Southern Baptists are more often noted for evangelism than social activism. But at least 400 Baptists joined a growing movement for peace causes, now being exhibited by certain evangelical groups. They attended a Convocation on Peacemaking and the Nuclear Arms Race, which was held with the blessings of prominent Baptists including President Jimmy Carter and Pastor W.A. Criswell of the First Baptist Church of Dallas.
The two-day conference, held last month at Deer Park Baptist Church in Louisville, was billed as a response to a resolution passed at the denomination’s annual conference last June, which called for greater nuclear arms control. Appropriately, conference delegates issued a call for nuclear disarmament. They also endorsed the proposed strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT II) with the Soviet Union. Local Baptist churches were asked to actively preach peace causes.
Responsible for organizing the conference were Glen H. Stassen, an ethics professor at Southern Baptist seminary; Robert Parham, student government president at the seminary (who introduced the arms control resolution at the conference); and Carman Sharp, Deer Park pastor. Conference speakers came from government and church sectors, and not all were Baptists.
Speakers, identified closely with the peace movement, included Dale Brown, professor of theology at Bethany Theological Seminary (Church of the Brethren); Gordon Cosby, pastor of Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C.; and Richard Barnet, director of the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington.
Further to the north last month, another peacemaking activity took place—this time in the form of a protest. Groups from the historic peace churches—Quakers, Church of the Brethren, and Mennonites—joined ...1
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