The Evangelical Universalist Forum

American Baptist Churches USA

#1

Is anyone here familiar with this affiliation? If so, what can I expect?

#2

My ordination was ABC, which was originally the Northern Baptists after breaking with the Southern Baptists over slavery. The ABC often has an evangelical ethos, but is the most liberal of U.S. Baptist groups (at least of the non-black denominations, and the ABC has an unusual proportion of African Americans compared to most evangelical denominations. Theology will vary quite a bit from congregation to congregation, especially depending on the pastor, since polity is congregational.

I wish I was still in it. My region of American Baptists (mostly southern California) split from them and became independent (now known as Transformation Ministries). The cause was a refusal to ban churches from sending someone gay to annual conventions as their delegate (even though the denomination’s official statement remained that it holds homosexuality to be unbiblical). The position of the ABC was that congregational autonomy meant that churches had the right to select their own delegates, even if others disagreed with their choice.

Having grown up as a Conservative Baptist (which also broke off of the ABC in the 50’s over it not being restrictive enough) I loved the greater diversity of the ABC and regret that my regions choice cut me off from opportunities to gather with a less fundamentalist crowd. You would be well able to form questions in an interview with a pastor to be able to tell if someone who raises good questions like you do would be welcome in that congregation.

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#3

There’s one not too far from me. They mention ET in their ‘what we believe’ section of their website though, so I’m a little turned off.

What are services like? @Bob_Wilson

#4

Services in evangelical Baptist churches (which one including ET on the website appears to be) tend to be non-liturgical, basically singing followed by a sermon with a prayer and offering interjected. More liberal ABC services might be a bit more formal with responsive readings and written prayers, perhaps processionals, and ironically probably more Scripture readings.

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