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Baptist conventions' dispute negates Bible's message

Oct. 4, 2000

The redirection of $4 million to their seminaries in Abilene, San Antonio, and Waco by the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptist Convention has left both parties, in true Blues Brothers fashion, claiming 'We're on a mission from God.'

The truth is, something that may have begun as a theological issue has now become an economic one and a political one, with none of the leaders asking the profound question of what this means to the rest of the world. What it means is simply this: more factions in a religion whose essence is supposed to include loving others as yourself, as well as tolerance and acceptance of others.

The 'body of Christ' of the New Testament, and mentioned over and over again by both sides of the argument, may soon need to be sent to the morgue or her body donated to science. The Bible tells of the body parts working in harmony with Christ at the head in control. The fighting that has occurred between Baptists on both sides of the issue has the body beating itself black and blue while leaving believers and non-believers alike asking where the spirit

of God is in this situation.

The BGCT claims it will still be cooperating with the SBC through the continuation of the funding of the International Missions Board and the North American Missions board, but redirecting money away from the six SBC seminaries to BGCT schools has caused some people to call BGCT officials dishonest and un-Christian. While BGCT leaders claim this is not a sign of an imminent break between the two parties, they speak of not being able to ally themselves with the Baptist Faith & Message adopted by the SBC. Though current leaders will not talk about a break with the SBC, younger Texas Baptists have practically already broken with the SBC because they, too, have theological disagreements with the SBC.

Whether the two sides separate or not, the spirit of cooperation needs to be renewed. Members of both sides agree, but the leaders seem to not be hearing their cry. At the center of Christianity is love, not money. The goal of the entire body of Christians, whether Baptist or another denomination, should be to work together in harmony to spread the word of God. Christians should understand people will have theological differences, but as long as they have in common the belief that the way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, the primary goal should be the Great Commission of spreading the gospel to the entire world.

The power of Christians united for a common bond of love is one that cannot be matched on earth. If the two groups can come together and show the love that is needed from of every Christian, non-believers will be drawn to true Christianity -- loving one's brother through the love of Christ. This outpouring of pure love would make the existence of the Christian God undeniable to all. Then, and only then, will both sides truly be 'on a mission from God.'

(John Hall is a junior religion and journalism major from San Antonio.)