Below are some excerpts from a 1957 presentation by W.G. Stacener to the Orange Blossom Baptist Association in Florida. Stacener was editor of the Florida Baptist Witness from 1949-1970.
Baptists Have a Right to Know
Every Baptist has a right to know. We can think of no sufficient reason to withhold any information he or she has a right to know. Furthermore, if one Baptist or one Baptist church has a right to know, then every church has a right to know. There should be no preferred persons or churches or groups among Baptists. All have a right to know.
Baptists have a right to know the Bible and to undersand their own doctrines and the Baptists' principles of church and denominational procedures. Baptists have a right to know the relation and application of their principles to world issues and problems that affect the entire community.
Baptists have the right to know the actions (all the actions) of the denominational and institutional boards and agencies. There can be no denominational secrets if the right to know is respected.
Baptists have the right to know and help formulate the policies and actions with which they are expected to cooperate and which they are asked to support financially.
Baptists have a right to know the thinking, attitudes and activities of all Baptists everywhere.
If a Baptist has a right to know, he or she also has an obligation to know. Willful ignorance is sinful for Baptists. . . .Basis in Belief
The right of every Baptist to know is based on the equality of believers in Christ Jesus and upon the democratic nature of our church and denominational life. Every believer has a right to serve his or her God, his or her church, and his or her denomination intelligently. This can be done only as the right to know is respected.
If intelligent and cooperative participation in church and denomination life is to be enlisted and maintained, we must erect every safeguard to protect this right and make every effort to apply this principle.
Ignorant, misinformed, misguided Baptists can be powerful, non-cooperative, contrary and dangerous. If Baptists even think that information is being withheld from them they can act up and show their independency something awful.
On the other hand, informed, intelligent and properly enlisted Baptists are cooperative, harmonious and victorious.