Why Southern Baptists’ Social Justice Spat Is Actually About the Sufficiency of Scripture

News & Reporting | 8/7/2019 | Staff
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Fallout over a controversial documentary trailer rebuking an alleged social justice agenda within the Southern Baptist Convention marks the latest flashpoint in ongoing clashes over how the denomination should engage ideologies they see as contrary to Scripture.

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Founders - Ministries - Southern - Baptist - Group

Founders Ministries, a Calvinist-oriented Southern Baptist group, announced August 1 that three of its six board members had resigned over objections to the trailer for a forthcoming documentary titled By What Standard? Addressing recent debates over racial justice and women’s roles, the documentary alleges “wavering” commitment “to the authority and sufficiency” of the Bible among some Southern Baptists, the ministry said.

The other resigning board member, Jon English Lee, did not release a statement.

Year - Founders - Board - Members - Ministry

Over the past year, two additional Founders board members had resigned, but the ministry’s president Tom Ascol said neither cited theological or philosophical differences among his reasons for departing.

At least three interviewees to be featured in the documentary—seminary president Daniel Akin, pastor Mark Dever, and author Jonathan Leeman—asked to be removed from the film over “concerns about what the tone, tenor, and content of the full documentary will be.” Several other participants took issue with the trailer.

Leaders - Extremes - Nation - Denomination - Baptists

These leaders do not represent opposite extremes of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. The Southern Baptists taking issue with Founders’ approach share many core convictions with the ministry, not just the inerrancy of Scripture, but also an opposition to radical feminism and critical race theory dictating the church’s social engagement. A key difference among conservative Southern Baptists comes in how much they are willing to learn from elements of secular ideologies, versus rejecting them outright.

Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, said reaction to the documentary illustrates how challenging it can be for Christians who agree on the inerrancy of Scripture and the exclusivity of...
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