(Ed note: In retrospect I have heard from Nathan that he did consult state leaders and has apologised for not informing national or international leaders)Whilst I don’t have a problem with stating the official position of church gatherings and unions, it is ‘regrettable’ that an official Baptist Press Release does not also include anything on ‘our Baptist commitment to freedom of conscience and dissent’ as a distinctive Baptist contribution to this public debate.
To my mind such a press release undoes what was best about the show whatever ones position and has the effect of discouraging Baptist pastors to speak publicly. How about something more affirming such as…”Baptists were thrilled to have an articulate and passionate ‘representative’ invited to the table and Baptists will continue to discern truth together as we ‘break bread’ with friends and strangers across cultural divides on important social issues.” Whatever ones position I think the gospel compels us to be more generous than the rather ‘cold’ acknowledgement that ‘some couples…including some within Baptist churches, face difficult issues with respect to sexuality’. Such a statement captures nothing of the hospitality and welcome the church has for homosexual people. Whatever the ‘official’ Baptist position on marriage, it shows little empathy or acknowledgement of the sense of injustice, disconnection and exclusion from the church that many gay couples experience as a barrier to faith in Christ. Much Grace Marcus