By Bill Webb
This week in Word&Way, we begin a series of articles to help our readers identify and clarify aspects of a conflict that has dragged on for years among Missouri Baptists (see Beyond Rhetoric).
We know that projects like this have great potential to help our readers. Many have asked for help in clarifying the issues and sorting through what they have heard and read in various settings. We are grateful that many people trust us to give a careful analysis.
Some of what our readers will see in this series will appear to be old news. It is hard to examine the pertinent topics related to conflict, division and litigation among Missouri Baptists without covering what has become pretty familiar territory for many of our readers.
Our hope is that in an atmosphere where a great deal of heat has been generated, we will be able to shed some light. That is what many readers have requested.
We also hope that we can provide the kind of information to help readers draw their own conclusions about what has transpired and continues to transpire in Missouri Baptist life. We want nothing less.
In climates like these, many are willing to tell Missouri Baptists all they need to know. We firmly believe our readers can be provided with facts and insight about these important matters, and then can be trusted to figure a few things out for themselves. Because we are a part of the story, we know we must be extremely careful if we are to live up to our own reputation for evenhandedness in discussing controversial issues. We will hold ourselves to that standard.
I hope all of our readers will "give a good read" to the work of Vicki Brown this week and for the following few weeks. Our goal is to clarify, to increase understanding, to correct erroneous information — we want to help Missouri Baptists sort through what has become for many a very complex and frustrating set of issues.
Pray that we will achieve our goal and spread some much-needed light on those things that are hindering Missouri Baptists and their work.