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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr. and Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

June 15, 2018

Dr. W. A. Criswell was a great champion of the inerrancy of the Bible. He was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. A few years before he died, Dr. Hymers wrote to Dr. Criswell and told him that he thought some day in the future the Southern Baptist Convention would turn the corner and reject the Bible. He told Dr. Criswell it would be a defining moment that would change the future, like the firing of Dr. J. Gresham Machen from Princeton Seminary because Machen believed the Bible. After Machen was fired, the Presbyterians threw themselves headlong into liberalism and apostasy. In reply, Dr. Criswell told Dr. Hymers that he had great insight and that no Baptist convention had ever survived liberalism.

Southern Baptists had their “defining moment” last week when they “removed” Dr. Paige Patterson as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Although the details obscure the fact that the firing was over Dr. Patterson’s belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, nonetheless that was the real reason. Patterson was the last man standing of the men who turned the seminaries toward inerrancy. The original team of Southern Baptists were Dr. Harold Lindsell, Dr. Bill Powell, Dr. W. A. Criswell, and Dr. Paige Patterson. The first three leaders are dead. Of that original group only Patterson remains. This is a “resurgence” of the liberal side of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has now conquered the last splinters of orthodoxy.

Yes, they’ll have Mike Pence speak and everyone will cheer. Yes, they’ll have conservative speakers at the Pastors’ Conference before the Conventions, and everyone will say “Amen”! Yes, the secular press will call the Southern Baptists “conservative.” But none of that will count and the liberals (moderates) know it.

The battle is over. Gresham Machen has been fired. Since then, the Presbyterians have sunk so deeply into liberalism that in most cases they no longer appear to be Christians at all. And now, over the decades, the same will happen to the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Revelation 18:8).

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