Saturday, 2 February 2008

"Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant"

Stand Firm links to this story about a gathering of African American and moderate-to-liberal white Baptists led by former president Jimmy Carter.
Former President Carter, leading a meeting of thousands of Baptists across racial and theological lines, said Friday he hopes the gathering will help convince conservative Southern Baptists and other Christians to end divisions over the Bible and politics.

"We can disagree on the death penalty, we can disagree on homosexuality, we can disagree on the status of women and still bind our hearts together in a common, united, generous, friendly, loving commitment," Carter said...

But Carter was not the only "celebrity."
Author John Grisham, a Baptist, condemned the literal interpretation of Scripture, saying it led to exclusionary practices that weakened churches.

From another source reporting on the same story:
"The event itself is momentous," said George Mason, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. "The idea that we can bring together such historically diverse Baptists in one place and celebrate our tradition of faith together is quite remarkable. I only wish all Baptists were here." (emphasis mine, JK

And from this morning's Edmonton Journal, reporting on its religion page on the event (unfortunately I cannot link to the story)
The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention was not invited to the gathering, though individuals were welcome to attend. (again, emphasis mine, JK)

I guess inclusivity only goes so far.

Take Care


Kaylor said...

You need to get your facts straight and not rely on poor sources (like the biased Baptist Press). You should listen to all of Grisham's speech before criticizing (you can do so at Also, SBC leaders like president Frank Page were personally invited by Carter to attend and many Southern Baptists were involved in the planning of the event from the beginning.

John K said...

You were right about the John Grisham quote. As it was given in the article linked it was completely misleading. However, as far as I can tell it was by Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press. Is she somehow connected with the Baptist Press?

Yet I still have issues with Mr Grisham's speech, because as I heard it, he still spoke against the doctrine of inerrancy of Scripture. But I believe he used a couple of false arguments against it.

He was critical of the doctrine as it was held by the church in which he grew up. He basically, as I gathered, accused them of hypocricy for their view of the role of women in the church as opposed to what they thought of Paul's advice to Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach (1 Timothy 5:23) As one who enjoys a glass of fine wine with a good meal, I will agree that I believe the 'teetotallers' have got that wrong, but I don't think it's a good argument against inerrancy.

As for his other argument, the final verses of Mark referring to the picking up of snakes and the drinking of poison, it is commonly accepted that these verses were a later addition and not part of the original text. Most inerrantists, myself included, ascribe innerancy only to the Scriptures, "as originally given."

So, although the source I cited was at best inaccurate, I still must find myself in disagreement with Mr Grisham in this area.

Thanks for your response.

Take Care

bubear said...

I believe that Rachel Zoll is a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. For some reason her story(ies) sent Baptist Press, an SBC agency, into orbit. I found her reporting quite accurate, something I can't say for Baptist Press.

John K said...

Hi bubear, Thanks for commenting.

Yet as I mentioned in my comment above, Ms Zoll's statement, "Author John Grisham, a Baptist, condemned the literal interpretation of Scripture, saying it led to exclusionary practices that weakened churches." was subjective and at least somewhat innaccurate. It was not an accurate report of what Grisham said, but her interpretation of what he said. You may confirm it by following 'kaylor's' links, going to "videos," scrolling down to John Grisham and watching it.