Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Open Letter to the Leaders in the Fundamental Baptist Movement.

Stop sending me open letters!

Well, here we go again. In the last month I have received three news letters, five e-mails and six "open letters," (one to a dead guy,) all related to the latest scrape among Independent Baptists.

Before I go any further, this is not a blog where I am going to weigh in on my position.

It saddens me, but I am the only Fundamental
Independent Baptist in my family. This was not always the case. My grandfather was ordained under Dr. Luther C. Peake of Central Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. (No longer in existence.) Dr. Peake was out of Dr. J. Frank Norris' school at First Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. (No longer in existence.) Why did my family leave the Fundamental Baptist movement? over infighting and bickering just like we are seeing right now...again.

I am not saying we cannot, or should not stand up for our position. I am not some "peace nic" Baptist saying, "Why can't we all just get along?" But if we are not in agreement, in the words of Dr. B.G. Buchannon, "Pick up your hat and move on." But please, quit sending me open letters about who you are mad at. If you want to call a man a liar, buy yourself a plane ticket, fly to his town, go look him in the face and call him a liar. But stop wasting my time and God's money sending out letters so others will pick your side. I am too busy. I am in the trenches out here in Iowa trying to build a church and win souls while working another job to support my family.
So, besides being a pastor, I also work for a living.

It use to be enough to ask a preacher or a missionary, "Do you hold to the King James position." Now, we have to worry, is he KJV enough; or is he too KJV? I have been and Independent Baptist all my life. I will die an Independent, Fundamental King James Bible-believing Baptist.

I have been in the ministry long enough to know where this latest flap will take us. It will take us the same place the battle over doctrine of repentance did few years ago. It will take us to division, animosity between the brethren, suspicion, dropped missionary support and a fractured movement, with the pastors on both sides giving the exact same plan of salvation as the other. While all the time, the critics of our movement stand back and scratch their heads and wonder why we are at it again.

Fundamentalism will not be a significant movement in the twenty first century, because we will continue on the same fractured path we have been on for seventy five years. It happened in the fifties with J. Frank Norris and the Baptist Bible Fellowship. It happened in the sixties and the seventies with the Southwide Fellowship. It happened in the eighties between the World Baptist Fellowship and the Independent Baptist Fellowship. It happened in the eighties with the Sword of the Lord passing the baton to new leadership. It happened with the passing of Dr. Jack Hyles. at First Baptist in Hammond. (By the way, that was one church taking a pastor, and it was nobody else's business. We are independent, after all.)

A great Baptist evangelist of days gone by, (I am not being sarcastic, he was a great Christian.) was quoted as saying, "If somebody doesn't jump on me in six months, I'm gonna jump somebody." With all humility and with all due respect, sir, you are wrong. This attitude has led to a movement fraught with division and contention that neither glorifies God, nor edifies the body of Christ.

Might I remind you, brethren, some of the leaders of days gone by, who are being quoted by both sides for validation, did not even publicly take the KJV position until the early 1980's. Before that, the preaching and position on this doctrine was inconsistent and vague in many cases. I believe this is part of the problem today.

If you believe the KJV is inspired, then preach the KJV. If you believe the KJV is preserved, then preach it. Whichever your position, your practice will be the same. There are two groups of men that agree that we have the perfect Word of God in our language in the A.V. 1611. The issue is really how it got that way. If we disagree on that, we might not walk together, but our faith practice will be the same.

I believe it is time to take the advice of Dr. Phil Stringer. It is time to show some grace. It is time for Independent Baptist to start standing on something and stop stepping on each other. If we cannot agree then we must part company. But it does not have to be bloody. Just pick up your hat and move on.

I am not a prominent figure in the movement by any means, nor do I wish to be. There is not one pastor in America with whom I would trade places. If you are reading this, and know some of these good men; I mean that; they are good men, please send them a copy of this. Who knows; maybe they will send me an open letter some day. (O.K. that was sarcastic.)

Just a thought. Thank you for reading.


  1. Great post! The divisions, the corners on God, the pride, the disloyalty, the conditional love, the backbiting, etc. are all characteristics of the religious hypocrites of our Lord's days as read about in the scripture. People do not change there will always be the Pharisees within every camp, those that would ditch the Lord himself for some reason or another. They can continue to entertain themselves, as for me, I have work to do....

  2. Bro. Cannon, You hit the nail right on the head! Brother I couldn't agree with you more! There is way to much fighting, and back biting in our movement. Would to God some of these pastors would do what they teach there church members. I am tired of getting the open letters. They seem to me to be the latest gossip. I've preached against soap opera's for years, now I'm tired of getting them in my e-mail!

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  4. The problem is, we little guys will never be heard when it comes to these issues. You are spot on, We have so much that needs to be done where we are. Don't you wish when the men who have influence write and send use there papers they would give us helpful tools that will help us reach people for Christ. Thank you Bro Mark well said.

  5. Great post Bro. Cannon,
    Just another way for Ol' Slewfoot to get a wedge in there. Sadly we usually graciously allow him.
    God forgive us!