Alliance of Baptists
|Alliance of Baptists|
|Associations||National Council of Churches|
|Statistics for 2010|
The Alliance of Baptists is a fellowship of Baptist churches and individuals in the United States. In its theology and social stances, the Alliance is characterized as a progressive or liberal Christian fellowship. The Alliance's collaborative non-hierarchical Leadership Team of four members works virtually and maintains an address in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Alliance of Baptists was formed in 1987 as the Southern Baptist Alliance by liberal individuals and congregations who were considering separating from the Southern Baptist Convention as a result of the conservative resurgence/fundamentalist takeover controversy. Since 1995, many Alliance congregations and people have also aligned with several other free church traditions including the American Baptist Churches (USA), the United Church of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Theology and practices
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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. In 2014, the Alliance joined a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage, which is America’s first faith-based challenge to same-sex marriage bans.
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 (Disciples of Christ). It is a member of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
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.[clarification needed]
The Alliance of Baptists is governed by a Board of Directors and four officers—President, Vice-President, Treasurer, 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 23-member Board of Directors and the officers are nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected at the Annual Meeting. Board members serve three-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 2012[update], approximately 130 congregations are affiliated with the Alliance. 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.
- "Denominational Profile on the Association of Religion Data Archives website". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- Barry Hankins, Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist conservatives and American culture, University of Alabama Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-8173-1142-1, p. 222.
- David Stricklin, A Genealogy of Dissent: Southern Baptist Protest in the Twentieth Century, University Press of Kentucky, 1999, ISBN 0-8131-2093-4, p. 163.
- Bill J. Leonard, Baptists in America, Columbia University Press, 2007, ISBN 0-231-12703-0, p. 228.
- Frank Spencer Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood, Handbook of Denominations in the United States, Abingdon Press, 2001, ISBN 0-687-06983-1, p. 46.
- William H. Brackney, Baptists in North America: An Historical Perspective, Wiley, 2006, ISBN 1-4051-1865-2, p. 138.
- Covenant and Mission
- Alliance of Baptists (April 17, 2004). "Statement on Same Sex Marriage" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- Alliance of Baptists (April 13, 2007). "Covenant and Bylaws" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-26.
- Alliance of Baptists (April 13, 2007). "Covenant and Bylaws" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 2012-12-26.
- Alliance of Baptists (April 13, 2007). "Covenant and Bylaws" (PDF). p. 2. Retrieved 2012-12-26.