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Alabamians react to Patterson's statementcomment (0)

January 6, 2000

Rick Marshall
Pastor of Eastern Hills Baptist Church, Montgomery

“A break is not inevitable if the leadership will help prevent it,” Marshall said. “I think it is the job of the leadership to help heal and not sit and watch it happen. I’d like to see strong steps taken to heal it because it will affect Cooperative Program giving and missions.”

“We need to take active steps to keep focused on evangelism and missions,” Marshall noted. “I would like to see the leadership work to strengthen ties across the board of our convention…be broad based in filling positions of leadership in our convention, so all groups feel part of the leadership in our convention.”

Sue McFadden
President of Alabama’s Woman’s Missionary Union

“I was surprised (Patterson) made that statement,” she said. “I don’t feel it will be that drastic of a change. I think the majority of Southern Baptist will remain true to our mission, which is missions.”

“I am so thankful Alabama Baptist churches have stayed together and have not had some of the problems of the other states,” she said. “I think we will stay strong because giving is up more than ever and we are united in cooperating our missions. I believe the majority will remain united to do missions,” she noted.

Mike McLemore
Pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church, Birmingham

“Unless positive dialog takes place between moderate and conservative leadership, Patterson is probably correct,” McLemore said.

“It may be best for both sides to have a mutual agreement to go our separate ways is we can’t agree on diversity in some doctrinal issues.”

“I agree there is disenchantment with conservative leadership on the part of even some conservative,” he said. “We need to open up the process of election of convention officers at the national convention and also committee appointments to be more inclusive.

“Speaking in terms of the convention makeup now- it is made up pf conservative pastors and leaders, and yet the process for nominating the president and the other convention officers is still a closed matter,” McLemore said.

“A group of mega church pastors are meeting and choosing a president, and that’s about it. I think it has closed the process for elections and has brought a lot of disillusionments on the part of messenger,” he noted. “The attendance is getting less each year, and I think that is contributing to it because the messengers feel like everything is a done deal.”

John Killian
Pastor of Maytown Baptist Church, Bessemer

“Dr. Patterson is likely correct in predicting a split among Southern Baptists,” Kilgore said. “Since the time of the conservative resurgence in Southern Baptist life, Southern Baptist agencies and boards have taken a strong stand on the inspiration and authority of scripture. Those who have opposed resurgence, on doctrinal grounds, will find cooperating with Southern Baptists to be difficult.”

“For example,” Killian noted, “a Baptist who does not agree with the complete inspiration and accuracy of Scripture will find it hard to support Southern Baptist literature and our six seminaries who hold to a high view of Scripture.”

“Keep in mind,” Killian pointed out, “that Dr. Patterson is on the Eastern seaboard where liberalism in Baptist life had been much stronger than it is here in Alabama. Frankly, I do not think that a liberal break-off would draw substantial support here in Alabama.”

“I could see an issue arise where our State Board of Missions would be asked to channel support from churches to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship or the more liberal Alliance of Baptists,” he said. “Our state Baptist leadership, led by Rick Lance, has demonstrated a desire to maintain close ties to Southern Baptist missions work, and I commend that. I do not believe our state convention will move away from the mainstream of Southern Baptist life and work.”

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