Moral Contradictions

Monday, July 03, 2006

Unsettling divisions

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and started my questioning of the denomination once I learned the history of its beginning. Splitting over slavery, not theology, didn't sit well with me. Furthermore, other denominations that had done the same thing came back together after the Civil War - except the Southern Baptists. Thought it took the Methodists more than a century, they still reunited with their northern brethren.

During a random Google search tonight, I stumbled upon an Associated Baptist Press article from Februrary. The part that stuck out to me was:

The Baptist battles have left an enduring legacy of polarizing divisions between north and south, black and white, liberal and conservative, right and left. What we have tried to articulate is a dynamic center that offers alternatives to the polarization that exists in our culture and our churches.

"Enduring legacy" - in other words, we as Baptists have emotional and theological baggage centering around extra-biblical separation and disunion.

Much, if not all, of the divisions within the Baptist world centers around cultural differences, including those listed in the quote along with urban versus rural, educated versus uneducated, and the have's versus the have not's.

I'm not ashamed to be a part of an organization that seeks to cut through the worldly crap and focus on Biblical principles for winning the lost, perpetuating the faith, and serving God. If we and other Christians disagree on how to go about those things, then so be it, but I have no tolerance for division based on superficial criteria such as skin color, economic status, or political beliefs.

God made all of us - how difficult is it to accept that and try to seek common ground to achieve His will?


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