The other evening I was at another informational meeting sponsored by PSW and the executive minister said that some folk have expressed thanks to him that PSW has made the moves it has - this action has helped to get the denomination off the dime.
Well, I'm not sure about that, but one thing is very clear - the American Baptist denomination will be very different in 6 months than it is now. PSW will likely distance itself and there are some other regions that may as well. At least part of the theological diversity of ABC will be gone if much of the right leaves and a solid chunk of financial support will disappear (even if regions like PSW continue to support our ABC international ministries). There are folk advocating a change in our structure that would make things much more loose than they are now. It will not be an easy time for the folk in the bureaucracy.
So what next? It could be a time to radically look at ourselves and position ourselves for a future that is very different from the past. Or it could be a time of retrenchment that would certainly spell extinction. I think the Baptist tradition is the Christian tradition most suited for a post-modern world but at this time, as far as I can see, none of the Baptist groups are capitalizing like they can or should. I think that if we can really hold on to and hold up the traditional Baptist distinctives of soul freedom, local church autonomy, the associational principle, and the authority of scripture we will be in a good place to speak to a new world searching for faith.