Liberal Baptist Denominations
Members of the BWA include American Baptist Churches USA, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Baptist Union of New Zealand, Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, General Baptist Church of the Philippines, Luzon Convention of Southern Baptist Churches, Singapore Baptist Convention, Thailand Baptist Convention, Evangelical Baptist Union of Italy, Jamaica Baptist Union, Myanmar Baptist Convention, National Baptist Convention of America, National Baptist Convention USA, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Baptist Union of Australia, Assam Baptist Convention, Baptist Church of Mizoram, Baptist Union of North India, Council of Baptist Churches in Northern India, Evangelical Baptist Convention of India, India Association of General Baptists, Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Manipur Baptist Convention, Japan Baptist Convention, Japan Baptist Conference, Japan Baptist Union, Korea Baptist Convention, Malaysia Baptist Convention, and the Nepal Baptist Church Council.
The BWA promotes the heresy that unity is more important than doctrinal truth. Its first stated goal is “to unite Baptists worldwide.”
The unscriptural ecumenical philosophy is illustrated by that of BWA member body, the American Baptist Church. An ABC publication entitled “Oneness in Christ: American Baptists Are Ecumenical” leaves no doubt about their position. This publication was compiled and edited by the “Reverend” Martha Barr, former Assistant General Secretary and Ecumenical Officer of the ABC.
“We American Baptists run the whole theological range--fundamentalists, conservative orthodox, liberal ... Maybe it is partly because American Baptists are so inclusive that we affirm that we are ecumenical. ... We do not have creedal statements. We can worship and work with Episcopalian and Pentecostal, with Roman Catholic and Orthodox.”
The Bible forbids this type of unity. God’s people are commanded to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and to mark and avoid those who teach heresy.
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).
In decades past, the BWA was strongly influenced by communists, and it supports new age one-world organizations such as the United Nations (UN).
The Baptist World Alliance is affiliated with the exceedingly liberal World Council of Churches (WCC). Twenty-five of the BWA’s member denominations are members of the WCC. (See The World Council of Churches, a free eBook available at www.wayoflife.org.)
The Baptist World Alliance maintains ecumenical relations with Rome through its affiliation with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Formal dialogue was held between 1984 and 1988, moderated by David T. Shannon, former president of Andover Newton Theological School, and Bede Heather, Catholic bishop of Parramatta, and between 2006 and 2010, moderated by Paul Fiddes, professor of systematic theology at the University of Oxford, and Arthur Serratelli, Catholic bishop of Paterson.
Upon the election of Pope Francis in March 2013, Baptist World Alliance President John Upton said, “The BWA celebrates with the Catholic Church the announcement” (“BWA to Attend Papal Inauguration,” Associated Baptist Press, Mar. 15, 2013). Upton plans to represent the BWA at the papal inauguration. BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said the new pope “will be accompanied by the prayers of the members of the world Baptist family, who also anticipate the pope's positive contribution to the realization of the vision of the church reflected in the High Priestly prayer of our Lord.”
As far back as the 1930s, the Baptist World Alliance was a hotbed of theological modernism. When Dr. J. Frank Norris led Temple Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan, to withdraw from the BWA in 1935, he cited its “modernistic dominated leadership” as a reason (The F. Frank Norris I Have Known for 34 Years, p. 311).
Prior to that, fundamentalist leader A.C. Dixon had tried to have a resolution passed in the Baptist World Alliance affirming “five fundamental verities of the faith,” including the verbal inspiration of Scripture and the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. An apostate majority of the BWA representatives voted down this simple resolution.
Things have only gotten worse in the years since then.
At the 15th Baptist World Alliance meeting in 1985, the BWA commended the United Nations, a hotbed of New Age and Humanistic confusion, and challenged Baptists “to make a new commitment of prayer for the UN, promote interest and support for its programmes, and encourage world-wide rededication to the principles and purposes of its charter” (“8000 Attend 15th Baptist Congress,” Ecumenical Press Service, July 11-20, 1985).
Desmond Tutu spoke at a Baptist World Alliance meeting in 1988. Anglican archbishop Tutu is a rank liberal who in February 1996 called for the ordination of homosexual priests. Consider the following quotes that expose Tutu’s unbelieving heart:
“Some people thought there was something odd about Jesus’ birth... It may be that Jesus was an illegitimate son” (Desmond Tutu, Cape Times, October 24, 1980).
“The Holy Spirit is not limited to the Christian Church. For example, Mahatma Gandhi, who is a Hindu ... The Holy Spirit shines through him” (Desmond Tutu, St. Alban’s Cathedral, Pretoria, South Africa, November 23, 1978).
Those who associate with the Baptist World Alliance, associate with heretics like Desmond Tutu, and the Bible warns severely against such fellowship: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 10, 11).
In September 2000, the Baptist World Alliance opened official dialogue with the Anglican Consultative Council to “foster common understanding between the two religious groups” and to see if they “could find common ground to work together in various aspects of the ministry.” Evangelist Don Jasmin observed: “This is the same Anglican Church which is seeking reunion with the Roman Catholic Church and whose leadership has already agreed to accept the primacy of the Pope” (Fundamentalist Digest, March-April 2001, p. 12).
Brutal Marxist dictator Fidel Castro, who has persecuted and restricted the churches of Jesus Christ in Cuba for decades, was a speaker at the Baptist World Alliance meeting in July 2000.
On January 24, 2002, Denton Lotz, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, joined hands with Pope John Paul II and the leaders of many other denominations and 11 pagan religions at the third Day of Prayer for World Peace at Assisi, Italy. The ecumenical pagan prayer gathering featured some 200 religious leaders, including representatives of such denominations as Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Reformed, Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon, Methodist, Quaker, Pentecostal, Mennonite, as well as representatives of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Bahai, Confucianism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Tenrikyo (Japan), and members of African and North American “traditional religions.” The religious leaders traveled to Assisi with the Pope by train from Rome, arriving at the blasphemously named Railway Station of St. Mary of the Angels.
The Pope said, “Violence never again! War never again! Terrorism never again! In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth justice and peace, forgiveness and life, love!” The Pope’s prayers aren’t answered, and neither are those of the other false religious leaders gathered with him, for the simple reason that they worship false gods and preach false gospels and blatantly disobey God’s Word. That the general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance would participate in such a thing is irrefutable evidence of his apostasy.
In February 2013, the Baptist World Alliance praised Pope Benedict XVI upon his announcement that he was stepping down from the papacy. BWA General Secretary Neville Callam called the pope’s theological works “a rich storehouse of spiritual reflections worthy of detailed study” (BWA Leader Laud Pope Benedict XVI,” Baptist World Alliance News, Feb. 14, 2013). BWA president John Upton praised the Pope’s ecumenical vision and his willingness to reach out to Baptists. There was no warning of the Pope’s false gospel and other damnable heresies.
Among the denominations that are united under the BWA umbrella are the American Baptist Church USA and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, both of which are permeated with the most heretical modernism under the sun.
BAPTIST UNION OF BRITAIN
The Baptist Union was already becoming apostate at the end of the 19th century when Charles Haddon Spurgeon separated from it in protest in 1888. Today that apostasy is complete.
In the early 1970s, for example, Michael Taylor, principal of the Baptist Union’s Northern Baptist College, addressed the London Baptist Assembly on the theme, “How much of a man was Jesus?” He denied that Jesus Christ is God. Though many protested the man’s heresy, the Baptist Union refused to discipline him or remove him from office.
In 1986, the Australian Beacon made the following observation about the Baptist Union: “It is a Union which harbours apostates and succors infidels while ostracizing faithful servants of Christ. It is a friend of Rome, a bed-fellow of idolaters and spiritists in its membership of the World Council of Churches. No true man of God could remain within it in good conscience” (Australian Beacon, No. 240, July 1986).
In 1989, the Baptist Union yoked together with the Roman Catholic Church in the newly formed ecumenical union in Britain.
In 1995, the New South Wales Baptist, the official paper of the Baptist Union of NSW, endorsed the Laughing Revival, otherwise known as the Toronto Blessing. The article was written by David Coffey, General Secretary of the Baptist Union. Many Baptist Union congregations have welcomed the Laughing Revival. These include Randwick Baptist Church. Secular newspapers printed photos of Randwick Baptist church members lying on the floor and acting like drunks. Coffey begins his article with the statement, “We have now had the opportunity to receive reports from a wide range of opinions across the country and there is no doubt in our minds that God has been at work” (David Coffey, “When the Spirit Comes, a British Baptist Prospective,” The New South Wales Baptist, Autumn 1995). What blindness.
In November 1997, the Baptist Union of Great Britain appointed a woman as area superintendent for London. A Baptist Union spokeswoman said area superintendents are “pastors to the pastors” and their families, promote the union and represent Baptists ecumenically (Ecumenical News International, November 18, 1997). The woman, Pat Took, is also a pastor at the Can Hall Baptist Church in Leytonstone, London.
In May 1998, Catholic Cardinal Basil Hume was invited to participate in the Baptist Union’s assembly. He “led their spiritual reflections and was present when newly-accredited ministers met the Baptist Union president” (Australian Beacon, August 1998). The Union’s General Secretary, David Coffey, praised the cardinal and said the Union recognizes “the deep spirituality which undergirds his ministry.”
AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCH
The Baptist World Alliance-affiliated American Baptist Church (ABC) (formerly the Northern Baptist Convention and the American Baptist Convention) is also permeated with theological liberalism and deep spiritual compromise.
As early as 1910 Baptist leader William B. Riley testified that the denomination had been “surrendered into the hands of the Higher Critics” (George Dollar, A History of Fundamentalism).
Between 1920 and 1932 a group of fundamentalist Baptist pastors unsuccessfully attempted to root the modernism out of the convention. They formed the National Federation of Fundamentalists of Northern Baptists. In 1932, many of these pastors left the Northern Baptist Convention and formed the General Association of Regular Baptists. In 1947, the Conservative Baptist Association of America was formed by another group of pastors who departed from the modernistic American Baptist Convention.
The leaven of theological heresy has since permeated the ABC. The schools and pulpits of are filled with men who deny the infallible inspiration of Holy Scripture and who question or deny Christ’s virgin birth, Godhead, vicarious atonement, and bodily resurrection. The American Baptist Church has produced some of the most notorious, blasphemous heretics of the 20th century.
In the 1960s, Professor William Hamilton of Colgate Rochester Divinity School (American Baptist) taught that God is dead. Hamilton was defended in 1966 by Colgate president Gene Bartlett who refused to remove Hamilton from the faculty because he “was within the allowable measure of dissent.”
In 1968 the American Baptist Convention stated that abortion “should be a matter of responsible personal decision.”
In the early 1970s Dr. L. McBain, former president of the American Baptist Convention and president of the American Baptist Seminary of the West, argued that Jesus Christ is not referred to as God in the Scriptures (F.E.A. News & Views, Fundamental Evangelistic Association, Nov-Dec. 1976).
In an article in the December 1979 issue of the American Baptist magazine, Dr. L. Howard McBain, president of the American Baptist Seminary of the West, stated that the Bible does not teach that Jesus was God.
In 1980, American Baptist Dr. Ralph Wendell Burhoe received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion for his “revolutionary hypothesis that finds religion central to the evolutionary emergence of civilized humanity” (EP News Service, May 31, 1980).
The American Baptist Biennial Convention in 1981 featured Rosemary Radford Reuther, a Roman Catholic feminist whose “language often sounds more like it belongs in the gutter than in the church” (Foundation, Fundamental Evangelistic Association, January-February 1981, p. 18).
American Baptist (Harvard) professor Harvey Cox is a notorious modernist. In his book The Secular City he claimed that “the world, not the church, is the proper focus of Christian life” and “the world of politics is a primary sphere of God’s liberating work today” (Richard Quebedeaux, The Worldly Evangelicals, Harper and Row, 1978, p. 19). In his book The Feast of Fools, Cox refers to Jesus Christ as a harlequin and a clown. Cox does not believe that followers of pagan religions are on their way to Hell. He was a speaker at the World Congress for the Synthesis of Science and Religion in India in 1986. The conference was organized by a Hindu organization.
The June 1991 issue of WATCHword, a women’s ministry paper of the American Baptist Convention, stated: “What I have come to love about Scripture is the fact that IT IS NOT INERRANT. That IT IS NOT PERFECT. That it is not complete. That it does contradict itself...”
Former American Baptist president James Scott stated in the March 1992 issue of American Baptist magazine that the issue of homosexuality should be re-examined and that there might be various legitimate points of view about it other than the traditional biblical one that it is an abomination before God.
In August 1993, American Baptist deputy general secretary for cooperative Christianity, Joan S. Parrott, sat with 386 cardinals and bishops surrounding Pope John Paul II at the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day in Denver. She was part of a nine-member ecumenical team including Protestant and Jewish leaders who were given a special banquet before the prayer vigil and met with the pope after his sermon. She had lavish praise for the ecumenical event (Calvary Contender, Jan. 1, 1994).
The American Baptist Convention sent representatives to the Re-imagining conference in Minneapolis, in November 1993. Speakers included Chung Hyung Kyung, a Korean “theologian” who equates the Holy Spirit with ancient Asian deities and who prays to trees and deceased spirits. At the conference, Delores Williams said: “I don’t think we need a theory of atonement at all. … I don’t think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff.” Virginia Mollenkott said that Jesus was “first born only in the sense that he was the first to show us that it is possible to live in oneness with the divine source while we are here on this planet.”
Chung Hyung Kyung said: “My bowel is Buddhist bowel, my heart is Buddhist heart, my right brain is Confucian brain, and my left brain is Christian brain.” During the conference, a group of roughly 100 “lesbian, bi-sexual, and transsexual women” gathered on the platform and were given a standing ovation by many in the crowd. They were “celebrating the miracle of being lesbian, out, and Christian.” In a workshop called ‘Prophetic Voices of Lesbians in the Church,’ Nadean Bishop, the first ‘out’ lesbian minister called pastor an American Baptist congregation, claimed that Mary and Martha were not sisters, but lesbian lovers.
COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) was accepted into the Baptist World Alliance in 2003.
The CBF is a very liberal organization that was formed in 1991 by Southern Baptists discontented with the SBC’s more conservative direction in recent decades. The CBF’s liberalism can be demonstrated with many examples.
For example, at the annual CBF conference in June 2002, the book “The Wisdom of Daughters” was sold. This book advocates lesbianism, abortion, worship of a female Sophia goddess, and the practice of Wicca. One essay in this book described the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary death for man’s sin as an example of “divine child abuse.” This perverted book was commended in materials distributed at the conference by Baptist Women in Ministry, a partner to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
The Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond is an example of the theological modernism that permeates the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. John Ippolito, who was a student at seminary for more than a year before transferring to a more conservative school, documented the rank modernism in a journal that was published by the Baptist Banner in April 2001. He observed: “The professors here, as well as many of the students, continually question the authenticity of the Bible. They close their minds to classical, traditional interpretation, under the guise of theology, but they do not realize that they are pulling away from the Lord.” Instead of learning to believe and rightly interpret the Bible, he “learned to dismantle the Bible.”
He said that one of his professors taught that there is no revelation of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. The Bible is viewed through the lenses of the modernistic documentary theories that claim the Old Testament is a mixture of myth and history. Homosexuality and feminism were openly promoted by some of the students. Ippolito’s testimony was confirmed by others who have attended the seminary.
Wake Forest University Divinity is also affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The School, which is on the Campus of Wake Forest University, had 24 full-time students for its opening in 1999. The students came from various backgrounds, including Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopalian. The faculty included a Catholic Benedictine priest and a feminist theologian who calls God “our motherly father” (Calvary Contender, Sept. 15, 1999; Oct. 1, 1999).
Wake Forest Baptist Church meets in the school’s chapel. Its pastor Richard Groves, in a sermon preached November 15, 1998, said the prophet Isaiah DID NOT write Isaiah 65. He said:
“OK, I know his name wasn’t Isaiah. He was an unknown contemporary of Haggai, whose work we considered last week, a prophet who was called to speak a word from God to the people after they returned from their fifty year exile in Babylon. And it was his misfortune to get a real sloppy editor who somehow tacked his book on to the end of another book, one that we associate with the great prophet Isaiah of Jerusalem, who lived a couple of centuries earlier. The result is that the author who wrote some of the most important passages in the Hebrew Bible, so far as a Christian understanding of Jesus is concerned (the suffering servant image, for example), is now completely unknown to us” (Richard Groves, “Living Toward the Future: Isaiah 65:17-25,” Wake Forest Baptist Church, Nov. 15, 1998).
The book of Isaiah itself professes to be the product of the historical prophet Isaiah. If Isaiah did not write the book, it is a deception and the Jews who promoted it as the writing of Isaiah were strangely deceived about their own history. Further, to claim that the prophet Isaiah did not write the book of Isaiah is to make Jesus Christ and the apostles into liars. Jesus often quoted from the book and said it was written by Isaiah--not by some unknown group of men (Jn. 12:38-41). In John 12:38-41 Christ quoted from both major sections of the book and said both were written by the same Isaiah. Every time Christ and the apostles quoted from Isaiah, they did so with the understanding that the book was written by the historical prophet (Mt. 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14; 15:7; Mk. 7:6; Lk. 3:4; 4:17;
Jn. 1:23; 12:38, 39,41; Acts 8:28, 30; 28:25; Rom. 9:27,29; 10:16, 20; 15:12). This completely destroys the modernistic myth that Isaiah was the product of more than one writer. The choice is obvious: Will we believe the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, or will we believe the modern critic?
The pastor of Wake Forest Baptist Church also claimed that Isaiah’s prophecy was merely a dream after the fashion of those dreamed by the United Nations.
“It’s a dream, you say. The world isn’t like that, never has been like that, and never will be like that. Of course, it’s a dream. Isaiah dreamed as inspired people in every age dream. In her poem ‘A Brave and Startling Truth,’ which she read on the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, Maya Angelou also dreamed of a future. ... Of course, it’s a dream, but we are shaped by our dreams of the future, and we shape the future according to the way we dream it will be” (Richard Groves, ibid.).
This Baptist pastor thinks the Bible is “inspired” merely like the dreams of pagan United Nations world planners. What wickedness.
Consider Mercer University, which was founded in 1833 and named for Jesse Mercer, a prominent Bible-believing Baptist leader. Mercer was aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention until 2006. Today Mercer’s McAfee School of Theology is “partnered” with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Mercer’s longstanding liberalism is illustrated by the views of R. Kirby Godsey, who was president from 1979-2006. In a book entitled When We Talk about God ... Let’s Be Honest (Smyth & Helwys, 1996) Godsey brashly denied, reinterpreted, or questioned practically every doctrine of the Christian faith. Godsey claimed “the notion that God is the all powerful, the high and mighty principal of heaven and earth should be laid aside.”
Consider a few other excerpts:
“Similarly, Christians do not approach the coming of Jesus Christ in terms of historical data. The data of history about Jesus is interesting but not conclusive” (When We Talk about God, p. 45).
“In all likelihood, the authority for our faith should not rest upon the Bible alone, or even primarily. For the Christian faith, the Bible is not the center of faith. ... The simple identification of the Word of God with the Bible is a grave mistake. ... The Bible, then, should not be viewed as a boundary of belief. ... Christian revelation does not offer us a statement of faith to be endorsed, but a way of life to be embraced. ... Our confidence in the Bible as Holy Scripture should not rest upon believing the book to be a miraculous, divine dictation where its writers simply serve as God’s recorders. ... To ascribe infallibility to the written words of the Bible is wrong. ... Jesus often tried to bring his followers beyond the pages of Jewish Scriptures. No human words are sufficient to contain God. ... Turning the Bible into a rule book distorts the power of the gospel and misappropriates the teaching of Scripture. ... The notion of the Bible’s
infallibility, instead of giving honor to the Bible, actually leads to a treacherous idolatry of the Bible. ... If the Bible is beyond all criticism and analysis, it becomes absolute itself instead of pointing to God who is Absolute. ... Regarding the Bible as inerrant and holding fast to its inerrancy as the sine qua non test of faith exposes the human sin of trying to possess God. ... While not being an absolute authority, the Bible is indispensable to a full understanding of our life of faith. ... Therefore, while wanting to avoid a mindless and idolatrous worship of the Bible, we can hardly overestimate the significance of the Bible in our own searching for God’s will” (When We Talk about God, pp. 50, 51, 52, 53).
“The story of Adam will be misconstrued entirely if we read it like a source book for human genealogy. The point of Genesis is not to trace human history back to Adam” (When We Talk about God, p. 81).
“At the wellspring of their life, people are good even when they do evil. When people’s actions are evil, they are acting against their essential nature and their deepest purpose for being here” (When We Talk about God, p. 83).
“The figure of Satan serves as a powerful and dramatic symbol of the presence of pain and temptation in all our experiences” (When We Talk about God, p. 103).
“The compelling confession of our faith is not that God will love us or forgive us if we will repent our sin. The truth of the Christian gospel is that God loves us and forgives us already--no conditions” (When We Talk about God, p. 115).
“The Virgin Birth is more truth than fact. Facts are historical and mundane. Truth transcends the ages. ... Its status as an actual historical fact is unimportant. Clearly, there are many records of so-called ‘virgin births’ in history. It was certainly not a novel image to denote an extraordinary event. The preoccupation with this virgin birth as a doctrine based in ‘flesh and blood’ distracts us from the truth of the Incarnation” (When We Talk about God, pp. 120, 121).
“Christians seem to become remarkably troubled about whether Jesus is humankind’s only savior. Is Jesus God’s only word? The simple answer is ‘Of course not.’ ... I can only say that, for me, Jesus is the central event of history, I cannot speak for another. ... The unique place of Jesus in my own life is clear to me, but my belief should not compel others to come to make my confession. ... The arrogant assertion that all other religious affirmations are pagan confuses our viewpoint with God’s. We have no basis for such absolute judgment, and our judgments are unseemly” (When We Talk about God, pp. 133, 136).
“Theories of atonement are treacherous mostly because they divert us from the power and simplicity of grace. ... Closer to our own era, we have become far more consumed by what is known as the ‘substitutionary theory of atonement.’ It’s simple. If you don’t believe it, you are not a Christian. In fact, this doctrine is cited as one of the five beliefs that fundamentalism requires in order to meet its criteria of being Christian. ... This theory, again, gives us a picture of God that looks more like a judgmental tyrant. It winds up making God responsible for Jesus’ death” (When We Talk about God, pp. 140, 141).
“The New Testament does not give an almanac of the end of time. Just as we should not look to Genesis for a scientific rendering of creation, we should not look to Revelation for a scientific account of the end of the world. ... Chasing after a literal rendering of these passages and transcribing them into the complicated theories of the millennium is a mistake. ... Speaking plainly, heaven and hell are not places in space. Heaven and hell describe our relationships with God. ... Neither should the term body be construed as material. ... The form of the resurrection is not at all clear in any literal sense” (When We Talk about God, pp. 199, 205).
“The image of God meting out rewards and penalties of heaven and hell leaves us with a view of God that is very different from the vision of God embodied in the work and life of Jesus” (When We Talk about God, p. 200).
“Death is not a boundary. Hell is not a boundary. Whenever a person chooses to accept God’s forgiveness, the power of forgiveness becomes effective in his life. ... God will never close the door. ... The ‘day of judgment’ is not some certain date in the future on which history will close and each person will be brought before God for evaluation. ... The time of judgment may be endless, but it is not eternal” (When We Talk about God, pp. 202, 204).
In spite of these rank heresies, the trustees of Mercer voted unanimously in December 1996 to support Godsey’s presidency under the banner of “academic freedom.”
In regard to homosexuality, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship talks out of both sides of its mouth. At its governing board meeting on October 13, 2000, its position was described as “welcoming but not affirming.” That is a meaningless statement, in practice. While every church should welcome all sinners to hear the gospel, they also must require that sinners repent and be converted, and this is not acceptable to homosexual activists today who pretend that homosexuality is not a sin.
CBF Coordinator Daniel Vestal admitted that the statement on homosexuality, as weak as it is, is meaningless in practice, saying: “I have no interest whatever in excluding or demeaning or minimizing any in this Fellowship who share a different perspective than this document.” He told the press that there are congregations that support the CBF who ordain homosexuals, and that he does not want anyone to leave over this issue (“CBF ‘welcoming but not affirming’ of homosexuals,” Associated Baptist Press, Oct. 23, 2000).
CBF council member Dixie Lee Petrey said, “I don’t think we should limit the Spirit of God in the way that it moves. Do we really want to sit here and say God’s Spirit cannot call a homosexual to follow God’s call?” CBF council member Bob Setzer added, “We’re not saying that God cannot call a homosexual, even a practicing homosexual.”
The CBF supports liberal schools that affirm homosexuality. These include Wake Forest Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Duke University, and Emory University, all of which allow admission for homosexuals.
Wake Forest University Divinity School admitted a lesbian to its student body when it opened in 1999. Bill Leonard, dean of the school, defended the decision in a meeting of “moderate Baptists” in April 2000. Leonard compared the issue of homosexuality to civil rights for black people. When asked if he considers homosexuality a sin, he replied: “Is homosexuality a sin? That’s for everyone to sort out individually” (“Leonard defends admitting gays to divinity school,” Biblical Record, journal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, May 12, 2000). He is wrong. God “sorted that out” long ago. The standard for morality is not what every man thinks, but what the Bible says; and the Bible plainly condemns homosexuality and calls homosexuals to repentance.
Wake Forest Baptist Church, which meets in the school’s chapel, voted in November 1998 to “petition God to bless all loving, committed, and exclusive relationships between two people.” The church’s pastors, Richard Groves and female preacher Lynn Rhoades, told the press they believe that decision gives them the right to officiate at homosexual “ceremonies” (“SBC Congregation Asks God to Bless Homosexual Unions,” Fundamental Baptist Information Service, November 18, 1998). A lesbian student at Wake Forest Divinity School and her female partner were among those who had a “blessing ceremony” at the church.
In March 2013, a study committee of the Richmond Baptist Association, affiliated with the CBF, recommended that its congregations “continue to embrace Ginter Park Baptist Church as a sister church” even though it ordained a homosexual to the ministry (“Association may retain gay-friendly church,” Associated Baptist Press, March 5, 2013).
Some churches associated with the CBF are dually aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention.