Two Degrees of Separation
The General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC) voted in June to sever ties with Cedarville University. GARBC said the school's "public relationship with Southern Baptists was not considered to be in harmony with the GARBC purpose statement."
Earlier this year, the Council of Eighteen, the GARBC governing body, adopted a statement on why the association should separate from the Ohio school. At the 2006 annual conference in June, GARBC messengers ratified the statement 311 to 283. They concluded that "Southern Baptists are inclusivists and permit the presence and ministry of liberals within the convention."
In 2000, the GARBC discontinued its approval system for partner ministries, which included Baptist Bible College and Seminary near Scranton, Pennsylvania. Cedarville and other schools maintained ties with the GARBC through displays at the annual conference and a scholarship program. In 2002, the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (affiliated with the SBC) decided to recommend Cedarville to the state's Southern Baptists. When Cedarville applied to display at the 2005 GARBC conference, the GARBC declined, because of the school's new SBC affiliation.
John Greening, GARBC national representative, said during the June conference that Cedarville's relationship with the SBC would change the association's boundaries. The GARBC has 1,359 churches in the United States, Canada, and overseas. Greening declined to speak to CT, saying the decision was a "family matter."
Greening noted theological differences as a key reason for separation from Cedarville. "It is obvious the [conservative resurgence in the] SBC is a work in progress," he said. He applauded the SBC International Mission Board for deciding missionaries would ...