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 By Paul Proctor,  October 24, 2007


On October 11th, 2007, The Christian Post reported the following in an article titled," Southern Baptist Head Expresses Concern Over Negative Image:

Southern Baptist president Frank Page is speaking to fellow Baptists across the country with a resolve to pull together a denomination that has been wracked with divisions.

Page is scheduled to open the Florida Baptist State Convention's annual meeting in November, when Baptists hope to talk about what unites rather than divides them.

Isn't that like cancer patients meeting at the hospital to celebrate their collective weight loss rather than get treatment for what's killing them? What shall we do - buddy-up and hug our way to good health? How does this differ from Joel Osteen's gumball gospel?

"There are forces at work today to try to divide and distract Baptists from our primary mission. We cannot allow methodological differences, generational gaps, or stylistic preferences to divide us," said state convention president Willy Rice, according to Florida Baptist Witness. "We need each other and we truly are better when we are together."

The theme of the Nov. 12-13 meeting is "We Are Better Together."

But are Baptists really better together? And just what is "our primary mission" anyway, peace and unity? Is that why Jesus came?

"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division..." - Luke 12:51

You see, the real "distraction" here is the false claim that Baptists are being divided by "methodological differences, generational gaps" and "stylistic preferences." This tired old argument has been coming from the bowels of the Southern Baptist Convention for years - mostly from trained facilitators who have made careers out of exploiting biblical ignorance and spinning the scriptures to promote goodwill rather than God's Will.

In spite of their claims, in most cases, it is not style or preference that is causing this deep-seated conflict - but rather conviction - meaning it is the Word of God that is dividing Baptists. That is the "Sword" Jesus was referring to in Matthew 10:34 when He said: "I came not to send peace, but a sword."

And dialoging differences away in pursuit of consensus only compromises conviction for camaraderie - creating a corrupted collective conscience that is guided by the glossy dreams and silky schemes of ambitious men - not God's Word.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9

Unfortunately, the Southern Baptist Convention is quickly becoming a simonized rattletrap that is careening off the narrow way of scriptural obedience toward the "wide gate" and "broad way" of groupthink - a junked-filled jalopy that is forsaking the humble paths of righteousness for the highways and byways of peer-pressure and pragmatism - preaching Results & Relationships at every turn instead of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ - "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." (2nd Timothy 3:5)

Shall we acknowledge our brokenness and seek repair or just apply more lubricant to keep the noise down? Are we justified by His Grace or by our grease?

The Lord's call to sinners, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," has been reduced to: "Jesus loves you and so do we."

But when did the apostles ever preach that? And how many of them were martyred for delivering such a message?

That alone should tell Baptists that something has gone awry with this thing called "church" - and that indeed is what it has become - a thing - a lifeless form that is worshipped and served for the glory and gratification of those who made it what it is today. Yes, an idol…with a gospel message all its own.

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." - Galatians 1:8

The article goes on to say:

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Tulsa Metro Association of Baptist Churches, Page acknowledged factions within the Southern Baptist Convention who aren't even talking to each other.

"The groups that are so deeply divided within our convention ... have made little effort to come together," said Page, according to Tulsa World. "And those divisions are so deep that some of the groups will not even talk to each other. And that greatly disturbs me and gives me great caution about our future."


"…for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" - 2nd Corinthians 6:14b-15

And then there was this presidential proclamation:

Moreover, Southern Baptists do not have the greatest image, Page indicated.

"There's a lot of negativity out there toward religious groups, and certainly toward our group, because we've apparently come across as very legalistic and mean-spirited, and I think that's sometimes accurate, because sometimes we've acted that way," said Page, according to the local newspaper.

Fascinating - The wheels are coming off the SBC and its leader is more concerned with what it looks like than what it is - or rather, what it isn't.

Maybe we Baptists should just put our Bibles away and hire an image consultant. They're experts at putting earrings on orangutans.

If you want to see where this is headed, one need only look at another article The Christian Post published that same day titled, Evangelicals, Progressives Seek to End Culture Wars, where CP reporter Michelle Vu had this to say:

The line dividing evangelicals from progressives blurred Wednesday as members from both parties joined in a new mission to erase long-held stereotypes of one another and seek commonality on polarizing issues such as abortion, gay rights, and the role of religion in public life.

Both sides agreed the "civil war" between evangelicals and progressives needs to end and common ground pursued in order for the nation to make significant progress on divisive issues.

Could these be a few of those "methodological differences, generational gaps" and "stylistic preferences" Florida's State Convention president was referring to earlier or do they just serve to get the devilish dialog going between opposing forces and everyone onboard the Consensus Express to common ground?

"And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." - Luke 16:15

Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.       What are your thoughts on this article?