By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
February 22, 2018
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s recent decision to change its hiring policy to allow LGBT individuals to hold some staff positions is not surprising to the Rev. Mark Creech.
The executive director of the Christian Action League said this week that the policy change is the result of the organization’s refusal to embrace the inerrancy of Scripture. He said theological moderates like those leading the CBF were once at the helm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“I sought to work with these folks in the name of Christ. Nevertheless, I often found myself in debate with them over the nature of Holy Writ. I truly believe that they were believers, followers of Christ, and not hypocrites,” he said. “But when necessary, I firmly challenged them that their position on Scripture was untenable. I argued that it would fail them, as well as move Southern Baptists away from historic Baptist orthodoxy. I said then that their position would gravely impair the witness of Baptists and have disastrous results. I feel that what we are now seeing in this recent compromise by the CBF on homosexuality is what happens to a religious body when biblical inerrancy is abandoned.”
The Georgia-based network of 1,800 churches with missionaries in more than 30 countries got its start in 1991 when a group split from the SBC mainly over the issues of Scripture inerrancy and male spiritual headship in the church. It has become more liberal over the past quarter century, and in 2016 created what it called an “Illumination Project” to explore LGBTQ issues, especially with regards to its human resources policy, approved in 2000, that prohibited “the purposeful hiring of a staff person or the sending of a missionary who is a practicing homosexual.”
After reading the project report, the group’s governing body created a two-tiered hiring policy that allows open and active LGBT persons to fill roughly four out of five positions, but not including those that require ordination or assignments to the mission field.
The new policy says, in part: “CBF will employ only individuals who profess Jesus Christ as Lord, are committed to living out the Great Commandment and Great Commission, and who affirm the principles that have shaped our unique Baptist heritage. Preference in hiring will be given to applicants who are active members in good standing of CBF churches as well as those who have demonstrated an active participation and contribution to the missions, ministries or other initiatives of the Fellowship and its partners. CBF employees are expected to have the highest moral character, displaying professionalism and a commitment to the highest ethical standards.”
Although CBF leaders believe the policy is an improvement because they say it focuses on Jesus rather than sexuality, many people on both sides of the issue are dissatisfied.
“CBF’s new position is completely confusing,” Howie Batson, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Amarillo, told the media outlet Fulcrum. “If same-gender sexual behavior is wrong—and Scripture says that it is wrong—then it is wrong for all employees, not just certain employees.”
An openly gay female pastor called the policy “a tiered caste system.”
Rev. Creech said the CBF compromise is defeating and will only lead to more compromise “until the salt has lost its savor.”
“I can only hope and pray that the Southern Baptist Convention, which experienced a conservative resurgence several years ago, will never make the same mistake,” he said. “Moderates, like the many that comprise the CBF, have always misunderstood, as well as misrepresented, the biblical doctrines of the priesthood of the believer and church autonomy.”
He said their suggestion that these doctrines allow a Baptist church to essentially believe whatever it wants and do whatever it thinks is right is a prelude to theological anarchy.
“The priesthood of the believer and church autonomy actually mean that a church is free to believe what the Scriptures teach and to do whatever Christ commands. When a group of Christians believe whatever they want and do whatever they want, they may call themselves Baptists, but they are not the church,” Creech said.
“The Word of God is the standard and Christ is the head of the church, and nowhere is there a positive word for the practice of same-sex relationships. Homosexuality is always condemned, and, generally speaking, symptomatic of an individual’s need to be born-again.”