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Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164

 Homosexual issues split Baptist Denomination


Homosexual issues split Baptist Denomination

Tensions over the issue of homosexuality within the American Baptist Churches USA reached a critical point last week as leaders in the Pacific Southwest board voted to dissociate from the denomination.

In a vote taken Sept. 8 and made public Sept. 13, directors of the ABCPSW made a decision to leave the denomination by the end of they year – a move that may signify the initial stages of a national split, according to the Associated Baptist Press.

After a meeting held just prior to the vote, the regional board had determined that the conflicting values and differences were "irreconcilable."

Brian Scrivens, president of the Pacific Southwest board of directors, wrote in a letter to the region's pastors and churches, "After these meetings, the [ABCPSW] board of directors concluded the theological convictions and values of the ABCUSA and the ABCPSW were irreconcilable, and that it was in the best interest of both for the ABCPSW to withdraw from its present standing in the denomination."

The Ministers Council Senate of ABCUSA recently defeated an anti-homosexuality amendment regarding membership qualifications. Proposed by the ABCPSW Ministers Council, the measure would require members in good standing to believe that sexual intimacy is only appropriate between a man and a woman in a heterosexual marriage. The governing board rebuffed the proposal Aug. 22.

While leaders debate over homosexuality and express concern over the denomination's foggy message to the world on their stance, ABC's biennial meeting in July did little to resolve the issue.

"I don't think the biennial solved anything, in terms of the future of the denomination," said Mike Williams, executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of Michigan to ABP.

According to ABP, American Baptist officials are still in the process of preparing a formal response on the recent vote made by the ABPSW.

Currently, American Baptist Churches USA counts 1.5 million members in 5,836 churches. The denomination bars ordination of partnered homosexuals, but many conservatives have complained ABC leaders have done little to enforce it.

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Josh Parsley

 2005/9/16 9:29Profile

 Re: Homosexual issues split Baptist Denomination

wow. That's something.

 2005/9/16 12:45

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