Thursday, December 01, 2005

What We Needs Is Me Spinach

If you were on the PSW Board, what would you do?

They meet next Thursday to recieve the report of group tasked to investigate the issues regarding separation from ABCUSA. Recall that on September 8, 2005, the Board of the PSW region adopted the following resolution:

Because the deep differences of theological convictions and values between the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest (ABCPSW) and the American Baptist Churches in the USA (ABCUSA) are understood by the Board of Directors of the ABCPSW as irreconcilable, the Board of Directors of the ABCPSW takes the following action effective September 9, 2005:

1. Initiate the process to withdraw from the Covenant of Relationships of the ABCUSA. The Executive Committee of the ABCPSW will report to the ABCPSW Board of Directors regarding issues related to this action by December 8, 2005. Upon approval by the Board of Directors of the ABCPSW recommendations will be sent to the churches for a vote at a specially called meeting of the Region.

2. Authorize the Executive Committee of the ABCPSW to consult with necessary professionals regarding issues related to this action.

3. Withdraw from the Budget Covenant of the ABCUSA effective 12/31/05.

That statement says that the difference in convictions and values of the ABCUSA and the PSW were "irreconcilable."

What has happened since then? Have the gulf in convictions and values between ABCUSA and PSW (as well as the majority of ABC churches) been bridged? Did Valley Forge grow a theological spine since September? Let's see:

Hundreds of pastors and other leaders from across the country gathered at Northern Seminary with the broad consensus that the ABC has failed both from a theological point of view and as a missional organization. Heartening.

Valley Forge officials held a series of ineffectual meetings in the PSW area for churches that wish to stay with the ABC. Pathetic.

The office of the General Secretary sent out a fundraising letter with delusions of solar grandeur. Amusing.

National Ministries played politics with Native American ministries and then backed off when they were exposed. Disgusting.

West Virginia said that they're not ready to leave the ABC, but that there's not exactly happy either. Interesting.

An exec from the Midwest admitted that the whole denomination is in general revolt and revulsion from Valley Forge so-called leadership. Revealing.

By seven votes, one-third of the Indiana-Kentucky Inititive--the one-third without teeth--was adopted. Heartening? Yes. Decisive? No.

By inclination, I'm not a separatist. I'm a reformer. But when I look at the whole mess, I have to quote my friend and Gordon-Conwell classmate Scott Gibson when he quotes his favorite theologian, Popeye the Sailor: "I've had all I can takes and I can't takes not more." It's time to start afresh.

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