Baptist "Name-Tags" - Are They Helpful?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Dec 27, 2001.

  1. rlvaughn

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    On another topic in this forum the question has been asked - Which Baptist are you? I am wondering, how helpful are "name-tags"? It seems that you and the one to whom you are speaking must have the same concept of the meaning of the names in order for them to be helpful. Do the "name-tags" often used by Baptists (conservative, fundamental, historic, independent, landmark, liberal, missionary, moderate, primitive, reformed, regular, unaffiliated, etc.) have a narrow enough definition to convey an accurate meaning of what one really is? For example, to say one is "independent Baptist" among many of my acquaintances will conjure up the Hyles/Rice type of Baptist. Yet a number of "independent" Baptist churches with which I am familiar are "Primitive" Baptists - probably the almost exact opposite end of the spectrum. Even to say one is SBC, BBF, etc., while identifying with which body one is affiliated, probably does not really tell much about what the individual believes. It might be interesting to see how members of the Baptist Board view the meaning of the above-mentioned "name-tags" (and/or others of which you know).

    What do you all think? Are they helpful? Are they confusing? Are they divisive?
     
  2. Molian

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    rlvaughn,

    I believe "name tags" are harmful. They are to narrowly defined, and can be used as a bias against the person that has the label. But what can we do? I think it's human nature to label people. Sterotyping has been with us from the beginning. molian
     
  3. ddavis

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    I think it would be to whom you are talking too that would make the difference, the stranger at the door or another Baptist. The name Baptist on the church sign to me lets people know when they walk in the door what’s coming doctrinally? This is how it is no ifs-ands-or-buts, you know who you are fellowshipping with.
     
  4. Circuitrider

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rlvaughn:
    "name-tags"...What do you all think? Are they helpful? Are they confusing? Are they divisive?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Names are only as effective when those using them fully understand their meaning. Our given names have meanings, but many do not see them as character denotations, and many do not even know what their name means.

    Names and titles such as mentioned above do give some kind of indication of the kind of Baptist one is. As a pastor and believer of over 30 years I can see usually evaluate a church by reading their newspaper ad or yellow pages listing. However sometimes I have been fooled. A couple of years ago we walked into a liberal American Baptist church based on a the ad in the yellow pages. Needless to say we walked right back out and found a fundamental church down the street. :D

    I don't believe such titles are divisive nor are they confusing to those who move in biblical circles. :cool:
     
  5. rsr

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    Some labels mean something. For example, if a Baptist says he is "Reformed" or "Primitive," then I have some idea of his or her core beliefs.
    But where does "conservative" shade off into "moderate" and then "liberal?" Can't say. Often, Baptists are conservative -- or even fundamental -- in one area and moderate -- or even liberal -- in another.
    Among large denominations, it is difficult to glean much from affiliation. SBC folks include everything from Calvinists to Armenians, from fundamentalists to liberals, from neo-orthodoxy to KJV-only. Not very helpful.
    In many cases, I think hanging the "fundamental-conservative-moderate-liberal" label is extremely hurtful because each group -- if you can call it that -- defines itself differently than its "opponents." For the most part, I think, it is divisive and creates ill will -- and more heat than light.
     
  6. Rev. Joshua

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    I think it is useful in this forum to know what traditions we come from. Personally, I come from the liberal, liturgical, urban vein of baptist life. My posts reflect this tradition and my training. Some of the folks here weren't even aware that this subset of baptists exists, and I knew next to nothing about the IFB kind of baptist (which predominates here). Knowing our backgrounds helps us learn more about those traditions and the context for our posts.

    Joshua
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    And NONE OF US who go by the name "baptist" want to be confused with Pastor Joshua's brand of "baptist". We all would love it if they would please change their name!! :rolleyes:

    But they have every right to the "baptist" label as I have - so the extra tag lines will help.

    Often, just the affiliation is a good line of demarkation. Conservative baptists are more conservative than American (Northern) Baptists, but less conservative than IFB'ers. [​IMG]

    Southern Baptists confuse the bejeebers outta me, since they call liberals "moderate" and moderates "conservative" and I'm not sure WHAT kind of preaching I'm going to get in any SBC church anymore! :eek:

    The only one that scares me is the KJVonly or "pastor is second only to Jesus" in my life kind of tag lines. Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit! ;)
     
  8. Jamal5000

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    What do you all think? Are they helpful? Are they confusing? Are they divisive?

    For me, name-tags are a non-issue because I do not know the difference between the many different kinds of baptists except SBC and NBCUSA.

    From an amateur point of view, would nametags not help disciples of certain baptist background readily identify with a church of the same tradition? To a lot of older people I know, being able to easily distinguish between bodies of baptists is essential and disarming.
     
  9. FaithRemains

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    A pastor i had growing up said it best i think.

    He was in the Air Force stationed in an area not known to be friendly to Christians. A man came up to him and asked him if he was a Christian. Knowing this could be a dangerous question, my pastor replied, "I'm a baptist." The man looked at him and said, "So am I, but i'm a Christian first."

    Just something for you to think about.
     
  10. TomVols

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    What is conservative to one might be liberal to another. So labels can be fuzzy. Yet because of the wide variety of opinions held by folks all claiming to live under the Baptist tent, you almost have to have some kind of qualifying tag to deliniate between the various flavors.
     
  11. Rev. Joshua

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dr. Bob Griffin:
    And NONE OF US who go by the name "baptist" want to be confused with Pastor Joshua's brand of "baptist". We all would love it if they would please change their name!! :rolleyes: <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Funny, we feel the same way about y'all ;) ! My colleagues and I constantly bemoan the need to say, "a baptist minister, but not Southern Baptist..." In that regard, when talking to someone who is skeptical of Christians in general and hostile to baptists in particular, the labels are a handy way of letting them know that there is more to "baptist" than they thought.

    Joshua
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    Serious thought for Joshua et al -

    Do you think YOUR wing of the SBC is more in keeping with the historic Baptist name, polity, ideologies, theology and practice of our forebears or the CONSERVATIVE type of Baptists like me?

    We feel like WE are (of course), but would like to hear the rationale of YOUR thoughts on the matter.

    And no stones in my hand. Honest! :eek:
     
  13. Rev. Joshua

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    Bob,

    In all fairness I no longer consider myself a part of the SBC. The SBC used to be a much larger tent than it is now, and I am willing to concede that the fundamentalists now control the organization and its machinery.

    Since there have been so many streams in the baptist tradition, it's hard to answer your question, but I'll try my best with each of the areas you mentioned:

    Polity - Without question I think the conservatives (whom the fundamentalists call "moderates" - you see the difficulty with those labels) and the liberals have a leg up on the fundamentalists here. The fundamentalists have essentially turned a formerly bottom-up, cooperative missionary organization (the SBC) into a tool for theological orthodoxy. They have also abandoned traditional baptist views on priesthood of the believer and the separation of church and state.

    Ideologies - Well, if we limit it to Southern Baptists, we have to recognize that the fundamentalists and the liberals are a long way from their forbears. For instance, despite some revisionist history to the contrary, the SBC clearly grew out of Southern Baptists desire to protect the institution of slavery. In addition, temperance/prohibition did not become an issue until the late 18th century.

    There was conflict among baptists regarding women in ministry as far back as Anne Hutchinson, so this is also a confusing area for the "historical" baptist.

    Certainly my views on homosexuality would have put me in the minority among our baptist ancestors, but I (along with many of my colleagues) am actually more conservative on issues of congregational accountability and the role of the church in the community than many fundamentalists.

    Still, I would conced that ideologically, in some areas, I am farther from many of our baptist forbears than most fundamentalists. Nevertheless, polity and piety (not ideology) have traditionally (until the fundamentalist takeover) defined baptists, so I think this is the least important of the four issues for determining our baptistness.

    Theology - Here you might need to distinguish between the urban, liturgical (Charleston) tradition and the rural, informal (Sandy Creek) tradition. Charleston tradition clergy are traditionally seminary-educated people whose theology is consistent with that of the mainstream Christian community. That is still the case among conservatives and liberals, who primarily come from that tradition.

    On core issues: divinity of Christ, sinfulness of humanity, bodily resurrection, significance of the ordinances, etc. I think we are all in agreement and likewise with our forbears. On issues of scholarship and biblical interpretation, I think we are as faithful to our tradition as the fundamentalists are to theirs.

    Practice - Again it is wise to distinguish between the Charleston and Sandy Creek traditions. The liturgical worship and ecumenism in our church is consistent with the baptist churches of our tradition.

    Joshua
     
  14. Kiffin

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    It should be remembered than in 1845 the American Baptist Home Mission society refused to appoint any person who owned slaves as a missionary. Southern Baptists withdrew their churches from the national and formed a convention. The SBC was really pushed to the wall.

    Overall though just as the War between the states (or as we SCVers say The War of Northern agression [​IMG] ) was more complex than slavery so was the Baptist split. The Abolitionist movement that Northern Baptists were influenced by had it's roots in Unitarianism and was politicaly radical. It is easy for us to put the 2 sides in black and white today but the issues of North/South Baptist division was a division of 2 differant cultures.
     
  15. DocCas

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    All labels are helpful to some extent. If it were not for labels, you would not know if the can contained soup or cat food. [​IMG]
     
  16. TomVols

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    Joshua wrote:
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> The fundamentalists have essentially turned a formerly bottom-up, cooperative missionary organization (the SBC) into a tool for theological orthodoxy. They have also abandoned traditional baptist views on priesthood of the believer and the separation of church and state.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    1. The SBC is bottom up. Now that the liberal elite are gone, the bottom can now influence the top since the iron fist of the liberals is no longer choking the life out of the SBC. The left just still can't get over that the conservative resurgence left them powerless.
    2. What's wrong with theological orthodoxy? Gee, I didn't know that was a bad thing.
    3. The idea jettisoning traditional views about priesthood of believers and church-state seperation is pure ad hominem. No one in the SBC advocates that the church and state should be equal, which is the typical accusation from the left. And the 2000 BF&M clearly articulates and supports the Biblical doctrine on priesthood of believers.
    4. Mission efforts have never been stronger in the SBC, a great sign of tremendous cooperation and a recovery of Biblical teaching on missions and the necessity of regeneration by faith in Christ. Given enough time, the liberals would've steam-rolled this, just as they tried to do all else in SBC life.

    Yet I digress. Unfortunately, those on the left (including Joshua, whom I cherish and respect) take any chance they can to malign what has geniunely happened in the SBC with ad hominem and straw man attacks.
     
  17. Rob't K. Fall

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    Ordinarily, I only post to the History forum. However, in view of the remarks made vis Charleston vs. Sandy Creek, I think I have something to add here.

    My home church is an urban church and always has been one. Our meeting house is located right next to the administrative offices of the RC Archdiocese of San Francisco and within a two minute walk from either St. Mary's Cathedral and the RC Archbisop's residence. (Since SF is also home to the Russian Orthodox Archbishop and his seat is three miles west of HSBC, I have to be precise in my terms.)

    Our pastors over the last 120 years have been seminary trained men. At one point in the late 30s, Brother Richard Day pastored HSBC. Brother Day authored the biography of C.H. Spurgeon The Man under the Broadbrimmed Hat. From the middle 1950s to the early 1990s, HSBC was the home of San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary.

    As to our pulpit attire, Brother Weniger (41-77) wore a morning suit in the pulpit into the early 50s and for just as long our choir has been robed. We are by Historic Baptist standards "High Church" Baptists. But, doctrinally, we haven't changed a tick since our founding in 1881. I dare say HSBC represents a long line of urban Northern Regular Baptist Churches.

    Bottom line, Brother Joshua, there are many corners you haven't yet looked into.

    At your service for Christ's sake,
    Rob't Fall
     
  18. Michael Wrenn

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    Tom,

    Why is it that fundamentalists resort to the use of the terms "ad hominem" and "straw man" when trying to deflect attention from the truth of what has happened in the SBC? Oh--that question answers itself.

    Maybe you should ask the WMU if they think the SBC is not being run by a fundamentalist dictatorship fond of handing down pronouncements and threats from on high. Oh, and BTW, what recommendations of the so-called "Peace Committee" have the fundies adhered to? Seminary professors and denominational employees from across the theological spectrum? Presidential appointees from same?

    I'll be anxiously awaiting your examples of such fundie inclusiveness.
     
  19. TomVols

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    Michael,
    Why do conservatives accuse liberals of using ad hominem and straw man arguments? Because that's all liberals have. They do not have history, facts, or doctrine to support their claims. The bitterness over having their reign of dictatorship ended is evident to this day.
    The WMU is auxiliary to the SBC, therefore your claims are totally baseless. As anyone knows, the SBC cannot tell the WMU what to do. You know how that ended up.
    And the Peace Committee was stocked with moderates and liberals. They refused to abide by the recommendations when they were steam-rolling the convention. How about the conservaties who were fired or not hired because they had the audacity to not march in lock step with the liberal elite?

    Next?
     
  20. Michael Wrenn

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    Tom,

    I just gave you some history and incontrovertible facts. You did what all fundamentalists do when confronted with same--deny, deny, deflect, twist, contort. Shall I give some further, more specific examples of the history and facts I mentioned, or do you want to quit while you're behind?
     

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