Saying “No” to being a “Big Tent Baptist.”

 I have in my office, a newspaper article from the fall of 2004.  It is a full-page spread bought and paid for by George Soros, as an open letter to society begging and pleading with them not to elect George W. Bush.  The opening statement of his letter reads; “An open society such as ours is based on the recognition that our understanding of reality is inherently imperfect.  Nobody is in possession of ultimate truth.  As the philosopher Karl Popper has shown, the ultimate truth is not attainable even in science.” 

I have kept that article from October 29th, 2004 for several reasons.  Primarily it serves to remind me of the mainstream mindset of the world today that firmly believes that no one “knows the truth.”  Or more accurately, it seems that the intent of the statement, and through the rest of the article is that no one knows the ultimate “moral truth.”  

It is this belief of Soros and others like him that serves as the foundation for the liberal messages that all beliefs and behaviors must be tolerated.  In fact when we look behind the veil of the mainstream doctrine of tolerance, all we see is this belief that truth, moral, spiritual, truth cannot be known. 

Of course anyone who knows the Word of God, and stands sure-footed in Jesus Christ knows categorically different.  Christians understand that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, not merely because they want Him to be, but because real ones have been to Calvary, tasted His Grace, and bathed in His Salvation.  It’s the old cliché, you can’t tell me cherry pie doesn’t exist, when I’ve eaten three this week.   

Very often, the world of Soros, accuses Christianity of arrogance for insisting that they know what they know.  However, I can’t think of anything more arrogant, than someone telling me I don’t know what I do know.  Soros and company telling me that I don’t KNOW Jesus is like them telling me that there is NOT a yellow “Caterpillar” coffee mug on my desk right now.  (It’s been there since before Sunday School Sunday last Sunday morning.) 

In essence what Soros and company imply is that “Since we don’t know the truth, no one really knows the truth.”  Or, better yet, “If the ultimate truth were knowable, WE would be the ones who know it.”  And they want to call us arrogant?

But that is not what this article is about.

It seems to me that over the last several years, this same philosophy, has found its way to front and center not merely within the Christian world, but within the Baptist world.   In fact the idea of “theological diversity” among Baptists if left alone, will leave them hardly identifiable in the next few years.  While many Baptists, reject the ideas of Soros, they carry the same philosophy into their churches and seminaries, denying “doctrinal certainty” and embracing “theological diversity.” 

I am learning that there are many BINO’s  (Baptist In Name Only) out there selling their wares, teaching their principles and softening their stands.  Not only is “Doctrinal Certainty” being replaced with “Theological Diversity”; there seems to be a reprimand for those who will not go along with the changes.    We are being told in essence, that all of our doctrine must be tag lined with an “in my humble opinion.” 

We have been told that one can be a “Baptist” and still believe a variety of doctrines, and so in the interest of positive fellowship, we must always acknowledge that we might be wrong.  I readily acknowledge that I might be wrong, when it comes to choosing investments, picking ball teams, and diagnosing difficulties.   I could very well be wrong about economic issues, personal dilemmas, and proper church policies.  Even though I am saved, and righteous in the eyes of God, my flesh will still fail.  There is a serious problem with any man who will not admit that.

However . . .

I will never admit, that the doctrine of Salvation is a matter of my opinion.

I will never admit that the doctrine of Baptism as we teach it, is a matter of our own interpretation.

I will never admit that the Security of the Believer, the Perseverance of the Saints, the Nature and Doctrine of “Church”, the current gifts of the Spirit, the inerrancy of the scriptures, and the literal creation are only our best interpretations of the text.

I will never admit that Jesus Christ died on the cross for a few people in this world.

They are firm facts, forever faithful, and fully understandable.

In recent years, we have been asked as Baptists to accept: DeformedReformed Theology; “Home church” – (clearly misunderstood of the scriptures) – Emerging Church, Purpose Driven, Seeker Friendly, New Lightism, and in some “minute circles” Church Witness Salvation.  Of course there have always been Liberal theologians who want to be called Baptists; ordaining women to pastor, homosexual lifestyle acceptance, and multiplie roads to God for Salvation.

The real problem I have is those who will bend over backwards to accommodate these  ideas, as though if we don’t we will somehow be displeasing to God.

A friend and I recently discussed the decline of attendance over the last few years at the Pastors Conference at FBCJax.  I was visiting with someone who has been behind the scenes, and he shared that quite simply “theological diversity” has been looked upon as a virtue.  The idea seems to be that we are to be “inclusive” of Popular Brethren, even though they may differ theologically.  The reality is that as the tent gets bigger, the crowds have gotten smaller. 

For as long as I live, I will always cherish one of the greatest quotes that was ever stated by Adrian Rogers.

“I’m willing to compromise about many things, but not the Word of God. 

So far as getting together is concerned, we don’t have to get together.

The Southern Baptist Convention as it is does not have to survive.

I don’t have to be the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church.

I don’t have to be loved; I don’t even have to live

But I will not compromise the Word of God.” – Adrian Rogers

As Baptists, we have no need whatsoever to “broaden our tent.”  I recognize without hesitation that any man in any where in any denomination that has repented of his sins, and turned to Christ for Salvation is a child of God, and a brother to me.  But because he is a brother does not mean that he is not in theological error.  I do not have to cooperate with every Christian.  The Bible is clear about that, “a man that is schismatic after the first and second admonition reject.”  That is no commentary at all on whether or not he trusts Christ, but it does speak clearly about theology and his attitude.

I am not a “Big Tent” Baptist, because I don’t have a “Big Tent Bible.”    The Bible is big enough for every man to be saved; but it is not big enough to tolerate erroneous doctrine.  A return to Doctrinal Purity, and Doctrinal Certainty, over the idea of Theological Diversity is a definite change worth making.

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2 comments on “Saying “No” to being a “Big Tent Baptist.”

  1. Hey Bro. Jeff,

    You have written another excellent article! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Bro. Roger,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

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