Baptists? Methodists? Presbyterians? Charismatics?

February 12, 2010

Something that I’ve been observing for quite some time now, and especially here lately, is that a lot of people, who belong to Baptist Churches, could join a Church of another denomination and couldn’t tell any difference.  I can’t tell you of the people that I have heard say things like…”Well, there’s not that much difference between us Baptists and the Methodists, right?”  Inside of me, I’m screaming, “Yes!  Yes!  How could you even begin to think that?”  I’ve heard people make the comment that there’s really not that much difference between us and the Assembly of God Church, or the Presbyterians.  And, in my sinking heart, I’m thinking, “What?  How could you be a member of a Baptist Church for so long of a time and not know that there’s a huge difference?”  What is even sadder, is that I have heard Baptist Pastors make very similar comments.  Or, they say that our differences are so minute and small, maybe even silly, that we should be able to set them aside and just get along.  Again, my heart sinks into a giant funk, and I cry out, silently, “How could you say such a thing?  And, worse, you’re a Baptist Pastor.  How can you not believe that things like eternal security, autonomy of the local Church, Believer’s baptism by immersion, priesthood of all believers, salvation by grace through faith, and all the other doctrines that we hold dear–as God’s Word spells it out for us–are not worth holding onto?  How could you just throw them aside?  How could you just ignore these clear teachings of Scripture?  How could you so easily compromise something as important as these doctrines are?”

I’m afraid that we have a lot of Christians in the pews of Baptist Churches that really have no depth to their faith, whatsoever.  They do not know the Bible.  They do not know doctrine.  They really do not know what they believe nor why they believe it, if they do believe it.  We may even have Baptist Churches with people, who believe that you can lose your salvation, if you do something really bad like watch porn, get involved in a homosexual act, or commit suicide.  I mean, surely those people will go to Hell, right?  We may have Baptist Churches with people, who believe that the Church should just accept any baptism.  I mean, why make such a fuss about little Tommy Jones and his momma, Lucille, having to get baptized when they were a member of the Covenant Presbyterian Church for years?  What right do we have  to ask them to get baptized by immersion?  I mean, really…ain’t we carrying this stuff just a little too far?  Folks, I’m afraid that we have Baptist Churches that have a lot of people sitting in the pews, who really could not tell you the difference in the Methodist Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and they really could not care less to know.  They would say that we’re all nearly the same.   We all follow the same God.  We’re all going to the same place anyway.  You’ve probably heard all of this before, just as I have, right?

Do you know what I believe to be an even sadder situation?  There are some Pastors out there who don’t see it either.  We have pulpits in the SBC where the Bible is not really preached and taught.  We have pulpits where sermons are preached every Sunday that could be preached at Baptist Churches, or at  Methodist Churches, or at Pentecostal Churches.  And, the Methodists would amen…quietly…the sermon, as would the Assembly of God people…more loudly, of course.  The same sermon could then be preached in the Baptist Church, and they would amen it.  These  sermonettes have no depth; therefore, the people have nothing given to them to make them grow deeper in their faith.   They hear little, self-help-psychological-“how-to” sermonettes every time they attend their church. How can we expect those people to be deeply grounded in their faith, knowledgable about doctrine?   How can we expect people to be sound in their faith, and to stand strong on the Word of God when THEY DON’T KNOW IT!

My friends, we’re seeing a movement among the younger crowd that I applaud.  They want to hear the Bible, not our traditions.  Not our thoughts.  Not our philosophies and theologies.  Not our opinions. They want to hear the Bible.  They want to preach the Bible.  They want to teach the Bible.  To that, as a Christian who is the Baptist flavor of Christian, I say a hearty AMEN!  Let’s teach the Bible.  Let’s preach what the Bible clearly says.  When we do, then people will be Baptist, Southern Baptist.  If not in name, then in doctrine.  Oh, they may not join the SBC (and if they don’t, that’s fine).  Let them be whatever it is that they feel led to be, but, at least they will be sound in doctrine.  If our SBC Pastors, Seminary Professors, and our Sunday School literature writers, etc., will teach the Bible, then we’ll be steeped in Southern Baptist doctrine.  We’ll hold to the clear teachings of Scripture, because the BFM2000 is what we believe the Bible clearly teaches, and it is.  May God help us to grow in our understanding and knowledge of His Word and thus get to know our Creator better and better and better every day.   May the Lord help us to love Him more and more and more every day.  To God be the glory.

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Dave Woodbury

David,

I understand your distress over the lack of doctrinal preaching in many pulpits. And I agree to a large extent. But I would have to say that, as a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church, many of my sermons could probably be affirmed by Methodists, Presbyterians, and Charismatics. What I mean to say is, when I preach, I allow the text to speak. If the text demands that I speak to a Baptist distinctive like the permanence of our salvation or baptism, I preach those things without apology. And if I were to do that, I am sure to speak clearly enough that any Methodist, Presbyterian, or Charismatic listener would know where our church stands on the issue. But if the text speaks to a broader truth that Bible-believing Chrisitans of differing denominations could affirm, I resist the temptation to ride my Baptist hobby-horse. I am currently preaching a “survey”-type series through the OT. I would hope that conservative Methodists, Presbyterians, and Pentecostals would be able to agree with the vast majority of what I say regarding the Scriptures. Do you feel that all of our sermons should address those things that set us apart as Baptists?

Andrew Wencl

David (Volfan?),

You said, “How can we expect people to be sound in their faith, and to stand strong on the Word of God when THEY DON’T KNOW IT!”

What do you suppose are the contributing factors to this problem? Is it just the preaching or are there other issues involved here? If we are to meet this challenge head on, where is the best place for that to happen? The pulpit? Sunday School? One-on-one discipleship?

Thanks for the article.

Bill MacKinnon

David:

I have to echo Dave Woodbury. I can think of many sermons I’ve heard preached or preached myself that members of these other churches could amen.

Unless you think these groups are apostate, and I know you don’t, there are a great many areas of overlap, such that a good many sermons would find acceptance by all groups.

Now obviously, if you are preaching about something distinctly Baptist (credobaptism), then we wouldn’t expect support from all groups, but even staunch and orthodox Baptists will preach sermons that fall within the overlap. By the same token, if these other groups NEVER heard anything to disagree with, then you would have a point.

David Rogers

I was going to write more or less the same thing Dave Woodbury wrote, so I won’t repeat what he has already said, and said very well.

I will add that, if I had to throw a ball-park figure at it, when we preach the Bible accurately, objectively, and without a “hobby-horse” spin, about 90% of what we preach could be Amened by most truly evangelical churches (not liberal) of the various denominations you mention. And, if our preaching is heavily weighted on the subjects on which they would not agree, then our preaching is likely out of balance.

Bob Cleveland

I have to echo what Dave Woodbury said, too. I’ve only been in an SBC church about 29 years but I have sat under ONE sermon about “what Baptists believe” .. which is fine .. and been through exactly ZERO Sunday School or Discipleship Training classes about distinctive Baptist beliefs. I have, however, taught the BF&M .. now in my third iteration of classes on that .. to perhaps 30 people, total, none of whom had ever read it before.

Nobody I have EVER asked had, either.

Baptists are generally like a bunch of people who drove to their destinations listening to their Nav system. They know how they got there, but they have no idea of the geography beyond the route they took.

If that is a sad situation, responsibility must rest first and foremost in the pulpits of Baptist churches, IMO.

David Worley

Dave Woodbury,

I agree that there are some sermons that we would preach that other denominations could affirm and say amen to. I have preached in Methodist Churches, Presbyterian Churches, and others. They all said that they were blessed when I got finished. Every sermon that I preach, or that we, Baptists preach, should not be on “Baptist topics.” But, of course, anything that we, Baptists, preach will carry our Baptist views along with it. Would you agree?

But, I preach verse by verse thru books of the Bible. That’s the way I preach. Thus, I deal with whatever’s next in the Bible.

I was moreso talking about the psychological, self-help, how-to sermonettes that are so popular today. They give the people nothing to grow on. They dont stir their hearts to know the Bible better. They have nothing to learn about God and God’s Word in these mud hole deep sermonettes. And, I would also say that we’ve had a generation of Pastors, and still have them, who preach only on certain topics…such as: salvation; Heaven; Hell; and against sins(whichever sins it is that they really dont like). Thus, those people, in those Churches, also do not have a very strong foundation, either. They are not challenged to learn anything else in the Word of God.

But, Dave, my concern is that we have so much shallow sermonette preaching that the people in the pews in our Baptist Churches really dont know the difference between a Methodist and a Presbyterian and a Baptist. They falsely assume that we’re all the same, and there’s not any difference in the denominations. And, that’s sad when the people dont know that the Methodist believe you can lose your salvation, or worse, that most Methodist Churches have turned very liberal and dont believe the Bible anymore. It’s sad when the people in the pews of our Baptist Churches dont realize that there’s nothing wrong with baptizing babies. And, that seems to be where we’re heading more and more in our day and age.

David

David Worley

Andrew,

I think the answer is in all that you said. But, it should start in the pulpit. Our Pastors have got to get the Word of God out to our people. We’ve got to feed them the meat of the Word. We’ve got to give them a thirst for the Bible.

David

Donald Holmes

An open Bible and an open mind will make a Baptist every time.

David Worley

David Rogers,

See my answer to Dave Woodbury above. The sad thing is that we have Churches that hear nothing more than “10 Steps to Happiness;” or “3 Ways to Be a Better Person;” or “Some Simple Suggestions to Happy Living;” or “4 Ways to Financial Bliss;” or some other stuff like that. They never see a man filled with the Holy Spirit, fired up about the Word of God, preach the Word of God, and teach it’s truthes. They never hear the Bible explained and declared with passion. Thus, they hear these Oprah Winfrey sermons, and they may feel warm and fuzzy inside, and walk out of the doors of our Churches not knowing God better in any way, or not having their lives changed in any way, or not knowing God’s Word any better than they did before.

That’s sad.

David, BTW, would you not agree that if a Pastor really teaches the Bible, then the people will grow to be Baptist in doctrine?

David

David Rogers

David,

I think a big part of the problem in your premise is linking “psychological, self-help, how-to sermonettes” with not knowing the differences between denominations. As I see it, you can just as easily have “psychological, self-help, how-to sermonettes” in Baptist churches, as in Methodist churches, Prebyterian churches, and Charismatic churches. And, that is a problem.

And, I suppose it is a good thing, as well, for folks to be aware of the differences between different denominations, and know why they believe what they believe on these issues.

But, I think it is a false dichotomy to link the two together.

David Worley

Bob,

If I preach on salvation, or on the Lord’s Supper, or on baptism, or on the Church, or on the nature of God, or on the Gospel, or even if I preach an evangelistic message; the “Baptist” should come out of you while you’re preaching on these things. It should. If I’m preaching on Romans 8, dont you think that the Baptist understanding of that passage should clearly come out? that we’re saved forever? If I’m preaching on the first few chapters of the book of Acts, should not a Baptist understanding of tongues and the church and baptism and the Lord’s Supper come out…naturally?

I think so.

David

David Worley

Donald,

Amen, Bro.

David

Chris Griggs

I think the better distinction is between Christian and non-Christian sermons. I don’t ever want to preach a sermon that a Jew, Muslim, or Hindu would agree with. We preach Christ and Him crucified. All true believers are happy with that. It is the man-centered morality lessons that could easily be taught in a Synagogue or Mosque that we must never present from our pulpits, if we are Christian churches. And I don’t think we need to preach in such a way that people are drawn to the differences between denominations, as much as we need to show them the difference between the Gospel and religion.

David Rogers

“David, BTW, would you not agree that if a Pastor really teaches the Bible, then the people will grow to be Baptist in doctrine?”

I grew up all of my life hearing what most conservative Baptists would consider to be “really teaching the Bible,” and I guess you could describe my doctrinal beliefs as “Baptist” (at least, I affirm the BFM, with the exception of the close/closed communion clause). So, I guess that is one bit of evidence supporting your premise on this one.

However, I am sure there are others who have sat under strong biblical preaching in Methodist, Presbyterian and Charismatic churches, who would claim the same thing: that the preaching in their church helped to confirm them in the distinctive beliefs of their particular tradition.

Now, my own study, and seeking the Lord’s guidance on doctrine, has led me thus far in a mostly “Baptist” direction. So, I would like to think that someone else who truly studied the Bible, and opened themselves up to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, would come to similar (i.e. Baptist) convictions, as I have. But, then again, I don’t think my own understanding is infallible. And so, I remain open to the possibility that some of those from other perspectives might still be able to teach me a thing or two, as well.

David Worley

David R.,

You are missing what I’m trying to say. I think that so many weak, shallow sermons are being preached today, that they could be preached in any Church, whatever denomination, and it would be applauded. And, worse, with that being the only thing that many people hear, they dont know what they believe. Thus, they could say things like: “Well, there’s not much difference in the Baptists and the Methodists. Not really. We’re all going to the same place anyway. So, son, if you marry that Methodist girl, then just go to Church with her.” Or, “Well, why should we ask the Methodists to be re-baptised to join our Church? Aint that a little bit oveboard? There’s not much difference in us anyway.” Or, “Let’s have a community, Thanksgiving service in our town. We can all meet in the Baptist Church every year since it’s the biggest place and can hold everybody. And, we’ll invite the Presbyterians(liberal one), and the Methodists(liberal with a woman Pastorette), and the Assembly of God folks, and lets’ also invite those Mormon folks. They’re really nice, and they’re heading in the same direction as us. And, we’ll let every Pastor from every Church take turns preaching every year. To start it off, we’ll ask the Presbyterian Pastor to speak.”

David, I’m talking about Baptist Churches having pyschological, self help, how-to sermonettes. That’s who I’m talking about mainly, and why I’m so concerned. That Baptist Churches are full of people, who know so little about the Bible, that they could think that there’s no difference in a Baptist Church and a Methodist Church. That the Baptist knows so little of the Bible that they would have no idea that a Methodist Pastor’s sermon is any different than a Baptist Pastor…no matter what the Methodist Pastor was preaching, but especially on topics that a Baptist ought to spot the errors of the Methodist right away. But, they dont.

David, my concern is that Baptist Churches are not learning the Bible, which would lead them to be Baptist in their doctrine. Do you see what I’m saying?

David

David Worley

Chris,

If you went to a Pentecostal Church, and preached Romans 8, especially from v. 28 to the end, do you think they would be happy with what you were preaching. Of course, I dont know you, and I’m assuming that you’re a Baptist in this scenario.

David

David Worley

David R.,

Other denominations can claim that their teaching is Biblical all they want, but they are wrong. As you know, I grew up in a Methodist Church. We left that Church, and my family joined Bellevue Baptist. Your Dad had not been there very long when we started coming to Bellevue. I can assure you that the teaching was very different. And, the more I get into my Bible, and the more I study it, the more convinced I am that Baptist doctrine is true to the Word. That’s why I am a Baptist. If I felt that some other denomination were more true to the Bible, then I’d join them.

I truly believe that the more someone studies their Bible, then they will start believing things like Believers baptism by immersion, salvation by grace thru faith, “once saved, always saved,” priesthood of the believer, etc. Now, they may not believe in the CP. They may not want to order Lifeway literature for their SS classes. They may not want to subscribe to the state Baptist paper. But, they will become Baptist in doctrine.

David

Andrew Wencl

David Worley,

You said, “David, BTW, would you not agree that if a Pastor really teaches the Bible, then the people will grow to be Baptist in doctrine?”

I think the term “Baptist” needs to be more selective than I’m reading here. I think I know what you mean, but we can’t really equate “Biblical” with “Baptist” without saying that many other churches and denominations are quite “Baptistic” in their beliefs.

For example, if a Lutheran pastor preaches that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God, should we say that he is preaching “Baptist” doctrine or “Biblical” doctrine? “Baptist” may be biblical, but “Biblical” may not necessarily be Baptist, unless we believe that the “Baptist” position is infallible, which is a dangerous road to follow.

David Worley

Andrew,

I dont care what denomination a Church is, or what they call themselves. I’m convinced that Baptist doctrine…ie the BFM2K…is Bible doctrine. The reason we believe it, as Baptists, is because it’s what the Bible clearly teaches. It’s what we see the Bible being very clear about. Thus, if some other Church of some other denomination is preaching Bible doctrine, which would go along with Baptist doctrine, then amen. Hallelujah!

Andrew, do you see Baptist doctrine as being Biblical doctrine?

David

David Rogers

David,

I think I have understood you correctly on this from the beginning. I am just saying the two issues which you are seeking to join together don’t necessarily go together. I guess you could say, people who tend to be “loosey-goosey” on their doctrine, in one area, would tend to be “loosey-goosey” in other areas. That’s pretty much a no-brainer. But, to go beyond that, in my opinion, is unwarranted.

David Rogers

David,

You say: “And, the more I get into my Bible, and the more I study it, the more convinced I am that Baptist doctrine is true to the Word. That’s why I am a Baptist. If I felt that some other denomination were more true to the Bible, then I’d join them.”

I would say that, for the most part, I could say the same thing. However, I suppose a difference is that I don’t tend to view “Baptist doctrine” as a monolithic category, that stands or falls together. As I study the Bible, I am continually seeking to hone my beliefs on any number of separate issues. If, at the end of the day, my entire set of beliefs falls in line with something like the BFM, so be it. I am pleased others have studied the Bible, and come to the same conclusions I have. If not, though, so be it, as well. I am much more interested in being biblical than I am in being Baptist. As I have studied the Bible, one thing I have come to see more and more clearly, though, is that it does not seem to condone the separatist, denominationalist, Landmark-leaning mindset that sometimes (notice I said “sometimes” here) goes along with the label “Baptist.”

David Worley

Bill,

I’m sorry. I didnt mean to overlook your comment. I would say the same thing to you that I did to Dave Woodbury. Of course, there are some things, probably many things, that we could preach at Churches of other denominations, and they’d amen it. But, my lament has more to do with the shallow preaching that goes on in Baptist Churches, so that the members of that Church would not even understand the difference if they went to a Presbyterian Church, and the preacher preached on baptism there. Or, if he preached Church polity. My lament is that we have Churches, all over our SBC, that have members, and even Pastors, who really think that we should be able to join with the Methodists and the Presbyterians and the Charismatics. They honestly believe that all denominational walls should come down, and we should all be able to join together. And, they dont even see how important our Baptist doctrines are…how clearly Biblical they are. I guess, they think that we can just throw our doctrine to the wind, and compromise, so that we all can join together.

That’s sad.

David

David Worley

David R.,

I really cant see how you cant see it as all fitting together. Shallow, non Biblical preaching in our pulpits. People in our pews who dont know the Bible. People who have no idea that Presbyterians baptising babies is wrong, or that Pentecostals believing that a person can be saved and lost and saved and lost is wrong and against the clear teachings of the Scripture.

I do think these things clearly go together.

Also, I, too, am more interested in being Biblical than Baptist. I, too, am a Christian first, and a Baptist second. If the SBC went liberal, and I felt that it was too far gone to turn around, I’d be something else in a heartbeat. But, I believe with all of my heart that Baptist doctrine is Bible doctrine. That Baptists are dead on. They are holding to the sound, clear teachings of the Scripture. Thus, I proudly wear the label of Baptist. I’m thankful to God for leading me into the SBC. I’m glad that we have a connection of Churches that believe in the main doctrines of the Bible, and that we do missions together, etc. But, believe me, brother. My family left the Methodist Church due to liberalism and error in doctrine. We would leave the SBC in a heartbeat if they ever turn liberal, and they seem to have gone too far to turn back. I thank God that the SBC stands on the Bible, and the clear teachings of it.

David, do you think that God will change your mind about eternal security, one day? Do you think that God will change your mind about believers baptism by immersion, one day? I mean, really, do you think that somehow, at the end of the day, you would change your mind about these doctrines?

David

Andrew Wencl

David Worley,

You asked, “Andrew, do you see Baptist doctrine as being Biblical doctrine?”

The short answer is no.

The long answer is why I don’t mind considering myself a Baptist.

To make “Baptist” the same thing as “Biblical” means that I have to adhere to a standard that is at least one level removed from the primary standard, God’s word. Ultimately the difference between “Biblical” and “Baptist” is in the authority. If there is any disagreement between the BF&M and the Bible, the Bible wins out. I can’t use the BF&M as my lens or filter for understanding the Biblical text.

However, I firmly believe that the BF&M is quite sound theologically and have found that the SBC is where I fit best. But to believe that “Baptist” doctrine can’t ever stray from “Biblical” doctrine requires a vitrually Catholic ecclesiology.

cb scott

Finally, after the smoke has cleared from many “Little League” posts around this blog, one comes up that is truly a “Big leaguer’s” game.

Deal me in and buy the necessary First-Aid Kits for the “uninitiated” and those who have never been scared in real battle with a Black Flag Pirate of the SBC.

Andrew Wencl,

If you cannot see Baptist doctrine as being biblical doctrine; Can you say Baptist doctrine is “more” biblical than any other theological system presently known in the Christian community?

cb

Andrew Wencl

CB,

Can you define “Baptist doctrine” and “theological system?” There are so many views within “Baptistdom” and “Southern Baptistdom” that I don’t really know if we’re all meaning the same thing when we say “Baptist doctrine.”

For instance, how many points of Calvinism does “Baptist doctrine” affirm? Does “Baptist doctrine” affirm cessationism, continualism, or something else? Does “Baptist doctrine” affirm pre-trib, mid-trib, or a post-trib rapture?

cb scott

Andrew,

Wrong answer. Join the circus.

Seriously, If you cannot answer that question with a yes or no, then its back to Doctrines 101 for you.

cb

David Worley

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew, You said this,” But to believe that “Baptist” doctrine can’t ever stray from “Biblical” doctrine requires a vitrually Catholic ecclesiology.” Who ever said that? Why did you bring this to the table? I believe that Baptist doctrine is Biblical doctrine because….ta ta ta dummmmm….it goes along with Scripture. It is dictated by Scripture. It is based on what’s clearly taught in the Bible. Catholicism adds to the Bible; takes away from the Bible; puts the sayings of the Pope on the same par as the Bible. We are far, far, far from that.

C’mon, Andrew.

David

David Worley

CB,

It’s good to see you poke your head out of the snow in Alabama and join in.

David :)

cb scott

Vol,

My kids just built a Snowman. They named it GATOR NATION and ran over it in the truck. (I am talking about the girls. They are 10 and 7. Can’t start too early you know in making good Sabanites)

Vol, Does Andrew serve in a ministry position in a Baptist church?

cb

David Rogers

David, you said: “David, do you think that God will change your mind about eternal security, one day? Do you think that God will change your mind about believers baptism by immersion, one day? I mean, really, do you think that somehow, at the end of the day, you would change your mind about these doctrines?”

No, probably not. Neither do I think He is going to change my mind about the convictions I have about the unity of the Body of Christ, and accepting one another just as He has accepted us.

Chris Johnson

Brother David,

One of the largest problems in the SBC is the lack or at least anemic suite of biblical doctrine being taught from the pulpit…and not only from the pulpit, since the pulpit is not enough by any stretch. The Word must be preached in many other ways. The other real problem though, is the lack of discernment from the congregation. There should be others in the congregations that encourage these anemic Pastors to preach the Word non-anemically. Of course, that is the reason the Apostles taught that many men aspire to overseer in the congregation, which greatly helps move anemic preaching to more depth of study because of the gifting of the Spirit.

2 Timothy 2:2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:14-15 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. (15) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

The Apostles never operated under single pastor model and methodology, and for good reason…because the biblical doctrine of multiple overseers brings remedy to the lack of biblical accountability and doctrinal depth in a congregation (even in Alabama). :)

Blessings,
Chris

Andrew Wencl

David Worley,

My point is that to say “Baptist” means “Biblical” is dangerous.

It’s Baptist because it’s Biblical. It’s Biblical because it’s Baptist.

The first statement is what we strive for. We want “Baptist” to be the most biblical expression of theology out there, and if we find that we believe something that doesn’t match with Scripture we want to change it so that the “Baptist” position is the “Biblical” position on that topic. We can challenge Baptist beliefs and doctrines because we admit that we could get it wrong and we want to be biblical, which often means changing what we believe about this subject or that.

But when we make the terms synonyms we fall into the second category. “Baptist” becomes our goal, and “Biblical” is assumed. We should never just assume something is “Biblical” because it is considered “Baptist.”

Some people argue that we should never have a plurality of elders because that is not “Baptist.” Hogwash. If someone wants to argue about that issue because they think it isn’t biblical, that’s one thing, but if they argue because it’s not Baptist, that is merely being divisive for the sake of tradition. If it is biblical, it shouldn’t matter if it is “Baptist.” If it is biblical, that should become the new “Baptist.”

The reason I am hesitant to say that “Baptist doctrine” is “Biblical doctrine” is because “Baptist doctrine” has not been adequately defined by you or anyone else in this comment stream, and because what is “Biblical” can’t be redefined, whereas what is “Baptist” can be refined (unless we assume that we’ve got it all together, in which case we’re back to “It’s Biblical because it’s Baptist). Another way of saying it is: “Biblical” is inerrant, “Baptist” can be errant.

My issue is really with semantics, but semantics are important when dealing with doctrine.

CB,

My issue is really with semantics, but semantics are important when dealing with doctrine. Definitions are very important, which is why I can’t just give a “yes” or “no” answer to you until I know where you’re coming from.

Seriously, CB, if you cannot see that the way we define these words is important, then it’s back to Communication 101 for you ;-).

And yes, I do have a ministry position in a Baptist Church.

cb scott

Andrew,

Let’s do it this way: As best you understand Baptist doctrine, is it more biblical that other theological systems?

cb

David Rogers

CB,

I’m not Andrew. But, here’s a suggestion. How about if you describe a series of so-called “theological systems,” and then, ask which one, among them, we consider to be the most biblical. Maybe it would be easier to answer your question then.

David Worley

Here’s some systems:

Presbyterian?

Assembly of God?

Methodists?

Pentecostal?

Lutheran?

Catholic?

Episcopalian?

Also, Andrew, I would bet that there aint too many Baptist Churches that would say that you cant have a plurality of Elders of still be Baptist. A lot of Churches, when they’re large enough, have a plurality of Elders…Pastor; Asst. Pastor; Student Minister; Education/Missions Minister; etc.

David

David Rogers

David,

Once again, I’m not Andrew. But, I am fine saying I think the “Baptist” system (if we must use this language) is more biblical than the other “systems” you mention here.

However, I don’t think it is generally good to think of “systems” as neat and cut. There are a whole lot more nuances, in the real world.

David Rogers

“Cut and dry” was the phrase I was looking for, not “neat and cut.”

cb scott

Well David,

Since you have become a sloppy drunk with your three fingers, “neat” Bourbon, “cut” with Coke I would expect you to say as much.

At the same time, I will give you the fact that no “system” is “cut and dried” even when one is “three sheets in the wind.” :-) (That includes Baptist Theology)

My point is that Baptist doctrine is closer to being biblical doctrine than any other theological system in human existence.

If I believed another to be closer, I would drop Baptist doctrine and embrace it faster than you should get to the closest AA meeting. :-)

cb

cb scott

The reason I would drop Baptist theology if I found a theological system closer to Scripture is that we, as Christ Followers, should seek to be as biblical as possible in all matters theological and biblical. (I think that is one thing Andrew was trying to say in his \”round house\” comment above. Anyway, I hope he was trying to say that.)

cb scott

Vol,

Your comment above is exactly how I would have answered David’s question. Long live the SEC for its production of harmonious thinking minds. :-)

cb

Chris Johnson

Brother David,

I think I see your intent but I just cringe when I hear it framed this way…..

“A lot of Churches, when they’re large enough, have a plurality of Elders…Pastor; Asst. Pastor; Student Minister; Education/Missions Minister; etc.”

What does large enough mean? Isn’t it possible for a small group to have as many men qualify to overseer as in a large group of Christ followers (kinda dependent on the Spirits moving and maturity of the Saints). Are multiple overseers abridged by money or a certain level of population within the congregation?

I know cb doesn’t like multiple guys overseeing the church with him in Alabama,…but your a volunteer man! :)

Blessings,
Chris

cb scott

Chris,

I just finished another seminar on Baptist polity for Denominational Leaders (although the SBC is really not a denomination) and it was interesting to hear the various view points among the participants as to ecclesiology. Your comments seem to be centered around that specific doctrine. Therefore, the following: :-)

During the seminar we discussed the three basic forms of local church governance: Presbyterial, Episcopal and of course the most biblical one, Congregational. Due to the rising “TIDE” (notice how I always work that in) of discussions relating to singular or multiple eldership in the SBC, two hybrid forms of local church governance were introduced into the dialogue. They are: Corporate Model and Entrepreneurial Model. To make a long story short-when the smoke cleared, I was the last man standing and the Congregational “Model” ruled the day….again.

Chris, I want to thank you, along with David Rogers, Dave Miller and other hard charging sparing partners for helping me to sharpen my skills and enlarge my ammo dump during numerous battles in Blog Town over ecclesiology. (Walking through those guys was a cake walk compared to ecclesiology blog wars with all of you Barbarians)

And as a token of my endeared gratitude to you fallen and noble foes (fallen nonetheless), I want to direct you to a little paper I found written by an old soldier of yesterday’s battles during the “Great War” known as the CR, Dr. James Leo Garrett, Jr. He wrote a paper back in 2005 entitled “AN AFFIRMATION OF CONGREGATIONAL POLITY” which I think would help you in your search for Truth, Justice and the SBC way.

Look it up and read it. It is in the JOURNAL FOR THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY Vol. 3 No. 1 (Spring 2005: 38-55. I think it would help all of you yet to be enlightened masses in Blog Town to come to an understanding of biblical ecclesiology. And of course, Baptist ecclesiology which espouses Congregational governance is the closest to biblical ecclesiology and all others come in second….a very distant second at that.

Vol, send me another victim. I am smoking!!!!! :-)

cb

Chris Johnson

Brother cb,

I’m sure as you continue to sharpen those sharp “tide-like” skills, you will soon (relatively speaking) learn of the congregational polity that exists to maintain unity with multiple overseers.

Me and the other men (overseers) are fighting the good fight of faith in our foxhole (congregation) next to yours, and we keep catchin’ the overspray from your foxhole as you keep shootin Dr. Garrett in the leg, everytime he murmurs the word “aspire”. No wonder he had to write that paper the way he did. :)

Congregational is how to maintain the unity of the Spirit. Some men just don’t think that men ought to aspire in the congregation, and some do….The Apostle Paul did.

Blessings,
Chris

David Worley

Chris,

I didnt mean that only big Churches can have a lot of Elders/Pastors/Bishops. Small Churches can have them, too. But, if you want to do it the Baptist(Biblical) way, then you must be congregational. So, big Churches, small Churches, medium size Churches…all God’s Churches…can have as many Pastor’s as they want to have, or feel led to have…even if it’s just one man that’s qualified for the position.

But, a Baptist Church is congregational, because Baptist want to stay true to the Bible.

David

Chris Johnson

Brother David,

Completely agree! I think the congregations though, have been taught that you can only have one man at a time and he is enough. Which goes directly back to your theme, because how is the church edified and matured…. by those able to teach. That certainly is not limited to men alone being teachers (Women teach with excellence without overseeing the church). But, if the church is led biblically (as Baptist desire) then the congregation can only agree with the Apostle Paul,… that as men aspire to overseer it is a fine work, and a work that greatly matures the body….so that every wind of doctrine is not an opportunity to fly a kite.

Blessings,
Chris

cb scott

Chris,

If one man is enough, then one man is enough. If ten men are needed, then ten men are needed.

In truth, the whole body is needed because the Spirit equips every NT church as He sees fit with gifted people to advance the Kingdom and fulfill the God given vision of each church. Every Believer is gifted by the Spirit for the edification of the whole body.

The need is for all Believers in each local church to use their gifts as the Spirit intends. The problem is that believers still struggle with sin and fail to use their spiritual gifts properly and for strictly the edification of the body.

Ponder this: The fact that each believer is given spiritual gifts for the edification of the whole body is evidence that Congregational governance of the local church is the correct ecclesiastical “model.”

cb

Chris Johnson

Brother cb,

What you have asked me to ponder is exactly the truth. Yet, there are times that a single overseer is trapped into an understanding that he alone is responsible for the congregation, and in turn teaches this to the congregation. When all along the Spirit teaches that men aspire to overseer in the congregation for its benefit because of the Spirit’s gifting (i.e. preaching/teaching/leading based in qualifications, 1 Timothy). I really don’t think we are saying different things….except that many men tend to lean toward what I heard taught at SWBTS just last year which was the model of the single overseer….which obviously is taught as Baptist tradition in some circles (200 men listening at SWBTS), yet it is not a biblical concept by any means, and that type of thinking creates men that are pew sitters, or possibly deacons that can’t hardly wait to roll-off in the coming year.

There are thousands upon thousands of men sitting in church buildings every week within the SBC that have bought into that “tradition”. The Apostle though has given a much better word to Timothy, so that the congregational model will mature and flourish.

Again, back to the theme of David’s post…..one man forcefully speaking from the front of the room on Sunday morning is not the model that the Apostles are familiar with…..nor did they teach that way. It is no wonder that the church is anemic….when the leaders won’t even follow the Apostles teaching.

Blessings,
Chris

Paul

David, having read your thought-provoking post with great interest, as an Assemblies of God pastor, I would ask these questions, “Have you ever learned anything from a non-Baptist speaker/author? Do non-Baptists have anything of value to contribute to the Body of Christ or are we merely confined to various regressions of error?”

Chris Johnson

Brother Paul,

I am glad you have commented here, as my Parents were raised in an Assembly of God church and for the first eight or nine years of my life, we remained a part of that fellowship. I came to know Christ while in that fellowship and continue to have wonderful friends in the church. So, I personally learned and continue to be loved by many in the Assemblies of God (what a blessing).

It seems to me there are really only a few fundamental things I have come to realize outside of the Assembly of God fellowship. One thing is that God has lost none in His call of the elect from before the foundation of the world. So, therefore He tells us that He loses none. The other,…is that the Holy Spirit is not necessarily evidenced when tongues are spoken (1 Corinthians is good evidence of that in a church riddled with bizzare behavior)….so, the doctrine of receiving the Spirit of God is not contingent upon men speaking, but is based upon God giving. It is the Spirit that gives evidence in language that is undertood, but language (tongues) in and of itself is not the evidence of an abiding Spirit. Other than those two fundamentals, I have wonderful fellowship with those that follow Christ in the Assemblies of God.

Blessings,
Chris

Stuart

My anti-spam word is gentleness. Doesn’t seem quite fair given much that’s been written in these comments, but I’ll comply!

As gently as possible, I’ll just say that too often “congregational polity” is preached and “single elder” rule is practiced. In other instances, “congregational polity” is practiced in a way that usurps the overseer(s) in a most unbiblical way. I’m grateful for Bart Barber’s contributions on the subject of polity over the last couple of years, as I think he’s attempting to do church polity in a way that is both biblical and affirming of Baptist tradition, without accepting or excusing certain common abuses.

Chris Johnson

Brother Stuart,

What changes has Bart made, compared to the description that is often preached and practiced? Is there any one thing that stands out?

Blessings,
Chris

Stuart

Chris,

I’m going only by what he’s written and the testimonies he’s provided. He wrote quite a bit about their church’s process of revamping their bylaws. It sounded like a very healthy process of leadership working on the recommendations and presenting them to the congregation in a very open context, then giving the congregation sufficient time to digest them (and presumably pray over them) before adopting them.

Obviously, he didn’t invent such a way of doing things, but at least he’s attempting to practice what he preaches.

David Worley

Paul,

Let me say, first of all, that I love my Assembly of God Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I do. And, I appreciat all that they do for the Kingdom of God. I do believe that they contribute something, in spite of their errors in theology.

Secondly, let me say that my Great Grandmother, and my Grandmother belonged to a charismatic, Arminian Churh…the Church of God. I loved them both. My Great Grandmother was one of the big influences in my life that brought me to salvation. I also have other family members, who belong to charismatic, Arminian Churches that I love dearly.

Thirdly, let me say that I have been blessed by the preaching of non-Baptist speakers. Yes, I have.

Fourthly, I still believe that Arminian, Charismatic, Pentecostal Churches are in error about a number of things; especially in the areas of eternal security of the Believer, tongue speaking, the Holy Spirit, and some other things.

David

David Worley

Chris,

In response to your comment in #48, are you saying that someone did not preach and teach the congregation in the Sunday worship of the Early Church? Are you saying that you dont believe that some are gifted to be a Pastor/teacher? Really?

Brother, I really cant see where you’re going with this…at all.

David

David Worley

Stuart,

And, that’s the way it should be done. The people of a Church pray and think on what the Lord wants for a Church to do. They all decide on the direction a Church should take. And, I would say, in the least, they should be voting on things like, who is an Elder/Pastor in their Church, and what the budget for the year should look like, and they should be actively participating in the work of the Church thru teams, or committees, or thru personal ministry to the body.

Baptist do see the Bible teaching that the entire body is gifted for service, and can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve. And, we all have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. And, we all have the Lord giving us wisdom and guidance. Thus, congregational polity, instead of a select few running everything…deciding everything that goes on in the Church.

David

Chris Johnson

Brother David,

Certainly the overseers taught and preached on the Lord’s Day…that is my point,…there could have been only one (which is the standard taught in some SBC seminaries),..but it appears that was more likely to be thought of as the exception, not the rule …. while most of the time it was more than one, and encouraged to be so,… as described by what Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus.

There probably are a few things that we do that was like the early church, but overall I don’t think the early church mirrors much of what we have made it out to be in our contemporary culture. Baptist tradition is typically much more brief, more programmed and less discussion of doctrine than was described in the early churches. Which I think goes directly to the theme of your post…..

Blessings,
Chris

Paul

David, thank you for your kind response and I certainly understand that you believe us to be in error on a number of things, but I’m afraid I was not clear on my question. Let me try to rephrase…

“Is there anything that Pentecostals, Mennonites, Presbyterians, et. al., have to contribute to the broader Body of Christ that Baptists don’t already have, or do some (albeit, not all) Baptists have it all together? In other words, is there any non-Baptist part of the Body of Christ that has a distinctive element to offer the rest of the Body of Christ that is of value? Or, do Baptists (at least in theory) have the whole theological package together and AG have 75% together and conservative Presbyterians 70% and evangelical Methodists 66.6%, etc.?” I hope that’s more clear.

I think David Rogers probably understands my question, and may be able to help me articulate it better.

David Rogers

Paul,

I think the way you have worded your question is quite clear. I will be interested to see how David Worley responds.

David Worley

Paul and David R.,

I believe that Baptists are as close to the NT Church as we can be. I believe that Baptists are closer to being a NT Church than any other. That’s why I’m Southern Baptist. If I felt that the Assembly of God, or the Presb., or the Meth., or anyone else were closer to being what the NT teaches, then I’d be AOG, Presbyterian, etc. But, they’re not, so I’m not. Now, could Southern Baptists improve? Most certainly. But, overall, I believe with all of my heart that Southern Baptists are closer to what the NT teaches about Church and theology than any other.

Are other denominations of any value to the Kingdom of God? I believe I answered that when I said that I’m thankful for all the good that they do for the Kingdom. I think that God can use them; yes. I believe that God can use all of us, even with our imperfections and shortcomings. God can still use all of us, even me. I mean, if He can use a donkey, then He can certainly use me.

I hope this answered your question.

David

David Worley

On a similar note, yet a little bit off topic, have yall heard that Baylor hired a Church of Christ fella to be the new President of Baylor!!!! That’s what Dr. Russell Moore is reporting. A Church of Christ man to lead a “Baptist” school!!! This goes beyond crazy. What are they thinking?

David

Robin Foster

David

I am shocked by your last comment. When did Baylor become a Baptist school again? ;-)

David Worley

Robin,

lol

David

Paul

David W,

I think it does. While I would certainly not want to argue here in any way that “my camp is better overall than your camp,” I wanted to probe to see if you were coming from what some would call a sectarian perspective. I think my perspective is different.

To illustrate, I’m going to use a very extreme example. Let me first say that I think Mormonism is a cult; I don’t see how anyone could be a Mormon and be saved (different Jesus than ours); I think their core errors are damnable heresies; I shudder to think that Glenn Beck’s show has more influence on American evangelicals than the Sermon on the Mount; etc., etc.

Now, having said that, yet I think Mormons have done a better job than virtually all evangelical denominations in (1) teaching healthy home life and discipline for children, and (2) actually practicing the kind of “priesthood of all believers” that so many of us preach (even though they are not believers!).

So, if I can say that Mormons are stronger in 2 areas than what I see in the AOG, how much easier is it for me to see and admire strengths in other groups that actually are believers, like the SBC (I’m sure you wouldn’t disagree with me there!), or the PCA or Calvary Chapel or the EvFree. It seems to me, David, that you don’t see it that way.

My guess is that Jesus isn’t saying to the Father, “Boy, I wish all those believers had it together like the SBC does.”

With hundreds of Christian denominations in America, there are only 2 mathematical/logical possibilities of how many have it “all together.”

It could be 1 or none.

I’m very confident that the answer is none. Zip. Nada.

Actually, it seems to me that kind of stance keeps me from the kind of spiritual elitism/arrogance of which we pentecostals are often accused.:)

So, thanks. I was just asking…

David Worley

Paul,

I would suggest that if your Church is not what the NT teaches a NT Church is supposed to be, then it’s time for some changes. Amen?

Also, I would hope that the Father is pleased with the SBC being who they are, believing what they believe, doing what they do. If we’re not what pleases the Father, then we need to change. Now,can we improve? Can we do better? Of course, and we have many people in the SBC, who want to be better and do more. Thank the Lord. We’re not perfect. But, I do believe that true, SBC Churches are closer to being a NT Church than any other denomination out there. Now, you obviously think different. That’s why you’re an AOG. Do you think SBC Churches are wrong and in error about some things?

Paul, also, why is it arrogance to think that Southern Baptists are closer to what the NT teaches than any other? Why would that be elitism? Why would it not just be a fact? Why would it not just be my personal opinion and belief? Why would it not just be what Southern Baptists have strived to become….to be as close to the NT teachings as we possibly can?

David

Paul

Thanks, David. I think we may actually be making some headway here. It is so easy to talk past each other.

Yes, I do believe the AOG, overall, is closer than the SBC to the NT pattern, or else I would be SBC. We can agree that neither of our groups are perfect, and that we yet have come to different conclusions overall. Agreed so far?

Additionally, I don’t think that is arrogance on either of our parts. In my opinion, it’s only arrogance when someone thinks their group has it all together and can see little, if any, positive in other groups.

However, what I’m wondering, specifically, is if when you see weaknesses (the ‘need to do better’ areas) in the SBC (as I sometimes do in the AOG), and feel it is not lining up with the NT as you understand it (priesthood of all believers/soul competency), do you ever notice any other segment of the Body of Christ as maybe being strong in the area that you perceive needing improvement in the SBC?

cb scott

“….do you ever notice any other segment of the Body of Christ as maybe being strong in the area that you perceive needing improvement in the SBC?”

The Mormons have better TV commercials.

David Jordan

David:

I was raised in a typical SBC church in a large west Texas town and I am an ordained SB minister with an MDiv from Southwestern Seminary. I grew up loving everything about my denomination and our understanding of the Christian faith. However, I am now a Presbyterian. Like many who have commented about this post, I am in my current church because I believe it is has the soundest expression of theology and doctrine. As best I understand Presbyterian doctrine, it is more biblical than other theological systems, to quote other posts.

I have discovered in my current church that many of my fellow believers have a lot of questions about the beliefs we hold as compared to other churches, especially my former one. It has given me the opportunity to share from my experience in SBC congregations (and pulpits). It is relatively easy to point out the differences in our doctrine, but I have chosen to also encourage people that we have much we can learn from each other, and that all those who seek an intimate and authentic relationship with God through his son, Jesus Christ, are our brothers and sisters, and we have much to gain from partnership, cooperation, and understanding. They will know us by our love.

I appreciate your passion for your denomination’s distinctives, as I feel the same about my own church. Thank you for allowing an outsider to join the conversation.

David Worley

David Jordan,

Thanks for joining in, Bro. While I dont agree with your view about Presbyterian doctrine and practice being the most Biblical(obviously), I do appreciate that you belong where you feel is the best way. And, I do count anyone as a Brother or Sister in Christ, who is saved by grace thru faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But, while we can join together and cooperate over things like food and clothing closet ministries, in prayer for our nation, times of fellowhsip; there are many things that we absolutely cannot join together, and still be true to the teachings of Scripture. I could not join with a Church of another denomination to start Churches, nor to start a seminary, or Bible college. I would have a very difficult time joining with certain denominations in evangelistic efforts, due to their view of salvation, and some other things.

But, the sad thing to me is, and the point of this post, is that our Churches(SBC, Presbyterian, etc), but especially the SBC Churches; do NOT know the Bible well enough to know any difference. They dont know their Bibles well enough to even know certain doctrines taught in the Bible, and they couldnt tell any difference in a Baptist Church and an Assembly of God Church, or in a Presbyterian Church. That is very sad, in my opinion…the total lack of depth and understanding and knowledge of the Bible. And, in many cases, it being partly due, maybe even largely due, to the shallow, psychological, self help sermons they hear every week; or due to the shallow, topical, hobby horse that a Pastor may be riding. That’s even sadder.

Thanks for your comment,

David

gary dilworth

Gentlemen, this may be slightly off topic, but here is what bothers me…
In an article titled “Fellowship’s Ed Young defends appearance of non-Trinitarian T.D. Jakes at Creative Church Conference,” Pastor Young told the Southern Baptist Texan, “But our conference is a leadership conference, it’s not a theological conference.”
I sent Pastor Young of Fellowship Church, where I was a member, this question: Does God know good leadership promotes One unified Spirit shared among diverse Persons in Community together?
While Young doesn’t inform his congregation of Jakes’ theology, presumably a leading portion knows. His quoted defense is disingenuous. Jakes preaches at those annual conferences. Over a hundred came forward for him at the 2009 conference. According to Jakes, “While I mix with Christians from a broad range of theological perspectives, I speak only for my personal faith and convictions.” (Feb. 1, 2000 Christianity Today).
Before creating anyone, Mr. Jakes’ god was alone, out of touch. He creates persons to relate, something he can‘t do alone. His dark night contrasts with the Trinity’s bright day: “Within the one being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal Persons; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (The Forgotten Trinity by James R. White pg. 26).
Biblically, the idea that good leadership can take place without (or at least be supported by) good theology, is vacated. Considering this truth from a different angle, Paul says in Romans 1&2 that everyone is naturally a terrible theologian, and consequently, poorly leads themselves. It is impossible to do anything that is not explicitly or implicitly a reflection of theology.
It is not the leadership ability of the Trinity the Pastor Young is bringing into question, but his own. Young teaches the Trinity, but he does not tell his congregation Mr. Jakes denies the Trinity. How is that faithful to the SBC?

Gary

Matt2239

I’m no expert nor the son of an expert, but it strikes me as odd that the proposition: “Baptist equals biblical,” has been given so much space. Having been a Baptist minister all my adult life, I definitely realize that no “brandname” could equal the complete truth. Why not use one of the two labels in the Bible to describe our “system” — The Way, or Christian. Even with these I imagine our depravity would soon render them meaningless as a guide for a complete theology.

David Worley

Matt,

The reason that I say that Baptist theology equals Biblical theology is because we try our best to line up our beliefs with the Bible. The BFM2K was written based on the clear teachings of Scripture. I’m not saying that Baptists are infallible. I’m not saying that all Baptists are right. I’m not saying that Baptists have a firm lock on Scripture, which no one else can have.

But, the reason we believe as we do is because we base our beliefs on the Bible. Thus, Baptist theology does equal Biblical theology. If we’re wrong on something, then we need to fix it. If we’re wrong in some part of our doctrine, then I know that I’d be willing to change in a heartbeat. But, I believe with all of my heart that the SBC doctrine…the BFM2K…describes exactly the clear teachings of Scripture on the things that it deals with. It’s merely stating what the Bible teaches…which we SB’s hold dear.

Does that make more sense to you?

David

gary dilworth

But what if we are “wrong in some part of our doctrine” by passively accepting someone who is wrong in his?

Here is non-Trinitarian Bishop T.D. Jakes preaching and giving an altar call at Ed Young’s Fellowship Church. http://fellowshipchurch.com/conferencesFCW=s7o6o9n1eruto513u8n6s2skl5

John Accardi

I was reading post #68, David Jordan’s post. I am puzzled of the exact difference between Southern Baptist and Presbyterians. What do the Presbyterians believe that is different from the S. Baptist? . The only topics I could find are baptism and church structure. (I am only referring to the PCA branch not the more liberal branch.)

Can someone help me out?

cb scott

Baptists (Southern Baptists to be specific) believe and practice the entirety of the Bible. PCA guys believe the entirety of the Bible and practice 91% of it.

That’s the basic difference.

Next Question?

John Accardi

What 9% are they missing?

Scott Gordon

Gary D,

My answer to your question regarding Fellowship Church and the 3C event… It is not faithful to either the SBC or Scripture to have TD Jakes involved. That being said, you could, unfortunately, still go to your local LifeWay Store and pick up the latest Jakes tome or Philips, Craig, and Dean CD. Welcome to the morass of the ecumenical ‘evangelical’ quagmire.

Sola Gratia!

Byron

CB Scott, because you (and most here) are Southern Baptists, I would expect you to believe according to what you stated in comment #75. I used to think that excepting infant baptism, I would agree more with the PCA overall than the SBC. Now I am not so sure. I like the doctrine on salvation better in a document like the LBC 1689 than the BFM 2000, but on church government I think I would prefer the SBC. Of course, I am just a guy out there in the crowd. A long time ago, I would have stated exactly what you said, at least about the SBC. Though I no longer agree, the SBC has many fine people in it.

Tim Rogers

Brother Byron,

You said; I like the doctrine on salvation better in a document like the LBC 1689 than the BFM 2000, but on church government I think I would prefer the SBC. Notice what Brother CB said in comment #75. I believe the issue that you struggle should not be between man-made documents, but what you truly believe the Bible teaches. Practice what you believe the Bible teaches and if a document lines up with your practice you have historical evidence. However, to halt between two man-made documents is not wise.

Blessings,
Tim

Byron

Thank you Tim Rogers, that’s good advice.

Sam

Interesting conversation. I know I am coming late to the party but as a person that grew up in an SBC church, let me add the following:

Baptist does not necessarily equate to biblical. Lets look at some examples:

1. Alcohol. Where is the SBC’s biblical stance on this. When the SBC requires any of its top tier leadership to pledge to totally abstain from alcohol in order to be elegible. Southeastern Seminary has all students sign a pledge that they will abstain from alcohol their entire time of enrollment. How is this biblical?
2. SBC Membership reporting. How is it biblical to continue to lie about membership numbers within the SBC? Everyone jokes within the SBC that even the FBI cant find half of the reported members on a given Sunday in the pews of SBC churches.
3. Finneyism. This is pervasive within SBC churches. Where is “ask Jesus in your heart” found in the Bible? How do you see the practice of the altar call as biblically based? This is a modern creation that didnt exist within the church for 1800 years. Charles Finney was a heretic but many of his practices have become sacred traditions within the SBC today…i.e. the altar call… You bemoan he lack of discernment of the congregations but many get the idea that they were saved just because they walked the aisle or said the “magic prayer”. They get this idea from many SBC pastors.
4. This dovetails my 3rd point… People within the SBC will bemoan padeobaptism but a lot will have no hesitation about baptizing 4-5 year olds that were often times pressured into a “decision for christ” at a VBS event. Then you have re-baptism and re-dedications when these children get older.
5. Elders. The scripture teaches that churches should have a plurality of elders. Staff members do not always equate to elders. And the modern church has made pastoring a profession. There are many laymen that are qualified to be elders and should aspire to that role as Paul teaches. The typical SBC church has Deacons playing the roles that Elders were biblically called to fill. The biblical qualifications for Elders and Deacons are not the same. You have Deacons that are very qualified to serve in a service type role but are not qualified to make the kind of hard decisions that are often faced within the church today especially when it comes to the misconduct of the pastor. AND I would further state that the practice of calling a minister to fill an SBC pulpit has much to be desired and fails to follow biblical mandates on the qualifications of a pastor. Many of the biblical qualifications of a pastor can not be determined by the interview process. Such as the pastor being a good husband and father. Too often these qualities are overlooked and what is focused on is his communication skills and his likeability. That is why Paul teaches that elders are to be raised out of the church by observing men that aspire to be elders and that we should not be too quick to appoint men that are not biblically qualified to serve. Within ths SBC there is a mystical “call” that is used to gauge a pastor going to a new church. Where is that biblical. Its funny how that “call” is often to move to a bigger church and make more money. But I digress. The bible makes a clear case for a plurality of elders. But many SBC churches choose to ignore this and even move to the CEO style of leadership so often found in megachurches today where the pastor has little to no accountability to the congregation.
6. Storehouse tithing. A strict 10% tithing being taught is not in line with the whole of the Bible. It is law not grace.

SBC churches too often confuse tradition with what is biblical. That is why I highly dispute the whole if its baptist its biblical reasoning. And the education and teaching of the congregation starts with the pastor. There are too many “hirelings” filling the pulpits of the churches today that have no business being in that roll. Start with the pastors before you blame the sheep.

Byron

I agree with Sam on all points, and because of that, am only nominally SBC (by church membership only) at this point. No offense intended, but my beliefs changed drastically less than a decade ago, and the Bible itself is the reason. There are some things I don’t think the SBC will ever change on (#1, #6, for example) and I have heard very few in the SBC admit that opponents do truly seek to be Biblical (and in my opinion, have the more persuasive arguments from Scripture itself). However, I have personally beat this dead horse until my stick broke, I taped it back together, broke it again, got a new stick, and broke that one too. I give up! So now I realize it has to be a work of the Spirit.

cb scott

The 9% can easily be found in the misunderstanding of a biblical ecclesiology.

When it comes to a biblical ecclesiology Baptist ecclesiology is closer than any other and that definitely includes the PCA.

cb scott

Sam,

It is revisionist historians that “confuse tradition with what is biblical.”

Most everything you cite here as a problem is due to failure on the part of Baptists to follow biblical patterns. It is not a failure of Baptist theology.

You can take any group and list failings of “practice” as you have here to make the same strawman case against them as you have here against Baptists.

What you have done here is to superimpose what you to believe biblical theology over failings of practice in many Baptist churches. You have confused the failing of Baptists to practice their their theology with their their theology and judged Baptist theology as unbiblical.

Very shallow and circular reasoning on your part there.

cb scott

That should have been: “You have confused the failings of Baptists to practice their theology with their actual theology and then judged Baptist theology as unbiblical.”

After correcting my comment, it makes your strawman argument even more circular than before.

In other words, Sam, you are chasing your tail.

cb scott

Byron,

Your opinion is wrong. That is about all that can be said. How is your brother-in-law doing?

Sam

CB,
But yet, it is a failure of Baptist theology because of all the talk within the SBC of the Bible being infallible and inerrant and battles over the Bibe within the convention, Baptists in practice do not hold to the sufficiency of the Bible. What else would explain the need to add extra biblical practices to Baptist churches today.

I would claim that practice is what better indicates Baptist theology rather than a simple ascension to the BFM. Furthermore, if there is no problem with Baptist theology as you say, why is what i previously listed so prevalent within SBC churches? A failure in practice certainly correlates to one’s theology. It would be….lets see..whats the word you used?..oh yeah, “shallow” to truly believe that ones failure in practice would lead to a failure in the theology they hold to.

Sam

CB,

My last line should read..

?..oh yeah, “shallow” to truly believe that ones failure in practice would NOT lead to a failure in the theology they hold to

David Worley

Sam,

CB has adequately pointed out to you that the failure is not Baptist theology, but it’s how some Baptist churches fail to live it, and implement it, in their Churches. Just because some Churches fail to practice it does not make what Baptists believe wrong. Goodness gracious, how’d you come up with that?

BTW, what extra Biblical practices are you talking about?

Abaining from alcohol? You should abstain from alcohol. Proverbs teaches that it’s foolish to drink fermented wine, and Ephesians teaches that it’s a sin to be high on it, or drunk. Besides, all that we know to be wrong with alcohol, and all the damage that alcohol does to people, why wouldnt SB’s be for abstaining? Why do you have a problem with us being for abstaining? We’re free to abstain from alcohol if we want to….which we are.

SBC membership reporting? So, we dont have the best method for that. So what. No one in the SBC is saying that how you count your members is a Biblical command from God. C’mon, Dude. You may not like the way members are counted thru out the SBC, but are you seriously saying that SB’s are making this an extra Biblical practice?????? Seriously?

So, you’re against asking people to walk the aisle of a Church to respond to the calling of God. okay. So? Again, where in the Bible does it say to not give an altar call???????? And, where in Baptist doctrine does it say that an altar call must be done???????? It dont, Brother. So, if an altar call is done right, in my opinion, it can be a great thing. And, anything done wrong is bad. And, I’d agree with you…there’s a lot of altar calls that are done bad. Still dont make Baptist doctrine wrong.

Paedobaptism is unBiblical. And, where in Baptist doctrine does it say that we must baptise 4 and 5 years olds? Where in Baptist doctrine does it say that 4 years old must be baptised? Where????? It dont..again. Sam, again, I would agree with you that there are some Baptist Churches that need to do a better job dealing with children. No doubt. But, are you also saying that a child cant get saved??????? And, if a child does get saved at a young age….say 7 years old….why shouldnt we baptise him?????

Sam, about Elders….small Churches may not have but one Elder. Bigger Churches have many Elders. What in the world are you trying to say? Is there anywhere in Baptist doctrine that teaches that a Church must have only one Pastor? Does it????

Also, Sam, I just looked at the BFM2K, and I saw nothing about storehouse tithing of 10% of ones’ income. Where is that??? And, most of the Baptist Pastors that I know would say that the OT taught 10%, but the NT teaches giving. We should give beyond just 10%. And, other Baptist Pastors believe a wide variety of things about this. Are you against the autonomy of the local Church? I mean, if a Church wants to encourage their people to give at least 10% of their income to the Church, are you against them having the freedom to expect that from their members???

Sam, I agree with CB. You’re chasing your tail. And, you’re confusing the shortcomings of some SB churches with Baptist doctrine. Baptist doctrine is right on target with the Scripture. We Baptists are very big on lining up our beleifs with the Bible.

David

David Worley

Oh yeah, Sam, maybe you need to read 1 Corinthians 9 before you start talking about all the hirling talk. A Pastor/Elder, or Pastors/Elders should be supported by the Church. If a Church is able to free them from manual labor, where they can devote their time to prayer and the ministry of the Word of God; then that Church should support them.

David

Sam

Again, practice is an indication of one’s theology. If Baptists are as biblical as you say they are then there would no need to go beyond what the Bible teaches. You would hold to the sufficiency of scripture.

Where in the Bible are we told to abstain 100% from alcohol? Where in the Bible is abstaining from alcohol is a requirement for leadership? Drinking alcohol in and of itself is not a sin. Yes, drunkeness is a sin but so is gluttony. How ironic is it for an overweight Baptist preacher to preach a sermon against drinking alcohol but yet invite everyone to the potluck dinner after church where he stuffs himself full of Sister Sarah’s banana pudding. It is extra biblical for Frank Paige of the SBC to have required 100% abstainance from alcohol as a requirement for leadership.

As far as membership is concerned. How long did it take a resolution against unregenerate membership to get passed in the SBC? It is sinful to count a goat as a sheep. I am sure it is within “Baptist Theology” not to bear false witness but still SBC leadership quote membership numbers that they know are false. Why? Pride that the SBC remain the largest protestant denomination? I am saying that this is an UNbiblical pratice.

Yes, altar calls are extra biblical and they are practiced in dare i say the majority of SBC churches. Again, your pratice shows your theology not just saying you believe in the BFM but what you pratice everyday within the local churches.

baptisms….again….pratice shows one’s true theology. What is the rush in baptizing children? Where does it give a timeline in the Bible for one to be baptized. Might the church be better served in ascertaining in determining the validity of the “conversion” rather than rush to claim that as a VBS stat that “x” number of people were saved. Or does the SBC prefer baptizing the same person multiple times through their life? Oh, and of course reporting that as a “new” baptism. And lets not even get into rededication baptisms….

Elders. Thats the problem, the SBC churches by and large ignore the biblical call for a plurality of elders. Therefore their stance is Unbiblical. And that of course would negate your self righteous claim that baptist = biblical.

These shortcomings are a clear indicator of the theology that many SBC’ers believe in. What you say doesnt prove your theology, its how you live it how that clearly shows what you believe. Being baptist does not equate to being biblical anymore than me standing in my garage makes me a car.

You want to proclaim some self righteous claim about baptist being more biblical than any other denomination while ignore unbiblical and extrabiblical practices that are widespread throughout the SBC.

a timely article:

http://rankinconnecting.com/2010/03/leaders-in-denial/

“I am incredulous that so many seem to be in denial of the trends. Everyone expresses concern about the 20-year decline in baptisms. When you consider that most of our baptisms are children or re-baptizing people already in our churches or born-again believers coming from other denominations”

“Some seem to actually believe we have 16 million Southern Baptists! I don’t think the New Testament provides an option for the concept of “inactive” or “non-residential” church members. When will we acknowledge we are not as big as we think we are and are getting smaller?”

Matt2239

#82 When one says that tithing is “the Law” and eradicated by grace, then why does the mention of the “tithe” predate the Mosaic law by centuries, and why does Jesus say, “One should tithe.” This type of theology also assumes a strict division that precludes any grace in the Old Testament. I find that hard to defend theologically–but, what do I know, I’m a seminary graduate.

Byron

CB Scott, at one time I would have agreed with you 100%, and I have not spoken to my brother-in-law in months.

Truthfully, I expected better than cheap shots and personal insinuations coming from a pastor. If you want to play it that way, fine, but please don’t. I’m sorry for saying the whole bit about obstinacy and obfuscation the other day. I was very angry (and I still am). And I’m sorry for whatever I said that led you to call me a young, strutting peacock in another thread, as those three words do not really apply to me. I do get uppity sometimes, and I don’t always realize it.

Look, here’s the deal. I don’t live with any friends or family members, and none of my friends and family members financially support me in any way. I live in a nice house on a large piece of land. So you don’t really know me at all, just like I said before. So, I don’t know why you say such things. Is it a need or desire to feel superior? Or put me in place? Or what?

CB Scott, please notice, I am not attacking you. I am saying this only once, and I have deliberately held back in several instances. I don’t want this to turn into a personality conflict. And I’ll be honest enough to admit I want more than a civil conversation, because I truthfully believe I’m right and I will actively try to convince as many people to believe the same way as possible, and have for the last several years. I haven’t been successful that I know of, but I keep trying. It’s fine that you’re as confident as you are, but I don’t (and won’t) agree you’re right, and I’m sure you’ll return the favor. That’s fine.

Byron

Well, I’m not as angry as I was.

Byron

CB Scott and everyone else, I could very well be wrong in my theology. Did I use to be right? And now I’m wrong? I don’t think so, but I could be I guess. I have changed my views to be what I hope is more Biblical in some cases (such as the #1 through #6 by Sam above). I think there needs to be a lot more discussion, and I think the conversation (speaking very generally outside of myself and this particular discussion) will prove to be very interesting.

Byron

Further clarification: I was thinking about my half-brother, not a brother-in-law, so I didn’t pay attention to that distinction, and I don’t even know if I have a brother-in-law, because my family has drifted apart over the years without purposing to do so. For what it’s worth. I only mention it now for the sake of honesty.

volfan007

Sam,

YOu sound like you’re against all of those big, bad, Southern Baptists, who arent as Reformed as I am. And, I’m gonna get all of those bad SB’s who dont hold to the DoG’s like I do. I’ll spend my time and energy pointing out the flaws of all of them, cause they’re bad. They’re all bad, and I’m good. I’m the enlightened one who can pronounce judgement on the entire SBC. After all, I’m a five point Calvinist, who loves the Presbyterians; thus making me intellectually and spiritually above all the peon SB’s out there.

Dude, Baptist doctrine is based upon the Scripture. How some SB’s do, or do not practice it correctly; or some who dont even hold to all of the doctrines of the BFM2K, is up to them. Each autonomous church has to implement Baptist doctrine in their Church. Do you fall short? Yea. Do some of them fall way short? Yea. And??????

David

gary dilworth

Dear Scott Gordon,
You said, “It is not faithful to the SBC…to have T.D. Jakes involved.” The Trinity is the heart of Baptist belief. The Lord says the moral law: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” is eternal. Within the Trinity, before creating any angel or human, Three Persons did good to each other. However, for Mr. Jakes god (one person only, within one being orchestrating 3 manifestations labeled “Father“, “Son“, and “Holy Spirit“), the moral law is not eternal, since his god was alone before creating any angel or human. Passively allowing moral and theological relativism (which Fellowship Church now represents to the SBC) is the handmade to selfish ambition: “What we suffer from…is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert–himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt–the Divine Reason” (John Piper quoting G.K. Chesterton in Battling Unbelief pg. 41-42).
How deeply does a Baptist believe Jesus Christ when, far from telling Mr. Jakes not to believe a monad termed Jesus and trust the second Person of the Trinity named Jesus, the Baptist lets him preach in his church without alerting his congregation to his wildly errant theology? The same question applies to the SBC, where Fellowship Church is a part. We cannot do to the congregants of Fellowship Church what we would not want them to do to us (be silent), if the roles were reversed. “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:32-34). Given that Fellowship Church’s leadership refuses to repent, and the SBC is really faithful to Christ, He will cut the love line.

gary dilworth

Would that the many prominent voices in the SBC that passionately love and defend Dr. Ergun Caner, would step forward and let their voices be heard in prominent, passionate love and zeal for the 2cnd. Person of the Trinity.

David Worley

Gary,

What’s that supposed to mean? Comment #99?

David

gary dilworth

David,
Please read comment #98
Gary

David Worley

I did read it. I’m still scratching my head. Please explain.

David

gary dilworth

David,
You asked, “I did read it. I’m still scratching my head. Please explain.”

Do you believe the monad Bishop Jakes believes in is a false god that offends the Trinity? If the answer is yes, do you believe that when Ed Young Jr. allows Bishop Jakes to come and preach to the family of believers at Fellowship Church annually (4-8 times total from 2007-2010), that they are both guilty of sin against the Trinity? If the answer is yes, do you also believe that when Young does not tell his congregation of Jakes non-Trinitarian theology that Young is betraying them? If the answer is yes, then I want you to ask the Holy Spirit, who indwells you, who infinitely loves and has zeal for the glory of Jesus Christ, what He wants you to say and do about this issue, and then to please do so, with passionate love and zeal for the 2cnd. Person of the Trinity. Also, I want you to put yourself in the shoes of the 20,000 people of Fellowship Church, who are unaware of Jakes’ wildly errant theology, and think everything is all very OK with Jakes’, and think of what you would want a David Worley to do on your behalf, to help you understand that your pastor is betraying Jesus Christ, betraying you, and is adulterating sound doctrine and sound faith.

Do you need evidence of the things I am saying are taking place in Fellowship Church? There is alot available. But I will leave you with one of many recent pieces of videographic evidence from the Fellowship Church C3 2010 conference. In this video at the 02:32 mark you will see Biship Jakes, during an evening worship service,(Young likes for Jakes to anchor the last night of the conferences), alter calling, blessing, and praying for Southern Baptists (among others), to which the church body is strongly encouraged to attend specifically to listen to Bishop Jakes, at no charge (the conference costs money but the night worship services when many of the big name speakers speak are free). There are lots of videos of Jakes preaching in Fellowship, I was a member there, I witnessed some of that, there are actually 20,000 witnesses to what I am saying.

Gary

David Worley

Gary,

I agree with you. I would not want Jakes preaching in my church.

David

gary dilworth

Great. My wife and I went and joined another church because he would not repent. I sent him a loving, reasoned, scriptural call to repentance. He would not respond in any way. Dr. Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries has sent him two personal letters. He will not respond to us. I sent the same message to Pace Hartfield of FC, and to the leadership of the FYI bible study, where my wife and I went while we were members there. No response from anyone. My heart is quite heavy. We found out about Jakes from The Truth War by MacArthur, in the appendix. I can’t tell you how glad I am I wanted to read even the notes in the back of that book. I know God exerted His power to protect us. Later on, I did get into a lengthy discussion with some FC staff members (I believe- they presented themselves that way- one was a pastor) at the UBU video comment section at a littleaven.com. They argued that Christianity’s orthodox creeds are manmade, and said Jakes represented a different and valid stream of Christianity. And they said they going to change things.

gary dilworth

Dave,
Some corrections are necessary
I said, “In this video at the 02:32 mark you will see Biship Jakes, during an evening worship service…”
The word evening should be removed. I do not know this was in the evening. I witnessed Jakes preaching at one (of possibly two total) evening worship service at C3 2008, where he gave an altar call. And I was told by staff and church members alike of his preaching at an evening worship service during C3 2009 week, when over a hundred came forward. That news was all over the church.
Biship should be Bishop
alittleaven.com should be alittleleaven.com
they going should be they are going

Tim Rogers

Chad,

This post has been inactive since May 17. It doesn’t make sense that you would engage this discussion if you were seriously trying to call our attention to something. Thus, I will have to place your comment as “unapproved”. Have a great day.

Tim

Roy A

The thing I worry more about is that I am a Christian frist and then a Methodist. Not all Methodist belive that you can lose your salvation. I belive once saved always saved and everyone in my church belives that so some of the people that read this needs to know that. I belive a person needs to get in the Bible for themself and let the Lord guide them in the way not some pastor be it Baptist or Methodist. The one thing for sure is that it will be Christians in heaven. Thanks for your time and God bless.

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