Arkansas Southern Baptists & Alien Immersion

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by imported_J.R. Graves, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. imported_J.R. Graves

    imported_J.R. Graves
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    (I recently came across this old news articles on the Baptist Press website in their archives section. Any Southern Baptists from Arkansas care to comment?)

    At the 1997 Arkansas State Convention meeting held in North Little Rock, Ark.
    "The convention also voted to seat messengers from a church that had been reprimanded by its association for practicing "alien immersion." Credentials committee chairman reported his committee met with Johnny Hutchison, pastor of Highland Drive Baptist Church in Jonesboro, as well as "the person who delivered the challenge."
    The committee determined "there's no obvious violation by practice or intent on the part of the church and so our committee unanimously recommends that the Highland Drive Baptist Church remains seated as part of this convention." Concern over the issue relates to the state convention's articles of incorporation which specify that "The Baptist Faith and Message shall not be interpreted as to permit open communion and/or alien immersion." "
    - From Baptist Press article: Arkansas Baptists narrowly defeat Ouachita reconciliation guidelines, Nov 11, 1997, By Trennis Henderson & Russell N. Dilday

    At the 1998 Arkansas State Convention meeting held in Arkadelphia, Ark.
    "In other convention business, a proposed amendment to the ABSC Articles of Incorporation failed to gain a two-thirds majority needed for implementation. The proposal sought to delete a clause which states The Baptist Faith and Message shall not be interpreted to permit alien immersion or open communion.
    Don Nall, pastor of First Baptist Church, Batesville, submitted the proposed amendment. Noting he respects "the right of every Baptist Christian and every Baptist church," Nall added, "My problem is where it says, 'shall not be interpreted.' The very cherished principle that Baptist Christians have had ... is the principle of priesthood of the believer and autonomy of the church and here we have our state telling us how to interpret or not to interpret The Baptist Faith and Message."
    Following debate on the issue, messengers voted 433-232 to approve the proposal, failing by 10 votes to receive the two-thirds needed for adoption."
    – From Baptist Press article: Arkansas Baptists celebrate 150 years, approve resolution to pray for Clinton, Nov 10, 1998, By Trennis Henderson & Russell N. Dilday
     
  2. gb93433

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    Alien immersion has different meanings with different churches.

    I was baptized in a non-denominational church by an IFB pastor by immersion. My wife was baptized in the ocean in front of many non-believers by the pastor of the EFCA pastor.

    When we moved we joined an SBC church by statement saying that we were believers and had been baptized by immersion. Later we moved again and joined an SBC chruch by letter. We didn't know it but the church only accepted people into membership who had been baptized in a Baptist church. We came by letter so we were good. When I went to seminary I found out more about the church we were attending. In church history when the suinject came up I told the class about this and the entire class laughed. I wasn't trying to evade anything. They just accepted my letter. By doing so they never interviewed me nor did they follow their own rules.

    Never once have we ever been interviewed personally by anyone from any church for membership. Lots of assumptions. Because of that I assume nothing today.
     
  3. donnA

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    Is alien immersion someone baptized in a church not baptist?
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    This is true that there are many different interpretations of what alien immersion is. I remember the incident vaguely, and remember that it was more or less a political vendetta used to try and keep them from voting differently than the challenging pastor, and I think the leaders of the State convention saw right through it.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Well, here we go again with alien immersion--all those little green men being dunked. :D
     
  6. Paul of Eugene

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    Perhaps undocumented workers. :D
     
  7. imported_J.R. Graves

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    Brother Wrenn,

    I was hoping this post would not become a discussion of alien baptism, but a discussion of alien baptism amoung Southern Baptists in Arkansas. Perhaps we can limit the discussion to those from Arkansas.

    Thanks,
     
  8. Michael Wrenn

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    J.R.

    Okay, then--all those little green men being dunked in Arkansas by Southern Baptists.
     
  9. colorado_cop

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    As a former So. Bapt. tired of the games, this is another illustration of our petty differences as Christians. The Bible says nothing about denominational requirements to affirm a testimony of salvation, and neither should we.
     
  10. vulneratus non victus

    vulneratus non victus
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    Why limit the discussion to Arkansas Baptists?
     
  11. Phillip

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    Maybe I was not meant to post this, this is the third time I have tried to post and had to retype it. Thank you Bill Gates!

    Southern Baptist Churches rebaptise members from other denominations and many people complain about it, but here is the theory that I have had explained by several historians and pastors.

    Historically, baptism was shown to have been used by many secular (and religious) sects (for instance the dead-sea scrolls sect--can't remember the name off the top of my head). These sects used baptism by immersion to "show" that a person "agreed" with the doctrines of that particular sect. This was a practice occuring in the middle-east during the first century and I do not know when it actually supposedly started. (Some baptists probably think they invented baptism by immersion, but this does not really fit historically)

    John the Baptist used Baptism to show that people who followed him believed in the New Testament he presented of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. If this is historically accurate, and many historians believe it is, then this would help explain why Jesus allowed John to baptise him. Thus showing that he "agreed" with the New Testament that John brought to the world and that as the "Son of God" was publically putting his stamp of approval on it.

    When a SB church accepts a member from another denomination, they do not wish to take it upon themselves to try to determine the exact doctrines of the other church. With so many different names of "Bible Churches" and "Christian Churches -- that don't follow the Cambellite tradition, but just call themselves Christian Churches" and other new denominations springing up everywhere, we cannot know what the doctrines are.

    So, if I were to come from a Church of Christ, for example, which is definitely doctrinally different from the SB churches (who MOST supposedly subscribe to the written SB beliefs), then I would need to be baptised by the Baptist church because I was not showing the correct doctrine when baptised by a Church of Christ. This one is simple.

    But with other denominations it is harder to define, so it is better for SB churches to ask the potential member to be baptised in their church to show, beyond a shadow of doubt that the person agrees doctrinally with the local church body they are joining. This is why the theory of "joining the church", is so closely tied to Baptism in SB churches.

    Most SB churches will accept all other Baptist churches, but, some will not accept a particular few--especially those that do not believe in "once saved always saved", because this is a major doctrinal difference.

    On the other hand there are some older groups, I believe they may be minneanite (sp?) but I may have them mixed up with another name, that the SB church may accept because they originally originated from baptist churches and maintained the doctrine or they are doctrinally the same, different only in name. This is usually dependent on the pastor and members beliefs, whether or not they will accept these groups.

    I would like to hear from some of the older Southern Baptist leaders about this issue to confirm what I have just said, but this is the way I understand it and it makes a lot of sense and explains the reason for the SB churches not accepting other denominations.

    As for moving your letter and not knowing about the other church. These things happen and the church probably had the right intentions, they just usually don't go around doing background checks on new members.

    I wish they would; however, because as a profession I am a PI and it would be a nice job to do. (Just joking) (about the nice job, not about the PI part.) :D

    Anyway, whether you subscribe to this or not, this is the way I have always understood it and it makes sense. I have been in SB churches all my life, before and after I was saved, and I am also a "conservative" SB. ;)

    [ March 23, 2004, 10:06 PM: Message edited by: Phillip ]
     
  12. Phillip

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    In Arkansas is Suthun' Baptist. ;)

    I can say that, I'm only about 50 miles from the border.
     
  13. Taufgesinnter

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    Phillip:

    The Baptists spun off from the Mennonites circa 1613, returning to England from the Netherlands to found the first Baptist church. But yes, the Baptists still maintain many similarities to the older group. In fact, the similarities are particularly striking among possibly the largest body of Russian Baptist congregations. I was very surprised when I looked over their website.
     
  14. Phillip

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    I knew one split from the other, just had the wrong direction...at least the right group. Thanks for the correction. [​IMG]
     
  15. Phillip

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    Would you be kind enough to share the link?
    THanks
     
  16. Johnv

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    Alien Immersion simply means a person who has been immersed at a non-Baptist church. Presuming believer's baptism, there is no reason for a Baptist congregation to not recognize this as valid baptism.
     
  17. Phillip

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    Alien Immersion simply means a person who has been immersed at a non-Baptist church. Presuming believer's baptism, there is no reason for a Baptist congregation to not recognize this as valid baptism. </font>[/QUOTE]JohnV, this is a view taken by many churches today including some SBC churches; however, I think you will find more SBC churches who adhere to the conservative point of view based on the explanation I gave above.

    If Baptism is truly to show you believe doctrinally with the group you are following; who are we to say what the doctrine of a non-baptist church has been, even in regards to salvation?

    If one believes they can loose their salvation, then their doctrine is DEFINTELY different even on the point of "salvation" as one who believes in "once saved always saved".

    I believe what you are saying is the easy way out for churches because it is non-confrontational or becomes a non-discussion issue. How far do we take this, until we accept members who are not scripturally "saved" because we don't want to confront them about our beliefs.

    Too often Baptist churches are getting away from the basics--some of it caused by allowing non-baptists to come into the church as leaders before they have well-grounded beliefs--some because they were not taught Baptist doctrine well when younger. Whatever the answer, a lot of issues, just like this is what caused the conservative resurgence in the SBC.
     
  18. Johnv

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    The disctinctive of local autonomy allowes (oth fortunately and unfortunately) local congregations to decide for themselves the extent to which they define the nuances of alien baptism. But suffice it to say the Bible does not define baptism as a matter of adherence to doctrinal issues. It simply view baptism as an outward sign of a born-again faith.

    I think many Baptist church place too much emphasis on baptism. But, as a member of a moderately conservative SBC congregation myself, I have an obligation to adhere to and uphold their beliefs and interpretations. Of course, those apply only to other members of my congregation.

    I dread the notion that some SBC church somewhere will use the issue of doctrinal differences to reject the alien baptism of someone from an IFB church. That would be a sign of legalism, don't ya think?
     
  19. Phillip

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    The disctinctive of local autonomy allowes (oth fortunately and unfortunately) local congregations to decide for themselves the extent to which they define the nuances of alien baptism. But suffice it to say the Bible does not define baptism as a matter of adherence to doctrinal issues. It simply view baptism as an outward sign of a born-again faith.

    I think many Baptist church place too much emphasis on baptism. But, as a member of a moderately conservative SBC congregation myself, I have an obligation to adhere to and uphold their beliefs and interpretations. Of course, those apply only to other members of my congregation.

    I dread the notion that some SBC church somewhere will use the issue of doctrinal differences to reject the alien baptism of someone from an IFB church. That would be a sign of legalism, don't ya think?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Regardless of how I came across in my earlier post. I do agree with you. This is the way it has been explained to me all my life, but in reality it is more tradition than Biblical--So, I cannot say that I endorse it (at least not in its entirety). I see the picture, but even if the history behind it is true---things have changed and different church groups are just different spin-offs of the original NT churches. We pick our churches today by trying to find those closest to the New Testament description of doctrine. None, are perfect, because we are all human groups. So, often we have to compromise and find a church group that is as close to our doctrinal beliefs and possible and I agree with you here that this is no doubt a compromise.

    Yes, you are absolutely correct, it is up to the individual church body. I have been in SBC churches that don't vote on taking people's letters or membership and the one I'm at now votes on everything including putting new signs on the bathrooms, etc. Just thought I would let you know that we are not as far apart as I may have sounded. I really meant to explain to the original post WHY many SBC churches (particularly here in the Bible Belt) are that way.

    I know I compared this as one reason for the conservative resurgence, but I was really out of line there, because this is NOT one of the doctrinal issues that was debated in the conservative/liberal fusses.

    Yes, it is a hold out of the old legalism and I think it may be stronger in our area of the country than others. [​IMG]
     
  20. Frogman

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    Just for clarification, the original question of Alien Immersion, wasn't that related to Paedobaptists? Meaning it was the refusal to accept the baptism of those groups who 'baptized' infants?

    That is my understanding of 'alien immersion.'

    Now, as landmarker, I realize we have many definitions of this in our present day. However, it is obvious, where a false gospel is preached, a false baptism is probably practiced and an unscriptural immersion is not an immersion at all, is it?

    But, where ever faith and practice are the same, the baptism imho, is equal to any I could administer.

    Is the point of the Ark. Assoc. to 'lord' it over the autonomy of the local churches? I don't see that as the point. IMHO, again, I see the restrictions as necessary to clarify to all what it takes to be part of that particular assoc. that alone is not 'lording' over the particular local church.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton [​IMG]
     

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