Thursday, November 24, 2005

Associated Press Reports on General Board Action

I was wondering when the media would get around to this. This AP report is a pretty fair statement of where things are. So here it appears on Thanksgiving Day. The action taken by the General Board last week should be understood in light of the blog entry Renewal Leaders Express Concern Over Deceptive "Third Way" Tactic on Sexuality from Nov. 22.

Religion news in brief
Associated Press

GREEN LAKE, Wis. - The governing board of the 1.4 million-member American Baptist Churches in the USA added a stand against gay sex to the denomination's self-definition, but it's unclear whether that will heal a growing split over homosexuality.

The new wording says American Baptists are believers "who submit to the teaching of Scripture that God's design for sexual intimacy places it within the context of marriage between one man and one woman, and acknowledge that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with biblical teaching."
The General Board approved the wording by a 59-45 vote (with five abstentions) as an addition to the "We Are American Baptists" statement.
The denomination has taken previous stands against gay sex. But it has not disciplined congregations with liberal gay policies, say complaints from the Pacific Southwest region, whose board will decide in December whether to have 300 member congregations vote on ending support for the denomination.

Last month, the West Virginia association, the largest regional group with 465 congregations, defeated by 391-325 a proposal to break with the national denomination.

Liberal policies among some American Baptists were cited as one reason the Southern Baptist Convention voted to quit the Baptist World Alliance, to which both denominations had belonged.

The vote was 59-45 vote, with 5 abstaining. That 54% aye, 41% nay and 5% abstaining. (Why on earth would anyone abstain on such an important issue? It's mind-boggling.) That would be a landslide in an election. However, in the real world, if 7 GB members had switched, it would have been a tie and died. That's how narrow the pro-family, pro-historic faith vote was in the GB. I ask my readers: does this narrow victory give you any more than a passing moment of confidence in the ABC-USA? Should the clear teaching of Scripture win by the skin of its teeth among people of faith?


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