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“New Baptist Voice”

The Associated Baptist Press has an article about plans for a meeting in 2008 to provide a “new Baptist voice.” The piece explains that this will include Baptist leaders from across the nation, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The article notes:

The nation’s two living Baptist ex-presidents are calling for a historic convocation in Atlanta next year, intended to improve the “negative” image of Baptists in North America and to unite the majority of Baptists into a loose-knit network to address social ills.

... The 2008 convocation is a result of Carter's initiative to create a new Baptist “voice” to counter what he and others say is a negative and judgmental image of Baptists in North America.

Last April many of the same Baptist leaders signed the “North American Baptist Covenant” to counter the often combative pronouncements of many of the nation's most prominent Baptist leaders.
It seems quite evident that one of the major focuses of this group will be to try and reclaim the Baptist name and put forth a more friendly and Christ-like image. This is an endeavor that is desperately needed. It is sad to see that some outspoken Baptists have tarnished the reputation of Baptists—and all Christians for that matter. It is good that some will attempt to put forth a better image so that we can become more effective in sharing the love of Jesus.

UPDATE [1-9-07]: Ethics Daily has an article about this meeting. In it, Baptist Center for Ethics leader Robert Parham explained:

The 2008 meeting will correct the misperception that the name Baptist is synonymous with fundamentalism, counter the misguided agenda of the Christian right, and call for a new era in which Baptists recover a commitment to social justice.
Amen! We definitely need this. Hopefully, it will do some good.

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