Sept. 11 attacks year's top story
January 5 2002 by Bob Allen , Associated Baptist Press

Sept. 11 attacks year's top story | Saturday, Jan. 5, 2002

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2002

Sept. 11 attacks year's top story

By Bob Allen Associated Baptist Press JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Events of Sept. 11 overshadowed denominational controversy in a ranking of the year's top news stories by Baptist journalists. Editors of Baptist newspapers rated reaction to and ministry following Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as the year's top story. Two other stories related to the attacks - debate over Islam and controversial remarks by Jerry Falwell - also made the top 10.

Denominational turmoil in Missouri ranked second, followed by a recent dispute between a Southern Baptist mission board and the District of Columbia Baptist Convention. A controversy over homosexuality within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship came in fourth, with President Bush's "faith-based" initiative rounding out the top five.

Responding to an annual informal survey by Associated Baptist Press, Baptist journalists voted the following the top 10 stories of 2001:

1. Baptists and others react to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, seek to minister in its wake.

2. Turmoil grips Missouri Baptist Convention. Several agencies, including the state Baptist newspaper Word & Way, adopt self-perpetuating boards. Conservatives who control the convention take steps to recover agencies by legal action, if necessary, and escrow funding for the current year. Moderate churches develop an alternative giving plan administered through the Missouri Baptist Foundation. Speculation continues that moderates are preparing to form a separate state convention.

3. North American Mission Board (NAMB) questions its relationship with District of Columbia Baptist Convention, citing stewardship concerns about the convention's triple alignment and indifference to SBC doctrinal concerns. In response, NAMB calls for unprecedented input into decision making of an autonomous state affiliate.

4. Cooperative Baptist Fellowship adopts a policy against funding of any organizations that promote or endorse homosexuality. Described as "welcoming but not affirming" of gays, some constituents protest the change. It is upheld, however, by wide majority at the CBF's General Assembly in July.

5. President Bush announces and pushes "faith-based" initiatives to make it easier for religious institutions to receive federal funds for performing social services. Supporters say restrictions on religious ministries violate religious freedom. Opponents, however, say using federal funds to promote particular religious views violates the separation of church and state.

6. Professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary lose their jobs rather than endorse recent changes in the Baptist Faith and Message.

7. (Tie) Atlanta Baptist Association debates and divides over whether to keep two member churches that include homosexuals in all areas of church life. Eventually one church leaves voluntarily and the second is dismissed.

7. (Tie) Debate over Islam results from Sept. 11. Fearing for safety of Muslim-Americans, President Bush highlights the religion's positive contributions. SBC president James Merritt urges prayer that Muslims will be converted to Christ. Evangelist Franklin Graham calls Islam an evil religion. Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler says Muslims and Christians don't worship the same god. Reaction from Muslim and interfaith groups was mixed.

9. Jerry Falwell makes, then apologizes for, a remark on "700 Club" that Sept. 11 attacks are evidence that God has removed a protective hand over America, blaming American Civil Liberties Union and others that seek to secularize the nation. Afterward, the episode shows up in a Falwell fund-raising letter as evidence of the media being out to get Falwell.

10. (Tie) A national "Mainstream Baptists" network begins to take shape with a February meeting. Another national gathering is being planned for 2002.

10. (Tie) The International Mission Board says in January that, unlike other SBC entities, it won't force missionaries to agree with every detail of the Baptist Faith and Message. Later, an International Mission Board regional leader said he acted on his own in requesting workers under his authority to voluntarily endorse the document.

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1/5/2002 12:00:00 AM by Bob Allen , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
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