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The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was organized by a group of theologically moderate Christians who withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention in 1991, largely over the issue of allowing women to serve as pastors.

After more than a decade of a struggle between conservative, moderate, and liberal factions of the Southern Baptist Convention, this was the period in which the conservatives had regained control of the SBC. In frustration, liberals left in 1987 to create the Alliance of Baptists, while moderates formed the Conservative Baptist Fellowship a few years later. Some CBF churches hold dual memberships in the CBF and the SBC.

The Conservative Baptist Fellowship cites four items that are considered, by them, to be Baptist principles of faith and practice: Soul freedom, Bible freedom, Church freedom, and Religious freedom.

Soul freedom holds that the individual Christian has the ability to relate directly with God. A significant basis for this principle is the priesthood of all believers.

Through the principle of Bible freedom, every Christian has the right to interpret Scripture as the Holy Spirit directs.

Because of Church freedom, every local congregation is autonomous, having the right to select its own leaders and to direct its own affairs.

Religious freedom is the principle of freedom of church and state, a principle that the CBF supports through its membership in the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

The Conservative Baptist Fellowship holds that the Bible teaches that there is one true God who was responsible for all creation. Humanity is separated from God because of sin, but individuals may be redeemed, achieving salvation through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is responsible for the conviction and conversion of those who believe in Christ and also empowers the Church to fulfill its mission. Members of the CBF believe that every local church and every individual Christian is called to fulfill the Great Commission, to share the Gospel, and to minister to the spiritual, physical, and social needs of people and communities.

Women may take part in the ministry within the Conservative Baptist Fellowship. This was one of the founding principles of the Fellowship, that both men and women can be ordained as ministers or deacons.

The CBF does not dictate positions on social issues, leaving these up to each of the local churches within the Fellowship. Nevertheless, the Fellowship does have an organizational policy on homosexual behavior that expresses the belief of most members "that the foundation of a Christian sexual ethic is faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman and celibacy in singleness." However, these policies are not binding upon the local church, which are free to make their own decisions on any issue. In practice, congregations are not excluded from the Fellowship for disagreeing with its core values or policies. Some CBF churches will perform same-sex marriages.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Topics in this category should relate primarily to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, whether supportive or in opposition. Websites representing local congregations or churches should be submitted to the appropriate Local & Global category, however.



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