AGAINST PARTICIPATION IN THE
COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF OKLAHOMA
October 31, 1992
In the desire and with the purpose of genuine dialogue among Christian pastors a response from fellow pastors and brothers in Christ is desired. Please write Wade Burleson, Pastor; Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2S05 W. Garriott, Enid, OK 73703. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. Scripture calls us to "the unity of the faith", and Christians of Baptistic faith, above all, should seek this unity of faith.
2. Reform can only occur from within the organization.
3. All true reformers never seek to withdraw, but rather are made to leave.
4. Reformation always involves a price, and that price usually means standing firm upon one's convictions while being willing to pay the consequences.
5. It is truth that sets the soul free, and the truthful never flinch at the obstacles in their path.
6. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is as strong as the people within her walls.
7. Strong men and women with convictions never run, they rather "contend for the faith".
8. Dual alignment is nothing but a euphemism for a withdrawal from fellowship.
9. Cooperation is the essence of our mission efforts among Oklahoma Baptists, but the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship denies her name by not cooperating with established methodology.
10. Not that methodology should never change, but the change should be a reform from within rather than a volitional protest from without.
11. Autonomy of churches within the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma give individual churches necessary freedom.
12. The establishment of another denomination takes mission dollars away from missions and places those dollars in new organizational structures, overhead, and personnel.
13. To say the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is not another denomination is like saying there is no difference between the governments of Texas and Oklahoma.
14. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship claims to be both free and faithful, neither of which is evident.
15. Faithfulness to historical principles of soul competence, the priesthood of the believer, the separate church through believers baptism, and missions can be claimed by those who remain within the Baptist General Convention.
16. Faithfulness to the mission practice of men like Luther Rice and Adoniram Judson, and women like Ann Judson and Lottie Moon can be claimed only by those within the framework of the Southern Baptist Convention.
17. Not that there is merit in claiming such missionaries, but let it be remembered that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will be building a heritage, not remembering one.
18. Christians should be taught that differences over methodology can be reconciled, but differences over fundamental doctrine are irreconcilable.
19. The irreconcilable differences between the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship seem to be over methodology rather than doctrine.
20. The impression given to the observer of this dispute is that unbiblical means are being used to solve a disagreement over how Baptists should do their work.
21. Every Christian is called to account for his relationships.
22. Broken relationships never have the same ability to impact society they once had united.
23. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has every right to call individuals to fellowship over great themes, but no right to call for support funds ft the expense of current Baptist work.
24. Baptist work must be proven to be either unbiblical and unproductive in order to defund such programs.
25.The Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs is but one organization shown to meet both criteria, and thus defunded.
26. If one disagrees he is directed to the action of the Southern Baptist Convention in defunding the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs.
27. A church has every right to continue her support of the Baptist Joint Commission on Public Affairs, but it is illogical to begin a denomination to continue that support.
28. The great strength of Southern Baptist people has been their unswerving conviction that the Bible is the supreme authority.
29. Sola Scriptura means the Bible comes before traditions of men and to split over tradition rather than principle is majoring on the minor.
30. Too many good men will be forced to choose an allegiance.
31. To some, this choice will affect both present and future service in the Lord's work.
32. The people of Southern Baptist Convention churches do not understand the need or reason for a new denomination.
33. To explain the perceived need focuses attention on men and politics rather than Christ and His mission.
34. The unity among pastors in Oklahoma is unparalleled in our nation.
35. To follow national leaders in organizing a Fellowship in Oklahoma seems to be an action of power and prestige rather than prayer and principle.
36. Fellowship among pastors is important, but this fellowship should be based upon the Word and Christ rather than a denomination and a leader.
37. The work of Christ in Oklahoma is never hindered by fallible men, but fallible men are a hindrance to others.
38. Participating in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is only fallible to the extent that her promotion exceeds the promotion of Christ.
39. Christ is exalted when his followers speak the truth in love.
40. Truth without love is harsh and divisive.
41. Divisiveness is usually the evidence of a lack of love.
42. There seems to be not a lack of love for Christ, but Rather a lack of love for fellow pastors.
43. But maybe this is a false perception, and maybe there is love for fellow pastors, but the proof is in the unity rather than the split.
44. If it were objected that "we must split", it is again Asked: "What are the reasons?"
45. If it were said that the reasons have already been given, where is the understanding of those reasons among the Baptist people of Oklahoma?
46. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship does not have the support of the people of Oklahoma.
47. Though it is true that might does not necessarily mean right, let it be remembered that those who make the greatest impact on the immoral majority are the minority within the majority.
48. Dual alignment does not solve this dilemma because those in the majority who do not align with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will not listen to those who do.
49. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will duplicate existing programs.
50. This duplication is both wasteful and unproductive.
51. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma needs the support of every church to be the most effective.
52. To give to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is to take away from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
53. Though a church determines a percentage of receipts to give to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, to give to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is nothing less than a break with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
54. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship causes churches and pastors to be suspicious of each other.
55. This suspicion is unfortunate, but a natural by product of division.
56. What is so unfortunate is that there are good, Christ loving men in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship who will be seen differently than what they really are.
57. It is, again, sad that these perceptions exist, but in any relationship dialogue and communion brings closeness; withdrawal bring rupture
58. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma seems to be in great shape.
59. If the intent of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is to punish the Southern Baptist Convention, organizing in Oklahoma ends up hurting the wrong people.
60. But again, it must be stated that the Southern Baptist Convention is doing her mission well.
61. The desire to be a part of the leadership of the denomination must be held in check, for if the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is organized simply to give forgotten men positions, the motive of establishment is wrong.
62. Jesus said the greatest leaders are those who serve.
63. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship must be shown to serve before it can be said to lead.
64. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma may need to broaden her leadership tent, but there will be no desire to give leadership to those identified with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
65. The foregoing is not a threat, but simply a statement because leadership must be loyal and trustworthy.
66. It may be said that there are those who are tired of waiting for the tent to be broadened, but it is repeated, those who serve shall one day lead.
67. Dialogue and discussion among family is far more productive than that among neighbors.
68. Though the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will be a neighboring organization, the family relationship will be broken.
69. The divorcing party carries the responsibility of the rupture, and may it be clear that those in Cooperative Baptist Fellowship were not asked to leave.
70. If it be stated that one's money will be more productively used in mission work when given through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, that statement is categorically denied.
71. The goal of any Christian organization ought to be the promotion of the gospel and kingdom of Christ, but it seems the goal of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is to discuss why Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is needed rather than actually doing the work required.
72. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship may claim to focus on missions, but real missions needs the support of the people, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship bas no such support.
73. This lack of support can be seen by asking your people if they desire to stop giving to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma completely and give all funds to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
74. If it be stated that the people voted to give to both the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma it is assumed that the people were told that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship could accomplish things the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma was unwilling to do.
75. The point is made again that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will never accomplish separate from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma what she could accomplish united with her.
76. The history of the Southern Baptist Convention is one of unity, and ill feelings arise when one thinks of those who sow discord and disharmony.
77. If it be stated that the sowers of discord were those in 1979 who began the conservative/liberal controversy, it is replied that the controversy began when those in the Southern Baptist Convention leadership began to teach contrary to the Scriptures and historic faith of our Baptist fathers.
78. Let it be remembered that the conservatives sought to reform the Southern Baptist convention and were successful.
79. It may be argued that the Baptists in Oklahoma never needed reform.
80. If no reform is needed, then why the need for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship?
81. Unity is as sweet as honey, and like the Psalmist, Baptists in Oklahoma love this unity.
82. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma must move forward with her mission into the 21st Century.
83. With souls to be won, Christ to be preached, and people to be discipled, where is the room for disunity?
84. The power of Christ is seen in those who are willing to forgive.
85. Forgiveness is a two-way street that involves confrontation, communication, and correction.
86. This street of forgiveness dead-ends when there is a removal from fellowship.
87. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship would be hard-pressed to describe how she is cooperating with Baptists in Oklahoma.
88. Pastors may be sympathetic with some of the causes of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship but will be unsupportive because of the unbiblical means used to seek reform.
89. Some pastors will be placed in precarious positions with their church in an attempt to be loyal to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship national leaders.
90. To whom should we be more loyal, Christ or the convention?
91. Unless there is a prevailing~ reason to be identified with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship It does not make sense to participate at the expense of Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma work.
92. It seems that pastors throughout Oklahoma have been graced with the ability to agree to disagree on some issues, but to unite around the causes of Christ.
93. There is no room for any organization which would seek to pull pastors away from this uncommon fellowship.
94. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship begins negatively under a heavy cloud of dissension rather than positively under the light cloud of Christ's yoke.
95. Finally, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will take away from the Baptist General Convention many good men who could give wise, godly counsel. May it not be so.