Tuesday, July 18, 2006

ABC General Secretary Issues Strong Statement on Moral Integrity and Sexual Ethics

The following statement, dated July 17, was issued by the Office of the General Secretary of the ABCUSA. It is worthy of note by all ABC members and watchers:

Dear American Baptist:

The following call is being issued as a continuing part of our implementation of policies adopted by the General Board. I call it to your prayerful attention.

A Call for American Baptists to Live Lives of High Moral and Ethical Responsibility

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called… (Ephesians 4:1)

A life centered in Christ makes Christ the model and is worthy of replication (Philippians 3:10). There are many dimensions to the Christ-centered life including—but not limited to—integrity, stewardship, compassion, spiritual practices, and sexual discipline (Ephesians 6:13). In various times and ways American Baptists have spoken to these aspects of the life of discipleship.

While not the most important discipleship issue in the New Testament, nor our highest priority of ministry lest we focus on one set of sins above others that afflict us such as racism, greed, sexism and gluttony, nonetheless, sexual concerns increasingly dominate our attention (Romans 1:28). We live in a culture obsessed with sex. We see evidence of sexual abuse every day. We are stunned at the reports of sexual impropriety by persons in caring professions (1 Corinthians 6:18). Many persons have been victims of these abuses. The result is an environment of deep suspicion regarding the sexual integrity of persons in authority. In this context, the matter of homosexual practices continues to divide American Baptists.

The official position of American Baptist Churches USA is that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that marriage is intended to be “between a woman and a man” (Ephesians 5:31).

This is my personal belief, as the General Secretary of ABCUSA, but more so, it is my responsibility to uphold this as the official position of the General Board of ABCUSA. This has been implemented in the admission of official exhibitors at the ABCUSA Biennial, chaplain endorsements, and in the staffing practices of the staff accountable to me.

Not only do I strive to live a life centered in Christ with moral integrity, I expect the same from my staff, and I call upon all American Baptists to live exemplary lives of the highest ethical responsibility in all matters, including matters of sexuality.

Further, I call upon all American Baptists to practice Christ-like compassion (Colossians 3:12) and care for all of God’s people in our families, our communities, and our churches. The redeeming love of Jesus Christ must be extended to all persons, and there is no place for hate, violence, or injustice (Philippians 4:8).

Finally, I call upon all American Baptists to practice a life of prayer, purpose (Philippians 1:21) and passion (Philippians 3:13) in our lives together. We must pray with and for one another, share our purpose in Christ, and practice passionate care and regard for one another. In this way we bear witness to Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:1-11).

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley
General Secretary

WOW! Well said, Dr. Medley, well said!


kneeler said...

Yes, I agree--well said Dr. Medley. My burning question is WHY? Why couldn't Dr. Medley have voice this clear call to integrity earlier--like at last year's Biennial? In my humble opinion it could have made a significant differfence to many American Baptists, espeically those in the PSW region!

Bills Blog said...

Kneeler, you've got to be kidding? Look closer, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North American distributes at their exhibit AWAB material at the Biennial, the ABC is still involved with the Alliance of Baptists another AWAB fair haired one. Go back and look at the dvd when Medley was out in the ABCPSW and talking to pastors. The PSW has done the best thing it could possibly do! Leave and so should anyone else who calls themself an evangelical and Baptist.