Southern Religion

George Baptist Convention faithfully follows the SBC path toward decline

The retro-innovative Georgia Baptist Convention voted at its Nov. 15-16 to disfellowship Druid Hills Baptist Church “because its co-pastor is a woman.” As expected and repeating the pattern of action taken last year against First Baptist Church Decatur.

The decision is in keeping with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and arguably self-destructive. As Bob Allen of the Associated Baptist Press wrote:

Carey Charles, a deacon and fourth-generation member at Druid Hills, described the church’s goal to messengers as “first and foremost missional.”

“When Baptist churches are closing their doors inside the I-285 perimeter [the freeway that surrounds the central part of the Atlanta area] today at a historically rapid pace, and that [what was] once 166 Baptist churches are now down to a mere 39, we at Druid Hills Baptist have deliberately chosen to stay and bear a testimony as stated in our core values — to love God, to share Christ, to serve others and grow in faith,” Charles said.

“In staying, we recognize that we must ask tough questions, missional questions; not something that unifies only our church, but also that unifies our church in our neighborhood, city and world immediately surrounding us,” he said. “Therefore we chose the Walkers, both of whom have been recognized as partners in mission by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for 12 years of service in the Philippines, who deeply share our passion for what is now a growing mission field inside Atlanta.”

That makes the action twice the opposite of progress. After the GBC executive committee recommended that change at its March 16 meeting, Shelia M. Poole of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote:

“It seems sad that they decided to go backwards in time,” said the 52-year-old Mimi Walker, a former missionary in the Philippines. “I’m not sure what the value is of trying to go back in time when women were held in subservience.”

This bit of time traveling is by in effect expelling a church whose innovation has been extraordinary. The church Web site explains:

Druid Hills Baptist Church (DHBC) was established in 1914 and since its inception has been a church oriented towards innovation and growth. DHBC enjoyed many firsts among Baptist churches in the south including the first vacation Bible School, the first church day camp and the first co-ed adult class. Through the years DHBC has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the community. It is now the last Baptist church in downtown Atlanta and is located in a very diverse neighborhood at the corner of Ponce and Highlands.

Inflexibility has a price.

Not just for the Georgia Baptist Convention. The SBC’s Batholic/Cathist inflexibility has led independent demographic analysis to forecast not only frustration of evangelism goals like those pursued by the Great Commission Resurgence , but also steady decline.


November 17, 2010 - Posted by | SBC, Women | , ,

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