Over on Wade Burleson’s blog, Stephen Pruett wrote -
The trend seems very obvious to me. Interpretations that are biblically disputable, even among true conservative inerrantists, have now become the basis for exclusion from service and the pace of this exclusion and the reasons for it have increased rather than decreased… Now that several precedents have been set, the only limitation on which new criteria will be used for exclusion is the opinions of those in positions of power.
For those of us who now server in Florida this is fast becoming a reality… John Sullivan, the Executive Director/Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention has put forth a “Decree” saying:
"We are not going to have people on our boards of trustees that do not believe in total abstinence."
In an email exchange with Tom Ascol, Executive Director of Founders Ministries, John Sullivan went on to explain he actually meant that it would not be enough if a trustee abstained from drinking alcohol, but that he or she would also have to hold to a total abstinence conviction. He also pledged to pursue action within the Florida Baptist Convention to assure this. (read more here)
Of course Dr. Sullivan believing in Southern Baptist principles will go through the proper channels (just as any local Baptist Pastor may---yea right!) to assure his new proposal/decree is enacted with all due process… However, in a stunning display of arrogance Sullivan went on to say in an article written for the Florida Baptist Witness “Please understand, I am not taking a poll on this matter.”
The trend toward excluding livelong Southern Baptist from service based upon the opinions of those in power is growing at a truly frightening pace. It is almost as if those in positions of power throughout the Convention, as they are approaching the end of their careers and seeing a new generation that does not share their personal convictions on secondary matters of the faith, have cast caution to the wind in their attempts to mold the future of the SBC in their own image while they still can.
If this dangerous and very Un-Baptist trend toward “Fundamentalism” and the unrestrained exercise of power to excluded fellow Baptist from service is not corrected soon… I fear we may not even recognize the SBC in few years. I hate to sound so negative, but “one man” just excluded me from cooperate service in any capacity in the State of Florida.
Grace to all,