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Baptist2Baptist
Sixth and Final Report of the SBC Funding Study
The Fifth and Final Report of the SBC
Stand For Marriage
Final Report of Ad Hoc CP Committee
Final Report of Ad Hoc CP Committee (Appendices)
Cooperative Program Advance Plan
Fourth Report of the SBC Funding Study Committee
Review of NOBTS's Sole Membership Charter Amend.
Response to reservations about sole membership
Reservations Concerning a Charter Amendment Prop.
Sole Membership - A Florida Layman’s Perspecti
A Letter to Dr. Denton Lotz
Letter from Albert W. Wardin
The Relation of the SBC to its Entities
SBC Funding Study - State of Giving
What is Sole Membership?
Sole Membership
Letter to Missouri Churches
Questions and Answers
Behind the Scenes at the SBC
Response by Morris H. Chapman to the BGCT
Does It Matter What Missionaries Believe?
Letter to the Baptist Standard
On Facts and Fallacies
Letter by SBC EC President to Dr. James L. Hill
A View from the Other Side
Carter's rift with SBC not a new development
SBTS Response to BGCT Seminary Study Committee
Response to BGCT Seminary Study Committee Report
SBTS Response to BGCT Seminary Study Committee
Exec. Comm. Interacts with BGCT Funding Proposal
The Pastor's Point of View on the BGCT
Feasibility Study for Name Change
Report of the SBC Peace Committee
Doctrine, Cooperation, and Association
Report to the Fellowship of Deacons
Too High a View of Scripture?
The Truth about the SBC and Texas
Christ, The Bible, and Human Experience
Bibliolatry — A Fraudulent Accusation
BFM - Still Thoroughly Baptist!
Texas First, Texas Only - Not the Spirit
Anti-SBC Leaders Threaten Cooperative Program
Southern Baptists and Women Pastors
The Root of the SBC Controversy
Your Church Reaching the World for Christ
Together We're Carrying Out the Great Commission
Doctrinal integrity paramount for Serminary
Have Baptists replaced Jesus with a book?
Why theology matters for the Great Commission task
A survey of the 2000 BFM
Baptists, the Bible and confessions
Southern Seminary and the Abstract of Principles
An Open Letter to Southern Baptists
A Statement About the Baptist Faith & Message
An Example of the Need to Change The BFM
Incredible Vanishing Corporations
Committee on Cooperation - Report and Findings
An Open Letter from Dr. Allen to Dr. Wade
Why Cooperate?
The Southern Baptist Convention is Alive and Well
Letter by SBCEC President to TX Church Leaders
  Home > Reports, Articles & Papers
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"There should be an 'Abstract of Principles', or careful statement of theological belief, which every professor in such an institution must sign when inaugurated, so as to guard against the rise of erroneous and injurious instruction in such a seat of sacred learning."

James P. Boyce
from "Three Changes in
Theological Institutions"
- summarized by John Broadus, 1856



Letter from Albert W. Wardin, Professor Emeritus of History, Belmont University
February 20, 2004

To the editor:

As a long-time supporter of the BWA – in committee and commission participation, financial support, and writing – I have been most disturbed about the proposed separation of the SBC from the BWA. As editor and writer of the book, Baptists Around the World, I am particularly sensitive of the need for inter-Baptist cooperation worldwide. The statement of James Leo Garrett, emeritus professor of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a recent issue of the Biblical Recorder on the great value of the BWA echoes many of my sentiments.

If there had been more Christian charity and sensitivity on all sides, the division would not have occurred. But alas, everyone held tenaciously to his or her preconceived positions and biases. All are guilty for the break.

In the face of criticism of the BWA, in 1977 the Executive Committee of the SBC, after review, continued to affirm its relationship and full financial support of the BWA. But the application of the CBF and its acceptance by the Membership Committee of the BWA brought again to the fore the underlying discontent with certain aspects of the BWA. Although one might find isolated incidents, it has been most unfortunate for the SBC leadership to brand the BWA as an organization on the path of theological deviation. As John Briggs, director of the Baptist History and Heritage Centre at Regents Park College in Oxford, has pointed out, the BWA today is more conservative and has a more limited theological range today than it had in 1905 when the SBC first joined the BWA.

The Membership Committee, of which I am a member, is to be seriously faulted. It is a committee created by the administration of the BWA and was particularly influenced by individuals from Western Europe who had no sympathy for the SBC leadership and its concerns and were more ideologically in tune with the CBF. In 2002 the Membership Committee rejected the CBF application since it appeared to be more of a mission society than a separate Baptist denomination. The BWA constitution then did not recognize such entities for membership. But in 2003 the committee changed its position. On the basis that the CBF was a separate entity (which, of course, it had always been with its own board), it now was willing to accept it. In addition, the committee broke its own rule of not recommending membership of any Baptist body if there was objection from a member already in the Alliance. Besides, one of the vice-presidents of the BWA and a member of the Membership Committee told me that if the CBF were not accepted, then the Baptist unions of Europe would withdraw! Even though the committee was warned of the possible consequences of the division by its action, it nevertheless went ahead. In all of this, the administration of the BWA was also as culpable since it did not stop the action on constitutional grounds and long-standing policy.

By accepting by majority vote the recommendation of the Membership Committee, the General Council exhibited also its feelings toward the SBC. In spite of the protestation today of love for the SBC, a number of the General Council representatives have been critical of the current theological stance of the SBC leadership and its unilateral actions. As has been noted, numbers of the BWA look upon the SBC as many in Western Europe today look upon the USA as too big and powerful and too often acting only on its own.

The CBF got the recognition it sought from the BWA, but at what a cost. Although critical of the SBC position, Duke K. McCall in an interview in Baptists Today counseled the CBF to delay its application since the division would “be a nasty divorce, and like all nasty divorces, the children are going to suffer.” Although the SBC will develop its own international ties, Baptists around the world will suffer the consequences.

Sincerely yours,
Albert W. Wardin
Professor Emeritus of History, Belmont University

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