And now, straight from the Valley Forge Politburo of information...note carefully the charged words and phrases I have bolded.
ABCUSA: American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. And Their Pacific Southwest Region One Step Closer To Part
From "Jayne, Andy" <Ajayne@ABC-USA.org>Date Sat, 29 Apr 2006 22:27:13 -0400
VALLEY FORGE, PA --In a non-binding referendum taken Saturday, April 29, 1125 delegates of the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest (ABCPSW) voted to recommend that the region leave the Covenant of Relationships with the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). 209 delegates voted in opposition, and just over 50% of the member churches registered to participate in the vote. The Covenant of Relationships is the written agreement that binds the region with the larger ABCUSA family. The vote, taken without discussion, now goes to the region's Board of Directors for a final decision at a meeting on May 11, 2006.
It was taken without discussion because of the many meetings around the region and in churches. The vast majority of those present were "bound delegates" anyway...
"It is with profound sorrow that we have come to this point of separation," said Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of ABCUSA. "Though not uncommon in Baptist life, such actions grieve the heart of God and our Lord Jesus Christ." Rev. Arlee Griffin, Jr., Ph.D., president of ABCUSA, added, "We regret the actions of some of the churches in ABCPSW in breaking the unity of our denominational family. We consider it unfortunate that, at a time when secular society is merging and coming together, there are those in our Christian family who seek to divide even in light of our Lord's request to remain one in unity."
Translation: you PSW hacks are schismatics; haven't you ever read John 17? I wonder what they would have said to Luther.
"We give our blessing to the region, if it chooses on May 11 to leave, that they may do God's work as they feel led," said Medley. "Though the vote was not unanticipated, we had hoped and had made many efforts to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace," he added.
Even if the region does leave the Covenant of Relationships, not all the churches of ABCPSW will leave. A significant number of churches wish to remain American Baptist. They will form an Association of American Baptist Churches immediately if the region board votes on May 11 to break covenant. Dr. Samuel Chetti, executive minister of the Los Angeles Baptist City Mission Society, with the endorsement of his board, will give watch-care and oversight to the new association. There will continue to be a strong American Baptist presence even if the region splits away. "Most individual churches will be slow to take action to leave," said Joe DeRoulhac, Jr., Ph.D., pastor of First Baptist Church of Redlands, and strong supporter of ABCUSA mission. "The complexity of the possible separation will take a long time to sort out."
VF is kidding itself if it think that the ABC presence in the PSW area will be strong. It will be weak and insignificant.
"ABCUSA will continue its clear focus in mission and ministry to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are committed," said Medley, "to the seven Key Ministry Areas of Radical Discipleship, Healthy Missional Churches, Leadership, Church Planting, Youth, Stewardship and Mutual Faithfulness. God has given us a compelling mission and call. American Baptist Churches are healthy missional churches that nurture devoted disciples of Jesus Christ who live their lives in mission and ministry for the healing of the world through the love of God." Chetti added,
"ABCUSA has always held the Bible to be the standard and authority for Christian living. We are a Bible-based people and, since our inception, our mission and ministry have always been guided by the wisdom of the Scripture."
Translation: those PSW yahoos are fundamentalists; we are the true center. Yeah, right.
For further information, please contact the Office of the General Secretary at 800-222-3872. If immediate assistance is needed, please contact Dr. Robert H. Roberts at 610-585-8023.