March 29, 2015
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
An Open Letter Response to American Baptist College President Dr. Forrest Harris
Colgate Rochester Crozer President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle
By Rev. Dr. John H. Grant, D. Min., Pastor
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Asheville, NC
March 27, 2015
I am affiliated with the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors and endorsed a recent letter objecting to same-sex marriage advocates Bishop Yvette Flunder, Dr. Delmen Coates and Dr. Allan Boesak being invited to preach at our American Baptist College in Nashville.
If we concerned pastors are guilty of “idolatry of the Bible” as Dr. Harris alleges, then what kind of idolatry is he guilty of? Has he elevated as synonymous with truth his opinion and the opinions of those who agree with him? A kind of idolatry of self? Do people like Dr. Harris and his allies discredit the Bible because they, in the words of Dr. Ben Carson, “need to remove any authority other than themselves as the arbiter of right and wrong?”
A statement from John R.W. Stott is compelling:
The Scriptures have the content, authority, and power for a proper evangelistic message. … God has clothed His thoughts in words, and there is no way to know Him except by knowing the Scriptures. … We can’t even read each other’s minds, much less what is in the mind of God.
If we are not to discern the mind of God on homosexual conduct from the Bible, where else are we to discern God’s mind on the subject? From the opinions of fallible, vacillating and “evolved” minds like those of Dr. Harris or Dr. McMickle, or any of the rest of us, or even of our President Obama?
Contrary to Dr. Harris’s claim, if anyone has “misappropriated the theology of the National Baptist Convention,” evidence would indicate in this instance that it is he and Dr. McMickle. Consider the theology in the Statement of Faith posted on our Convention website:
The Scriptures. We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.
Every single one of the 18 Articles of Faith posted on our Convention website begins with the affirmation “We believe the Scriptures teach . . .” In light of this affirmation, it is excessively remarkable that Dr. Harris would denigrate our embrace of biblical truth, dismiss and relegate it to the ash heaps of history as a “first-century worldview” by which we moderns “can’t be guided and dictated” and from which the more enlightened mortals (as himself) have evolved. I guess we are supposed to evolve beyond Jesus. To his credit, however, Dr. Harris does not deny the biblical truth about homosexuality. He just denies that that truth has relevance beyond the first-century.
It is worthy of note that not only do National Baptists have a high regard for Scripture, but so did Jesus:
- He treated it as fully authoritative. (Matthew 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-12)
- Praying for His disciples, He asked the Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17, NKJV)
- He taught that it points to him, and that He is its fulfillment. (Matthew 21:42-44; Luke 24:27, 44; Matthew 5:17)
Harris also stated: “It’s tragic these conservative pastors are in opposition to what education ought to be about, to expose students to critical moral thinkers and a broad education.” If anyone believes having Bishop Flunder preach at American Baptist College was about exposing students to critical moral thinkers and broad education, all one has to do is read the transcript of her speech given on Tuesday evening, March 17, 2015 at the Baptist World Center on the campus of American Baptist College, which was posted on a Kingdom Global Strategy blog. Among other things contrary to academia, her speech was effectively and essentially a pep rally promoting sexual behavior which our Convention has historically characterized as perversion.
As a 1979 graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and with all due respect, I am personally embarrassed by our school president’s (Dr. McMickle) comments in defense of Dr. Harris, including his patronizing insinuation regarding our “biblical and theological standing” and whether any “noted biblical and theological scholars” are among our number. Those promoting the radical homosexual movement often and openly use harsh rhetoric, nasty name-calling, and display blatant intolerance toward others who dare to differ with their more “morally superior” perspectives for the purpose of intimidating or embarrassing them into silence.
To them, anyone who dares to differ with their “more enlightened minds” on this subject has to be displaying disrespect and bigotry, among other similarly disgraceful things. They claim for themselves the virtues of tolerance and open-mindedness while at the same time displaying intolerance and close-mindedness toward perspectives that differ from theirs. In America people with different perspectives are supposed to be able to discuss their differences courteously and respectfully without resorting to personal attacks. It should be about respectful debate, not about accusing others of hate. However, people with weak arguments and inclinations toward one-sided monologue rather than constructive dialogue are notorious for resorting to nasty rhetoric. Erwin W. Lutzer’s words are apropos here:
Ours is a battle that cannot be won by reason, scientific data, or dialogue. The radical homosexual movement that preaches tolerance will not itself tolerate alternate opinions. Everyone must move in lockstep with their agenda—or pay a price.
The price to be paid for reasoned and respectful disagreement is character assassination, demonization, denunciation and vilification as reflected in such words (also used by Dr. McMickle) as “ignorance” and “bigotry.” To so label others who disagree with him is very judgmental on his part and represents the virulent vitriol so prevalent today from pro-homosexual activists toward those who take exception to the “sex-style.” His own comments are also self-revealing, indicating guilt of the very kind of intolerance he condemns in others.
He asks, “Who has authorized these pastors to speak so broadly about Baptist doctrine and biblical faith?” I ask, who has authorized him to question so broadly our theological standing and insinuate that we are intellectually and theologically inferior to himself and to those who agree with him. I would submit that in regard to what is posted on our Convention website, our position is more authorized than either his or Dr. Harris’. Consider, for example, the following statements from our website:
- In all matters of Faith and Practice, National Baptists are guided by Holy Scriptures. Genesis 2: 18-25 shows God’s concern for relationships by creating the woman to be a partner with man. National Baptist Endorsed Chaplains, although serving in a pluralistic environment, are not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same sex marriage or same sex union. ( Charles F. Thomas, Sr., Office of the Ecclesiastical Endorser, Home Mission Board National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.)
- . . . the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. affirms that marriage is a sacred biblical covenant between a man and a woman. (Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, Immediate past President)
Dr. McMickle further opines:
Why are they so enraged by same-sex marriage and homosexuality, but apparently not equally concerned about adultery, fornication, and divorce; all of which are spoken against in the Bible and all of which are currently occurring in black Baptist churches and black Baptist pulpits? This selective reading and enforcement of biblical teachings is infuriating to me.
Even if it were true, as Dr. McMickle alleges in his self-righteous infuriation, that we are not equally concerned about other sins spoken against in the Bible, that failure to be equally concerned about the others would not justify the affirmation of homosexuality. Failure to equally address one sin does not justify the affirmation of another.
Also, I don’t know of any adulterer or other types of fornicators demanding their sexual behavior be accepted, advocated, celebrated, legalized and elevated to the legal and moral equivalent of its opposite. If anyone is not “equally concerned” about these other sexual sins, it would appear be the mainstream secular and liberal media, much of corporate America, so-called Hollywood and intellectual elites, activist courts and judges, who have inundated our public airways, institutions and courts of law with a steady diet of prime-time homosexual propaganda. Many of the advocates of this pro-homosexual propaganda are now postulating the absurd position that a right to same-sex marriage exists in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that they expect the U.S. Supreme court to rule accordingly this summer.
Scholars like Carson Holloway have reminded us, however, that members of the Supreme Court are fallible human being with their own partisan biases, can be and have been wrong in the past, as in the cases of Brown v. Board of Education and Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), in which it held that the Constitution gave Congress no power to forbid slavery in the federal territories and that even free blacks could never be citizens of the United States. (This is a reason why we have) the other branches of government (that each may balance and hold in check the other).
Carson goes on to quote President Abraham Lincoln’s problem with the notion of judicial supremacy:
the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14410/)
If the Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage the law of the land, then citizens of this country may find ourselves ruled by what Lincoln called that “eminent tribunal” rather than by “we the people.”
To be sure, as Dr. McMickle and others contend, it may be true that adulterers and other kind of fornicators, in addition to homosexuals, have preached at the American Baptist College without objection from groups like ours. But even if they have, they have not come brazenly and openly promoting, advocating, advertising and wearing their sin, in the words of Dr. Randy Vaughn, as a “badge of honor.”
Since Dr. McMickle seems to be so much concerned about civil rights and equality, what about the civil and equal rights of children to be raised by their mother and father? Same-sex marriage necessarily deprives a child of either the child’s mother or father or both, and is therefore antithetical to the well-being of children. Research shows that, in general, children in homes without their biological mother or father are at greater risk of abuse. Further, same-sex marriage, particularly among male same-sex couples who desire children, is now resulting in babies/children being severed from the inevitable bonds of their biological parents and treated as commodities to be commercially bought and sold, with the creation of a subclass of women who are treated as breeders, all for the purpose of birthing babies to satisfy the whims of adults. Who will fight for the civil and equal rights of these babies, many of whom as grown up adults are now speaking out against this abuse?
Also, if the real issue is civil rights, why isn’t there organized advocacy for the equal rights of those who practice other types of sexual sins like adultery, etc.? The civil rights struggle of the 50’s and 60’s was about people being victimized for an immutable trait, skin color, not about legitimizing one’s sexual behavior. While it is universally indisputable that race is an immutable trait, there is no science to prove that homosexual conduct is. Thus, the argument equating one’s sexual conduct to skin color and calling it immutable is, as a matter of fact, without merit. There are documented cases – based on clinical experience, peer-reviewed research and personal testimonies – of many former homosexuals, but there are no known instances of a former black person.
According the scholarly National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (“NARTH”):
Although many people have been misled to believe that homosexuality is biologically based and therefore unchangeable, researchers acknowledge that people are not simply born homosexual. Researchers have never found a biological basis for homosexuality (APA, 2008). Anyone familiar with the research knows clearly that many factors contribute for sexual orientation. There are many pathways into and out of homosexuality.
There is disturbing scientific evidence/proofs, even from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, of the harmful effects of this “sex-style” on the individuals who practice it and upon the larger society. Not long ago in a letter to the editor of our local newspaper (Asheville Citizen-Times), I raised the question of why the indisputable public health consequences of men who have sex with men (MSM) are not being more widely debated and disseminated in the mainstream media. The CDC reports that “Gay and bisexual men is the only risk group in the U.S. in which the annual number of new HIV infections is increasing.”
- MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year (53%, or an estimated 28,700 infections).
- While CDC estimates that MSM account for just 4 percent of the U.S. male population aged 13 and older, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the U.S. is more than 44 times that of other men (range: 522–989 per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men). (http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/fastfacts-msm-final508comp.pdf)
Other researchers report that the HIV-positive rate for homosexual men is as high as fifty-times more likely than for heterosexual men. The CDC also reports that MSM are at “elevated risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.” Studies also show that women who identify as lesbian are at a higher risk for more gynecologic cancers and increased likelihood of bacterial vaginosis compared to heterosexual women.
It’s not ignorance and bigotry to point out these adverse health consequences. The real danger to public health is the pro-homosexual bigotry that would keep the public in ignorance about these consequences. Who is really being unloving? Those who shine the light on these troubling statistics, or those who try to prevent these statistics from becoming widely disseminated and legitimately debated? In this instance, the debate has nothing to do with the Bible or religion but with public health.
Our culture and courts are elevating a known risky sexual behavior to the level of a civil right, enshrining it into law, criminalizing dissent, prosecuting non-cooperating business owners with stiff penalties and the threat of being deprived of their businesses, reputations and livelihoods – all for advocating a view of marriage which Christians and adherents of other major world religions have universally affirmed for thousands of years. This view of marriage as between a man and woman was even advocated by President Obama just a few years ago prior to his “evolution” before the previous presidential election.
Finally, as a 1987 graduate of Erskine Theological Seminary’s doctoral program, I fully endorse and support my Alma Marta’s position on homosexuality:
We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position . . . Sexual relations outside of marriage or between persons of the same sex are spoken of in scripture as sin and contrary to the will of the Creator.
There are numerous compassionate, competent, credentialed scholars and theologians, as well as other persons of impeccable character, academic credentials and intelligence who do not agree with Doctors Harris and McMickle on the subjects of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
In addition to those of us affiliated with the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, here are a few more noted scholars/theologians, among others, who do not agree that disagreeing with homosexual behavior is a matter of ignorance and bigotry:
- Robert Gagnon, Ph.D. (Princeton): Jesus, Scripture, and the Myth of New Knowledge Arguments about Homosexual Unions
- Michael Brown, Ph.D. (New York University): Can You Be Gay and Christian?: Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality
- James DeYoung, Th.D. (Dallas Seminary), Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and Other Ancient Literature and Law
- Thomas R. Schreiner, Ph.D. (Fuller Seminary), “A New Testament Perspective on Homosexuality“
- Gordon Wenham, Ph.D. (University of London), “The Old Testament Attitude to Homosexuality“
- Jeffry Satinover, M.D. (Baker Books), “The Politics of Homosexuality”
Their disagreement, like ours, is not due to ignorance, homophobia or hatred of homosexuals, but due to a sincerely-held, well-grounded and researched conviction on the nature of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Today there is alarming and widespread animus, as well as brazen intolerance, against those of us who hold to this conviction, and there is being hurled at us a disturbing brand of anti-Christian and anti-Bible bigotry. It is high time that more of us start naming and challenging this brand of bigotry.
I say to those who disagree with our conviction about the nature of marriage that we stand where we stand respectfully, unapologetically, unequivocally and compassionately. Compassion does not require the compromise of convictions which are based on biblical truth. I welcome ongoing and respectful dialogue on this subject. We can agree to disagree without attacking each other’s character, intelligence, or theological standing.
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March 23, 2015
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
A SAD DAY IN THE HISTORY OF BLACK BAPTISTS AT AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE
What President Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess” Jezebel Have In Common
By William Dwight McKissic, SR.
“20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Revelation 2:20-21 KJV)
An incredible, unprecedented, and thus far un-repented of, event took placed on Tuesday evening, March 17, 2015, at the Baptist World Center on the campus of American Baptist College (Dr. Forrest Harris, President). It was reminiscent of an event strongly rebuked by Jesus, that’s recorded in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:18-25). The purpose of this article is to summarize and capsulate that awful evening for posterity sake, and to communicate to the larger National Baptist family the sad state of affairs, theologically and spiritually, at American Baptist College, Nashville, Tennessee.
The “angel of the house”—the messenger or Pastor of The Church at Thyatira—permitted Jezebel, “which calleth herself a prophetess to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication.” Jezebel taught the congregation at Thyatira that sexually deviant practices, contrary to the Word of God, were permissible. Jesus rebuked the pastor and the church at Thyatira for permitting this false teaching to take place in His Church.
What President Forrest Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess” Jezebel have in common is this: They all three affirm deviant sexual behavior and believe that the Bible is an insufficient guide in matters of sexual conduct for today’s believers.
In response to the lesbian bishop speaking controversy at ABC recently, Dr. Harris stated to the “Tennessean,” a local newspaper:
“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,”
When asked to define “idolatry of the Bible,” Harris said:
“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.” [Emphasis mine]
That statement, and that statement alone, ought to be enough reason for the ABC Trustee Board to immediately relieve Dr. Harris of his duties. Dr. Harris’ statement not only contradicts the Words of Jesus, that equated God’s Word with truth (John 17:17); his statement also contradicts the official doctrinal statement of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., that holds a much higher view of the Bible than does Dr. Harris. In the Articles of Faith adopted by the National Baptist Convention, the very first article states the opposite of Dr. Harris’ view of the Bible as an insufficient guide, and not being synonymous with truth:
“We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.”
Where the NBCUSA, Inc. stands on the Bible, and where the President of ABC stands on the Bible are light years apart. Therefore, National Baptist churches can no longer trust ABC to educate our college students and they return to our churches holding the beliefs that are consistent with our doctrinal statement.
President Harris affirmed Bishop Flunder’s same-sex marriage before she preached that dreadful Tuesday evening. Dr. Harris asked 30-40 freshman students seated on the first couple of rows to stand, and stated to Bishop Flunder, “These students are here to support you.” Bishop Flunder introduced Shirley Miller whom she’s been in a lesbian relationship with for 30 years, and legally married her when laws in America permitted it. When Yvette Flunder recorded “Love Alive IV” in 1990 on the album with Walter Hawkins Singers, and did the lead role on the popular gospel tune that’s sung almost unanimously in Black churches—“Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done For Me”—she was in a lesbian relationship with Shirley Miller—who after Dorothy Combs Morriston left the Edwin Hawkins singers to establish a solo career—Shirley Miller, Yvette Flunder’s spouse, was the voice of the phenomenally popular gospel hit, “Oh Happy Day.” “Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done for Me” is married to “Oh Happy Day.”
On January 30, 2015, I emailed and forwarded to Dr. Harris a letter that contained the following questions that he refused to answer:
- “Is the pro-Gay lifestyle and same-sex marriage affirmed and taught as acceptable at ABC?”
- “Does ABC believe that homosexual acts are sinful within or outside of a “marriage” context?”
- “Dr. Harris, are you aware that Dr. Yvette Flunder is a practicing lesbian, legally married to a woman?”
To this date, Dr. Harris has not responded to my letter. He told Baptist Press that he decided to “let his supporters respond” to me.
Dr. Harris posted on ABC’s website a letter from “The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries” who is a group of churches led by gay pastors, or pastors sympathetic and supportive of “same-gender loving couples” and “marriage equality.”
As reported to the Baptist Press—letting “his supporters respond”—the following quotes are from “The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries” in support of Dr. Harris; and obviously these are his answers to my questions:
“No matter its denominational roots or current relationships, ABC is right to maintain its commitment to academic integrity by introducing students to a fuller witness of the Christian faith and life, including that of Bishop Funder and other same-gender loving Christians.”
“The Christian community cannot make sanctuary for biblical idolatry and interpretive inertia, grounding our stubbornness and phobias in shaky notions of denominational heritage. We must instead seek a new and continual revelation in our sacred text that continues to breathe life and preach liberty to those most vulnerable and marginalized, including same-gender loving and transgender people.” [Emphasis mine]
American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing, and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships. http://www.awab.org/statement-of-support-for-dr-forrest-harris-and-the-american-baptist-college.html [Emphasis mine]
On the opening night of the lecture series at ABC, the worshippers were asked to participate in a “Responsive Reading” where the worship leader stated the following:
“We are committed to a love and justice ministry that shuns all forms of oppression and hates based on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. We are committed to fostering leaders who uphold cultural and racial diversity, gender justice, and developing effective leadership for a more inclusive church and society.” [Emphasis mine]
There is no biblical or biological proof that a person is born with a “sexual orientation” that causes them to be attracted to the same sex. Romans 1:24-32 seems to indicate that individuals choose to become homosexual “through the lusts of their own hearts” (24), “changing the truth of God into a lie” (25), changing the natural use into that which is against nature” (26), “men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burning with lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly” (27). To ask worshipers at a Baptist College to affirm “sexual orientation” as an undisputed social category without any scientific or scriptural backing for such a notion is beneath the integrity, intellect, honor, and holiness that you would expect from a Baptist College.
In a letter supporting Dr. Harris, Marvin A. McMickle, President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, stated, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we do not yet know the degree to which sexual orientation is simply a matter of ‘how we have been made.’” Maybe Dr. McMickle doesn’t know “how we have been made,” but the apostle Paul claimed to know; and he clearly argued that we were not made to engage in homosexual activities.
After Bishop Flunder gave a $500.00 gift to ABC, Dr. Harris pledged to raise an additional $9,500.00 from gay and gay affirming churches in order to name a dormitory room in honor of Bishop Yvette Flunder on the campus of ABC. To form a fundraising alliance, recruit students from gay and gay affirming churches, and enshrine Bishop Flunder on the walls of that institution on the basis of her same-sex marriage is tantamount to high crime and treason by Dr. Harris, in light of the NBC’s statements in support of marriage being between one man and one woman.
A Nashville news station broadcast Dr. Harris greeting Bishop Flunder upon her arrival at ABC with, “You’re a Great Woman.” Here is what Dr. Harris’ “Great Woman” preached at ABC:
When Bishop Flunder mounted the pulpit at the World Baptist Center, she acknowledged, Dr. Emily Townes—the lesbian Dean at Vanderbilt Divinity School; Bishop Alex Byrd, pastor of a Dallas gay church. Flunder then asked “All the Fellowship pastors who are here to please stand, because these are some powerful preaching and leading sisters and brothers.” A large segment of the audience was from the gay community. Flunder then introduced her “spouse”—“Mother Shirley Miller”—to which there was a hearty applause from the audience—which included at least three ABC board members, and former NBC President, Dr. Julius Scruggs. In another context, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPOktKBBwJ0) Flunder said sometimes Shirley plays the husband role and vice-versa, depending on which day of the week it is. Shirley Miller is twelve years older than Yvette Flunder. She then recognized Bishop Elect Dennis Meredith—who is a self-proclaimed “openly gay-bisexual.” He pastors the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta.
In another context, while speaking at Pastor Dennis Meredith’s church in Atlanta, Bishop Lawrence Kirby, a current trustee at ABC, issued a resolution in support of Dennis Meredith becoming a bishop in an official ceremony. There seem to be an above average number of individuals who are sympathetic and supportive of gay marriage on the ABC Trustee Board. Their views are way out of the main stream of the majority of the NBC. But it provides a plausible explanation as to why Flunder was able to come representing a gay marriage and to affirm gay persons in the audience. The spirit of Jezebel is alive and well at American Baptist College.
Bishop Flunder acknowledged her Church of God In Christ roots at the outset; but she failed to mention that she has been rejected by the COGIC because of her lesbianism. Why did ABC not hold to the standard the church of her roots held to?
Flunder referred to ABC as a “neo-Pentecostal institution.” She further elaborated:
“This prophetic neo-Pentecostal institution filled with the Spirit where great minds are in this room and space to speak in new tongues. Somebody hear what I’m saying. And fearlessly guide people beyond where God has been to where God is. Somebody hear what I’m saying…brand new Pentecostals.”
It was news for me to learn that ABC is now a “neo-Pentecostal” school. I am probably the most COGIC/Pentecostal-friendly Baptist pastor on the planet. Indeed my wife was genuinely born again in a COGIC Church. I take the Bible literally and affirm all the gifts of the Spirit—including tongues. I am a continuationist as opposed to a cessationist when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. I firmly believe in biblical and demonstrative praise and worship; spiritual warfare; and the Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18-21). I even believe if there is interpretation, there can even be speaking in tongues in a worship service (I Cor. 14:27-28), no more than three though, as the Scripture says. If there is no interpretation, I believe that person who is gifted to speak in tongues should do it within as Paul instructed (I Cor. 14:27-28). My point is, I am not anti-Pentecostal. My challenge with her statement is that a Baptist College does not have to take on an identity, the theology, or doctrine of “neo-Pentecostals” in order to fulfill God’s vision.
You can be Baptist, and make sure that you stop by Calvary and receive your pardon—and stop by Pentecost and receive your power. That does not make you “neo-Pentecostal.” That makes you a Spirit-filled Baptist. There is only one baptism in the Spirit that all genuinely born-again believers receive upon salvation (I Cor. 12:13); but there are many fillings of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-23). What we need to be is Spirit-filled Baptists, not neo-Pentecostals. Even at Pentecost, there were some who were filled with the Spirit who did not speak in tongues (Acts 2:43-47). There were others who were filled with the Spirit who did speak in tongues (Acts 2:4). Our calling is to be Spirit-filled Baptists; not neo-Pentecostals irrespective of our beliefs and practices regarding tongues. I must admit that the only section of her sermon that did not receive enthusiastic verbal support was when she attempted to label ABC a neo-Pentecostal college. I interpreted the virtual silence during this section of the sermon to mean they were not buying that.
The late Dr. L. Jack Gray, a former professor at SWBTS, stated in his booklet, Studies of the Holy Spirit:
“Baptism with or entrance of the Holy Spirit is simultaneous with conversion. It happens once, is permanent, and cannot be repeated. (Jn. 3:5-6; Acts 2:38; Rm. 8:9; I Cor. 6:19; 12-13; Gal. 4:4-7). The fillings of the Holy Spirit are God’s acts of continued nurture, growth, empowerment and equipping for life and service. Fullness of the Spirit is temporary and must be daily repeated. (Lk. 9:23; I Cor. 15:31; II Cor. 4:11; Eph. 3:16-19; 4:13; 5:18). The gifts of the Holy Spirit are means of equipping the church for her varied and total ministries. (I Cor. 12:4-7; Eph. 4:8-16). The fruit of the Spirit is the result of being filled with the . Holy Spirit. We are known by our fruit, not our gifts. (Gal. 5:22-23; Rm. 5:5; 12:11; Matt. 7:16, 20).”
I’m a Kingdom man. I have no problem with persons from other denominations speaking at a Baptist school. But to pronounce a different identity, direction, and doctrine, stepped over the line.
Flunder’s most egregious statements had to do with her views on the nature of Scripture. Her being a lesbian, legally married to a woman is less problematic for me than her beliefs that the Bible is insufficient and incomplete. Flunder taught at ABC:
“God will not be fixed; God will not be stuck; God will not be concretized.”
She made that statement while intentionally flipping both ends of the Bible, to symbolize that God could not be “concretized” in the canon of Scripture. She further stated:
“My theology is alive and shifting and it’s not stuck between the corners and the pages of a book. Just like God spoke to them, God is speaking to us. I’d like to see Martin’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” canonized one day…maybe in a Testament III—because God is still speaking…Thank God for theological evolution.” [Emphasis Mine]
Referring to the “Third Testament,” equivalent to the Bible, that Flunder proposes, because “God is still speaking” Flunder suggested that it could include “skype,” “in-vitro fertilization,” and…”somebody will write about me and Shirley and 30 years.” Flunder dared to have the audacity to place her and her spouse in a “Third Testament” that she would consider canonical based on her evolution theology.
Flunder suggested that Jesus was also theologically evolving when the Syro-Phoenician woman responded with faith and determination to Jesus’ response to her request to heal her daughter. Flunder said, “Jesus’ eyes popped open.”
Flunder said, “There’s a new gospel afoot.” Bishop Flunder was introduced as the successor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ushering in a new era of “justice” in America.
She closed her message affirming LGBT persons. Flunder said that she was surrounded by “loving men—straight and gay.” She has no better friend and supporter in the work than President Forrest Harris. His hospitality to her is subsidized by National Baptist dollars. This is her second consecutive year speaking at the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series at ABC.
“We are going to pray together because Jesus had the oil. The prophet has the oil of anointing. Oil…God’s symbol of affirmation and ordination and enablement. Oil does not come cheaply… Jesus had the oil…Malcolm had the oil…Martin had the oil…American Baptist College has the oil…God sent the oil…and the oil is in the room…Tell your neighbor, I see your oil…bring your oil, your Pentecostal oil, your Baptist oil, your straight oil, your gay oil…bring your prophetic gifts.”
The request to bring “your gay oil” is nothing more or nothing less than an attempt to mainstream the gay lifestyle, in what were heretofore orthodox churches.
I close by repeating my thesis: What does President Forrest Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess Jezebel” have in common? They all three affirm deviant sexual practices; teach contrary to the Word of God; and sees the Bible as something less than the final authority, in guiding and governing the affairs of man.
I pray that what took place at ABC on Tuesday evening, March 17, at the Baptist World Center, will never repeat itself again.
March 18, 2015
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
“For reasons only known in the heavenly realms, American Baptist College has” become “ground zero for this battle over same-sex marriage in the Baptist church,” Dwight McKissic, co-coordinator of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, said at a March 17 press conference in Nashville.
The fellowship is a coalition of pastors who minister at congregations in cooperation with the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., America’s largest predominantly African American Baptist denomination.
Other pastors present at the press conference alongside McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, were Robert White of Freedom Church in Bedford, Texas; Ronnie Goines of Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas; Patrick McGrew of Higher Praise Family Church in Fort Worth, Texas; Calvin Barlow of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville; and Randy Vaughn of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Port Arthur, Texas, fellowship co-coordinator.
McKissic, Goines and McGrew pastor churches that cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention in addition to the NBC USA Inc.
The coalition of concerned pastors, which includes some 150 members, objects to American Baptist College’s speaking invitation to Yvette Flunder, an open lesbian and United Church of Christ bishop, Delman Coates, a pastor who led a campaign in Maryland to legalize gay marriage, and Allan Boesak, a South African minister and politician who urged the South African Dutch Reformed Church to affirm same-sex marriage.
Much of the objection seemed to focus on Flunder, a vocal advocate of the homosexual lifestyle.
Members of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors asked in a news release that American Baptist College President Forrest Harris rescind Flunder’s invitation; that NBC USA Inc. President Jerry Young release a statement expressing his position on Flunder’s invitation; and that Flunder’s addresses be moved from the college’s facilities.
Harris said previously that it is inappropriate to oppose homosexual behavior by employing “idolatry of the Bible,” which he defined as “when people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth,” the Tennessean reported. He added, “We can’t be guided by a first century worldview.”
American Baptist College trustees should either ask the NBC USA Inc. for permission to advocate the homosexual worldview, McKissic said, or they should fire Harris if they disagree with his statements and invitation of pro-gay speakers.
White noted the college’s long association with the convention.
“The American Baptist College has historically been connected to and supported by the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., an organization which on more than one occasion has addressed this very issue of same-sex marriage through statements affirming marriage as being between one man and one woman,” White said. “… The American Baptist College has no right or authority to teach or endorse a doctrine or position other than that of this convention.”
A statement by immediate past NBC USA Inc. president Julius Scruggs on the convention’s website states, “The National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated does not dictate to its constituent churches what position to take on issues because we believe in the autonomy of the local church. However, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. affirms that marriage is a sacred biblical covenant between a man and a woman.”
Scruggs, who is also a trustee at American Baptist College, did not respond to a request for comment by BP’s publication deadline. Former trustee Kelly Miller Smith Jr. also did not respond to BP’s request for comment by the publication deadline.
American Baptist College’s response
Harris’ media spokeswoman released a letter to BP in which Harris defended the speaking invitations to Flunder, Coates and Boesak by appealing to federal law and the college’s mission.
“Based on good advice from the college’s Board Chair, I have decided as president of the college not to respond to [the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors’] negative message as it would be counterproductive at this time,” Harris wrote. “I do, however, want to share … the college’s vision of education in light of this negative document which has been disseminated around the country” — a reference to a press release distributed by the concerned pastors.
Harris said “the college expresses neither favor not disfavor” with the various viewpoints to which students are exposed, “in accordance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination.” He noted that the college receives federal funding. Harris added that the lecture series which has drawn criticism is a “significant component of the college’s academic legacy.”
Harris also wrote, “The fact that the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. serves a conservative constituent base that renders a different view of education will not distract the college from its educational mission.”
Governing structure questioned
Who controls American Baptist College appears to be in dispute. “We don’t really know who owns the college,” McKissic said.
Monchiere Holmes-Jones, a spokeswoman for American Baptist College, told BP the school “is not directly correlated” with the NBC USA Inc. “even though they are associated by history and being next door” to the NBC USA Inc. offices.
The NBC USA Inc.’s website describes American Baptist College as “an independent college for the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.” The school’s legal charter on file with the Tennessee secretary of state says, “The corporation shall be governed by a Board of Trustees, who shall be directors, and who shall be appointed by the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.”
Jim Guenther, an attorney for the Southern Baptist Convention, told BP the charter “is the primary controlling governing document” of an entity. The charter cannot be superseded by any other document unless the legal entity amends its charter, he said. Records on file with the secretary of state reflect no such amendment of the NBC USA Inc. charter.
“If a corporation has a board of directors inconsistent with the charter,” Guenther said, “then the corporation is fatally flawed and the actions of the board are null and void. … If the charter says the convention elects the trustees, then the convention needs to elect those trustees.”
Jerlen Nelson, the NBC USA Inc.’s director of media and press relations, told BP that American Baptist College’s board is in practice self-perpetuating and that the convention has not elected trustees in recent memory.
Pastors who are displeased with American Baptist College’s actions and believe the school is acting in violation of its charter could attempt several courses of action, Guenther said. Among them:
— If the convention is not electing trustees as called for in the charter, a messenger to an NBC USA Inc. annual session could make a motion that the convention elect to the college’s board specific individuals sympathetic to the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors. If elected, those trustees would replace any improperly appointed trustees and govern the school.
— A concerned pastor could file a complaint with either the Internal Revenue Service or the Tennessee attorney general, stating that the college is violating its charter.
— A messenger to a convention annual session might have legal standing to challenge in court the seating of any unauthorized trustees by the college.
At the press conference, Vaughn lamented that the gay agenda “has already won support from organizations that are dear to our heart, like NAACP and the National Urban League — organizations that use the black church as human capital. And now this sin, this same-sex nonsense wants to preach in our holy place.”
Vaughn challenged the NBC USA Inc. to act.
“The National Baptist Convention has held its mouth in silence while allowing this sin to be publicized over our websites, in our national publications and using our national facility to house what we believe is a desecration of our temple,” Vaughn said. “So today we challenge our national leadership, our national president Dr. Jerry Young to make a declarative statement because silence is not an option.”
Young announced in January that he would appoint a resolutions committee to develop a position statement on same-sex marriage for National Baptists to vote on later this year, according to McKissic’s blog. Last year, the NBC USA Inc.’s Home Mission Board released a statement instructing board-endorsed military chaplains “not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same sex marriage or same sex union.”
For more information about American Baptist College, please see related story.
March 17, 2015
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE: GROUND-ZERO IN THE BATTLE OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.
In his sermon, “The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated:
“The whole history of life is a struggle between good and evil. There seems to be a tension at the very core of the universe…in traditional Judaism and Christianity [this tension is called] a conflict between God and Satan.”
The question that we are facing in the Baptist Church today is whether or not God sanctions same-sex marriage. Concerning the question of same-sex marriage, God has spoken, and He didn’t stutter; and humans cannot redefine what God has eternally assigned. Man cannot redefine a week into three days, or four days, because God assigned a week as seven days. Neither can man redefine a marriage consisting of two people of the same sex; because, God defined a marriage in His word as a union between one man and one woman.
Satan has strategically and successfully sought to secure sanctioning for same-sex marriage in every sector of society, including our spiritual houses of worship. The battle over same-sex marriage in America is a matter of spiritual warfare.
Spiritual warfare is a conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. For reasons only known in the heavenly realms, ABC has been chosen as Ground-Zero for this battle over same-sex marriage in the Baptist Church. The church of the living god—the moral guardian of society—and the pillar and ground of truth—is the last holdout in American society steadfastly opposed to same-sex marriage. Satan has decided if he can get the ABC and the NBC to succumb to same-sex marriage, he can get every other denomination to fall like a stack of dominoes. But in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “just like a tree planted by the waters, I shall not be moved.” Therefore, we have no choice but to fight for the sanctity of marriage as being between one man and one woman as God set it up from the beginning (Matthew 19:4-6).
It was nothing short of a declaration of war against the Baptist Church and the Church of the Living God, for Dr. Forrest Harris to invite an unrepentant lesbian bishop to lead worship and preach to Baptist college students on a campus that was once dedicated to advancing the Kingdom of God.
The Apostle Paul said, “God is not the author of confusion“(I Cor. 14:33). Who then is responsible for the confusion surrounding an unrepentant lesbian bishop preaching at ABC? Jesus said that the Kingdom of God has suffered violence from the days of John the Baptist until now, but the violent must take it by force. It is way past time for the church to be simply a cruise ship; it is the time in the life of the church, once again, that we must become, a battle ship. A lesbian bishop preaching at a Baptist college is evidence of the gates of hell assailing against the church, but the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Therefore:
- We have come to Nashville to answer Dr. Harris’ declaration of war on the Baptist Church over same-sex marriage. The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds believers that there is “a time for war,” and that time is now. The Church of the Living God is now under attack.
- We have come to Nashville so that it will not be recorded in the annals of history, that a lesbian bishop spoke to our precious Baptist students, for two consecutive years, and no one raised an objection. We’ve come today to throw a penalty flag on Dr. Harris and the ABC Board, and announce that ABC has violated God’s rules.
- If the ABC Board disagrees with Dr. Harris’ decision to invite a lesbian bishop to preach, we’ve come to ask the ABC Board of Trustees to immediately relieve Dr. Harris of his duties as President for violating God’s rules. And if the ABC Board agrees with Dr. Harris’ decision to allow a lesbian bishop to speak, then we are asking the NBC USA, Inc. to remove the ABC board of trustees of their duties in your next annual meeting.
- We’ve come to ask ABC Board of Trustees to clarify the governance relationship between ABC and NBC.
- We’ve come to ask ABC Board of Trustees, if you support Dr. Harris’ decision to affirm same-sex married partners, would you be so kind to give an official notice of such approval to the NBC for this calendar year?
To redefine a sin issue as a justice issue is a serious matter. Civil rights are rooted in moral authority; Gay rights are rooted in a lack of moral restraint. Civil rights are rooted in constitutional authority. Gay rights are rooted in carnal antinomianism. The Civil Rights Movement was birth in the Church. The gay rights movement was birth outside the church. At ABC, the Gay rights agenda is masquerading as “sexual orientation” and has boldly and brazenly entered into the Baptist Church at the invitation of Forrest Harris in the name of social justice. To compare gay rights to civil rights is to compare their sin to my skin.
Finally, in the late ‘90’s the late great celebrated NBC pastor from Florida, Dr. Mack King Carter, against the backdrop of another NBC scandal of a different nature—yet, highly publicized—told an unforgettable, relevant and applicable story, similar to this:
The owner of a country meat house discovered early one morning that a fox had come in overnight and ravaged his spoils. He noticed upon entering the meat house that the butcher assigned to close the gate and secure the facility had neglected his responsibilities. As the meat house owner stood among the ravaged spoils and contemplated his losses; he was in a quandary trying to determine who was most responsible for his loss: the fox that ravaged the spoils, or the butcher that left the gate open.
Who is responsible for a lesbian Bishop legally married to another female preaching at ABC? Dr. Harris, the President, and the Board of Trustees are responsible for the ABC/lesbian bishop scandal. Ultimately, it is the ABC Board of Trustees who is responsible. And they must now, close the gate.
If the NBC and ABC lose the battle, other Bible-believing denominations will retreat. Therefore, it is time for war. Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” We must do something, and that something is nothing short of warfare. It’s time for spiritual war. And if the Church of the Living God go down in this war, we will go down standing up! And that’s why we’ve come to Nashville today.
March 15, 2015
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
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THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT: Heidi McDow, 214.679.3409, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastors Call for Accountability as American Baptist College Hosts Lesbian Bishop;
The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors to hold Press Conference to Address Objections to Same-Sex Marriage Advocates at Lecture Series
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Mar. 12, 2015 – In response to a controversial choice by American Baptist College (ABC) leadership to invite three active proponents of same-sex marriage to speak and lead worship at the College’s distinguished annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series and preach at the worship services, a group of pastors within the National Baptist Convention (NBC) have informally convened to express their concerns at a press conference to be held at the Renaissance Hotel on Tuesday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CDT.
The three presenters to which the group objects are United Church of Christ Bishop Yvette Flunder, who is legally married to a woman and who has advocated for her position publicly; Pastor Delman Coates, who successfully led the campaign to win the popular vote for same-sex marriage in Maryland; and Alan Bosaek, who attempted to persuade the South African Dutch Reformed Church to affirm same-sex marriage.
Known as the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, the pastors want to hold accountable the president and board of trustees of ABC, which is owned and operated by the orthodox, Bible-believing denomination which holds to a biblical view of marriage, for their misguided decision to invite the chosen speakers to helm the lecture series, “Ministry in Motion: Living Faith, Doing Justice.”
The pastors have attempted to reach out to ABC President Forrest Harris in hopes of starting a constructive conversation around this issue, but he has not responded to their phone calls or emails. Speaking for the group, Pastor W. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, is troubled by ABC’s implicit application of the word “justice” to the positioning of same-sex marriage within the context of Christian orthodoxy.
“The board and administration of ABC have adopted our vocabulary, but not our dictionary,” McKissic said. “This is a moral issue, rather than one of social justice; our concern about Bishop Flunder preaching at the worship service is not about intellectual or educational inquiry, but indoctrination of a worldview placed on the pedestal of theological authority.
“As a result,” Pastor McKissic continued, “ABC is deliberately exposing young people to unorthodox views in a worship and preaching setting that wrongly affirms them as biblical truth, rather than more appropriately discussing them in a solely academic exercise.”
The move by ABC to affirm same-sex marriage through these three speakers violates the official position of the College’s governing religious body, the NBC, which declared in a statement issued in January 2014 that, “In all matters of Faith and Practice, National Baptists are guided by Holy Scriptures. Genesis 2:18-25 shows God’s concern for relationships by creating the woman to be a partner with man.”
The NBC additionally asserted that while endorsed NBC Chaplains serve in a “pluralistic environment,” providing compassionate pastoral support to all individuals based on a traditional interpretation of Scripture, they are “not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same-sex marriage or same-sex union.”
Additionally, Pastor McKissic and his colleagues wish to make the parents of ABC students aware of controversial messages contrary to the denomination’s adherence to biblical standards for marriage and sexuality that their sons and daughters may receive through the lecture series’ speakers.
“The decision on where to educate one’s child requires a great deal of prayer, financial resources and faith in a higher learning institution’s tradition, values and leadership,” Pastor McKissic said. “Our main reasons for making this information public is so that parents can (1) be properly made aware, (2) correspondingly make informed decisions, and (3) so that history and posterity can record that a group of NBC pastors prayerfully and publicly opposed the invitation that was extended to a widely known (and presently married to another woman) same-sex proponent and participant to preach in public Christian worship at our coveted denominational college.”
The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors is also distributing a petition for other faith leaders to sign in support of the group’s concerns, available at www.change.org. The pastors stress that they are in no way officially or unofficially representative of the NBC, but speak out for the sake of an informed and aware public.
EDITOR’S NOTE: to RSVP for the press conference, please contact Heidi McDow at email@example.com or call 214-679-3409.
March 12, 2015
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ABC BOARD OF TRUSTEES
“Who Left The Gate Open?
THE AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
By William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.
How is it possible that an unrepentant lesbian bishop, legally married to a female, be invited to preach and lead the Tuesday night worship service, at the prestigious 58th Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, on the campus of American Baptist College, Nashville, TN? Who opened the gate and let Bishop Yvette Flunder, for two consecutive years, come and preach/lecture to impressionable students—while she is arguably the face of the rapidly growing—“I’m Black, I’m Gay, I’m a Christian, and I’m Proud”—movement? This is a critical question that National Baptists must answer, address and redress: Who left the gate open? How did we get here?
If National Baptists don’t close this gate, now—and I mean “soon and very soon”—we will see more and more episodes of same-sex married partners leading worship and in any and all capacities in our churches. Does Bishop Flunder’s appearance at ABC signify the future for our churches, or is this simply an unfortunate and momentary lapse in administrative judgment?
While contemplating this clear question of responsibility and accountability for National Baptists and ABC, I recalled an applicable story told by the revered and fondly remembered Dr. Mack King Carter, one of our beloved, now departed colleagues in the NBCUSA, out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. On the floor of an Annual Session of our Congress back in the late ‘90’s, amidst a different, but yet highly publicized controversy, Pastor Carter cited an illustration similar to this: The owner of a country meat house discovered early one morning that a fox had come in overnight and ravaged his shop. He also noticed on his way to the meat house that the butcher assigned to secure the facility had failed to do so the previous night. While assessing the damage, he thought to himself, “I actually don’t know who is to blame; the fox that ravaged the spoils, or the butcher who left the gate open.”
As many of us contemplate the question—“How did we get here?”—I am much like the country meat house owner; I’m trying to figure out who actually is to blame: The fox that ravaged the meat or the butcher who left the gate open!
Bishop Yvette Flunder did not invite herself to ABC. Regarding any responsibility or accountability for her invitation, Sister Flunder is certainly most innocent. There is no attempt to make her out to be a villain in this real live case scenario, or “reality show.” Who, then, is ultimately responsible and should be held accountability for Bishop Flunder’s dubious appearance? Clearly, a gate has been left open, our trust has been violated, and history alone will sadly reveal the incalculable damage resulting from this tragic blunder!
Ultimately, the American Baptist College Trustee Board are the individuals responsible for Bishop Yvette Flunder—a lesbian bishop, married to Shirley Miller—preaching and leading worship at the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series. The ABC Board of Trustees has remained silent during this whole discussion. Not only are they silent, but to the public at large they are invisible. But, back to the question, who left the gate open? Namely, ABC 2015 Board of Trustees:
Dr. Albert G. Berry, Board Chair
Bishop Lawrence Kirby, Board Vice Chair
St. Paul Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Julius R.Scruggs
First Missionary Baptist Church
Mr. Frank C. Davis
Frank C. Davis & Associates
Ms. Linda Rose, Esq.
Rose Immigration Law Firm
Dr. Iva Carruthers
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap
President Emerita – Author – Educator – Lecturer
St. Petersburg, Florida
Mr. Dennie Marshall
Sun Trust Bank
Rev. Samuel Hale
Zion Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Wilma Johnson
New Prospect Baptist Church
Rev. Don Darius Butler
Tabernacle Community Baptist Church
Ms. Sherri L. Neal
Hospital Corporation of America
Rev. Dr. Darrell Drumwright
Temple Baptist Church
Mr. Webb Campbell, Atty.
Sherrard & Roe, PLC
Ms. Latrisha Jemison
Rev. Derrick L. Jackson
First Baptist Church of Gallatin
Rev. Tellis J. Chapman
Galilee Baptist Church
James A. Crumlin, Jr., Attorney
Bone McAllester North, PLLC
These prominent and good-hearted men and women of God, owes it to their National Baptist family, answers to the following questions:
1. Did you and do you support the decision of President Forrest Harris to have invited Bishop Flunder for two consecutive years? And, if so, why?
2. What are the governance, ownership/proprietary, and legal relationship between ABC and NBC? The technical, accurate, actual, functional, and working answer to that question, seems to be shrouded in mystery and uncertainty?
3. Just as Vanderbilt School of Divinity makes it absolutely clear on their website that they affirm same-sex relationships; and it is promoted, protected, and respected…if this is now where ABC is as a school, is this a matter of official policy as it is at Vanderbilt? Or did ABC simply morph into this pro-gay agenda during the Forrest Harris administration?
4. Shouldn’t the ABC Board of Trustees come to the floor of the NBC and in a transparent and truthful manner report to the NBC, ABC’s current pro-gay philosophy and practice mindset?
5. How are board members appointed at ABC? Are they appointed by the NBC, or are they internally appointed?
6. Most, if not all, Christian colleges have an official doctrinal statement. What is ABC’s doctrinal statement?
7. How much money has the NBC donated to the ABC over the past five years?
8. Does the following quotes by President Harris as they appear in a Nashville, TN, newspaper—the Tennessean—accurately reflect the thinking and theology of ABC?
Pastors Oppose Lesbian Bishop Speaker at Baptist College
A Baptist college president in Nashville said Tuesday evening that people should not use “idolatry of the Bible” to discriminate against homosexuals.
“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,” American Baptist College President Forrest Harris said in response to criticism involving the decision to allow a lesbian bishop to speak there.
What does Harris define as “idolatry of the Bible?“
“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.”
The decision by the Nashville college to schedule a married, lesbian bishop to speak at the school next week has enraged some conservative black preachers who believe homosexuality is a sin and have called for the college president to rescind the invitation.
The National Baptist Convention, the largest predominantly African-American Christian denomination in the United States and the one with which the Nashville college is affiliated, has promoted the event on its official website.
American Baptist College has defended its decision to invite Bishop Yvette Flunder to speak at the annual Garnett Nabrit Lecture Series at the school, March 15-18. She is scheduled to speak about her work advocating for the rights and needs of people suffering from HIV and AIDS. The event will be the second time Flunder has spoken at the school, a historically black college with many connections to leaders in the Civil Rights movement.
The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, also affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, questioned Harris and the president of the National Baptist Convention.
“For a Baptist college president to invite a lesbian bishop legally married to a woman, to be a guest speaker and worship leader on a Baptist college campus is irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God,” the news release said.
The group asked Harris to rescind Flunder’s invitation, for National Baptist Convention President Jerry Young to release a statement revealing his stance on Flunder and for Young to remove promotion of Flunder’s appearance at the college from the National Baptist Convention website.
If Harris and Young refuse to rescind Flunder’s invitation, the groups asked that the event be moved from American Baptist College facilities.
Reverends Randy Vaughn and Dwight McKissic, co-coordinators of the conservative pastor group called Harris’ words “disheartening” “heretical,” and said he “trampled on the beliefs of the school’s founders.”
“It is so disappointing and disheartening that at the American Baptist College, where the land was bought and paid for by Baptists who took the Bible literally, their blood, sweat and tears are being trampled on,” said McKissic, senior pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. “We believe the Bible and its teachings. We believe homosexuality – as a matter of fact all the Bible talks about as sin – is sin.”
Vaughn, pastor of the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Port Arthur, Texas, said the moment can’t go forward without there being a recorded protest.
Both pastors said more than 150 conservative National Baptist Convention Christians have joined their group.
But Harris said the group of pastors that has criticized his decision does not understand and has misinterpreted the theology of the large Baptist denomination to which they belong.
“I think they have misappropriated the theology of the National Baptist Convention which says that churches and individuals can hold their own theological beliefs about what they think is right and wrong,” Harris said. “It’s tragic these conservative pastors are in opposition to what education ought to be about, to expose students to critical moral thinkers and a broad education.”
The concerned pastors want Young and Harris to alert students, parents, alumni and all National Baptist Convention pastors and churches that Flunder has been invited to the school for two years.
Harris has said the demands of the group of pastors and their requests “fly in the face of everything that ABC stands for as an institution of higher education rooted in the cause of social justice and equality for all,” according to a news release sent to The Tennessean on behalf of the of the school Tuesday.
Harris also said the American Baptist College has received federal funding and expresses “neither favor nor disfavor of positions, groups or individuals (who speak at the school) in accordance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination.”
Reporter Jordan Buie can be reached at 615-726-5970 or on Twitter @jordanbuiehttp://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/03/10/pastors-oppose-lesbian-bishop-at-baptist-college/24727465/The Tennessean
9. Do you support the following quote in a letter in support of President Harris and Bishop Flunder which says the following:
“American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived and preached by faithful people, who are in committed, same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships.”
10. Again, do you approve or disapprove of the decision of Forrest Harris to invite Bishop Flunder, and his belief that we cannot be guided by a “first century worldview”—a reference to the Bible?
There are 200 supporters who’ve signed petitions, thus far, in disagreement with the Bishop Flunder invite. I respectfully await your answers as to whether or not you agree.
“Who Left the Gate Open?”
March 8, 2015
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
A DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE NATION AND THE NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION
Ten Reasons Why American Baptist College President Forrest Harris Should Rescind Lesbian Bishop Yvette Flunder’s, Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Invitation
By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Discussions, deliberations and decisions, regarding the legality and morality of same-sex marriage—have wound their way through courts of justice, halls of Congress, city councils and county governments, local school districts, voting booths and the office of the President of the United States. These discussions have been a part of American families’ table talks for many, many years, because many American families are impacted personally by an immediate or extended family member who is engaged in a same-sex relationship, or contemplating and evaluating their sexual identity.
The Supreme Court of the United States of America is scheduled to debate the legal fate of same-sex marriage in the United States on April 28 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-to-hear-same-sex-marriage-arguments-on-april-28-1425573877). They are likely to issue an opinion before they adjourn this summer. Consequently, gay marriage could be legal throughout the length and breadth of America by the end of June. The Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage will be a defining moment for our nation; and their decision will have a trickle-down effect, and incredible influence and impact on every other sector in society. Gay marriage will then be the law of the land.
Not only are these discussions, deliberations and decisions taking place in the secular realms of society—they have also landed on the doorsteps of America’s churches and denominations, Christian colleges and universities. Needless to say, these are serious and often uncomfortable conversations for the Christian community to hold and process. Nevertheless, the changing culture in our society has made these discussions, deliberations and decisions absolutely necessary.
The Southern Baptist Convention has gone on record many, many times, officially, by way of resolution, declaring a non-negotiable, non-compromising, emphatically clear position that marriage is between one man and one woman. President William J. Shaw and President Julius Scruggs (immediate past presidents) have gone on record declaring personal convictions in writing, that the NBC believes that marriage biblically is between a man and a woman; but there has never been an official declaration, voted on by the NBC in their annual session that specifies that the NBC believes that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. I was present in Jackson, MS, at the NBC Mid-Winter Board Meeting, this past January when the newly elected President (September 2014) of the NBC, Dr. Jerry Young, announced that he will appoint or already had appointed a resolutions committee to develop a resolution/position statement to be voted on by the NBC later this year, on the subject of same-sex marriage. It is certainly high time that the largest organized body of Black Christians anywhere in the world take a definitive, official stand on this subject.
Previously, the NBC had issued a statement instructing its’ chaplains to only perform marriages between a man and a woman. I am so grateful and proud of President Young for making a decision to lead the NBC to adopt an official position on same-sex marriage. I anticipate that we will get an update on this resolution in June in Detroit, at the Annual National Baptist Congress gathering, or in September of this year, in Memphis, at the Annual Session of the NBC. We certainly need to be in prayer for President Young as he guides our beloved NBC through these turbulent and unchartered waters related to developing a resolution/policy on same-sex marriage.
In the meantime, Dr. Forrest Harris, President of American Baptist College in Nashville, TN—a school we are often told during the NBC Annual Session, is owned and operated by the Convention—has very aggressively made his decision regarding affirming persons in same-sex marriages. For the second consecutive year, Dr. Harris has invited lesbian bishop, Yvette Flunder, to serve as a guest lecturer and worship leader at the 58th Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, held on the campus of ABC, and in the World Baptist Center facility, that’s owned by the NBC.
The land that ABC and the World Baptist Center sit on in Nashville, TN, was purchased by Negro Baptists in the first quarter of the 20th Century. The Black Baptists of that era were adamantly opposed to same-sex relationships based on biblical grounds. It is a dishonor, and an act of disrespect to those sainted souls, for President Harris to now host a lesbian bishop on those hallowed grounds.
Bishop Yvette Flunder, the lesbian bishop invited by Dr. Harris, and Dean Emilie Townes, the lesbian Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, where Dr. Harris also works, are both on record stating that the Bible does not address consensual same-sex relationships. It is disheartening to discover that Dr. Harris is introducing this false and heretical teaching to the campus of ABC. By extension, he is associating and influencing the Baptist students at ABC, and all the NBC churches to Flunder’s, Townes’ and Harris’ point of view that the Bible does not address same-sex relationships. This is a very serious matter. Bishop Flunder is expected to lead worship, preach and deliver a luncheon lecture on March 17-18, on the NBC, ABC campus. What a horrible day to trample on the history of those who sacrificed to buy the land for ABC, and to validate the heretical teaching of Flunder and Townes, that the Bible does not address homosexual relationships.
Bishop Flunder’s UCC denomination validates same-sex marriages. Emilie Townes’ Vanderbilt School of Divinity affirms same-sex marriage and homosexual relationships. Forrest Harris’ American Baptist College has not sanctioned same-sex marriages, nor has the NBC, that Harris is accountable to. Dr. Harris’ NBC constituency does not sanction and support gay marriage as does Flunder’s and Townes’ affiliations; therefore, the NBC must hold them accountable for this breach of trust.
There are ten reasons why Dr. Harris ought to rescind the invitation of Bishop Flunder to speak at ABC. It is also my prayer that Bishop Flunder would respect the history and biblical traditional beliefs of the NBC on this subject and voluntarily refrain from fulfilling Dr. Harris’ invitation.
- Bishop Flunder’s presence and preaching at ABC gives a false legitimacy to gay theology, gay apologetics, and gay exegesis. Her false views regarding what the Bible says and does not say regarding same-sex relations are validated by her welcome and acceptance at ABC.
- Bishop Flunder is legally married to Shirley Miller. Her presentation at ABC as a partner in a same-sex marriage makes an “incarnational” powerful statement to the students at ABC that her lifestyle is accepted and affirmed by the ABC administration and their denominational affiliation—NBC.
- Consequently, Bishop Flunder’s presence raises serious questions about the belief system, doctrine, and practices of the NBC constituency with regard to same-sex relationships. It is not a stretch to believe that Bishop Flunder would not be invited unless her “marriage” was thought to be approved of by the NBC.
- Bishop Flunder’s presence advances the gay agenda within and outside of the church. Does the NBC really want to play a role in that advancement? If practicing homosexuality is approved by the Black Baptist church—and her presence implicitly says that it is –on what basis then do we proclaim that fornication and adultery is wrong?
- Bishop Flunder’s presence presents a model of family life that the Bible does not support.
- Bishop Flunder’s presence exposes a lack of accountability structures in place within the NBC. Almost without exception, every NBC pastor, including our President Dr. Jerry Young, does not support Bishop Flunder’s appearance; yet, we are all powerless to stop it. That’s a huge problem and one that needs to be fixed in short order.
- Bishop Flunder’s coming represents a departure from the faith of our fathers, including Martin Luther King. King wrote a statement disapproving of same-sex relationships that can be accessed here: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/16/what-did-mlk-think-about-gay-people/.
- Bishop Flunder’s presence as a lecturer reinforces the false notion that gay-rights, civil rights, and justice issues are synonymous and compatible. ABC is aiding and abetting the gay community to hijack the language of the Civil Rights Movement with their affirmation of Bishop Flunder’s same-sex marriage.
- Bishop Flunder is scheduled to address the subject of AIDS at the prestigious Nannie Helen Burroughs Luncheon. Does ABC really believe that a person who affirms and advocates same-sex relationships is the most qualified person to address this subject?
- Bishop Flunder’s presence calls into question, if ABC and NBC could affirm the following statement adopted by Erskine college after two male athletes on their campus involved in a same-sex relationship became public knowledge:
“Christ affirms that marital union is to be between a man and woman (Matt 19:4-6). The Bible teaches that monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is God’s intended design for humanity and that sexual intimacy has its proper place only within the context of marriage (1 Thes. 4:3-5, Col. 3:5-7). Sexual relations outside of marriage or between persons of the same sex are spoken of in scripture as sin and contrary to the will of the Creator (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-11).
We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.” (Emphasis mine)
Our current structure and system can’t stop a college president who does not believe that homosexuality is sin, from advancing his non-biblical views and pro-gay agenda on the students at ABC. Many of those students will become pastors and staff members at our churches. They will ultimately bring a different viewpoint to the people in the pews, than what National Baptists have historically believed. That is why Bishop Yvette Flunder’s coming is an ill-thought idea. Perhaps Bishop Flunder will do ABC and the NBC family a great favor and save us from this national embarrassment and scandal, by simply deciding that she will not appear at the Lecture Series at ABC. And prayerfully, the resolution/position statement that the NBC will adopt will convey to the College a clear position that the NBC does not in any way, shape, form or fashion endorse gay marriage. Consequently, if the College respects the position/statement of the NBC, “institutional decisions will be made in light of this position” and this kind of decision will never happen again. If Dr. Forrest Harris insists on following through with the invitation of Bishop Flunder, he needs to be forced to resign or be fired by the Board of ABC for violating the trust, the Bible and beliefs of the vast majority of National Baptists. Contrary to the thinking of Dr. Harris, Bishop Flunder and Dean Townes, the Bible is crystal clear on the subject of same-sex relationships. By comparing the Civil Rights Movement with the gay rights movement, they are comparing one people’s sin with another people’s skin. To do so is tragic, sinful and shameful. And this is what Forrest Harris is leading the American Baptist College to do, partially funded by NBC dollars. National Baptists need to rise up and let their voices be heard on this issue.
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