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05 July, 2007 / theexpositor

Why I Have Left the SBC

The Southern Baptist church has been a part of my life for over 45 years. My family has been for the most part faithful members of SBC congregations for several generations. I came to knowledge of Christ as Lord and Savior and was baptized through the ministry of a small SBC church. I was licensed and ordained to the Gospel ministry by that same church. Now after much prayer and counsel, I have decided that I am leaving the Southern Baptist Convention and joining the Presbyterian Church in America.

Before I share with you the reasons I have made this decision, let sincerely make some things clear. My decision to make this move is not a reflection on any particular church member, church or pastor. There are countless members of SBC congregations who love God and faithfully serve Him everyday. There are scores of SBC churches who seek to exalt God and whose heart is to share the Gospel the best way they know how with the knowledge they have.

My differences are certainly with the directions of the denomination itself and indeed with certain leaders within the SBC and definitely with particular doctrinal and theological views that are endorsed by the Convention or definable foundational truths that have been denied or distorted. 

First and foremost, the reason I have left the SBC is by the direction of he Lord. It wasn’t until I sensed true peace with my decision that I committed to the move, and did not and would not leave without what I discerned as the true guidance of the Lord.I had intended to write an extensive article here, outlining some specific reasons why I have left the SBC and to elaborate on each point. I may do that at a later date as well as discussing it on the radio program. 

 I do not write the piece simply to start a fight, but in hopes that what little I have to contribute may play some part in making some changes, or at least getting some people to think.

The factors that led to my decision include:

·         The embrace of Arminianism, and in some cases outright Pelagianism, evident in evangelism, missions and discipleship, which place more emphasis on the contribution of man than to the sovereignty and glorification of God.

·         The unwillingness to solidify positions of church doctrine and to enforce these positions throughout the denomination.

·         The unwillingness to exercise church discipline, including the misapplication of church autonomy.

·         The promotion and outlright endorsement of unscriptural church growth movements including the seeker-driven, purpose driven life and emergent church movements.

·         The use of unbiblical, worldly practices used in youth ministry. I’m in agreement with Voddie Baucham on this point that contemporary youth ministry is a dismal failure.

·         The growing acceptance of women in ministry leadership.

·         The denominations growing involvement in ecumenicalism.  

I know that some of you will disagree with the reasons I have listed here, and you have that right, and I encourage you to write me with your comments. 

Again, this article is simply not just to gripe rather it is my prayer that the Southern Baptist Convention will repent as a denomination and return to scriptural faithfulness and biblical integrity. In closing I want to give thanks and praise to the Lord for having provided me with the opportunity and blessing of being a part of a new church family. I have been graciously granted membership at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a Presbyterian Church in America congregation and I look forward with excitement and hope in how I may serve and grow there.

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15 Comments

  1. James Reggio / Jul 5 2007 6 28

    Mike,

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one; just six months ago I made the same move from SBC to PCA. Thank you for articulating your reasons so well.

    James

  2. Chermone / Jul 5 2007 9 00

    Bro Mike, I pray that God’s will is continuously done in your life. Do what you know God is leading you to. My wife and I were talking earlier tonight about some of the wickedness going on in the church today. I think most denominations are eventually going to fall away because it is no longer about God, but about the organization. As long as the organization is focused on meeting its agenda, it will never bown down to Christ’s. Wicked men will always seek to gain more and more power. But you Mike (and others who believe in upholding the truth of scripture)must continue to be instant in season, out of season. The SBC is not the only organization slowly turning its back on the scriptures. Besides, maybe God is saving you some time. After all, with the way the PDL of Warren is going nowadays, you probably would be kicked out of a church for rejecting it sooner or later anyhow. Keep the faith!

  3. John Daly / Jul 5 2007 17 11

    Did you think about becoming a Reformed Baptist at all before you left the SBC?

    John in St. Louie

  4. andrew / Jul 5 2007 19 00

    I embrace Arminianism,its not a dirty word you know!!

    I support what you say on your show and webpage 99% of the time,i have many of the same concerns about the modern church as you,so lets not make this a Arminianism free zone!

  5. Mike / Jul 5 2007 19 16

    John: I was a reformed baptist anyway, but the closest reformed baptist congregation is in Jackson, about 40 miles from us. My move to a PCA church was not made however solely due to geographics, but to the expressed committment to the Gospel of the PCA and the local PCA congregation I have joined.

    Andrew: Good point. I disagree with Arminianism but it is not a dirty word. Pelagianism is a false doctrine and my fear is that in some cases,not all, the dividing line between Arminianism andn Pelagianism is far too vague. Lord bless you for your faithfulness.

  6. Jennifer / Jul 5 2007 21 51

    I attend a very large southeastern PCA church and can tell you there are a LOT of members here that have an SBC pedigree…people who at some point realized they could no longer in good faith attend an SBC church, and who feel they are better off reluctantly embracing paedo-baptism than reluctantly embracing pelagiansm. There are more and more reformed baptist churches around but many of them—certainly not all—are, well, lets just say, not unlike some of the extreme calvinistic blogs… stuck in the 1600s culturally, and mean as a snake to any non-Calvinist. So many Calvinists I know are moving to non-calvinistic non-denominational churches (not sure why) or calvinistic conservative presbyterian churches (PCA).

  7. Drew / Jul 6 2007 21 09

    I imagine that this was inevitable Bro. Mike. I assume you are still credo-Baptist?

    Jennifer,
    One doesn’t have to embrace paedo-Baptism at all, even to attend a PCA church. Might I suggest that you discuss starting a Baptist church with those Baptist folks? ARBCA can help.

  8. Jim / Jul 7 2007 16 16

    Brother Mike,

    Our prayers are with you and your family. May God continue to bless your ministry of faithfulness to our Lord, until he comes.

    Thank you for counting the cost, and sounding the trumpet

    May God have mercy on us all.

    Jim

  9. James / Jul 9 2007 13 41

    I know that there are many former SBCers sitting in PCA pews, although I’m thorougly convinced that the names of those SBCers are still on the church rolls (SBC – “16 million strong”). Mike, I appreciate your concern for the Word of God and trust that the Lord will use you to be a blessing to our Presbyterian brothers and sisters. It makes me sad that the SBC continues to lose many of its best and brightest, but understand completely why it is happening.

  10. GeneMBridges / Jul 9 2007 22 20

    Just to head off the discussion on Reformed Baptist v. Presbyterian…

    I fear that some will read Brother Mike’s post and conclude something like “Aha! Calvinism leads to Presbyterianism.”

    No. First,there’s such a thing as the Second London Baptist Confession. That should go without saying.

    However, Brother Mike is facing the same problem that MANY Reformed and Sovereign Grace Baptists face. There simply is no church that is within a decent distance from us. My own church is nearly 30 miles, and with $3.00/gallon gas coming permanently soon, it is becoming difficult to effectually participate in the life of my church like I should.

    So, Mike is actually being true to his doctrine of a truly local church.

    The PCA allows members to join who do not subscribe to paedobaptism. In fact, one may be an Arminian and be a member. One may not, however, be a deacon or elder, unless the presbytery/session makes a special allowance. So, do not interpret Brother Mike as converting to “Presbyterianism.” (cue ominous Darth Vader breathing).

    It is no secret that many Calvinists have left the SBC for the PCA in recent years for the very reasons Mike lists. In fact, it’s a bit of an in – joke in the PCA. The Baptists are takin’ over! (We can only hope 😉 ).

    It is my hope that as Reformed theology continues to resurge among Baptists this difficulty will be relieved, but it will take time. Another problem, particularly for Southern Baptists, seems to be their loyalty to their denomination. It is immensely difficult to get them to leave. On the one hand that’s good; but on the other, when there is a need for a new church, it can be difficult to draw them out to start that work. I’d encourage Brother Mike to find other like minded Baptists over time and, perhaps start a Bible fellowship that can mature into a RB congregation one day.

  11. R. L. Vaughn / Jul 11 2007 18 37

    Michael, I’ve not read your blog before, but found it via a link from Leslie Puryear’s blog. Though I don’t agree with your conclusion, I agree with your reasons, if I understand them correctly. I agree that “contemporary youth ministry is a dismal failure,” but haven’t read Voddie Baucham. Also I’m not sure exactly what you mean by (1) enforcing doctrinal positions throughout the denomination and (2) the misapplication of church autonomy. Would you mind further explaining these phrases in your context?

    It is sad that much of modern Christianity (including perhaps a majority of Baptists) have adopted man-centered religion. IMO, it goes beyond soteriology and is rooted in a faulty view of God. Many Baptists I know see a puny God who is trying to do what He can, while “sovereign” man is doing whatever he will.

    Thanks.

  12. Darrin Patrick / Jul 13 2007 13 53

    Mike,
    First of all, looking forward to our visit in the near future. Secondly, I completely sympathize with your decision. I have two degrees from SBC institutions and recently completed the class work for the DMIN from Covenant Seminary (national seminary of the PCA). I was shocked, unfortunately, at the combination of brilliance/humility that I have encountered in the prof’s at Covenant. It has been so refreshing. Every denom struggles with power and control, but I am very impressed with the leaders I have met in the PCA. I find myself looking to them (Chapell, Keller, Barrs, Ortlund) quite often for spriritual encouragement. I pray that you and your family are equipped well in your new church home.
    Peace to you

  13. terri simpson / Dec 12 2008 16 49

    I am glad you are willing to change,but how about checking out Jesus’ church.I don’t read in the bible of the baptist or presbyterian.I do read Jesus was going to build his church.Mt16:18,19 & give Peter the keys to it.He used those keys in Acts 2:38,41,47 those who obeyed this were added to the Lords’ church(which he shed his blood for,& is the saviour of.Acts 20:28;Eph.5:23. & is the kingdom that those are translated into Col.1:13,14 that will be handed up to God in the end 1Cor.15:24,25)Yes the kingdom is already here,unlike alot of people teach.If it isn’t here we would have people living over 2,000 years old.Mk.9:1 Some standing there would not die until they saw the kingdom come.There is only 1 faith Eph.4:5 & that faith was once delivered (bible)Jude 3 faith comes by hearing the word of God Rom.10:17If everyone would just go by the bible with out adding or taking away from it, Rev.22:18,19 we would be that one church .There is only one body Eph.4:4,which is Jesus church.Eph.1:22,23.How do we get in that 1body ?By that 1 baptism Ebh.4:5;1 Cor.12:13 ,Acts 2:38,41,47,one has to have all the steps before being baptized.One has to believe Mk.16:16;repent Acts 2:38, confess Christ Rom.10:10 these steps are all unto salvation ,but you do not get into Christs’ saving body until you are buried (when you bury something you total cover it (baptism is a burial & raised up from the water.)with Christ in baptism & raised to walk a new life .New life comes after baptism.We have to faith in Gods’ operation Col 2:11-13 that he will quicken us with Christ ,because when we are quickened with Christ by grace are we saved Eph.2:5; have sins washed away .Acts 22:16;2:38,41,47;1 peter 3:20,21saves us.We are then chidren of God, because we had the faith in Gods’ operation .Gal.3:26,27For this reason you are chidren of God you were baptized into Christ.Check out http://www.wvbs.org .The church has a program on colours tv ,good news today through the gospel broadcast network .You also can find them on line.

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