On August 13, 2000 our church passed a resolution concerning our affiliation with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT). This resolution (Appendix A) calls for a long-term, cooperative relationship between the BGCT and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It also will remove undesignated (given without restriction) funds from going from our church to the BGCT beginning in November, 2000 should the BGCT make further moves of separation from the SBC. The resolution, though monumental, is not radical. It simply asks the BGCT to continue its long-term, historical covenant with Baptist churches involved in the SBC.
Because of this historical move, I present this report as Pastor of this church to help our members become aware of the Pastor's position and of developments in Baptist life. This report is, as titled, the "Pastor's Point-of-View". I encourage all Baptists to do their own research and come to their own conclusions.
For many years it has been evident that the day would come when Baptist associations, churches, and even individual members would have to take a side on the current Baptist battle of conservatives versus moderates and liberals. Though we have discussed the issue and have seen the day coming, we have still tried to put off the local decision as long as possible. It is the Pastor's point-of-view that the day has arrived when Baptists on the local level must make a decision. Unfortunately, we have arrived at the point where cooperation in the BGCT and cooperation in the SBC have become mutually exclusive.
For as long as the BGCT has been in existence, and among Texas Baptists prior to the creation of the BGCT, there has been a cooperative relationship with the SBC in carrying out Kingdom work outside the borders of Texas. The Centennial Story of Texas Baptists speaks of this relationship, in which, the SBC "Foreign and Home Mission Boards are the channels through which Texas Baptists win and train beyond their borders; and the Sunday School Board which helps the local churches to train their members."1
Since the inception of the Cooperative Program in 1925, Baptists in Texas have supported the work of the BGCT and the SBC in a hand and glove type of cooperation. The BGCT receives funds from the church for its ministries and forwards a portion of those funds to the SBC for its ministries. This was the intent and the genius of the Cooperative Program, which has become the envy of other denominations and the fuel for Southern Baptists' great advances in the 20th century.
Morris Chapman, former Texas Baptist pastor, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and current President of the Executive Committee of the SBC describes the Cooperative Program in these terms:
From its inception, the Cooperative Program has been a partnership between the state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention for eliciting support from their common constituents, the churches. Of course, the churches are always free to give as they wish but the states and Southern Baptist Convention have a covenant with each other in the Cooperative Program. The agreement is that the state convention will not only promote and receive contributions for its own ministry but also will promote and receive contributions for Southern Baptist Convention ministries.
There has been an historic and healthy division of labor between the Southern Baptist Convention and the state conventions that basically gives the lead to the state convention for ministry within the state and to the Southern Baptist Convention for ministry outside the state. This arrangement has allowed for efficiency and minimized duplication of effort. It also has allowed plenty of opportunity for working together on a myriad of ministries and projects without the feeling that there was a violation of 'turf.' The Southern Baptist Convention hopes that these divisions of labor will continue to be honored.
…We believe it is also breaking faith for state conventions to encourage or permit churches to identify contributions as Cooperative Program when those contributions are not to be distributed exclusively to the SBC and state convention budgets.2
Unfortunately, and at the peril of our Baptist missionary work in Texas and around the world, the historical understanding of the Cooperative Program and of cooperation between state and national conventions is deteriorating, especially in Texas. This deterioration has been coming about for several years. In 1994, the state convention changed the historic definition of the Cooperative Program, allowing gifts to non-SBC or BGCT entities to be considered Cooperative Program gifts. This action is a clear divergence from the original intent of the Cooperative Program. In 1995, the BGCT cut to 33 percent the SBC portion of the BGCT (and even a portion of this goes to other world-wide ministries not through the SBC). The previous amount was 35.5 percent. Currently, two committees of the BGCT are studying the future relationships between the BGCT and the SBC's mission boards and the SBC seminaries. At least one of those committees is expected to give a report at the BGCT annual convention in Corpus Christi October 30-31.
It is now clear that the leadership of the BGCT is orchestrating a complete and total severance of ties with the SBC. Clyde Glazener is the Pastor of the Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, TX and the President of the BGCT. Glazener remarked, "The truth is that, for some time now, a true Baptist could not support some of the agencies in SBC life." Speaking of supporting the work of the mission boards of the SBC, he continued, "I don't know if we can do it with integrity. If they won't accept missionaries who don't sign off on the Baptist Faith and Message it would be an interesting development."3 (Interestingly, this development took place in 1925 with the adoption by the SBC of the original Baptist Faith and Message. It has been our historical position to require those who are paid with Baptist money to believe in Baptist doctrines).
Charles Wade, paid Executive Director of the BGCT explained his convictions on the matter.
The main thing I want you to hear is, it is time for us to understand that what has been done to Southern Baptists by those who have taken charge is wrong…I've urged Southern Baptists not to go where they have gone, but they voted last week [Orlando SBC meeting] to be a creedal people. To use this document [BF&M] as a creed…4
Though Wade's view is that the SBC voted to become a creedal people, there is not a shred of evidence to that fact. The 2000 BF&M continues to hold to the principle of the autonomy of the local church as strongly as the 1963 and the 1925 versions. Further, in conversation with SBC leadership I have not discovered even the slightest evidence that the 2000 BF&M would be used in any manner differently from past versions. In fact, Dr. William Crews, President of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Chairman of the Council of Seminary Presidents has written to the BGCT appointed committee studying BGCT relationships with SBC seminaries that the policy of using the BF&M as a standard for employment of professors is "a long-standing policy that was in place before any of the current presidents were elected to our positions of responsibility."5 Thus, current seminary presidents are using the same policy that was used by Russell Dilday, Randall Lolley and other SBC seminary presidents in previous years. To say that Southern Baptists have become creedal is ludicrous. There has been no change in the usage and purpose of the BF&M. The charge is simply smoke and mirrors. The 2000 BF&M says just the opposite of Wade's accusations:
Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience.6
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers…Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through the democratic processes.7
Such organizations [conventions and associations] have no authority over one another or over the churches.8
With these words, how could Wade say the SBC has become "creedal?" The only explanation is that Wade is a founding director of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and active in the affairs of Texas Baptists Committed, two groups which are belligerent toward the SBC, and is determined to misrepresent the actions of the SBC to Texas Baptists.
One of the most ardent proponents of the severance of the BGCT from the SBC is David Currie, Executive Director of Texas Baptists Committed (TBC). His influence in the BGCT as leader of the TBC is dramatic and powerful. The TBC has endorsed candidates for President and Vice-president of the BGCT every year since 1989, and all have been elected. In his TBC newsletter, Currie calls for a pulling out of the SBC:
TBC supporters, we have not worked the past 10 years to continue to support fundamentalism. It is time to start a new dream of building the Kingdom of God without fundamentalism. It is time to act out of conviction rather than fear. It is time to go forward, ignoring the consequences.
Southern Baptists' part in the Kingdom of God is at stake. No future for Texas Baptists lies in the SBC. It is dead as we know it.9
Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard has also written about a severance from the SBC:
Texas Baptists have stood to say they don't want to go along with this juggernaut to the right [referring to the conservative resurgence in the SBC] even when other state conventions have fallen in step. We can express thanks for the incisive leadership of people like Executive Director Charles Wade, the stalwart and supportive conviction of scores of pastors who have refused to set self-preservation and so-called harmony ahead of seeking and speaking the truth…given the recent initiatives taken by the SBC, a sobering and significant change in the relationship between the conventions seems ultimately probable.10
It is clear then, to even the most casual observer, that the leadership of the BGCT, including the Executive Director, President, the editor of the Baptist Standard, and the influence of the Texas Baptist Committed are all preparing the way for a separation from the SBC. Without immediate action on the part of Texas Baptists, this separation will be a "done deal." Already, a group of Baptists influential in the BGCT, led by former Baylor President Herbert Reynolds, has chartered with the Texas Secretary of State a non-profit corporation under the name "Baptist Convention of the Americas." In a speech by Reynolds to the TBC it became clear that there are many who are working tirelessly to see the BGCT become a national convention with no relationship to the SBC.
More startling than the separation from the SBC is the theological direction that the BGCT is turning. This direction is clearly away from historic Baptist traditions and the positions of mainstream Baptists, as well as, in some cases, an outright denial of the teachings of Scripture.
One issue, which has received much press coverage, is the rejection of the 1998 amendment to the Baptist Faith & Message that contained teachings on the family. The paragraph of the article that has received the most disdain from BGCT leaders, even called "Neanderthal" by BGCT President Clyde Glazener, is:
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.11
Now, compare that to Ephesians 5:22-28,
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. (NASB).
It is extremely difficult to see how this article could be rejected without also rejecting the Ephesians 5 passage. The Texas Baptists Committed printed an article from Paul Kenley, pastor at Baptist Temple in Houston, which says, "The amendment, which called all women to graciously submit to their husbands, bears huge implications that extend far beyond the traditional family." Kenley continued, "That action against women" was the reason for the rejection of the amendment by the BGCT.12 I ask, "How is an article that comes straight from Scripture an 'action against women', and what are these 'huge implications' that the amendment brings upon society which Ephesians 5 has not already brought to society?"
Beyond the family statement, other theological disagreements exist. Charles Wade, Executive Director of the BGCT, has stated that "as to the word inerrancy, I do not use it as a way to describe my convictions about the Bible."13 His problem is that the word has been "poorly defined." The standard, clear and adequate definition and position of inerrancy is the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy.14 Though Wade holds the Scriptures in high esteem, it is interesting that he does not hold to this superb definition of inerrancy of the Scriptures. Wade has stated that the Scriptures were,
Does Dr. Wade really believe that the age of the scriptures has affected their relevancy? Does he believe that the only difference between the Koran and the Bible is Jesus? Is the nature of the Koran the same as the nature of the Bible? Wade seems concerned about placing all the authority "on their book", when both the 1925 and 1963 BF&M preambles stated that, "the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments." Baptists have always focused their authority on the "Book". We have always looked for the "thus saith the Lord".
The Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, de-funded by the SBC for liberalism and subsequently added as a line item in the BGCT budget, also holds a very low view of Scripture. Ken Chaffin, liberal Baptist leader, holds a view of Scripture that sounds very much like that of Charles Wade. His comments are posted on the BJCPA web site:
Much of the heat goes out of the Christian Right when it moves too far beyond its feelings about abortion and homosexuality. These biblical literalists forget that their Bible never discusses abortion as society is dealing with it today. They are correct that both the Old Testament and the New Testament appear to treat homosexual conduct as a sin, but they completely ignore the fact that the same Bible supports war, never questions slavery, assumes that women are the property of their fathers and husbands, allows parents to execute children who disobey and even pictures God as ordering the slaughter of innocent children.
The Bible is set in a specific time and culture, not a book to be put in the hands of some Forrest Gump-type preacher who applies it literally to the complex problems of our society. [emphasis mine] 16
Are there really Baptists who believe that the Bible is out-of-date and out-of-touch with modern society? Obviously so, and Texas Baptists fund their ministries!
Further, on the Texas Baptist Committed website retired BJCPA director James Dunn says, "Baptists have always majored on experiential religion informed by the 'Holy Word of God'."17 It is this pastor's point-of-view that Baptists major on much more than "experiential religion" and that our faith is far more than simply "informed" by the Bible. The historic, mainstream Baptist position is that the Bible is, "the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists."18
Speaking against changes in the 2000 version of the BF&M, Robert Parham, Executive Director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, whose web site can be accessed through the home page of the BGCT, says:
The revised statement inserts "His substitutionary death on the cross," replacing the broader statement of "in His death on the cross." Such a shift excludes other understandings of the atonement of Jesus Christ.19
One wonders what "other understandings of the atonement" Parham believes are acceptable. Theologian Millard Erickson discusses these other theories and concludes, "Obviously of the several theories which we examined…it is the satisfaction theory [which encompasses substitution] which seizes upon the essential aspect of Christ's atoning work."20 Indeed, the Scriptures proclaim, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10, NIV).
The theological liberalism becomes even more naked as you move into the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). The connections of BGCT leadership with the CBF are so stark that it would be ridiculous to say that the CBF theological positions are not the same as those of the BGCT.
Annette Hill Briggs, the female pastor of University Baptist Church of Bloomington, Indiana spoke at a CBF national convocation in June, 2000, held at a Disney resort in Orlando, Florida. Rev. Ms. Hill Briggs spoke about the state of the SBC's theological conservatism, lamenting the fact that when she worked in Baptist student ministry in Indiana she, "had to sign a statement that you believed in the virgin birth."21 This pastor's point-of-view is that anyone paid by Baptist dollars shouldn't even have the slightest hesitation about the virgin birth. I'd not only sign a statement, I'd stake my life on this bedrock, fundamental truth.
The CBF also holds to a theology divergent from Scriptures on homosexuality. Though repeatedly and publicly the CBF says that it does not condone homosexuality, it has published a resource for churches that does just that. Consider these statements from the CBF's HIV/AIDS Ministry: Putting A Face on AIDS.
"What is a family? …No longer is family defined as a mother, father, son, daughter, a dog, and a station wagon," but, as those which "are constituted as families by enduring covenants." They may be "blended families…gay families and lesbian families…"22
During pregnancy, the fetus is developing characteristics that will determine the person's sexual orientation. Therefore, a person does not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual.23
In addition to publishing this literature, the CBF supports two organizations that are openly pro-homosexual. The Baptist Women in Ministry organization receives $30,000 annually from CBF. Becca Gurney, the groups immediate past president, suggests that the SBC, "has no right to suggest that God does not call gays and lesbians to the pastorate."24
The second group is the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, which will receive $5,500 from the CBF. The group publishes pro-homosexual literature affirming same sex marriages in order to curtail promiscuity among homosexuals.25
Though the CBF claims that its support of these organizations is not related to their pro-homosexual agendas, it is hard to imagine a local church or any other denominational entity being able to justify such a relationship. There are surely more conservative and Biblical organizations which could provide the services being funded by the CBF.
Perhaps the most startling theological liberalism from the BGCT loving CBF is the universalism that is revealed consistently by CBF participants and leaders. Rev. Ms. Kristina Yeatts, Associate Pastor of FBC, Clayton, N.C. claims that the Bible is, "a book with the biases and traditions of biblical days" and that, "Jews and Buddhists are missing out because they are not Christians, but I wouldn't say they are not going to heaven. I know if I was in the same situation I would take great offense if someone told me that."26
Though the Rev. Ms. Yeatts is only a participant in the CBF, Stan Hastey is a CBF member and proclaims equally universalistic views. When asked if people without Christ as Savior would go to Hell, Hastey replied, "I don't know." Though he believes Jesus is God's fullest revelation, he does not believe "we ought to be aggressive in evangelizing those in world religions."27
Now some may give the objection that I have diverted to speaking of the CBF and not the BGCT. However, the relationships between the BGCT and the CBF are so close that one cannot ignore the positions of the CBF as it relates to the BGCT. For example, the CBF website (www.cbfonline.org) contains a clear link to the Baptist Standard (www.baptiststandard.com). The BGCT financially supports the CBF through the annual World Hunger Offering. Both Charles Wade and Clyde Glazener are involved and supportive of the CBF, as is Dick Maples, associate Executive Director of the BGCT.
Even if there were not serious theological questions concerning the BGCT, the tremendous financial waste within the institution would be cause for concern among Baptist churches. Bureaucratic red tape has sapped the effectiveness of the organization. The BGCT has become, in the eyes of many, an institution that serves to continue its existence.
The amount of duplication of ministries is tremendous. The BGCT now provides "Texas based" Sunday school literature, as if the unique spiritual needs of Texas merit the expense of such a large publishing venture when LifeWay Christian Resources of the SBC provides quality materials meeting the needs of Texas churches. It is tremendously arrogant to think Texans need their own, unique literature. This is just one example of the services offered by the BGCT that are adequately being met by the SBC.
Many institutions in Texas are given large amounts of Cooperative Program funds even though they are tremendously well funded and endowed through other sources. For example, in 1999 Baylor University received $3,994,000 in Cooperative Program funds and yet had over $15 million in excess revenues for that year alone ($10,513.11 from FBC Pampa). Baylor Health Care System had over $47 million in excess revenues for the same year, and yet received $242,000 in Cooperative Program funds ($747.90 from FBC Pampa). Why is the "widow's mite" being used to fund ministries that can fund themselves?
In 1999 our church gave $193,255.85 through the Cooperative Program. Most people would assume this is for sending missionaries and other direct missions work. The average church member should be appalled when they discover how the funds were spent. From our church alone, $59,994.37 was given to Texas colleges and universities. This amounts to almost $12,000 for each student our church has in one of these universities. If our church wants to make this kind of investment in Christian education, it should bless its own member families with the funds. Our church gave over $17,000 to Baptist hospitals in Texas. As mentioned earlier, these are self-supporting organizations and, as Baptist institutions, should fund their own chaplaincy ministries without Cooperative Program funds. Over $17,000 from our church was given to administration of the BGCT. This does not include the unbelievable amount of administration funds that are dispersed in other areas of the budget. Just this area alone constitutes nearly 10 percent of our Cooperative Program giving.
In contrast, our total giving to the SBC was $61,501.70 (only $1500 less than given to Texas Baptist universities). Though the SBC also has administrative costs, only $1,752 went from our church for the SBC operations budget. In fact, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Annuity Board of the SBC both carried out their ministries without Cooperative Program funding (except a small amount used for retired ministers and their widow's poverty relief). A complete breakdown of our church's Cooperative Program giving is included in this report (Appendix B).
Now some may begin to object, "but what about the Fundamentalists? Wasn't the 'takeover' of the SBC just about power?"
I believe that though politics were involved, as they are today within the BGCT, the real issues were theological and not political. It is further my point-of-view that conservative leaders have been misrepresented by moderate and liberal leadership.
In a convocation address to Baylor's Truett Seminary students Ralph Wood said, "God knows that the fundamentalists deserve all the ugly adjectives that they have earned—mean-spirited, knot-headed, rationalistic, literalistic, dishonest, and just plain evil."28 Does this mean-spirited remark truly describe the leaders of the SBC over the past 20 years? Are these the "deserved" titles of leaders such as Adrian Rogers, Jimmy Draper, Morris Chapman, Ed Young, Tom Elliff and others? Were these men, along with Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler, just grabbing for power? The evidence for such an argument is non-existent.
On the other hand, was there theological liberalism creeping into Southern Baptist life that merited the conservative resurgence? Evidence of such liberalism has been well documented in many publications. Such evidence was examined and brought formally by the report from the Peace Committee to the SBC, which was adopted overwhelmingly by messengers to the convention in 1986. The pre-resurgence SBC was filled with the theological inadequacy and institutional bureaucracy that is rampant in the BGCT today. For members who are unsure of the reality of the prior problems in the SBC, I would recommend the reading of the Peace Committee report as well as reading The Baptist Reformation by Jerry Sutton. For those unsure about the motive of the Patterson/Pressler "coalition," as well as further insight into the battles for conservative change within the SBC, I would recommend reading Paul Pressler's A Hill on Which to Die.
One of the greatest distributors of this misinformation about conservatives is the Texas Baptists Committed, led by David Currie. The TBC website contains an article by Paul Kenley entitled "A Summary of the SBC Controvery" [sic] which is full of misinformation. For example, in a discussion on the matter of inerrancy Kenley says, "the King James Version, for most fundamentalists, has been substituted for the originals! All this has the effect of turning the Scripture into a creed and rules out individual interpretation."29 Personally, I'm not sure which fundamentalists he's referring too, but the leaders of the conservative resurgence for the most part do not use the KJV as their primary Bible, let alone "substitute [it] for the originals." Further, the statement on turning "Scripture into a creed" should have caused TBC to reject the article for publication. Scripture is our creed and our only creed as Baptists!
Kenley goes on to say, "The fundamentalist, however, believes that the pastor-preacher is to be the sole authority of God's revelation to His people."30 This statement is completely unfounded and in direct contradiction with Scriptures and the teaching of conservative pastors.
The misinformation campaign toward conservative leaders continues today not only through TBC but also through the Baptist Standard. When the Prestonwood Baptist Church of Dallas, led by pastor Jack Graham recently made a move similar to that of this church to discontinue future giving if the anti-SBC spirit continues, the Baptist Standard claimed the BGCT stood to lose only $6,000. They failed to mention that Prestonwood gives over $500,000 to Cooperative Program and SBC causes each year, and will give over $1,000,000 to missions this year. In a personal letter, editor Marv Knox stated that he did not feel the church's giving to SBC missions was "germane" to the article.31 At best, Mr. Knox fails to see that those dollars would be both channeled through and used within the BGCT were it not for its anti-SBC spirit. At worst, Mr. Knox would like to paint the picture of a mega church that selfishly ignores the needs of Baptist ministries in Texas and around the world. Considering the fact that the August 28, 2000 issue of the Standard contained two letters to the editor decrying the fact that only $6000 was given by such a large church, neither of which contained a response from Knox informing readers that the church had actually given over $500,000 to SBC causes, it appears that the information is, in fact, "germane." Had Standard readers been given the full picture, they would have drawn different conclusions about Prestonwood Baptist Church.
The Baptist Standard of today is very different from the Standard Texas Baptists have known and appreciated. Years ago, it was said that,
The management of the Baptist Standard constantly guards against anything that would have a tendency to disrupt or divide the Baptists of Texas and uses the paper to promote the fellowship, peace, harmony, and cooperation of our people in this state. It is not the desire, or purpose, of the editor to have "peace at any price," but he is not unmindful of the price often paid for criticism, discord, and divisions, and he does not desire these things among the Baptists of Texas at the price they usually cost.32
Perhaps the abandonment of this editorial philosophy is the reason the Baptist Standard has lost 52% of its circulation since 1980.33
It is not uncommon for Baptists in Texas to speak against that which they believe is wrong. The Centennial Story of Texas Baptists records the Texas reaction to a grievance of 100 years ago:
Texas Baptists have not hesitated to protest vigorously against things they believed to be wrong. Forty years ago one of the most prominent leaders among Southern Baptists made a statement that Texas Baptists generally believed to be seriously erroneous. As a result, the available associational minutes of that period show that more than a score of strong resolutions were passed, all over the state, severely condemning the offending brother's position and demanding his dismission from the responsible denominational position he held.34
Today, Texas Baptists are speaking up again. We are passing resolutions and calling for the renewed conservative theology of our Baptist state convention. Our desires are neither unreasonable nor unquestionable. We want a solidly conservative, Christ-honoring state convention system that is effective in assisting Texas Baptist churches spread the Gospel to Texans.
With this in mind, I close with a concern stated almost 65 years ago in the Centennial Story of Texas Baptists:
We have only one fear and that is that there may be a falling away of our people from the truth as God has revealed it in His Word. There is no other fear but this. If our churches and people remain firm in their loyalty to the word of God, obedient to the Son of God as their Savior, to his gospel as the only hope of the world, and to his principles as the greatest transforming power in the lives of men, the future for Texas Baptists, both within the bounds of this state and beyond, is as bright as the promises of God.35
I hope and pray the Texas Baptists will attend the annual meeting of the BGCT in Corpus Christi on October 30-31, 2000 and vote their conscience regarding "the truth as God has revealed it in His Word." What a travesty it would be to give this institution over to the forces that have proved the death sentence to so many other once thriving religious bodies.