Mainstream Responds to
anti-Muslim remarks in Norman Transcript
Mainstream Baptists passionately believe that the gospel is the “good news” that God loves people and has a wonderful plan for their lives.
We do not believe that the gospel is a message about Mohammed being “a demon possessed pedophile,” as former SBC President Jerry Vines proclaimed at the Southern Baptist Convention in June.
Neither do we believe that the gospel is a message about Islam being “a very evil and wicked religion” or the allegation that “terrorism is part of mainstream Islam” as Franklin Graham proclaimed in August.
Nor do we believe that the gospel is a message that “Mohammad was a terrorist” as Jerry Falwell proclaimed on CBS’s “60 minutes “ six days before our ads appeared.
These incendiary attacks on Islam are not a small, insignificant matter that can be glossed over and ignored. The gospel we proclaim and the way we proclaim it is fundamental to our faith.
The lives of people around the world are literally at stake. As Dwight A. Moody, at Georgetown College said, “Simply put, this speech is more likely to result in the burial of a Baptist than the baptism of a Muslim.”
Missionaries are worried about the damage these statements are doing to their work and the increased risks they must face because of them.
At the Interfaith Dialogue week at the University of Oklahoma participants worried that statements like these were increasing racial and religious tensions on campus.
In India, at least ten people have died and 140 people were injured in what began as protests against Falwell’s statements.
President Bush recently distanced himself and his administration from Vine’s, Graham’s and Falwell’s remarks saying their views, “do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “This kind of hatred must be rejected.” He added that this kind of language “must be spoken out against. We cannot allow this image to go forth of America, because it is an inaccurate image of America.”
Neither can real Baptists remain quiet when the gospel is falsely proclaimed as “bad news” about Mohammad rather than “good news” about Jesus.
Many people think all Baptists agree with the distorted gospel SBC leaders are proclaiming. Someone needs to clarify the kind of gospel real Baptists proclaim.
Mainstream Baptists will continue to make public statements when false stumbling blocks are thrown in the paths of people who need to come to know God’s love and grace. The eternal lives and destinies of people around the world are at stake.
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