Southwide Baptist Fellowship
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The organizational structure of government and by-laws within the Southwide Baptist Fellowship are not available for public viewing, but the organization includes a moderator and one of its main purposes is to convene regularly for conferences.
Considered a conservative and "Fundamentalist" association of Baptist churches, the Southwide Baptist Fellowship is not as staunchly devoted as other Baptist Fundamentalist Fellowships to the concept of absolute autonomy (local church independence) or the essential requirement of the King James Version (KJV). Certainly, most member churches of the Southwide Baptist Fellowship are Independent Baptist and remain "KJV-only".
When it originated, the Southwide Baptist Fellowship was almost identical in teaching and outlook as the core of Independent Baptist Fundamentalism. It was heavily influenced by Lee Roberson and John R. Rice. Its hallmark code of behaviors (short hair on men, dresses on women, no mixed bathing, no movies, no contemporary music) and its theology of Dispensationalism were standard for Baptist Fundamentalism. Many of its members were openly antagonistic towards the Southern Baptist Convention and were outposken critics of SBC policies which, two decades ago, permitted a certain degree of liberal theology.
Over time, particularly since the 1990s, the Southwide Baptist Fellowship has loosened some of its more strict requirements of dress and behavior.
The Southwide Baptist Fellowship has become cautiously open with some Southern Baptist churches. Prominent Independent Fundamental Baptist David Cloud has openly criticized Southwide Baptist Fellowship for its new leniency regarding external "standards" (hair length, dress code, movie attendance, music choices, etc.) and lack of ecclesiastical separation, and he has rebuked the Southwide Baptist Fellowship for shallow theology.
Currently, it remains a loose federation of Baptist churches that stand for conservatism, both religious and political, including political action, and overall it remains Dispensational in theology. It embraces but does not require strict Independence. While some bemoan its lack of "standards," others recognize that it has failed to live up to the moral necessity of policing itself, enforcing Biblical rules of demanding purity in pulpits
- Baptist History Celebration.com
- The Changing Direction of Southwide Baptist Fellowship by David Cloud
- The Baptist Bible Trumpet