baptists and the Bible.

Originally published The Religious Herald, March 3, 2005:

In a letter in the Religious Herald dated Feb. 3, Greene Hollowell condemned the Baptist General Association of Virginia’s stance on abortion, as published in Truthfully Speaking (available at http://www.vbmb.org/uploads/TruthfullySpeaking.pdf).

Mr. Hollowell disputes this statement:

“Be it further Resolved, that we also ... support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health.”

“Full range of medical services,” for Mr. Hollowell, “of course means abortion.”

Does it really, Mr. Hollowell? I understand it to mean we need to support mothers in their emotional well-being during a stressful and traumatic time in their lives.

The BGAV statement also resolved, “The messengers ... reaffirm the biblical sacredness and dignity of all human life, including fetal life.” How could a body of believers say this, yet continue to endorse the opposite? I don’t think they do.

Mr. Hollowell’s analysis troubles me, but this has nothing to do with abortion. His judgement on the BGAV is similar to the way many American evangelicals interpret the Bible. Mr. Hollowell disregards any original intentions of the statement and exercises his own interpretation of the BGAV’s statement, subjecting the statement to his own views and beliefs.

Other believers do the same with the Bible. We as Baptists believe in the priesthood of all believers, yet many “Baptist” organizations are informing us as to how we will believe.

Mr. Hollowell, if you took a moment to see lives changed through the work of the BGAV, I think you would see that God is not disintegrating the BGAV because they “support abortion,” as you write in your letter.

Would Jesus have been involved in any of these actions? Jesus calls us to love God and love others, Mr. Hollowell, not question others and create rifts within the Body of Christ. We have hurting people in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, people in our churches and women contemplating abortions. I challenge you, and all Virginia Baptists, to help someone in need. We need to be encouraging, uplifting and supportive and love our neighbors using Christ as an example. Tearing people down is a waste of our time, Mr. Hollowell.

I don’t think Jesus would have done that.

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