In 2004 my wife and I were forced to resign as missionaries with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) because we would not--could not in good conscience--sign that we would work "in accordance with and not contrary to" The Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M), 2000.
Our problem was not just with the content of the revised BF&M, we objected to it being used like a creed. As I wrote earlier, I have never been much of a supporter of creeds, especially when they are used for forcing conformity and getting rid of deviants. But that certainly seemed like the way the BF&M was being used. SBC employees either had to agree with it or resign, retire, or be terminated.
So, refusing to sign, we became Southern Baptist heretics--although, to my knowledge, that term was never used. It did mean, though, that we were unilaterally placed on retirement status, lost a year's salary, and also lost no telling how many invitations to preach in Southern Baptist churches back in Missouri and elsewhere.
So even though I wrote about creeds and heresy in my previous posts, creeds should not be used as the BF&M was--as a weapon to force conformity (or duplicity, as some signed the necessary statement in order to continue their missionary work while not agreeing with the revised content of the BF&M). Nor, as I suggested in the previous posting, should heretics be punished (although our "punishment" was certainly light compared to that of many considered heretics throughout the history of the church).
Actually, the use of the BF&M as a creed was worse than using the historical creeds as statements of orthodoxy. The addition of the words "the office of pastor is limited to men" was the main (but not the only) objection we had to the revised and amended BF&M. Unlike the creeds, though, which can be interpreted on different levels (such as the Ascension, which does not have to be affirmed as literal or physical), there is no interpretation possible for the statement denying the possibility of women in ministry.
So, even though the Southern Baptist Convention was my church home for sixty years, now that is is operating with a creed, I am glad to no longer be a part of that organization. (But, still, I feel some sadness, too, as it was my denominational home for so long.)