in my “history of the baptists” class today, my professor, dr. tom nettles shared excerpts from this news story concerning the new covenant baptist celebration assembly of baptists in atlanta last week led by former president jimmy carter.

here are some excerpts:

Baptists must stop trying to convert everyone to faith in Jesus Christ
and realize that there are multiple “good” interpretations of Bible
passages that appear to exalt Jesus as the only way of salvation,
panelists said Jan. 31 at a session called “Can We All Get Along?
Finding Common Ground with Other Faiths.”

In dialogue with people of other faiths, Christians must appreciate
diversity and recognize that trying to bring all people to faith in
Jesus ruins what Gerald Durley, pastor of Providence Missionary
Baptist Church in Atlanta, described as the beautiful mixture of
religions in the world. He compared the religions of the world
to a vegetable soup in which diversity enhances the flavor.

while we should not persecute or hate anyone because of their religious beliefs, it is outrageous that a self-professed christian would say that religions of false gods whose practioners are headed for an eternal torment are “flavor enhancing.

i am dumbfounded when, at a baptist gathering, the idea that there are other valid interpretations of the scriptures that “appear” to claim jesus is the only way of salvation is uttered as an acceptable way of thinking.

All Christian witnessing must be based on personal experience
rather than dogmatic appeal to absolute truths, [david]Currie said.

“It is never appropriate to be dogmatic in one’s convictions,” he said.
“God is truth. I don’t know all truth. So what I bear witness to is what
I have experienced in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and
that’s as far as I can take it.”

my question to mr. currie would be:
“if christian witnessing should be based on personal experience rather than a ‘dogmatic appeal” to absolute truth’, how can you be certain that your personal experience is valid? what if someone else claims to have salvation based off of their faith in islam? how can you know that your assurance that you are saved is worth anything? how do you know that your “experience” was valid? what is your personal relationship with jesus based on? how do you know what is pleasing to jesus? how do you know what disobedience is?”

When audience members asked about evangelism, Currie said Jesus
did not tell people what to do with their lives until they asked. He said
the most effective evangelistic technique is to remain silent until an
unbeliever specifically asks about the Gospel.

“For the most part … the most effective evangelism slogan I know is
‘love people and shut up.’ That is good evangelism. And when you love
them, ultimately they’ll ask you why and then you can tell them.
But if you start telling them before they ask, they’re not going to
hear you.”

ummm… “jesus did not tell people what to do with their lives until they asked“?
have you *read* the new testament?
sure there are instances where non-believers are searching and when they know they are around a believer they may ask some questions- but what we see in the new testament is the believing community being intentional about sharing the gospel, not waiting for someone to ask.
yes we should love people unconditionally, but part of loving them is being concerned for their soul. i have loved and cared for many people who were lost who never asked about the gospel except to tell me they dont want to hear it.

i wasn’t sure what to expect from this gathering. i had my guesses, but i certainly had no idea that this type of post-modern, relativistic conversation would take place. not only is this kind of talk not baptist, it isn’t even christian.

people do not have to be southern baptist to be christian. but they must at least affirm the exclusivity of the gospel.

for more on this meeting go here: