Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Presidents Carter and Clinton Announce New Baptist Conventions

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (thanks to my sister, Whitney, for the tip):

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton announced in Atlanta on Tuesday the creation of a Baptist organization they said would counter what they say is a negative image of their faith.

The New Baptist Convention was announced at the Carter Center by representatives of about 40 moderate Baptist groups that have distanced themselves from the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. Carter and Clinton —- both Baptists —- said the New Baptist Convention will look for solutions to problems such as poverty and racism. Carter and Clinton said they want to counter concerns that Baptists have been "negative" and "exclusionary" and promised an inclusive organization willing to debate openly all issues.

I've known several Baptists, including some Southern Baptists, who have worn out their larynges explaining that they are "Baptists, but . . . ." So I understand the desire for new Baptist conventions. Still, I have two questions/concerns:

1) Is anyone else bothered that the New Baptist Convention is the brainchild of politicians? I know that Carter is a long-time Baptist Sunday school teacher and Clinton spent several years singing in Baptist choirs, and I understand that the former presidents' celebrity has the potential to bring more sheep into the fold. But, as someone who feels that certain religious groups (including the Southern Baptist Convention) have compromised their identity by aligning themselves too closely with one political party, I have to have reservations about a church body founded in part by two well-known partisan politicians.

2) What about the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship? The Cooperative Baptists are good people who have been doing the disgruntled-former-Southern-Baptist thing for 15 years. Where does the CBF fit into the New Baptist Convention?

1 Comments:

Anonymous hamletta said...

It's not "the brainchild of politicians." They just got Carter and Clinton to help them get press for the announcement.

There's a buttload of info at Mainstream Baptist.

5:29 PM  

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