The Carter/Clinton Denomination

Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are undertaking the establishment of a new religious denomination.
I am a member of the imperfect denomination they are leaving in order to establish a more perfect world order. They say their “all inclusive” denomination will fight poverty, work on health care, environmental issues, and eliminate religious and racial conflict.
Both of these men have been critical of Southern Baptists-and we deserve some criticism like most religious bodies. I say most because I met the pastor of and have his calling card with the name of his church in Atlanta: “The Perfect Church.” I always wanted to meet his wife to see what she had to say about that.
In addition to criticizing Southern Baptists, they should take time to observe some of the good the denomination is already doing in the areas they propose to address. They have been so preoccupied with criticism they have failed to take note of attributes and assets with which they could ally and achieve far more than by starting another denomination.
In noting areas in which Southern Baptists are making progress I want to readily admit much progress is yet to be made.
In 1995 Southern Baptists issued a resolution of repentance. The lengthy document stated in part, “…we apologize to all African Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systematic racism….” Implementation of the commitments to work for racial reconciliation are on going.
Peter Wagner of Fuller Theological Seminary, not a Southern Baptist wrote, “At the top of the list in ethnic ministries in the United States are Southern Baptists…. Southern Baptists are the most ethically diverse denomination, worshiping in 87 languages in more than 4,600 language-culture congregations every Sunday.”
It should be noted the denomination works with many diverse racial groups, especially Native Americans.
The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, of which Southern Baptists are a part, has done work in the area of the environment which “would improve the lot of the poor more surely and effectively” than that proposed by many environmentalists groups. Their proposals are believed to be potentially more effective in reducing high rates of disease and premature deaths and have a more positive impact on the poor.
Another area the presidents propose to address is world hunger. Southern Baptists are at the forefront of denominations seeking to provide relief. Much help is needed in that 16,000 children worldwide die daily from hunger related causes. That is one child every five seconds.
Messrs. Presidents, more can be done more immediately by working in programs already in place than reinventing the wheel. By doing so, time, money, and lives can be saved.
Oh, by the way Messrs. Presidents, you have said nothing about such spiritual ministries as Christ commissioned His church to fulfill: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you…”