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Michele Bachmann now a Baptist?

July 20, 2011

Several news outlets, including the New York Times and the Associate Baptist Press, are reporting that presidential hopeful, Michele Bachmann is now a Baptist. Bachmann separated herself from the Salem Lutheran Church (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) in Stillwater, Minnesota, last month. Her separation from her church came shortly before announcing her White House bid.

Bachmann most likely did not want her church’s stances to distract her campaign.  Salem Lutheran church opposes same-sex marriages and calls the Pope the “anti-Christ”:

Since Scripture teaches that the Antichrist would be revealed and gives the marks by which the Antichrist is to be recognized, and since this prophecy has been clearly fulfilled in the history and development of the Roman Papacy, it is Scripture which reveals that the Papacy is the Antichrist.

Some think that Bachmann wanted to avoid a Jeremiah Wright moment for her campaign, which haunted President Obama. Apparently, a meeting with her pastor sparked her departure from the church.  An aide commented on the situation:

The family began seeking out a new church a little over two years ago, just after they moved. It really came down to preference issues, as it does for so many evangelical families who occasionally change churches. They have been attending a non-denominational evangelical church during that time. They haven’t been at Salem in just over two years. A coincidental meeting with Salem’s pastor last month afforded an opportunity to provide the membership release.

Wait. Hold on. That statement details that the family attends a “non-denominational” church. It doesn’t say anything about Bachmann attending or joining a Baptist church.  The church in question is Eagle Brook Church.

The Associate Baptist Press sheds some light on the matter:

Some media reported the Bachmanns new church is non-denominational, but the Baptist General Conference, which also identifies as Converge, lists Eagle Brook Church as a member.

Does Bachmann know she is attending a Baptist church or a church that affiliates with a group of Baptist churches? Since she has not joined the church as a member, she cannot officially be called a Baptist.  However, with cultural changes in church membership, does attending a church for an extended period of time count as being identified with that church’s denominational affiliation?

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