Yesterday, somebody affiliated with the Baylor community re-posted a paper on their discussion forum, which I originally wrote in 2002 . If you have not heard, the Baylor University Administration is seeking to shut down all dissent by swallowing the independent Baylor Alumni Association whole. Read about their attempt here.
For Moderate Baptists
It is somewhat curious to me that a school community affiliated with the more moderate side of the Baptist equation now includes an appeal to the work of a conservative Baptist scholar. Why? Because moderate Texas Baptists, who have prided themselves on being Baptist, find that they are losing their Baptist way of being community. If that popular-style essay, written some 7 years ago, is of any help to these fellow Baptists, I will rejoice, even across the moderate/conservative divide.
A Warning For All Baptists
But moderate Baptists are not the only ones who need to be reminded of our principles. In light of the fact that we are always in danger of losing our Baptist identity when some Baptists seek to remove other Baptists from their rightful place at the table, I am re-posting that essay. "Unauthorized Consent" applies to more situations than the gross practice of liberal-leaning self-perpetuating boards.
The only way we will remain Baptists (i.e. New Testament churches) by conviction is when we remember the theological principles upon which we are built. The priesthood of all believers and congregationalism are non-negotiable essentials in our Baptist identity. If we neglect those truths, we will become Baptists by convenience rather than Baptists by conviction, and, eventually, we will lose the name as well as the substance.
You may access the essay, "Unauthorized Consent," originally published in the Missouri Baptist Pathway, in Adobe format here.