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BAPTIZING BAPTISTS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Almost ex officio, Harry Emerson Fosdick has carried the fundamentalist-modernist war into the Baptist church. In accepting the pastorate of the Park Avenue church, Dr. Fosdick prescribed liberal terms of church membership. And although the church refused to force the issue with the central body of Baptists and hence failed to send delegates to the Northern Baptist convention now assembled in Washington; nevertheless the convention itself forced the issue. A proposal from the fundamentalists was introduced to define the term Baptist in such a way as to eliminate from membership in Baptist churches all but those received by immersion.

The proposal would have put the Park Avenue church beyond the pale and ruled out of Baptist councils the "Rockefeller modernists", as this church and its officials was, referred to in the convention. But it obtained only one thousand odd votes from the three thousand delegates present. Whether or not due to the abstention of the Park Avenue church from active controversy, the moderates won, the Baptist church refused to add another division to the atomizing of protestant churches, and the modernists within its walls have tacit consent to continue liberal policies.

This result concludes but a trivial chapter in the rather provincial war of sects. Yet it is of such a nature as to suggest that tolerance is not entirely foreign to orthodox conventions and thus slightly to cheer those depressed by the Dayton trial, if such there be.

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