Break Looms Within American Baptist Church
By CHRISTINA ALMEIDA
April 29, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Delegates from the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest voted overwhelmingly Saturday to recommend severing ties with the national denomination in a dispute over homosexuality.
Members from the region's 300 churches are upset American Baptist Churches, USA, has not disciplined congregations with liberal gay policies even though the denomination has a strict definition that says "homosexuality is incompatible with biblical teaching."
The matter now goes to the region's board of directors, which meets May 11 and already recommended withdrawal from the denomination citing "deep differences of theological convictions and values."
The board had the authority to withdraw on its own, but decided to seek input from the delegates, according to a statement on the group's Web site.
The delegates — who met in seven locations across the West, including First Baptist Church in Pomona — voted 1,125 to 209 to withdraw.
There has been a growing split within the 1.4 million-member denomination concerning homosexuality.
Last year, the West Virginia association, the largest regional group with 465 congregations, narrowly rejected a proposal to break with the national denomination.