Southern Religion

Baptist World Alliance responds to Muslims ‘A Common Word’


Baptist/Muslim understanding took anoter step this week when the Baptist World Alliance responded to A Common Word Between Us and You from 138 Muslim scholars to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders.

Unlike the earlier A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’, published in November, 2007, in the New York Times, the BWA response specifically affirmed the Trinity:

There is room for exploration here in ways that are illuminating but not contentious. However, when we speak of the love and mystery of God we must open out an area of belief that we know will be troubling to you, but which is absolutely essential for us in confessing the Oneness of God: we mean the doctrine of the Trinity, God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are well aware that Muslims believe the Christian idea of the Trinity contradicts the affirmation that God has no other being in association with Him. … .

While not giving theological or other ground, the letter concluded on a call for a broader, “grassroots” peace and understanding, saying in part:

It is, however, too easy to keep a dialogue going at the high level of theological conversation alone. Somehow the theological vision which enlivens us must be received at the grassroots and change attitudes and prejudices there. Somehow the members of our communities need to be gripped by the value of respect and honour for all people because of the creation of all by the One God, and because of His love and mercy towards them, however wrong the beliefs of others may seem.

Read the entire letter here.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Baptist World Alliance responds to Muslims ‘A Common Word’

Ethics Daily blasts Baptist Press exaggeration

Ethics Daily set out to correct Baptist Press overstatement of damage done Gaza Baptist Church in an Israeli air strike against a nearby structure.

Associated Baptist Press, a competitor of Baptist Press, seems to have had no trouble getting the story right.

The original Baptist Press version was a heady mix of opinion and exaggeration.

We found it enlightening to put the BP version up in a window beside the Ethics Daily analysis and read the two pieces side-by-side.

It seems to us that BP was well and properly shellacked.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Politics | , | Comments Off on Ethics Daily blasts Baptist Press exaggeration

‘Moderate’ Baptists & the tanking SBC

When theocrats were taking over the Southern Baptist Convention (1979-90), there was debate over what to call the "others."

“Conservatives/fundamentalists” may have preferred to call the losers in that conflict “liberals” but “moderates” carried the day. To the considerable unhappiness of many thus classified.

Not any more, says Fisher Humphreys, retlred professor of theology at Samford University:

The fact that moderate was somebody else’s word for us doesn’t bother me. After all, in the first century Jesus’ followers didn’t name themselves Christians. Outsiders did, and Christians embraced the name. In the seventeenth century, Baptists didn’t name themselves Baptists. Outsiders did, and Baptists came to embrace the name. That’s how I feel about the name “moderates.”

Writing for the bulletin of the Center for Baptist Studies, he proclaims that being a “moderate” is good:

Principally because the Bible says it is: “Let your moderation be known unto all men” (Phil. 4:5). The word translated “moderation” is epieikēs. Paul used that word again when he wrote that Christian leaders should be “not violent but gentle” (1 Tim. 3:3, NRSV). He used the same word again in Titus 3:2 when he advised Christians “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show courtesy to everyone.”

These passages display that to be moderate is to not be an extremist, it is to not be violent, and it is to not be quarrelsome.

So what’s not to like?

The good professor doesn’t sully his argument by observing that under “conservative” leadership the SBC growth is tanking, expert leadership isn’t sure a turnaround will occur and secular newspapers offer bleak advice.

True to his moderate calling, Humphreys explains:

Moderate Baptists are strong and effective people. They have deep convictions and the courage to live by them. One of their convictions is that extremism is not a virtue. Another is that, in our efforts to carry out God’s purposes in the world, we must never resort to violence. Another is that chronic quarreling is not healthy. These convictions come straight out of Paul’s teaching about moderation.

Indeed, “what’s not to like?” Or emulate?

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Moderate’ Baptists & the tanking SBC

Top 10 moments in the race for pastor-in-chief

At Religious Action Center of Reform Judiasm we discovered:

The Interfaith Alliance, recently posted a sort of “greatest hits” video on their “You Tube” channel called the “Top 10 Moments in the Race for ‘Pastor-in-Chief.'” It contains clips of the major candidates during the primaries (and yes, it does feel like that was ages ago) on religion, scripture, and God…and as an added bonus, the background music is Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”…seriously, what more could you want?


January 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Top 10 moments in the race for pastor-in-chief

Bushie War crimes trials?

Yes, Marisa Taylor of McClatchy Newspapers just had to ask.

It’s true: The administration of Southern Baptist Convention ethics chief Richard Land’s nominee for latter-day Harry Truman (There are other views) may have committed war crimes. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers really wants to know.

But Taylor’s story suggests that the Bushies are not likely to land in court.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Politics | Comments Off on Bushie War crimes trials?