Monday, March 27, 2006

Back to a Future

Memo to The American Baptist Churches General Board Executive Committee: The way to save money and streamline the work of ABCUSA is to return to the Annual Convention of previous days when the delegates (a.k.a. Messengers of the churches) set and/or responded to the agenda of the denominational staff and officers by voting to make the decisions that chart the course for the denomination.

The current super structure of the General Board and other ABCUSA organizations should be discarded. In its place the historic democracy of Baptist delegates of the local Baptist churches voting the policy and practices of the national denomination should be restored. It should be apparent to onlookers (as noted on a web site of importance to ABCers that one General Board meeting a year will most likely provide us with nothing more than a rubber stamp for the opinions and desires of denominational staff and officers. Such a rubber stamp process would merely increase the distance and disaffection between Valley Forge and local churches.

The former criticisms of an Annual ABCUSA Convention are no longer valid. It was once said that delegates from the area of the country in which the annual convention is held overwhelm the meeting giving a regional flavor to decisions. It was once said that it was too expensive for churches to send delegates to meetings across the country. In this age of the Internet those reasons no longer hold water.

Now that we are all so closely connected by Internet technology, a democratic vote of delegates from the churches is as accessible as activating your ISP. Setting up a nationwide Internet service to ABCUSA churches for democratic voting could be done at very reasonable expense to both the denomination and ALL churches who are a part of it. Identification numbers and passwords for church delegates would safeguard the annual vote, and insure that ALL ABC churches would have their proper tally of votes if they chose to vote them.
Let’s give the denomination back to the local churches. Let’s put issues before them and count the votes. Then we’ll really be the American BAPTIST Churches in the USA, and not be the American Baptist HIERARCHICAL Churches in the USA.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Fearful Thing

In a radio sermon, west coast preacher and theologian, John MacArthur defined sin this way. He said, “Sin represents the dissent of man.” In that clear definition he spoke volumes. The attitude of humanity, the attitude of the world towards God’s revelation is to reject what God has said.

The worldly response to God is: “I disagree with you, God. Your way is too hard for me. Your way is too old fashioned. Your way is too restrictive. Your way is too unpleasant. Your way is too much against my natural instincts and desires. Your way takes too much discipline. You won’t let me be happy in my way. Your way is too controlling for me. I do not choose your way. I do not love what you call righteousness.”
The fearful thing in today's churches and denominations is that the world’s dissent from God seems to be getting a following.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sadly, More of the Same

Ravi Zacharias “If the church of Jesus Christ sets her house in order we will see revival.”

According to The Washington Post recently published remarks by the actively homosexual Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire. Asked about his personal sexual behavior he said: "It is not something of which I should repent and I have no intention of doing so. I have been led to understand that I am loved by God just as I am. That is not to say I am perfect but it is my belief that my orientation is value-neutral. It is what I do with my relationship that God really cares about." Apparently a vocal group of American Baptists would agree with him.

Then he adds the following: "We worship a living God, not one locked up in the Scripture of 2,000 years ago." Ah, there it is. The issue that is really the heart of the problem among us American Baptists. Is the Bible too old? Out of date? Has the shining light of its revelation faded? Is it no longer true (at least when it deals with issues of popular modern culture)? Has God finally freed Himself of the antiquated notions He once had?

I don’t agree with the homosexual Bishop about the Bible, but that vocal group of American Baptists affirming his lifestyle seems to.

So far in our denomination they have the upper hand. The leadership of ABCUSA is unwilling to censure them. Baptist polity is being compartmentalized to aid their argument. Denominational unity is being magnified to dwarf the damage they are doing to the Bible believing American Baptists who make up the larger portion of ABCUSA population.

Do you have any hope for ABCUSA?