It is no surprise that a church that sets aside the inerrancy of the Scripture will eventually run aground on the rocks of falsehood. But when the church is a historic church, it is bothersome, even if it is predictable. So, when long disassociated First Baptist Greenville falls to error, it is difficult for a Southern Baptist to swallow. But this is exactly what has happened.
The Advocate reports:
A historic Baptist church in Greenville, S.C., has officially embraced LGBT equality.
This spring, after several months of discussion, the congregation of First Baptist Church Greenville approved the following “consensus statement,” The Greenville News reports: “In all facets of the life and ministry of our church, including but not limited to membership, baptism, ordination, marriage, teaching and committee/organizational leadership, First Baptist Greenville will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The announcement is the latest step into apostasy in what is but the last of many. The church has been moving away from its biblical roots for years. It had previously removed itself from the SBC, and it has now joined the liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
The Advocate reports:
The church has historic ties to the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, which considers homosexuality a sin, but it disassociated itself from the Southern Baptists in 1999. First Baptist Greenville is now affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a coalition of moderate Baptist churches that left the Southern Baptist group in 1991. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship opposes same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT ministers but allows affiliated churches to make their own policies on these matters. There are some other Baptist groups that affirm LGBT equality.
The church, then, has no worries about backlash from its fellow churches. This group feel no need to hold one another accountable to biblical fidelity. Though the CBF has come out against sodomy as sin, they leave each congregation to make their own decisions concerning the issue. And this is where I part from my Baptist roots.
There has always been this misunderstanding about Congregational polity, at least in my mind. It is one thing to say that we will vote on matters of property. Since we equally own and operate the property it only makes sense that we as the congregation have a measure of freedom to do what we feel is right with that property. We can vote on the color of the walls or carpet. We vote on whether we sit in pews or seats. We might even vote as to when and where we gather. But, we are never to vote on what we accept as sinful.
And, of course, I am not the only Baptist coming out against this decision.
Baptist News reports:
The president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary said Aug. 18 he is not surprised by news that the school’s mother church has taken a stance of affirming homosexuality.
“It reveals the trajectory on which any church, denomination or institution is set if it is untethered to and accountable to a specific set of doctrines in terms of a confession of faith and to, most fundamentally, the inerrancy of Scripture,” Mohler said.
Since then the story has been picked up both in Christian media and gay-rights advocacy websites. Evangelist Franklin Graham weighed in on Facebook, calling it “disappointing and discouraging” news.
“According to God’s Word, what they are embracing is sin,” Graham said. “The Bible says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.'”
Mohler and Graham point out the difficulty that awaits this church and all churches that give up biblical principles for popularity. Darkness will soon cover those who have darkness as light.