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At What Point Does it Become Sinful to Remain in the Southern Baptist Convention?

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A momentous issue stands starkly against the backdrop of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC): at what juncture does the seemingly innocent acceptance of perceived doctrinal deviation transform into a sinful act? This question springs forth from the stirring dissatisfaction of a faction of Southern Baptists who are increasingly troubled by the denomination’s trajectory, particularly its noticeable tilt towards liberalism, feminism, and softening stance on homosexuality in recent times. The heart of this anxiety lies in the SBC’s seeming reluctance, if not outright refusal, to outrightly denounce this sinful rebellion and even at times, rank heresy within many of its affiliated congregations.

A glaring example, which we have spotlighted over the last two years, is First Baptist Church Orlando, a gargantuan Southern Baptist megachurch located in Orlando, Florida. This church, as per multiple reports and irrefutable proof, brazenly baptizes practicing homosexuals and initiates other similar acts vehemently contradict Biblical teachings on sexuality. The fact that this church does this, and that homosexuals feel comfortable practicing sodomy and then coming to church on Sunday morning, signals a perilous alignment with ideologies that stand in stark contrast to Biblical doctrine and marks a frightening emblem of the SBC’s broader shift towards liberal ideologies.

Unsettling episodes from the First Baptist Church Orlando have been circulated for several years now. In the wake of the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, the church controversially invited a group of homosexuals to their platform. An associate pastor even had the audacity to insinuate that the “LGBTQ community” constitutes the “chief cornerstone” of Christianity—an assertion that squarely contradicts the firmly established Biblical comprehension of Christ as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

By 2021, the situation had escalated dramatically. The associate pastor, Danny de Armas, brazenly boasted about their church’s comprehensive embrace of groups such as homosexuals, transgender individuals, and pro-abortion activists, bestowing upon them positions of service and leadership within the church. This outrageous claim was met with shock and condemnation by those of us who actually believe what the Bible teaches and soon recognized that the SBC was grossly failing in its duty to maintain the sanctity of biblical teachings.

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The paradigm shift within the Southern Baptist Convention isn’t confined to the First Baptist Church Orlando. Another striking example is the Southern Baptist megachurch, Saddleback Church, previously under the stewardship of Rick Warren. Warren created a stir in 2021 by ordaining three women to the pastorate at his church, a move in direct violation of biblical teachings on church leadership roles. Warren defended his controversial actions by twisting Acts 2:17-18, a verse that has no relevance to pastoral roles in a local church.

Following Warren’s retirement, Andy Wood, ex-pastor of Echo Church—another Southern Baptist megachurch that had similarly ordained women to the pastorate—stepped into his shoes. Wood promptly continued this controversial practice at Saddleback, bestowing the title of “teaching pastor” upon his wife, Stacie. This decision added fuel to the fire in the already contentious debate within the SBC over the roles of women in churches.

A sizeable, yet seemingly minority, faction within the SBC has expressed profound dissatisfaction with these developments, vehemently advocating for a stringent adherence to traditional biblical teachings. Denny Burk, a respected professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, posited that the SBC faced a critical choice: they could either follow Saddleback’s radical path and affirm female pastors, or they could honor their commitment to their own statement of faith and the Bible, potentially leading to a schism with Saddleback.

Yet, in spite of the heated controversy, Wood, in an article with the Baptist Press, brazenly proclaimed not only his intention to persist in his insolence, allowing women to pastor at his church, but also his commitment to actively encourage other women to seek similar roles within the denomination. Wood’s stance on these issues has created shockwaves within the SBC, particularly as he and his wife have also expressed perplexity regarding the church’s stance on homosexuality.

The Southern Baptist Convention is set to convene in less than a fortnight, and it is inevitable that these contentious issues will dominate the discussions. The SBC as a whole has clearly been adopting a stance of willful ignorance towards this apparent departure from biblical standards, failing miserably in its biblical duty to sternly rebuke sinful behavior and heretical doctrine.

As the Convention looms on the horizon, challenging questions are inevitable: how should the SBC react to such alleged doctrinal missteps? Should it passively accept this as part of a broader, modernizing shift in Christianity, or should it unequivocally condemn it? Most importantly, for those deeply disturbed by this leftward shift and the willful disregard by the SBC to deal with it, at what point does it become sinful to remain within the Southern Baptist Convention?

These questions really aren’t that difficult, but they hold critical importance as the SBC navigates the convoluted crossroads of faith, contemporary society, and the eternal teachings of the Bible. It is a golden opportunity for deep introspection, robust engagement, and, most critically of all, a return to the sound Biblical principles that should unite Christians in the faith. With the convention imminent, the SBC stands at the precipice of a chance to address these concerns head-on and bolster its commitment to uphold Biblical truth.

If the SBC continues to disregard these flagrant issues of rebellion, coupled with the multitude of other problems riddling the SBC, it may be time for Biblically solid churches to evaluate their fellowship with the SBC. As it stands, the refusal to address these problems might render their continued affiliation with the SBC as potentially sinful. The call for a return to the fidelity of Scripture is serious, and it is critical that the Church stands firmly on the Truth and light, refusing to tolerate or entertain any compromise with darkness.

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).


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