NASHVILLE (ABP) — Southern Baptist Convention leaders are to blame for sparking “riots in countries around the world with finger-pointing pronouncements and inflammatory rhetoric about Islam and its founder,” said a moderate Baptist leader.
Bruce Prescott, executive director of Mainstream Baptists of Oklahoma, also accused SBC leaders of leading a “neo-conservative political crusade to assert American supremacy” and firing scores of SBC missionaries who refused to sign “an idolatrous and unconscionable creed.”
Morris Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, denied and denounced Prescott's accusations.
Prescott strongly charged current SBC leaders with first “waging a holy war against moderates within the Baptist family” and then “waging a holy war against Muslims and Hindus and humanists and homosexuals.”
“Already, the weapons of war are shifting from ballots and pink slips to bullets,” Prescott told participants in the convocation of the Mainstream Baptist Network Feb. 27-28 in Nashville. “Now people are literally dying.”
Prescott said SBC leaders pose a threat to liberty of conscience, religious liberty and even world peace.
“All of these things have happened in full public view…,” said Prescott. “Why is there no outcry in our churches? Why do Baptists dutifully fill the coffers of the [SBC] Sunday morning after Sunday morning and thereby underwrite, endorse and perpetuate such evils?”
Prescott said he believes many Southern Baptists continue supporting the convention, despite these actions, because current SBC leaders assume the responsibilities that previously belonged to each individual. “We are grateful to the SBC for relieving us of the liberty and responsibility for making conscientious choices,” said Prescott.
Too many Southern Baptists willingly turn over their responsibilities for decision-making to autocratic denominational leaders, said Prescott.
By doing so, they violate the historic Baptist principle known as liberty of conscience, he said. “Freedom is a burden. Liberty of conscience means you must accept the responsibility to make conscientious choices.”
“Mr. Prescott's remarks are outlandish, patently false, and misleading,” Morris Chapman told Associated Baptist Press. “How disingenuous of him to accuse Southern Baptist leaders of using 'inflammatory rhetoric' in the very same speech where he avers 'Southern Baptists are increasingly playing a major role in a cycle of escalating violence that could literally lead to the nuclear incineration of the very people to whom we once felt called to share the good news.' What motivates a person to say something so outrageous?
“Mr. Prescott has slandered millions of faithful, godly Southern Baptists,” Chapman continued in his statement. “He may call himself 'Mainstream Baptist' but is anything but. I am confident the free and faithful people who populate our Baptist congregations will continue to turn a deaf ear to the shrill, ridiculous, rantings of Mr. Prescott and any of his persuasion and bitterness.”