Before the early 1980s, when a fundamentalist group began implementing a plan to take control of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Southside Baptist Church (SSBC) was an active member and participant of the SBC. Over the last forty years, a number of the historically Baptist Principles that we hold dear, such as the priesthood of all believers, the autonomy of the local church, and the separation of church and state, have been diminished and, in cases, disregarded altogether. Southside leadership has, during this period, taken the approach of remaining affiliated, albeit in membership only, giving SSBC “a seat at the table” to provide a moderate perspective on living a faithful Christian life and attempting to treat others as Jesus taught and lived. Next week, the SBC gathers in Nashville for the annual meeting at which Southern Baptist Convention practices regarding sexual misconduct and cover-ups, racism, and the prejudicial treatment of women in ministry will be among items addressed. Christian faith and Christian ethics must not be separate in theory or practice. This truth produced an agonizing period for many, especially this last year, as we reflected on past views and actions. Ashamed, we realize that those views and attitudes are counter to anything Jesus taught.
Many church members feel that our affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention is detrimental to our being the family of faith God has called us to be. These members, as do I, believe it is time for us, SSBC, to officially disassociate from the Southern Baptist Convention. I am requesting that you send to our Deacon Chair, Rusty Bennett, Vice-Chair, Marilyn Shepard, or me your thoughts and feelings about making this formal declaration as a church body.