Monday, August 28, 2017


From my rectory, I could reach out the window and almost touch First Baptist Church next door it is so close, but ideologically it is eons away!

Once it belonged to the Southern Baptist Convention as did the fine but very liberal Baptist, Mercer University, many who teach there as well as its former liberal president who attend First Baptist.

Today, First Baptist belongs to a very liberal coalition of progressive Former Southern Baptists.

First Baptist in downtown Macon is a small, aging, dying congregation. In a town that is predominantly Southern Baptist, the conservative Southern Baptist congregations are thriving and two of those in the suburbs are of mega church status.

Thus this news will be the next doot neighbors of St. Joseph Church, leap into oblivion:


Church to allow same-sex marriages


Ushers collect ballots at First Baptist Church of Christ after services on Sunday. Members approved allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church.

Members of First Baptist Church of Christ, one of Macon’s oldest churches, on Sunday overwhelmingly approved allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church.

The Rev. Scott Dickison, the church’s pastor, said the resolution passed with 73 percent voting in favor. About 230 members voted by secret ballot following the regular Sunday service. Dickison said that was about the typical size of the congregation on Sunday
“I’m grateful for the congregation traveling together to this point, and it is an importantpoint but it comes with some tenderness,” he said. “We will continue to heal together as we move forward.”
He declined any further comment.
Dickison said in an email to The Telegraph last week that the church did not have a stated policy on same-sex marriage. He said the resolution was more of a “clarification” to church policy than a change.
Earlier, church leaders voted 25-5 in favor of the resolution, which brought it to a full vote. Several members approached after the vote declined to discuss it. Bonnie Chappell, chair of the deacons, said out of respect for those who disagreed, she did not want to say how she voted.
The Rev. Scott Dickison, church pastor
“I’m proud to be in a church that has these conversations and does not shy away from these things,” she said.
She said she was not personally aware of any requests to have a same-sex marriage in the church. She said the resolution came about from discussions members had about the church’s vision. Leading up to the vote, the church had three meetings about the issue that Dickison said were well attended.
The church, located at 511 High Place, was founded in 1826.
Telegraph archives and Telegraph photographer Beau Cabell contributed to this report.


Gene said...

That is some truly sick crap. I am a little surprised at the usually expect this from Methodists and PCUS people...the Episcopalians go without saying...truly, anything goes there. The falling away continues.

qwikness said...

Interesting and amazing to me is that they put this up for a vote. So their little church is being guided by popular sentiment. Thank the Lord we have the Authority of the Church otherwise we'd be who know what kind of heretical cult.

TJM said...

I guess the Baptists decided to become the latter day Shakers!

Anonymous said...

Nothing like "doctrine by democracy..."

The Southern Baptist "Convention" itself, though conservative, has not seen much in the way of gains either, perhaps in part because you certainly aren't attracted to a SBC church by its beauty. A typical SBC has no altar (not even a "communion table"), no candles, no robes for the clergy and no set liturgy---instead the focus is on "me" (the pastor giving a longwinded sermon). Where is the focus on the triune God? I recall also a write-up on Baptists in a book on the Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox priests cited several difficulties in ecumenical relations with Baptists---two I recall were the extreme independents of church government/congregations and looseness/vagueness on questions of doctrine---basically each Baptist church (whether "Southern" or otherwise) is its own pope.

Anonymous said...

This might have been engineered over a period of time. How many of the votes registered belong to people who joined the congregation in the past 2-3 years? Just asking. This is not a church anyway, just a sect without a coherent Chritian theological foundation.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Baptists are fiercely into individualism and Congregationalist. As much as they complain about our positions on infallibility they take it to a new zenith as evidenced by their vote which is pure and simple the heresy of Gnosticism. Their young pastor who has to cities to the board of deacons who could fire him in a heartbeat I was 27 when named pastor and can't be more than 30 now and is a Yale School of Divinity graduate 👨‍🎓

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Their infallibility is extremely unecumenical too.

qwikness said...

Their church is prettier on the outside than the inside. Outside it looks old, established all brick almost en par with St. Joseph's save for the details of marble and Rose window, as they sit side by side on the great hill of High Street. Inside is a different story, flat, plain, white walls, a big rectangle box. No similarities at all with St. Joseph's inside. Their "liturgy" is three songs, a sermon, a collection, three more songs.
This seems to be common for Baptists: huge, great money spent on buildings and very basic "sanctuary." Protestants criticize Catholics for having ornate churches. They have huge churches properties with playgrounds, ball fields or whatever.

Gene said...

He is a Harvard Divinity School graduate, but there is little difference among all the major Divinity schools. Churches say they want a well-educated pastor, but what is well-educated about being up on the latest trends in unbelief?

rcg said...

FrAJM, map this back to you previous post where some in your current congregation want to be like the Protestant churches to draw more people.

Other observations: this is one of the oldest church *structures* in town and is not the same denomination that founded it any more than a tumor is the same as the lung it inhabits.

Observation 2: they had 250 vote? In a Southen town like Macon to have Baptists draw fewer people than a local Bluegrass band is not very impressive. We can do better than that in our FSSP parish.

Daniel said...

Hmmmmm, isn't St. Joseph's also shrinking?

Anonymous said...

Baptists, and most religious denominations, have a "set liturgy." It may be more simplified than a Pontifical Mass at the Throne, but it is very much "set."

Yes, many Protestant churches are plain and simple inside and, sometimes, out. A "big rectangle box" is what they prefer and what, they believe, best serves worship as they understand it.

Complaining that Baptists are not Catholics when it comes to matters liturgical is something like complaining that Three Buck Chuck isn't Dom Perignon. No, it's not, but the weakness is in the expectation, not the reality.

Trappist monastery chapels are often very, very plain - almost stark. The only "decorations" in the Abbey chapel at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Ga, are the stained glass windows. And almost all of them are abstract patterns, save the Madonna and Child above the altar. Many Catholic I know who have been to Conyers remark on the beauty of the chapel, on its simplicity and uncluttered feel.

TJM said...


Fr. McDonald is no longer at St. Joseph's!

Gene said...

The Catholic Church continues to shrink. Most OF's are abominable. I have been to many in different states and towns...most are perfunctory, obligatory, and completely uninspiring. I have to make myself attend Mass, asking myself the whole time, "Is this even valid?" Was "Donatus correct after all?" "Are the prots correct in their understanding of Peter's Confession?" "Does there come a point at which the Church is no longer the Church?"

John Nolan said...

Evangelical Protestants have a liturgy of sorts in the sense of an order of service: they also share a 'eucharist' in the form of bread and wine (or grape juice), not necessarily every week. They are congregationalist in that the assembly is what validates the worship; the Catholic idea of 'ex opere operato' is absent and the sacramental theology is reduced to a commemoration of the Last Supper.

The 1969 Institutio Generalis for the Novus Ordo defined the Mass in purely Protestant terms.'Cena dominica sive Missa est sacra synaxis seu congregatio populi Dei in unum convenientis, sacerdote praeside, ad memoriale Domini celebrandum.' Note the use in first place of the term 'Lord's Supper'; the assertion that the Mass 'is' the assembly (synaxis), the function of the priest as merely a 'presider' and the omission of any reference to sacrifice. Paul VI was happy to sign it off - by this stage he was anxious to conclude the reform as soon as possible.

Then, providentially, the protestation of leading theologians led by cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci caused Pope Paul to withdraw the Instruction; when it was reissued the following year the offending (and heretical) passage was amended to read: 'In Missa seu Cena dominica, populus Dei in unum convocatur, sacerdote praeside personamque Christi gerente ad memoriale Domini seu sacrificium eucharisticum celebrandum.'

Thus the definition of the Mass as 'sacra synaxis' is removed (and the term itself not used), the priest is not simply presiding but acting in the person of Christ, and it is made clear that the 'memorial of the Lord' is in fact the Eucharistic sacrifice. Furthermore, there is a long preamble (15 paragraphs) which explicitly reaffirms the teachings of the Council of Trent regarding the Mass, and places the new Mass in the same tradition.

Bugnini was not best pleased. He already had had to endure Paul's saving of the Roman Canon and reinstatement of the 'In spiritu humilitatis' and 'Orate, fratres' (if only he had saved the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas as well!)

Quite why the reformers of the 1960s wanted to adopt the Protestant position hook, line and sinker is still the subject of debate, and gallons of ink have been spilt over it.

Anonymous said...

"Does there come a point at which the Church is no longer the Church?"

The question has been answered, and the answer is a resounding "No."

It may not meet your particular needs or wants, it may cause you to do some very significant soul-searching and heart-changing, it may confound, irritate, and rattle you to the core. But the Church is always the Church.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, this question has been pondered repeatedly for years by theologians and Biblical scholars who know far more than you or me. There will always be a True Church, but wherein it resides and whether the Holy Spirit wills to manifest itself in other venues is the issue. It is a real issue...the Holy Spirit is not pressed between the pages of CCC or books on dogma. God does discipline His people. You tend to want to dismiss my comments by suggesting that these are merely my personal theological struggles when, in reality, these have been standard theological issues across denominations for a long time. But, then, you don't read much theology. Your intellectual laziness and complacency are both stunning and amusing.

Anonymous said...

Far better to allow same sex marriage than to turn you back on your very own children being abused in Catholic churches throughout the world. You might want to consider your own issues before criticizing those of others.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Please read Billy Graham's grandson's evaluation (a post below this one)of the abuse of minors is just as serious if not more so in Protestantism than in the Catholic Church, but of course the press is only interested in Catholic kids not Protestant ones or the epidemic in public schools.

Nonetheless Jesus condemns harm done to little ones and the Catholic Church is addressing this problem and not taking a vote on the Word of God to legitimize sin or attitudes that go against human nature and God's laws in Scriptyre and natural law to include marriage.

Anonymous said...

Nope, and Nope. Your just mosey along with your self-serving "questions" all you want. As I stated, the question has been asked and, for Catholics, has been answered definitively:

"What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?


Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”[5], that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.[6] “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.[7]

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.[10]"

From: CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, RESPONSES TO SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE DOCTRINE ON THE CHURCH, Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Macon's population is shrinking but it is predominantly Baptist. First Baptist has remained downtown but even if it moved to the suburbs it would not experience growth compared to the conservative baptist mega churches in north Macon. They have chosen the politically correct to please their academic ideology to the detriment of the Word of God, a sure recipe for destruction.

TJM said...

Or as they sometimes say: They are going out of business, but don't know it yet!

Daniel said...

Father, if growth (or lack of growth) in a congregation is a measure of what is right and true, then you seem to think we should all be joining Baptist mega churches in north Macon, which peddle latte, social services, warm-and-fuzzy "Jesus loves ME," racial segregation and right-wing politics, not the word of Christ. The size of a congregation is not the last word. Quite the opposite.

TJM said...


what is your evidence that these congregations practice racial segregation and right-wing politics. Are you equally opposed to congregations which discriminate against faithful, traditional Christians and practice left-wing politics?

Daniel said...

TJM, check your history.
The Southern Baptist Convention was created in the 19th Century when the national baptist organization condemned Jim Crow segregation.
While officially they've apologized for that, they still keep more moderate factions -- like the CBF and First Baptist -- at arm's length.