February 28, 2011

SBC Decides Against Expelling Members of Pro-Homosexual Baptist Alliance: What is the “Militant” Separatist to Do?

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee decided earlier this week that a church’s membership in a pro-gay Baptist group does not automatically disqualify it from being part of the conservative Baptist denomination.”1
It is compelling irony that on the very day that the Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale) Advancing the Church conference closed news of the SBC decision on homosexuality is published. This news stirs a few questions. Questions that must be directed to SBC pastor Dr. Mark Dever and self-described separatists who featured, shared the Lansdale platform with and ministered in a cooperative effort alongside him.
•Does the Bible have enough to say about homosexuality to compel Dr. Dever to obey the Lord’s commands and withdraw from the SBC?

•Will Drs. Dave Doran, Kevin Bauder and Tim Jordan tolerate, allow for, ignore and/or excuse this news and Dr. Dever if he does not separate from the SBC?

•Will Drs. Doran, Bauder and Jordan admonish Dr. Dever as a brother to separate from the SBC as openly as they embraced and legitimized his ministry and associations at Lansdale last week?

•Will Drs. Doran, Bauder and Jordan offer justification for having featured and shared a platform with a non-separatist SBC pastor?

•Will Drs. Doran, Bauder and Jordan, realize they have erred, then apologize for having featured and ministered alongside SBC pastor, Dr. Mark Dever?

•Will Drs. Doran, Bauder and Jordan repent for reaching out to, featuring, ministering with and thereby endorsing the ministry of Dr. Mark Dever?

•Will Sharper Iron and Brother Kevin Mungons rethink and publicly recognize that the kind of separatism that Drs. Doran, Bauder and Jordan are currently practicing is contradictory to that of Dr. Ernest Pickering as he defined it in Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church?2
The SBC remains a liberal denominational structure. While some rooting out of liberalism has been accomplished within SBC schools, at the core the SBC allows for elements and persons that are a near anti-God sub-culture to operate and spread influence within the New Testament church.

Does the decision to allow for pro-homosexual rights churches to remain in the SBC qualify as direct disobedience to the Word of God? Will this decision from the SBC Executive Committee,3 finally be enough for Drs. Doran, Bauder, Jordan and Matt Olson to cease from reaching out to, featuring and worse exposing the impressionable among us to non-separatist, compromised, erring brothers?
LtoR: Doran, Jordan, Dever, Bauder, Harbin

Is this decision from the SBC finally enough for a segment of men in fundamental Baptist circles to finally live in fidelity, without partiality, to the God-ordained mandates to “admonish, withdraw from, mark and avoid” alleged “conservative” evangelicals and their fellowships? To withdraw from men that can remain within, allow for, minister along side and financially support the SBC in the wake of decisions such as this latest? (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15 Romans 16:17-18)


Photo by Darrell Goemaat/Baptist Bulletin. Used by permission.

1) The Christian Post.

2) Dr. Ernest Pickering, “The Separatist Cause is Not Advanced by Featuring Non-Separatists?”
“With the prayers and admonition of God’s people those men (Doran Bauder, Jordan, Olson) might be recovered and reverse course before much longer. I am hopeful they will one day repent and invest the balance of their lives undoing the damage they are presently doing to authentic biblical separatism. The kind of militant, consistent, balanced separatism that Dr. Ernest Pickering defined in Biblical Separation: The Struggle for a Pure Church.”
3) SBC Executive Committee

Site Publisher’s Note:
It was my intention this morning to begin a series of short summary articles in regard to the embracing and cooperative ministry efforts with so-called “conservative” evangelicals. Because of its timeliness, this news from the SBC will be the first in this series to summarize the waning of authentic biblical separatism that has been taking place in recent months. Once I conclude this series of summary articles I will be moving to a discussion of how the Gospel figures into the convergence of self-described separatists with the non-separatist evangelicals.


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  2. Thanks Lou for bringing this to light. Since so much ink has been split about the resurgence of conservatism within the SBC over the past few decades, this incident by the hierarchy reminds me of a paragraph from Dr. Pickering's book, Biblical Separation.
    "This is one of the very concerns of those who are separatists. The gangrene of false doctrine spreads. The only remedy is to separate from that body into which it has been introduced and where it is protected and encouraged. While sincere brethren have been trying (some of them for years) to excise the tumor in their respective denominations, they have yet to produce an illustration of a denomination into whose bosom apostasy has been introduced that was later restored to a state of spiritual good health. (emphasis mine) We do not know of such an illustration."
    The SBC continues to validate Dr. Pickering's observation. While there may be some who are of a conservative stripe, the SBC is skeleton of its former self when it comes to standing for the faith once delivered.

  3. Brian:

    I appreciate your sharing another example from Dr. Pickering that speaks to the issues we face today. This news from the SBC is no surprise and it exemplifies that the SBC has not exactly been moving in the direction of Fundamentalism. It has been the opposite; some of our men are moving toward and embracing evangelicalism.

    Bauder, Doran, Jordan and Olson must think they can hobnob with non-separatists and not wind up in the theological wasteland the way men before them did who tried this kind of convergence. Maybe they think they are immune to the “gangrene.”


  4. In reading Dr. Pickering, I have been reminded once again, and I believe this is heart of the issue we are dealing with, how do we view sin and God's command for holiness? How sinful is sin to us? Any sin? How holy are we? Our standard is God and His Word, not our fellow believer down the street, not the person in the pew behind us, not the pastor of the neighboring church; it is God and His Word.
    These "adjustments" that DD, KB, MO, TJ have made are not reflective of the Biblical commands of separation from sin and to God in His holiness, actually quite the opposite.

  5. Kirk Dickerson3/01/2011 7:23 PM


    You and I indeed agree 100% on this. It is very troubling to say the least. It will be interesting to see what Mohler and Dever do. The world is watching! Thanks for bringing this to light!

  6. Kirk:

    Thanks for the encouragement. Events such as what I’ve shown here are important to be known on a number of levels. For those of us in fundamental circles we need to see what lies just ahead for those who are inclined to embrace, defend and minister with evangelicals. What Dever and Mohler will surely tolerate you will to if you want to be accepted by them and invited to their platforms and accept an invitation to yours.

    What Dever and Mohler do does not concern me a great deal. I suspect they will do what non-separatists do, possibly express some concern and stay in the SBC as if nothing is amiss. What I do want to see is what I asked about in the article above in regard to Brothers Doran and Bauder. Will they, just as with Mohler signing the Manhattan Declaration, excuse the act as an “occasional inconsistency…single episode” (KB) and merely, “a wrong decision based on bad judgment”(DD)?

    All signs indicate that Doran, Bauder, Jordan and Olson have made up their minds to tolerate these troubling things from the evangelicals and will continue the path they trod toward greater fellowship with them. Lord willing, many who are being influenced to follow this road of compromise will now step back realizing that cooperative fellowship with men who do and/or tolerate the ecumenism (MD) and decisions for inclusion of pro-homosexual churches is an offense to God, His Word and His Gospel.