Friday, June 29, 2007

ABC General Board Hears Report from California Pastor Joseph H. DeRoulhac

This update came from the American Baptist News Service today. It describes a report the General Board heard about the progress of the new American Baptist Congregations of the Southwest and Hawaii.

Also in Thursday’s session, board members heard a presentation by Dr. Joseph H. DeRoulhac of the First Baptist Church of Redlands, Calif., about the new American Baptist Congregations of the Southwest and Hawaii. The new group includes churches that wish to remain with ABCUSA, following the withdrawal of the Pacific Southwest (PSW) region from the national body to form a new organization. DeRoulhac said that, of the 250 churches in the former PSW region, 40 have formally withdrawn from ABCUSA, and 50 have indicated they wish to remain with ABCUSA. Many other churches are in a process of “sorting out” their relationships, he said.

Joe is a friend of mine, a brilliant scholar (PhD in Social Ethics from USC), a committed American Baptist, an unusually fair person, and a great defender of most things left of center (including progressive views on various social issues such as homosexuality). Other than the large predominately African-American First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, pastored by Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., Redlands is one of the larger churches in the fellowship of the new ABC of the Southwest and Hawaii.

It would be interesting to see who the 50 congregations are that have indicated a desire to remain with ABCUSA. The national VF establishment has reportedly used some fairly "persuasive" strong-arm tactics to pressure ethnic churches to stay with the ABCUSA. Similarly, the entreaties coming from the ABC of LA have pushed hard, sometimes reportedly blurring the distinctions between truth and falsehood in a zeal to recruit American Baptist congregations for the cause.

I would not be surprised if the bulk of churches staying with the ABCUSA have a record of inadequate or non-existent mission support. Notable exceptions to this prediction would be Pasadena FBC (where I served as a preaching interim for almost a year and one half and where Drs. Bob Campbell, David Scholar, Glenn Stassen, and Bob Meye hold membership) and DeRoulhac's Redlands, both very strong mission-giving churches.

1 comment:

Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

I appreciate your assessment of the ABC situation, especially as someone new to the scene. I had heard about some churches withdrawing from the ABC but didn't know the full story. Still on an information gathering process.

It was meaningful to attend the CBF assembly, friday combined worship, and stick around a day for the Centennial emphasis.