Baptism preceding Church Membership

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by DeaconPhil, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. DeaconPhil

    DeaconPhil
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    I was visiting a southern baptist church two weeks ago and noticed that the pastor was presenting saved individuals to the church for membership on the "promise of baptism". I had never heard of such a thing and would like to open the floor for discussion on this topic. Isn't baptism a prerequistie for church membership? And if so, is it appropriate biblically to vote a member in on the "promise of baptism" before they've been baptized? Thanks!
     
  2. annsni

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    In our church, we have to be baptized before we could be considered for church membership. I've never seen it on the "promise" of baptism.
     
  3. DeaconPhil

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    Thanks Ann.

    I would like to add another question, if I may, would you join a church that practices the "promise of baptism" position or would it be a "deal killer"?
     
  4. mcdirector

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    I'd completely forgotten about it until I read it in this thread, but I vaguely remember hearing it somewhere before. I'm going to have to think of the place and context though.

    I do think we should be baptized in order to join. Maybe it's just a quasi-join (full-membership pending) until the baptism???
     
    #4 mcdirector, Mar 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2011
  5. mcdirector

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    DP, what part of the US was this in? (if you don't mind answering. I noticed you don't have a location listed and don't want you to feel pressured to give more info than you are comfortable with) But I was wondering if there is a locale in which this term might be more prevalent.
     
  6. DeaconPhil

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    MC I recently moved to Tennessee from Pennsylvania and am looking for a church. This is, from what I can tell, a "traditional" southern baptist church. I'm not sure if other southern baptist churches follow this or not. I also noticed that church discipline is not practiced either. Maybe it's all a cultural thing, but it's hard for me to let go of what I've been taught my whole life. I just want to make sure that my concerns are biblically based and not just a "traditional" teaching. Thanks
     
  7. Salty

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    I think MC director is correct. Its more of a public statement - and that membership would not be conferred until the baptistim was made.

    Same thing with letters, a person will come forward to join a church and the pastor will ask if the church approves of the individual joining on promise of letter. I have even heard preachers asking for a motion and a second - and a hearty amen. So is that a business meeting - if so - it would be considered a special business meeting, which usually requires a 2 week notice - opps getting off OP.....
     
    #7 Salty, Mar 4, 2011
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  8. mcdirector

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    Welcome to the South DP ;)

    I've been in SBC churches most of my adult life and like I said, I can only vaguely remember it. I think it was in a church in Texas, but I've also been in Tennessee, so it could have been there.

    SBC are a varied lot. They run from the more liberal to very traditional, so please, please don't let one color your perception of them all. I used to lead conferences for the association we were in and couldn't believe how incredibly different some of the churches were.
     
  9. DeaconPhil

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    Thanks Salty your response was very helpful.
    MC, thanks for the welcome and your comments on the SBC churches. I figured it was my northern sensibilities getting in the way - lol!
     
  10. Salty

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    You mentioned Penna - where abouts? I was serving a church in Shamokin Dam for a while
     
  11. Zenas

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    This is what we do, although it is not considered membership until the candidate is baptized. Like McDirector has explained. The candidate makes a public profession of faith and is introduced to the congregation. No vote is ever taken. When the candidate is baptized he or she becomes a member.
     
  12. Jerome

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    I've not heard, and am uncomfortable with the OP verbiage "on promise of baptism".

    Perhaps it is just an inarticulate way of describing this:

    Hiscox's New Directory for Baptist Churches:


    Pendleton's Baptist Church Manual:

     
  13. Tom Butler

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    Like Zenas, I'm from Kentucky, and reared in Tennessee. My own experience is the same as Zenas. Everywhere I'm familiar, the church will vote on candidates for baptism, who will become members upon their baptism. If something happens in between the vote and the dunking--it's all off.

    Now, in the case of transfer of membership, candidates are voted on "on promise of a letter" from a congregation of like faith and order. Again, if we don't get the letter, it's all off.

    Another way we receive members is "by statement." In a case where records have been lost, or the previous church has gone belly up, or something like that, a candidate will state that they have been scripturally baptized in a church of like faith and order. We usually take them at their word and vote them in.

    Frankly, it's my personal opinion (a minority view in my church) that we are much too quick on the trigger. We need to guard the doors of our church a bit better.
     
  14. ituttut

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    An odd statement, if one does not believe Water Baptism has anything to do with their salvation.
     
  15. David Lamb

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    Why assume that it was in the US at all? As it turns out, it was, but as DeaconPhil had not said on his profile where he lives, it could have been anywhere in the world.

    I have not heard of this "promise of baptism" thing here in the UK, though it may happen in some churches - I'm far from omniscient! :)
     
    #15 David Lamb, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2011
  16. Jerome

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    From "Discipline of the Church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle," J. A Spurgeon:

     
  17. mcdirector

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    You are of course correct, it could have been anywhere. BUT he did mention SBC in the OP which are found more often in the USA and even more often than that in the US South.
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    Originally Posted by Tom Butler [​IMG]
    Frankly, it's my personal opinion (a minority view in my church) that we are much too quick on the trigger. We need to guard the doors of our church a bit better.

    I don't see anything odd here, so maybe you can expand on your post to help me see it.

    I hold that water baptism is the door to local church membership. Therefore, we need to be diligent in assuring the best we can that we baptize only true converts.

    The evidence that we have not done a good job guarding our doors is that in most churches, attendance by 40% of members at Sunday Services is the norm.

    I know of one megachurch which had 30,000 people on its church rolls, but only about 10,000 showed up on Sunday. This was true in my own church for a long time. What kind of gospel did they respond to, that they eventually dropped out?
     
  19. DeaconPhil

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    I'm with you Tom, I feel somewhat uncomfortable with the "promise of baptism" practice. I guess as long as the candidate is not offically a member until baptism I'm okay with it, just not a big fan of the practice.

    Salty, I'm originally from northeast Philadelphia.

    Thanks for all your responses, it has been a very instructive and interesting topic :)

    btw, Thanks for your info on the church manuals Jerome - very helpful!
     
    #19 DeaconPhil, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2011
  20. Salty

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    Actually, I would say that ratio is somewhat standard. You have 300 members, only 100 show up. You have 150 members, 50 show up. I think this goes along with the thread about pastors visiting members who miss church.

    I would also like to mention, that I believe that Baptism is a requirement for membership that should not be the end all. We should disciple new converts for a season, before they become members.

    Salty
     

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