The choice could not be more clearly presented, nor so stark.
The Gathering of Baptists are not seeking to conceal their desire to proceed in a liberal direction, making the case that homosexuality is not a sin. The logical trajectory of their argument is to fully embrace the LGBTQ movement and the eventual ordination of LGBTQ clergy. If this is not so let the Gathering of Baptists deny it clearly.
The CLRA churches are proposing motions that would reject autonomy as an ‘ultimate’ value for baptists and call for a binding agreement for all churches who are part of the CBOQ. The CBOQ board is not wrong in advising the constituents that to pass these motions will involve a radical transformation of the CBOQ. We are fully aware of that. In fact, the CLRA churches of the CBOQ are calling for us to re-establish a binding doctrinal standard.
You will note that I said ‘re-establish’. It is a myth that we have never had such a standard. Arrange your own visit to the CBOQ archives and ask to look at the constitution of any BCOQ association in the 1920’s, 30’s, 50’s, or 70’s and you will see that all of our churches once held to a doctrinal statement that was established at the association level. Anyone who suggests that we have never shared an agreed upon doctrinal position is either uninformed of the facts or seeking to conceal them.
The CLRA churches are not suggesting a radical departure from who baptists are, just a radical departure from who we have become.
In conversation with other CLRA pastors there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future. Candidly, most of us would like to be done with this struggle. I am tired. We are tired. We have fought for a long time to get to this point, and it would be far easier for our churches to depart and contend no longer. We know that if these three motions are carried in October it will mean a long and difficult struggle to see them ratified. It will mean throwing out our constitution and re-writing our identity. It will likely mean court challenges, lawsuits and public shaming by the liberal press and a liberal society. It may even mean public protests outside our church doors.
Do you remember Eli the priest from the book of 1 Samuel? Eli was a good man, but a weak man. He was personally upright, but he did nothing about the wickedness of his sons and the shame they brought upon the congregation of Israel. He didn’t speak up, he didn’t act, he simply knew and did nothing. This has been my experience with the typical CBOQ pastor: they are good but weak. They abstain from votes they should affirm. They defer motions they know they should pass because they fear a future motion not yet before them.
But lest you be tempted to stand up ‘just this once’ and pass these motions, let me plead with you not to do it. The CLRA churches will be fine somewhere else. They will find fellowship and support amongst a faithful family of churches who holds a traditional view on scripture. With CLRA gone the moderate churches will no longer need to contend to both the left and the right.
If you decide to stand upon these motions, then stand for all three, but realize you will not be called to stand ‘just this once’, it is a call to a radical reformation and renewal. I realize many of you find yourselves between a rock and a hard place. I don’t apologize for making the choice so stark. But I urge you not to abstain. As I began so I conclude, the choice before the CBOQ is the most significant in 95 years.
Beware, with the passing of these motions the people of Canada will 'cancel' the CBOQ.
Beware, with the defeat of these motions the Lord will write ‘Ichabod’ upon the CBOQ.