A statement against coercion
Many of us became American Baptists because we saw in this family of faith a profound intertwining of biblical authority with the freedom to explore, examine, and even question. We can testify that coercion in matters of faith does not work, and that what American Baptists have in this twin emphasis is precious and life-giving. Baptist historian Bill Leonard has written that for Baptists, ‘the compelling ideal that informs identity theologically and pragmatically seems to be the belief that the people can be trusted to interpret Scripture aright, in the context of community and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.’ Other Baptists may have forgotten how precious this soul freedom is. American Baptists; don't you forget it.
I was brought up to believe that a wide-range of beliefs could be found under the term "Baptist", but my Southern Baptist Convention did not agree.
I was brought up so that I could interpret the Scriptures however the Holy Spirit led me under the traditional Baptist principles. The SBC prefers to hand down it's pre-approved interpretation and rejects those who dare to question.
I was brought up to loathe the politics that can rip a church apart. The corruption of politics and dirty tricks used by the fundamentalists within the SBC to further their view sickened me.
The coercion and intimidation of employees at the International Mission Board, Sunday School Board, seminaries, etc to accept the "correct" intrepetation of the Bible disgusts me.
Some may call me a liberal, some may call me a moderate... I just call myself a traditionalist. I long for the days when the overriding issue was saving souls, building each other up, and applying Jesus's life and His love to our life.