Southern Baptists- A History of Controversy

Southern Baptists in the News!


April 12, 2005

Southern Baptists Anti-Gays Day Campain

By David Crary


NEW YORK – Irked by the success of the nationwide Day of Silence, which seeks to combat anti-gay bias in schools, conservative activists are launching a counter-event this week called the Day of Truth aimed at mobilizing students who believe homosexuality is sinful.

Participating students are being offered T-shirts with the slogan "The Truth Cannot be Silenced" and cards to pass out to classmates Thursday – the day following the Day of Silence – declaring their unwillingness to condone "detrimental personal and social behavior."

The driving force behind the Day of Truth is the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group that has opposed same-sex marriage and challenged restrictions on religious expression in public schools. The event is endorsed by several influential conservative organizations, including the Christian ministry Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Mike Johnson, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney from Shreveport, La., said organizers were unsure how many students would participate in the Day of Truth, but expressed hope it would grow in coming years as more people learned about it.

Johnson said the event is meant to be "peaceful and respectful," but made clear it is motivated by belief that homosexuality is wrong. "You can call it sinful or destructive – ultimately it's both," he said.

The event is designed as a riposte to the Day of Silence, which began on a small scale in 1996 and is now observed by tens of thousands of students annually at hundreds of schools and colleges across the country.

Most Day of Silence participants go through the school day without speaking – a tactic for drawing attention to the isolation and harassment experienced by many gay students.

Since 2001, Day of Silence observances have been coordinated by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a New York-based organization that also has worked to support gay-straight alliances at high schools across the country.

Kevin Jennings, GLSEN's executive director, said he doubted the Day of Truth would gain a following and stature of any significance.

"The Day of Silence was an event conceived of by students themselves in response to a very real problem of bullying and harassment they saw on their campuses," Jennings said. "The Day of Truth is a publicity stunt cooked up by a conservative organization with a political agenda; it's an effort by adults to manipulate some kids."

Underlying the dueling events is a fundamental disagreement over the rationale for the Day of Silence. GLSEN and its allies say the silent protest is specifically targeting harassment of gay students, while the Alliance Defense Fund and other conservatives say GLSEN's agenda is to broaden national acceptance of homosexuality.

"No one is for bullying and harassment," Johnson said. "But that's cloaking their real message – that homosexuality is good for society."

Echoing the stance taken by defense fund lawyers in several court cases, Johnson said teachers and students critical of homosexuality have been pressured to stifle their views while at school. They cite the case of a San Diego-area high school student, Chase Harper, who was disciplined last year for refusing to change out of a T-shirt that read, "Homosexuality is Shameful."

"We wouldn't have come up with the Day of Truth if Christian kids hadn't been silenced in the first place," Johnson said. "The public school is part of the free market of ideas – if the other side is going to advance their point of view, it's only fair for the Christian perspective to present their view, too."

When have Southern Baptists EVER been 'SILENT'?

The Alliance Defense Fund is anticipating that some students who try to participate in the Day of Truth may be admonished by school staff. Its resource kit includes a hot-line number, with attorneys on call to provide legal advice about free-speech rights on school grounds.

Jennings said GLSEN had no ambitions to keep schools free of all criticism of homosexuality.

"There always should be a place in our schools for respectful differences of opinion – we don't expect everyone to agree, or even to like each other," he said.

But he questioned whether the Alliance Defense Fund and its allies were committed to constructive dialogue.

"I don't think they believe in pluralism," he said. "They feel they have the truth and everybody else should buy into it."

According to GLSEN, 84 percent of gay and lesbian high school students experiences verbal harassment on a regular basis at school, and 40 percent experience physical harassment.


Baptists Attack Fellow Christians

It is ironic that the Southern Baptists would refer to their fellow Christians as "cults". Make a stand against this silliness! Just say no to evangelists who demand that you have "faith" while they clean out your bank account and run your personal life for you.

Baptists in N.C. aim to convert Mormon, Jehovah's Witness 'cult' members Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) : Two Southern Baptist congregations are preparing a crusade to teach their members how to convert "cult" members, including Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. The Cult Awareness Impact Crusade is scheduled for Feb. 6-8 at Calvary Baptist Church and Oaklawn Baptist Church. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are not Christians, say the Rev. Mark Corts, Calvary's senior pastor, and the Rev. Philip Henry, assistant pastor for evangelism and new-member assimilation. They want to help prevent their members from joining those religions and teach them how to convert Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons to Christianity.

"This would be like the U.S. Army holding a seminar on Russian military tactics or something," said Henry. "In the military realm, they would call that understanding your enemy, but we do not consider them our enemy."

Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses members objected to the congregations' plans. "I'm disappointed that they would go to that approach," said Gary Smith, president of the Winston-Salem stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Robert Shields, one of the overseers of the South Congregation of Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Winston Salem, said he wasn't bothered by the cult designation. "But a cult follows a human leader. We follow Jesus," he said. The local crusade comes as the Southern Baptist Convention has been criticized for its effort to convert Jews, Muslims and Hindus.

The convention angered Jews last year by asking its members to pray that Jews convert to Christianity during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The denomination also issued a booklet last year saying Hindus have "darkness in their hearts that no lamp can dispel."

Published January 22, 2000

The Southern Baptist Convention has been steeped in controversy on many occasions over their lifetime. As a basically southern institution, they were embroiled both in external criticism and internal conflict during the Civil Rights movement. But the most serious controversy of the twentieth century was a struggle to control the resources and ideological direction of the convention.


[Source: A Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle of Beginnings of Reformation in The Southern Baptist Convention, by Ernest C. Reisinger and D. Matthew Allen; Founders Press: Cape Coral, Florida (2000)]

In November of 1999 the Baptist General Convention of Texas implemented that husbands were to lead the family and wives to "submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."[Source: Article by Berta Delgado, page 35A in the Dallas Morning News, 17 November 1999.] Instead mutural submission...aka...equality for both sexes.

COMPARE JW Org's View On Women:

The JW's Revelation-A Grand Climax At Hand! Page #48, paragraph #8 claims that the reason why JW men turn apostate is because their wives fail to allow their husbands the God-given right to rule over them and thus they also "insight court action against Jehovah's faithful servants"; and that when a woman challenge a man's right to rule over her, that then this is a "Jezebel influence".

Paragraph #11 also claims that it is "LOVING for Christian overseers to FIRMLY RESTAIN ANY PROMOTION of EQUALITY or LIBERTY of RIGHTS for WOMEN as counseled by WATCHTOWER SOCIETY'S PUBLICATIONS." (Notice they did NOT say as counseled by the BIBLE!)

In the JW's Proclaimer's book page #221, paragraph #3 a women who is a devout reverer of Rutherford is quoted as blessing Rutherford and his issue of the Watchtower for helping promote her feelings of "relief to see the end of 'women's rights". Then she goes on to call women's rights as "local opinions and individual judgement that is opposite of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ and thus thereby a reproach on Jehovah's name".

Then back to the Revelation book page #51, paragraph #14 speaks of JW elders being used by Jesus as "trusted stars to POLICE and SURPRESS WOMEN". Individuals of the congregation are threatened to not question stating, "After these elders have fully examined a matter and JUDGMENT has been rendered it is NOT for INDIVIDUALS to probe into the ways and wherefores of the action taken. All should humbly accept the elders disposal of the matter and continue to be supportive of these congregational stars".

Also they call such faith groups as Seventh-Day Adventists and Christian Science "spiritually sullied" and "spiritually immoral" for simply having women teach from the pulpit. All of this is the complete opposite of Galatians 3:28, which says that, "There is neither Greek nor Jew nor Male Nor Female but that ALL are one through Christ"!

Rev. Clyde Glazener, president of the Texas convention and pastor at Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth, told The Dallas Morning News:

"The truth is that, for some time now, a true Baptist could not support some of the agencies in SBC life. We're not interested in siphoning off a lot of funds from Texas to fund a Jerry Falwell-clone church."


In July 2000, the coordinator of the moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) has predicted that changes in the Southern Baptist Convention's statement of faith will prompt as many as 5,000 churches to leave the SBC. Many observers consider CBF beliefs closer to traditional Baptist beliefs, while the SBC has become the primary inheritor of the American fundamentalist movement. (Source: Religion News Service/Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2000)



Sociologically speaking, Landmarkism was a process and struggle which helped Southern Baptists to gain identity separate from the Northern Baptists. One of the greatest arguments for Landmarks was the church should be autonomous because they viewed organization beyond the local churches as unbiblical. This caused many churches not to contribute to the cause of the SBC and today some of these same churches still have nothing to do with the SBC.

By the 1830's tension began to mount between the Northern and Southern Baptists. Baptists in the South were embracing slavery because it was the core of their social and economic order. Baptists of the North were saying that God would not condone treating one race as superior to another while Southerners said that God intended for races to be separate.

In 1844 the issues of missionary work and slavery came to a peak. The Home Mission Society gave a statement saying that a person could not be a missionary and wish to keep his slaves as property. This caused the Home Mission Society to separate northern and southern divisions. As a result of this the Baptists in the south met in May of 1845 and organized the Southern Baptist Convention .

JWs: Firpo Carr's claim that Bill Jackson, who served on the Governing Body until his death in 1981, was Black seems a rather desperate attempt. Others who knew Jackson personally (e.g., Raymond Franz) confirm that not only did Jackson appear white, but to their knowledge he never claimed otherwise. See Carr, A History of Jehovah's Witnesses from a Black American Perspective (Hawthorne, CA: Scholar Technological Institute of Research, Inc., 1993), pp. 45-8; see also Jackson's birth certificate reproduced on p. 398, where both his parents are listed as "white". 14. Proclaimers, p. 58.


Southern Baptists believe in a heaven and hell. The only way to get into heaven is salvation through Jesus Christ. To achieve salvation one must confess their faith that God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. It is only through faith that Jesus died for mankind and that He is the one and only God that people gain entrance into heaven. People who fail to recognize God as the one and only are sentenced to eternity in hell.

Compare JW Org's Judgement On All The Non-JW Religions As Awaiting Execution By Jehovah...A.k.A 'Armageddon

From the JW book, "Revelation It's Grand Climax At Hand!", Chapter 30, pages 205- 206

Paragraph 2, "Babylon the Great is the religious part of Satan's Organization. Her most prominent segment today is apostate Christendom."

Paragraph #, "Babylon the Great now waits on death row, for the execution of Jehovah's judgment on her."


The fundamentalists have pursued a number of tactical programs that continue to generate internal conflict and keep the SBC in high profile the broader culture. One very controversial decision the Southern Baptists was the decision to boycott the Walt Disney Company in 1997. They objected to Disney's so-called anti-family and anti- Christian direction. They objected to Disney giving benefits to same sex partners and for having "Gay Days", where gays could come to their theme parks and celebrate openly.


Another controversy arose in the late 1990s when the Southern Baptists, having selected to meet in Salt Lake City, angered the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by pursuing an aggressive program of proselytization among Mormons before and during the convention.


Press Release Christian-Jewish Relations

ADL Outraged by Southern Baptist Statements Rooting Jewish Conversion Appeals in Theology New York, NY, September 28, 1999 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today was "offended and outraged" by a letter from the Rev. Paige Patterson, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, seeking to further validate the church’s recent prayer appeal to convert Jews despite a chorus of criticism.

"We are offended by your attempt to taint our High Holidays with prayer urging our community to convert," Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said in response to Rev. Patterson’s letter. "It was an act of theological arrogance that was followed by your arrogant response."

Mr. Foxman said Rev. Patterson and other Southern Baptist leaders have responded to the controversy by engaging in "theological confrontations" and arguments that essentially seek to avoid the issue of the prayer guide that has upset and offended so many in the Jewish religious and secular worlds.

"It is not in my spirit or the policy of the Anti-Defamation League to get into theological confrontations as was done in the Middle Ages," Mr. Foxman said. "We talk to other people of faith as equals, respecting the commitment of the other person of God and trying to avoid any prejudice that might hurt the relationship between Christians and Jews.

"Any prayer that invites us to abandon our faith is an attack on our integrity and commitment."

After publicly stating outrage over the prayer appeal earlier this month, the League made efforts to reach out to Southern Baptist leaders, calling on the church to put an end to the campaign in light of its offensive nature and the proximity of the High Holidays, the most sacred time in Jewish observance.

The letter from Rev. Patterson to ADL outlined evangelical Christian arguments for proselytization efforts among Jews. According to Foxman, "The letter expressed no remorse for the prayer appeal and contemptuously invited us to return the gesture and pray for them. Well, we say `No thanks.’ We will not engage in this kind of base spiritual narrowness, as the Southern Baptist leaders have done."

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.


Any Latter-day Saint dealing with "anti-Mormon" literature is bound sooner or later to run into the name of Dr. Walter Martin, a man who, perhaps more than any other, is cited as the final word on the subject of orthodox Christianity and the cults occording to the Southern Baptists and far right fundamental Protestants.

Facts concerning Walter Ralston Martin:

1. He is a a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.

2. He is also sympathetic with the Charismatic movement.

Dr. Martin claims that no matter what your works may be, you will die in your sins if you do not believe that Jesus Christ is God.

If a faith group who calls it's said Christian or bibical but refuses to agree with Fundamental Protestants on the following..then they are tagged "CULTS"...aka they get out on the Southern Baptists %$#@ list:

1. Their church is the only true church ( Gee, does not the Fundamental Protestants make the same claim? They must also be a "cult.")

2. They deny the Trinity

3. They deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit; they consider the Holy Spirit to be an impersonal force (Hummm.I guess Star Wars is a "cult."

4. Hell does not exist as a place of eternal torment ( Guess all mainstream Protestants like Presbyterians and Methodists must be "cult," then)

5. They maintain an isolation from other Christian groups ( You mean how SB and fundamental Protestants seperate themselves from Mormons, JWs, Catholics, and Progressive Protestants because they consider them as "cults."????

Faith Christian themed Faith Groups which are tagged as cults by Walter Martin/ Southern Baptists:

1. Religious Science

2. Jehovah's Witnesses

3. Mormons

4. Seventh Day Adventists

5. Unity Church

6. The Worldwide Church of God (before its recent changes)

7. Bibical Non-trinitarians

8. Catholics

Cult" has lately become a word used to direct hatred and intolerance towards non-Fundamental Protestant Religions

Unfortunately, in the minds of many Christians, the various unrelated meanings of the word "cult" get blurred. These faith groups are assumed by many to be evil mind control or destructive cults. Once a neutral term, "Cult" has lately become a snarl word. It's often used to direct hatred and intolerance towards other religious organizations. The word is used with great effectiveness by the CCM; they direct the public's fear of destructive cults (like the People's Temple at Jonestown and the Branch Davidians at Waco) against faith groups that the CCM feels are not doctrinally pure.


Non-Christian themed Faith Groups which are tagged "Cults," by Southern Baptists:

1. ALL Eastern Faiths & basically everyone who is NOT Protestant.

Most organizations in the CCM appear to work from within a Fundamental Protestant's belief system. Their prime goal is to expose and fight what they believe is heresy. Misinformation by organizations within the CCM has generated a climate of fear and intolerance towards many Christian groups whose only "crime" is to hold different interpretations of fundamental beliefs.

Modern day controversy began to unfold within the Southern Baptist Convention during the late 1970's and continued to dominate the denomination's attention for the balance of the century.

As fundamentalists rapidly took control of the SBC they began making the necessary changes they deemed appropriate. In 1984, a resolution was passed at the convention in Kansas City, which excluded women from pastoral roles because the woman was first in the Edenic fall.

A Film Exposes Southern Baptists Sexism & Bigotry

Battle For The Minds - Awards & Reviews

"Lipscomb is a bright new talent. BATTLE FOR THE MINDS is not only about the frightening political savvy of the religious right, it is about every intolerant fundamentalist movement in America." Paul Lazarus – Director, L.A. LAW

Radio Interview Transcripts -

LIPSCOMB: I felt it was a story that was important to tell. Really what's happening is you have a group trying to enforce their beliefs -- not just on Baptists, I promise you, their mission is much larger. Paige Patterson, who's in our film, was just elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that they will continue to preach to the government. Their agenda is very wide. These people are picking out specific verses so that they can attack anyone who would disagree with their point of view. And every year the Southern Baptist Convention convenes and a message of hate and so the general person out their thinks of the word "Baptist" and they associate boycotting Disney because Disney was gracious enough to extend their health plan to people who didn't have it.

As soon as they took over the final Seminary, slapped a gag order on the faculty. If they were to speak counter to the administration they were immediately fired. They were enforcing this doctrinal initiative in a way that was particularly frightening. So as soon as I went to the Executive Committee the first question was, "What Southern Baptist Church do you attend on a weekly basis?" But I haven't called myself a Baptist for years.

BRIAN: "I consider myself religiously, a moderate Latter Day Saint, or Mormon. I was struck by the similarity between the new article voted on in the Convention and the LDS Proclamation on the Family from 1995. There are several striking similarities though, of course, there are also some subtle but important differences. I was wondering if that similarity a coincidence or were they somehow influenced by that Latter Day Saint Proclamation and, if so, what does that say about the leadership? Is there anything significant about the similarity?

LEONARD: I think it was very significant that the Southern Baptists chose their meeting in Salt Lake City to make a statement on the family. I think that was quite intentional. Because the Southern Baptists believe strongly that they wanted to go to Salt Lake City as a witness to Mormons and the Mormons have long been outspoken about their support of family and family life and that's one of their strongest points of appeal in the broader American culture. And I think both share a conservative way of looking at family and what is constituted by family and what that means. It was not incidental, or coincidental, that article was laid out in Salt Lake City.

LEONARD: I think it is a question of how we use the Bible, and as I was saying in 1845 Southern Baptists use those texts on slave and master to support the peculiar institution as it was called the slavery in the American South. Three years ago the Southern Baptists Convention went on record as apologizing to African Americans for having used, uh, supported slavery and using those, such text, using the Bible to support it. It is fascinating to me that they would come back again and take the same method of interpreting the Bible and apply that to the submission of women. And I ask myself will it be another hundred years before they apologize to women then. I don't think you can have it both ways. I don't think you can read with one set of glasses regarding women and then say, well now, 150 years later, we read those glasses differently, relative to slave and master. One of the things we learned, is the idea of a Christian master that is a Christian slave owner in an oxymoron, not in terms of the secular, necessarily but in terms of the Christian Gospel. And so I think, this has been for all its hoopla, it forced us to ask again, what glasses do we wear, when we read the text of the Bible.

FARRELL: I am a Southern Baptist near Hickory, North Carolina. It distresses me to hear you use the words like "hate" and when I hear you criticizing the Convention so powerfully and using actually defaming the Convention and turning people off the Southern Baptist faith. And when you use the word hate to describe the Southern Baptists Convention's position on homosexuals, I think, if you really loved someone and you see that they are living a lifestyle that is hurtful to them and that is contrary to the scriptures that God's provided us, if you really love those people, you want them to know the truth.

MERRITT: If you are compassionate about someone and you believe that they are belief is incorrect, does that mean that you take away their healthcare, does that mean that you boycott an organization because they give them healthcare? That's what is going on, and it does engender this powerful message of exclusion, powerful message of hate, which has nothing to do as you and I both know, with the message of Christianity, which very simply stated is love God, love each other, because that is what Christ said is what the real thing is all about. And the Bible should not be some kind of mechanism that people are using to completely detract from that message. And it is a travesty that they are. I hope you have heard me trying to deal with this myself. I think he and other listeners need to know that this is a twenty-year controversy in essentially an abusive family.


Despite the efforts of the moderates to combat the takeover by the fundamentalists they lost the battle for several reasons.The fundamentalists were simply more powerful and motivating speakers. They had the ability to move crowds and persuade huge churches to listen to what they had to say. It was partly this reason that allowed Pressler and Patterson to gather the large crowds of messengers necessary to help them elect presidents.

The inability of the moderates to gather support for their cause also contributed to a fundamentalist victory. The moderates could not gather enough support because only the older people who had dedicated their lives to the SBC were willing to take on the fight. Younger people simply were not willing to dedicate their lives to a fight with the fundamentalists. Still, a schism within the SBC is probably not likely. A major reason for this is the high degree of autonomy that each local congregation maintains. Ministers, and their congregations may disagree with the leadership direction of the SBC, but what happens at the national level has little, if any, affect them. Thus, if churches feel that the convention is irrelevant to them, there is little initiative to leave. In the late 1980's Nany Ammerman, the leading scholar of Southern Baptists conducted a study and concluded that most churches anticipated no changes at all in their church despite the fundamentalist takeover. If people today still feel that they and their church are autonomous from the national convention then a schism is very unlikely to occur.

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