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Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials
Way of Life Bible College
Reply to a Southern Baptist Preacher
Updated May 24, 2005 (first published January 7, 2005)
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
Recently I received the following from a Southern Baptist preacher:

“Your article on ‘Why I am not a Southern Baptist’ is the most extreme example of innuendo and half truth I have witness in a long time. Some of your statements and misinformation are so moronic that they do not even deserve a response. For example the Southern Baptist Convention does not operate any colleges or universities. Each of them is run by a state convention that is autonomous. You quoted Kirby Godsey as representative of Southern Baptist leadership, you cannot be serious. He works for a state convention school that pulled away from its state convention, and therefore the state convention has no power to fire him. The only thing the Southern Baptist Convention can do to Kirbey Godsey is to refute his teachings in public forums, which they have done. Your words are have misled your readers by not giving all the facts about what can and cannot be done. Discipline Billy Graham, give me a break. This from a group of people that did not discipline Jack Hyles, and followed with blind cultic loyalty. I am proud to be a Southern Baptist. Although we have not completely eradicated the 40 years of liberalism in our ranks, through our processes we are bringing our convention back to its heritage. Why don't you spend your energies advancing the Kingdom of God through evangelism and discipleship, rather than borderline yellow journalism targeted at brothers in Christ.”


Hello. I will reply to your accusations even though it is difficult for me to believe you are serious.

1. This business about the schools at the state level not being the Southern Baptist Convention is a smokescreen. The schools are supported by Southern Baptist churches. The SBC has a local, a regional, a state, and a national aspect. The local churches support the state conventions, which in turn fund the national convention. Don’t try to split hairs here. I have made this distinction clear in my writings. The only one who doesn’t understand it is the one who doesn’t want to. Only someone trying to excuse his affiliation with liberalism would claim that the Southern Baptist convention only exists at the national level. If this were true, there would not be such a thing as a Southern Baptist congregation, but we know that there is such a thing.

Since we are on the subject of the state conventions, let’s consider North Carolina. This state illustrates how that the Southern Baptist Convention is a mixed multitude of theological modernists and conservatives and how that the most conservative Southern Baptists are still yoked together at the state level with the rankest liberals. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, which sends funds to the Southern Baptist Convention at the national level to support the six seminaries and other projects, at the same time supports liberal schools such as The Divinity School at Wake Forest, Duke Divinity School at Winston-Salem, Gardiner-Webb School of Divinity at Boiling Springs, and Campbell University Divinity School at Buies Creek. While taking funds from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, which in turn is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, these schools are also affiliated with the rankly liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). At the annual CBF conference in June 2002, the book “The Wisdom of Daughters” was sold that 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 ministry to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

The Bible says that even to bid a heretic Godspeed is to be a partaker of his evil deeds (2 John 8-11); how much more are conservative Southern Baptists partakers of the evil deeds of liberals when they join hands with them in the same organizations and in the support of the same schools?

2. As for Godsey, the state convention had years and years and years of opportunity to fire him and DID NOT. He has been the head of Mercer since 1979. In September 1997 the convention voted overwhelmingly to continue its relationship with the school in spite of Godsey’s 1996 book, “When We Talk With God Let’s Be Honest,” that attacked practically every doctrine of the Christian faith. Further, the Georgia State Convention continues to give Mercer “about $3 million a year” (Andy Peters, “Godsey: Mercer on solid ground,” Macon Telegraph, Jan. 10, 2004). And Mercer is still training thousands of young people from Southern Baptist churches. As for Southern Baptists speaking against Godsey, frightfully few have.

3. Discipline Billy Graham? Yes, absolutely. He is a rebel against the Word of God. The churches and preachers that have ignored his rebellion and compromise will answer to God for it. I believe my writings will testify against you in that day, preacher. Show me the articles written by Southern Baptist preachers warning their people of Billy Graham’s compromise with Rome and with theological modernism, to name only one area of rebellion?

4. As for Jack Hyles, in my opinion he did a lot of damage to the cause of Christ. I have warned about him in many articles. But I am not a member of his church, nor am I a member of an association or denomination that he was a member of. I have never had any affiliation with him that would make me accountable for what he did.

5. Proud to be a Southern Baptist? I’m sorry to hear that, for pride goeth before a fall.

6. Why don't I spend my energies advancing the Kingdom of God through evangelism and discipleship? I do. I have been a missionary to South Asia beginning in 1979. How many Hindus and Buddhists have you preached the gospel to? How many years have you spent in one of the world’s poorest nations?

7. As for the business about "yellow journalism," that is a slanderous mischaracterization of my warnings. I am careful about my facts and I do not preach about things until I am convinced there is something that seriously needs addressing because God's people are being negatively affected. And I do not preach about things to hurt anyone or because I hate anyone, the Lord being my witness. I preach because I am deeply motivated by a Spirit-given love for the truth in a truthless age (I certainly had no love for the truth before Christ saved me) and for God's people who are being led astray. Preaching the truth in love is not "yellow journalism."

8. As for warning about error among brethren in Christ, which you seem to think is wrong, that is my responsibility as a preacher and I intend to continue to do it by God's grace until the Lord Jesus takes me home in spite of the endless stream of ugly mail I receive from those who mischaracterize what I am doing. Was Paul warning about error "among the brethren" when he warned about Demas and Hymenaeus and Alexander and Philetus, to name a few? Didn't they all profess to be brethren in Christ? Weren't the Judaizers at Galatia called brethren?

I am accountable to the God who called me to preach. I must not fear man, but I must, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." Where does the Bible say that reproving and rebuking does not apply to fellow preachers or to those who profess Christ?

Further, I am told why I must reprove and rebuke in these days more than ever: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

In Christ,
David Cloud

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