Sunday, March 26, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: First Baptist Church of Temple City Votes Overwhelmingly to Support the Pacific Southwest Region

Today the members of the First Baptist Church of Temple City, California, voted overwhelmingly to support their region, the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest.

92% voted to amend the church's constitution to remove American Baptist specific language. 2/3 were needed to amend.

85% voted to support the region's board recommendation to separate from ABCUSA. That means that 10 of 12 delegates at the April 29 meeting of the churches will be instructed to vote yes, 2 no. The item was worded in such a way that if the PSW proceeds to separation following the April 29 meeting, FBC Temple City will also suspend ties with ABCUSA.


Dennis E. McFadden said...


Gee, aren't you afraid of losiing those seven specific financial benefits that Bob Roberts uses to explain (in part) why we should all stay in the ABCUSA?


Anonymous said...

This is a sad day for everyone, For the good people of Temple BC, who I am sure are well-intentioned in following what they believe is God's will for their congregation; for the folks in ABC PSW as it encourages them to continue on the path toward schism; for ABC,USA because we are all diminished; and for the wider mission of Christ's church which can only be hurt. I wish you and your members well on the path you have chosen, even though it grieves me deeply.

Chaplain Stan Gockel
Mt. Pleasant Retirement Village
Monroe, Ohio
Member, FBC, Dayton, Ohio

Allan Copenhaver said...

As a WVBC pastor, I am watching intently to see what happens in the PSW. Thanks for the update.

Perhaps this is not proper ettiquite, but I find one part of Stan Gockel's reply very disheartening:

"...who I am sure are well-intentioned in following what they believe is God's will for their congregation..."

Who is anyone to say what God's will is for another congregation? Isn't autonomy a key element of American Baptist churches?

You can't have it both ways. If ABC-USA has no power to remove unbiblical churches, then it surely cannot keep churches that want to remove themselves from this fellowship.

Anonymous said...

Allan, that is exactly my point. The members of Temple City FBC believe they are following God's will. It would be presumptuous for me or anyone to question their intentions. Local church autonomy means congregations can choose to associate or disassociate. Last time I checked there are no Baptist bishops around to enforce connectionalism. Nevertheless, I am sad that part of our 'family' is in the process of deciding that divorce from the rest of us is God's will. Perhaps it is and perhaps it isn't. God will judge. May God's ministry go foward regardless.

Chaplain Stan Gockel
Mt. Pleasant Retirment Village
Monroe, Ohio

Anonymous said...

It also grieves me to see us all come to this point. Ephesians 5 has been pounding on my heart. I believe it's speaking to us today. Paul warns his readers to, "redeem the time because the days are evil". The schismatics may be radical, but Baptists have always championed them. The larger group is calling schismatics to buck-up and keep sacrificing toward the larger cause, despite little effort or sacrifice on their behalf to show good faith. Reminds me of the hen and chicken wanting to sacrifice something nice for the farmer’s birthday. The chicken calculatingly said to the pig, "Let's cook the farmer breakfast; I'll bring the eggs, you bring the ham!"

After studying the events leading to this “schism” (hate that term, I like stance), it makes sense to me. There are options for those not wanting to separate, and also for those having loyalties toward both sides. Churches valuing both biblical authority and church integrity can either divide, or stay dually aligned--both with love. Those valuing church autonomy and soul liberty with understandings of scriptural errency can stay loyal to the wider group. Extremes staying together violate their values, ultimately causing no one to do what they do best. I do feel bad for folks on the fence not having grappled with the significance of these important Baptistic principles. I have family and friends on both sides.
Let’s all continue praying for God to bring us together under His lordship. Until then we have to do what we need to do, because as Paul put it, "redeem the time because the days are evil".

With great mourning but excitement for the future,