A History of Evil Liberalism in
the Southern Baptist Denomination
The Need to Know the History
Many people today do not realize nor know the history of the largest non-Roman Catholic Denomination in America. The Southern Baptists officially organized in 1845. From around 1930 to 1990 the denomination's seminaries and churches suffered from the hands of liberalism. Today the seminaries have turned back to a belief in the Bible, and some of the colleges and universties have returned to the Bible, although much work remains in the overall church life. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest protestant denomination in America besides the Roman Catholic Church. As of date this denomination has over 40,000 churches associated within the umbrella.
I write this page with grief. My heritage has been from the Southern Baptist Denomination. I speak to you today from a Southern Baptist heritage. The critique of this massive denomination is necessary because too many people do not understand how far left the denomination and churches have gone. Without an understanding of this the conservative resurgence towards biblical truth that has been at work to reform the Southern Baptist denomination will suffer. With two to three generations of people exposed to liberal ideology, you can imagine how much work and effort it will take to turn the churches around. It took from 1979 to around the mid 90's, and even to 2000 in some places, to turn the Seminaries back to conservative control. If the liberal drift lasted from the early 1900's until the late 1980's to 1990's you can understand why people need to understand the SBC history so they can realize where the SBC has been and where it needs to go.
An Insider's Critique of How Southern Baptists have Damaged America and Families
This is an insider's critique. I say these things not only from knowledge from the books. I have been within or connected to the SBC in a variety of ways for much of my life. I love and appreciate the truths I learned from this heritage, yet at the same time I lament over how much I lost because of this liberalism that in many cases damaged all of us within the umbrella. If the truth were to be known, there is no way to know how much this liberal drift has hurt America overall. When the largest denomination falls prey to liberal ideology you can rest asured it will play havoc with the overall spiritual life in the nation. Many families throughout America have been ruined because of the liberal drift of the SBC, and what is even worse is that many do not even know why their families have fallen apart! In many cases the people in the pew did not even realize it took place. With child like trust they accepted whatever came into the pulpits and in turn they swallowed many various forms of paganism baptized in religious jargon! Many to this day do not realize what went wrong in their life, why their families have turned out the way they did, and why they seem to know and understand so little of biblical, spiritual, doctrinal, and moral truth. Though each person is responsible for their own actions, it still remains true that much of the fault rests with the churches, colleges, and with the seminaries that fostered and fed the average day Southern Baptist Christian with liberal ideology that has now undermined the Christian foundations so many people hoped to have built by attending a Southern Baptist fellowship.
My heritage within the SBC has given me first hand exposure to how deep and serious the condition has been within the SBC. What have been my connections to Southern Baptist life? First, my parent's conceived me while they were Southern Baptists. Second, I was born in the context of Southern Baptist church life. Third, I was born again within the context of a Southern Baptist church. Fourth, I received my licensure to the gospel within a Southern Baptist Church in North Carolina. Fifth, I received a theological, pastoral, and liberal arts education within a Southern Baptist college. Sixth, I received ordination through a Southern Baptist Church in South Carolina. But more importantly and theologically speaking, seventh, I affirm the verbal inspiration and the absolute authority of Scripture over all of life as well as salvation by grace alone consequently followed by baptism. Those are all hallmarks of the historic Southern Baptist heritage, at least before liberalism over took much of the SBC church life.
What is Liberalism, When did It Begin, and How bad was It?
What is liberalism and when did it begin? Liberals are those who deny the absolute inspiration and authority of the Bible. They want "freedom" from God's authority, as one liberal wrote. In SBC Life it began to grow in the early 1900's. How long and how deep did liberalism infiltrate within the life of the Southern Baptist Denomination? Liberalism infected every Southern Baptist sponsored seminary and most if not all of the SBC colleges and universities, and consequently touched and influenced the entire denomination. These liberal forces of the 1900's ruined many SBC churches. How long did it last? In its fullest form it lasted approximately 60 or so years, and to some degree still plagues many churches today. However, the seminaries have at least now endorsed the full inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. This liberalism spread through all of the colleges, universities, and seminaries. And through these schools it made inroads into the churches. Even the most well intentioned pastors inadvertently promoted it because of the poor theological training they received in the seminaries. Pastors that were trained in these schools before 1993 -1995 were heavily exposed to liberal ideology. Thus, intentionally or unintentionally, many of these pastors brought into the pulpits and church life weak, shallow, and unsound doctrine. The vast number of churches today still suffer due to the many years liberalism spread into the church life. Many historic doctrines were lost. Pastors lost the courage to teach the Bible and its doctrines, to hold people accountable by church discipline, and the glory of God was severely compromised. A very short time table and overview of this history is provided below. If you would like a comprehensive study then I urge you to read the following books:
1. The Baptist Reformation: The Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, by Dr. Jerry Sutton. A one volume work that carefully traces the liberalism through the SBC. I think it is the best one volume work around on the subject.
2. A Hill on Which to Die: One Southern Baptist's Journey, by Judge Paul Pressler. Judge Paul Pressler was the layman in Texas who led the way in developing a strategy to oppose the sinful and satanic liberalism that he noticed beginning to infiltrate the SBC in the 1940's, and continued into the 80's, and even to some degree into the 90's. This book tells the story of how one man acted in courage to help move his denomination back towards biblical fidelity.
3. The Truth in Crisis: The Controversy in the Southern Baptist Denomination, by Dr. James C. Hefley. This work is a massive, detailed, and thorough account that this reporter documented all the way through the years of the conservative resurgence. There are over 5 volumes in this set. To date I think this is the most comprehensive work on the subject.
4. SBC House on Sand, by Dr. David O Beale. A critique offered by someone outside of the SBC. Dr. Beale served as a professor at Bob Jones University in Greenville SC. He even critiqued what he believed to have been flaws in both groups, the conservatives and the liberals. I wish he would write another volume as an update to this one now that the seminaries have embraced the full inspiration and authority of the Bible.
5. The Way We Were: How Southern Baptist Theology has Changed and What it Means to Us All, by the liberal Fisher Humphreys. Fisher recounts the various ideologies of the SBC church life. His ideology is not a friend to the absolute authority of the Bible, however, his book does a good job of showing various ideas at work in the SBC life.
A Layman's Abbreviated Guide to the History of Liberalism in the SBC
The accounts below are selective accounts in a highly abbreviated form. The purpose of this account is to simply show the spread and history of the liberalism. If you want a detailed account then I suggest you buy the first book in the reading list above. As one volume it will give the best overall treatment. These accounts are for the average Southern Baptist sitting in the pew who believes the Bible but has had no idea as to how bad the SBC schools, and consequently the churches, became over the course of the 1900's. PRINT THESE OUT AND USE THEM TO EDUCATE THE PEOPLE! THEY NEED TO SEE WHAT HAS HAPPENED! Many people do not understand why the church has lost its power and purity today. Well read below and this ought to help you understand what went wrong in Baptist life.
Abbreviated Actual Apostasy Accounts
In 1879 Dr. Crawford Toy, a professor at the first Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, began to teach the Bible had errors within it. He was fired and removed from this position.
Dr. E.Y. Mullins, the fourth president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, took the reigns as President of the Seminary in 1899, a position he held until 1928. He softened the doctrine of God's sovereignty and in the process lost the doctrine of verbal inspiration (each word is supernaturally caused to be there through human writers). His theory of inspiration led to the downfall of the seminary, and in many ways Baptist life itself. Though he himself seemed to maintain a decent amount of biblical truth, those whom he trained and followed in his footsteps departed from the faith.
L.R. Scarborough followed in the steps of B.H. Carroll, who founded Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, and took over as President in 1914 after Caroll's death. Scarborough in 1924 slipped from the founding principles set forth by Carroll and he adopted a form of humanism by embracing man's sovereignty above that of God's. This led to the ideology that people could be saved by praying a prayer or walking an aisle.
4. By the time the next generation arose, in the 30's through the 50's the teachings of E.Y. Mullins and L.R. Scarborough had permeated Baptist life. The Bible was slowly losing its place of absolute authority in the lives of the professors, and thus in the pastors, and consequently in the pew as well. Over the course of the nest 60 or so years the Seminaries, Universities, and churches across the nation would suffer from the hands of those who undermined the absolute authority of the Bible. Numbers became the focus, getting people to walk an aisle and pray a prayer to earn God's grace became the emphasis of the message and teachings in the church life. Sin was tolerated for the sake of numbers, and church discipline waned. In many paces church discipline completely ceased, and with it went the glory and purity of God in the churches.
5. In the 1950's teachings and writings began to grow in the SBC that questioned the inspiration and authority of the Bible, which eventually led to other key errors in the church. For example, in 1959 Eric Rust presented a paper and message to the Baptist University of Richmond that said the stories of Noah were not reliable and the Bible was a parable.
6. In 1961 Broadman Press published a book, The Message of Genesis, whereby Dr. Ralph Elliot taught Adam and Eve were not historical people. Years later when asked about the trouble over this book he stated that while in training at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary the professors taught them how to use "doublespeak" when talking. In this way the people could get by with error by saying such things in one way whereby it covered up what they really meant and believed. This is how these pastors made it into the regular churches. You may have had a liberal pastor and never known it because they used language to cover up what they truly believed! YOU MAY EVEN STILL BE SITTING UNDER A LIBERAL PASTOR! You had better check because many were professionaly trained in how to disquise their views! Personally, of all of the errors, this one makes me the most upset. These people intentionally lied to intentionally DECEIVE good people! This one angers me. They did not have the integrity to really tell the people what they believed. Liberals are still doing it today. Liberal pastors and members now disquise what they really believe under sophisticated language, clever language, a nuanced language that hides what they truly believe. Yet they have not fooled God and this is why God has not been blessing these churches with a solid and deep spiritual growth. Dr. Paige Patterson noted in one of my seminary lectures that the real problem in the SBC life has been mainly two errors: (1) The liberals who did not have enough integrity to tell people what they truly believed, and (2) The conservatives who did not have enough courage to stand up and oust the liberals and do something about it when liberalism surfaced. I have a sneaky suspicion that this will remain the life long struggle in the SBC. Pastors and denominational leaders are so often tempted to disquise what they believe in order to obtain position and status. People often simply love prestige and position more than the truth of God. We would all do well to read and live by 1 John 2:15-17 to guard against these temptations! Church members suffer from this as well. Liberal church members instead of being honest about what they believe divert the attention elsewhere. Conservative church members will not press the issue and call for church discipline because they lack the backbone to do what God requires.
7. In 1969 Dr. W.A. Criswell, famous pastor of a 28,000 member SBC church, First Baptist Dallas, wrote a book entitled "Why I Preach the Bible is Literally True." He in this book exposed liberalism that was growing in all of the seminaries and schools and even by default in the churches. Professors from all of the seminaries, especially Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he had received his Ph.D in theology, criticized the book and said such a view was outdated and terribly uneducated for someone with a Doctoral degree from Southern Seminary. This book is a classic from a man whose heart and head drove him to oppose with all of his vigor the evil liberalism in the Southern Baptist Convention. When Dr. Patterson began leading the conservative cause in the 80's all of the seminary presidents came down to Criswell's church, where Dr. Patterson then served as a pastor on staff, and asked him to stop Dr. Patterson in his efforts before he tore the Convention apart. Dr. Criswell kindly replied he would do no such thing because he agreed with Dr. Patterson's ideology about the Bible and its need to be the absolute truth for all of life. These seminary presidents left rejected.
8. President Randall Lolley (1974-1988), who presided over Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary that was founded by liberals, believed and taught that the biblical writers erred but did not do so intentionally.
9. In 1972, a Midwestern Baptist Seminary professor Temp Sparkman wrote a book Being a Disciple and advocated for a form of universalism (everyone is related to God or will be eventually).
10. In 1977, C.W. Christian at Baylor University in Texas, one of the Baptist's largest Christian Universities in the nation, taught in the Religion department and openly endorsed Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as opposed to the Bible's creation account. Evolution grew exponentially throughout most of the colleges and universities.
11. In 1977 Glenn Hinson of Southern Seminary published a work on Jesus Christ. In this book he said the temptation experiences of Christ were myths and that Christ did not physically arise from the grave but only spiritually.
12. Also in 1977, Fisher Humphreys, a professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, said that the cross of Christ was not necessary.
13. The Adult Sunday School Quarterly raised questions in 1979 about the authority of Scripture. It questioned if Daniel actually wrote the book of Daniel. Keep in mind that this material spread through many of the churches that used this material. Combine that with people coming into the church from liberal arts colleges and universities, some from Baptist, some from other liberal denominational schools, and then even some from secular state colleges and universities, and you can see how this ideology was welcomed and embraced by many in the pew. You may even be sitting next to a member of the church today who does not believe the Bible is perfectly true and authoritative because of these liberal influences over the years.
14. Senior professor of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dale Moody (not to be confused with D.L. Moody the great evangelist) in 1981 said a person could be saved apart from receiving Christ and eventually even dropped the idea that once born again that this was permanent and eternal.
15. In 1982, in response to the conservative resurgence that was being led by Dr. Paige Patterson and other men who loved the Bible and believed everyone should believe and submit to the authority of the Bible, Dr. Russell Dilday, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote a book that did not endorse inerrancy and it adopted the idea that only the concepts of the Bible were inspired, not the actual words themselves.
16. Former student Clayton Sullivan wrote a book after his seminary days talking about how he was called to preach but when he went to the liberal Seminary they destroyed his faith. The seminary he said undermined the authority of the Bible.
17. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary had on staff a feminist like Molly Marshall, who also taught universalism and objected to the authority of the Bible. Professor Frank Tupper cursed often, ethics professor Paul Simmons advocated for abortion, and the President, Dr. Roy Honeycutt, wrote commentaries that denied the literal events of Moses and the burning Bush, and the miracles such as the axe head floating in the water.
18. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the 80's and early 90's was extremely liberal. The Seminary had Jewish rabbis, advocates for homosexuality, and Roman Catholic priests serving as adjunct faculty members. The seminary President Randall Lolley, who served from 1974-1988, taught the biblical writers erred but did not err on purpose and intentionally. Several of the so-called scholars on campus did not believe Jesus Christ ever arose from the grave.
19. Most all of the Baptist Colleges and Universities were in the same shape. Mercer University in Georgia, Furman University in Greenville SC, North Greenville College, Charleston Southern University, Anderson College, Gardner Webb in NC, Baylor University in Texas, Wake Forest University in NC, Richmond University in VA, Samford University in Alabama, and many other Baptist schools were dominated with those who questioned the authority of the Bible. Many of the liberals when they were ousted or pressured out from the seminaries then left and entered into colleges and universities across America. Many of these professors still teach in the college and universitry levels in numerous schools. These are the areas whereby liberalism will continue to grow and plague the denomination on the whole. For example, secular psychology haunts many of the universities and colleges today. Through these avenues the Christians in general (the church members) and the pastors/overseers of the church are still being exposed to liberal ideology in many ways. It is very difficult for the pastors to take charge and lead the fellowship, practice church discipline, and train the people doctrinally when all of them have gone through secularized training in the Baptist schools, and/or other unbiblical schools even outside of the SBC.
20. In the 1990's Dr. Keith Putt of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary led
hundreds of students to leave ministry and the faith because of his philosophy
courses he taught. As a postmodernist, which means everything is relative, he
taught that language had no meaning, which consequently meant the Bible had
no absolute meaning.
Current Marks of Liberalism in
Southern Baptist Life
The Southern Baptist Denomination has undergone a resurgence yet not a wide scale revival or reform. Even the current president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Dr. Danny Akin has commented that as a whole the denomination has not been revived.
What then is the easiest way to identify where the seeds of anti-Christian liberalism remains? Liberal ideology, the ideas that deny the essentials of the faith, show up in churches that do not practice the following three essentials:
1. Verse by verse Teaching of the Bible:
SBC churches are still prone and popular in the area of having a leader pick different ideas to teach about every week. Rarely do you find on the broad scale a leader in the SBC that will begin teaching at the beginning of some particular book and teach/preach all the way through that book. Most of the leaders pick and choose various verses and themes each week. This is a sign that the Bible is still not the ultimate authority in the SBC. Rather, the agenda of the leader is the more important emphasis instead of the word by word teaching of the perfectly inspired Bible.
2. Plurality of Biblical Eldership:
The SBC still is a denomination in rebellion to biblical authority because on the whole the churches still have the power to vote in or vote out elders/pastors. Nothing in the Bible supports this and everything in the Bible speaks against this. The elders are appointed by other elders and they have the power from God to disciple and discipline. Rarely will you find a SBC church that honors the truth of true pastoral authority where the elders truly govern the local church. Congregational rule is the norm in these liberal churches.
3. Biblical Love Experiences Through Covenant Relationships:
The NT teaches that in Christ we are in the New Covenant. This covenant is a bond between us and God and between those of us who are in the body with one another. The essence of the covenant relationships is that a true NT church will believe that if someone has experienced the new borth that they will walk in truth, in love, in grace, and in holiness in the main areas of their life (John 14:15-17). If these love experiences are not evident in the life of the believer then the body will call into account this person, even if it means to the point of public church discipline.
A Common Man's Guide to The Signs of Liberalism in Your Church
Four Keys to Know How To Spot Liberal Ideology?
1. Liberals speak a lot about unity but never define unity around biblical truth. Unity to the liberal mind is void and absent of the Bible. It in essence means they want "freedom from" authority. This is the unified theme of the liberals, it is not unity around biblical truth.
2. Liberals hate authority in various forms. They often gossip about leaders, spread stories about pastors, and refuse to talk to those whom they have problems with face to face with an open Bible in the hand to determine truth. They spread their ideas illusively.
3. Liberals do not teach on essential doctrines, they fail to teach verse by verse through sections of the Bible, and they believe in many interpretations to passages of the Bible.
4. Liberals talk about a love that means we should not judge others, and this means they will not excercise nor accept the Bible teaching on church discipline or accountability. They are deceptive with their language, and they redefine love without any accountability, and they do so because they do not want anyone to hold them to any standard of truth. In essence they want to be their own god!
Two Keys To Know If Your Church Has Adopted Evil Liberal Philosophy
1. Talk to them about some area of concern you have with the Bible in hand and open to specific passages. Liberalism avoids the Bible. And when presented with what the Bible says these people will say things like, "Well that is your interpretation, but I believe this." A liberal will not dig into the word and do detailed work to obtain the true meaning of the text. They will ignore specific words, and will avoid the natural definitions to a biblical word. When you come to a passage that contradicts their ideas they ignore it or divert attention elsewhere. A Liberal church will promote unrestricted diversity because they believe that the Bible is to be interpreted by their own standards, not by the plain laws of language (literal historical interpretation). In other words the Bible is not the final authority on matters of faith and practice! How does the leadership respond to the Bible? How do the people respond to the Bible? If the Bible says one thing and they believe something else do they defend their own actions or do they show signs of humility and willingness to change to adjust to the Bible?
2. Does the church believe and actually practice church discipline? Will the leaders expose people publicly for their sins if they refuse to repent of sins that have harmed the fellowship. Dr. Al Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary rightly says this: "The decline of church discipline is perhaps the most visible failure of the contemporary church. No longer concerned with maintaining purity of confession of lifestyle, the contemporary church sees itself as a voluntary association of autonomous members, with minimal moral accountability to God, much less to each other. . . . And yet, without the recovery of functional church discipline--firmly established upon the principles revealed in the Bible--the church will continue its slide into moral dissolution and relativism. . . . Authentic biblical discipline is not an elective, but a necessary and integral mark of authenthic Christianity" (Al Mohler, "Church Discipline: The Missing Mark," in Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life, A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents ed. Mark Dever). Before liberalsim made inroads into Baptist life in particular, "manuals of church discipline and congregational records indicate that discipline was regularly applied. Protestant congregations excercised discipline as a necessary and natural ministry to the members of the church, and as a means of protecting the doctrinal and moral integrity of the congregation" (Al Mohler, "Church Discipline: The Missing Mark," in Polity: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life, A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents ed. Mark Dever). This is one of clearest signs as to whether or not a church truly loves God and loves man. True love will love enough to discipline!
The Outcome to Liberal Ideology: Personal Failure in the Home, Church, and Public Life
Personal Failure in the Home
Liberalism leads to a life of personal failure. When someone sits under liberal teaching their life suffers in many ways. Often times the foremost failure comes with the marriage because children have grown up in homes where Mom and Dad have little to no biblical convictions. Moms and Dads do not handle life biblically because they have not been trained biblically. Money, social image, which is different than reputation, and other worldy ideas dominate mom and dad. These sins lead to personal failure in life. Life loses its eternal focus and begins to take on temporary focus. People begin to make choices on what will benefit them today instead of how it will benefit them in the kingdom to come and new heavens and new earth. Liberalism leads to shallow life. Doctrine no longer defines the boudaries of the home. Dad and Mom train their kids in one of several unbiblical ways. Often parents subjected to liberal ideology from the church do not discipline their children correctly. And when they do they do so without instructing the children in the truths of God while implementing discipline.
Furthermore, liberalism leads parents to fail in teaching the child about the most essential truths about man, his sinfulness of heart, the need for redemption by Christ, and that there is coming a judgment day in the future for all of our actions. Liberal parents teach kids that life is about them instead of being about God. Thus when these children grow up they do not understand many of the basics of life. The children grow up with little to no understanding of what to look for in a mate for life, they do not understand biblical doctrine, and they do not know what a true church looks like. Then the cycle begins again and the next generation fails. Some simple questions to know if you as a parent have grown up in a liberal church is this: First, Dad do you see yourself as a pastor over your family and do you take personal responsibility for what they know in biblical doctrine and practice of that doctrine in life? Is that a new idea to you? If so you have been subjected to liberal ideology. Second, Mom do you see yourself as your husband's helper in life? Do you consider him to be the spiritual leader of the home? If not you have been subjected to liberalism in the church life. Now, third, as a parent do you train your child in biblical truth? By that I mean do you instill spiritual truth into the life of your child actively, on a regular and consistent basis? Do you teach them the Bible in the home on a regular basis? Or do you have the attitude that to do would be "forcing religion on to your child and you want them to grow up and choose for themselves?" If the second choice is your idea then you have been schooled in liberalism. Let me be clear here. Liberalism is always seeking to train your mind and the mind of your children whether you know it or not. The question is not are you impressing a religion into your children but rather what religion are you impressing into your children? Are you guiding them into humanism, selfism, materialism, or biblical Christianity.
Now adult child, take some time to be honest with your upbringing. Look over the history of your life and ask yourself honestly this one question: Did your parents teach you on a regular basis the truth of Scripture and how to live it out in daily life? If they did then thank the Lord in prayer for placing you in a home where this atmosphere was fostered on a consistent basis. If this was not the case then realize that and turn that around. Ask the Lord to remove any bitterness you may have over that, forgive your parents, realize that it has much to do with the leadership of the church they attended, and work to correct this for the next generation. Mark this up as a providential learning experience and go forward with a passion to learn biblical truth and how to live it out daily.
Church Life Failure
When a child grows up in a liberal church life, or a liberal home life, this causes grave failure in the church. True love is lost. The art of doing life together and being able to develop true intimacy with others is lost. Liberalism leads to a life focused on self. Then when this enters the church the church loses its focus on the mission of making disciples. Massive evangelism efforts occur, however the people won have no biblical discipleship following their conversion experience. The church has no biblical accountability because everyone lives as if they are their own authority and god. Individualism permeates the body of Christ. People also fail to learn how to deal with conflict and how to govern correctly. Personal responsibility is lost and the people form together as a social institution more so than as a biblical church that believes in actually doing life together as the New Testament teaches. This failure in the church is evident by the lack of familial love among the body. The people rarely spend time together and if they do then they often fail to actively teach one another biblical truth.
Rarely do these churches have meetings whereby people sit around and talk about the Bible in daily life. And worse, when someone in the family falls into sin these people fail to love enough to teach and hold the person accountable to the truth of the Bible. The people have a distaste in their mouth for many if not all forms of biblical authority, they rarely see the need to confront sin on one another's life, and they turn to secular ideology for the solutions to life's problems. The church focuses on materialism, building sophisticated buildings that attract the elite crowd, and less and less on personal discipleship of people. Getting people to join and give money becomes the driving force of the liberal church. The leaders do not actively check in on your spiritual life, and rarely if ever do the leaders talk to you personally about sin in your life and how to overcome it and grow in holiness.
Then, if all of that were not bad enough, you will notice that the men begin to sit back and do as little as possible. Most of the men do not teach in the church, and few and far between stand up as godly examples for the next generation to follow. These men sit back and allow the women to do most if not all of the teaching, training, and coordination of the church life. These men fail to grow in the Word of God, they fail to take courageous stands for truth in the life of the church and community, and because of this the church fails to produce godly, mature, and serious disciples of Jesus Christ.
One of the most serious issues with liberalism is that after it hits a church the church has a very difficult time in maintaining a pastor. In the Southern Baptist Church now it is highly common for a church to change pastors every two to five years. Why is this happening? In many of the cases the new pastors are coming in and they believe the Bible to be true. They want to put back in place the teachings of the Bible that have been lost. However, because of many generations of liberalism they are often opposed, abused, and driven out of the church. Many are forced to resign. I have seen many examples of this right here in my own community. Many of the SBC churches here in this area, and from what I hear and read about all across the nation, do not have long term pastorates anymore. This is largely due to the immaturity of the church that has been fed liberalism. A church that has embraced liberal ideology can not grow up pastors from within, and then they are also to shallow to know what to look for in a new pastor. Then when a new pastor is hired these immature churches will pressure the pastors to conform to incorrect church practices and customs that conflict with the Bible. Then because of the immature people many good pastors are forced to resign. And what makes the situation even worse? Bible believing Christians who do know the truth often fail to stand up and take action in behalf of the Bible teaching pastor. Again we see the sin of not having courage to stand for truth!
Practically it works out this way. A Bible believing pastor goes to college and/or seminary to study for the ministry. Then once exposed to teachers who believe the Bible is for all of life and that Bible doctrine is important these men learn how important this doctrine is for life. They also realize that they have not received these truths in the liberal churches. Then they, the Bible believing pastors, go back out into the church with Bible doctrine. They teach Bible truth to the people. It then causes all kinds of controversy. The people then label the pastor as the problem. They, the people, then pressure him behind the scenes to stop teaching certain truths, or to back off certain bibical convictions. In many cases immature deacons who think they are supposed to "guide" the pastor or to "control the pastor" run the pastor and his family off from the church because they are so immature they do not know what godliness really looks like anymore. After 60 or more years of liberalism in the church life what do you expect? For this many years deacons have sat under ministers who have not understood the fullness of the gospel, of Bible doctrine, and other vital truths.
On average, unless a deacon or church member has been trained or discipled by a mature Christian they have not been taught healthy Bible doctrine from the SBC pulpits. And now a person would have to be around 90 or more years old to recall the day when the Southern Baptist Denomination produced a large quantity of solid Bible believing, doctrinally solid, mature pastors. Sure some came forth as conservative. But generally speaking, pastors in training embrace to some degree what their professors teach them. It is almost inevitable! So today, we have in a large degree lost the memory of what godliness looks like in the SBC life. Why do I say that? Simple, do the math. Liberalism took over in the Southern Baptist Denomination by the end of the 1920's to the 1930's. Pastors who came forth from those schools began to pastor all across America. Substract 1920 from 2005 and you come up with 85 years. If you account for 10 to 15 years for maturity of the person in the pew to become a teenager/adult then you see what I mean. We are now in a generation that has lost the memory of what godliness looked like. This is not to say that all people are liberal inside the SBC who are under the age of 85-90. Some studied elsewhere to gain godliness. Some have simply read and on their own, and in that way these people have learned biblical truth. But for those whom have followed the teachings of the professors and pastors in the SBC between 1930 or so until the turn of the twentieth century, then they have been seduced by liberal ideology. Math does not lie!
Public Life Failure
Once the family has been subjected to liberal influence, and then the church turns liberal, then the next thing to suffer is the public community life. Liberalism ruins the public life of the community. Once sin is tolerated and condoned in the family life, and then when the church condones it, the community falls prey to pragmatism and other moral evils of the day. When the family fails to teach truth and instill truth into the lives of one another then the family loses its ability to govern itself. Then when these people enter into the church and or society they do not know how to govern themselves. This then leaves only two options. Either government will have to step in and become the god of the land, the answer to everyone's problems, or the society will drift into anarchy and will eventually dissolve itself! Learning how to govern ourself responsibly must come from God's eternal word. The family and the church are primary in this effort. When those two fail you can rest assured the public life will fall into failure as well. Moral relativism, selfism, materialism, and other related evils will replace traditional values that built and established this sacred country we know as America. Liberalism, a rejection of God's authority as revealed in his Word, leads to such a tragedy!