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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15


Mugwump Baptists

 E. L. Bynum


As the apostasy deepens, we are seeing more and more Baptists(?) taking down their flag and hiding their identity. It is doubtful if these people are really Baptist, but since they claim to be, we shall call them Baptist.


These Mugwump Baptists are not to be confined to one group, but are found in most groups of Baptists. This is true of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, the General Association of Regular Baptist, Baptist Missionary Association, Baptist Bible Fellowship, and other assorted fellowships and organizations. It can even be found among some who claim to be Independent Baptists.


Baptist Bible Fellowship


More and more churches who are affiliated with the BBF are moving toward the status of deserving the name of Mugwump Baptist. A case in point is Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg, Virginia. He has long boasted membership in the BBF. He graduated from their Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, and has maintained his affiliation with them down through the years.


However, it is difficult to tell whether he is Southern Baptist Convention, Inter denominational, charismatic, or BBF. He associates with them all, and his Church is now affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. At the same time he is listed in the directory as being a member of the BBF. Unfortunately quite a few in the BBF are following in his footsteps.


Temple Baptist Church


Recently, a preacher friend sent me a copy of the Temple News, for May 1997. This is a publication of Temple Baptist Church, Odessa, Texas, pastored by Jerry Thorpe. He has long been a popular speaker in the BBF, and has been featured many times as a speaker for various youth meetings. This particular issue contained a list of their speakers for their Summer Bible Conference for 1997.


It contained an amazing list of speakers. Many, if not most of them, could easily be classified as Mugwump Baptists. Some of these have dropped the name Baptist, and some of them are members of the Southern Baptist Convention.


The speaker for June 4th was Dr. Charles Lowery, Pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A New Mexico pastor wrote me a letter saying, "Dr. Lowery from Hoffmantown Church here in Albuquerque is as liberal as they come. He's the one whom you've probably heard me speak of who said they were going to get rid of the name _Baptist' because _after all, we have a product to market' and that name hinders us in doing that" [emphasis ours throughout the article]. So here is another one who has dropped the name Baptist, but he is welcome to grace the pulpit of a BBF Church. Lowery is not listed in the BBF directory.


The speaker for June 11th was Dr. Dwight "Ike" Reighard. The Temple News says, "Ike pastored the New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia for 18 years. During that time the church experienced incredible growth and during his tenure there were over 3200 baptisms. Following that, Dr. Reighard served as Associate Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church and recently has planted an exciting new church, North Star Church, in Kennesaw, Georgia." Please note that they do not call this a Baptist Church. He is not listed in the BBF directory, and may well be a Southern Baptist.


The speaker for June 18th was Dr. David Jeremiah, who has been Senior Pastor of the Shadow Mountain Community Church, San Diego, California since 1981. He is on 460 radio stations daily. After Tim LaHaye resigned as pastor of a Baptist church in San Diego, they called David Jeremiah to be their pastor. It is doubtful that LaHaye's Church was truly Baptist, but at least it carried the name. It didn't take Jeremiah long to get rid of the name Baptist, and now he is the pastor of the Shadow Mountain Community Church. They are not in the BBF directory.


The speakers for June 25th were Custer and Hoose. I quote from the Temple News. "Jim Custer and Bob Hoose have been working as a Christian-drama duo since 1989. Together they've worked with a wide range of national and international ministries. They've help create an instructional video series with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, made presentations and developed radio spots for Promise Keepers, created character voices for Focus on the Family" [James Dobson]. One can easily see the crowd they run with. It is a shame that a BBF church would have them.


The speaker for July 9th was Dr. Johnny M. Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia. This is a large Church that averages over 4,000 in worship each week with offerings that exceed $9 million annually. He is not listed in the BBF directory and is quite likely in the Southern Baptist Convention.


The speaker for July 16th will be Dr. Curt Dodd of Pueblo, Colorado. The Temple News said, "Curt felt the call of God to establish an innovative church in one of Colorado's under- reached areas." They further said that they "serve as a resource for church-planting with the Colorado Baptist Convention. The church was second in the state in baptisms in its second year of existence." It is certain that Curtis Dodd is solidly in the Colorado Baptist Convention and this is Southern Baptist.


The speaker for July 23rd will be Rev. Tom Messer, pastor of the Trinity Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida. This is the Church that was pastored for many years by Bob Gray, who was on the board of the Sword of the Lord. While we have never had reason to believe that this was a strong Baptist ministry, they have certainly in times past taken a strong stand on the KJV. They are now listed in the BBF directory, but I suspect that this is a casual relationship.


The speaker for July 30th with be Dr. Paige Patterson, who served for many years with Dr. W. A. Criswell at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. He is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBC). He is Southern Baptist and always has been. He is a leader in the Conservative group that has been seeking to wrest control of the SBC from the radical liberals. He is interested in leading fundamentalist churches (BBF, etc.) into the SBC. He is against a gender-neutral NIV, but he is for the present corrupt NIV.


The speaker for August 6th will be Dr. Harold Ivan Smith. His church affiliation is not listed. They say of him, "He has spoken at hundreds of single adult conferences and has written 25 books on Single Adult living." He is not listed in the BBF directory.


The speaker for August 13th will be Dr. Ed Dobson, Senior Pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Moody Bible Institute bestowed a distinguished honor on Dr. Dobson when they named him "Pastor of the Year." Ed Dobson was once on the staff of Jerry Falwell and his writings were published frequently in Falwell's now defunct Fundamentalist Journal. He is an avid compromising new-evangelical. He will be the closing speaker in Thorpe's Summer Bible Conference, and we might say that he comes out of the bottom of the barrel. His record of compromise will rival the worst of the lot.


No BBF Speakers


Out of eleven speakers in the Summer Bible Conference 1997, there is not one solid BBF speaker in the whole lot. Only Tom Messer is even listed in the BBF directory, and we suspect that he is not solidly BBF. Some of them are Southern Baptists, others are interdenominational, and some of them are of unknown origin. Some of them would tell you, they are Baptist, but they do not use the name. Yet, these men are speaking in a Church that has been in the BBF since the BBF was organized.


What we are writing about here is happening across this country. The cross currents of compromise are prevalent everywhere you turn. Strong forces are driving the direction that so- called fundamental Baptists are taking.


The desire for success is greater than the desire to maintain, proclaim, and spread the truth. If the present trend continues, fundamental Baptists will fade into the sunset, and a new evangelical monstrosity will arise to take its place. The truth that men fought for in the old days, is being sacrificed upon the altar of human religious success.


Men battled to protect truth against modernism, and now the same truth is being surrendered to a new heresy that is much more dangerous than the old modernism. Success is a seductive hussy, and it is discouraging to see the mad rush of pastors and churches to follow after her. Straightway they are going as an ox to the slaughter, and they know it not (Prov. 7:22).


Jerry Thorpe Speaks


We would like to quote some lines from Pastor Jerry Thorpe's column in the Temple Times. His words help us to understand what is going on in the religious world:


"Most of our staff feels the one big reason for our church's success is that we are attempting to understand, be responsive and relevant to our culture. And, this church is not a slave to tradition.


"One very noticeable aspect of Temple is that we are making a good impact upon both young and old, single and married, and appealing to both the committed Christian and the spiritual seeker. When you walk into the auditorium for worship and observe the large rear projection video screens and offering boxes, then hear a variety of praise and worship choruses, hymns, and dramas as well as a message that is relevant to people in our generation, please understand our purpose.


"If you are considering Temple for membership, this church might not be _Your father's car' but we are building a model for the 21st century that God is blessing and we are awed, humbled and pleased by the process!"


The above reference to "the spiritual seeker," sounds very much like something that would be lifted out of Bill Hybels and his unscriptural ministry at Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Illinois. A lot of religious garbage is coming our of this polluted fountain, and it is spreading itself in some strange places.


Cross Pollination


Some plants of the same or a similar variety will pollinate each other from the blooms. We have heard it said, that Baptists should practice some cross-pollination with other groups. They mean that we should get some ideas, practices, and doctrine from other groups. This will be deadly, as the following story will illustrate.


My father raised some of the juiciest and sweetest watermelons in our area of the country. He accomplished this by getting some good watermelon seeds in the first place. Then each time when we would cut a watermelon, if it was extra sweet and juicy, he would save the seed for planting the next year. He was careful to plant our melons in the middle of our farm, far from the melon fields of less careful farmers. No wonder people wanted to buy our watermelons, because they were known to be sweet and juicy.


There was a melon that grew wild in our part of the country. The vine resembled a good watermelon vine in almost every respect. They were called pie melons, and they were not fit to eat. The rind was thick and almost unbreakable, and the flesh was unfit to eat.


My dad cautioned us to watch out for the pie melon vines, and to cut them down before they bloomed. Why? This was because they would cross-pollinate with the good watermelons, and the watermelons were then unfit to eat. It was not that the pie melons were unfruitful. In fact they produced an abundance of attractive looking melons, and would grow in very difficult situations without care or cultivation.


Piemelon Baptists


We are seeing Baptists cross pollinating with other groups. They are picking up pollination from Bill Hybels, Robert Schuller, John McArthur, Chuck Swindoll, Southern Baptists, Interdenominationalists, new evangelicals, Billy Graham, and Jerry Falwell. It is producing an abundant harvest.


The increase looks good, and Independent and/or Fundamental Baptists are swallowing it up. The trouble is, nobody seems to have noticed that it is producing pie melon Baptists.


These Baptists no longer fit the pattern of our Baptist forefathers, and are a far cry from the Baptists of the New Testament.