Are Baptists seenas being " A Christian Denomination?"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JesusFan, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. JesusFan

    JesusFan
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    with each group a seperate one within the Body of Christ, the Church at large?
     
  2. 12strings

    12strings
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    Most people would refer to Baptists as being a denomination, though baptists function differently than many denominations in that each church is autonomous. There is no ruling body or council that tells a Baptist church what to believe. Local Church autonomy is one of the doctrines that sets baptists apart from some other groups.

    That said, Most Baptist Churches voluntarily choose to associate with other churches at various levels for the purposes of fellowship, sending missionaries, publishing ministry materials, and training. These can be local associations, state associations, and national associations.

    The Church I attend now is a Southern Baptist Church. So we associate and send some money to our local association, the state convention of baptists in Indiana, and the National SBC Convention. But none of these bodies can tell us what to do, or even how much money we have to send. The SBC can, and does on occasion, decide not to recognize a church as a "Cooperating" SBC church, usually based on some doctrinal issue, such as a church that supports homosexual marriage.

    The church I grew up in was part of the General Association of Regular Baptist churches (national org), and Also linked with the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches.

    I believe both of these (SBC & GARBC) would likely state that they are not by definition, a denomination, but rather a partnership of autonomous churches.

    There are also orginizations that link together "Independent" Baptist Churches, for many of the same purposes.

    All this Baptist Polity can be contrasted with groups like the Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Methodists, in which there is a ruling body or council that actually makes policy decisions for churches, such as assigning Pastors, or buying property for a certain church. If I wanted to be a Methodist pastor, I would go through the proper training and certification, then the methodists would assign me somewhere. And from what I've heard, if that situation turned out to not work out, they might assign me somewhere else.

    A Baptist Church, by contrast, calls its own pastor and makes all its own decisions.

    So...Some would say that Baptist is not really a denomination, but rather a descriptive word that reveals something of what that church believes.
     
  3. JesusFan

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    So the "world' would see us as being such, but we would tend to see ourselves as being fellowships/associations?
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    It is difficult for those unfamiliar with Baptist ecclesiology to grasp the nature and implications of autonomy. Most people are used to dealing with institutions and organizations so they simply expect Baptists to fit into that mold. The truth of the mater is we are far more diverse that they give us credit for. :)
     
  5. Jerome

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    Let's not kid ourselves. The Southern Baptist Convention is most assuredly a denomination.

    Straight from sbc.net:

    http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/

     
  6. 12strings

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    It seems I was mistaken about how SBC views itself. I have heard SBC leaders say that we are not a denomination. So I guess it depends on your defintion of denomination.
     
  7. Salty

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    Key word is "definition" here is one link from
    English Collins Dictionary - English Definition & Thesaurus

    1 a group having a distinctive interpretation of a religious faith and usually its own organization


    Key phrase is "Usually its own organization"
    Therefore two unaffiliated Independent Fundamental Baptist churches would be considered a denomination since they have a distinctive interpretation of a religious faith. Their denomination:? IFB !

    So in one sense Baptists are not a denomination - since (as stated before) we do not have a "headquarters"
    in another sense we are since we do have distinctive beliefs.

    Bottom line - for the most part it is much ado about nothing.
    Now I will mention it to a non Baptist, as that will help explain the difference of Baptists have from other groups.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Technically we are not a denomination, but the word is in such common use to describe faith groups with distinctive doctrines and practice, that hardly seems worth trying to counter it. But if the opportunity presents itself to a willing listener, have at it.

    One thing we must not let pass is someone's describing the SBC as the Southern Baptist Church. We definitely are not a church. It's worth educating one who gets it wrong.

    Oh, and also technically, the Southern Baptist Convention exists for only three days or so a year--when it convenes its messengers from local churches, at which time the churches give orders to the boards and committees which will act on their behalf between conventions.

    I found this in the BB archives:

     
  9. Tom Butler

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    Sorry, brother, I couldn't let this go by. The SBC is not a group within the Body of Christ. It is not part of the "Church at large."

    If you want to define the body of Christ, look to your own congregation. That's what it is. Your congregation and mind are not part of the Church at large because they are churches themselves: complete, autonomous and independent.

    Jerome supplied this link:
    http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/

    When you go there, look for Basic Beliefs, then look for The Church.

    Not every Southern Baptist sees it that way, but that's the prevailing view.
     
  10. Salty

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    In post # 8, there was mention of the "Rope of Sand". There was quite a discussion about that some time ago on BB.
     
  11. Jerome

    Jerome
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    http://www.sbc.net/localchurches

     
  12. Tom Butler

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    Thank you Jerome. I am appalled at ecclesiological ignorance reflected in that simple little sentence you quoted. I have sent a message to SBC.net asking for a correction to make it read "the Southern Baptist Convention."
     
  13. Alive in Christ

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    Good grief. :tonofbricks:

    Of Course the SBC is a denomination.

    I know, I attended one for quite a while several years ago.

    They may not *technically* be one...but as the old saying goes, if it lookes like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...its a duck!

    They share the same quarterlies, study matierials, Sunday school materials. (all the Lifeway stuff) They exchange pulpits with other SBC Pastors. They all flood Nashville every year for thier yearly convention, etc etc etc...

    The co-operative program. etc etc..

    For all practical purposes, they are a denomination.

    Gosh, I find this "we are not a denomination" claim slightly humorous.


    btw..I currently attend a completely unaffiliated, truly independant, Baptist Church. (Not IFB)
     
    #13 Alive in Christ, Sep 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2011
  14. mandym

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    And what does that mean?

    How does that make it a denomination? Do you realize that local SBC churches choose their own materials and not all SBC churches choose to use the lifeway materials. Many do not. How does attending a convention impose the label denomination on them?

    Why?

    Why is it important to you that the SBC be a denomination?


    Where in scripture does it say we need to be unaffiliated and uncooperative with other churches?
     
    #14 mandym, Sep 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2011
  15. sag38

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    It really sounds like Alive in Christ has a chip on his shoulder.

    Is there anything wrong with using Lifeway material? My church is SBC and some classes use Lifeway material and others don't. It is a matter of choice. I've never attended a national convention nor a state one and have been in the full-time pastorate for over fifteen years. Every few years I may go to the associational annual meeting. Again, it is a matter of choice. No one is forcing us to do anything. We too are a truly independent church. In our independence we have chosen to affiliate with the SBC.
     
  16. Alive in Christ

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    Absolutly not. No chip at all.

    Just sharing my thoughts regarding the topic.


    I love my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters. :thumbs:
     
  17. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    mandym...

    Nowhere
     
  18. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    mandym...

    Its not.

    I'm simply adressing the topic.
     
  19. righteousdude2

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    Based Upon the Warring Factions Among the Many Different Groups...

    ...Some see the Baptist, in general, as more of a cannibalistic society or colony of believers, ready to eat their wounded, their young, and any who questions or defies their set-in-stone walls of denominational differences.

    Those opposed to any church, in general, have often chosen to leave the Baptist to devour and kill one another, and this goes for Satan himself. As long as there is an ongoing faction among us, the devil can take his minions from the front lines and assign them to other denominations that are more of a danger to his work in holding on to the lost.

    The infighting, over the many differences that divide, we must cease and desist if we ever expect to be a an honest-to-goodness spiritual threat on the front lines against sin and the devil himself!

    The only way this view can be put down and set aside forever is for every splinter group that calls themselves Baptist, to lay down their arms, openly embrace one another, and be one in the spirit (agreeing to disagree if necessary, but still one regardless of semantics in doctrinal teachings) as the church was meant and called to be.

    If this opinion draws ire from my brothers and sisters, so be it, it is time the Baptist people unite as one, regardless of how many points of Calvinism separates them. And I say unite, r of the Calvin/Armenian split that currently divides us.

    Baptist could be so much stronger and more effective as ONE large family of believers, then as many splinter groups (denominations).

    Of course, this vision (which is merely my humble opinion) is only going to be realized in heaven, because on earth Baptist pride rules the day, while once in eternity many groups will look back and rue the day, they went off in so many directions, something like the people in Nimrod's day!

    Peace! Remember, this is a view/vision, and we all know what happens with visions and views: We are always startled and awakened and brought back to the real world following a good nights sleep. :laugh:

    Shalom,

    Pastor Paul :type:
     

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