Carson to withdraw as Pastor’s Conf. speaker
    April 24 2015 by David Roach, Baptist Press

    Likely Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference have “mutually agreed” that Carson will not address the Pastors’ Conference in Columbus, Ohio, as previously scheduled.
     
    “We didn't want this to become a distraction for our convention,” Pastors’ Conference President William Rice told Baptist Press. “A number of people began to write about it and express their views on it, and it threatened to become a distraction we never wanted it to be. We felt like for the health of the convention, the health of the Pastors’ Conference ... the better thing to do was to mutually agree it’s not the right time to do it.”
     
    Carson, a cultural commentator and professor emeritus of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, was scheduled to address the Pastors’ Conference on June 14 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. But some Southern Baptists raised theological and political concerns in late March and April, with Texas pastor Bart Barber and Baptist21, a network of younger Southern Baptist leaders, posting blog articles objecting to Carson’s scheduled appearance.
     
    Barber is a former SBC first vice president and current Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee.

     
    4-24-15_Carson_WEB.jpg

    Photo by Gage Skidmore
    Ben Carson

    Among the concerns cited were that Carson’s appearance could be construed as an endorsement of his presumed presidential campaign, that his appearance could be construed as an endorsement of the Republican Party and that it would be inappropriate for a member of a Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) – the religious group with which Carson identifies – to address the Pastors’ Conference.
     
    The Seventh-day Adventist Church, according to the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) 4truth.net website, is “in basic agreement with historic, biblical Christianity. Thus, the SDA is not a cult by definition. However, the SDA can be correctly regarded as a Christian sect because it has a number of distinctive doctrines not in accord with the mainstream of historic Christian faith.”
     
    Among the “distinctive” doctrines referenced by NAMB, the SDA believes Christians who worship on Sunday are in error and “often implies that certain outward acts of righteousness are necessary to maintain one’s assurance of salvation.”
     
    In a blog post published April 24, Rice, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla., addressed concerns regarding Carson’s affiliation with Seventh-day Adventists. Rice’s complete blog post is at calvary.us/pastorwillysblog.
     
    “As a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Dr. Carson is publicly identified with theological positions that differ from those of Southern Baptists,” Rice wrote. “While this is true, I believed, and still believe, that leaders gathered for our Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference are open to listening to persons from outside our denomination. I believe most are willing to hear from national leaders even if we disagree on some points of doctrine as we have done in the past, particularly when the point of the discussion is a biblical worldview of prevailing cultural issues.”
     
    Rice told BP that Carson’s appearance was never intended to be a political endorsement and Carson understood that. Pastors’ Conference leaders “felt like [Carson] could speak about public issues and the larger national issues going on culturally, but do so in a decidedly apolitical way as a guy whose career has not been in politics,” Rice said.
     
    Rice’s blog post “respectfully disagree[d]” with those who believe Southern Baptists “should avoid all political involvements.”
     
    “While I know of no Southern Baptist leader who believes our answer is found in a political party or political solution, there are times when we must be engaged in the public arena,” Rice wrote. “John the Baptist was not jailed for preaching the Gospel. He was jailed for speaking truth to power. Southern Baptists cannot and should not back away from appropriate engagement in political life.
     
    “If Southern Baptists will not speak, then who will?” Rice continued. “In these current days where Christian brothers are being butchered overseas and religious liberties are under assault at home, will we stay silent out of some misguided attempt to avoid politics altogether? I pray not. Political leaders who stand for religious liberty, speak out for the oppressed and have the strength of moral convictions should know they have a friend in Southern Baptists.”
     
    Rice asked those offended by the invitation of Carson to “show forbearance and forgiveness” and affirmed SBC President Ronnie Floyd’s emphasis on “visible unity” and “extraordinary prayer” for this year’s SBC annual meeting. Floyd “has worked too hard and too much is at stake for us to be sidetracked from that worthy call,” Rice said.
     
    No replacement speaker for Carson has been announced.
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service.)

    4/24/2015 2:48:07 PM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 5 comments
    Filed under: Ben Carson, pastors' conference, SBC




Comments
Robert Wirsz
I linked over to this website from an ultra-progressive Adventist website that literally hates Ben Carson’s guts and constantly runs hit pieces on him. So I find it amusing to hear a group of mainstream Christians whining about doctrinal differences because Ben Carson is an Adventist. Believe me when I say we have so much more in common as Christians when compared to the pseudo-Christian, half atheist, progressive SDA site that I frequent for a headache. Ben is a super nice guy and definitely wouldn’t go on some fanatical doctrinal rampage when asked to speak at this event.

All Christians need to work to combat religious persecution from politicians trying to force all religions to throw out their beliefs and conform to the progressive, politically correct views that completely contradict the Bible, to ISIL who are slaughtering Christians wholesale in the Middle East, displacing and stealing everything from millions more, and crossing our southern border in preparation for more terrorist attacks here while we all sit around bicker.

I really doubt having Ben Carson come and speak would appear as an endorsement of the Republican Party, since the establishment Republicans are going to try to crush and slander him in the primary along with Ted Cruz for not kissing the ring and following "the Program" so their progressive buddies like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie can continue the march towards the destruction and total transformation of our tolerant, freedom loving, Christian country just a tad slower than the Democrat nominee.
5/2/2015 12:57:36 AM

Dr. Shirley Lynn
I see nothing wrong with Dr. Carson speaking, but this should be thought out before asking. Now it looks bad on Southern Baptists because suddenly it has become political. We need as Christians to be able to ask a speaker on the principal of his character and his belief in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ no matter if some are not pleased. He is a great speaker and people would have enjoyed a fresh view. Seems we do not have one at this time. We do not speak against wrong going on in the world today. We just try to see another product. Lets take a good look at us as Southern Baptists and where do we stand? I am afraid we don't stand!
4/29/2015 9:48:43 AM

Chris Byrne
Dr. Carson was not being asked to teach theology. He is uniquely qualified to address the cultural condition of our nation, especially from an African American perspective. I have attended SBC conferences at Ridgecrest where members of the Church of Christ were leading breakout sessions (if we want to point out denominations who require works of the flesh as part of the salvation experience). Dr Carson should have remained on the program simply because the president of the Pastor's Conference has the authority to invite who he wants.
4/29/2015 6:34:55 AM

Dennis J. Fischer
I am delighted that my Southern Baptist friends are increasingly seeing Seventh-day Adventism as a false gospel.
4/26/2015 1:03:30 PM

alan davis
Currently in line with historic Christianity?? No hell, wrong view of Jesus, believe worshipping on Lord's Day is the mark of the beast, works-based, etc. This is not in line with historic Christianity. Someone needs to be honest certainly at NAMB since they said this. I don't believe it was said out of ignorance, but convenyance. Sad no one seemed to see the doctrinal problem with the invite...
4/25/2015 11:05:10 PM

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