No hierarchical religion can please all of the people all of the time, to a large extent, hierarchical religions don’t care and if they do, change is beyond cumbersome and slow. We need religion though and Jimmy Carter and all good people of conscious like him must not abandon religion based on one (or more beliefs they cannot accept.
We need religion. We need a framework, we need to be united to do the best and most good in the world. We each need to be part of the solution – change the religion – but at some point in time the obstinacy of hierarchical religion makes moving to another religion the most expedient option.
American Baptist Churches USA direct descendant of the very first Baptist religion in the USA is not a hierarchical religion. We honor and uphold every Christian’s unique and personal relationship with God. Like-minded individuals gather together in a local church and all authority rests in the local church. From the get-go a congregation agrees on a lot, if not most things and bring their open hearts and minds to resolving all they differ on. The denomination exists to support local congregations, to empower them. Congregations channel their mission dollars through ABC-USA which manages mission programs to the highest glory of God.
The denomination encourages and assists in church plantings which could be a wonderful option for disaffected faithful, but today there are many ABC-USA congregations across the country crying out for the faithful conscientious to bring integrity and insight and energy and re-direct and rebuild languishing churches. For Christians who are willing to re-examine scripture and come up with Scriptural sound answers to the burning questions of the day – equality of sex and race and gender – and willing to submit to the 2 Great Commandments and no other, ABC-USA offers a number of “turn-key” faith and mission centers.
ABC-USA is the religion for faithfully progressive Christians. Because of autonomy, some appear to be intransigent and others are inclined to the future. Believers in equality of sex and race and gender willing to work toward the truth will find an atmosphere that will validate it and it. We are a priesthood of believers. If we are willing to do our part to love one another, help one another to understand, we will sooner rather than later see the truth together, for there is only one truth after all.
I would encourage President Carter and all like him to bring their integrity and unite in the congregations of American Baptist Churches USA.
Rev. Edward Devine, Pastor
First Baptist Church
Albion, New York
American Baptist Churches USA