The Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist World Alliance
Updated September 23, 2002 (first published August 27, 1998) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) –
In 1998 the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirmed its commitment to the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). A special SBC committee had been formed to study relations with the Alliance, and on February 10 the committee reported: “Without reservation, the committee affirms Southern Baptists need to relate to Baptists of the world and strongly desires that this may be facilitated in part through participation in the Baptist World Alliance.” Upon this recommendation, the SBC Executive Committee approved funding of the Baptist World Alliance of $425,000 for the 1998-99 fiscal year. This is an increase from the $417,838 that was given by the SBC to the Alliance in 1997. The Southern Baptist Convention provides a whopping 35% of the total budget of the Baptist World Alliance. In 2000, SBC Executive Committee President Dr. Morris Chapman stated that Southern Baptist churches will “benefit by remaining very active participants in the Baptist World Alliance” (Foundation, Nov.-Dec. 2000, p. 45).
The BWA is an ecumenical alliance of 211 Baptist denominations in more than 140 countries. It promotes the false teaching that unity is more important than doctrinal truth. In decades past, it has been strongly influenced by communists, and it supports new age one-world organizations such as the United Nations (UN). As far back as the 1930s, the Baptist World Alliance was a hotbed of modernism. When Dr. J. Frank Norris led the 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.
At the 15th Baptist World Alliance meeting in 1985, the BWA commended the UN 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 by Tutu that expose his 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).
By associating with the Baptist World Alliance, the Southern Baptist Convention is associating 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 1999, Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Denton Lotz urged Baptists to accept the Charismatic Movement. He said, “We need to get over our hang-up of the use of the word ‘charismatic’...” He praised the Charismatic Movement for rediscovering “the power and work of the Holy Spirit.” In reality, the Charismatic Movement preaches a false spirit that is not the Spirit of Truth of the Bible.
Also in 1999, Nilson Fanini, past president of the Baptist World Alliance, and Denton Lotz, general secretary, met with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity to discuss ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church. The parties agreed to meet again in 2001 to continue the dialogue.
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 observes: “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.
In January 2001, a delegation from the Baptist World Alliance met at the Vatican with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity to continue their dialogue. The Roman Catholic Church assured the delegates that Pope John Paul II desires to proceed with official conversations with Baptists.
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 Peace at Assisi, Italy. The ecumenical pagan prayer gathering featured some 200 religious leaders, including representatives of such “Christian” 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.
Among the denominations that are united under the BWA umbrella are the American Baptist Convention and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, both of which are permeated with the most blasphemous and 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).
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 CONVENTION
The Baptist World Alliance-affiliated American Baptist Convention (formerly the Northern Baptist Convention) is also liberal through and through. As early as 1910 Baptist leader William B. Riley admitted 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 Northern Baptist Convention.
The leaven of theological heresy has since permeated the Convention. The schools and pulpits of the American Baptist Convention 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 resurrection from the dead. The apostate American Baptist Convention has produced some of the most notorious, blasphemous heretics of the 20th century.
Consider just a few examples of this apostasy:
In 1926, the Northern Baptist annual convention debated for almost five hours whether to retain in its fellowship the Riverside Baptist Church of New York City, pastored by the modernist Harry Emerson Fosdick, who denied practically every doctrine of the Word of God. This should have been a simple decision, since the Bible commands that God’s people mark, avoid, and reject doctrinal heresy (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10-11), but by a vote of three to one the Northern Baptist Convention refused to exercise discipline. In 1945, Fosdick wrote the following to an individual who inquired about his beliefs: “Of course I do not believe in the virgin birth or in that old-fashioned substitutionary doctrine of the atonement, and I know of no intelligent person who does.”
In the first half of this century Dr. Robert H. Beaven, president of the Chicago Baptist Missionary Training School (Northern Baptist), denied that Jesus Christ is God: “Christ’s uniqueness lay not in his divine substance but in the relationship which existed between him and God. God chose Jesus, the human Galilean carpenter, nurtured in the cradle of Jewish religion, to whom he came with his living fellowship, and through whom he introduced such to men. Jesus was divine because God ‘raised’ him to a new level of life. But this was not a oneness of substance. Christ’s life is an example, revealing the kind of life God wills for, and from, man; it is not a supernatural act set before us as a miraculous means of salvation” (Beaven, In Him Is Life). This was the man chiefly responsible for the education of Northern Baptist missionaries in those days.
In 1924, missionary M.R. Hartley of India represented the views of many Northern Baptist preachers when he stated: “We have no assurance that we have a trustworthy record of anything that Jesus Christ either said or did. ... I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God but I must interpret that in my own way. I can conceive of myself coming to a position where I could sincerely say that I believe in the deity of Jesus. I could almost say it now, but it would mean something different from orthodoxy, but orthodoxy seems like an impossible view. I do not see the necessity of the death of Christ. I do not believe in the second coming.”
Dr. Frederick Anderson, secretary of the Foreign Board of the Northern Baptist Convention in the late 1920s, questioned the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. “My mind is still open on this subject, which I do not consider of the first importance. I am rather inclined to believe in the virgin birth, but it is not essential to Christian faith, and should not be made a condition of church membership or ordination” (Anderson, The Life of Jesus). This is a false and wicked statement because if Jesus Christ was not virgin born the Bible is a pack of lies and our faith is built upon a fable. Further, if Christ was not virgin born He could not have been the sinless Son of God and could not, therefore, have died for our sins.
In the 1940s Andover-Newton Baptist Theological Seminary (American Baptist) graduate Myron J. Hertel gave the following reply when asked about the blood of Christ: “The blood of Jesus Christ is of no more value in the salvation of a soul than the water in which Pilate washed his hands.” Yet the American Baptist Home Mission Society called this young blasphemer to the position of the superintendent of the Boston Baptist City Mission (Robert T. Ketcham, The Answer, Sword of the Lord, pp. 10-16).
The 1948 meeting of the Northern Baptist Convention featured the influential modernist heretic George Buttrick. On page 284 of his book Christian Fact and Modern Doubt he stated: “The future is hidden. We must be faithful to our ignorance ... Jesus apparently conquered death ... But we do not know, why pretend we do ... We covet the chance to say to God hereafter, if God there be; Lord, they told us to grab the present gain, but there was more gain in staking life on a grand Perhaps.” The Apostle Paul said, “I KNOW whom I have believed, and am PERSUADED that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). The American Baptist-supported Buttrick said the Christian faith is merely a grand PERHAPS.
The 1950 Northern Baptist Convention meeting featured blasphemous modernist G. Bromley Oxnam, who called the God of the Old Testament a “dirty bully” (Oxnam, Preaching in a Revolutionary Age, p. 72), because his unregenerate, rebellious mind would not accept the righteous judgment of God upon sin.
Dr. A.S. Hobart, professor at the American Baptist Crozer Seminary, denied the substitutionary blood atonement of Jesus Christ: “I cannot see anything understandable or acceptable in theory that my guilt and my penalty were placed upon Christ, or that Christ’s holiness is imparted to me, in any way that involves a substitution of his holiness for mine, or his suffering for what was due me, that view of the theory of the atonement finds no foothold in my consciousness or my reason” (A.S. Hobart, Transplanted Truths from Romans, p. 29).
Another Crozer professor, Henry Vedder, concurred with Hobart in denying Christ’s salvation: “Of all the slanders men have perpetrated against the Most High, this doctrine of his substitutionary atonement is positively the most impudent and the most insulting. Jesus never taught and never authorized anybody to teach in his name that he suffered in our stead and bore the penalty of our sins” (Vedder, cited by R.T. Ketcham, The Answer, pp. 10-16).
Norris L. Tibbets, former pastor of the American Baptist Riverside Church in New York City, denied Christ’s bodily resurrection: “Then the third day came. A stone was rolled away and an imprisoned spirit was set free” (Tibbets, Secret Place, April-June 1950, published by the Northern Baptist Convention).
Duncan Littlefair was pastor of the Fountain Street Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was also a leader in the Northern Baptist Convention. As host pastor of the 1946 annual convention he said: “The Resurrection was not a physical event in history. If the body of Jesus had been raised physically it would only have been required to die again. We have made the physical aspect of the Resurrection the important thing. ... It is a shame and disgrace, really, that after all these centuries we should be living and thinking about the glory of the Resurrection on such levels as these” (Littlefair, The Nature of God).
Littlefair also denied that Jesus Christ is God: “Was Jesus God? There are two major approaches to this question. One of them seeks to make Jesus God. That seems to be the traditional notion of Christianity or at least the popular understanding of it, but I want to say here this morning, once and for all, if I haven’t said it before, and if I don’t say it again -- That is idolatry. Jesus is not and cannot be God. He was God in the same way that you and I may be God, by being an expression of him, and allowing him to express himself in us” (Littlefair, cited by R.T. Ketcham, The Answer, pp. 25-31).
American Baptist minister Jitsuo Morikawa, former pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City, said in 1964: “God has already won a mighty redemption ... for the entire world ... The task of the church is to tell all men ... that they already belong to Christ ... Men are no longer lost ... There cannot be individual salvation” (Jitsuo Morikawa, Riverside Church, New York City, Christianity Today, March 13, 1964, p. 26).
American Baptist missionary D.T. Niles of India made the following statement espousing universalism before the American Baptist Convention: “...everybody is within the ministry of Jesus Christ whether or not he accepts it ... The only question [is] ‘Do you know that Jesus Christ is your Saviour?’ Jesus is Lord whether man knows it or not -- believes it or not” (J.O. Sanders, What of the Unevangelized, p. 21).
Nels F.S. Ferre, professor at the Northern Baptist Andover-Newton Theological School, was a modernist and a blasphemer of the highest caliber. He denied the virgin birth, deity, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He claimed that the Old Testament taught an “outworn morality” (Ferre, Pillars of Faith, p. 95). He stated that “God differs from all men, including Jesus, in that His personality alone is eternal and the Creator of all other personalities” (Ferre, The Christian Faith, 1942, p. 102). He conjectured that Jesus might have been the son of a Roman soldier (Ferre, Christian Understanding of God, p. 186). He claimed that accepting the Bible as the infallible Word of God is idolatry (Ferre, The Sun and the Umbrella, p. 39).
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.”
The American Baptist Convention in 1968 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. McBain, 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 arranged by a Hindu organization.
The June 1991 issue of WATCHword, a women’s ministry paper of the ABC, 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, Minnesota, 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 think Jesus came for life and to show us something about life. 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 to an American Baptist church, claimed that Mary and Martha in the Bible were lesbian ‘fore-sisters.’ She said they were not sisters, but lesbian lovers.
The unscriptural ecumenical philosophy of the Baptist World Alliance is illustrated by that of its member body the American Baptist Convention. 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 fact that the Southern Baptist Convention participates with and funds the Baptist World Alliance leaves no doubt about its rebellion to the Word of God. As a member of the Baptist World Alliance, the SBC is yoking together with and supporting heresy and blasphemy around the world. The Bible commands:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 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 9-11).
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