Of particular concern to the CBF is the maintenance of “distinctive Baptist principles,” such as the priesthood of the believer, the separation of church and state, and the autonomy of the local church.
Organized in 1992, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) is affiliated with the national body (headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia) by the same name, which was founded a year earlier in response to dissatisfaction with denominational leadership after the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the early 1980s. Of particular concern to the CBF is the maintenance of “distinctive Baptist principles,” such as the priesthood of the believer, the separation of church and state, and the autonomy of the local church. The priorities of the CBF include “doing missions in a world without borders” and “affirming diversity, including . . . ethnicity, race, and gender, as a gift from God.” These priorities translate into practices not accepted by many Baptists, such as the ordination of women and an emphasis on efforts to cooperate with non-Baptist religious groups. The CBF operates under the direction of its Coordinating Council and, since 1998, a staff coordinator, the first of whom was Marion C. Aldridge of Columbia. The CBF of South Carolina supports a variety of projects, including a partnership with Baptists of Belgium and the Carolina Poverty Initiative, as well as missionaries, but the sharing of resources is their primary concern. Churches may affiliate with both the South Carolina Baptist Convention and the CBF or the CBF alone, and though relatively small, the CBF has drawn money and members from the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Congregations affiliated with the CBF of South Carolina range in size from more than two thousand to fewer than one hundred.
Watson, E. C. A History of the SC/CBF. Columbia, S.C., 2002.