Are the Southern Baptists a Cult?

by Dave on July 15, 2010

in Denominations, General

Dr. Albert Mohler, the head of the Southern Baptist theological seminary recently made a speech addressing one of the key elements in defending the cult status of the SBC.  A transcript and a video is available.

EDIT:  I want to point out that the subject of the SBC being a cult is not something I came up with.  I am just weighing in on the conversation.  Twice in this presentation Dr. Mohler refers to the accusation that they are a cult.

Here is a quote from the speech:

The controversy concerning Bruce Waltke, who even in recent months became a focus of controversy after making a video where he argued that, unless evangelical Christians come to terms with accepting the theory of evolution, we will be reduced to the status of a theological and intellectual cult. The urgency of this question and the demand for an answer comes over against what is pressed upon us with the definition of the assured results of modern science.

In this speech Dr. Mohler is trying to address the question:

Why does the universe look so old if it was actually made about 6,000 years ago?

For those of you who do not know, the Southern Baptist Convention teaches it’s members that the earth was made about 6,000 years ago in one instant by God.  He actually does not get to answering the question until the very end of his presentation.  Instead he takes a very long time to do his adult imitation of one of those timeless traditions of putting your fingers in your ears and talking loudly so that you won’t hear what other people are saying.

Here is a definition of a cult

cult –noun

  1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
  2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
  3. the object of such devotion.
  4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
  5. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
  6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
  7. the members of such a religion or sect.
  8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
I think the primary definition in this case is number 6 since the issue at hand is that the Southern Baptists continue to teach, unequivocally that the only way to believe and the true way to believe is to have God created the universe out of nothing, fully formed, 6,000 years ago along with a history of many many things that obviously happened more than 6,000 years ago (dinosaurs and other fossils, DNA evidence, light from stars billions of light years away in mid-flight).
I am not going to try and convince people who believe in a young earth that the earth is old.  If you want some good reading on this topic go to the biologos website and there will be more than enough there.  Instead, I want to propose that the Southern Baptist Convention is indeed a cult given their leader’s closed stance and unwillingness to consider that the earth is old in the face of irrefutable evidence.  They continue to hold this position even though they have access to all the available information.
I also want to distinguish between the leadership and the church going people.  The people are being misled intentionally by the leadership so there is no problem with them.  It is not their fault.  But the leadership is now a cult because of their refusal to even consider that the earth may be old and recognize that it is most likely very silly at best and downright deceitful at worst, for them to believe that the divine creator is trying to trick us into thinking the universe is young.  That would mean that God is lying, and that would truly be against everything we as a faith believe.
It should also be noted that Al Mohler is required to uphold this belief in order to maintain his employment.  Perhaps he should have to divulge that while he is telling people that the earth is 6,000 years old.

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