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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Enemy of the State

(I made the following as a comment on my Blog but have decided it needed to be a full post concerning the dangerous direction of the Florida Baptist Convention – Greg Alford)

When John Sullivan had the audacity to tell the Florida Baptist Convention that he was going to impose a ban on anyone serving in the convention who did not hold to a total abstinence from alcohol conviction and that he “was not taking a poll” on the issue... a new day had dawned in the Florida Baptist Convention.

The Neo-Fundamentalist of Jacksonville (especially John Sullivan), like the Church of Roman in times past, have shown themselves the enemy of our Historic Baptist Principles of Church Autonomy, Cooperation, and Religious Liberty as expressed in articles VI, XIV, and XVII of our Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

VI. The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel...

XIV. Cooperation
Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner...

XVII. Religious Liberty
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it...

If the Pope had issued this decree concerning the Catholic Church I might not find it so utterly absurd... But it was not issued by the Pope of Rome, it was issued by a Baptist who, by the Florida Churches submission to his decree, has been given the unfettered authority of a Baptist Bishop... When it comes down to it there is not much difference in a Catholic Pope and a Baptist Bishop.

I for one will not kiss the ring of either...

Grace Always,
Greg Alford


Anonymous said...

An 'ememy of the state'is defined as as a person accused of crimes aagainst the state, or whose actions have legitimately endangered the country. That is an awfully strong label to place on the director/treasurer of the FBC. Does the label truly match the definition?


G. Alford said...


You misunderstand... John Sullivan and the Florida (State) Baptist Convention are the Enemies of our Historic Baptist Principles

And for that reason.... I am an “Enemy of the State”...

Do you deny that, unlike Baptist Leaders of the past that championed these Historic Baptist Principles, the actions of John Sullivan and the Florida Baptist Convention are in direct conflict with them?


Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the misunderstanding . As I understand it, simply, our baptist principles center around proclamation of the gospel, missions, intentional evangelism, and cooperation.From what I have observed from our leadership from Jacksonville,I do not believe a direct conflict exists. Our churches are equipped, provided training, and encouraged to be involved in what I listed above.


G. Alford said...


So you have no problem with the Executive Director of a Para-Church organization (in this case the Florida Baptist Convention) issuing decrees to the Baptist Churches of Florida?

Ok... well that's very... ... ... well... “interesting” is the only word I can safely use.

Is it ok with you that John Sullivan and the Florida Baptist Convention have the authority to issue decrees binding upon the churches because you agree that those who do not abstain from alcohol and who do not send in their ACP should be excluded from the Convention?

If that is the case then might I ask “Have you read article XVII of the BFM2000?” And does the rights, opinions, and convictions of other Baptist who love the Lord, proclaim the Gospel, support Missionaries, and evangelize the Lost in their communities matter at all? Or is it just the opinions and convictions of the few that are in Power that matter?

“The day that a Baptist Leader (by Force or Coercion) imposes his personal convictions upon others is the day he is no longer a Baptist...”


Anonymous said...

Bro Greg,

Forgive my delay in getting back to you. We are preparing for VBS.

It is obvious that we see this very differently. These "decrees" that you make mention of in regard to the alcohol and ACP issue were State Board of Missions decisions, not one man's 'decrees'.

To give an honest answer to your question, the rights, opinions, and convictions of other Baptists do matter to me.

I believe there is one factor you are leaving out of this discussion. Everything we have been talking about revolves around our willingness to cooperate with, and follow the leadership given to us by the Florida Baptist Convention.


G. Alford said...

Brother Steven,

I hope VBS is going well for you this year... and the work you are doing with the children in VBS is far more important than bloging with me... of that I am sure!

Steven if only these matters came out of the State Board of Missions I would have no complaint... if only the State Board of Missions was providing the “true” leadership for the State I would have no complaint... But as it now is the leadership and direction for the FBC is coming out of the office of the Executive Director and the State Board of Missions is powerless or unwilling to challenge the will of the Executive Director...

The pier pressure to “go along to get along” is overwhelming... and the system is designed to quickly weed out all those who make waves... so it is that the State Board of Missions is not the authority in the Convention... the Executive Director is the Sole Authority in Florida Baptist Convention... and that Brother Steven is a very dangerous thing indeed.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you say “Everything we have been talking about revolves around our willingness to cooperate with, and follow the leadership given to us by the Florida Baptist Convention.” To be perfectly honest with you I am no longer willing to do so....

In my opinion (which is not worth a lot I admit) the Florida Baptist Convention is a long way down the Rabbit Hole... Today we have Baptist being excluded from cooperation over following our Lords example and drinking a glass of wine with our evening meals, and for failing to send in an ACP... What will it be next? Will it be a minimum tithe we must send to the CP? Will it be Alain Baptism (as is the case with the IMB)? How about Calvinism? Maybe the length of the dresses our women wear? Just where will it now end?

What will be the next “suggestion” by the current Executive Director to go before the State Board of Missions for their rubber stamping be... and of even greater concerning, following the example set by this Executive Director what will the next Executive Director do? Once on the downward slope it is never easy to stop.

Have fun in VBS this week!


Paul W. Foltz DD said...

it's time to come out of the SBC and be separate, and to touch not the unclean thing. The local Assembly is to be autonomous, self governing.
Any thing else IS NOT BAPTIST.
The only cure for apostasy is judgment
Paul W. Foltz DD

G. Alford said...


More and more Baptist Churches (many who have deep roots in the SBC) are beginning to think like you... especially here in Florida.

However many of us see the wisdom of Cooperation together to accomplish many things that are almost impossible for any (but the largest) individual churches to do by themselves.

So while I agree with much of what you say... I still desire to partner with like-minded churches to do church planting and missions work... Thus many of us are looking for new partners here in Florida... and many are starting to discuss forming new “Baptist Alliances” to accomplish this work.

Know anyone who is interested?


caman171 said...

hello. just read your comments about the "bishop" of the florida convention and the rules on baptism for missionaries. first, let me assure you that nobody defends historic baptist principles more than i do. i have studies various groups of baptists for 30 yrs. recently ive even found 5 associations of primitive baptists who totally reject limited atonement. i was already convinced that they existed, but was told for years that i was crazy and that there was no such thing as a PB who rejected predestination or limited atonement. other pb's would say these associations arent real pb's....yet they claim church autonomy. cant have it both ways. so i agree that each church and association and state convention has the power to decide certain things for themselves. i believe an association has the right to exclude or include based and that associations wishes. having said all that let me ask a question. would your church accept anyone who has been baptized by immersion in the name of the father, son and holy ghost? if they do, i think its a mistake. that would mean a mormon could join your church without being properly baptized, as well as a church of christ person, a christadelphian, or jehovahs witness, while a true believer who was spronkled in a methodist church could not. can you at least see why these issues have "rules" attached? as for the wine issue, it doesnt make you any less "baptist" if you use fermented wine in communion....but doesnt an association of churches have the right to determine who they associate with? now if one man is making these decisions id have a problem. but if the churches in an association or a convention choose this path, then thats their right. of course any church who disagrees is free to leave. in a culture where drugs and alcoholism is an epidemic, i can see why associations would make abstinence a requirement. and i can see confusion in both those who sit in the pews and those we are trying to reach, when at one sbc church something may be preached against and down the road at another sbc church that same thing is used in the most holy of ordinaces. dont expect you to agree, just trying to determine if you can at least see the view of the other side. In Christ, Ken