calling the BGCT a “statewide affiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention” is factually incorrect and misleading.

There is a SBCT – THAT is the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas.

(and there’s your news of the day from a member of the North American Baptist Peace Fellowship & BGCT.)

MIhangel apYrs
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

fascinating:
these dissenters fled the mother country because they couldn’t get toleration for their particular brand of fundieness (and their self-righteousness got up everybodies’ noses)

They arrive in the colonies and immediately start working for intolerance

L. Junius Brutus
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Not Baptists. Baptist Rhode Island was one of the few colonies tht had full religious freedom.

As for being self-righteous, the Anglican establishment cut off people’s ears for dissenting.

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2011 | LINK

Throbert,

Baptists are not hierarchal in structure.

As lklouise notes, each convention (be it state or national or county) is not a franchise of a structured entity. Congregations are autonomous and membership and participation in a convention are voluntary.

lklouise, thank you for the correction.

John fisher
January 22nd, 2011 | LINK

And that ladies and gentlemen
is why I love being an Unitarian-Universalist
Bless it be (:
uua.org

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