“A Monthly E-magazine Bridging Baptists of Yesterday and Today”
 February  2002  Vol. 1 No. 2
Produced by The Center for Baptist Studies, Mercer University
Walter B. Shurden, Executive Director              Greg Thompson, Baptist Studies Associate

Table of Contents:
I Believe . . . : by Walter B. Shurden
The Baptist Soapbox: by June McEwen
Baptists and Books: by Rob Nash
The Baptist Library: Baptist Books: by Jeff B. Pool
The Baptist Stacks: Perusing Periodicals for Baptistiana: by Pam Durso
Baptist Bits: by Doug Weaver
Q and A: by Greg Thompson
Baptistville: by Greg Thompson

I Believe . . . by Walter B. Shurden

Three Differences in SBC and CBF

      I believe . . . that I have fielded the following question as often as any other in the last few years: What’s the difference in the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship? It comes from all directions, from Baptist students and Baptist senior citizens, from Methodists and Catholics, from journalists and professors, from folks who ought to know and folks who do not have a clue. It remains an acutely relevant question.

       The difference is certainly not that one believes the Bible and the other doesn’t. They both claim to be Bible-believers. But there are huge differences in the way they read the Bible! Huge differences in how they interpret the Bible! If you honestly do not know the differences in the two groups, you may want to review three recent events in the SBC. These three developments suggest three very distinct differences in the SBC and the CBF.

       1. The SBC is anti-ordained-women-in-ministry and the CBF is pro-ordained-women-in-ministry. This has been a fundamental and basic difference since 1979. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the SBC only recently announced that it would not appoint any ordained women as chaplains. Mind you, this is not a statement saying that women cannot be pastors as the SBC said in the 2000 creed that they adopted. This is a statement saying in effect that women cannot be ordained as legitimate ministers of the gospel. Southern Baptists, in other words, cannot let their daughters grow up to be ordained ministers of Jesus Christ and expect them to find a place of service in the NAMB. In the SBC women cannot be pastors. Now they cannot be ordained chaplains. In CBF they can be both! That’s a difference.

       2. The SBC is pro-creedal and the CBF is anti-creedal. Here is an irony! The SBC fundamentalist leadership lathered the controversy of the 80s and 90s in the language of the all-sufficiency, the inerrancy, and the infallibility of scripture. Yet they depend upon a human creed, adopted in Orlando, Florida, in 2000, to protect and defend and hedge the scripture. Oh!, of course, they don’t and won’t call it a creed. They won’t because they know that creedalism is as far from Baptist life as transubstantiation. But they use it as a creed. Evidence? Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board of the SBC, recently issued an ultimatum that all SBC missionaries MUST sign the 2000 version of "A Statement of the Baptist Faith and Message." CBF, on the other hand, has never adopted such a creedal statement. CBF believes that scripture is the thing! Scripture is enough by itself. CBF state organizations have not adopted creedal statements, but a growing number of state conventions and district associations aligned with the SBC are climbing aboard the creedal bandwagon. The SBC is fast becoming "The Southern Baptist Church," but, of course, the leadership will deny that, and some Southern Baptist laity do not understand the significance of it.

       3. The SBC is sectarian and exclusive and the CBF is quasi-ecumenical and inclusive. A group of Baptists in Missouri recently announced plans to begin a new state convention. The new convention intended to continue to send funds to the SBC. But Morris Chapman, head of the SBC executive committee, announced that the SBC would not accept the tainted money of those who are separating from the fundamentalist Missouri Baptist leadership. That is sectarianism. CBF, on the other hand, gladly honors all Baptists and all Baptist money.

       Are there differences between the SBC and the CBF? You bet. Baptists in Baptistville have a clear choice. They choose by how they honor their daughters as well as their sons. They choose by how they honor scripture, not creeds. They choose by how they honor and affirm all Baptists, not just one brand of Baptists. And, of course, they choose by where they send their money.


Click to read  AN ANALYSIS OF THE BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE 2000 By Russell H. Dilday, April 2001



The Baptist Soapbox: An invited guest speaks up and out on things Baptist (therefore, the views expressed in this space are not necessarily those of The Baptist Studies Bulletin, though sometimes they are).

Here We Go Again! by June McEwen, Retired University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and Pastor's wife

       The leadership of the SBC and the NAMB continue to demonstrate attitudes and patterns of distaste, fear, even hate toward ordained female Christians. These destructive attitudes and actions are contrary to Jesus' words, actions, and his direct commands to his followers. He commanded that not only must we love one another but that we remove from our hearts the hatred that is expressed in the desire that others not exist.

       Why do some Christian males continue to treat godly women disciples as inferior and unfit for God's calling? Where do they get the theological audacity to say that women are unable to understand and follow God’s direction in their lives? Why do these same leaders attack the autonomy of the local body of Christ and the right of each church to discern God's will in setting aside women members of their congregations for ministry by the laying on of hands, by ordaining them to the work?

       Why do they not see that these actions are contrary to the Scriptures? Why do they not see that the New Testament encourages the recognition and blessing of various gifts of the Spirit - gifts not restricted just to males? What is it that induces such fear in these men? Why are they afraid of the call to oneness in Christ for male and female, for Jew and Greek (Gal. 3:27-28)?

       These leaders cite favorably scripture texts which address a cultural setting in the early church that permits female subjugation and blesses a patriarchal system. But they are hesitant to cite the biblical texts regarding slavery. Why? Nor do they advocate biblical mandates for proper dress, length of hair, head coverings, and restrictions on food (See I Corinthians). Why are they so selective in their biblical interpretation? Is it because slavery, modest apparel, hair length, head coverings and not eating food offered to idols does not affect them in today's culture! But women are here today and present everywhere!

       The church–a body of baptized believers-- is a fellowship of individuals of equal worth before God and in the work of the Gospel. Making ordination the mark of a superior order not only violates the teachings of Christ but flies in the faith of that Baptist distinctive: priesthood of believers.

       Jesus' last command before his death was a new commandment to his followers to love one another so that all will know that they are his disciples (Jn 13: 34-35). To denigrate, subject, and establish hierarchy among the followers of Jesus is to give in to fear of one's sisters. It is to deny that the Holy Spirit calls women to ministry. It allows the prejudices of a "national agency" to take precedence over the autonomy of the local congregation. It is neither Christian nor Baptist. We must pray for those among us who are filled with such fear, distaste, and wrong-headedness. But we must also resist them for the sake of our daughters and granddaughters. We must give glad assent to the power and wisdom of Almighty God to call whomever God chooses to do the work of the gospel, whether woman or man.

       The Holy Spirit will move among us. Christ promised that! Faithful women and faithful men will respond. Christ promised that! When God calls, the churches and the churches agencies should endorse!


Baptists and Books: Notes of books on American religion, what they say, don’t say, almost say, and mis-say about Baptists, by Dr. Rob Nash, Dean of the School of Religion and International Programs, Shorter College, Rome, Georgia.

       Baptists Learning from GenXers

       Tom Beaudoin. Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc., 1998. 200 pp.

       Good Baptists have always scratched their heads in bewilderment as they watched their children turn out far differently from themselves. Nothing much has changed today. Generation Xers, born somewhere between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, absolutely perplex their parents and grandparents, to say nothing of their pastors and other church leaders. Tom Beaudoin, a GenXer himself, explores the unique spirituality of his generation in an effort to help GenXers anchor their own theology and in an effort to help the rest of us figure them out. The book points to the unique GenX themes of anti-institutionalism (evident in GenX affinity for cyberspace), personal experience, suffering, and ambiguity as themes that can help the rest of us to minister to this generation.

       Beaudoin concludes that GenXers have honed the ability to divorce religious symbols from their meaning and then to simulate "virtual" religiousness. He calls on GenXers to "make the virtual lead somewhere," hopefully to a solid theological foundation. And he calls on the rest of us to quit scratching our heads and engage this vital generation in meaningful dialogue about what it means to be Christian in the world. Believe it or not, they have much to teach us—about humility in ministry, the power of "virtual community," and the renewal of mysticism and spiritual discipline. Not bad lessons really, and ones that are worth learning - even from folks with lots of body art!



       Baptists Learning from Huston Smith

       Huston Smith. Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief. New York: Harper San Francisco, 2001. 290 pp.

       I’ve been looking for a book that championed the spirit of religion and faith in an age in which science seems to have ripped the heart out of us. It’s no small accident that such a book should have been written by a scholar, raised by missionary parents in China, who devoted his life to the study of the religious spirit within humanity. Huston Smith’s purpose in this classic work is to help us overcome the spiritual vacuum caused by the modern, enlightened world that has blinded us to the reality of the transcendent all around us. This is a book for seekers, for those who are struggling with the question, "Does religion matter at all?"

       Smith begins by pointing out the shape of the "modern" tunnel that we’re trapped in. Scientism is the tunnel floor that insists that the only real truth is scientific truth (though Smith does point out that science itself is not to blame). The tunnel’s roof is the media who ignore the faithful practices of millions of religious people while sensationalizing the actions of a few religious "nuts." The events of September 11 only prove his case. The tunnel’s left wall is American higher education, which has removed traditional religion from the curriculum. And the tunnel’s right wall, in his estimation, is the triumph of scientism in the public school system and the removal of traditional views of creation.

       Smith concludes with a clarion call for the human race to move beyond its entrapment in the tunnel of modernity and to understand that consciousness, and not matter, "is the ultimate foundation of the universe." It’s quite a powerful book. And while Smith’s non-traditional notions of God and spirit might disturb many Baptists, they must applaud his effort to put the horse of religion and faith before the cart of modernism and science.


       Baptists Learning from Episcopalian Tickle

       Phyllis Tickle. The Shaping of a Life: A Spiritual Landscape. New York: Doubleday Publishing, 2001. 380 pp.

       "We read to know we’re not alone," says C. S. Lewis to a student at Oxford University at the end of the film, Shadowlands. His words played over again and again in my mind as I read Phyllis Tickle’s autobiography. Tickle, Contributing Editor in Religion for Publisher’s Weekly and one of the nation’s respected authorities on religion, pens a heart-warming story of coming of age in the South during the mid-twentieth century. At once humorous and inspiring, the book weaves the events of Tickle’s life together with her inward reflections in a way that makes reading it a truly spiritual experience. And I can count on one hand the number of books for which I can make such a statement.

       Tickle’s many stories of her childhood in Tennessee, her college years in Georgia, and her professional and family life are richly enhanced by the inner awakening that occurs within her as she discovers the comfort of prayer, the challenges of personal freedom, and the constant recognition of the sacred in the ordinariness of everyday life.

       Why should a Baptist read it? We Baptists can learn much from Tickle herself and from her adopted Episcopalian tradition. We’re not terribly reflective people, most of us. It’s not our way to find the Spirit in the ordinary—we’re more likely to insist that the ordinary is so ordinary that God would never touch it. Tickle reminds us that the Spirit is all around us and within every experience of life. Indeed, we’re not alone!


The Baptist Library: Baptist Books: Notes of books, past and present, by and about Baptists, by Dr. Jeff B. Pool, Special Assistant to the President, Director of Baptist Studies, and Professor of Theology; Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

       Fiddes: A Baptist Name You Should Know

       Paul S. Fiddes. Participating in God: A Pastoral Doctrine of the Trinity.

Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000. viii + 312 pp.

       Paul S. Fiddes, principal of Regent's Park College of Oxford University, certainly represents one of the most insightful and creative contemporary Christian systematic or constructive theologians anywhere in the world. Among Baptist systematic and constructive theologians, Fiddes stands as perhaps the preeminent contemporary Baptist theologian, his work far surpassing, in quality, profundity, and significance, all theologies published by Baptists in the last twenty years. In his recent book, Participating in God, Fiddes has developed a study of the most difficult, yet the most characteristic, of Christian doctrines: the doctrine of the Trinity.

       This book, however, does not represent a dry, scholastic, or even purely historical, study. Rather, Fiddes proposes a theology of the Trinity that "is appropriate to the demands of experience in pastoral care for others, whether we exercise that care as ordained or lay members of the Christian church, whether as members of the 'caring professions' or as those who have been called, through circumstances, to devote their lives to being unpaid 'carers' " (p. 7). This book can serve very well to renew interest in the classical Christian doctrines, as well as to illustrate the deep practical significance of those classical doctrines, among Baptists in both churches and seminaries.


       Barrie White: A Baptist Name You Probably Know

       William H. Brackney, Paul S. Fiddes, and John H. Y. Briggs, editors. Pilgrim Pathways: Essays in Honour of B. R. White. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1999. xii + 328 pp.

       This book, a Festschrift, celebrates the teaching and scholarship of the well-known British Baptist historian: Barrington R. White. The book contains a collection of essays on Baptist history by many of White's friends and former students. The editors have divided the studies into four categories: "Issues of Baptist Identity" (two studies of doctrine and the place of covenants in Baptist churches), "The Baptist Way of Being the Church" (four chapters on Baptist ecclesial experience, from children to hymnody), "History as Biography" (studies of the contributions from four Baptists to Baptist life), and "Crossing the Boundaries" (four studies of Baptist relationships to other denominations, with emphases on Baptists and evangelicals). While containing several exceptional historical and theological studies (especially the chapter by Paul S. Fiddes), generally, very solid historical studies constitute the larger part of this book. Readers will find valuable research in these studies, however, pertinent to issues in contemporary Baptist life: such as worship, life in community, and Baptist identity.


       Wiregrass Calvinistic Baptists: People You Probably Don’t Know

       John G. Crowley. Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South: 1815 to the Present. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998. Pp. xiii + 244. $49.95, cloth.

       John Gordon Crowley, in this revision of his doctoral dissertation (Florida State University, 1996), critically and thoroughly, though compassionately and appreciatively, examines the history of Primitive Baptists in "the Wiregrass South" (southern Georgia and Florida), a small and slowly-disappearing Calvinistic Baptist community. Crowley shows how Primitive Baptist doctrine, ecclesiastical polity, and forms of worship originated from the life and Calvinistic theology of the English Particular Baptist communities. In addition to supplying interesting and illuminating accounts of various controversies among Primitive Baptists, Crowley shows how their Calvinistic doctrines of double predestination and limited atonement supplied the theological rationale for their anti-missionary and anti-educational perspective. This same theology also produced a sectarian mentality among Primitive Baptists that inhibited most of their concerns about the larger social environment.

       Crowley also identifies some fascinating features of life among Primitive Baptists, such as their enthusiastic consumption of alcohol, a practice that led outside observers to call them "whiskey Baptists." Crowley's sympathetic treatment of this Baptist community may elicit admiration and respect for Primitive Baptist from some readers, even though leaving most readers puzzled or astonished by much of their perspective and practice.

       In spite of the doctrinal and ecclesiastical eccentricities of this Christian community, however, readers in the second category should not forget just how many central doctrines and practices this small Calvinistic Baptist community shares with many of the so-called "mainstream" Christian denominations, not least of all the major Baptist denominations! Baptists should read this book, if only for its account of the detrimental effects of Calvinistic theology on Baptist evangelistic impulses and missionary enterprises in one Baptist community.


The Baptist Stacks: Perusing Periodicals for Baptistiana :  Notes of journal articles: what they say, don’t say, almost say, and mis-say about Baptists. Dr. Pam Durso is Assistant Professor of Church History and Baptist Heritage at Campbell University Divinity School at Buies Creek, North Carolina.

       Where are our future Baptist leaders?

       Hillary Wicai, "Clergy by the Numbers: Statistics Show It’s Not a Youthful Picture," Congregations 27:2 (March/April 2001), 6-9.

       The dwindling numbers of young mainline clergy is a disturbing trend for many denominations, and Baptist denominations are no exception. Hillary Wicai’s article in Congregations, a publication issued by the Alban Institute, is part of an entire issue dedicated to this quandary. Wicai’s statistical study reveals that only 11% of Southern Baptist Convention clergy are 35 years old or younger, while 29% of its clergy are over the age of 55. The American Baptist statistics are even more dismal, with only 6% of its clergy falling into the 35 and under category and 38% falling into the over 55 category. These statistics, along with the information that the average age of entering seminary students is over 34 years old, leads to the question: Will there be leaders for the next generation of Baptists?


       The voice of one crying out in the wilderness

       William M. Tillman, Jr., "T. B. Maston: The Conscience of Texas Baptists," Texas Baptist History 20 (2000), 71-85.

       Many young Baptists (those in the 35 and younger category!), missed out on the opportunity of knowing and learning from the great Baptist ethicist, T. B. Maston. Fortunately for them and for all of us, Bill Tillman’s article in the Texas Baptist Historical Society’s journal introduces and explores the contributions of "The Conscience of Texas Baptists." Perhaps Maston’s greatest contribution was his outspokenness against social and denominational attitudes with regard to black-white race relations. In a time when "baggage related to segregation and paternalisms carried over to a large extent into statements and sentiments of the Baptists," Maston’s prophetic voice reminded Baptists in Texas and throughout the country of the need for racial equality.

       "Why are you still a Baptist?" It is a question that many Baptists are asking, and it is a question that many Baptist women ask on a fairly regular basis. At their first meeting in March 2001, the organizers of the Women in Baptist Life Conference in Oklahoma asked Gladys Lewis to address this question. Lewis, a former SBC missionary to Paraguay and now professor of American Literature at the University of Central Oklahoma, spoke of captivity, exodus, and pilgrimage. Her powerful story of struggle, pain, and freedom was published in The Mainstream Message and is now accessible on the Internet (


       Why are you still Baptist?      

       James Calvin Davis, "A Return to Civility: Roger Williams and Public Discourse in America," Journal of Church and State 43:4 (Autumn 2001), 689-706.

       Following the controversial presidential election of 2000, both Al Gore and George Bush acknowledged the need for American politics to take on a more civil tone, one based on respect and unity. James Davis’ article notes that politicians throughout America’s history have made similar statements, but he also points to Roger Williams as an early religious figure in America who defended a vision of civil life characterized by camaraderie, cooperation, and mutual respect. While Baptists can only claim Williams to be "one of us" for a very brief moment of history, Baptists can be proud of his courage in speaking prophetic words about the public life in Puritan Massachusetts and can glean insight about our current political atmosphere.


       Roger Williams and the presidential election of 2000

       Stuart Lutz, "Seasons of the Flag," American Heritage (February/March 2002), 56-61.

       In recent days, patriotism and flag flying have once again regained popularity in America, and in "Seasons of the Flag," Stuart Lutz provides a summary of how the flag has been viewed by Americans throughout our nation’s history. His article notes the ever-changing symbolism that our nation’s flag has had, and perhaps his insight into the diversity of opinions about Old Glory can be of assistance to Baptists as they ponder the question of how to be patriotic without worshiping the flag.


Baptist Bits: Anecdotes from the Baptist archives with relevance for preaching and teaching today, by Dr. Doug Weaver, Chair, Division of Religion and Philosophy and Barney Averitt Professor of Christianity, Brewton-Parker College, Mt. Vernon, GA.

       Christ above the Bible

        J. R. Sampey, the fifth president of Southern Seminary, gave the "Diamond Jubilee Address" celebrating the 75th anniversary of the seminary before the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1934. After speaking of the significance of the Bible, preaching, and evangelism in the life of the seminary, Sampey said, "The Lord Jesus has the first place in the heart of the Seminary. In all things he must have the pre-eminence. Christ Jesus is our Lord. If he corrects Moses and elevates his standards, we stand with Jesus rather than with Moses. Even the Bible cannot hold the place in our hearts that Jesus holds.... All other loves must come after our devotion to him."


       The Pre-eminence of Christ

       J. Van Ness, the third president of the Baptist Sunday School Board (1900-1917), spoke clearly to the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ in his book, The Baptist Spirit, when he asserted that "the fundamental Baptist principle [is] the Lordship of Christ." In a chapter on "The Bible Our Authoritative Rule," Van Ness spoke of the relationship between Christ and the Bible: "We do not put the Bible above Christ, but it is through the Bible that we learn of him and know of his teachings." Who/what is the supreme authority for Christians? Van Ness said, "The supreme authority is Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, who has revealed God to us."


       Personal Interpretation of Scripture

       Insistence upon the right to personal interpretation of Scripture is intertwined with the Baptist distinctive of religious liberty. In his book, Baptists and Liberty of Conscience (1884), American Baptist historian Henry Vedder clearly noted the connection: "It is the glory of Baptists that they were the first to advocate religious liberty for all men. . . the corollary of this doctrine was the rejection of all human authority and the assertion of the right of every man to interpret the Scriptures for himself, as enlightened by the Spirit of God."


      The Fundamentalist Spirit

       In the 1920s, the Fundamentalist-Modernist conflict raged among Northern Baptists. J. C. Massee was originally a fundamentalist leader but opposed splitting his denomination. Instead, he chose a cooperative spirit for the sake of missions and evangelism. Reflecting upon his decision, he later said, "I left the fundamentalists to save my own spirit. They became so self-righteous, so critical, so unchristian, so destructive, so incapable of being fair that I had to go elsewhere for spiritual nourishment"


       The Bible

       E. Y. Mullins, the fourth president of Southern Seminary (1899-1928), wrote about "Baptists and the Bible" in a tract published by the Sunday School Board of the SBC. Mullins pointed to the purpose of the Bible with these words: "The Bible is God's record of his gradual revelation leading up to the final revelation in Christ. No element of truth is wanting for our religious needs when we have really obtained the message of the Bible."


Q and A:
We ask in one sentence, you tell in four sentences.

       Question for March 2002: What is your opinion about the International Mission Board of the SBC requiring missionaries to subscribe to the 2000 version of "A Statement of the Baptist Faith and Message?" Respond to <> by March 4, 2002.

       Here is what a few of you told us about January’s question: "If you could write only four sentences to a pulpit committee chair of a Baptist church in these turbulent times, what would you say?"

Jeff Rogers, pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenville, SC responded:

     1. Grill the candidate, his or her references, and anyone and everyone else you can find who knows him or her. This is no time to be timid: the spiritual, emotional, and financial well being of your congregation depends on how effectively you separate the wheat from the chaff.

     2. Discern without a shadow of a doubt that your candidate is at least as committed to the "freedom of the pew" as he or she is to the "freedom of the pulpit."

     3. Do not accept a candidate who cannot speak clearly and convincingly about his or her personal and professional strategies for dealing with a potentially compromising sexual relationship.


Reggie Warren, pastor of Sycamore Baptist Church and president of The General Baptist Association of Virginia said:

     1. Know who and what your church is and who and what they need in a pastor.

     2. If your church doesn't know who and what it is, help them rediscover their identity.

     3. The cliché "Can't we all just get along?," is the pathetic, escapist plea of the idealistically ignorant and the phrase has no relevance in contemporary Baptist life.

     4. Any recommendation beginning with phrases like, "As I was praying for your church this morning, the Lord gave me a name," ought to be discarded immediately. Both the person doing the recommending and the candidate himself (it will be a him!) are, first and foremost, threats to your church's life.


James F. Kirkendall, retired employee of the IMB of the SBC and vice-chair of the Pastor Search Committee of Spring Creek Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK, answered:

     1. Study and know well the thinking, desires, needs of the congregation regarding a new pastor.

     2. Take your time, don't let anyone or the congregation rush you to get a new pastor.

     3. Be thorough in your investigation of people you are considering as your pastor.

     4. Have a complete job description and remuneration package accepted by the church before dealing with a selected candidate.

One Church’s Search for a Pastor:

By now most of you have seen this, but just in case you do not have "good" friends who pepper you with this kind of e-mail humor, check out this alleged report from a pastoral search committee:

We do not have a happy report to give. We've not been able to find a suitable candidate for this church, though we have one promising prospect still. We do appreciate all the suggestions from the church members, and we've followed up each one with interviews or calling at least three references. The following is our confidential report on the present candidates.

Adam: Good man but problems with his wife. Also, one reference told of how his wife and he enjoy nude walking in the woods.

Noah: Former pastorate of 120 years with no converts. Prone to unrealistic building projects.

Abraham: Though the references reported wife swapping, the facts seem to show he never slept with another man's wife, but did offer to share his own wife with another man.

Joseph: A big thinker, but a braggart, believes in dream interpreting and has a prison record.

Moses: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator, even stuttering at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge. Also had an inter-racial marriage.

David: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor's wife. Also thought to have murdered her husband and used the power of his office to avoid charges.

Solomon: Great preacher but our parsonage would never hold all those wives.

Elijah: Prone to depression--collapses under pressure.

Hosea: A tender and loving pastor, but our people could never handle his wife's occupation.

Deborah: Female.

Jeremiah: Emotionally unstable, alarmist, negative, always lamenting things, and reported to have taken a long trip to bury his underwear on the bank of a foreign river.

Isaiah: On the fringe? Claims to have seen angels in church. Has trouble with his language.

Jonah: Refused God's call into ministry until he was forced to obey by getting swallowed up by a great fish. He told us the fish later spit him out on the shore near here. We hung up.

Amos: Too backward and unpolished. With some seminary training he might have promise, but has a hang-up against wealthy people-might fit in better with a poor congregation.

John: Says he is a Baptist, but definitely doesn't dress like one. Has slept in the outdoors for months on end, has weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.

Peter: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper--even has been known to curse. Had a big run-in with Paul in Antioch. Aggressive, but a loose cannon.

Paul: Powerful CEO-type leader and fascinating preacher. However, short on tact, unforgiving with young ministers, harsh and has been known to preach all night.

Timothy: Too young.

Jesus: Has had popular times, but once when his church grew to 5,000 he managed to offend them all and his church dwindled down to 12 people. Seldom stays in one place very long. And of course, he's single.

Judas: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative. Good connections. Knows how to handle money. We're inviting him to preach this Sunday. Possibilities here.


Baptistville: Goings-on Among Baptists
       News and Comments:

       Missouri: Some Baptists in Missouri who are unwilling for the state convention to be dominated by a fundamentalist agenda are set to organize a new Missouri Baptist Convention. Both Virginia and Texas have seen the formation of fundamentalist Baptist state conventions in protest against the existing state convention. Now we are seeing the opposite in Missouri. A group of non-fundamentalists are organizing in protest of the existing state convention. Maybe we are wrong, but we thought we heard somebody say that the controversy was over!

       Virginia: The International Mission Board of the SBC will make all missionaries "accountable" by forcing them to sign the 2000 revised edition of "A Statement of the Baptist Faith and Message." Southern Baptists are standing passively by while their convention gets "Presbyterianized." State conventions are forcing the Baptist Faith and Message on their employees. A number of local associations have joined the Baptist Faith and Message bandwagon. National agencies are doing the same. The historic loose connectionalism of the SBC is fast becoming "The Southern Baptist Church." When, do you think, will the local churches have to be "accountable" to "The Southern Baptist Church?" One of the criticisms of the fundamentalists during the heat of the national controversy was that the moderate- controlled SBC was too strongly connectional and had too much bureaucracy. Wonder why they are not saying that now?

    Conferences and Lectures:
            Dr. James Forbes of The Riverside Church in New York City delivers the Harry Vaughan Smith Lectures, Feb 19-20, 2002, Mercer University. Contact Dr. Richard F. Wilson, Chair, The Roberts Department of Christianity, Mercer University, <>.
            Dr. William E. Hull leads a one-day conference on April 9 at Mercer University, Macon, GA. Topic:  'Left Behind' Theology and Baptist Life.” Sponsor: The Center for Baptist Studies of Mercer University. Contact: Greg Thompson @ 478 301 5467 or <>.
            Drs. Rollin Armour, Robert G. Gardner, and Doug Weaver lead a one-day conference on Friday, May 3 at Mercer University. Topic: “How to Write a Good Local Church History.” Sponsor: The Center for Baptist Studies of Mercer University. Contact: Greg Thompson @ 478 301 5467 or <>

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