Saturday, November 19, 2005
How Will the Left Interpret the Affirmation of the IN/KY Motion by the General Board?
We did not need to wait too long to hear from the left regarding the vote yesterday by the ABCUSA General Board affirming the IN/KY motion 59-45.
Passage of the petition, from the denomination’s Indiana-Kentucky region, changes a descriptive document titled “We Are American Baptists” by adding to the document a phrase reading “who submit to the teaching of Scripture that God’s design for sexual intimacy places it within the context of marriage between one man and one woman, and acknowledge that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Biblical teaching.”
At least one frequent contributor to the conservative oriented ABE message board interpreted the action with suspicion. Putting forward only the least controversial and most unenforceably symbolic point from the original initiative coupled with Dr. Salico's hint of conditions for reconsideration looked to him like a "caving" by the conservatives.
Blogger Rev. Roy Donkin, quickly reached the opposite conclusion to that of the ABE writer in his piece: "General board caves." Roy, a good friend despite the fact that we seldom agree on much regarding politics or polity, currently serves a PSW congregation. Formerly he was pastor of an AWAB church in New York. Here is Rev. Donkin's analysis of why he opposes yesterday's vote.
Well... the general board of ABC was meeting this past week and continues to struggle with questions about polity and homosexuality. This time they caved.
It is official policy of ABC going all the way back to 1907 that any statements or stands taken by the general board are not binding on local churches. Still, statements that come from the gb are important as they shape the perception of what we are and what we believe.
A few years ago a document was produced called We Are American Baptists in large degree as a response to those who were complaining that we didn't have a clear faith statement (well duh... we are/were real baptists and creedal statements are anathema). Well, an amendment was made to that document...The amendment adds the following statement to the section A Biblical People: "Who submit to the teaching of Scripture that God's design for sexual intimacy places it within the context of marriage between one man and one woman, and acknowledge that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Biblical teaching."
Evidently the executive minister of the PSW region had made a presentation stating 3 things that had to be done to keep PSW in ABC... I don't know whether this was one but I'm sure that the vote was, at least in part, a reaction to his presentation.
I am deeply saddened by this move. My guess is that it won't be enough to placate the conservatives/revisionists. The conservatives will want to go the next step and remove congregational autonomy to choose who the churches believe God has called as their leaders, to interpret scripture as they hear it, and in the end the conservatives will want to stamp out any dissent that remains. And it will serve to be used as a club that will hurt GLBT folk and drive them further from the experience of the love of God... one more body has condemned them.
It was a UCC church (for those of you who don't know such things, read "liberal") that coined the phrase - What Would Jesus Do? Well... this wasn't the answer." WWJD? This isn't it. Of course, we would disagree with what he would do."