August 19, 2009

Choosing the Church

When the Southern Baptist Convention kicked out Broadway Baptist Church earlier this year, it meant that professors at the nearby Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary could no longer be members there (for background, see my Ethics Daily articles here and here). However, one professor has sided with his church. Music professor Michael Cox is taking early retirement instead of leaving his church. He is apparently quite the musician as he is the "composer of more than 160 published works" and has been "recognized 11 times by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers." The church is hiring Cox for a year to compose music. So, it seems that Southern Baptists are hurting themselves through exclusionary efforts like the action taken against Broadway.

4 comments:

  1. Brian,

    Rather than getting in a dig suggesting the SBC has hurt itself by the Broadway action, why not focus on the rights of Baptist individuals, churches, institutions and conventions to hold to and live out their convictions?

    It seems to me that Professor Cox, Broadway, SWBTS and the SBC have all done exactly that. Baptist life rolls on.

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  2. It seems inherent in your article (and I have seen this elsewhere, particularly among those critical of the Conservative Resurgence) the idea that disciplining a Church or a professor, or anyone or anything for that matter is always more hurtful than the alternative - living and let live.

    However, this actually is not only unScriptural, but it is also against every tenet of common sense. All members of society must abide by the universal social contract. And institutions and individual must abide by the contracts they agree to. Society would fold were we to allow all individuals and institutions to neglect their contracts and act in the way they desire with no consequences.

    Broadway, in affiliating with the SBC, by nature agrees to abide by some simply guidelines. They violated one - and in doing so violated Scripture. They had to be held accountable. The same is true with Dr. Cox. Regardless of what he brings to the table musically, it is not worth it in the eyes of God if he violates the Scriptural mandate he is called to abide by (is it worth it to allow a good pastor to continue pastoring while being a thief?). Thus, losing a good professor is much better in the long run than ignoring the moral foundation upon which the SBC is build - the Word of God.

    God will always raise up a remnant and He will always bring His will to pass. Even when it looks like a problem to us, when we are faithful, He abides by His Word - a contract He will never break. We shouldn't either.

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  3. Thanks for the comments!

    C.D.: You are right that all involved decided to live out their convictions. But those choices have consequences and that was what I was noting.

    D.R.: Wow, I didn't realize you knew Cox so well to know that he was violating the Word of God. Remember that the church expressed its agreement with the SBC position on homosexuality (and Paige Patterson backed the church during this conflict).

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  4. Yes, but you describe the SBC's conviction-based action as "kicked out" and indicate the Convention is suffering consequences for doing wrong. You imply that Cox and Broadway are suffering no consequences, thus eliminating the possibility either might be unwise in their convictions or resulting actions/omissions.

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