Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Should Fundamental Churches Associate with Southern Baptists

  • Jim Townsley
  • Apr 10, 2019

Almost one hundred years ago men began defecting from the Southern Baptist Convention because of the compromise prevalent in it. J. Frank Norris, John R. Rice, Lee Roberson and Bob Jones Sr. were but a few of the many defectors. The roots of our fundamental churches spring primarily from those who withdrew from the convention and many of these men paid a great price to take a stand against the obvious compromise of the day.

Through the Sword of the Lord Christian Publications, its founder, Dr. John R. Rice regularly exposed and attacked humanism, worldliness, evolution, fraternal lodges, and the Southern Baptist Convention. Additionally he became a fierce opponent of the National Council of Churches, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and prominent liberal ministers, such as Harry Emerson Fosdick, Nels Ferré, and G. Bromley Oxnam. As the compromise of the Southern Baptists continued to infect the denomination through the nineteen seventies many in the denomination had become stark liberals denying the inerrancy of Scripture, the miracles of the Bible and the necessity to be born again.

Since that late seventies there has been a swing back from the extreme liberalism of that day; however the liberal teachings of the seminaries and many churches are still prevalent. There are many good men within the convention that preach the clear gospel and have resisted the liberal teachings originating from their seminaries, but there are many reasons these men should leave and many reasons fundamentalists should avoid any association with the convention.

Consider the words of Morris Chapman, past president of the SBC Executive Committee who warned against "separatism." In his June 2004 message "The Fundamentals of Cooperating Conservatives," he said: "There's a road wrongly taken by many on our left, the road of liberalism. But there is also a road wrongly taken by many others on our right side. It may not be as treacherous as the road of liberalism, but it is just as disabling to the Convention. What is this road? It is the road of separatism--an ecclesiastical methodology that devalues cooperation in favor of hyper independence. In the past, we have avoided this road as fervently as the road on
the left. If Southern Baptists steer too sharply toward the right, we will end up on the road of separatism. SOUTHERN BAPTISTS HAVE NEVER EMBRACED THE METHODOLOGIES OF SEPARATISM." The teaching of separation, which the Southern Baptists repudiate, is found throughout Scripture. Believers are commanded to separate from false doctrine, vain philosophies and worldly lifestyles.

Southern Baptist pastors are like many good, even great, Hebrew kings who refused to cut down the groves and remove the idols. Why would Fundamentalists desire to associate with Southern Baptists? The following list contains some of the many reasons we should avoid embracing them.

1. Denominations are not Scriptural. The Southern Baptist Convention is a denomination. According to the Bible all churches were local and autonomous. Nowhere in Scripture is there any indication of a regional, state or national hierarchy. The money collected by the state associations supports the liberal agenda of many of their colleges.

2. Members of the SBC are identified with liberal professors in their colleges and seminaries. The Bible teaches us in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

3. A growing number of SBC pastors speak in tongues. This unscriptural practice is leading many people astray and should be exposed as heresy.

4. The leaders of the convention refuse to oust liberal professors and pastors which make them collaborators of the compromise. Their goal is not to purge the convention entirely of theological liberalism but to achieve “parity” between the “moderates” and the “conservatives.”

5. They have pastors who advocate drinking and most promote contemporary rock music. Their repudiation of separatism leaves the door open for a worldly culture that mimics the sinful culture of the day. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” - - 1 John 2:15 

6. The SBC is ecumenical. The convention is one of the chief members of the radically liberal National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches. They have no problem associating with rank liberals for special meetings and conferences.

7. Worldliness is rampant. Though there are godly Southern Baptists, the homes of the average church members are too often filled with rock music, immodest dress, R-rated videos, cohabitation and many other marks of a gross love of the world.

8. Southern Baptists are at the forefront of promoting the modern day church growth philosophies.  The church growth movement promotes the use of worldly music, immodest dress. Eventually the method becomes the message; you can stay in your sin with no need of repentance. The next generation of compromise has no truth to develop a true commitment to Jesus Christ. The fruit of compromise always results in death. Just consider the result of the main line denominations. They are dead and no longer preach the truth, with very few exceptions. This path of compromise leads to death. Why would a Fundamental Baptist choose a road that leads to death?

9. This is a continuation of the compromise birthed in the 1940’s by Harold Ockenga and other leaders of that time.Harold Ockenga, who claimed to have coined the term “neo-evangelical,” defined the philosophy of this movement as follows: “Neo-evangelicalism was born in 1948 in connection with a convocation address which I gave in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. ... The ringing call for A REPUDIATION OF SEPARATISM AND THE SUMMONS TO SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT received a hearty response from many evangelicals. Neo-evangelicalism is DIFFERENT FROM FUNDAMENTALISM IN ITS REPUDIATION OF SEPARATISM AND ITS DETERMINATION TO ENGAGE ITSELF IN THE THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE OF THE DAY” (Harold J. Ockenga, foreword to Harold Lindsell’s book The Battle for the Bible).

Why would a Bible believing Christian want to associate with such compromise? If your church is associating with Southern Baptists beware of the consequences. “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Cor. 5:6).