Southern Baptists likely to drop out of world alliance

Posted: Friday, December 26, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Southern Baptist Convention is almost certain to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance, after a task force concluded the organization was becoming too liberal.

A study panel of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee announced its recommendation last week. The full Executive Committee will vote on the report in February, then will take the proposal to rank-and-file members at their annual meeting in June.

The convention is the largest and most generous member of the Baptist World Alliance, which received $300,000 this year from the denomination.

The study panel said the alliance is showing ''a decided anti-American tone,'' while promoting woman as pastors and refusing to talk openly about abortion.

James T. Draper, chairman of the study panel, said the alliance ''seems to have lost its doctrinal moorings and shows no desire to engage in the kinds of discussions that would return the organization to its biblical foundation.''

Denton Lotz, general secretary of the alliance, said withdrawal would be a tragic move that would ''bring a schism within the life of our worldwide Baptist family and thus it is a sin against love.''

He rejected what he called ''this false accusation of liberalism.''

''It is sad that in the 21st century we use loaded terms to end discussion and to eliminate the thoughts of other people. It is a form of McCarthyism,'' Lotz said.

The Southern Baptist Convention already had reduced its funding of the alliance by $125,000 this year because the organization agreed to consider a membership request from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which was formed by moderates in response to the denomination's conservative shift.

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