I remarked following the passage of Amendment One here in North Carolina that the SBC has abandoned the traditional Baptist distinctive favoring church/state separation, and questioned whether the denomination is truly Baptist any more.
There are two great Baptist distinctives:
The priesthood of the believer, which holds that God’s will is accessible to Everyman without the intercession of clergy. This is a post-Reformation doctrine, adopted in opposition to the role of priests as intermediaries between God and man.
Separation of church and state.
The Southern Baptists abandoned the priesthood of the believer in the late 80s, restoring the pre-Reformation teaching by revising it to hold that the priesthood of the believer is vested exclusively in pastors. And, of course, the Southern Baptist view of separation of church and state is now manifest.
So: Is it proper to speak of Southern Baptists as … Baptists? No, it is not; the Southern Baptists are not Baptists. What they actually are is cultural Calvinists …
Well, what do you know? A prominent Washington, D.C.-area congregation has abandoned the SBC on precisely those grounds.
A 150-year-old church in downtown Washington, D.C., voted July 25 to disassociate from the Southern Baptist Convention.
The vote by Calvary Baptist Church followed a letter last February sent to the SBC president at the time, Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., about concerns with the recent direction of the nation’s second largest faith group behind Roman Catholics.
“We believe the Southern Baptist Convention has departed from the historic principles of separation of church and state and autonomy of the local church to such a degree that seriously calls into question our continued affiliation with the convention,” said a portion of the letter quoted in a press release.
You can see the future from here: The fundamentalist takeover of a few decades ago succeeded in slowing the decline of the denomination but, instead of the pendulum swinging back toward sanity, the successor generation exemplified by such as Al Mohler has pushed the denomination even more sharply into loony territory. Now, death by a thousand cuts.