Friday, February 16, 2007

Southern Baptists Discuss Baptist Identity, Controversy

Amid increasing clashes in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, the head of the SBC opened a conference on Thursday to discuss the Baptist identity and the controversy within.

SBC President Frank Page told a crowd of around 200 at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., that the denomination does not belong to them as he acknowledged factions among Baptists.

"Oftentimes in our convention, we're broken into groups," said Page, according to The Jackson Sun. "This convention does not belong to me or to you. It is a Jesus convention."

Earlier, a leader with the North American Mission Board – the American mission arm for the SBC – expressed being "heartbroken" about disagreements over theology and worship style among Baptists and that such feuding takes away from the evangelism focus of the denomination.

Bill Curtis, chairman of trustees for the NAMB, said the debates he has been seeing would ultimately mean "missed evangelistic opportunity."

At the second Baptist Identity Conference, Page expressed similar concern and emphasized the need to adopt the selflessness of Christ and the need for more open dialogue at every level of the convention.

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