'The courage to be Baptist'
A call to Baptist churches to face present disagreements over same-sex marriage by being faithful to ‘a Baptist way of being church’ has been made
British Baptists seek middle ground on same-sex marriage - Baptist News Global
A group of seven Baptists issued a statement on Monday (5 December) entitled: ‘The Courage to be Baptist: A Statement on Baptist Ecclesiology and Human Sexuality’.
The statement authors are the Revd Beth Allison-Glenny, minister of John Bunyan Baptist Church in Oxford; the Revd Andy Goodliff, minister of Belle Vue Baptist Church, Southend; the Revd Dr Ruth Gouldbourne and the Revd Dr Simon Woodman, both ministers at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church; the Revd Dr Steve Holmes, Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at the University of St Andrews; the Revd David Kerrigan, General Director of BMS World Mission, and the Revd Glen Marshall, Co-Principal, Northern Baptist College.
‘Baptists believe that each local church must discern Christ’s call for itself,’ the authors state on the newly created website which hosts the statement (http://www.somethingtodeclare.org.uk/)
‘Baptists also believe that local churches have a duty to associate together, and should support each other in this work of discerning Christ’s call. This involves listening to one another when we differ…. This Baptist way of being church allows us to maintain unity even when we disagree about certain issues. We believe this is a gift of God, allowing us to witness to our true unity in Christ even when we disagree about serious matters.’
They state that one of the serious matters we currently disagree about is whether Christian marriage is always between a man and a woman, or whether a same-sex marriage might be authentically Christian. The authors acknowledge they disagree about this themselves (though all agree that 'our churches must take seriously their welcome of those who identify as LGBT+').
‘We believe, however, that our churches will do best by dealing with this disagreement the way we deal with others,’ they continue, ‘refusing to let it divide us, but continuing to talk and pray and love.
‘We do not pretend this will be easy for anyone. We do believe God calls us, as Baptist Christians, to do this—and so we believe it is the best place we can possibly be.
‘We ask Baptist churches to have the courage to be Baptist.’
British Baptists Issue call for unity over same-sex marriage - Christian Today
European Baptist Federation (EBF) consultation on homosexuality - EBF