Thursday, January 11, 2007

SBC Leaders Respond to the New Baptist Covenant

In the picture above, all eyes are on former President Clinton as T. DeWitt Smith, President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, recounts how impressed his son was to learn that his father would be meeting with the man that he considers "the first African-American president."

Southern Baptist leaders, however, found little humorous about the meeting of New Baptist Covenant leaders. Morris Chapman, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, attacked the credibility of former President Carter saying:
"He has been one of the most vocal critics of Southern Baptists, using 'fundamentalist' as a pejorative and drawing a caustic comparison between Ayatollah Khomeini's rise to power in Iran and the resurgence of conservative leadership being elected in the SBC," Chapman wrote to Baptist Press.

Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, launched a broadside against Baptists associating with Bill Clinton:
Come to think of it, President Clinton's involvement might be just what the Baptist left needs. After all, for years they've been trying to convince Baptist churches that they represent "traditional Baptist" beliefs . . . They've been a lot of things, but never slick. Perhaps they needed all along someone to teach them how to triangulate more skillfully. Is Jesus the only way to the Father? Is an unborn fetus a baby worthy of protection? It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Richard Land, President of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, had a more moderate tone to his comments. He said:

Land cautioned that the North American Baptist Fellowship will have to work hard to make its January 2008 meeting not be seen as "overly political" during a presidential election year.

"Had I been invited I could have come, but I couldn't come to this meeting because I was meeting with Jews and Muslims and Christians searching for common ground," Land said. "It's easy to write a covenant and sign it and easy to hold a meeting. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating thereof. We'll see who represents Baptist views."


Anonymous said...

It took them long enough. I worry that Clinton is a liability in this. Is he simply posturing as the new left regains its religious footing? Is this all to help Hilary somehow? I dunno.

Someone prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

My hope is that this will go through. Southern Baptist must realize the Kingdom of God is bigger than any organization or person. We must move past conservative, liberal, or moderate, to imitators of Christ.

Clinton could be doing this as a political stunt...i don't know. Fact is this is bigger than him. Baptist need new life, need to heal if we expect to survive.


foxofbama said...

Would love for you and Randall Balmer jointly to post at faith in public life about what this convocation implies for the politics of the Clergy Leadership Network, Amy Sullivan's many endeavors and how it may play to be specific in the South Carolina Presidential Primaries, home state of an aging Harry Dent, and a fairly young and vital Frank Page.
For sure this meeting has political implications though I, in no way disparage it's authenticity.
Just is a transparent nuance statement addressing this thicket contexted in working knowledge of Tom Edsall's Building Red America; some statement from the likes of you and Balmer, a preemptive explanation of sorts I think is in order.
Will be checking Faith in Public Life to see what makes of this appeal