Differences between Baptist conventions / associations

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by myshkin, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. myshkin

    myshkin
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    Hi,

    Could anyone point me towards a description of the differences between the difference Baptist conventions/associations; where they stand on particular issues. Some conventions will certainly be more conservative or liberal than others, correct? Specifically, where does the NABC fit in?

    Thanks,
    Myshkin
     
  2. Circuitrider

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    Myshkin,

    While there may be other variables, the essential difference is the organization and degree of control. In a convention the churches are tied to the more strongly to the organization with some surrender of autonomy and the organization may well include schools, mission agencies, publication houses, etc.

    History has proven that the ABC and the SBC, which before 1845 were one in the same, have exercised control over the churches which were a part of the convention. They often provide financial support in the form of pastoral pensions and funding for church buildings for which in some cases the convention has held the title to the building. The result has been that in some cases when a churches decided to leave the convention, the convention brought legal action to prevent this departure and keep the building (Normal, IL 1960 is a classic example).

    An association is a much looser form of relationship between churches. In an association the churches keep their autonomy and are simply affiliates to the assocation. A true church assocation does not have schools, mission agencies, etc. but is simply a grouping of churches to more effectively carrying out their ministry. Churches are not tied in any integral way to the association and may leave at any time by their own church action.

    Our fellowship of churches here in Wisconsin works together for fellowship (2-4 meetings annually), ladies retreats, church planting, crisis pregnancy centers, and area pastors and wives' fellowship. We have no direct ties to schools, camps, mission agencies, etc.

    As to the issue of liberal or conservative, either conventions or associations may be either and that does not seem to be a direct factor. However, the centralized control of the convention makes it more susceptable to take over by a group. The diversity of the association makes it much more difficult to be taken over, and thus protects the churches more effectively.
     
  3. rsr

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    I have no first-hand knowledge about the North American Baptist Conference, though its confession is conservative and it seems to be somewhere between an association and a convention, more along associational lines.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    Convention has a more negative connotation, based on the "agreement" (another meaning of convention, like the Geneva Convention) of the members to a certain practice/rule. It is thus more highly organized/structured.

    In Minnesota, the Baptist Convention was a group of churches working on missions, church planting, fellowship, Pillsbury BBC, etc in a very loose organization. They changed their name to MBA (Minn Baptist Association) to distance themselves from the "convention mentality".
     
  5. myshkin

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    I wasn't aware of the semantics behind "convention" or "conference," or "association."

    What are the more conservative Baptist associations?

    Are there some Baptist associations with very liberal, and I would argue unbiblical, stances on homosexuality? If so, which ones?

    Are there any Baptist associations which have rejected the ordination of women? If so, which ones?

    Thanks,
    Myshkin
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    New Testament Association of Baptist Churches would be a VERY conservative group. I know Circuitrider's church was part of this (prior to his becoming State Director).

    General Association of Regular Baptist Churches is a fundamental fellowship.

    Our church here in Casper WAS part of the Conservative Baptist Association, but that group has by-and-large drifted to a new evangelical position and the truly "conservative" churches have withdrawn 35 years ago!

    Now the old Northern Baptist Convention (now called American Baptist Church of the USA) would be one of the LIBERAL groups. They are separatists - separating from those who are opposed to homosexuals or ordaining women!!

    http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/americanbaptistchurch.htm
     
  7. Phillip

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    You can say what you want to about the SBC, but as a 47 year veteran of SBC churches I have seen absolutely no control from the convention. It is simply a name.

    Yes, there are pastor retirement funds, there is aid for churches and yes the convention can pull the church's title back, but only if the church decides to leave the convention. (Not control, just making sure it doesn't become a Mormon church.)

    The convention is to help the churches and is voted in by the churches.

    Are there abuses? You betcha. I just told Dr. Bob about one, but you cannot tell me there are no politicians in your denomination.

    Please do not be making comments about the SBC without a better understanding of the inside operations. I have personally NEVER seen any control from the convention. Regardless of what every other denomination tries to say, it ain't true.

    For example, we had a very liberal pastor in a church in our state. The convention worried over it, but they didn't do anything about it. They ask other churches to pray.

    Our convention is for one major thing in mind. To provide pooled money for the mission field whether at home or abroad. I go to the conventions myself as a representative for our church, we vote on things the convention does. But, I have never seen the convention exercise any power over churches.

    You message is very misleading and biased.
     
  8. gb93433

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    As a former SBC pastor and being very involved in the SBC even as a speaker at the associational and conference level. I was very well liked by other pastors. In fact I was voted by the pastors in the association to be the annual speaker twice in two different asociations. I spoke numerous other times in the community and at other meetings of Christians. I was also the camp pastor at a youth conference among 700 churches in TX. So it wasn't like I was a complainer or didn't do much. Every year the churches I pastored were given an evangelism award for baptizing at least 20 percent of the SS attendance each year.

    I can tell you from what I heard from those in the church who volunteered at the state level that they may not have directly controlled the actual building but they sure fed the volunteers with their brand of stuff. I knew at the time the SBC was in the process of bringing on board non-baptists from the outside both on state boards and at Southern Seminary. Constantly I had to deal with their views of church growth. I had one of the fastest growing churches in the area. In fact the last church had never seen that much growth in over 60 years since it started. But the state volunteers were always telling me how to do things. By that time I had replanted one church and help to plant two others.

    Until you are a pastor you would probably not notice the difference. But as time went by I saw more and more effort by the SBC leaders to get their message out through those in the churches. Often the volunteers would come back with ideas before I would hear about them if ever.
     
  9. Hardsheller

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    You can say what you want to about the SBC, but as a 47 year veteran of SBC churches I have seen absolutely no control from the convention. It is simply a name.

    Yes, there are pastor retirement funds, there is aid for churches and yes the convention can pull the church's title back, but only if the church decides to leave the convention. (Not control, just making sure it doesn't become a Mormon church.)

    The convention is to help the churches and is voted in by the churches.

    Are there abuses? You betcha. I just told Dr. Bob about one, but you cannot tell me there are no politicians in your denomination.

    Please do not be making comments about the SBC without a better understanding of the inside operations. I have personally NEVER seen any control from the convention. Regardless of what every other denomination tries to say, it ain't true.

    For example, we had a very liberal pastor in a church in our state. The convention worried over it, but they didn't do anything about it. They ask other churches to pray.

    Our convention is for one major thing in mind. To provide pooled money for the mission field whether at home or abroad. I go to the conventions myself as a representative for our church, we vote on things the convention does. But, I have never seen the convention exercise any power over churches.

    You message is very misleading and biased.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Phillip,

    I used to preach this sermon that you preach. But now I'm not as sure as I once was.
     
  10. Bethelassoc

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    Myshkin,

    I can tell you about the functions of my association and of many others that function similarly. An association ties churches together through their articles of faith. If churches are "like minded" in teachings and worship, they tend to associate. The association has always been an advisory for the fellowshiping churches, and it doesn't lord over the churches affairs.

    The association can exclude churches from their fellowship that no longer hold to the same teaching the other churches in the association hold to, though. This of course is done by the body as with everything else.
     
  11. exscentric

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    Within each group you will find all shades of churches. In the General Association of Regular Bap. you will find very conservative churches in life and practice while there are some that are not so conservative. Doctrinally they have a good statement.

    Make note there is an another group that calls themselves American Baptist, that is the missionary baptists and they are very conservative in all areas, as opposed to the other ABC convention :) http://www.abaptist.org/home.shtml
     
  12. Trotter

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    I have seen/been in ultra conservative SBC churches. I have seen/been in very liberal SBC churches. I have seen/been in some pretty wild SBC churches where I was looking for somebody to break out the snakes! I have seen/been in some pretty emotional SBC churches where I expected to see people fall out at the altar, start hopping up and down whilst gibbering, and take to "holy laughing". And I have seen/been in some SBC churches that only lacked a tombstone being set up in front of the door.

    What am I getting at? You can't judge an entire denomination/convention by any one, or dozen, churches.

    Now, does the SBC exert control over its member churches? Contrary to gb's experiance, I ahven't seen much of it going on. Oh, the SBC sends its information packets, and brochures, and announcements for its meetings and conferences...but, unless a church steps WAY out of line doctrinally (ordaining women, ordaining homosexuals, going "pentecostal" in a major way), the SBC leaves the individual churches pretty much alone.

    But, then, that is in my geographical area. And everybody knows that Tennessee is the except to EVERY rule known to man...

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  13. StraightAndNarrow

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    Traditionally, Baptists have believed in the concepts of Soul Liberty and Priesthood of the Believer. The major Baptist conventions used to allow not only their members but also their churches the freedom to define their own set of beliefs. Increasingly, the Southern Baptist Convention is changing this so that churches that don't agree with the fundamentalist leadership are excluded from fellowship. American Baptist Churches - USA is closer to the historical idea of the independent local church. Of course, this can't be taken to an extreme. The following is a statement of the current status of that group by the national leadership (not some third party).

    http://www.abc-usa.org/gensec/200411armgbreport.html
     
  14. MTA

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    Old Time Missionary Baptist Associations adhere to the same articles of faith and meet annually for a 2-3 day meeting. Messengers from each church meet to organize, elect officers, and conduct business. However, the Association is officially disbanded following the conclusion of business. The order of business is typically sharing general information, adoption of reports on topical discussions and adopting any recommendations for messengers from participating churches represented to take back to their congregations.

    The meetings are predominantly to preserve and promote fellowship. There is ordinarily an introductory sermon preached on the first night when the association is organized. The next day, a report is read of all those that have passed into Glory since the last meeting and following the adoption of that report, a Memorial Sermon is preached. Lastly, on the final day (Sunday) the Doctrinal Sermon is preached.

    Part of the associational meeting is for committees to report on various subjects selected at the previous year's meeting. Messengers then discuss them before approving them or, occasionally, disapproving them. Any Association resolutions or matters to be taken back by the messengers to their respective churches are discussed before adjourning until the next year. All the business, sermon reviews, subjects, and correspondence from sister churches and associations are then printed in an annual association minutes booklet.
     
  15. Bethelassoc

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    MTA:

    Your association's makeup is like ours. There's probably some correlation of history between the two.

    We also disband our association but until the next quarterly meeting.
     

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