Baptists in Kazakhstan Withdraw from BWA and EBF
W a s h i n g t o n – The Baptist Union of Kazakhstan has announced its withdrawal from both the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the European Baptist Federation (EBF). This became known at the BWA-Executive sessions in Falls Church near Washington. In a speech, EBF General-Secretary Tony Peck (Prague) expressed his regrets regarding the decision: “The brothers and sisters in Kazakhstan are concerned about issues like holiness of life; they believe that sin is not taken seriously among some of our Unions. I do not believe that this is in fact true, but this is their clear perception”. They are in agreement neither with charismatic expressions of worship nor with women as pastors, both issues about which the EBF does not make policy statements but welcomes to its fellowship those whose interpretations of Scripture on these matters differ from one another. These criticisms had been discussed during a meeting in Kyrgyzstan in February. Yet the visitors were unable to convince the critics that the BWA and EBF do not prescribe the doctrinal standards of member
bodies: “We are not a church. We are a fellowship of member bodies." This controversy has been brewing for the past 12 years. Peck also noted that the Baptists of Kyrgyzstan expressed similar concerns though they have not announced any formal action. The Baptist Union of Kazakhstan has 289 congregations with more than 10.000 members; the one in Kyrgyzstan has 84 congregations and 3.100 members.