Baptist Denominations Forge New Coalition

Groups of various Baptist denominations not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., plan to launch in Atlanta this January a new coalition of moderate and liberal-leaning Baptists, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Dubbed the New Baptist Covenant, the group was organized as a result of meetings led by former President Jimmy Carter, who severed ties with the SBC in 2000 over its "increasingly rigid" positions, the AP reported.

Some of the participating denominations include the American Baptist Churches, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the National Baptist Convention USA and the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

According to the National Baptist Convention (NBC) Web site, Carter, Bill Clinton and Al Gore are committed participants.

"We seek nothing more nor less than that for which Christ prayed, for no other reason than that which He gave: that ours will be a believable witness as to who Jesus is and why He came," said William Shaw, president of the NBC, the nation's largest predominantly black denomination.

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