ATLANTA (BP)–When my friend Russ Moore, serving as a Baptist Press correspondent, asked me to attend the CBF General Assembly with him, I had only a vague idea of what to expect. I knew that there would be a general animosity toward the SBC, but as a Southern Baptist for the last fifteen years I had the impression that the CBF was just a group of disgruntled disenchanted Southern Baptists. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.
My first introduction to the CBF came on Thursday morning as I attended the worship service sponsored by Baptist Women in Ministry, an auxiliary group of the CBF. As the Executive Director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, I was aghast at the worship of God as mother and their reticence to refer to God as father. As a Christian I was appalled at the references to God as “old and aching” and the conspicuous absence of the mention of the broken body and shed blood of Christ during the entire “communion” service. This was not Christianity but an entirely different religion driven by a feminist agenda.
Later I attended a breakout business session that debated the hiring and funding policy regarding homosexuals. To my consternation, I witnessed the slide down the slippery slope of gender-related issues. The same experiential arguments used to rationalize women in the pastorate were being used to convince the breakout group that the General Assembly should rescind the policy on not funding or hiring homosexuals.
Although many who advocate women in the pastorate do not affirm homosexuality, the internal logic of their arguments naturally leads to the embracing of homosexuality as this breakout group found out with a majority vote. Former President Jimmy Carter, an avid CBF supporter, only made things worse on Friday night when he argued to a crowd of about 7000 that issues like women deacons, women pastors, and homosexuality were peripheral issues of “insignificant importance” to God.
Even the issue of salvation through Christ alone was not a given. At a breakout session designed to foster Jewish and Baptist dialogue, the comments from attendees were shocking. One man stood up and encouraged the group to have joint worship services with Jewish congregations and announced that they would not have to say “Jesus Saves”, they should just worship God.
The problem, of course, is that God has revealed Himself as Trinity –Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so that you cannot simply eliminate one of the members when you happen to have invited a group from the local synagogue. The same man heretically claimed that if Baptists believed in “once saved, always saved” then why not “once covenanted, always covenanted?”
The CBF General Assembly was a prime example that Jimmy Carter was wrong. Gender issues are not insignificant. Feminist arguments for women in ministry and their redefinition of God have led to false worship and a denial of God as he has revealed Himself in the Bible. Feminist attempts to rename God [BWIM on one occasion chose “creator, redeemer, sustainer”] only compound the problem by identifying the essence of God with the acts of God toward His creation. This in turn leads to a pantheistic view of the God-world relationship that flies in the face of the biblical presentation of God who is self sufficient and totally separate from His creation.
The elimination of the Lord and King references to God change the type of relationship that God has with the world and it becomes a motherly nurturing image. I surmised that during the BWIM service this motherly image was connected to the absence of the identification of the elements of the “communion” [note even the refusal to use the word “Lord” to refer to this as the “Lord’s Supper”] with a broken body and blood. Quite frankly this is blasphemous and should bring about a sense of outrage among those local churches supporting the CBF.
The same problem is present in the effort to have an ecumenical relationship with religious Jews. The same types of efforts to redefine the Godhead used by the feminists were used to eclipse the second person of the Trinity in order to facilitate some sort of joint worship. Any worship, of course, that does not have the God of the Bible, as He has revealed Himself, as its object, is really not worship at all.
Sadly but surely my experience at the CBF will be retold countless times as I present this meeting as “exhibit A” to all of those whom I warn regarding the significance of gender issues and the dangers of relinquishing the biblical position on everything from women in ministry to homosexuality to the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to a right relationship with God.
Stinson is the Executive Director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. CBMW exists for the purpose of setting forth the teachings of the Bible about the complementary differences between men and women, created equal in the image of God, because these things are essential for obedience to Scripture and for the health of the family and the Church. The web address is www.cbmw.org.