The membership requirements for a church to remain in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention are so weak that we run the risk of watering down our doctrinal standards in the areas of baptism and congregational polity. Additionally, one wonders if lax membership requirements, combined with generous church planting support systems and theological education tuition subsidies, might be attracting to our fold those who do not truly embrace our Southern Baptist principles and convictions. Can we honestly say that we are making more Southern Baptists when many of these so-called converts are actually BINO’s—or Baptists In Name Only?
Congregational Polity – that form of church governance wherein the general membership of the church participates in governance by voting.
Suppose First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi, gave one million dollars to the Southern Baptist Convention and that the Convention accepted this generous gift. Subsequently, First Presbyterian Jackson asked to cooperate officially with the Convention so that her members could be sent as messengers to the SBC and could serve as committee members or trustees within the SBC. Should the Convention receive First Presbyterian Jackson as a cooperating church and entitle her to messengership and service because of her financial gift to the Convention’s work? Continue reading
Three historic confessions of faith have shaped the theology of many Southern Baptists since 1845 — the inaugural year of our convention in Augusta, Georgia. The intent of this article is to demonstrate that many early Southern Baptists were not solely and singularly rooted in Reformed theology as some so solemnly swear today. Continue reading