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The Alliance of Baptists is a fellowship of Baptist churches and individuals in the United Statesmarker. In its theology and social stances, the Alliance may be generally characterized as a progressive Christian fellowship. Headquarters are located in Atlanta, GAmarker

History

The Alliance was formed in 1987 by congregations that had either separated or were considering separating from the Southern Baptist Convention as a result of the conservative resurgence/fundamentalist takeover controversy.

Theology and practices

The Covenant of the Alliance of Baptists lays out seven principles the churches are committed to: the freedom of individuals to interpret Scripture for themselves; the autonomy of the local church including its ability to ordain both men and women; cooperation with other Christians and the wider Church; servant leadership and inclusion for all people in mission and ministry; emphasizing theological education by the support of colleges and seminaries; proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and calling people to repentance, faith, reconciliation, social and economic justice; and the separation of church and state.

In contrast to the SBC and other conservative Baptists, the Alliance has emphasized women's ministry, encouraging women to seek ordination and senior pastorates, and encourages its congregations toward inclusiveness with respect to homosexuality. The Alliance has also worked to uphold the separation of church and state through its membership and support of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

The Alliance has acknowledged its interdependence as Baptists with the whole people of God regardless of denominational designation. That spirit of ecumenism of the Alliance of Baptists can be seen in its willingness to fellowship with any other denomination without regard to its doctrinal character. The Alliance is in ecumenical partnership with groups such as the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the African-American Progressive National Baptist Convention, and in cooperation with the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church . It is a member of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churchesmarker.

Organization

The Alliance of Baptists is organized with a congregationalist polity, and member churches maintain authority over their internal affairs. The Alliance allows churches to cooperate in foreign missions, endorsement for chaplaincy and pastoral counseling, and assistance in placement of ministers in available positions. The latter is carried out in a manner similar to the United Church of Christ and the Disciples.

The Alliance of Baptists is governed by a Board of Directors and three officers—President, Vice-President and Secretary—in between the Alliance's Annual Meetings. All actions of the Board of Directors are subject to review during the Annual Meeting. The 40-member Board of Directors and the officers are nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected at the Annual Meeting. Board members serve four year terms and can be reelected. The Board of Directors has an Executive Committee which oversees the work of the Alliance in between meetings of the Board. Membership in the Alliance is open to churches and individuals who support its Covenant and Mission and contribute financially to its ministries.

As of 2006, 127 congregations are affiliated with the Alliance with a preponderance of them in southern Atlantic states such as Marylandmarker, Virginiamarker and North Carolinamarker. The Alliance is more sparsely found in the central South and Texasmarker. In those areas, congregations are found almost exclusively in metropolitan areas. There are 65,000 members served by 465 clergy.

Some Alliance churches may still have ties to the SBC and their respective state conventions, although in practically all cases those ties are nominal with little or no financial support or delegates sent to either national or state SBC causes or meetings due to theological and ideological incompatibilities. Some may also hold simultaneous membership in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a more moderate group dedicated to reform in the SBC.

References

  1. Our Covenant


Further reading

  • Dictionary of Baptists in America, Bill J. Leonard, editor
  • Handbook of Denominations, by Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood


External links




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