Saturday, July 22, 2006

Praise a Few Good Baptists

After steadily watching the Southern Baptist Church deteriorate from Roger Williams' initial vision of a Holy Spirit led flock into a church of ever-increasing canons of "indoctrination," Baptist colleges are disaffiliating from the main church.

The New York Times reports today that "a half-dozen colleges and universities...with [ties to] state Baptist conventions" have elected to terminate their relationship during the last four years.

According to the story, this estrangement is "part of a broad realignment in which more than a dozen Southern Baptist universities, including Wake Forest and Furman...ended affiliations over the last two decades." To illustrate:

Rev. Hershael W. York, then the president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention...asked Georgetown College, a small Baptist liberal arts consider hiring for its religion department someone who would teach a literal interpretation of the Bible.

But to William H. Crouch Jr., the president of Georgetown, it was among the last straws in a struggle that had involved issues like who could be on the board of trustees and whether the college encouraged enough freedom of inquiry to qualify for a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Indeed, ever since the early 90s when the fundamentalists won the fight with moderates within the Southern Baptist Convention, more than a few individual churches opted to follow their own paths to God while paying mere lip service to the central congregational body by way of dues.

People may not realize that Baptist preachers are often more progressive than their congregation. Thus it is not incongruous for Howling Latina to prefer to do her worshipping in a Southern Baptist venue, with spirit-led worship services and powerful message. Each person is nudged by the Holy Ghost in accordance to God's will and for now, it is where HL's soul finds comfort.

A few weeks ago, Moral Contradictions wrote an excellent post with comments on the subject; prompted by the new election of Frank Page as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The New York Times notes in their article that Page "promised to be 'a big-tent conservative' and defeated candidates supported by the convention’s establishment." Paige won in the first ballot. MC wrote Page's victory was attributed to bloggers.

Well, with the increasingly rising stars of Sens. John Edwards and Lindsey Graham, both of North Carolina and Dr. Page's initial roots in the Palmetto State, maybe there is a little more to the conservative brand in South Carolina that even a raging liberal like HL might find something to like, now and then.

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