The Café Du Monde in New Orleans was the site of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Their plan was written on a paper napkin. Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler were the architects of the plan, and they used their unique knowledge of the inner workings of the SBC to systematically put their people in key positions. This stacked the dominoes in a certain way, and when they started to fall, they continued in the orderly fashion set forth on a table in a café.
What began in 1967 was finalized in 1990 “This eleventh election (of a fundamentalist president of the SBC) seals the fundamentalist victory, and they celebrate at Café Du Monde in the French Quarter, where Judge Pressler and Paige Patterson had first conceived the whole plan for the takeover, many years prior.” (The fundamentalist takeover in the Southern Baptist Convention).
I have just finished reading “The fundamentalist takeover in the Southern Baptist Convention. A Brief History” by Rob James and Gary Leaser with James Shoopman, produced by Mainstream Missouri Baptists in 1999. They didn’t know the rest of the story. Here we are today in 2012, and what the fundamentalists sowed, we have reaped.
They earnestly believed that reigning in knowledge, cultural changes, and binding the scriptures to inerrancy would bring about a stronger SBC and growth. They were successful, but they were wrong.
SBC Membership Declines, so says the Baptist Standard, June 25, 2012, for the 5th straight year. The record year for baptisms was in 1972.
So what? What does this mean? Why should you be concerned if you are not a Baptist? Perhaps you don’t even like Baptists, and think this has no meaning for you.
It affects you because Southern Baptists are the second largest denomination (behind Catholics) in the United States.
They have the seminaries that your pastor went to, and the seminaries that your youth minister who teaches your kids will learn in. They give power to, and hold in esteem, such people as non-Baptists Wayne Grudem, Mark Driscoll, and a multitude of others outside the Baptist denomination, in believing that the pastor (who must be male) is in control of his church, and that women are to be eternally submissive to all males, forever. Wayne Grudem is co-author of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood with John Piper and this is a bible of sorts in Baptist seminaries. His Systematic Theology is the teaching book at these same Baptist Seminaries and he, along with others, have devoted their theology around women’s lower status to man’s status before God and all males.
It affects you because the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood (1987) came out of this family group – Paige Patterson, Dorothy Patterson, and her brother Chuck Kelly (currently president New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary). The Danvers Statement shares some of the same language of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. The Danvers Statement was adopted in 2009 as the Statement of Faith in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where Paige Patterson is president.
Churches do not remain static. They are constantly changing and these changes are brought on by influences of larger churches. Just as hell-fire and brimstone is not the hot topic today as it was 50 years ago, the new hot topic is the bedroom and the husband’s authority throughout the home and in the church. This came from somewhere and it is my belief that it was conceived on the paper napkin at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans in 1967.
As we continue this discussion we will see how a decision made 45 years ago has affected other Christian denominations. Wednesday, July 11, 2012 will be the next installment.