Southern Religion

Prescott on CBFNC proposals: ‘No room for prophets’

At Mainstream Baptist, Bruce Prescott looks closely at the controversial proposed revisions in “foundational statements” by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of N.C. and finds a spiritual ossification which is, ironically, very much like the fundamentalist inflexibility of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is ironic because the CBF was founded in reaction to the SBC’s rigid fundamentalism.

The meat of his argument:

Fundamentalists redefined “priesthood of the believer” to mean “submission to pastoral authority.” Communitarians are redefining “priesthood of the believer” to mean “submission to the authority of your church.”

Both are weary of the conflict of interpretations that are inevitable when finite and fallible human beings are passionate about reading scripture and living faithfully in accord with a revelation whose meaning is inexhaustible.

Both believe they are authorized to replace the Holy Spirit in the mind and heart of the believer. Fundamentalists replace the Holy Spirit with the authority of the pastor. Communitarians replace the Holy Spirit with the authority of the community. Either the pastor or your community serves to legitimate or delegitimate interpretations of scripture.

Neither fundamentalists nor communitarians make allowances for human imperfections. In the real world, both pastors and church communities often oppose valid interpretations of scripture and legitimate movements of God’s Spirit.

Read his well-made, richly nuanced deconstruction of the proposed changes here.


September 14, 2010 - Posted by | Churches, Religion | ,

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