Thursday, May 04, 2006

American Baptists Don't Need Valley Forge

The sky did not fall over southern California this week, nor over Arizona no Vegas nor over the isles of Hawaii. The delegates of the PSW voted to exit the ABCUSA and the Wrath of God did not burst forth in eschatological fury.

The reality is, we don't need Valley Forge. Neither does Maine (the ABC thereof) or Michigan or Ohio or West Virginia or, well, a lot of places.

There was a time when American Baptists--back when they were called Northern Baptists--did just fine without a National Headquarters or even a General Secretary. What we needed to do cooperatively we did through mission societies (now falsely labeled "program boards").

And we could do that again. We don't need a Valley Forge. Events of the last few years show that not only don't we need a Vallley Forge--Valley Forge is the problem.

The Common Table is a halting baby-step in the right direction. But I believe that the PSW declaration of independance will be the first in a string of such moves, and that the ABC will soon look more like the Soviet Union after Christmas 1991 than the supposed oasis of missional effectiveness that Drs. Medley, Wrights-Riggins, Woods, et al. would have us believe.

I differ from my friend and co-occupant of Blogistan, Dennis McFadden in this: I still consider myself an American Baptist. The window for reform is open briefly. I appeal to the Executive Ministers of the regions, especially the so-called Parchment Valley regions, to either dismantle the disfunctional Valley Forge apparatus or to come along with the PSW on a journey to faithful effectivenss.

Carthago delenda est! That was the cry of the Roman Senate: Carthage must be destroyed. I beseech you, especially, executive ministers--Valley Forge delenda est!

1 comment:

Dennis E. McFadden said...


Actually, we are not in such disagreement. I have been saying for weeks that if the REMC would only adopt a Michigan type proposal, we might see the return of PSW to the "fold" of American Baptists. I would happily join that movement. My fear, however, is that commitment to the status quo will prevent the leadership from making the necessary changes until it is too late.