Detractors from the overall program of ensuring that the Southern Baptist Convention does not forsake the principles regained during the Conservative Resurgence often note the absurdity of believing that Southern Baptists believe in anything less than the authority and infallibility of the Bible. In doing so, they miss the current point of contention. The concern is not, and has never been for the past twenty years or so, whether or not Southern Baptists are giving up on their stated belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. Nor is the worry over whether or not we have left behind the fundamentals of the faith, like the virgin birth and penal substitutionary atonement of Christ. Rather, the problem is something like this: we say we believe them while failing to apply them to all areas of life.
According to a November 30, 2020 article from The Wall Street Journal titled, “Covid-19 Likely in U.S. in Mid-December 2019, CDC Scientists Report: New analysis of blood donations finds virus was present on West Coast earlier than previously believed” by Betsy McKay, “The new coronavirus infected people in the U.S. in mid-December 2019, a few weeks before it was officially identified in China and about a month earlier than public health authorities found the first U.S. case, according to a government study published Monday.” For some, the content of this article is quite the concession, since they were long ago questioning whether or not the infamous virus was in the States prior to the time scientists and health officials thought it had arrived. Not only did the timeline of learning about the virus from China indicate an earlier arrival, but inferences based on travel and speculation concerning stories of unprecedented flu-like symptoms in the population seemed to point that way as well. Those who highlighted these evidences as a basis for their belief that the virus was actually in the US prior to the official reckoning were generally dismissed as conspiracy theorists, accused of peddling the communist narrative that coronavirus came from the US, or even thought to be putting others in danger through misinformation and conflation of the seriousness of COVID-19 with that of other flu-like illnesses. So much for that.
According to what some have called ‘theological triage,’ doctrine can be divided into categories of greater and lesser significance along the lines of primary, secondary, and tertiary importance. These categories are often introduced when one wants to shy away from the ‘fundamentalist’ error of emphasizing every doctrine as equally important or being open to accepting the particular position of the fundamentalist in question. However, having less confidence concerning so-called secondary and tertiary matters would, when consistently applied, lead one toward fundamentalist beliefs.
The contributors to Conservative Resurgence Voices have questioned what, if anything, separates us from the so-called ‘discernment ministries.’ Although we believe in discernment, and we believe in ministry, we nevertheless find some discernment ministries highly suspect, if for no other reason than they often make the work of ministry that much more difficult. We have reached a point where almost anyone who raises an objection to almost anything is dismissed as being a ‘discernment blogger.’ Certainly a celebrity culture that considers itself above the need for accountability and questions and critique can carry some blame. But discernment bloggers are hardly blameless.
This page summarizes an article about, “a series of conservative Baptist comments and actions over the last 20 years or so that have antagonized one group or another.”
In this post, Denny Burk reviews How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, explaining, “as American cities began to burn (including my own) due to the violence of radicals, it became clear that what we are facing is more than an academic theory. This ‘theory’ has hands and feet, it’s on the street, and it’s spreading at the popular level—including among those in evangelical churches. These ideologies are well into the mainstream, and every follower of Christ will have to reckon with them one way or the other.”
Danny Slavich wrote an article in response to Tom Ascol’s post calling for pastors to step up to the plate in the Southern Baptist Convention. [Please see Danny’s Comment in response to this post here.] Slavich appeals to the popular parallel between the populist politics of President Donald Trump and the way grassroots groups like Founders Ministries and the Conservative Baptist Network are – intentionally or not – mirroring what we have seen from Make America Great Again fanatics for the past five years or so. Although such an appeal is generally little more than a smear tactic, I suspect Slavich may be on to something here.
In this post, Tom Ascol writes, “To put it bluntly, the Southern Baptist Convention needs to be led by pastors. Granted, there are some pastors who are eager to be enablers of or fellow travelers with wayward bureaucrats. I am not talking about those guys.”