No Alternative to the Sanctity of Marriage
T a l l i n n – The “Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia“ has emphasised the significance of marriage and the family. At its recent annual conference in Tallinn, the 135 delegates from 83 congregations passed a resolution entitled: “No Alternative to the Sanctity of Marriage”. In the text, Baptists speak out against tendencies in Estonian society to accept homosexual relations as a viable, alternative form of human relationship: “The Scriptures teach that humans are created bisexually.” Living together without formal marriage is also rejected. Baptists instead stress the value of the family as instigated by God. “The results of sin should not receive social acceptance. They should instead be labelled so by name.” Christian matrimony between a man and woman has withstood the challenges of time.
Primary concern of the conference, which met under the motto “Go ye into all the world and make disciples of all people”, was the consultations on a vision for the Union. Union leadership had earlier introduced a proposal which received feedback in the congregations and at the annual conference. Passed was the text: The “Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia plays a significant role in Estonian society thanks to its spiritual stimulus and activity. Those participating in the life of our congregations influence their surrounding and form a community involving approximately 1% of Estonian society.”
In their reports, President Joosep Tammo, Vice-President Ermo Jürma und General-Secretary Ruudi Leinus drew positive conclusions for the work during 2005. The Union has increased membership by 36 and now numbers 5.952 baptised members. Baptisms numbered 182. The Federation also reached 1.207 Sunday school children, 357 intermediates and 304 youth. The financial development is also positive. Voluntary donations for the work of the Union increased, making it possible to balance the budget for 2005. The budget for the current year was also approved foreseeing roughly 250.000 Euro being spent for the work of the Union headquarters, the seminary and mission society as well as children’s and youth work. Thanks to a partnership with the German “Federation of Evangelical Free Churches”, a number of additional projects could be started during the past and current year. Deep gratitude was expressed to the German Union for its aid.
The Estonian Union also gave a green light to a new form of international cooperation. The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is no longer to remain its sole global partner – it is to be joined by the “International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches” (IFFEC). It was stated thereby that the Estonian Union has always been influenced by both the Baptist and Free Evangelical traditions. The two traditions are blended together in many congregations. The Evangelical Christians indeed adhere to Free Evangelical congregations. Baptists also hold the piety of such believers in high regard. Its joining must still be approved by the IFFEC-full assembly in October 2006.