Moral Contradictions

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Leave us alone and get your facts straight

Big Daddy Weave beat me to it, but I echo his questions and add some more. Why did Gregory Tomlin of Baptist Press (the official news agency of the Southern Baptist Convention) feel the need to publish not one, but two hack "articles" bashing the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and its seminaries? On the same day? What's the reasoning?

To me, any time the SBC needs a pick-me-up, the CBF seems to serve as a great whipping boy. I admire CBF spokesman Ben McDade for declining comment. I however, take exception to the lack of journalism skills, attitude, and arrogance exuding through these "articles".

Each "article" has its logical inconsistencies, yet taken together, the intellectual dishonesty is magnified even more.

Tomlin's two "articles" charge that:
  • The CBF has failed in carving out a “unique niche among the religious bodies in the South”. No proof is given, and the article's logic later debunks this statement.

  • Amid accusations that SBC schools are no longer “Baptist”, CBF schools are not Baptist because of their various ecumenical relationships.

  • Students at SBC seminaries receive a broad perspective of views, unlike CBF schools.

  • Indoctrination is a good thing, only if re-defined by SBC seminary professors.

  • SBC schools have more students, and thus are inherently better.

  • The way CBF counts churches is dishonest and thus the stated number of 1,800-2,000 churches is too high.

He bases those charges on the logic that:
  • Bigger is better, even if it really isn't bigger.

  • Fair reporting is calling seminary professors at the SBC schools, and then only calling the CBF headquarters for comment, instead of their counterparts at CBF schools.

  • The SBC is right, and within its narrow parameters and male-dominant professors, allows more perspective than CBF schools with professors of both genders and ecumenical relationships.

  • Indoctrination is really not indoctrination, thus charges against indoctrinating in SBC schools prove that CBF schools don't teach doctrine.

  • Criticizing the CBF's counting philosophy is fair game, yet the SBC rejected membership counting integrity in June in regards to the number of baptisms, etc.

  • Comparing SBC and CBF schools overall, the SBC comes out ahead with five times as many students. Missing is the fact that the SBC has 24 times the amount of churches, yet feels the need to attack the CBF's reporting method, thus increasing that disparity even more.

  • Further, comparing the ratio of students compared to respective churches, the CBF comes out ahead with over 1 student from every church versus 1 student from every 4 SBC churches. Yet, Mr. Tomlin hopes you don't do the math and accept the shoddy logic given by him and his sources.

I think I found why Tomlin felt led to write his attack "articles". Yes the CBF is small, yes it is not perfect, and yes I wish it was bigger. However, the CBF seems to be sending proportionally more into ministry than the SBC. The CBF and other groups like the Alliance and Mainstream aren't going away. The SBC may have quantity, but the quality part is lacking, as the CBF seems to be just a bit more efficient, if you will.

Mr. Tomlin, as I've found on this blog, launching propaganda missiles at each other is useless and merely hurts the Body of Christ. You could've done much better than that.


  • Jillian and I had a good laugh reading the seminaries article together (I had read both of them in the BP earlier). The journalism was more than just shoddy... but I think you put it well.

    I also found that having every expert and scholarly opinion in the two articles come from professors or other faculty at SBC intitutions to be more than just childish. It was in very, very poor taste and bordered on deceit.

    By Blogger Josh Oxley, at Sunday, August 13, 2006 4:02:00 PM  

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