Missouri layman challenges CBF liberalism
By Don Hinkle
December 16, 2003
A Missouri Baptist layman who sparked the theologically conservative resurgence in the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) said Dec. 15 that some Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) leaders love to portray their organization as a “victim" whenever anyone challenges them on theological issues or the involvement of their leaders in far-left groups.
“The CBF is constantly trying to make it look like they are being unjustly persecuted — like they’re just good-ole Christian folks who are being beaten up for absolutely no reason," said Roger Moran, research director for the Missouri Baptists Laymen’s Association. “But all we’ve done is tell people the truth about what’s been going on and what continues to go on. We simply state the facts. But the facts seem to severely irritate the CBF."
Moran’s comments were in response to a Dec. 9 report by the CBF-funded Associated Baptist Press (ABP) in which a CBF spokesperson “blasted" Moran for criticizing CBF leaders’ involvement in a new, liberal organization called the Clergy Leadership Network (CLN). The story was written by Rob Marus, a former Missouri Mainstream Baptist official. The Mainstream Baptist movement, birthed — and largely funded — by moderates in Texas, has been identified by Moran and others as the “political arm" of the CBF. Marus left the state after conservatives, led by Moran, won three consecutive presidential elections and gained control of the MBC Executive Board.
But even with the criticism of Moran, it is clear the CLN’s leadership is a virtual who’s who of the theological and political left (see story above).
James Dunn, another CBF leader and CLN National Committee member also rebuked Moran for his criticism of CLN and the CBF. Dunn told ABP that it is another example of Moran and other SBC leaders “straining at a gnat to establish a non-existent camel of relationships to their concepts of evil."
Moran said Dunn is typical of the liberal mindset.
“For the Religious Left, religious liberty and civil liberties has become the vehicle for advocating the full agenda of the far-left. The killing of the unborn, the defense and advocacy of homosexual marriage, the defense of the free-flow of pornography — these have been the beneficiaries of liberal understanding of religious and civil liberties. Indeed, in America, Truth has stumbled in the streets, where increasingly good is called evil and evil is called good."
“Liberalism kills truth," Moran said, noting that Jesus went to the heart of the problem in John 8:37: “’I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill me because my Word is not welcome in you.’"
Moran also responded to remarks made in a Dec. 8 Baptist Press (BP) story by David Currie, a former long-time member of the national CBF Coordinating Council and a leader in the Mainstream Baptist movement.
Some of CLN’s leadership has also been provided by another liberal organization — with CBF ties — criticized by Moran, The Interfaith Alliance (TIA). TIA affirmed the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that same-sex “marriage" should be legal in a Nov. 18 press release. Counted among TIA’s board of directors is Currie, a frequent speaker at the CBF’s annual meetings.
The TIA board “spoke with one voice in issuing the following statement," the release stated, and “thanked the court for demonstrating a commitment to basic civil liberties."
But Currie told BP in its Dec. 8 story that TIA did not endorse homosexual marriage in their statement and said he “personally neither affirm the ruling nor do I thank the court for it."
“Clearly these guys think that religious liberty and civil liberty mean that we have to allow homosexual marriages," Moran said in response to Currie’s defense. “If this stuff doesn’t represent what David Currie believes, he should find a board to serve on that better reflects what he says he believes. In fact, he might consider supporting the conservative leadership of the SBC."
This is not the first time Currie has objected to a characterization of his involvement with TIA as evidence of his personal support for pro-homosexual causes. Moran challenged Currie on this issue in 2000 after TIA expressed pro-homosexual views and after Currie told ABP in a March 1, 2000, story that homosexuality had never been mentioned in the four years he had attended TIA meetings. Currie has repeatedly said that homosexual activity is “contrary to the teachings of Christian Scripture and thus sinful behavior."
“To my knowledge, TIA has never in its history addressed the issue of homosexuality and I am pleased we simply took no position once again," Currie told BP Dec. 8.
Moran remains unpersuaded.
“At the heart of biblical Christianity is the issue of sin," Moran said. “If sin doesn’t matter, if sin is not viewed as a serious thing, then there’s nothing ‘Christian’ about us. In all cases, sin is the universal human problem that has devastated man. What these moderate and liberal organizations are trying to do is convince the American people that sin just does not matter."