The latest issue of CT has published an extended article on my friend the Georgian Baptist Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili.
The author of this text is William E. Yoder, PhD, a freelance journalist based in Moscow. He is a volunteer consultant with the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists and the Russian Evangelical Alliance.
In my opinion, the title of the article used an uninspired choice of words. It is understandable in the case of an American Evangelical journal, but because of it, what was probably meant to be a tribute to the fascinating personality of the Georgian Baptist leader, turned into a sort if indictment in the eyes of Eastern Orthodox believers in that country. Not helpful at all.
NOTE: Following a series of legitimate complaints, Christianity Today has changed the title of the article on its webpage. It reads now: ‘The Baptist Bearing Robes and Incense’. I find it equally uninspired, but at least not so offensive as the previous one.
The article also contains a number of factual mistakes:
1. the Baptist church in Georgia has NOT 1 but 2 monastic orders: one for women, called the Order of St Nino, and one for men, called the Order of the New Desert Brothers.
2. as Archbishop Malkhaz explained in a recent text, Georgian Baptists are NOT WCC members; they applied to if after the former Baptist Union withdrew form WCC on fundamentalist grounds, but were never accepted as a member, the (really stupid) argument being that this will not happen until the Georgian Orthodox Church does not renew its membership, which may never happen.
Also, to allow in the text for an over seven times difference in membership between what Archbishop Malkhaz states as official membership (17,000) and the unproven report of a ‘dissenting Georgia missionary with International Gospel Outreach’ (2,000) avails to mere slender and is proof of poor investigation, and is doubtful ethically.
You can find HERE more information about Georgian Baptists.
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