Southern Religion

Georgia Batholic/Cathist incursion [Addendum II: Still no answer]

The Southern Batholics and Cathists have proposed what could become the legal framework of a Georgia Inquisition. Depending, of course, on how it is applied.

It is an amendment to the Georgia Baptist Convention Constitution that Enid, Oklahoma, Southern Baptist pastor Wade Burleson rightly dubs “horrible” — one Girolamo Savonarola could have greeted warmly.

Yet calmly Michael Ruffin, First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald, GA., offers the text of it to the readers of his blog, On Jericho Road. The keystone section says:

A cooperating church is one that gives evidence of its belief in Holy Scripture as its authority in matters of faith and practice and is in harmony and cooperation with the work and purpose of this Convention. A cooperating church does not include a church which knowingly takes, or has taken, any action to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.

Matter of factly, Ruffin addressed some questions about the proposed amendment to the editor of the Georgia Christian Index. And in his first set of questions, Ruffin captures of spirit of the amendment as stated:

First, what is the nature of the “evidence” that is going to be required? Will it be good enough for a church to say, “Why yes, we believe in Holy Scripture as our authority in matters of faith and practice”?

Or will each local Georgia Baptist church that desires to continue as a cooperating GBC church be required by the GBC to adopt a confessional statement that affirms its commitment to biblical authority? If such an adoption is to be required, will a church be expected or allowed to compose its own statement or will it be permitted — or maybe even required — to adopt the Baptist Faith & Message Statement (rev. 2000) article on Scripture — or perhaps the entire statement — in order to be seen as providing sufficient “evidence”?

What Pastor Ruffin and a great many other thoughtful readers cannot help but read in the proposed amendment is Baptist ministerial behavior which has about it the scent of doctrinal inquisition.

Having seen and understood the obvious, then, Ruffin is really just asking how far it will go.

Certainly not to death by burning such as Savonarola suffered in the Piazza della Signoria. But how far? How much of the rich heritage of freedom of Baptist thought will be lost to creedalism if the amendment is adopted?

One commenter on Ruffin’s blog predicted his questions and their answers will not see publication in the Georgia Christian Index Web site.

We asked @IndexEditor Gerald Harris via twitter whether he plans to publish the answers to Ruffin’s questions on the Georgia Christian Index Web site.

For a mainstream daily newspaper, the answer would be an immediate “yes,” followed by publication.

That outcome seems to us likely to be in this case, because newspapers exist to inform their readers, and this is a matter of considerable concern.

Addendum: No answer from @IndexEditor

More than a day after our first tweet and second tweet to Georgia Christian Index Editor Gerald Harris (@indexeditor), there has been no reply.

But his recent twitter stream reveals neither replies nor consistent, daily status messages.

Harris’s recent, public twitter history suggests that he simply doesn’t know how to use the service.


Addendum II: Sunday about 6 p.m.: No answer.


September 25, 2009 - Posted by | Catholic, Churches, History, SBC | , , ,

1 Comment

  1. I wanted to let you know that the letter was published in the Christian Index:

    Comment by Michael Ruffin | October 8, 2009

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