Sunday, September 23, 2007

Southern Baptists in the news (unfortunately)-- part 2

on Baptists and how to hire/fire (again, from CT-- from my backlog of blog stuff)...

It's anybody's guess what messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual June meeting intended when they approved a motion on the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM). This much at least is clear: Messengers meeting in San Antonio recognized the landmark 2000 document as "neither a creed nor a complete statement of our faith nor final or infallible."

That's where the water turns murky, and the main dispute concerns how to deal with issues not addressed in the BFM. Some Southern Baptists now insist that the BFM should be the only criterion for hiring and firing. They focus on a phrase in the motion that describes the BFM as "sufficient in its current form." They have loudly protested moves by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the International Mission Board to bar employees over non-BFM issues, namely private prayer languages.

But other convention leaders point out that the motion says the BFM should "guide trustees" in policymaking. They want to reserve the right of convention agencies to hire and fire employees for reasons not covered in the BFM, such as Calvinism and speaking in tongues.

Here's another issue where Baptist tradition and biases get in the way of their interpretation and application of the Scriptures (e.g., I Corinthians 14:39; and have you ever heard the cessationists' case? it's embarrassingly weak)...

This issue has been bubbling up for some time. For those who might be interested, two other articles of interest:
a trustee resigning from a board after being pressured to resign
a 2006 decision to bar new missionaries from speaking in tongues as a "private prayer language"


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