THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS
LESBIAN BISHOP AND TWO PRO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PASTORS TO LECTURE AT THE AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE IN NASHVILLE, TN

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors is an informal fellowship of pastors with an affinity to the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (NBC) who are deeply concerned about the state of our nation, our families, our churches, and our schools. We have mobilized to address these issues because of our grave concern over our collective, downward drift morally as a nation. Therefore, we declare our support to the NBC’s efforts that addresses these concerns, and all Bible believing ministries that are proffering biblical, Spirit-led solutions to the ills of our nation.

We are praying for and in support of our President, Dr. Jerry Young, as he develops and deploys initiatives to address these concerns. We also stand with Dr. Young as he gives leadership to our Convention in strengthening and encouraging existing efforts to curb the downward moral tide of our nation.

We are praying and believing that God would use the National Baptist Convention, USA, in a mighty way, once again, to exalt Himself, evangelize the unchurched, educate and edify believers, and elevate our society. We seek to stand shoulder to shoulder with all pastors who recognize that our nation is in trouble, and ill-at-ease; and only through the adoption and passionate pursuit of a Biblical/Kingdom worldview will we find meaningful and lasting answers to the problems that plague us. Nothing short of Divine intervention and a Kingdom movement is going to save this great nation of ours.

Because the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors seeks to strengthen our families and churches, and to constructively address the ills of our nation’s educational systems, we acknowledge that we were/are disheartened to discover the current state of affairs at the American Baptist College (ABC) in Nashville, TN.

ABC hosted a lesbian bishop, who is legally married to a woman, to be a lecturer last year, and invited her back this year (March 15-18, 2015) to serve as the Tuesday Evening worship leader and preacher, in addition to serving as the Wednesday afternoon speaker for the prestigious Nanny Helen Burroughs Luncheon.

Dr. Forrest Harris, the President of ABC, who simultaneously serves as a professor at Vanderbilt Divinity School—where the Dean at Vanderbilt Divinity School is also a practicing lesbian (http://christiannews.net/2013/10/07/outspoken-lesbian-minister-promoted-to-dean-of-vanderbilt-divinity-school/) —is fully aware that Bishop Yvette Flunder is married to Shirley Miller. Dr. Harris is also aware that Bishop Flunder presides over 37-40 “welcome and affirming churches,” and she is affiliated with the United Churches of Christ denomination, that do not maintain the historic Baptist view that homosexuality is a sin, and the Bible is inspired, infallible, and inerrant.

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 National Baptist Convention needs to hold Dr. Forrest Harris accountable for his actions as it relates to the lack of wisdom involved; poor judgment displayed; the violation of the sacred trust exhibited; the failure to disclose this breech of Baptist tradition to the ABC Trustee Board, and the NBC constituency; failing to restrain his inner impulse to invite Bishop Flunder twice; and his failure to respect parental authority by not notifying the parents that he had chosen to expose their sons and daughters to a lesbian, legally-married bishop, on a Baptist college campus. It strains credulity to believe that Dr. Harris could not see that this decision was wrought with complexity, controversy, and complicity as it relates to the duality of the relationship that ABC has with NBC.

President Forrest Harris is heavily influenced by, and is heavily bringing the theological liberal views of Vanderbilt School of Divinity to ABC. Affirming same-sex marriage as ABC-Nashville has done by endorsing Bishop Flunder, is beyond the boundaries of Baptist/Evangelical thought.

This situation in Nashville is a scandal and travesty of the highest order, and a great disservice and injustice to the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., perpetrated by the American Baptist College. Therefore, the National Baptist Fellowship Of Concerned Pastors makes the following nine requests:

1. We are asking President Forrest Harris to rescind the invitation to Bishop Flunder to serve as a guest lecturer and worship leader at ABC in the upcoming Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, solely on the basis that she is a proud, practicing, and public advocate of same-sex marriage.

2. We are asking Dr. Jerry Young, the President of the National Baptist Convention, to release a statement that reveals to his constituents where he stands on the scheduled appearance of Bishop Yvette Flunder at ABC during this year’s lecture series at ABC. It is our belief that Dr. Young is not in support of a lesbian Bishop speaking at ABC. We are requesting that he publicly make his position known.

3. We are asking Dr. Jerry Young to remove from the National Baptist Convention website the promotion and advertising of Bishop Flunder’s appearance at ABC.

4. We are requesting that if President Harris insist on bringing Bishop Flunder—in spite of what we believe to be against the wishes and in violation of the belief of the vast majority of the National Baptists—then we are asking that the event be held somewhere other than facilities owned by the National Baptist Convention.

5. We are requesting of President Young and President Harris, if Dr. Harris move forward with Bishop Flunder’s scheduled appearance, then they inform in writing the students, parents, alumni, and all NBC pastors and churches, that for two consecutive years American Baptist College has invited a lesbian United Church of Christ bishop to lecture at our school. Integrity demands that parents of the students at ABC be informed of the marital status of Bishop Flunder. Integrity also demands that all NBCUSA Churches be officially informed of the marital status of Bishop Flunder.

6. We are requesting that President Forrest Harris provide answers to the following questions:

A. Is the pro-Gay lifestyle and same-sex marriage affirmed and taught as acceptable at ABC?

B. What is the current and historic position of the National Baptist Convention on the subject of same-sex marriage and the gay lifestyle? Has that position changed recently? Does the NBC believe that homosexual acts are sinful within or outside of a “marriage” context?

C. What was the dollar amount given to ABC from the NBC over the past 3-4 years?

D. If we send students to ABC, will they be taught in the classroom that same-sex marriage is acceptable and the gay lifestyle is an alternative lifestyle?

E. Dr. Harris and Dr. Young, are you aware that Dr. Yvette Flunder is a practicing lesbian, legally married to a woman?

F. Would the NBC constituency embrace their mission funds going in partial support to subsidize a practicing lesbian speaking at our college that we own and operate?

G. What is the governing relationship between ABC and NBC? Is the responsible party for Bishop Flunder speaking ABC or NBC?

The information in this Press Release was sent to Dr. Jerry Young, Dr. Fred Campbell, Dr. Forrest Harris and also to several members of the Board of Trustees of the American Baptist College. As of to date no response has been received.

Therefore, we feel as if we have no other recourse, but to make this public appeal, with the hopes that someone with knowledge and answers to these questions may provide them. Our churches, associations and state conventions need to know the answers to these questions. We are sure that there are pastors who would share our concerns also, that may be able to persuade President Harris to provide some answers.

7. We are encouraging fellow National Baptists and all Baptists who have any strong passions and convictions about this issue—no matter what they are—to contact the offices of President Forrest Harris and President Jerry Young and register their convictions about this matter. More importantly, we are encouraging all Baptists to add these concerns to your prayer list, and if you are so inclined these concerns can be added to your church’s prayer ministry requests.

The phone number and email addresses to Dr. Young’s office and Dr. Harris’ office are as follows:

Dr. Jerry Young, president@nationalbaptist.com,
Phone: (601) 362-6265, Fax: (601) 362-1854
New Hope Baptist Church, 5202 Watkins Drive, Jackson, MS 39206

Dr. Forrest E Harris, officeofthepresident@abcnash.edu,
Phone: (615) 256-1463, President and CEO, American Baptist College
1800 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN 37207

8. We are asking the National Baptist Convention to hold Dr. Forrest Harris accountable for his actions.

9. We are also concerned about two proponents of same-sex marriage sharing the lecture platform with Bishop Flunder—Pastor Delman Coates, who successfully led the campaign to win the popular vote for same-sex marriage in Maryland, and Alan Bosaek who attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the South African Dutch Reformed Church to approve of gay-marriage. It appears that under the theme of “Ministry in Motion: Living Faith, Doing Justice,” ABC is poised to promote implicitly same-sex marriage. Pastor Coates is scheduled to do a lecture on “Doing Justice” twice at ABC. He views the same-sex marriage issue as a “justice” issue. We view it as a moral issue. To redefine a sin issue as a justice issue is a serious spiritual violation and one that the NBC should not be a participant in, even by association.

The Forrest Harris’s same sex marriage issue is driven by a simple failure to believe and apply the Bible where the Bible speaks clearly and authoritatively. He has also opened the door for liberal theology of the worst kind to creep into the NBC. If what Dr. Harris has done is allowed to stand without accountability, he will inflict a wound and a debilitating disease upon the NBC with long-term and far-reaching consequences.

If there is a redeeming value to this scandal, it will force the NBC to take a stand on what we believe about biblical authority and application—at least on the issue of same-sex marriage—and that can’t help but be a good thing.

Our main reason for releasing this information to the public is so that history will record that a small group of NBC pastors went on record opposing the notion of a lesbian bishop lecturing at our institution—American Baptist College. Furthermore, we seriously want answers to the questions above and inasmuch as we could not get the answers from ABC we want anyone who has these answers to share them with us that we might share them with our constituencies.

Finally, thanks for your consideration of these matters. If there are other Baptist pastors and parishioners who want to add their names to this signatory list, we will provide a way for you to do that. Go to https://www.change.org/p/national-baptist-convention-usa-inc-and-american-baptist-college-your-signature-on-the-following-petition-is-documentation-that-president-forrest-harris-of-abc-and-president-jerry-young-of-the-national-baptist-convention-usa-inc-are-duly-notified-tha-2 .Your signature indicates that you are in support of the concerns and positions addressed in this statement. We will provide the entire list of signatures to Dr. Young, so that he will know where we stand, and so that history will not record that a lesbian bishop lectured at ABC for two consecutive years, and there was no registered, documented objectors to her appearance. Because Dr. Young believes in the authority of Scripture, we are confident that he will guide the NBC ship in the right direction.

The coordinating pastors, who are signing this list, do not officially or unofficially, in any way, represent the National Baptist Convention, Dr. Jerry Young (President). Each coordinator only represent themselves and perhaps the ministry that they are associated with. The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors has absolutely no official relationship with the National Baptist Convention. We are simply proud members of the National Baptist Convention who love it and are concerned about the ABC matter.

In the Will of God,
National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, Coordinators,

Pastor Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., Cornerstone Church, 5415 Matlock Road, Arlington, TX 76108

Pastor Randy Vaughn, Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Port Arthur, TX

Contact: Veronica Griffith, Cornerstone Baptist Church – 5415 Matlock Rd. Arlington, TX 76018
Telephone: 817.468.0083 ext. 203 / Fax: 817.468.0309 / Cell: 817.903.0283
Email: vgriffith@cbcarlington.org; Web: http://www.cbcarlington.org

Contact: Cheryl Brewer, InView Communications, Cell: 214-493-1180; Email: mscbrewer1@gmail.com

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