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Romanian leader concurs: SBC should withdraw from BWA

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.(BP)–When the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee voted to recommend that the SBC withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance, it was the right decision, said Paul Negrut, president of the Romanian Baptist Union.

Negrut, who has led Romanian Baptists since 1999, said he has been monitoring liberalism in the BWA for more than a decade. He was serving as vice president of the Baptist union when the former president, Vasile Talos, took steps to counter liberalism’s influence.

“The Romanian Baptist convention is conservative to the marrow of its bone,” said Negrut, who also is president of Emmanuel University in Ordea. “For a long time, the Romanian Baptist convention did not endorse the European Baptist Federation or the Baptist World Alliance doctrines or practices.

“More precisely, in the 1990s, when the European Baptist Federation appointed a lady pastor from Sweden as its president, the Romanian Baptists pulled out” from the EBF.

Negrut, in Missouri from Feb. 18-24 to promote the partnership between Romanian Baptists and Missouri Baptists, said he hopes conservative BWA leaders will come toward the SBC position before all ties become severed.

“I look at what is happening and there is sadness in my heart that we have arrived at this point,” Negrut said. “I would have expected the Baptist World Alliance to make a different turn in its history. For a number of years, various Baptist bodies in Europe have embarked on a more liberal theology and the Baptist witness in Europe has suffered a lot. What was once the continent of the Protestant Reformation and the great revival has become one of the most secular and dark continents in the world.

“Churches that are committed to the Bible as the inerrant, infallible Word of God are the churches that are growing,” Negrut said. “They are committed to missions and they stand at the cutting edge of biblical truth.”

The BWA has a responsibility to help clarify Baptist doctrines and identity, Negrut said, noting that the question between the SBC and BWA is posed in Amos 3:3: “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?”

Negrut said he does not accept the moderate line of “Let’s just do evangelism and not discuss doctrines.” Doctrines are important, he said.

“When some people say, ‘Let’s not discuss theology,’ that’s a very subtle way of saying, ‘I’m not interested in your theology.’”

Negrut said spending a week among Missouri Baptists reinforced his belief that Romanian Baptists and Missouri Baptists speak the same language. He said he cannot say the same for the SBC and the BWA.

“In Romania, we are straightforward,” Negrut said. “If you say you are Baptist, you believe the Word of God, you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and only Savior, you believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the blessed Trinity, and the work of the Holy Spirit is to bring new birth, and to fill us and to guide us and to give us the strength to serve, you mean what you say.

“We are not in this postmodern talking where words mean what I want them to mean. Words mean what they always meant,” Negrut said.

Missouri Baptists define doctrines much like Romanian Baptists, he observed. “Being here for a whole week, the words were clearly embodied in deeds, in facts. I’ve been blessed to see it’s a very conservative Baptist convention. Doctrinally, theologically, what the Missouri Baptists believe and preach is what the Romanian Baptists believe and preach.”

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  • Allen Palmeri