Skip to comments.Former Presidents Carter & Clinton call for 'A New Baptist Covenant’
Posted on 01/11/2007 8:59:58 AM PST by presidio9
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have proposed the establishment of a broadly inclusive alternative Baptist movement to counter what they called a negative image of Baptists and to address poverty, the environment and global conflicts.
Carter and Clinton kicked off their plans with a news conference Jan. 9 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, flanked by leaders of moderate Baptist groups including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a breakaway group of an unverified number of churches that objected to the election of conservative leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention. Carter and Clinton announced a Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, tentatively set for Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2008, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, which they hope will attract 20,000 Baptists.
This is a historic event for the Baptists in this country and perhaps for Christianity, Carter said at the news conference.
About 80 leaders of 40 moderate Baptist organizations claiming to represent 20 million Baptists in the United States, Canada and Mexico met at the Carter Center for the announcement. Leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention were not invited to attend.
This is an attempt to bring people together and say, What would our Christian witness require of us in the 21st century? Clinton said, adding that his goal is to be a cheerleader for the group.
Bill Underwood, president of Mercer University in Georgia, said at the news conference that the 2008 meeting is meant to draw attention away from the Baptists who have the microphone, meaning conservative leaders who frequently appear in the media voicing conservative views.
North America desperately needs a true Baptist witness, Underwood said.
Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., took issue with Underwoods assertion and Carters and Clintons remarks apparently aimed at Southern Baptists.
Instead of engaging in a war of words, lets do a reality check, Page told Baptist Press. Word games are fine, but reality says Southern Baptists are presenting a positive life-changing message, impacting our culture with our ministries and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Carter and Clinton said they want to counter concerns that Baptists have been negative and exclusionary and promised an inclusive organization willing to debate openly on all issues.
Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said that Carters concerns about negative perceptions of Baptists ring hollow.
He has been one of the most vocal critics of Southern Baptists, using fundamentalist as a pejorative and drawing a caustic comparison between Ayatollah Khomeinis rise to power in Iran and the resurgence of conservative leadership being elected in the SBC, Chapman wrote to Baptist Press.
Chapman also disputed Carters and Clintons notion about a negative perception of Baptists.
Research shows this premise is false, he said. Zogby International conducted a survey for the SBC that showed adults view Southern Baptists favorably, equally to their views about Catholics and United Methodists. Not surprisingly, we fared best in areas where we have a strong presence and the community at large experiences our ministries and is familiar with our beliefs."
Tentative themes for plenary sessions at the 2008 meeting in Atlanta, according to a CBF communications report, are: Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, Unity in Bringing Good News to the Poor, Unity in Respecting Religious Diversity, Unity in Seeking Peace with Justice and Unity in Welcoming the Stranger and Healing the Broken-Hearted.
Both Page and Chapman addressed Clintons and Carters statements that the gathered group offered something new for Baptists.
Page pointed out that although Southern Baptists are painted as a white denomination, It was not long ago that the Saturday Evening Post described the Southern Baptist Convention as 'the most ethnically diverse of all U.S. Protestant denominations.'
According to SBC data for 2002, 4,742 out of 43,071 churches identified themselves as predominately ethnic, with 2,085 describing themselves as African-American. The SBC does not keep demographic information on individuals, so churches identified as predominately one race may have diversity among their members not reported in the data.
Chapman defended Southern Baptists record of ministering to the poor.
"Southern Baptists address world hunger in many ways, but a good example this past year was their giving $5.8 million, collected by the SBC Executive Committee, with every penny going solely to combat this global tragedy," Chapman said.
According to budget allocations, about 20 percent of funds collected for the SBCs World Hunger Fund are used in the United States and 80 percent overseas.
In the U.S. alone, Southern Baptists provided over 5 million meals, he said. The great difference in our approach from liberals is that in ministering to the body, we do not neglect the needs of the soul, and the Gospel was shared with over 500,000 people with over 32,000 professions of faith resulting.
When we offer a loaf of bread, no strings attached, we also present Jesus as the Living Bread and lives are changed both physically and spiritually, Chapman told BP.
The 2008 confabulation Clinton and Carter propose will coincide with a U.S. presidential election year. Clinton's wife, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is a possible candidate and has hired a consultant to advise her on religion. Democrats have made winning over "faith voters" a major election strategy. --30--
The Covenent of "What's Happening Now"
Oh great, the pervert and the traitor preaching to us about religion. Isn't that rich. These two low lives preaching to anyone about religion would be like Michael Jackson preaching about respecting the innocence and virtue of children.
Word cannot express my anger after a quick perusal of this article. Please tell me this is satire.......
That's all I need is Bubba Clinton telling me how to practice my religion. Carter passed senile up long ago, so I automatically discount anything he has to say.
When you don't stand for much of anything anyway, why bother with a covenant? Oh, that's right, it's to show how much we care.
What incredible cheek !
So now Clinton and Carter want to start their own religion (nobody in their right mind would call what they're preaching "Christianity").
"What's Happening Now"
In other words, make religion a liberal political advocacy tool rather than something to draw one closer to God and to temper behavior to conform more closely to the guidelines established in the Bible. In other words, let's get that whole "It's bad to cheat on your wife and to betray you country" thing out of religion and make it more about getting lots of govt. bennies for people who make it their job to fail in life. Maybe Carter ought to think instead about how religion could help him stop hating Jews and for Bill Clinton how it might stop him from using the bodies of women he has no committment to as his personal playground.
Clintoon's a Laptist.
I thought politics, politicians and/or ex-presidents shouldnt bring religion in to our daily lifes? Isn't that what they've been preaching about Bush. Bunch of hyprocrits. I hate them alot today, those liberals.
RE: "The Covenant of "What's Happening Now"
Exactly! I was brought up to believe that the "new covenant" was the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Do Carter and Clinton propose to unilaterally revise the terms of God's plan for us? Yes they do.
Run for your lives, Baptists.
Clinton and Carter want to address poverty by outsoursing the problem to bureaucrats. The Body of Christ could handle poverty if they were faithful and tried. The welfare state is a mark of shame on the Body of Christ.
No, it isn't a joke, except for the fact that two jokes are promoting it! It isn't really surprising at all. Carter has been a long-time critic of those eeeeevil conservatives who "took over" the Southern Baptist Convention back in the late 70's-early 80's. Recently, he has stepped up his criticism of the SBC and evangelicals. His is a big supporter of the liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, who boasts members like Tony Campolo, who said he would "join hands" with homosexuals and march on the SBC convention a few years ago. Campolo also believed God was basically cowering in a corner wringing His hands over hurricane Katrina, essentially powerless to do anything.
Let me also add that putting Clintoon into ANY religious discussion automatically lowers it to joke status. Carter is bad enough, but having Clintoon promoting something religious won't get it off the ground at all.
This whole "movement" is nothing new either. It is the same old, tired effort by "moderate" (read: LIBERAL) Baptist to regain some relevancy. They lost it years ago and haven't been able to make any strides whatsoever in gaining power back in Baptist circles.
Has Clinton made his customary deletions with regards to what constitutes "sex"?
It would probably require you not to be fellated by an employee at work.
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