To Whom will Baptists Bow?

Another Christian denomination may be about to succumb to secular morality. Another set of knees is preparing to bow to Baal. It has not happened yet, and some within are seeking to resist, but the writing is on the wall. The denomination? The Baptist Union. Its website reports, under the heading Marriage and Accredited Ministry:

A series of proposals regarding the process of consultation to enable Council to respond to a request to change the rules for our accredited ministers was agreed by Council members.

It does not sound too controversial. Yet the General Secretary dolefully commented “We are sharing together in deep convictions. These things matter. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet we come to different views,” and that it is a “very painful and difficult issue.” What is all the fuss about?

The denomination’s Council has been asked to change the Ministerial Recognition Rules to make it possible for Baptist ministers to be in a legal Same Sex Marriage and still be accredited. The denomination’s current rule is clear that any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is deemed gross misconduct. The specific clause (Section 4.3 of Appendix 3) says:

‘Sexual Misconduct which brings the church and ministry into disrepute. NB This specifically includes sexual intercourse and other genital sexual activity outside of marriage (as defined exclusively as between a man and a woman).’

70 people who are part of Baptists Together, the majority of whom are ministers, have written to ask that this clause be removed, which is why the Council is currently considering it. In June this year, the Union’s ‘Core Leadership Team’ sent a letter to all the denomination’s ministers and churches, stating:

'As we reflected together at CLT about this issue around marriage, we became even more aware of the deep pain that is felt by so many; it was felt acutely in the room. We are all so passionately committed to being faithful to Jesus that this really matters.’

Clever wording. Thankfully, there are plenty of Baptists who wish to remain faithful to gospel truth, even in these times when it is deemed old fashioned and intolerant. A ‘Baptist Ministers For Orthodox Marriage’ petition has been sent to the Council Moderator, stating:

'We ask the Baptist Union of Great Britain and its council to hold to the traditional biblical view that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that anything outside of this is unscriptural.'

Over 338 Ministers have signed this petition so far (October 2022). I salute their faithfulness and wish them God’s strength. Nevertheless, they might be concerned that they are even having to fight this battle at all, and not with the pagan world but with at least seventy ministers of their own persuasion. I hope this battle is won, though the war is likely to continue; Satan, given a foothold, does not give up easily. On the one side, there are people wishing to be faithful to God’s word come what may; on the other, people who are choosing to interpret it through their own cultural lens, imposing upon it their own desires and social expectations. Christian denominations go the way of all flesh: with time, they decay and wither. That is why we must always be children of the Reformation, always looking to scripture that we might keep realigning ourselves to it, for our fallen hearts would always drag us elsewhere, and our churches with us.