How do you identify yourself?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Herald

    Herald
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    In a previous thread there was an exchange about being identified based on what a person believes. For instance, if a person believes that the sign gifts are not operative today they are commonly called a cessationist. If a person believes in a pretribulational, premillennial rapture of the church the are commonly referred to as a dispensationalist. When it comes to soteriology there are a number of different designations: semi-Pelagian, Pelagian, Calvinist, Doctrines of Grace, Arminian et. al. Eschatology has Preterism, partial-Preterism, premillennialism, historic premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism. This is just a representative sample. There are more labels than you can shake a stick at.

    Some people believe being labeled is unnecessary, or even detrimental. But is that the case? Labels can certainly be used for dishonest or divisive reasons. But what if you're new to a town and you're looking for a like-minded church. How would you go about doing so? The last time I moved the Internet wasn't much of a going concern. I couldn't check out church websites. It seems to me that a church website is as routine as a telephone number. It's quite easy to include a link to the church doctrinal statement or "what we believe." If you hold to the FW position wouldn't it make your decision easier if you visited a church website and found that they hold to the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith as their doctrinal statement? You would probably want to visit another church. Sometimes churches make it easy to know what they believe by their name; i.e. "Free Will Baptist Church"; "Reformed Baptist Church"; or "Full Gospel Baptist Church."

    Is there a reason why labeling or defining what we believe would be a bad thing to do? If so, why?
     
  2. Benjamin

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    One problem with labels is they can be very misleading and rather disingenuous at times. For example, consider the ambiguous and rather suspect intensions of placing a title on yourself which claims to teach THE “Doctrines of Grace”. Personally, while being in disagreement with Determinist Doctrinal exploits which limit God’s grace to a pre-selected few, personally, I teach doctrines of grace which has a much broader and complete view of grace which explains it is “genuinely” offered to all in the world. If anything I would think my view would have more claiming rights to hold to the "doctrines of grace".

    On that note, I could easily think of much more descriptive titles for those who hinge all their doctrines of grace on pre-deterministic factors which would not suspiciously look like an attempt to create a monopolization of their views onto the meaning of Biblical God given explanation and far more common view of His loving “grace”.

    Concerning this matter I believe it to be a much more ethical approach if those whose doctrines are rooted in determinism would step up and openly own their unique doctrines on grace by defining such according to their beliefs rather than by the use of an ambiguous title lacking in discloser of what they actually attempt to teach about “grace” which is widely open to other Biblical interpretations.

    In this case concerning “adopting” a label, it seems it would be easy enough to create some more descriptive titles which would remove any suspicions that some are in disguise for the unsuspecting sheep which will, no doubt, later face attempts to indoctrinate them into their Determinist systematic theology onto grace.
     
  3. MB

    MB
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    Most of the labeling I've received here is inaccurate and based on the ignorance of the one handing it out. I am freewill but that does not mean I follow any man's theology. I'm a born again Christian and I follow the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
    2Co 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

    If a man isn't willing, he isn't saved. We must submit our selves to God. A submission can only be done by a conscious effort on the part of a man's will. A submission is a surrender and is giving up the rebellion.
    Rom 10:1-4, James 4:6-10,
    We can ask to be saved as in Luke 11:13
    We can choose Christ as did Mary in Luke10:42. Freewill has existed from before the time of Christ here on earth. We are free to rebel as the Jews did in Luke 13:34. And as Adam did in the Garden.

    For someone to tell me that I follow some man I never heard of before I first came here is an insult not only to me but to God's holy Word as well. It is a detestable thing to call a brother in Christ a degrading name.
    MB
     
  4. Van

    Van
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    The difficulty with labels is more than one meaning if often the case.

    I am a cessionalist, believing virtuously that the foundation has been laid and therefore the sign and wonder gifts used to authenticate the New Testament writers have ceased.

    I am a conditionalists, believing virtuously, that God can destroy both the body and the soul.

    I am a progressive dispensationalist, believing virtuously, that "all Israel" refers to the OT saints and both Jews and Gentiles saved under the New Covenant.

    I am a one point Calvinist, two point Arminian, and two point Scripturalist. :) I believe once we are actually saved, we are saved forever. I believe we are conditionally elected for salvation through faith during our lifetime. I believe we are able to seek God and trust in Christ or reject Him in our fallen unregenerate natural state. I believe Christ died for all mankind, but only those whom God puts spiritually in Christ receive the reconciliation provided by the cross.

    I believe in the Pre-wrath rapture of the church, and the literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, prior to us entering the eternal kingdom.

    I believe in the Triune God, that Jesus is God Almighty, and that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God is all powerful, all knowing about what He chooses to know, is present everywhere and is the force that sustains all of creation.

    The only label that fits is a fundamentalist, bible believing Baptist. :)
     
    #4 Van, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2012
  5. Greektim

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    I think all labels are wrong and from the devil. I would never do such a thing to myself or others!!!!
     
  6. Herald

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    Tim, do you need a special mouth horn to extract your tongue from your cheek? LOL
     
  7. 12strings

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    But isn't it true that we have all learned our theology form "some man", or more accurately: MANY men, throughout our lives, who hopefully have been teaching what accords with scripture?

    Also, not every label is meant to be derogatory or degrading.
     
  8. Jerome

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    . . .or form some woman.
     
  9. Herald

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    Quite true.
     
  10. Greektim

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    Well that might help :D
     
  11. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Van's post #5 outlines the difficulty with labels, but they are helpful shorthand.

    By definition, they are incomplete, but we shouldn't be so quick to reject the ones we get tagged with.

    Van is a self-described fundamentalist, Bible-believing Baptist. All three are useful to me in determining what Van believes. When he calls himself a fundamentalist, that tells me something. Van won't have to tell me everything he believes, because he can tell me a lot with the label Baptist.

    His self-labeling tells me quickly that he's definitely not a Calvinist.
    His self-label of progressive dispensationalist saves a whole lot of time, because I know generally where he stands.

    So, let's not be too quick to reject labels. Except to clarify any misconceptions that may come with them.
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    By the way, some folks like to say, "well I'm not Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian. I'm not a denominationalist. I'm just a Christian." Sorry, folks, but it comes across as a bit smug.

    Even the simple label Christian tells us something, but not enough So we'll ask, "what kind of Christian?" You'll need to label yourself with something further.

    Me?

    I'm a conservative, inerrantist, Calvinistic, historical premillenialistic, cessationistic, partial Landmarkist Southern Baptist Christian.

    That should do it.
     
  13. psalms109:31

    psalms109:31
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    You can call yourself one of those dangerous biblicists who have no support for what they believe, but their understanding of the scripture. You can say you follow Jesus He is your Rabbi, then you are following your interpenetration of what Jesus is saying.

    So no matter what they will find some fault in you and your way of thinking until they get you to come to their way of thinking.

    They have people who have been teaching what they have been teaching for a long time for thousand upon thousands of years they are the elect they can't be deceived.

    The Jews who did not even recognize their savior and turned their back on Him the one that all scriptures point to and let a murderer free believes the same things that they are the elect and can't be deceived they have been teaching what the have been teaching longer. Pride goes before a fall.

    I am to trust in Jesus to open a blind man like me so I can see Him for who He really is and God uses every word that comes from His mouth to illuminate Him.
     
  14. 12strings

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    2 things to keep in mind:

    1. Historical context: Most of the labels we use grew out of one group distinguishing themselves from another group, Lutherans out of catholics, Fundamentalists out of Liberalism, etc. Baptists have their name because we, unlike most Christians, especially at the time they began, don/t baptize babies. It was an important distinction.
    -Now, I have no problem with a church not having baptist in their name, if their beliefs statement is readily available and it explains their practice of the ordinances...to me it is the same as a church not having their mode of the Lord's supper advertised (open/closed, wine/juice..etc.) You can't publish everything at the 1st level of visibility (church name, sign).
    -Also, there will always be something you learn about a church after you get to know them that you didn't know at first...you can't cry "foul" or "deception" everytime a church fails to stick all of their beliefs on their sign out front.

    2. Sometimes labeling ourselves for clarity can go overboard. There are Churches who literally have something like This on their sign:
    "Bible Baptist Church: An Independent, Fundamental, KJV only, Traditional Music Church." (I've seen them).
    -That might be what some would want, and it certainly helps me know not to go there, but it also makes me cringe, thinking they are putting their focus in all the wrong places. I would equally cringe if a church had this on their sign:
    "Calvary Baptist Church: A Reformed, Elder-led, semi-cessationist, blended music, accepting of several good translations of scripture, expositional not topical preaching Church."
    -Even If I agreed with all or most of these...I would think that church is focussed more on keeping everything perfect than on knowing and sharing the Gospel.

    I suppose I think we should accept the labels churches give themselves, and not complain that they have not labeled themselves the way we would want them to.
     
  15. Bob Alkire

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    You are going along with a professor I had. He said most people who are trying to change things might not care for labels( he said titles) but the ones who were not trying to change things for the most part didn't mind labels (titles). He would point out many if not most people in politics as well as in theology, liberals and the new kid on the block didn't care as much for labels as did the conservitive or older kid on the block.
     
    #15 Bob Alkire, Dec 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2012
  16. Herald

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    All good points. It is possible to venture into ad absurdum.
     
  17. MB

    MB
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  18. Alive in Christ

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    My regular identifier is...


    Born again evangelical Christian

    Even though I am a Baptist I never mention it unless of course someone askes.
     
  19. TCassidy

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    As I am a Biblicist I must also believe the confirmatory sign gifts have ceased.
    I am an historic Chilliast.
    I believe in the Biblical soteriology of Particular Redemption.
    Chilliasts are Millennialists believing Christ will establish His physical rule over the Earth sometime in the future.
    Labels are an absolute necessity. Just look in your pantry. Without labels you would not know if that can contained soup or garlic.

    Labels are short hand which describes who we are (Christian) and what we believe (see above). Without labels we are left being nobody and believing nothing. :)
     
  20. Iconoclast

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    Labels have value unless the person viewing you has an agenda, or an axe to
    grind.If the motive is not clear cut...ask to define your label.ie, catholics use bible words without accurate bible meanings...they will speak of grace but mean works.

    If you offer a label, many times you get a follow up question that allows for a biblical explanation.
    calvinism exists without calvin...the term has grown past him.To not use that term [even though many dishonestly make a caricature} appears to many that you are avoiding standing for the truth that you profess.

    Cult members can lay claim to being christian..saying I "only believe" the bible.....what you believe about it earns a label...it is your creed...even if you claim you do not like creeds. or confessions

    Those who claim they do not follow any teaching of men are deluded or ignorant.Everyone does ...you listen to your pastors and teachers each week.....so to boast of not believing in the words of men ...or the teachings of men ,,,is a fools errand and not honest.
     

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