To discern God in the world

As social media exploded with the news of the SCOTUS’ decision, I wondered how this decision would impact the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship conference. Would the agenda change? Would speakers change their prepared manuscripts or would those conversations be saved for individual churches and small groups rather than addressed from the national voice of CBF.

I watched the hashtag for the conference and didn’t see any reports or reflections. If one of the aspects that is impacting church life and church membership is relevancy, then shouldn’t we model this at a national gathering by monitoring and adjusting when a major event in our culture takes place?

Roger Williams adamantly set the foundation of the separation of church and state for baptists, but his vision didn’t mean that there wouldn’t be conversations centering around the impact of state decisions on the church and in particularly the people of the church. Instead, Williams meant that the state would not determine church doctrine and the church wouldn’t determine state laws.

With a decision this controversial, the question remains to be answered, “Will baptists stay true to their foundational belief?”

For CBF, this is a critical point to determine whether they will re-identify their fellowship as a fellowship open to all people or whether they will remain “those baptists who have women preachers.” What better place and time to establish this identity without question than at the national gathering. What will CBF choose?

Merianna Neely

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Merianna Neely Harrelson is a third year divinity school student at Gardner-Webb University. She is serving as the Interim Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship in Lexington, SC. She works as Editor-in-Chief of Harrelson Press in Columbia, SC.

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  • http://www.thomaswhitley.com thomaswhitley

    I think you make a great point, Merianna. CBF has serious questions that must be answered and one necessity to moving forward is adaptability. Not everyone in the CBF has to or should agree on the SCOTUS decisions, but a decision this big with so much reaction should be addressed in some way.