On Being a Moderate Baptist

In the most recent issue of the Campbell Divinity School newsletter, Dean Andy Wakefield discusses the difficulty that we moderate Baptists have in describing our position. “It turns out,” he says, “that it is hard to describe the middle ground in a single, exciting sound bite.” Wakefield is lamenting the fact that at present, everyone appears to be gravitating to extremes in the expression of Christian faith.

 

Wakefield summarizes the struggles that Campbell has in trying to be a community that is faithful to Christ and to scripture while at the same time trying to be open to diverse cultures and viewpoints. We find ourselves caught between being “pushed into a fundamentalist corner,” or “minimizing the importance of the core of orthodox Christian belief,” as he puts it.

 

This is exactly the struggle that many of us moderate Baptists find ourselves living with. We believe in the traditional Christian faith, but we also recognize and are sensitive to the complexities of life and the human struggle. We know that many questions are not answered in the clear-cut way we would like them to be. At least, that is where I find my own thinking and my own faith.

 

Wakefield concludes his article by saying that he does know of a simple slogan that embodies this way of faith. Of course, it is the motto of the Campbell University Divinity School: “Christ- centered, Bible-based and Ministry-focused.” If we can adhere to that core, I think we may find our way to being faithful followers of Jesus.

 

Love in Christ,

Greg W. Burriss, Pastor

Rocky River Baptist Church

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