Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A Baptist Hope
First off, IDK if I've posted it before, and if I did it was before I started tagging my posts. If repeated, sorry!
I was reminded the other day of a document that I had been led to by some friends called "The Baptist Manifesto" (click to read...opens as pdf.). As most of you may know, I was raised and have remained Baptist (at least in my personal convictions, and speaking of Baptists in the historical sense) even though I have tried hard to publicly withdraw from certain Baptist circles. Baptists, as most things do, have evolved over the years and many sects of the Baptist denomination have moved away from the historical beliefs that on which the Baptists obtained their identity.
To most people, Baptist has come to mean conservative/fundamentalist in it's ideals (although there is a whole spectrum of beliefs in the Baptist world), judgemental, separatist, and non-tolerant! In undergrad, when I started to learn about the politics and beliefs of Baptists, I have to say I was ashamed to be a Baptist. Through education of Baptist/Church history, I began to cling to what originally made Baptists stand out from other movements throughout the reformation. However, as we move into postmodernity, I once again found that many Baptists (even the ones that I had not cut connections with) were not eager to reach out into postmodern theology/ideology and change. Most Baptists were too busy fighting over what they WEREN'T and not defining who they were or wanted to be.
I was befuddled, because as I studied and understood this changing worldview, I realized that Baptists who held the original/traditional Baptist beliefs could more easily adapt and evolve into postmodern ministry. It shouldn't be so hard. And then comes the "Baptist Manifesto" (actual title: "Re-envisioning Baptist Identity: A Manifesto for Baptist Communities in North America"). In this document, the contributors work towards BOTH being true to original Baptist heritage, as well as acknowledging and looking forward into a postmodern worldview.
At this point, I was proud once again to be a Baptist. I think there is still a ways to go, and one of those steps is a desegregation of denominationalism. I know that is a seeming contradiction to this post, but having a sense of identity goes a long way towards transitioning. I think as these types of Baptists began working with emerging Methodists, Presbyterians, etc..., then we will begin to see these lines of denominationalism blur and again become one body, a Catholic Church. This is a great start for Baptists! There's still a long ways to go!
Other articles on Baptist Manifesto:
History of "Baptist Manifesto"