Home Christian News At Founders Event, Southern Baptists Urged to Choose Bible Over ‘Paganism,’ CRT

At Founders Event, Southern Baptists Urged to Choose Bible Over ‘Paganism,’ CRT

Founder's Event

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — Southern Baptists worried about liberal drift in their denomination heard warnings about “paganism” and worldly ideologies such as critical race theory.

They heard sermons about the failures of God’s people in the Bible, from the Israelites’ worship of a golden calf to the Apostle Peter’s denials of Jesus in the Gospels.

They also got some fashion advice.

“The current battles our churches are facing in our culture require its pulpits to be filled with men who don’t wear lace on their skinny jeans,” Tom Buck, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas, told a crowd of about 1,000 people at the Founders Ministries gathering Monday (June 14) ahead of the Southern Baptist Convention. He also warned there could be no peace in the denomination without doctrinal purity.

Humor aside, the message of all the speakers at the “Be it Resolved” event, held at a hotel a few blocks from the site of the SBC annual meeting, echoed a similar theme. The SBC is in trouble and “worldly” ideas — from marketing schemes to critical race theory — can’t save it. Instead, speakers urged attendees to rely on the “sufficiency of Scripture,” the belief that the Bible contains everything Christians need to understand and to minister to the world around them.

Founders Ministries was started in the 1980s by pastors who wanted Southern Baptist to return to the “doctrines of God’s sovereign grace.” Mostly made up of Calvinists, the group has long been concerned that pragmatism — rather than theology — shapes the world of many churches.

That pragmatism, Founders President Tom Ascol told Religion News Service in an interview, led to liberal theology in the denomination in the 1970s. Even when conservatives took over the SBC in the 1980s and 1990s, that pragmatism remained, according to Ascol. So churches, he said, are filled with people who think they are Christians but really aren’t.

“We still have churches filled with unregenerate people,” said Ascol, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. “Our evangelism, our church practice is still very much influenced by principles derived from something other than what we believe or say we believe in Scripture.”

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Bob Smietana is an award-winning religion reporter and editor who has spent two decades producing breaking news, data journalism, investigative reporting, profiles and features for magazines, newspapers, trade publications and websites. Most notably, he has served as a senior writer for Facts & Trends, senior editor of Christianity Today, religion writer at The Tennessean, correspondent for RNS and contributor to OnFaith, USA Today and The Washington Post.