Baptist club: Exclude gays — or else

A Cooperative Baptist Fellowship church in Georgia has been excommunicated from the Atlanta Metro Baptist Association because it welcomes gay members.

First Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia – a flagship Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation kicked out of the Georgia Baptist Convention in 2009 for calling a woman as pastor – has been excommunicated by the Atlanta Metro Baptist Association because of homosexuality.

Pastor David Jordan said in his sermon Feb. 9 that he received a letter a week earlier informing him “that our church has officially been kicked out of the Atlanta Metro Baptist Association.”

Religion is in decline even in the south; a shrewd, growth-oriented pastor would try to protect his church against that by welcoming everybody. That Southern Baptists, and other flavors of Baptist, would take exception to gays in membership, insisting upon policies plainly contrary to the direction of the culture, the progress of science, and their own financial interest, tells you something: They actually believe an Invisible Friend wants them to stigmatize gays and will eventually reward them for it.

They actually believe all this crazy stuff.

Albert the Pious, meantime, is encouraging them by fetishizing the Bible.

Never mind Mohler’s incorrect usage of ‘secularist;’ it would probably shock him to learn that John Adams and Patrick Henry, two of the most pious of the Founders, were adamant secularists. Tweets and teachings like this occasionally cause me to wonder: Does the average pew-sitter know anything about the Bible? Do they ever wonder where it came from? Do they even know that the Catholic and Protestant Bibles collect different texts, that they are different anthologies?

Do they imagine that humanity awakened one morning to find the Bible resting on a tree stump, opened to Genesis and glowing with divine light — a mysterious cosmic gift that simply appeared one day?

It seems to be allright with Mohler if the folk in the pews believe that, though he undoubtedly knows better. Christians fought for centuries over which texts should be part of Scripture — Catholics and Protestants, as noted above, never did reach agreement — and the oldest extant versions of those texts often differ in dramatic ways from the familiar KJV Bible. Luke 23:34 — Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. — is not found in the oldest Lukean texts.

All of which points toward a reasonable question: What do you mean, what are you referring to, when you use the word ‘Bible,’ anyhow? My experience has been that those most adamant for inerrancy are the least able to answer.

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