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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sullivan's Law is "Rubber Stamped"

Brothers pray for the State of Florida…

The Florida Baptist Witness is reporting that the 99-member State Board of Missions during its Jan. 26 meeting at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center approves alcohol abstinence bylaw revision… (Read the full article here)

The Florida Baptist Witness reports -

"The abstinence commitment will be added to a written questionnaire currently in place that asks potential nominees a series of other questions, such as: if they have “received Jesus Christ as savior;” have been a member of a cooperating Florida Baptist church for a year; are in good standing in their local congregation; tithe; and support the Baptist Faith and Message. Nominees must record positive responses and a signature of affirmation to the written questionnaire to be considered for service."

This is truly a sad day in Florida, when abstinence from alcohol is considered as important a doctrinal question as ones salvation, and the doctrines contained in the BFM. But what strikes me as even more sad is the fact that “No opposition to the bylaw revision was expressed by any board member.”

Not one of the 99 board members of the State of Florida found any cause for concern in this at all… Not one of the 99 board members found any reason to stand up and defend the life of Jesus Christ and his witness… Not one of the 99 board members found it within themselves to ask does this now mean that Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the vast majority of Christians who have lived throughout history can not serve in the Florida Convention… Not one of the 99 board members stopped to consider the implications this action will have on the Baptist doctrine of Christian Liberty… Not one of these 99 board members stopped to consider the implications of this action on our understanding of the doctrine of the Lords Supper… Not one of the 99 board members found the courage to ask where this will all end… Not one… Not one… Not one…

Friends, I know some of these men… and I am stunned!

I am stunned by the lack of consideration for the convictions of other Baptist by the action of the Florida State Board of Missions in their reckless hast to adopt Sullivan’s proposal on total abstinence from alcohol.

Everyone agrees that alcohol abuse needs to be addressed and confronted, however this is not the way to do so. This will not prevent one young person from taking their first drink, and it will not prevent one family from being destroyed from alcohol abuse… If anyone thinks otherwise they are just kidding themselves. What it will do is cause those who do not hold to this position to never be involved with the Florida Baptist Convention at all… is that what Dr. Sullivan wants, less participation from other Baptist who do not hold to his personal convictions?

This may come as a total shock to the 99 members of the State Board of Missions but there are Southern Baptist who never take a drink socially or in private (so in practice they are teetotalers) but who also have deeply held convictions that the Lord’s Supper must be observed with the proper elements of unleavened bread and wine (most often just touched to the lips), as was the example and commandment of Jesus Christ.

What you are now asking these very conservative men and women of God to do is choose between their convictions and conformity to this doctrine of man in order to be considered for service in the State of Florida… Shame on you!

– Greg Alford

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